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Chickpeas with gravy

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegan Main Meals
on January 09, 2012

Chickpeas in gravy

 

Looking for a way to add plant-based protein to your diet? Here is an excellent recipe. I found this recipe on my Tweeter feed this morning and thought it looked like something we should try. It's best to soak dried beans and cook them rather than using canned, but I know it seems easier to just open a can. I even tried soaking them and using them "raw", but seriously they get rancid/moldy much too quickly unless you keep a close eye on them. Check out the blog, Quantum Vegan, for the full article and recipe.  She mentions adding flour to thicken the gravy. The way we like our gravy is cashew gravy and we just put the raw (preferably soaked but I usually don't remember to do this) nuts and water in the blender (Vitamix is great, but we don't have one) and add one tablespoon of whatever flour you want - actually garbanzo bean flour would work. We're always looking for substitutes for refined flours and wheat while also trying to eliminate as many sources of gluten from our diet as possible. Let me just say that I haven't tried this recipe yet, but will probably fix it for Warren tonight. However, I have definitely discovered that after many years of eating regular flour/roux type gravy, I much prefer the cashew gravy. I like to add about a tablespoon of veggie chicken broth seasoning (msg free!) or other seasoning depending on what flavor I'm trying to achieve. Since this recipe highlights thyme, I would think "chicken" broth would be great and we prefer the veggie type. I know, I know veggie chicken is an oxymoron! Try it like she has it or adjust it with the cashew gravy - either way, it sounds like a keeper.

Ingredients
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp flour
1tsp dried thyme
1-2cups veg broth
1 15.5oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
1) In a large skillet or saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2) Add the flour and cook, stirring, until browned, 2-5 minutes.  Add the thyme, chickpeas, and 1 cup of broth; stir well to combine.

3) Bring the mixture a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes to thicken.  Add more broth as necessary if the gravy becomes too thick.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Serve hot.

What so great about cashews?:

The great thing about this recipe, especially if you substitute the regular gravy which has very little nutritional value, is to use the cashew gravy. Did you know that  cashews (contrary to what I was taught years ago), have a lower fat content than most other nuts, approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil! They are high in antioxidants as well. Now how much protein?  Cashews have about 17 grams of protein for each 100 grams of nuts (about 3.5 ounces.)  Check here for information from Whole Foods about all the healthy benefits you get from adding nuts, such as cashew nuts, into your diet.

What about chickpeas?:

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are best known for their very high protein and fiber content.  One of my favorite ways to use chickpeas in to make hummus dip for celery. For those of us trying to increase our plant-based protein and fiber in our meal plans - chickpeas are one of your best bets. For just one cup of beans you will get approximately 17 grams of protein! That's a lot! And as well as that you will receive about 14 grams of fiber. This particular bean has been studied and has shown that incorporating chickpeas into your diet will help keep you satisfied without food cravings. For more information about chickpeas, here is the link to Whole Foods detailed information.

Let me know if you try it!




Beautiful Skin Cocktail

By Aromatherapy Recipes Naturally Nurturing Skin
on November 29, 2011
1 comment

Easy recipe for beautiful skin!

 

I love that some things are easy in life because so many aren't. This is one of those easy things and it really does make a difference in the look and feel of your skin. I know I have days when my skin looks vibrant and other days when it just looks drab (today for instance) - which is why I started reading one of the books on my shelves. I use the same facial regimen every day that I know to be effective and healthy, but sometimes you just have to start from the inside to achieve that healthy look. You need a juicer though - the kind with names like Champion that extracts the juice from the vegetable or fruit and expels the pulp. We got ours used for about $25.00 - just let people know you're looking for one. Or you can opt for a new one. I have an article somewhere that I wrote about which brands and types are available. Will have to find that.This recipe was adapted from Juicing, Fasting and Detoxing For Life by Cherie Calbom, MS.

