The only thing I really miss about winter is chili. It’s one of those super versatile meals you can eat almost any time of day. The best thing about this late spring/summer recipe is the tons of vegetables you eat … Continue reading
This vegan sweet potato and white bean soup delivers all the goodness of a hearty, creamy soup without any of the heaviness to bog you down. It’s easy to prepare and has a simple ingredient list. Don’t sweet potatoes make almost everything taste … Continue reading
Every winter when I enjoy my first bowl of lentil soup I’m reminded again how delicious and satisfying it is! Yesterday, while looking through my cupboards for ingredients to make a quick lunch I found a bag of red lentils, so I got to work creating a big pot of soup. Once you learn how to make soup from scratch you can make just about anything taste good…if you have the right mix of herbs and spices on hand. Simple ingredients, simple to make, simply delicious!
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced into 1/4″ disks
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped sweet potatoes
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup red lentils
5-6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 bay leaves
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
In large pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped vegetables and saute 6-8 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Add spices and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes, broth and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes until all vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaves. Add beans and heat through. Turn heat to low. Use Immersion blender to blend soup to desired smoothness. Stir in lentils and cook 10-15 minutes. If soup is too thick add more broth. Serve with a nice green salad. Top with a dollop of creamy, plain yogurt if desired.
This vegan stew with peanut butter, ginger, cumin and coriander is so delicious and very easy to prepare. I love the combination of spices and the creaminess of the peanut butter makes it irresistible! Serve with a nice green salad.
From a New York Times recipe by Julia Moskin
- 1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- pinch cayenne
- ¼ cup peanut oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons cup tomato paste
- 1 small (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably roasted
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup natural unsweetened peanut butter
- 1 medium-size zucchini, 6 to 8 ounces, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced 1/2 -inch thick
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
- Cooked rice, for serving
- Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for garnish (optional)
- In a colander, toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt; set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain well and set aside. In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne; set aside.
- In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring often, until soft, crisp and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a large bowl, leaving oil in pot. Raise heat to high and add eggplant. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shallots.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add ginger and jalapeno and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds more. Add onion and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Add diced tomatoes, stock, eggplant, shallots and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl, add one or two ladlefuls of hot soup, and stir until emulsified, then pour mixture back into soup.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, add zucchini, cover and cook 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Let cool slightly and taste; add salt if necessary. Serve in bowls with rice, garnished with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts, if desired.
Aside from the super-rich delicious flavor, this soup is loaded with a very impressive list of health-promoting vitamins and nutrients!
Chickpeas are prized for their high protein and fiber content, and also contain potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 to support heart health.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also chock full of vitamin C, manganese, copper and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas).
Spices like curry, coriander and turmeric all have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Your body will thank you for making this soup!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large beet, peeled and chopped into 1/2” chunks
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
15 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons raisins
1 cup cooked rice, optional
3 to 4 cups baby spinach
In a Dutch oven or heavy pot heat the oil and cook the onions 5 to 8 minutes until slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
Add the spices: curry powder, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook over medium-low heat for one minute, stirring.
To the pot add the crushed tomatoes, beets and sweet potatoes. Mix well, then add the broth and chickpeas. Add more broth if the soup is too thick. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the raisins and spinach and rice if desired and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remember that soup always tastes better the next day. Enjoy!
I’ve tried so many veggie burgers I’ve lost track. The vast majority fall apart when I try to cook them or have way too many ingredients, so preparing them is a tremendous undertaking. I came across this recipe for the Green Monster Veggie Burger in a book I was reading about slowing down the aging process…a topic most of us are interested in!
I made just a few small changes and was delighted to discover that this burger is really delicious. I love that it’s made of mostly green veggies as opposed to the traditional veggie burger that often has beans as the main ingredient. My batch made eight burgers and I’ve been enjoying them ever since!
Green Monster Veggie Burger
2 cups frozen baby peas
5 ounces baby kale (one of the small bins)
1/2 broccoli head, cut into florets
1 large celery stalk or 2 small, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian spice mix
2 teaspoons tamari
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or more to taste
1 small eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1 avocado, mashed
Salted plain Greek yogurt
Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Put in the kale, then after two minutes add the frozen peas and cook for seven minutes. Two minutes before time is up add the broccoli florets. Drain and set aside to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor.
