Archive | November, 2011

Gotta Get the Greens

20 Nov

Amidst the holiday season, it can be very difficult to incorporate all the greens we need. Which is a LOT. I know I’ll use the excuse of making something with cooked squash, some grains, or other “comforting” foods, as the weather gets colder. Yes I think it is important to listen to our bodies in what we should eat (to a certain extent) but it is also vital we don’t skimp on the raw veggies. Hey- kale, collards, chard and spinach are all in season anyways, so it’s perfect! I buy atleast one of those dark leafy’s from the farmers market at least once a week. Then I can always freeze what I didn’t use by the end of the week for smoothies.

Plant protein is extremely bioavailable to our bodies from dark leafy greens, as well as beta-carotene, vitamin K, as well as folate, iron, and calcium.

These are the most nutritionally dense foods (most nutrients per calorie). When it comes to serving and portion control, RAW dark leafy (and unleafy, like broccoli) greens are in the “as much as you can eat” list.

Our plates should be 2/3rds  raw dark green vegetables, with a small rich source of plant protein, fruit and very little grains to follow.

No I do not remotely agree with the “My Plate” recommendations set by the USDA. They don’t address portion size, allows WAY too much grains and protein. Americans eat way more protein then they need, which gets stored as fat in excess. Which is why it is hilarious to always here people ask me “Where do you get your protein!?” Protein deficiency in vegans is rare. Plant protein is much better absorbable and digestible by our bodies.

“Eat (real) Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.” -Michael Pollan  (I added the “real” part)

Broccoli and Kale Ginger Miso Salad (RAW)

2-3 Cups of raw kale

2 Cups raw broccoli

1 Zucchini –> Spiralized into noodles

1 onion chopped

Slivered Almonds (optional)

1 Organic Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Handful of raisins or dried cranberries

Ginger Miso Dressing (Recipe from Choosing Raw)

(Makes 1.5 cups)

1 inch ginger
1 cup olive or flax oil
2 tsp sesame oil (toasted)
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp mellow white miso
4 large dates, pitted, or ¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp nama shoyu or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/3 cup water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw kale can be hard to digest, if not properly worked. So make sure you massage raw kale with some olive oil, other dressing, or simply water. This also prevents chelation of some key minerals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asian-Ginger Tofu over Kale

(Serves 1 1/2)

5.5 oz Sprouted Tofu (You can buy a 2-5.5 oz package, with the 2 small 5.5oz attached, so when you only need enough to serve 1 the other half stays sealed and fresh)

2 Cups Raw Kale

1/4 Sliced Onion

7-8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1/2 Large Green Bell Pepper Sliced

Drizzle of Olive Oil and Lime Juice

Squeeze tofu as much as possible to remove the liquid. I do not have a tofu-press. But I usually just wrap it in a towel in a baking dish and place a heavy pan or bowl on top for several hours.

Use a combination of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Brown Rice vinegar, Lime Juice, Garlic Powder, and Ground Ginger. Mix and cover over tofu (cut into cubes) for as long a you would like it to marinate.

Bake tofu at 400 for about 30 minutes, flipping once. I threw in my sliced onions in the pan for the last 10 minutes to soften them up.

Drizzle a little olive oil and lime juice over kale, and massage until tender. Top tofu and the rest of the veggies on top and enjoy!

 

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All About Sweet Potatoes

6 Nov

Sweet potatoes are one of my top three favorite vegetables and deserve their very own post. Yes Sweet Potatoes are a super food!

I actually just harvested some sweet potatoes during my Civic Agriculture class when we took a visit to Kentland Farm, where are the organic produce goes to dining serves to be served in Farms and Fields!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been eating approximately 5 sweet potatoes a week. They just never get old. If not with dinner, I prepare and pack it up to take it with me on campus! How can you not like something that is naturally so sweet and versatile (although I am prone to eat them my favorite way everyday). Not surprisingly they are FULL of so many beneficial properties.

In about 77 grams-which is roughly 1 sweet potato, you receive over 260% of your Vitamin A (in the form of Beta-Carotene) needed in one day.

-High in Vitamin C (25%) and Manganese(20%)

-Amazing anti-oxidant properties shown from the carotenoid pigment. Some studies shown the beta-carotene to be MORE bioavalable to our bodies than dark leafy greens! (Which are typically thought to be one of the best sources)

-High in phytonutrients, which are powerful antioxidants that have been shown (in sweet potatoes) to lower heavy metals and oxygen radicals in our digestive system, which is great news to people with irritable bowel syndrome.

Anit-inflammatory properties due to Anthocyanin pigment has been shows to decrease inflammation in brain and nervous tissue.

-Control blood sugar levels, which one wouldn’t expect from a starchy food! Which is good news to diabetics.

-Leave the skin on (only if organic) to enhance the insoluble fiber content. Note: Conventional sweet potatoes are heavily sprayed, not to mention waxed and often dyed.

I just love my sweet potatoes way too much.

How I usually prepare them:

Bake in microwave (if in a hurry and uses less electricity) for oven.

Top with raw almond butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, shredded unsweetened coconut, and raw pecan pieces.

* I put cinnamon on as much foods as I can.

I whip this together really quick and wrap and foil and take as a perfect lunch in between classes when I am stuck on campus all day. I just have to remember to bring my own fork and knife-plastic doesn’t cut it.

 

These amazing spuds are in the Convolvulaceae family and are dicots. Yams are in the Dioscoreaceae family and are monocots, noting their sole difference.

Great news is that the beta-carotene is BETTER adsorbed by adding a small amount of natural fat. I was thrilled to learn this considered I can’t resist topping mine with almond butter. But you only need 3-5 grams of a coconut oil/butter or nuts/seeds in some form.

 

The almond butter warms up and oozes out. Also, try cashew or pecan butter!

Crazy enough, beta carotene is the most bioavailable to us when we boil them, opposed baking or roasting. The GI (glycemic Index: The scale of  spike in blood glucose upon consumption of a certain food. We don’t want to eat too many high GI foods) for roasting is 82, Baking is 94, and Boiling is 46. I was shocked when I found this out. I will have to start boiling (still with the skin on) and mashing them up mixed with some garlic, onion, thyme, and rosemary possibly?

My typical dinners lately:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pair with dark leafy greens (kale) topped with onions, dried cranberries, hemp seed, and a splash of olive oil & lemon juice. What a delightful dinner. Time is big factor in preventing me from trying so many other new sweet potato dishes. 😦

 

Try:

Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers, Sweet Potato Mash, Sweet Potato Casserole, Black Bean Burgers, Spirals/Wraps,

P.S. I am on the hunt to try a Purple and White Sweet Potato next!