With the arrival of fall and winter approaching, it’s hard to think about eating raw foods. In the heat of the summer, it’s easy to whip up a smoothie or a fresh, crisp salad with lots of raw veggies. As the weather turns cold, my body craves warm soups, hearty stews and baked goodies! I always thought that eating raw was one of the healthiest ways to eat. Some foods, however, are more easily digested, more nutritious and are just plain tastier when cooked. There are foods that contain toxins that are destroyed by heat such as pumpkin, potato, leeks and brussel sprouts. We can add beneficial oils and herbs to them after cooking to add to their health benefits, too. Healthy grains and legumes like oats, rice, lentils and beans work well as an accompaniment. Cooked tomatoes help our bodies absorb the nutrient lycopene which is a carotenoid found in the red pigment of fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, red grapefruit and apricots. Raw food enthusiasts believe that enzymes, vitamins and minerals get destroyed by cooking but we can use the water used for steaming vegetables and add it back to soups, stews or juice drinks. To stay healthy, help support your immune system with whole food nutrition. Experiment with new recipes, eat it raw or cooked, enjoy your food and always choose quality over quantity!