In a large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the veggie patties over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Serve them with or without bread ( I like this Fitness Bread) with grilled veggies or your choice of toppings. Enjoy!
Tempeh is a wonderful meat-free alternative that marinates nicely and has an amazing nutritional profile. It’s a fermented soy food that originated on the island of Java in Indonesia and is closest to soy in it’s whole food form. According to Whole Foods experts at whfoods.org “fermentation is desirable because it increases the digestibility of soy (especially its proteins), nutrient absorption from soy (including absorption of phytonutrient isoflavones like genistein and daidzein), and the concentration of bioactive peptides (formed during the breakdown of soy proteins during fermentation).”
Tempeh is a very good source of manganese, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B2, magnesium, iron and calcium. It also provides good fiber and protein.
You can usually find tempeh near the produce section.
This recipe was adapted from 101 Cookbooks. You can use any healthy, whole grain bread but I like it with this thinly sliced Mestemacher Fitness Bread .
I served these open-faced sandwiches with a large green salad of chopped apples, red onions, avocado and sherry vinaigrette dressing. My judge gave this a score of 8 out of a possible 10!
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup tamari
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
1 eight-ounce package of tempeh cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
large pinch sea salt
About 3 cups greens cut into ribbons
1-2 avocados, mashed with a pinch of sea salt
6-8 pieces thin, whole grain bread
Preheat oven to 350º
Whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, tamari, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and adobo sauce. Pour one-third of the marinade into an 8 X 8 baking dish or one that is just big enough to hold the tempeh in a single layer. Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the tempeh, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight until ready to use.
While the tempeh is marinating, roast the tomatoes. Add tomatoes to a medium bowl and coat them with the olive oil and salt. Place in an oven-proof baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and sweet.
When the tempeh is done marinating uncover the dish and place in 350º oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
To make the sandwiches generously slather 3-4 pieces of bread with mashed avocado. Top with a bit of shredded lettuce, a few tomatoes, 2-3 slices of tempeh and a few more tomatoes.
Many of us pay close attention to what we put on our plates because we’ve learned that what we eat can have a big effect on our health. But few of us stop to consider how our food choices impact our environment. In most cases, I think we’re just unaware. Maybe it’s time to educate ourselves about this increasingly important issue. After all, don’t we have a responsibility to our planet, helping feed the hungy and future generations?
Researchers at the World Resources Institute have learned that the type and quantity of food people eat has an important impact on the environment and that meat and dairy — especially beef — are particularly harmful. Meat and dairy are in fact considerably more resource-intensive to produce than plant-based foods. They increase pressure on our land, water and climate.
Statistics show that more than 66% of total greenhouse gases from food production comes from meat and dairy, even though they only contribute about 37 percent of total protein consumed.
Beef production requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of edible protein than common plant-based protein sources such as beans, peas and lentils. Chicken and pork are more resource-efficient than beef, but still require three times more land and emit three times more greenhouse gas emissions than beans. Surprisingly, more than three-quarters of the world’s agricultural land is used to produce meat and dairy.
But what if we make “better” choices? Haven’t we been told that grass-fed, free-range, cage-free and pastured options are a more responsible choice? And isn’t it at least better to buy and eat products that come from small organic farms, which practice more humane methods of production?
Well, maybe not. Although these smaller systems appear to be environmentally sustainable, evidence suggests otherwise according to a New York Times article, The Myth of Sustainable Meat. The real truth is that grass-grazing cows emit considerably more methane than grain-fed cows and pastured organic chickens have a 20 percent greater impact on global warming.
To make matters worse, demand for animal-based food is expected to rise by 80 percent by 2050, with beef specifically increasing by 95 percent.
As nations urbanize and incomes rise, their citizens consume more calories and more animal-based foods such as beef, dairy, pork, chicken, eggs and fish, according to the WRI.
Additionally and equally important is the fact that the human population on our planet continues to rise, and is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. Experts warn that we cannot sustain this growth with our current industrial agricultural paradigm model. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, natural health expert, the alarming concern is that if we continue along the present path, world hunger will continue to escalate without a viable way to meet the need.
The rise in the popularity of the Paleo Diet has also contributed to the increased demand for more meat. Food expert Michael Pollan debunks this diet for many reasons; most who defend this way of eating “don’t really understand…the proportions in the ancient diet…today’s meat is nothing like that of the hunter-gatherer.”
