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Posts Tagged ‘antioxidants’

Spinach & Kale Soup with Tahini-Dressed Chickpeas

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 15, 2015 at 2:35 am

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”~Lao Tzu

frozen soup

Leafy green soup with tahini and chickpeas

Hey there! Not all “processed” food is bad.

Stocking your freezer with frozen fruits and vegetables is an easy, affordable way to get more servings of these plants into your diet. Frozen fruits and veggies can be just as, if not more, nutritious than fresh fruits and veggies. This is because nutrients are lost in the process of harvesting, packaging, storing, transporting, and then displaying fresh produce. Vitamins and minerals can be sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen or, in the case of vitamin C, all three!

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and is doing it’s neutralization job by reacting with the oxidants of heat, light, and oxygen. The easy loss of vitamin C is a case for cutting and peeling your fruit immediately prior to consumption to reduce nutrient loss as well as a case for shopping at your local farmer’s market where the time that lapses between harvest and purchase is as short as possible. Additionally, think about how much time your fruits and veggies spend in your refrigerator before consumption.

On the other hand, commercially-processed frozen foods are often flash-frozen very soon after harvest in a process which retains a maximum amount of nutrients and superior levels of antioxidants compared to fresh produce. Additionally, since these fruits and veggies are intended to be frozen soon after picking, they are left to naturally ripen longer than a fruit or veggie that needs to be transported and stored and, possibly, artificially-ripened. More time to naturally ripen equals, again, higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants.

You know what I’m talking about, you have about 36 hours to consume those strawberries that you bought at the farmer’s market before they go soft and smelly on you; however, the plastic box from Costco lasts at least 4 days in your fridge but never tastes quite as sweet and fragrantly delicious as the ones from your local farmer. Well, those frozen strawberries will have a taste closer to the farmer’s market strawberries along with the superior nutrient profile. Admittedly, you will lose out when it comes to texture. Which is why frozen fruits and veggies are perfect for soups, smoothies, and baked dishes where texture isn’t quite as important.

frozen veggies

Frozen veggies: affordable, storable, and super nutritious.

With all the being said, this soup is delicious as well as nutritious and features easy, affordable, long-storing, frozen vegetables!

The other main ingredients (chickpeas, veggie broth, and tahini) are all shelf-stable, potentially allowing you to stock your freezer and pantry with all the necessary ingredients (just pick up lemons and parsley) so you’ll be ready to make this soup at a moment’s notice.

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chili flakes
16 oz frozen spinach
16 oz frozen kale
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 cups vegetable broth
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparing the soup: Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion, garlic and chili, lower the heat and let stir for a couple of minutes or until softened. Stir occasionally. Stir in spinach, kale and nutmeg and gently cook for 1 minute. Then broth and cook for 20 more minutes. Blend it silky smooth with an immersion blender and season to taste.

3 TBSP tahini
3 3TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 organic lemon, juiced
1 small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
15 oz (1 can or 2 cups) chickpeas/garbanzo beans

Preparing the Chickpeas: Whisk tahini, oil and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Add parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the chickpeas and mix it all up with your hands, make sure every single chickpea is coated. These just get yummier the longer they marinate so make ahead and enjoy for days. Another option for the tahini-dressed chickpeas: toss over hot soba noodles cooked with carrot peels.

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Perfect Parfait

In Nutrition, Recipe on July 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm
fruit, yogurt, go raw

Fruit, yogurt, Go Raw Original Granola

Please step away from the acai bowls! They are loaded with added sugars. Sugar is added to those little, frozen packets of smashed berries and to the nut milk that is blended with it and, finally, the granola that gets tossed on top. No wonder they are a big hit – you might as well be eating dessert!

You can do a much better job by BUILDING YOUR OWN breakfast bowl with fresh fruit that hasn’t been processed, packaged, and flown in from Brazil. I eat a lot of fruity, nutty, yogurt-y concoctions. Some might call them parfaits, others might call them fruit salad. Either way, the hot summer months, with their abundance of fruit, call for cool, juicy breakfasts with enough fat and protein to keep you satisfied and nourished. On the outset it appears that the parfait is ‘healthy’ but there is much variance as to the value of each ingredient so I think it merits a discussion.

papya parfait

Papaya, yogurt, hemp seeds, coconut, & sunflower seeds.

There are usually 3 components to a parfait: (1) yogurt (dairy or vegan), (2) the fruit, and (3) the ‘toppings’ (hopefully nuts & seeds). What I find is that most parfaits resemble dessert in that they are much too high in sugar and other carbohydrates. Let’s leave the job of providing sugar and fiber to the fruit (choose a colorful variety) and do our best to eliminate it from the other two components.

