Are Cooked Veggies Any Good?

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Grace asks:

What is the importance of eating raw veggies versus cooked veggies?

If I only have the option between cooked veggies and no veggies, would you advise to eat the veggies?

This is a great question, and there’s a lot of really great reasons, but when we’re looking at raw food, and particularly raw fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds, what happens when you cook them is a lot of the micronutrients, in particular, start to break down. So, that would be things like your vitamins and then the bio-availability of your minerals. So, minerals don’t get destroyed with heat, but the
bio-availability gets destroyed, meaning your body has more difficulty in absorbing them.

Also, all of the living enzymes get destroyed. There’s living enzymes in our foods that help us to digest foods, and they probably do a whole bunch of other things, which we don’t understand, like help our body to absorb different vitamins and minerals and nutrients, help to balance healing processes and balance the micro flora of our gut. There’s lots of good reasons.

Now, all that said, there are certain vegetables which we can’t eat very well raw. A good example would be something like cauliflower or eggplant, and there are ways to prepare these raw, but they tend to give you a pretty upset stomach. There are lots and lots of fruits and vegetables that you can eat raw, and there’s other ones that you might be better off cooking.

In all cases, fresh vegetables are the most important, but cooked and raw are both great options. If all you can eat is cooked stuff, eat cooked stuff. The best way to cook vegetables, to preserve nutrients, is to lightly steam them. The next best thing would be to lightly sauté them. Anything that’s frozen or anything that’s deep fried or baked is going to start to lose more nutrients, but again, anything you can do with fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, is a really good idea.

So, should you eat cooked vegetables? For sure. Cooked vegetables are great. Should you eat raw vegetables? Absolutely.

Also, what are the benefits of stretching in the morning or just before sleeping versus stretching in the day?

The big benefit to stretching first thing in the morning or just before bed, which is what I always recommend, is simply the fact that you get it done. Everybody I meet who says they’re going to do their stretches on their lunch break or after dinner or whatever it is, it happens for a couple days and then it never happens again. It’s just really easy to find some excuse in the middle of the day. But, first thing in the morning or just before bed, it’s very easy to make that part of your routine, just like brushing your teeth, just like taking a shower, whatever it is, you can work that into your routine, and for that reason alone, I think it’s the best time.

I do yoga several times during the week, if I feel that my muscles ache, would you advise stretching?

For sure. In fact, stretching might help with that muscle ache, especially if you’re doing led yoga classes. You’re probably doing a lot of strength building, and deep gravity yoga stretching can actually alleviate your muscle aches. Now, in some cases, it might make you so sore, so do be careful, but for sure you want to stretch. You want to stretch at least five days a week, deliberately, gravity yoga poses, at least 15 minutes, long hold poses. We talk a lot about this.

Some people believe that if we exercise and we think that we have muscle aches and pains in the next few days, we should do lots of stretching every day after this, instead of waiting until the muscle aches subside. Again, there’s a lot of different schools of thought on this, but in general, the thing about flexibility is that it’s cumulative. It’s a lot more complicated to build strength, because if you do strength practices too much, let’s say you’re doing resistance training where you’re doing a dumbbell curl or something like this, you need to take an adequate break between your strength training. With flexibility training, unless you’re very, very sore, it’s good to just keep going. It’s cumulative, so you want to keep going.

Robin asks:

I’m not sure if I’m doing The Twister right, because I can already twist one leg around the other so that I can see my foot from the first time I tried, but I might just be looking at the picture the wrong way.

What you want to do in Twister pose, is you cross your legs, one over the other, and then you try to double cross your legs. Double cross would be, first you cross your thighs, a double cross would be the top foot wraps around the calf on the other foot. You’ll see it illustrated in the book or on the DVD, and you’ll also see it on our website. And that’s the idea, but for a lot of people they can’t do the double cross, so just do the best you can for now.

For the Pins and Needles stretch, I was wondering if that pose was designed to help incline the heel up which is already what my foot does, and if there are any effective stretches which help to bring the heel down?

I’m not sure what you mean by that. I’m guessing you’re saying that in squats and things, your heel tends to come up, and that is often related to your ankle and your calf flexibility. This pose is really designed to stretch out your feet. It also stretches out the tops of your legs, and that’s really the big thing.

The whole time I was doing The Rag Doll, my legs were shaking. Is that normal?

Yes, it is normal. You’ll also find that that will go away quickly. That will pass. Now, don’t push yourself, that’s not the point of this, just go to a place where you feel comfortably uncomfortable, I should say. Go to a place where you feel comfortably uncomfortable. You don’t want to be stressing out your nervous system, but yes, it’s okay for your legs to be a little bit wobbly. Just make sure you don’t push too hard.

Larry asks:

I recently had back surgery. While I was doing therapy, my IT bands were locked up super tight. The therapist did a good job of stretching them out whenever I was there, but is there any yoga pose that is good for stretching out the IT bands?

This is a great question. There are some really good poses. They’re pretty awkward and weird to get into. It’s one of these challenging things, because if you don’t have a whole lot of flexibility, it becomes even more challenging to stretch the IT band. I think what I’ll do, Larry, is I’ll get one of our teachers to put together a video specifically on that, because I think it’s a great question. It’s not something I can describe too well on voice, so let me see if we can put together a video for you in the next couple of weeks.

Valerie asks:

I am 4 months postpartum and back at work. Afterwards my little one only gives me 20-30 minutes for yoga while he naps at a time. Do you recommend taking the flexibility pill even if I don’t have a longer and regular home practice? Will it help at all with the gravity poses?

Okay, so first of all, if you’re breastfeeding, Valerie, I do not recommend you take any supplements of any kind without checking with your doctor, probably not a good idea. If you’re not breast feeding, I would recommend taking YOGABODY Stretch, if it makes you feel good. If you’re doing 20 to 30 minutes of yoga and you’re doing gravity poses, for sure, take YOGABODY Stretch. Again, if it makes you feel good, if you’re not breast feeding. It can be very, very beneficial. But again, always listen to your body with all supplementation. We tend to go in phases. So, I mean, you’ll meet people who suddenly start taking 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C, and for the next two weeks they just feel incredible. And then six weeks later, they suddenly start getting upset stomach and they stop taking it for a year, and then they start up again, they feel great. A lot of things are cyclical, especially nutritional deficiencies and imbalances. They tend to go in cycles. So, it’s very rare that somebody needs to take a supplement for their entire life. We tend to go in phases, so you always want to listen to your body. Tune in and see what works for you. Yoga Inversion Swing