Are raw salads actually good for you?

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Four years ago I got a digestive sickness with a temporary case of mild jaundice which resolved without treatment. In parallel, I was treating myself with a vitamin B complex for vertigo.

Some time later, I saw an acupuncturist and after profiling my diet, he strongly recommended leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. I took his advice since I was getting to middle age and wanted to be "healthy," and everyone knows that to be healthy you have to eat salad. I started eating two medium-sized raw salads a day, and soon I stopped having to take vitamin B (which spinach contains a lot of). But over a year ago, even with my salad habit, the vertigo returned. So either the spinach I eat doesn't actually have the vitamin B anymore even though I always buy organic (because of soil depletion) or my body can't absorb it in its raw state. I now have been eating salad for four years and I haven't been able to stop taking supplements (especially vitamin B and magnesium). So what's the point of eating salad, I wondered recently.

Then I asked myself, "Why do I believe that salads are healthy?" The answer that came back to me: "Because the media and doctors always say so." That concerned me since we know here the media and medicine have been corrupted.

Most of the popular salads you know by name weren't invented until the early 20th century (at the time heart attacks started to go up and vegetable oil consumption increased). If you go to Wikipedia, they will say raw salads have been eaten since ancient times, but how frequently? Also, the word "salad" has changed. Look at this 1845 recipe of "chicken salad" and tell me how many vegetables you encounter:
2 large chickens, boiled
6 hard-boiled eggs
4 uncooked egg-yolks
4 tablespoonfuls lemon juice
1/4 teaspoonful cayenne pepper
6 stalks celery
2 teaspoonfuls mustard
1 teaspoonful salt
4 tablespoonfuls vinegar
6 tablespoonfuls milk
1 pint bottle olive oil [2 cups!]
Chop the chicken, white and dark meat, not too fine, being careful to remove every bit of skin and not to use hard or gristly parts. parts. Cut up the celery and chop the hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Make a dressing of the rest of the ingredients by mixing the egg yolks, mustard, salt and pepper together until smooth and thick, drop in the oil a little at a time, then add vinegar, lemon juice and lastly, milk. Just before you are ready to serve mix all the ingredients together and mix with the dressing."
If you look at cookbooks over 100 years old, there is not a raw salad section like there are in modern cookbooks. The vegetables are almost always cooked, even if the recipe has the word "salad". Here are two examples:

The Good Housekeeper (1839)
The Virginia Housewife (1838)

There is a huge list of old cookbooks available to browse through (very cool). The recipes in the old cookbooks would give modern doctors a heart attack. According to the modern standard, they are "not healthy." But heart attacks didn't start happening until the early 20th century, and cancer rates were also lower back then.
A good rule of thumb when considering the best way to consume your veggies is to remember the letter that Dr. Weston A. Price wrote to his nieces and nephews in 1934. In this letter, he strongly urged them to eat their vegetables cooked in butter. His research found that the bulkiness (fiber) of raw vegetables interfered with the human body’s ability to extract minerals from them via the digestive process.
Source: Think Raw Veggies are Always Best? Think Again

The truth is that I'm in a nutrient deficient state concerning vitamins even though I eat a lot of (raw) vegetables with olive oil. I haven't been able to reduce my supplement intake even though I'm targeting vegetable that have minerals I need, and I don't feel any healthier than before. Have I been duped by raw salad?
 

newcomer

Sparrow
Orthodox Inquirer
Funny, ive been thinking about it as well today.
As you already said Roosh, back in the day people didnt really eat raw vegetables. When I think about vegetable dishes my grandparents would prepare, part of it is some sort of fat aswell. Fat solluble vitamins are easily metabolized this way I believe.

I dont know about vitamin B tho. Maybe the culprit are other compounds in raw vegetables that bind the needed vitamins and wont let them to ne used by the body. Oxalates come to mind ( of which there are plenty in both spinach and kale).
Tristan from Primal Edge Health has some interesting videos about antinutrients found in vegetables of I remember correctly.
 

fireshark

Woodpecker
Orthodox Inquirer
One of the big cultural shocks I experienced when first going to China in 2012, was that all and I mean ALL, veggies are cooked. It's not easy to find raw salad, and most people don't even like it.

These days I actually prefer cooked veggies over raw, though I still eat both, but not large amounts, as my diet is 70-80% meat.
 

Grow Bag

Pelican
I've never got lettuce. If there's any taste at all it comes from the salad dressing. So I don't eat it. If I eat salad at all, I'll make a Greek salad of cucumber, tomatoes, olives and feta. What I do recommend as an appetizer are ferments and pickles. I make my own sauerkraut and eat it with pickled herring and a gherkin. Helps digestion and keeps your microbiome healthy.
 

