Friday, March 25, 2011

Silk Surprise

It's my day off.  I didn't want the same old hurried oatmeal or tea and toast I have on many work days.  I wanted a smoothie for breakfast and I was thinking decadent but nutritarian.  This is what I ended up with:

Combine in a blender:
12 oz Lite Chocolate Silk (soy milk)
1/2 c. cooked quinoa
1/2 c. blueberries
1/2 c. ice
I was resigned to eating it whether it was good or not and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was delicious!  I sipped it as I read my emails this morning and fully enjoyed my breakfast.

While I'm on the subject of Silk Lite Chocolate here's a favorite late night treat:  Mexican hot chocolate
 Start with Silk Lite chocolate soy milk and add some cinnamon, vanilla, and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper.  Heat in a mug in the microwave.  Yumm.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quinoa Apple Smoothie

Photo M Wild Hansen
The color comes from cinnamon and red apple peel.  Yumm!
I really just wanted to publish this smoothie idea but felt I needed to give credit to Paulina Vásquez from Bolivia and call attention to her circumstances as well.
  From the NYTimes article:
" Paulina Vásquez, 52, a housekeeper and mother of three children in their 20s who live with her in a poor district on a steep mountainside of La Paz, sows the crop each year on her family’s land outside the city. The packaged quinoa found in supermarkets is beyond what her family can afford.
quinoa preparation process

Instead, they harvest their own, store it and then prepare it by hand, a painstaking process that includes washing away the resinlike saponin coating that protects the seeds. Sra. Vásquez regularly prepares a sweet drink of quinoa, apple, cinnamon and sugar for her family for breakfast.
But she says many in the younger generation have moved away from it. “People my age and older are eating quinoa,” Ms. Vásquez said. “The young people don’t want it. If there is a pot of noodles everyone is there, as if noodles were nutritious. Even my children are that way.”
For the recipe:
 I used 1/2 c. cooked quinoa, 2 small cored red apples, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2t. nutmeg
 Blend into a smoothie with a little soy milk 
 I thought it was delicious without sweetening but you could add a little maple syrup.

 Also see Quinoa Quandary

Quinoa Quandary

women weighing quinoa at a market in Bolivia 
The irony of it all.  Bolivians and other Andes South Americans have been thriving on quinoa for centuries(dating back to the Incas) but now that it's becoming a popular food worldwide for it's complete set of amino acids (complete protein) as well as many other vital nutrients it has become unaffordable to many of those same Andean people.
a chinopod (like beets and spinach), quinoa is a seed, not a grain
I first heard of quinoa about five years ago and used it mainly as a side dish or breakfast cereal until a few months ago when I "went nutritarian" and saw its value as a complete protein in main dishes.  It turned up in the United States decades ago when NASA found it was an ideal food for long term space missions.  Until recently I could only find it in health food stores but now it's available in my supermarket.  With this increase in demand many of the farmers' incomes have risen but they either can't afford quinoa at the new prices or their children prefer noodles or rice.   While quinoa prices tripled in the last five years Bolivia's consumption of it declined almost 35% in the same time period.  What a quandary - local farmers earn more but fewer Bolivians reap quinoa's nutritional benefits!  
Read the article on this topic.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

TVP instead of ground beef in Spaghetti sauce?  Great!
Vegetable dippers instead of corn or potato chips?  Great!
Grilled seasoned portabella instead of a hamburger?  Great!
Hummus instead of chocolate chip cookie dough?  I DON'T THINK SO!

I actually enjoy coming up with new ideas for eating nutritarian and have found lots of great ideas for substitutes for old favorites but this one did not work for me.  The photo looks just like cookie dough,  does it not?  Very deceiving.  I suppose if I added more sugar, salt, nut butter, chocolate chips....but then I might as well just have the real deal.  I'll stick to fruit for my sweets for now.  In case you don't believe me here's the recipe; you can try it for yourself.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Irish Eyes are Smiling

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to celebrate GREEN food!    I made a few snacks to treat everyone at the office today.