BEAUTIFUL SKIN COCKTAIL

1 cucumber, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
2 to 3 carrots, scrubbed well (peeled if not organic), tops removed
1/2 lemon, peeled
1/4 green bell pepper (Opt for the red if available, more vitamin C and phytonutrients, see below)

Cut fresh produce to fit your juicer's feet tube. Juice ingredients and stir gently to blend. Pour into a clear glass (I like to see the colors shining through) and drink as soon as possible. Precious vitamins and minerals are lost with each passing minute. Savor the taste - don't just gulp it down.  This should make 1 to 2 glasses.

Why this cocktail? 

Well, many reasons but I'll address mostly the benefits from bell peppers. However, carrots also contain a huge amount of carotenoids and vitamin A and contribute a great deal to healthy skin plus helping protect skin from UV damage. Below are other benefits from this particular juice:

1.  Silicon - cucumber, parsnip and bell pepper are good sources of the trace mineral silicon, which is recommended to strengthen skin, hair, and fingernails along with bones. In studies silicon has been shown to reduce signs of aging such as improving thickness of skin and reducing wrinkles. Silicon - not to be confused with silicone, refers to natural materials whereas silicone refers to man-made materials. Silicon is a nonmetallic element with the atomic weight of 28. Silicon increases absorption of calcium. As we age, silicon becomes depleted, so it can be an important addition to our diet as we age. There is no daily intake requirement but it is important that silicon be consumed on a daily basis.

2. Vitamins -  Bell pepper contains more than 30 different carotenoids. Carotenoids provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Bell pepper is also an excellent source of vitamin C - two times the amount of vitamin C found in your typical orange. Red peppers have twice as much vitamin C as green ones. Go for the red! Every good Nebraskan knows that!! 

Bell pepper is also a good source of another antioxidant vitamin--vitamin E. German researchers report that the antioxidants vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids - lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene - improve various aspects of skin health and reduce the effects of skin aging. "Subjects supplemented with the antioxidants in both groups also experienced a significant increase in skin density and thickness. In addition, roughness, scaling and wrinkling of the skin improved in both groups of subjects receiving the antioxidants." (1) 

Bell peppers contain a substantial amount of vitamin A with ripened red peppers having almost 16 times the amount of vitamin A than green bell peppers. According to WebMd, vitamin A is necessary for the maintenance and repair of skin tissue. "Without it you'll notice the difference." (2). Although being pharmaceutical-minded, they also recommend topical vitamin A creams. I have no doubt that increasing your intake of natural vitamin A would be much better - Mother Nature really does know best. 

Increasing our regular intake of antioxidant phytonutrients can decrease our oxidative stress and lower our levels of inflammation, both of which contribute to dry, aging skin and wrinkles.This is but one of many juicing recipes that can be easy and very inexpensive to do. There are many other health benefits beyond healthy skin, but usually the health of our bodies is directly reflected in the healthy appearance of our skin.

Thanks for listening!

 

 





1.  Source: Heinricha U, Tronniera H, Stahlb W, Béjotc M, Maurettec JM. Antioxidant Supplements Improve Parameters Related to Skin Structure in Humans. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2006;19:224-231.

2.  http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition?page=2




Black Bean and Artichoke Medley II

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegan Main Meals
on November 13, 2011

Black beans and artichokes in a simple vegan stew:

 

Sometime last year I wrote a blog about "The Mighty Artichoke" - see here - and why it is so incredibly healthy and often overlooked as a superfood. And I also posted a recipe that we had adapted from AICR's website with permission - see here. At this time in our household we are dealing with what we believe to be yeast overgrowth which is presenting itself as a large area of Warren's body being covered with rashes. This has been going on for awhile. The dermatologist thought it was psoriasis, so he put him on prednisone, which is a steroid medicine often given for inflammatory conditions. However, it also feeds yeast and makes it worse. Which is what has happened. The reason I'm even telling you this is that we are now VERY interested in changing our diet to eliminate all sources of sugars that would feed anymore yeast growth. We are also treating the rash, but I can tell you it has been a painful miserable process for my husband. In this long process I have been doing a lot more research about yeast and what can be done about it.  Which means I've been searching through a lot of our recipes to see if they could be used now. The black beans and artichoke recipe originally was a simple quick recipe and I made it today. It was a hit and what we call a "keeper". I wanted to share with you this simple but tasty black bean and artichoke simmer II.

