Initially I was going to make a hearty salad to accompany my dinner. But I had the same meal last night and felt like a change. Plus the spinach was a touch too woody for my liking.
What happened when I nuked my spinach?
60 seconds later I reduced a large bowl of spinach into a very small pile. I added some lemon juice, salt and extra virgin olive oil. 5 bites and 60 seconds later it was in my stomach and I was still quite hungry.
The same bowl of raw spinach last night took me 10 minutes to eat and helped to tip me over into "I'm a little too full to do anything productive" land.
Why did this happen?
Clearly the nuking started digesting the leaves, extracting the water, breaking down some of the structure, freeing up some nutrients to be better absorbed and destroying others.
What's the point?
There is both value and detriment to cooking or processing food.
The value is that cooking and processing allow us to make food more dense and easier to consume. This can be critically valuable to people who struggle for whatever reason to get enough calories or nutrients. You might know a few of these folks.
This is why the processing and cooking of grains are credited for rapid expansion of the human population. It's one reason why we feed frail people liquid diets. And it's why cooked or processed foods can be important for highly active thin or growing folk.
The detriment is that it makes food more dense and easier to consume. This can be harmful to people who are sedentary and live near an over abundance of food. You might know many of these folks.
This is why cutting out soda, juices, smoothies, breads, baked goods, white rice, etc. tends to lead to weight loss. It's yet another reason why increasing our intake of fresh raw fruits and veggies is a good idea.
The more important reminder: food is context dependent.
There is rarely an absolute right or wrong when it comes to food.
Understanding our choices and the context we live in, however, can enable us to see what is right for us and those around us.