Quinoa: Super Grain with Environmental Benefits

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Elegant, delicious, and easy to digest, quinoa (keen-wa) is a small disk shaped seed that looks a lot like a sesame seed. Classified as a grain, quinoa is actually the seed of a leafy plant related to spinach.

Quinoa is simple to prepare and cooks in just 15 minutes to a light, fluffy consistency with a delicate, nut-like flavor. The germ is external and pulls away slightly when cooked, forming an attractive, delicate ring around the perimeter. Quinoa makes a lovely presentation and can be used in place of most other grains in any recipe.

Revered as sacred by the ancient Incas, quinoa has been recognized as a “superfood” because of its remarkable nutritional value. Like soybeans, quinoa is exceptionally high in lysine, an amino acid that is rare among vegetables. This versatile grain is high in protein, calcium and iron, a good source of phosphorous, vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. In addition to all this, quinoa tastes terrific! Continue reading “Quinoa: Super Grain with Environmental Benefits”

Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce

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It’s probably not news to anyone that pesticides have been shown to have carcinogenic and other adverse health effects on humans and that organic produce is the best choice for people and for the planet.

Mounting evidence confirms that many commonly used pesticides can suppress the normal immune system response to invading bacteria, viruses, parasites and tumors.¹ The immune system is the body’s first line of defense and weakening its response can increase the incidence of disease.

A study by the National Cancer Institute identified pesticides as a likely cause of elevated rates of several forms of cancer among farmers². Farmers are at higher risk for certain cancers, such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, skin melanomas, multiple myeloma, leukemia, and cancers of the lip, stomach, prostate and brain. Exposures to a number of pesticides have been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, while exposure to insecticides has been associated with leukemia, multiple myeloma and brain cancer³. Continue reading “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce”

Chilled Asparagus with Creamy Dill Dressing

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Asparagus is a wonderful spring vegetable with tender fleshy spears that make a lovely distinctive presentation. Long known for its strong diuretic properties, the early Greeks used this delicately flavored vegetable for medicinal purposes, believing that it could prevent bee stings and ease toothaches.

In California, asparagus is picked as early as February, however the season is considered to run from April through May. In the East and Midwest, the growing season extends through the end of July.

Asparagus is very low in calories and sodium, a good source of fiber and an excellent source of natural antioxidants.¹ A cup of asparagus supplies 288 mg of potassium, which is important for brain function, muscle growth and a healthy nervous system. Continue reading “Chilled Asparagus with Creamy Dill Dressing”

Enlightened Tofu and Snow Peas

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Stir-frying involves quick cooking over high heat in a small amount of oil. Quick cooking in this manner preserves the flavor, color and texture of the food, and vegetables come out slightly crisp with all of their vitamins intact.

You can use a traditional Chinese wok or a heavy gauge 14” stir fry pan that has sloping sides of the typical wok.  A pan like this is similar in that the heat concentrates at the bottom of the pan, and the curved sides allow you to push the ingredients to the side. Stir-fry pans also have a long handle for easy maneuvering.

Stir-fry calls for oil with a high smoking point, such as corn or safflower and heating oil to the smoking point. Choosing a heavy gauge wok pan and there isn’t any need for such oils.

Olive oil is largely monounsaturated fat, which lowers the LDL (bad) cholesterol, Continue reading “Enlightened Tofu and Snow Peas”

Go for the Greens!

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Cultivated for more than two thousand years, kale is a nutritional powerhouse! This leafy green vegetable has more dietary value and fewer calories than just about any other vegetable.

One cup of cooked kale contains over 94mg of calcium and more than 1300 percent of the Daily Value of Vitamin K,¹ which has been linked to bone health and a reduced risk of bone fractures.

Kale is rich in vital magnesium, the mineral necessary to fully metabolize calcium, and contains a healthy mix of nutrients that promote strong bones. Kale contains considerable amounts of chlorophyll and is a very good source of Vitamins A and C, folic acid and iron.

Research has shown chlorophyll to be a powerful anti-carcinogen and Continue reading “Go for the Greens!”

Edamame Succotash

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What is a nutritious, high protein snack that’s quick to the table, delicious and satisfying?  How about one that contains almost no saturated fat and ZERO cholesterol? Dairy free? Now that we have eliminated beef jerky, cheez doodles, and guacamole……
Give up?

How about edamame?  If you’ve been to a Japanese restaurant or Sushi Bar, you may have already enjoyed this tasty snack. Also known as Green Vegetable Soybeans, these immature soybeans are harvested early and left in the pod.

Delicious lightly salted, and possibly the worlds oldest and healthiest snack food, edamame are as popular in Japan as salted peanuts are in the west.  Edamame is fun to eat. Just thread the steaming pod between your teeth and the tasty sweet beans pop right out, toss the pod and grab another. Continue reading “Edamame Succotash”

Its a Wrap!

Looking for a delicious dish that comes together quickly is loaded with healthful fiber and antioxidants and also helps reduce global warming?

Perhaps reducing the size of your waistline is a priority and you crave a satisfying dish with toothsome crunch that won’t spike cholesterol or pack on the pounds. Wraps are ridiculously easy to make from staples that you probably have on hand.

Spinach Asparagus Wraps are really delicious. All you need are whole grain tortillas, hummus, fresh asparagus, some carrots, baby spinach, and bell pepper. Be sure to read the label, many tortillas are high in fat and some contain lard.

My tortillas of choice are Trader Joe’s Organic Whole Wheat & Corn Flour Tortillas. They are very good, contain 1 gram of fat and they are priced right! Continue reading “Its a Wrap!”

Cold Sesame Noodles — Positively Soysational!

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Cold Sesame Noodles is a spicy appetizer that is sometimes called Szechuan Noodles after the traditionally fiery cuisine of Szechuan Province in Mainland China. While its international reputation for delicious spicy-hot cuisine is well deserved, at least a third of the dishes from this region are not at all spicy.

A popular menu item at Chinese restaurants, Cold Sesame Noodles is a dish that is quick to the table at home. This easy recipe calls for spaghetti or linguini, however you can also use Asian-style Udon noodles or even whole-wheat pasta.

What sets this delicious recipe apart is our use of soynut butter to replace traditional peanut butter, which adds healthful antioxidants and isoflavones. Soynut butter is made from soybeans, a terrific alternative for anyone who is  allergic to peanuts or tree nuts of any kind. And it tastes great! Continue reading “Cold Sesame Noodles — Positively Soysational!”