Americans eat more meat per person than any other people on earth, and we’re paying the price in doctor bills.
At 200 pounds of meat per person per year, our high meat consumption is hurting our national health. Hundreds of clinical studies in the past several decades show that consumption of meat and dairy, especially at the high levels seen in this country, can cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other diseases (meatonomics.com).
It’s interesting to note that the global average per person protein consumption exceeded dietary requirements in all regions in 2009, with each person consuming on average about 68 grams per day— one-third higher than the average daily adult requirement. In wealthy countries, protein consumption was higher still. For example, the average American man eats nearly 100 grams of protein per day, almost double the amount of protein he needs.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” ~Michael Pollan
So what can we do to help?
It’s not necessary for all of us to go as drastic as becoming vegan! But if each of us made even small dietary shifts towards more plant-based diets we could significantly reduce greenhouse emissions and the use of agricultural resources. According to the WRI, the average American could cut their diet’s environmental footprint in half just by eating less meat and dairy. If we build our meals around plant-based proteins, instead of meat the way most of us were raised, we could make a difference.
- If you eat beef, just shifting one-third of your beef consumption to other meats like chicken or pork could cut your diet’s environmental impacts by nearly 15 percent.
- Why not adopt the “Meat-free Monday” policy at your house?
- Think about cutting your total animal product consumption (all meat, dairy, fish and eggs) by half. If you currently eat meat and cheese at two meals per day, try switching to plant protein like beans, tofu or tempeh at one of your meals. To maintain a healthy weight, add additional plant-based foods to your diet, such as vegetables, oats, quinoa, rice, hummus, nuts and fruits.
- Use calcium-enriched milk substitutes more often. Any food that comes directly from a plant rather than from livestock will generally be responsible for a much lower level of greenhouse gas emissions than livestock products.
Study the WRI scorecard below and lean towards foods that have lower environmental impact:
“Whatever the case may be, for now at least, at this very moment, there appears to be some compelling empirical evidence that eating a diet based on compassion is good not only for animals but the environment we share with them.”
~James McWilliams, historian and writer.
You’ll see huge benefits to your health and waistline too!
Here’s one idea for a meat-free meal:
Vegan Thai Vegetable Curry
One can full-fat coconut milk (do not shake can)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
4 teaspoons tamari
3 teaspoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons Thai green curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand has no shrimp or fish paste)
1/2 cup diced onion
2/3 cup diced red bell pepper
2/3 cup diced zucchini
2/3 cup diced, peeled sweet potato
2/3 cup sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
1 cup green beans, trimmed to 1-inch length
2/3 cup diced eggplant
8 large basil leaves, cut into thin chiffonade
Open the can of coconut milk without shaking it. Spoon 6 tablespoons of the coconut cream from the top of the can into a large skillet. Pour remaining contents of can into a medium bowl, and mix well. In a small bowl, combine vegetable stock, soy sauce and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Place skillet of coconut cream over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Add curry paste and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir constantly until very fragrant, about 3 minutes; adjust heat as needed to prevent burning.
Add all the vegetables: onion, red pepper, zucchini, sweet potato, bamboo shoots, green beans and eggplant. Stir until vegetables are hot, 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the rest of the coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the tamari mixture to the skillet along with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice to taste; you may use the juice of an entire lime. Stir and mix well. Add up to 1/4 cup water if the curry seems too thick.
To serve, place the curry in a warm serving bowl and garnish with the basil chiffonade. If desired, serve over brown or wild rice.
Recipe adapted from NYTimes cooking.
This recipe is TWC-approved!
A web search for turmeric brings up a multitide of sites, all with a similar headline: Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric. One site even boasted: 500 Reasons Turmeric May Be The World’s Most Important Herb.
We’ve been hearing about turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties for years so let’s look closer at this ancient herb. Is turmeric really as great as so many say it is?
Turmeric is a spice in the ginger family, native to India and Southeast Asia, where it has been popular in cuisines for several thousand years. It’s an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, copper and potassium. The major phytonutrient in turmeric is curcumin.
According to World’s Healthiest Foods: Despite its use in cooking for several thousand years, turmeric continues to surprise researchers in terms of its wide-ranging health benefits. While once focused on anti-inflammatory benefits, decreased cancer risk, and support of detoxification, studies on turmeric intake now include its potential for improving cognitive function, blood sugar balance and kidney function, as well as lessening the degree of severity associated with certain forms of arthritis and certain digestive disorders.