Olive oil (just lightly cover the bottom of the pan)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 fresh garlic cloves (one of the best things to fight yeast)
1 quart of Warren's canned tomatoes (I know you can't have these - substitute 2 cans of tomatoes with no sugar or salt added)
1 can (15 oz) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 Tbsp Old Westporte Special seasoning (you'll see me use this spice a lot - here is where you can find it). It's not a "spice" per se but a proprietary blend of dehydrated vegetables.

In medium saucepan, saute the onions until transparent. Add the minced garlic - don't let burn or turn brown. Add the Westporte seasoning and stir in the tomatoes and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the black beans, stirring to mix well, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until heated throughout. 

I wasn't sure if it would turn out to be a soup, stew or casserole type dish. It was somewhere between a soup and stew and we served it in bowls. It was really very good. We happened to have cooked spinach as a side dish at the time and tried adding that to the stew, but it pretty much overwhelmed the clean, fresh taste of the artichokes and tomatoes. 

According to AICR's (American Institute for Cancer Research) website this recipe contains 9 servings, with 90 calories each, 1.5 grams total fat (0 grams saturated fat), 15 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 4 grams dietary fiber and 420 mg sodium. I think using our own canned tomatoes probably reduced the sodium content. I also did not add any salt while cooking. 

Easy, quick and incredibly healthy! Let me know if you have any recipes you'd like to share or advice about yeast overgrowth. After searching through quite a bit of information, it became clear that there is a lot of disagreement about what can or cannot, should or should not be eaten to control yeast. I've had to weigh my education as a nurse with my education as a holistic nutritionist to filter out those things that just don't make sense. I've also watched closely to see clinical improvements or something that might make it worse. I am certainly open to listening to anyone's knowledge in this area.

Thanks for listening!











Foods That Fight Cancer!

By Healthy Planet Blog Cancer Counsel
on June 07, 2011

Do you know which foods fight cancer? 

 

I know most of us have heard that turmeric is a very good choice to include in your diet to fight cancer, but actually getting enough into your diet is fairly difficult unless you eat a lot of Indian curry-type dishes and/or take supplements. I'm always looking for ways to easily fit foods into my diet that have been proven to increase my body's ability to fight off cancer. I came across this article just after admiring my swiss chard and kale growing in flower boxes on the deck. I have plans to grow larger amounts in the garden but never quite got the chance. The farmers' market, of course, is a great place to find foods that fight cancer. I will put out my seeds soon for my fall crop.

According to recent research funded by the American Institute for Cancer Research, dark green leafy vegetables are a great way to incorporate cancer-fighting components into your diet. Included are spinach, kale, romaine lettuce (not so dark, but full of the properties you're looking for), leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens (love this coming from a Southern girl), chicory and swiss chard. They didn't mention bok choy, parsley, cilantro or basil, but I'm thinking those would be included but will check.

These particular foods are excellent sources of fiber, folate and lots of carotenoids including lutein, zeaxanthin, saponins and flavonoids. According to AICR's report, "Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective", these foods can protect us against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. I know we've all read that research has shown that carotenoids in particular are very good antioxidants that fight the free radicals we are bombarded with every day. Additional research has shown that these dark green leafy vegetables can also help stop the growth of some breast, skin, lung and stomach cancer. Folate was identified as decreasing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Most nutrition experts will also tell you to "shop the rainbow" - meaning the darker the color, the more antioxidants are included. An easy example is that red peppers are a better choice than green peppers; however, both are very good choices. In our green leafy choices, the dark purple kale would be better than green kale - although, again, both are very good choices. We prefer red cabbage over green cabbage for that reason as well.