- Cream of Broccoli Spinach Soup with quinoa, made with soy milk
- Kale Chips
- Zucchini Bread made with whole wheat flour, walnuts, and reduced sugar.  Applesauce and flax meal were used instead of oil.

P.S. It was all gone at the end of the day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quick Spanish Rice Salad

What can I do with 1/2 can leftover refried beans....
Quick Spanish Rice Salad
1/2 can vegetarian refried beans
1c of 5 minute brown rice
1 can diced tomatoes
1 red pepper, 1 onion chopped and sauteed 
Add chili powder and hot sauce or chopped chilies
Mix everything together and serve on a bed of chopped lettuce.  Top with thawed frozen corn.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

If they don't ask, don't tell

I have found that the less I say about my eating style the easier it is to cook for people.  I suppose that should be obvious but it worked well yesterday.  My 91 yr. old lunch guest yesterday thoroughly enjoyed the Pea Soup I made without knowing that I did not start with a ham bone or add bacon and there were tons of other vegetables in it, including spinach.  She doesn't cook anymore but wanted to contribute so we stopped at an artisan bakery for a whole grain seeded loaf of bread.  I served it with a fruit salad (strawberries, blueberries, and grapes) but I could have incorporated the spinach by serving a green salad as an alternative.

Photo M Wild Hansen

Split Pea and Lentil Soup
Sautee` chopped onion, carrots, and celery in 2T white wine and as much vegetable broth as necessary.  Add the fresh spinach toward the end and as many other veggies as you can get away with or as you desire.
Cook split green peas and lentils in veggie broth and water about 30 min.   Season with Italian herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, bay...) and maybe some celery seed, black pepper and limited natural sea salt with minerals.  When the peas are tender add the veggies and smooth the mixture with a hand blender in the pot.  I like to leave a little texture to it so you can still see the carrots and celery.  Serve hot.
Note* I just saw a recipe online for pea soup with quinoa...intriguing.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Best Stir Fry

Photo M Wild Hansen
Bok Choy absolutely makes a stir fry.  It's my favorite ingredient so if I don't have anything but that I'll make it work.  Last night's stir fry was good.  Bok choy, onion, purple cabbage, carrots, portabella mushrooms, served over brown rice.  I sauteed the veggies in white wine and vegetable broth and added some black bean sauce from a jar.  It's fairly high in sodium but I only used a little and it adds mega flavor!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beans, Beans, The Magical Fruit

I've always looked at beans as a good weight control food because they're so filling, high in fiber and low in fat but today's newsletter from Dr. Fuhrman's website extolls their virtues even more....

March 10, 2011

Dear Mary,

Beans protect against colon cancer Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the United States, and it is the 2nd most deadly cancer.1 Proper nutrition can dramatically cut colon cancer risk. Numerous studies have found beans to significantly decrease the risk of colon cancer.2,3,4 A six year study tracking over 32,000 individuals found that those who ate beans, peas, or lentils only twice a week decreased their risk of colon cancer by 50%. If they cut their chance of colon cancer in half by eating beans twice a week, imagine the benefit of eating beans daily! 

Beans' unique composition makes them a dietary wonder. Beans are rich in fiber and resistant starch and are not easily broken down by enzymes in the small intestine. They pass into the large intestine where bacteria ferment them into short chain fatty acids such as butyrate.6 Butyrate protects against colon cancer in many different ways: 

• Butyrate halts cancer cell growth and causes cancer cell death.7

• Butyrate increases the expression of detoxifying enzymes and limits DNA damage due to oxidative stress.8
• Butyrate inhibits tumors from acquiring a blood supply.7
• Butyrate has anti-inflammatory affects.7
For more information go to Dr. Fuhrman's website here

