Health & Food

Turkey Meatballs and The Raw Food Diet

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The title of the post is indeed a complete contradiction, but once you read my thoughts about the “Raw Food Diet” you will sort of see why. I hope everyone had a great Hump Day. This week does seem to be going pretty darn fast, is it just me?! I’m excited to share with you the following recipe, which was inspired by a recipe I found on the blog; Gluten Free Gidget.

Quick, Cheap, and Healthy Recipe #13

Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients

(makes 8 small meatballs)

1/2 pound lean turkey

3 ounces fresh spinach

1 egg

2 T cornmeal

1 T low sodium chicken brother

1.5 t basil

1 t garlic powder

1/2 t onion powder

1/2 t pepper

1/2 t salt

1/4 t cayenne pepper

Instructions

After gathering all the ingredients, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or spread with a light layer of oil.

Combine all ingredients in a medium-size bowl and mix together with clean hands, until well blended.Turkey Meatballs and The Raw Food Diet 1

Create 8 small balls (about 1.5 inches in diameter) with the mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Pop into the oven for about 20 minutes. Cut one open to make sure there is no pink inside! Let them cool for about 5 minutes, then enjoy over some spaghetti, or even plain.Turkey Meatballs and The Raw Food Diet 2

Nutrition Facts

Each meatball contains about 50 calories, but the following nutrition facts are for a meal consisting of 1 cup whole wheat pasta, 2 meatballs, and 1/2 cup of pasta sauce.Turkey Meatballs and The Raw Food Diet 3

Nick and My Rate: 9 out of 10

My only complaint was that they were sort of dry, but the sauce really helped. Strangely, Nick didn’t find them dry at all! This recipe was a keeper. The sauce in the above picture is a modified pesto sauce, which I will be posting about soon.

The Raw Food Diet; From An RD’s Perspective

Here is the definition of “The Raw Diet” from Wikipedia:

Raw foodism (or rawism) is a lifestyle promoting the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet. Raw foodists typically believe that the greater the percentage of raw food in the diet, the greater the health benefits. Raw foodism or a raw diet is usually equated with raw veganism in which only raw plant foods are eaten, but other raw foodists emphasize raw meat and other raw animal products. Depending on the type of lifestyle and results desired, raw food diets may include a selection of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds (including sprouted whole grains such as Gaba rice), eggs, fish (such as sashimi), meat (such as carpaccio), and non-pasteurized/non-homogenized dairy products (such as raw milk, raw milk cheese, and raw milk yogurt). Raw foodists can be divided between those that advocate raw vegetarianism or raw veganism, and those that advocate a raw omnivorous diet.Turkey Meatballs and The Raw Food Diet 4

Pros
(Reasons why the Raw Food Diet may be beneficial, in my opinion)

– Some studies have shown that cooked meats, cooked at high temperatures, could produce carcinogens.

– Some studies have shown that cooking with added sugars, or cooking foods that have sugar, could produce agents that are correlated with inflammation in the body.

– Some studies show a decrease in the amount of protein digestibility when proteins are cooked to high heat.

– Some nutrients are destroyed by cooking, or lost in the water in which they are cooked.

– You’ll most likely be getting plenty of fruits and vegetables if you follow this diet!
Cons
( Reasons why I don’t necessarily like the Raw Food Diet, for myself, that is.)

– While some studies have shown that cooking meats to high temperatures could produce carcinogens, it’s still not clear how much you would have to consume in order for any problems to occur. There are also several ways to reduce the possible production of these carcinogens.

– Eating raw meat or raw produce is a serious risk factor for foodborne illness

– If you eat sugar in moderation, bullet number three above should NOT be a problem.

– A decrease in protein digestibility is not something most Americans should worry about, as we are getting too much protein in our diets anyway, in my opinion.

– While some nutrients are lost from cooking and leached into the water, other nutrients (lycopene for example) are better absorbed when cooked. Not only that, but it’s pretty clear that minimal nutrients are lost when foods are cooked for short periods of time only (microwaves are best) and when minimal water is used (steam your foods to prevent nutrient loss in water).

– It just seems so inconvenient! It would be hard for anyone to eat out and go to parties or social events if following a raw food diet plan. Some RDs also suggest that Raw Food Diets may be potentially low in B12 (only found in animal products), vitamin D, and calories (but this really depends on how well the person understands nutrition, some may not be deficient in these).

– For someone with GI issues, raw food can sometimes be their worst enemy! By cooking vegetables they can be digested much easier.

Bottom Line: I’m going to continue cooking my meat and steaming my veggies. If you want to start eating raw, more power to you! It isn’t going to mean you are healthier, necessarily, but if you do it right it may have some health benefits. It will likely take a lot of practice to really get used to this type of diet, and to learn how to obtain all the proper nutrients while living this lifestyle. As always, I like to suggest the use of a standard diet, full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products (or dairy alternatives), with sweets and processed foods in moderation. Even this way of eating is difficult for many, so why make life harder for both you, and the company that surrounds you, by avoiding any cooked foods? A better approach may be the macrobiotic diet, which Diana of Soap and Chocolate blogged about in October. Check it out here. This diet does include cooked foods but also focuses on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and seriously limits the intake of processed foods.

Another blogger, Sagan of “Living Healthy in the Real World” recently did a one month “Raw Food Diet” challenge! Check out her recaps here and here, they are very informative and provide some fantastic information about the life of a raw foodist.

Question: What are your thoughts on the raw food diet?

Coming Up
Depending on my productivity level tomorrow, I may or may not be posting about food labels, and the regulation (or lack of) of supplements and food labels. If not tomorrow, I’ll be doing this post on Friday. As for now, I’m off to watch LOST with Nick! He has officially sucked me in, ugh.

Have a great night, and thanks for reading!

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