AICR is our chosen choice for donations and if you take a look at their website and what they offer, I think you can see why. They, like us, believe that health begins and ends with good nutrition. Finding the correct and reliable information about that is not always easy. We believe that AICR provides a very good balance and evidence for all that they report. They have funded additional research on the subject of dark green leafy vegetables and why they fight cancer. Also read the full list of their recommendations for cancer prevention. You will see as you click the subjects we've mentioned such as fiber, folate, carotenoids and flavonoids, you will be taken to a page full of research showing why they are making these recommendations. And for those of you who think you can't or won't eat collards or mustard greens, you'd be pleasantly surprised at some recipes. AICR has provided one in particular for this subject and it can be found here. We will also post this recipe on our blog section under healthy recipes - and I'm going to try it out this week. I personally love them just raw, steamed or lightly sauteed - add a little balsamic vinegar.

So - let me know what you think about dark green leafy vegetables. Take a stroll down the tables at your local farmer's markets and see the vast array of vegetables that are available.

Thanks for listening!








Why is green tea better with lemon?

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on May 20, 2011
1 comment

The synergy of using green tea and citrus juice enhances the absorption of the antioxidants!

 

In a Japanese study with more than 40,500 participants, it was discovered that those with the lowest risk of dying of heart disease or stroke drank at least five cups of green tea every day. Not anything really new, but the authors of the study again found that the catechins, the powerful antioxidants in green tea, are responsible for this health-saving effect. They also found, however, that only 20% of the catechins actually survive the digestive system. 

What to do? Well, if you're like a lot of us, I like lemon with my tea! I look for organic though, but regardless, it was found that the vitamin C in lemons or lemon juice help your body absorb 13 times the antioxidants as you would from drinking the tea without lemon - this according to a Purdue study. I'm thinking then maybe I don't need to drink a full 5 cups a day if I add the lemon. I've also discovered some easier ways to get my green tea into my daily routine with some of the antioxidant flavored teas that you will find in even regular grocery stores. Substitute that glass of iced black tea for green tea this summer with lemon (organic please!)

ADDENDUM ADDED May 24, 2011:

Adding milk actually lessens absorption and use freshly brewed tea as the research shows the catechins in bottled drinks are ineffective.


Thanks for listening!

More detailed information here:


Wingsets check out this link image 

The Mighty Artichoke

By Healthy Planet Blog Vegetarian and Vegan
on March 22, 2011
1 comment

Artichoke - the Super Food

Almost any holiday or social gathering in our family is accompanied with Spinach Artichoke Dip. Okay - I know this isn't the healthy version of a recipe I'm about to give you, but it does show that we love artichokes. Another day, we'll talk about a healthier version of the Spinach Artichoke Dip. I do have to admit though - I have never, ever cooked a raw artichoke and as many times as I've seen it demonstrated, I just haven't felt motivated to do it. So, this would be one of the only vegetables I can think of that I prefer canned - unless or until I try cooking the raw one. Usually, and maybe always, the canned artichokes are artichoke hearts, which is what we are discussing here.


How healthy is the artichoke?

Not only does it contain an amazing array of "good for you" benefits detailed below, but some new studies have shown that artichokes also have an unusual amount of antioxidants in the form of phytonutrients. Apparently, one study done by the United States Department of Agriculture gave artichokes top rating for being the highest rated vegetable in anti-oxidant count. I have to admit - I didn't know that. Two of the powerful phytonutrients include Cynarin and Silymarin. You have probably read about Silymarin and its liver strengthening benefits. Silymarin is why Milk Thistle is considered to be a liver tonic, sold as supplements and included in herbal teas. Historically, it has been said that artichokes can cure liver diseases and liver cancer. Read more to find out why.

What is Cynarin?

