Is raw spinach bad for me?
I bought your book, borrowed my friend’s Blendtec, then bought my own after I learned how much I love the greensmoothiegirl way. I just returned from visiting my in-laws out of town and my MIL is trying to tell me cooked spinach is better for you then raw and in a smoothie. Please send me a good comeback.
Answer: I have gotten literally hundreds of questions about this in the past few years due to a couple of references on the internet that spread extensively. In addition to my comments in The Green Smoothies Diet about oxalates (which is what your MIL is referring to) on p. 39, I also wrote a section in Ch. 1 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods on that topic (p. 30) and have written on it on this blog as well, a few times. Here’s one of those links.
But here’s more, from Theresa, a GSG reader, quoting Dr. Norman W. Walker in his book “Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body?”
“Spinach should never be eaten when cooked unless we are particularly anxious to accumulate oxalic acid crystals in our kidneys with the consequent pain and kidney trouble. When spinach is cooked or canned, the oxalic acid atoms become inorganic as a result of excessive heat and may form oxalic acid crystals in the kidneys.” (p. 62).
“When the food is raw, whether whole or in the form of juice, every atom in such food is vital ORGANIC and is replete with enzymes. Therefore, the oxalic acid in our raw vegetables and their juices is organic, and as such is not only beneficial but essential for the physiological functions of the body.”
“The oxalic acid in cooked and processed foods, however, is definitely dead, or INORGANIC, and as such is both pernicious and destructive. Oxalic acid readily combines with calcium. If these are both organic, the result is a beneficial constructive combination, as the former helps the digestive assimilation of the latter, at the same time stimulating the peristaltic functions in the body.”
“When the oxalic acid has become INORGANIC by cooking or processing the foods that contain it, then this acid forms an interlocking compound with the calcium even combining with the calcium in other foods eaten during the same meal, destroying the nourishing value of both. This results in such a serious deficiency of calcium that it has been known to cause decomposition of the bones.” (p. 63)
We learn, over and over, the value of eating foods in their raw form. When I returned from Portland, someone contacted us wanting to return their 12 Steps kit, very alarmed, saying, “I talked to my doctor and he said raw foods are bad for me!” What a tragedy that any health-care practitioner says this and people organize their entire diet around it. To be very simple: raw food is in its most natural state and most easily accepted by the body. Watch animals in nature: do they cook their food?