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The Steamy Facts About Raw Food

"Who makes soup in 42˚C ?". This was the question that was shot around my kitchen on one of the hottest days on Australian records recently. Indeed, I felt it was a good night for seafood laksa, and I must say it was delicious. As the barometer rises it is our natural tendency to favour cold refreshing foods. Summer is filled with gorgeous fruits, salads and cold seafood. However, is cold the ideal temperature food to constantly consume throughout the warmer months?

In practice I have noticed that there is a rise in summer of people complaining of digestive symptoms. I believe that this is most likely due to the over consumption of raw foods and cold drinks.

The whole raw food phenomena clearly lacks any nutritional credibility as many nutrients are activated by heat. Lycopene is a good example: cooked tomato has a higher level of lycopene than raw tomato.

Eating warm nourishing foods such a curries, braises, soups and slow roasts are also more calming on the nervous system. As they are easier to digest the nervous system can relax. Many women who are trying to shed weight will consume an abundance of raw cold foods. They will also experience a rise in anxiety and stress. Their digestion will slow down and bloating increases abdominal distention. Often no benefits are felt, we see stressed, unhappy, bloated women who are fed up with eating salad and still cannot lose weight.

Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) embodies the belief that we require warm foods and liquids to stimulate appropriate digestion. TCM believes that cold liquids and foods deplete our “Qi” a term used to refer to our inner energy. This may stem from the idea that we are warm blooded and need warming foods. Cold liquids and foods are believed to lead to poor kidney function. This is why most Asian cultures drink their water from the kettle rather from the cold water fountain. Green tea is consumed year round and soup doesn’t hold a seasonal place in the diet.

Even the idea of gulping down cold water after intense training has to be questioned. Cold water diverts blood circulation from the muscles. Drinking cold water after and during training may increase the build-up of lactic acid. Increased lactic acid increases muscle soreness and cramping. So perhaps next time you go to the gym you may want to bring a flask of room temperature water and see if your recovery rate improves.

Tennis champion Novak Djokovic revealed that he quenches his game thirst on a flask of liquorice tea. Maybe our gyms could follow Novak’s lead and have liquorice tea on tap instead of a water fountain? Very new age.

I not only cooked laksa during the heat wave I made minestrone and traditional Pho Bo. I didn’t serve them piping hot, I am not that insane. Allow the soup to sit for 10 minutes before serving to bring it to a temperature that is enjoyable to eat.

Holy Mackerel Health's Pho Bo


  • 3 beef shin bones (osso bucco)

  • ¼ cup of celtic sea salt

  • 1 garlic bulb unpeeled

  • 2 onions, unpeeled and halved.

  • 10cm piece of ginger, sliced

  • 10cm piece of fresh turmeric, sliced

  • 500g of beef or lamb bones

  • 2 cinnamon quills

  • 6 star anise

  • 1/3 cup of fish sauce

  • 1 packet of brown vermicelli noodles

  • 500 grams of beef fillet or rump steak, sliced very thinly

  • 6 shallots sliced

  • 100 grams of bean shoots

  • 1 bunch of coriander, leaves picked

  • 1 bunch of Thai basil

  • 1 bunch of Vietnamese mint or spearmint

  • 2 long red chillies finely sliced

  • 1 stick of lemongrass, bruised

  • Lime wedges, to serve

  • Coconut aminos, to serve (I use this instead of soy sauce or adding palm sugar to the stock)

  • 2 zucchinis made into zoodles


Preheat oven to 180 degrees, place garlic and onions on a baking tray. Roast until skin is blackened. Cool slightly, peel away skin, and set aside. If you don’t have time for this don’t stress, just throw them in the stock unroasted.

Wash beef bones well, put in a stock pot with 5 litres of water. Add beef shin, spices, ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, fish sauce, salt, lemongrass. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 3-4 hours, liquid should be reduced by about one quarter.

Remove stock from heat and strain stock into a separate pot, keep at a simmering temperature. Remove the beef shin and shred the meat.

Blanch noodles in boiling water until soft and divide into 4 large serving bowls. Place meat on top of noodles and spoon simmering broth over meat and noodles. Arrange herbs beef shin, sprouts, zucchini zoodles in the bowls and garnish with chilli and lime wedges. Add coconut aminos if using.

Note: if the idea of slightly raw meat freaks out children and adults, cook the beef strips briefly in the simmering broth.

For further information and consultation on your diet and nutrition make an appointment with Holy Mackerel Health today.

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