Viktor Zeegelaar

Ostrich
Orthodox Inquirer
I think everything that is pushed from the mainstream is poisenous/bad for you and certainly the whole ''raw'' movement has become a thing in the last years, just like weird food movements like people who only eat fruit. Everything in its extreme is bad and sadly that's where people tend to go now. Either you eat yourself to destruction or you're paranoid about everything you eat. Now, I've been raised vegetarian and have always sticked to that, although more out of habitual/practical reasons than normative, even though the life circumstances are a thing for me, the lack of respect for animal life, not necessarily the life itself. For years I haven't eaten any substitution for it, like vegetarian burgers which I ate in the past and were pretty good actually, just a few eggs with my food and quite some dairy. So everything that is marketed to us has a goal of selling and we should be aware of that, whether we really need what they advocate. Good rule of thumb is how did people do this in the latter thousands of years? Didn't work out too bad did it, as nowadays our food/drinking habits are destroying our health, people in the past just looked for nutritious and easy to make food, not all the ''progressive'' nonsense we're marketed now.
 

nagareboshi

Woodpecker
Organic grass-fed meat and animal products tends to have much more nutrition than raw plants.

I'm far from an expert on this, but from deep diving into a few rabbit holes, it seems that plants actually need to be heavily processed (boiled, cooked, fermented, soaked, sprouted) to maximize nutrition. In contrast, eating raw meat can be perfectly fine and seems to increase nutrient absorption.
 

cyborg1337

Sparrow
Like a few have said here; Usually the opposite is true of what the mainstream pushes.

My diet is simple; It consists of of diary (milk, butter, ghee), red meat (lamb, beef) or chicken usually served with rice, potatoes or flatbread.

I am of Pakistani origin and our traditional food is always cooked vegetables with the meat (or sometimes without) but never raw! The only raw things we'd eat are things like onions, cucumber, raddish etc... with the main dish.
 

MartyMcFly

Woodpecker
One of the big cultural shocks I experienced when first going to China in 2012, was that all and I mean ALL, veggies are cooked. It's not easy to find raw salad, and most people don't even like it.

These days I actually prefer cooked veggies over raw, though I still eat both, but not large amounts, as my diet is 70-80% meat.
Yes, I experienced the same issue. It makes sense to cook veggies and for fruit, either peel it or put it in boiled water for a bit to kill germs. In the supermarket, people are touching vegetables and fruit and putting them back. Only peeled veggies are safe to eat raw and even in this case, it seems harder on the stomach. The e-coli deaths made me worried about eating raw lettuce as well.

Raw salad exists in some western or fusion restaurants. Cold cucumbers are also popular, but I can't eat much. According to Korean medicine, there are different foods that are good and bad for different body types. The Korean medicine museum in Daegu (recommended and free to visit) provides a lot of information about it, included dietary recommendations for your body type. In my case, it seemed quite accurate overall. Certain body types need warm food and certain ones need cooler food.

Characteristics-of-the-Sasang-sixiang-four-types-constitutions.jpg
 

Ranhansha

Pigeon
Gold Member
I'm far from an expert on this, but from deep diving into a few rabbit holes, it seems that plants actually need to be heavily processed (boiled, cooked, fermented, soaked, sprouted) to maximize nutrition. In contrast, eating raw meat can be perfectly fine and seems to increase nutrient absorption.
The two stumbling blocks with plants are nutrient bioavailability (hard to digest cellular structure) and harmful compounds (to deter being eaten), so it makes sense that our ancestors would find every method to increase the former and decrease the latter, especially when animals were in short supply. Also, they're just more delicious that way and you avoid the trap of overusing condiments to make raw veggies palatable. (I'm personally a fan of pickling vegetables since they make great garnishes and side dishes - onions, carrots, beets, and whatnot.)

For B-vitamins, outside of animal products, any leafy green cooked in fat or dishes using soaked legumes would be solid for fasting days. I think you (nagareboshi) had a kimchi bean recipe in another thread that sounded good.

I have to second choppa though - eggs are legit.
 

Cortez84

Chicken
Im of the view that we respond best to meat and that it is the most nutritious and bioavailable source of food for us. After that it’s a sliding scale based on genetics and gut biome to some degree and what your body can tolerate. The reliance on vegetables as the primary source of all our vitamins and minerals though is a recent development and I really do not subscribe to this anymore either, and I do wonder if its not the excessive processing and genetic modification of wheat that is causing so many problems these days. I think if you ate what your great grandfathers ate you would be in far better general health than the average person these days. Could you honestly see them sitting down to a quinoa salad and a kale smoothie with pea protein?

