- Choose ingredients with a low GI if you want to lose weight. A low glycemic index means the carbohydrates in your food are absorbed slowly into the body. For example, try brown rice instead of white rice if the recipes you make ask for rice.
- To create flavoursome dishes with your choice of vegetables and/or protein, create the sauce or spicy powder and add it to your ingredients. Make batches of a variety of sauces and spicy powders, freeze them and use when you need them. The only hard work to do in the kitchen is having to chop the protein and vegetables in preparation for cooking!
- Don't overcook the vegetables. It is better to undercook the vegetables as this will retain more vitamins than the overcooked variety. Undercooking can also retain a sense of crunchiness when you eat them and most people tend to like this kind of texture in their foods.
- With protein, you should cook it right through the meat. It is true there are people who like things to be medium raw or almost raw. Indeed, there are many cooking shows and food competitions out there that recommend this is how you should cook the meat, showing enough pink or even red for those people who like it this way. This is fine if the purpose is to cater to different people's preferred way of cooking of foods and you are there to make money selling cooked foods to their preference. However, the reality is that by eating even partially raw meat or even with a bit of pink in the middle, you will become more susceptible to food poisoning and may ingest parasites. Some people will try to compromise by cooking just long enough to be slightly pink in the centre and then leave it on a plate ready to serve while the heat finishes the cooking process. This is okay, but not perfect. The only true way to eat protein safely and cleanly is to cook it right through the meat. Less cooking time is needed for seafood depending on the size of the protein pieces. More cooking time for meats like pork, lamb and beef. Or consider the way French people do it by slow cooking everything in an oven inside a ceramic pot for several hours until the meat is literally "falling off the bone". This is the ideal way to cook protein, and provides the most nutrition.
- Do not leave uncooked protein at room temperature for more than one hour. Bacteria in the protein can suddenly multiply and you may be risking food poisoning if the protein is not cooked properly (or even if it is, the toxins left behind by the bacteria could be enough to permanently damage your liver and other vital internal organs). Always store fresh protein in the freezer (if unthawed) or fridge. Use the protein within a couple of days of storing it in the fridge.
- To minimise the possibility of food poisoning from bacteria in the protein or other foods through contamination, always wash the cutting utensils and board of all protein substances. Never cross-contaminate by reusing an unclean utensil and board with protein already attached to them. Get into the habit of taking out two boards and have one dedicated to vegetables and fruit and the other board for protein only.
- When cooking fresh protein, long and slow cooking at medium temperature (for several hours) is best to cook right through the protein and softens the meat for easier digestion and greater access to more nutrients. For quicker cooking times, use smaller chunks of protein and cook at much higher temperatures with a bit of oil to seal the meat in its own juices (e.g. as the Chinese cooks do) and then make sure there is enough heat inside during the cooking time to destroy any bacteria. The only risk with cooking at higher temperatures is the possibility of burning the meat and leaving behind a substance called charcoal which is a known carcinogen for your digestive tract. You have to use enough oil at a high enough temperature and be quick at cooking (i.e., moving the food around in the wok or saucepan) small "bite size" protein chunks for this to be effective and healthy for you.
- When choosing quality fish, look for the ones with a firm flesh (it should return to its original shape when pressed lightly), a shiny clean skin, clean and healthy-looking eyes (i.e. it shouldn't be clouded), and should have a nice ocean smell (if captured from the sea). Ideally, the fish should still be alive at time of purchasing (as many Asians prefer to do).
- If you use food from a can, the can itself should be without dents and definitely no bulges or signs of being tampered with. Any bulges could be a sign of unacceptably high levels of bacteria in the food releasing gases as a waste product and creating high pressure inside the can. If you can't tell for sure, listen and look for what sounds like air coming out of the can when you first cut through the metal with a can opener (not always easy to tell as the sound can be indicative of air going into the can where there is a vacuum inside a sign that the food inside the can is good. So look for other signs of bad food, such as a bulging can suggesting there is gas pressure inside).
- Avoid eating tomatoes and other high-acid foods in a can that has been left on a shelf for more than 12 months. Heavy metals (e.g. iron) from the can will leach into the tomatoes and will reduce your lifespan if you ingest the tomatoes in reasonable quantities. NOTE: Some iron is required for the body, but not too much.
- Never use aluminium pots and utensils for cooking under any circumstances. The aluminium will quickly leach into any acidic or alkaline food and you will create serious health problems in your old age (e.g. Alzheimer's Disease).
If there is a chance you will be cooking at high temperatures (e.g. using natural gas to quickly heat up a frypan), avoid the non-stick variety of saucepans. Toxic substances are known to be released by the non-stick Teflon-coated surfaces and into your food at high temperatures and will eventually create health problems for you (e.g. cancer, a risk of birth defects, developmental problems, and flu-like symptoms caused by immune system and thyroid problems, to name a few). The temperature will have to approach 315ºC for this to occur.
In a test carried out by scientists in Australia in June 2005, a non-stick frypan heated with standard natural gas from a gas stove without food or oil takes 2 minutes and 15 seconds to reach a temperature of 315ºC. When food is present, it takes around 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
- Quality, marine-grade "single piece" (i.e. no plastic handles etc.) stainless steel saucepans are fine. Please note that plastic handles on stainless steel saucepans can occasionally emit toxic fumes in the air if heated accidentally over a stove. So keep to the pure stainless steel variety. Or, if you can afford it, the pure titanium "space-age" saucepans. Notoriously expensive but ideal. Also the chemically inert variety of glassware (e.g. pyrex) and quality ceramic pots and baking dishes are considered very safe for cooking practically all types of food. NOTE: Magnetic-induction cooktops required iron-based saucepans to do its magic of heating them.