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nutritarian Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is actually more enjoyable since I've been eating Nutritarian.  I spend the bulk of my time in the produce section, head over to the baking isle where I can find TVP, soy flour, 10-grain flour, flaxseed meal and whole wheat flour.  Then it's the canned goods and grains like various organic beans, canned tomatoes, quinoa, and whole grain pasta.  I get tofu and non-dairy milk in the dairy section, then breads like whole grain wraps and pita.  I find that the results of my modern day foraging is quite colorful and beautiful, so much so I actually took a picture today.   So eat colorful food!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Compromise in Percentages"

Hummus with veggies
A weekend with company.  I cooked the first night and made veggie lasagna with whole wheat noodles, fat free sauce, mushrooms, tofu, other veggies.  I added fat free ricotta between the noodles and a
 low fat mozzarella on top.  Served with huge colorful salad and
 home baked multi-grain bread.  Snacks consisted of veggies,
 pita crisps, and baked corn chips dipped in black bean dip,
 hummus, and fresh salsa.
So far so good.  The second night Erich made one of his hometown specialties, and he makes it so well.  Wiener Schnitzel and risotto.   Wiener Schnitzel is an Austrian dish,  pork cutlets dipped in milk, flour, eggs, breadcrumbs and grated cheese and fried in oil.  The risotto was
Wiener Schnitzel

 made with oil and cheese.
Therein lies my dilemma.  I will not dine with my family and refuse
 to eat a beautiful meal made with love in order to be 100%  nutritarian.
There has to be a compromise. Can I do this 80% / 20%?
 Or 90% / 10%?   I think I'm going to have to.  Maybe the answer is
to join in but keep my portions small and fill up on salad.  I know vegans
who take their own food to dinner parties and family gatherings.  That
would have seemed so ant-social bordering on insulting to me not long ago.  What is the answer?  What do most nutritarians do?  Does Dr. Fuhrman dine with SAD proponents?  What does he do?  Take his own food?
Nine weeks and counting.....I'm still learning and adapting.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Eating on the Road

Trans-Canada Hwy 17

My boyfriend lives across an international border almost two and a half hours away so I spend a lot of time on the road.  Sometimes I plan ahead and sometimes I don't.  What do you do when you miss a meal and get hungry on the highway?  Stop at a fast food place?  A gas station?  A convenience store?  Well, believe it or not all of these usually have one of my favorite "on the road" meals - a dry salad.  I just eat it with my fingers like potato chips, no mess, no junk food.  Remember, we're talking Garden Salad here, no meat, no cheese, no dressing, no oily croutons!  Today I also happened to have a few almonds and a couple of really bad muffins-I-like-to-think-of-as-granola-bars with me to round out the lunch.  Not too shabby.  
 For more on the nutritarian muffins.

Did you say GREEN smoothies?

much prettier than my first green smoothie
Ninety nine percent of the people who know me know my favorite food is a chocolate malt.  So when I first heard of green smoothies I said, Nope.  Can't do this.  But I had two bags of fresh baby spinach in my fridge and was packing to go out of town for a long weekend.   Had to use up the spinach.  I put it in the blender with frozen strawberries and blueberries, some flax meal and a little water.  The blueberries must have made it darker because my smoothie was NOT the pretty green you see above.  It was decidedly brown.  In fact it looked so chocolately I added some cocoa powder.  Then of course it was a tad bitter so I added a little honey.  Maybe I reduced the nutrient density of my breakfast with the added honey but what about the antioxidants in the cocoa (fat and sugar free!).  Most importantly, it tasted great!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Statins, you have met the enemy and his name is veggies!

My main reason for trying the nutritarian way of eating is to lower my cholesterol levels enough to lower my heart disease risk and discontinue the statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) I currently take.

"Most people are not aware that scientific studies show that there is only one dietary profile that has ever been shown to lower cholesterol as powerfully as cholesterol lowering drugs; and that is my Eat To Live nutritional program, which gets the majority of it’s calories from high nutrient foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts and seeds. It is impossible to reduce cholesterol levels to the no risk point with a conventional diet....The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia." -Dr. Joel Fuhrman