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Vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly BEFORE cutting.  Some vitamins, such as the B group vitamins and Vitamin C are water soluble and will get washed away along with some other nutrients.  Nutrition loss occurs also by buying precut veggies, or from storing them for too long in the fridge

Nutrition is enhanced by leaving edible skins on vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, zucchini etc.  Minerals are found in the outer leaves, skin, and just below the skin.  Peels are natural barriers that help protect nutritional loss.

Veggies should be cooked in just enough water.  The water has nutrients too and should not be thrown away.  If you must “drain” cooking liquid, freeze it and store it for later use.  Alternately, add it to soups, sauces and gravies.

Vegetables should not be overcooked.  High heat over longer cooking time destroys vitamins and nutrients.

A good way of cooking veggies is to steam them.  Steam kills the enzymes on the exposed surface of food, but the moisture seals and preserves many of the enzymes deep inside where intense surface temperature does not reach.  This also enhances taste.  A wok with a high domed lid is good for retaining steam in the cooking process.

Microwave ovens help to keep vitamin loss to a minimum.

Salt should be added at the end—not only will you add less this way, but vitamins are better preserved

Cooking the right way makes food more digestible.  Cooking makes certain nutrients, particularly carbs and proteins more accessible to the enzymes that break them down into smaller molecules, which can be transported from the digestive tract to the blood stream.  It is important to cook veggies, especially those that have stiff cellulose walls which are difficult for enzymes to penetrate,  Heat and water cause these cells to burst open.

The Chinese ‘stir fry’ method preserves nutrients very well.  The cooking temperature is high, but cooking time is brief.  This prevents evaporation and loss of vital juices and seals the enzymes inside the vegetable.

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When You Begin

  • Make sure that kitchen counters are clean and clear of all allergy producing foods.
  • Create allergen free areas by designating separate shelves in larders, and keeping specific counter spaces.
  • If possible use a separate set of cooking implements such as knives, cutting boards, griddles, pans, woks, containers etc.
  • Place all allergy free foods in containers with lids, and set them aside before handling other food.
  • Label all allergy free food containers, and write dates, especially before freezing.
  • When using any store bought ingredient, read label very carefully ( eg. dried fruits may be treated with sulphur dioxide, sausages / meats could contain nitrates and nitrites, seasonings and starches may contain wheat)
  • Make sure that ‘wheat free is also gluten free’.
  • Remember that it is best to prepare allergy free dishes earlier, so that they can be covered, set aside and protected from cross contamination.  Cook extra portions of allergen free meals, so some portions can be frozen for later use.
  • It is important to use utmost caution before introducing a new food.  Some doctors suggest smearing the child’s cheek with the new preparation and leaving it on the skin for a while to check if it creates any redness, rash, itchiness or any other irritation.  This is a good preliminary test.  In any case, a new food item should be given in a very, very small quantity to begin with.  A few hours observation is necessary before serving a larger portion.

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