Begin by choosing a sugar-free – yes, that means PLAIN – version of yogurt, whether it be a Greek dairy yogurt or coconut milk kefir or soy yogurt. This is not always easy, especially with the diary substitutes, but it can be done. Also, choosing a FULL-FAT version is essential for 2 reasons: (1) the balance of protein/fat/carbs is more supportive of health (nonfat yogurt is heavy on carbs) and (2) the plain flavor is not as sour b/c the fat is still included (hence less sugar needed to make it palatable). Even if you are trying to lose weight, a full-fat version is more supportive of satiation, smaller portions, and weight control (I promise!).

go raw simple

Go Raw brand granola – unsweetened or sweetened with dates & raisins

End by choosing toppings that include healthy fats and no added sugars. Sorry, folks, but ‘granola’ is not going to do it here. Yes, it’s delicious but it’s usually very high in added sugars. Low sugar varieties are available, such as those from Go Raw that are sweetened with dates and raisins, and, yet, this healthy choice is still adding unnecessary carbs to the balance. It’s much healthier to take a deconstructionist view of granola as a topping. Say what? Sprinkle on sunflower seeds or almonds or walnuts or hemp seeds or coconut flakes or chia seeds or pepitas or sesame seeds…you get the idea. These toppings add healthy fats and protein as opposed to more carbs.

Finally, add a little shake of cinnamon or cocoa or fresh mint to up the flavor factor without adding more volume or calories.

Building your own breakfast bowl ensures you get ‘good’ carbs, a healthy amount of (the good) fat, and plenty of fiber and antioxidants. Have fun and get creative!

Red Velvet Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on May 16, 2013 at 10:03 pm
IMG_3407

Beet root, red lentils, tri-color quinoa.

I honestly cannot find the original source for this recipe which is a shame because I did not modify it at all (except for the name!). It is simple and brilliant just as it is. I’ve made it for two SoupAsana groups and was met with rave reviews. Both times, during the prep and cook process, I was skeptical due to the color and consistency but once I started simmering the spices in coconut oil, I knew everything was going to turn out just fine 🙂 Beautifully-colored and deliciously-edible, this soup is high in fiber, antioxidants, folate, and iron. Even more delicious served with corn muffins.

Ingredients:

boiled-over pot

A watched pot never boils but an un-watched pot boils over!

1 cup dried red lentils
½ cup quinoa
1 medium beet root, grated
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
¼ cup diced red onion
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric powder

Garnish w lime wedges, rock salt, honey Greek yogurt or feta

beet lentil stew

Stew topped with feta and lime

Place lentils, quinoa, grated beet, ginger, onion, bay leaf and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add cumin seeds, coriander, and turmeric and lightly saute for 1-3 minutes on medium heat (making sure they don’t burn). Add to stew…do a little taste taste…perhaps add fresh ground pepper and/or tamari.

Cleansing Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm
cleansing soup

Cleansing Soup – all day for three days.

This soup is perfect for cleansing your system after an over-indulgence or when you are feeling run-down and susceptible to illness. If you are feeling sluggish and foggy, take three days to eat nothing but this soup and you will come right back to life! For maximum benefit, it’s important to abstain from caffeine and alcohol. Instead treat yourself to fresh-pressed veggie & fruit juices. This soup is high in fiber, vitamins A, C & K, antioxidants, and antimicrobials and is wonderful for supporting your immune system and maintaing a healthy gut.

Ingredients:

cleansing soup ingredients

Carrots, celery, garlic, onion, kale, shiitake mushrooms.

1 bulb (yes, the WHOLE bulb) garlic

1 medium onion

fresh ginger – about the size of 2 thumbs, peeled

1 lb. shiitake mushrooms – thinly sliced (remove stems)

1 bunch red swiss chard, dinosaur kale, or fave greens – stemmed and chopped

1 bunch carrots – thinly sliced rounds

1 bunch celery – thinly sliced half-moons (use the leafy parts too!)

64oz low sodium vegetable broth

64oz water

1/4 to 1/2 a tub of miso paste

Sesame oil

Tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

Directions:

kale shiitake mushrooms

Kale and shiitake mushrooms sautéed in sesame oil.

Process garlic, ginger, and onions. It’s OK if the onions become mush. It’s adds a thicker texture to the broth. Heat sesame oil in caste iron pan. Add garlic, onions, and ginger. After a couple of minutes, add sliced shiitake mushrooms and splash of tamari and sauté until mushrooms are glassy.