Studies show and nutrition classes teach that Cynarin can reduce cholesterol production in the liver and "expel sluggish cholesterol" out of the liver and gallbladder. This, therefore, stimulates bile production and flow - a good thing. It is said to lower serum cholesterol and triglycerides while at the same time raising the HDL cholesterol - the good guy.  It protects the liver and enhances liver function.  And I even read in one or two places that Cynarin is said to be a "powerful aphrodisiac" - just repeating what I read and making no promises!

What is Silymarin?

Most of us have heard about Silymarin by reading about Milk Thistle and the liver benefits derived from this herb. Many supplements are now available with Silymarin. To simply quote Wikipedia concerning Silibinin, a major active constituent of Silymarin: "Both in vitro and animal research suggest that silibinin has hepatoprotective (antihepatotoxic) properties that protect liver cells against toxins. Silibinin has also demonstrated anti-cancer effects against human prostate adenocarcinoma cells, estrogen-dependent and -independent human breast carcinoma cells, human ectocervical carcinoma cells, human colon cancer cells, and both small and nonsmall human lung carcinoma cells." 

Pretty impressive I'm thinking.

What else is so healthy about the artichoke?

Depending on which source you choose, below are some really amazing benefits for just one artichoke:

  • High in dietary fiber, which we all need (6.9 to 10 grams!)
  • High in iron
  • High in manganese
  • Very high in magnesium
  • High in niacin
  • High in folate
  • High in phosphorus
  • Very high in potassium!
  • High in Vitamin B6 (a very important one)
  • Very high in Vitamin C
  • Contains 4.2 grams of protein! 

Seriously! This is a powerhouse of nutrition with only around 60 calories (or less) for one medium artichoke. The amount of fiber and protein will vary also with the fiber obviously being higher in a raw artichoke. We used a great website called caloriecount.about.com for some of this information. Of course the problem can be how do we use this incredibly healthy vegetable without adding dressings full of fat or resorting to the marinated ones. I think you'll like this recipe that we've adapted from one on the AICR website and can be found in our blog - Artichoke and Bean Medly.

I'd love to hear your recipes for artichokes and if you use raw ones rather than cooked ones. And for the raw fooders out there, I don't see raw artichokes mentioned too much. Do any of you eat them uncooked and if so, how do you do that?

Thanks for listening!

Ann

 

 

A few other good sources for additional information about artichokes:

http://www.oceanmist.com/health/vitamin.aspx

http://nutrition.about.com/od/fruitsandvegetables/p/artichokes.htm 


Artichoke and Bean Medly

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegan Main Meals
on March 22, 2011

Artichoke and Bean Medley - Vegan

Below is a recipe that we've adapted from one we received from AICR (American Institute for Cancer Research). You can actually make this as a cold salad or a warm main dish. For more information on how VERY HEALTHY artichokes are, see our blog on The Mighty Artichoke, including cancer prevention benefits. 


RECIPE:

  • 1 cup of sweet onions (use green onions if making into a salad)
  • 1/2 cup of red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • Large can of Italian tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup of black beans (soaked overnight and cooked prior to using)
  • 1/2 cup of red kidney beans (soaked overnight and cooked prior to using)
  • 1 cup of canned green beans
  • 1 cup of red lentils (cooked - cooled if using as a salad)
  • 2 cans of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into quarters
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 

Saute onions, celery and bell pepper until transparent in the olive oil.

Add minced garlic and continue to saute for a few minutes - don't burn the garlic (you'll be sorry.)

Combine the canned tomatoes (actually fresh would be really good here if they are available, just add fennel, oregano and thyme or your favorite Italian seasoning), the beans, and lentils with the onions, garlic and pepper.

Simmer on medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, drained, and simmer for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. You can season with salt according to taste.

Serve in attractive casserole dish - I know you have one.

Artichokes already have a good deal of fiber and protein, by adding the beans and lentils we have greatly increased both the fiber and protein content.

Enjoy! Let us know if you try this, if you tweak it or what you think about it.

 

Ann


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