One author claims that few modern-day pharmaceuticals come even remotely close to turmeric’s track record of safe use in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Many studies suggest equal healing benefits when turmeric is compared to conventional pain relief and anti-inflammatory medicines. If you are currently taking any medications it’s important to check with your doctor before using supplements.
The University of Maryland Medical Center studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems. Their research suggests that turmeric may be helpful for indigestion, cancer (although it’s important to note they believe cancer should be treated with conventional medications; more research is needed), neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimers, Parkinsons and multiple sclerosis, and joint pain
Michael Greger, M.D., author of How Not To Die, is convinced we should all be finding ways to include turmeric in our diets. Based on it’s anti-inflammatory properties his recommended daily dose is 1/4 teaspoon daily.
Turmeric root has a very interesting taste and aroma. Its flavor is peppery, warm, and bitter while its fragrance is mild yet slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. An easy way to consume the herb is to simply add 1/4 teaspoon to your green smoothie. I love it on oven baked sweet potatoes combined with cumin, cinnamon and a little salt. It’s also delicious with skillet-cooked garbanzo beans! Note that turmeric’s deep color can easily stain so be careful to wipe up any spills immediately.
Despite its vast potential for alleviating human suffering, turmeric will likely never receive the FDA stamp of approval, due to its lack of exclusivity, patentability and therefore profitability.
Here’s one recipe I enjoy often. This recipe for Turmeric Chicken is also delicious, but be careful to go a little lighter on the salt.
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
Combine oil and spices in a small bowl and mix well.
Place beans in a medium skillet and turn heat to medium high. Pour the spice mixture over the beans and cook, stirring often, until beans are heated through. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in airtight container for a few days.
Combine your favorite salad ingredients with the turmeric beans for a tasty lunch. I used arugula, fresh figs, cherry tomatoes, red grapes, thinly sliced red onion and avocado. Top with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper for a sweet and spicy salad. Enjoy!
This is a TWC-approved recipe!
Recently one of our exercisers surprised me with a beautiful bunch of beets from her garden. I was interested to learn that beets grow during the summer months; I’d always thought of them as a fall crop. I absolutely love beets. I’ve heard they’re super healthful but I was curious to find out exactly how they improve our health. Read on to learn more!
Beets are not only loaded with antioxidants they also have important anti-inflammatory properties.
You may be surprised to know that beets also:
Lower Your Blood Pressure- This benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide* in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
Fight Inflammation-Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation and help protect internal organs.
Help Prevent Cancer –The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Taste good and help prevent cancer. What more do we need to know?
Provide Us With Valuable Nutrients and Fiber-Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium, and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets are particularly important to women who are pregnant–vitamin B and iron are very beneficial to new growth cells during pregnancy and replenishing iron in the woman’s body.
Less known but interesting facts about beets:
Nature’s Libido Booster- One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. And that’s not just urban legend – science backs it up. Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
Beets cleanse the body-They are a wonderful tonic for the liver and work as a purifier for the blood.
Help your mental health-Beets contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains trytophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being.
* Researchers have found that sunlight triggers your skin’s production of nitric oxide. Why is this significant? Because nitric oxide is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure, helps prevent atherosclerosis, and plays a role in modulating immune system function.
I usually enjoy my beets roasted but the thought of turning on my oven during these dog days of summer is not appealing. This recipe does require a little stove top cooking but the end result is a really tasty vegetarian meal.
Tangy Beets With Soba Noodles
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
3-4 large beets
1 Cup almond milk
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
3 Tablespoons almond butter
1/2-1 cup vegetable broth
1 package soba noodles* or whole grain pasta
Peel the beets and cut them into small pieces. Peel and dice the onion.
Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet then add the onion and beets. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the almond milk, tamari, maple syrup and spices. Reduce heat to low, stir in 1/2 cup broth and the almond butter. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the beets and soft.
Meanwhile, cook and drain the soba noodles. Serve the beets over the noodles.
If you have leftovers try this:
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add a can of drained garbanzo beans. Season with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste. Cook to heat through then add to your beet mixture.
*Soba noodles have fewer calories, more fiber and more protein than traditional pasta.