Paul Saladino has been an outspoken advocate of the carnivore diet for years now and I think while he is a bit over the top with things he is for the most part right. One thing that resonated with me is when he said that we can eat 99% of the animals on the planet and not get sick, but when it comes to plants we cannot eat the vast majority of them, and even those we eat we need to prepare. Its simple logic but hard to argue against. Perhaps we should not exactly be making vegetables our primary source of nutrition if we simply do better with other food sources. Its been interesting to watch him adjust his diet though, and he has moved away from being pure carnivore towards eating a ton of fruit, honey and occasionally white rice. I think squashes, potatoes and other tubers, dairy (if you are not lactose intolerance) are all fine too and I feel a ton better focusing on those foods these days

Veg is for taste (onions, garlic, coriander, parsley)

Wheat/Rye comes down to personal response I think. Gluten intolerance is real but I think the number of people with it is smaller than we realize
 
Genesis seems to state the case pretty clearly concerning the meat vs vegetables debate:

“Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.”
- Genesis 4:2-5
 

Grow Bag

Pelican
We're not ruminants and can't digest grass, but we can digest the ruminants that do. And I don't particular find bugs appetising, but chickens do and I like eating chicken. I'll skip what pigs might eat, but you get the picture:)
 

Foresight

Robin
I've been getting into fermenting cabbage into sauerkraut recently. Completed and consumed one batch not a long while ago. Currently working on my latest batch. Might be a thing worth looking into. All you need is a clean fermentation vessel, some patience, healthy cabbage head and high quality sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to get going. I've been feeling better recently and perhaps anectode wise, the greater intake of fermented vegetables may be a strong contributing factor.
 
Most of us are more mineral deficient than vitamin deficient. Fulvic and Humic acid are great, as are trace minerals for zinc, selenium, iodine (or lugol's iodine), manganese, magnesium, boron, and copper. Shilajit has copious amounts of minerals if you can find it in a tincture form (extracts will be available soon which I have from a good source). Salt in general is a life-changer, if you can get real sea salt or verify that your himalayan pink salt does not have plastic in it (much of the table or rock salt in stores has plastic / estrogenic particles in it).

Salads are a modern fad and a profligate misuse of vegetables. I make large stews and broths and soups with many vegetables boiled in them with heavy seasonings, and always feel stronger afterwards. I've fed 6-7 people for 2 days with a full 10-quart of vegetable soup, and instead of using rice I'll use yams for carbohydrates. A particularly delicious recipe to play around with is Borscht. Beets and cabbage, with the right mirepoix starter can come out amazing and last for a good week.

I know no one is asking, but just to give some data for those looking to update their diets, vegetables are about 25% of my diet, given that I make so many dishes and sauces with them, but I always eat them with meat. Sometimes I would recommend going full mongol having a 12-16oz cut with a 3-4 egg omelette (cooked with majority butter or tallow, very little olive oil) and a sizable chunk of brined cheese, with a natural kefir drink for extra energy and intensity through a busy week. I recommend fasting daily for anyone over 35 to feasting on something like the above meal.

Don't forget to pray before you eat, once I started, watching the mindless mouths of consuming people eat and eat disrespectfully ignoring the bounty the creator placed in front of them truly made me appreciate what I am allowed to have. Giving reverence and asking for a blessing separates us from mindless consuming animals. I often think of how this grace will help me for future strife when there may not be a plate in front of me for a good amount of time. Always be thankful to Him for these things we eat, which is another reason to treasure your preparation of each meal and make it worthy of Him blessing it.
 

paellamaster

Chicken
Orthodox
Most of us are more mineral deficient than vitamin deficient. Fulvic and Humic acid are great, as are trace minerals for zinc, selenium, iodine (or lugol's iodine), manganese, magnesium, boron, and copper. Shilajit has copious amounts of minerals if you can find it in a tincture form (extracts will be available soon which I have from a good source). Salt in general is a life-changer, if you can get real sea salt or verify that your himalayan pink salt does not have plastic in it (much of the table or rock salt in stores has plastic / estrogenic particles in it).

Salads are a modern fad and a profligate misuse of vegetables. I make large stews and broths and soups with many vegetables boiled in them with heavy seasonings, and always feel stronger afterwards. I've fed 6-7 people for 2 days with a full 10-quart of vegetable soup, and instead of using rice I'll use yams for carbohydrates. A particularly delicious recipe to play around with is Borscht. Beets and cabbage, with the right mirepoix starter can come out amazing and last for a good week.

I know no one is asking, but just to give some data for those looking to update their diets, vegetables are about 25% of my diet, given that I make so many dishes and sauces with them, but I always eat them with meat. Sometimes I would recommend going full mongol having a 12-16oz cut with a 3-4 egg omelette (cooked with majority butter or tallow, very little olive oil) and a sizable chunk of brined cheese, with a natural kefir drink for extra energy and intensity through a busy week. I recommend fasting daily for anyone over 35 to feasting on something like the above meal.

Don't forget to pray before you eat, once I started, watching the mindless mouths of consuming people eat and eat disrespectfully ignoring the bounty the creator placed in front of them truly made me appreciate what I am allowed to have. Giving reverence and asking for a blessing separates us from mindless consuming animals. I often think of how this grace will help me for future strife when there may not be a plate in front of me for a good amount of time. Always be thankful to Him for these things we eat, which is another reason to treasure your preparation of each meal and make it worthy of Him blessing it.
The part at the end about praying before eating, and giving thanks to the Almighty, is spot on. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of doing this. God bless you.
 
Top