In a stock pot, simmer carrots and celery in veggie broth and water. When carrots and celery are super soft, turn off heat and stir in enough miso paste for your liking (don’t bring back to a boil or you’ll kill off good bacteria in the miso). When you’ve adjusted the broth so it tastes right to you, add chopped greens and stir until wilted and bright green. Add contents of caste iron pan. Done!

Serve soup sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and cayenne. Also delicious poured over short-grain brown rice or with tofu and soba noodles.

Chakra Salad

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 18, 2013 at 11:34 pm
photo (42)

Chakra Salad

Springtime is the perfect time to gorge on fresh, sun-soaked vegetables. Raw veggie salads are high in fiber, water, and antioxidants, especially colorful ones like this salad of purple cabbage, red peppers, and carrots. It’s important to dress your salads with healthy monounsaturated oils which allow fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) to be fully absorbed and utilized by your body. The fats in this salad come from a perfect combo of nuts, seeds, and avocados. High fiber will keep you feeling full and fats will keep you satisfied. Don’t be shy with the dressing. Its only 30 calories per tablespoon so dress it up and enjoy this power-packed salad that is perfect for hot weather. Sweet, nutty, crispy, crunchy…YUM!

Peanutty Dressing

chakra salad dressing

Sesame oil, tamari, apple cider vinegar, peanut butter.

Whisk together:

1/4 c raw peanut butter + 1/4 c coconut water + 1/2 c apple cider or rice vinegar

Then add:

3 T honey

1 t salt

1 T tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos

1 T raw sesame oil

Raw Shredded Salad 

(high in vitamins A, C, K, B6, and folate and manganese and phosphorous)

chakra salad ingredients

Purple cabbage, red pepper, green onion, orange carrot.

Toss together:

4 cups purple cabbage – finely shredded

1 red pepper – thinly sliced

5 scallions – green parts, chopped

2 carrots – grated

Top salad with:

raw sunflower seeds

unsweetened coconut flakes

avocado

2 cups salad mix + 1 T coconut + 1 T sunflower seeds + 1/4 diced avocado + 3 T dressing

= 295 calories, 19g of fat, 9g fiber, 16g sugar, and 9g of protein.

I Heart Eggs

In Nutrition on March 31, 2013 at 2:08 am
photo (70)

Colorful eggs from happy backyard chickens.

I LOVE EGGS. I know it’s hip to be vegan but I just can’t give them up and it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do for my body. So I eat them. Often. With gusto and relish (not the condiment). I eat eggs from perhaps the happiest chickens in SoCal. Maybe it’s the ocean view – they check the surf at Scripps Pier – salt air, or foraging in the veggie garden but most likely it’s the sunny, 7-year-old girl who adores them and showers them with love. And, in turn, all those happy, loving vibes are ingested by me.

It is OK to eat eggs everyday…yes, really! Whole eggs are a nutritious part of everyone’s diet. Even for those of us with high cholesterol, eggs can be safely consumed (studies have shown dietary cholesterol to have little effect on blood lipid levels). Egg whites are a complete protein source meaning they provide all the essential amino acids the body cannot make on its own. However, if you are only consuming the whites you are missing out on vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Whole eggs are low in calories and packed with nutrients so poach ‘em, fry ‘em, scramble ‘em, frittata ‘em, quiche ‘em, french toast ‘em, rancheros ‘em…have I left anything out?

photo (5)

Whole grain toast topped with avocado, poached egg, and salsa verde.

Cabbage Chips

In Nutrition on March 30, 2013 at 4:56 am
cabbage chips

Raw cabbage leaves with guacamole.

At your next gathering how about serving cabbage chips instead of corn chips with guacamole and or other dips? Raw, purple, cabbage leaves are sturdy, crisp, hydrating, fiber-filled, and chock-full of the antioxidant, anthocyanin, which basically means they are disease-preventing machines! Substituting cabbage chips for corn chips or pita chips lowers the overall fat and salt content of your appetizer – plus it looks gorgeous! Just cut raw cabbage leaves into squares or triangles and arrange beside your dip. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Antioxidant Smoothie

In Nutrition, Recipe on March 30, 2013 at 2:17 am

This one is the halfway mark between the other two smoothies. Not nearly as grassy and chewy as the Green Smoothie but not quite as sweet and creamy as the Easy Smoothie. Wow, I’d have a really hard time selling ice to an Eskimo…

photoIngredients:
1 banana

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 avocado

1 TBSP almond butter

1 cup kale leaves

1 cup water

1 heaping TBSP hemp seeds

12oz = 294 kcals, 9g fat, 11g fiber(!), 8g protein.

High in vitamins A, C, & K. Good source of manganese, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6, riboflavin, & folate.