What are the principles of food dehydration versus cooking?

As we are roasting our yogi bodies on the beautiful beach here in Manuel Antonio and draining our minds from all the old thinking patterns and blocks that hold us back from being our full amazing selves, we decided to shine some light on this question.

Being a scientist, gathering information and looking at principles is second nature to me. So this is what I found:

Dehydration, in food processing, is a method by which many types of food can be preserved for indefinite periods of time, extracting the moisture and inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. It is one of the oldest methods of food preservation and was already used by prehistoric peoples while sun-drying seeds.

Cooking, on the other hand, is the art, technology and craft of preparing food for consumption with the use of heat. Techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, from grilling food over an open fire to using electric stoves. Did you know that cooking can also occur through chemical reactions without the presence of heat?

So we are looking at two very different things here. Cooking is the process of preparing food and transforming it through heat, while dehydration is used to extract moisture to preserve it. The main difference between the two is the temperature at which these processes are happening.

If you are on the path of going raw, this information is important. Any food that is heated over 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celcius) is considered as cooked. During the process of cooking, valuable dietary enzymes that are naturally in your food are being killed off. Following a raw diet is ensuring your body fresh food packed with all of nutrients. Dehydrating foods can be a great way for transitioning to raw. You can read my fellow colleagues’ blog about this topic here!

Today we prepared some yummy raw vegan foods for the dehydrator. It was kind of difficult to not eat them right away! Up to now I was trying smoothie recipes, making salads and dressings that were somewhat savory. I love cooking and was craving some hearty dishes.

I was very excited to meet the dehydrator today and experiment with recipes that would make my taste buds happy. We made some Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers, Carrot Sesame Falafel Balls, Flax Chia Dill Onion Bread, and Sun Dried Tomatoes.

The deliciousness is now drying at 118 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of hours /overnight. It depends on how much liquid the foods hold, so the time that they spend in the dehydrator can vary.

While we are waiting for our treats to come out, I’m sharing the benefits of dehydrating your foods vs cooking them:

  • Health benefits – Your foods stay packed with nutrients and dietary enzymes that help your digestion
  • Preservation – Its a good way to preserve your food
  • Time efficiency – You can just put everything in the dehydrator and basically walk away. It’ll just do its business and when you come back, there is a nice surprise waiting for you.
  • Tasty, home-made vegan snack – You can store your tasty snacks (they may not last though, too tempting!), take them to work or when you travel.
  • Fun – You can play with any foods you like. Dried fruits will be very concentrated on sugar, though, so be careful if you are on a low sugar diet!

Have fun experimenting with your dehydrator and enjoy the benefits. I’m super excited to get some more good stuff in there! Tomorrow we will share our pictures and recipes from today’s experiments, so stay tuned! If you feel like you read enough and can’t wait, here are some more recipes from the Epicself HQ!