3

votes

Meat cooking versus vegetable cooking

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 16, 2010 at 2:25 AM

I am curious to know why most paleos use the "raw versus cooked test" for plants ("something vegetable is sound to eat if you could have it raw") but not for meat (very few people would ask that meat could be had raw in order to be considered safe...). When early hominids-humans became capable to control fire, they surely could use that ability both for meat-cooking and for plant-cooking. So where does the different criteria come from?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 19, 2010
at 07:58 PM

Just started reading this, it is really amazing!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 17, 2010
at 05:33 PM

I've actually been able to sucessfully add some sweet potato lately - not a lot, but some.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on December 17, 2010
at 06:20 AM

I feel like many arguments against eating both raw and cooked meats often come from a combination of squeamishness, lack of connection to tradition, an uninformed idea of biology and history, and out-and-out mysticism. These types of reasoning hold little appeal for me.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 17, 2010
at 02:54 AM

theres alot of data out there lately with T2 doing very well with potatoes despite doing poorly on other carbs. not sure of the why yet tho.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:44 AM

Amanda thanks for your answer, I agree that vegan is an extreme view, and the basics of paleo-diet are much more scientific. Anyway I believe that it is a mistake to reject cooked food, since cooking was one of the great elements of becoming humans!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 16, 2010
at 03:40 PM

Sweet potatoes and yams were domesticated/cultivated as eary as 5000 to 8000 years ago in S. America and Africa/Asia, respectively. That's not to say we haven't been eating wild starchy tubers for much, much longer. Starchy tubers are most certainly paleo. The key, yet again, is how are they for you? Lots of vitamins and minerals, some anti-nutrients and a lot of carbs (but no fructose). My take is that they are great for athletes and those wanting higher carb levels. Diabetics, obese and metabolically damaged may need to avoid them or eat sparingly. I'm T2 and obese, so I eat them rarely.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on December 16, 2010
at 04:09 AM

thanks Dave your answer is very useful. I like it when you say "Paleo is a context for discovering what is healthy". I love baked sweet-potatos (the main staple of the highly successful traditional Okinawa diet) and I would like to see evidence that paleolithic hunter-gatherers cooked tubers (though sweet potatos originate from South America making it highly unlikely as a staple for the evolving early humans). I wonder if Perhaps another rule would relate to "how much a certain food has diverged from its wild origins", what do you think?

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5 Answers

9
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 16, 2010
at 03:03 AM

Paleo-anthropologists put the controlled use of fire (not necessarily cooking) at somewhere between 400 to 800 thousand years ago. Richard Wrangham makes the case that cooking is what changed us from Homo Habilis to Homo Erectus - roughly 2 mya. In any case, hominids ate stuff raw for at least 500,000 years and maybe longer. That's both meat and veg.

Who says you can't eat meat raw? Personally, I don't. I like my meat cooked. I like my veggies cooked too. The idea that its paleo if it can be eaten raw is just a simple rule - probably too simple. Also, cooking meat or tubers in a fire is pretty simple. Soaking beans and boiling them is much more complicated and came way, way later (requires pots at least - bronze age?).

Paleo is a context for discovering what is healthy. We also use science here. For example, honey is a paleolithic food - but not necessarily healthy. Heavy cream and butter/ghee are neolithic inventions, but many here find them to be very healthy. Nuts are paleo, but high in n6 - so most tend to eat them in moderation (or not at all). Dark chocolate and coffee are not paleo - but a lot of people here indulge in them as well.

Raw versus cooked is an easy way to think about it when you are first starting out, but in the end its probably not that useful of a heuristic.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on December 16, 2010
at 04:09 AM

thanks Dave your answer is very useful. I like it when you say "Paleo is a context for discovering what is healthy". I love baked sweet-potatos (the main staple of the highly successful traditional Okinawa diet) and I would like to see evidence that paleolithic hunter-gatherers cooked tubers (though sweet potatos originate from South America making it highly unlikely as a staple for the evolving early humans). I wonder if Perhaps another rule would relate to "how much a certain food has diverged from its wild origins", what do you think?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 17, 2010
at 02:54 AM

theres alot of data out there lately with T2 doing very well with potatoes despite doing poorly on other carbs. not sure of the why yet tho.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 16, 2010
at 03:40 PM

Sweet potatoes and yams were domesticated/cultivated as eary as 5000 to 8000 years ago in S. America and Africa/Asia, respectively. That's not to say we haven't been eating wild starchy tubers for much, much longer. Starchy tubers are most certainly paleo. The key, yet again, is how are they for you? Lots of vitamins and minerals, some anti-nutrients and a lot of carbs (but no fructose). My take is that they are great for athletes and those wanting higher carb levels. Diabetics, obese and metabolically damaged may need to avoid them or eat sparingly. I'm T2 and obese, so I eat them rarely.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 17, 2010
at 05:33 PM

I've actually been able to sucessfully add some sweet potato lately - not a lot, but some.

2
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on December 17, 2010
at 02:57 AM

Raw is what animals have to do.

Cooking made us human.

The ability to make nutrients and calories more bioavailable made us able to develop the brains that make us rulers of the planet today.

Heres a great read: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human

meat-cooking-versus-vegetable-cooking

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 19, 2010
at 07:58 PM

Just started reading this, it is really amazing!

2
95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on December 16, 2010
at 04:21 AM

There is actually a whole subset of paleo folks who mostly or only eat raw meat and veggies. (website and forum). In fact, the first person I ever met who used the words paleolithic and diet in the same sentence back in the late 90's only ate raw meat and nuts. I haven't really read or thought enough about it to form an opinion beyond if it works for them than that's fine and I see no reason it couldn't be healthy if done right. I fear for me it would lead to not eating very much, orthexic tendencies, reduced social interaction and getting annoyed with fellow followers using psuedo-science to justify a lot of their choices. Those were all the reasons that I stopped being vegan and started eating paleo in the first place.

95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on December 17, 2010
at 06:20 AM

I feel like many arguments against eating both raw and cooked meats often come from a combination of squeamishness, lack of connection to tradition, an uninformed idea of biology and history, and out-and-out mysticism. These types of reasoning hold little appeal for me.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on December 17, 2010
at 01:44 AM

Amanda thanks for your answer, I agree that vegan is an extreme view, and the basics of paleo-diet are much more scientific. Anyway I believe that it is a mistake to reject cooked food, since cooking was one of the great elements of becoming humans!

1
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on December 16, 2010
at 03:13 PM

All meat can be eaten raw. The heuristic is about digestion, not whether or not a bacteria or parasite could be present, which is true of any food, plant or animal. However, there are plants that will not digest without cooking or other processing. These are generally not considered paleo foods.

1
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on December 16, 2010
at 02:45 AM

Many veggies taste better cooked. The sugars are more concentrated making the veggie less bitter. Cooking also breaks down the fibers making a veggie easier to eat. I eat carrots mostly raw, but I can eat more of them if they were cooked. Something like broccoli to me tastes MUCH better cooked (especially roasted) than it does raw. Fruit of course is better raw.

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