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Leafy Greens for Brain Health

By Ann C Wooledge
on December 08, 2015

Bring on the Green, Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, chard and other green leafy vegetables of every type are great for the brain. In one study, Dr. Martha Clare Morris found that people who ate 1-2 servings of green leafy vegetables per day were 11 years younger—cognitively speaking—than those who consumed none. And that's really not a LOT of green leafies! They are easy to incorporate into our diets and so many ways to do it. That's one of the reasons she included leafy greens as one of the ten essential foods in the MIND diet, with a recommendation of at least six servings per week. If you can't quite make it to six, even two servings a week showed some benefit! 

Here are four recipes to try this month if you'd like to incorporate leafy greens into your diet in new ways. Read more here

Now here is what NOT to do - I let my swiss chard sit out on the deck during an ice storm not long ago. I think I can still maybe saute it? Or try it in this recipe. I love quiche, I love cheddar cheese and I love chard - so this looks like a winner. 

 

Another good way could be to use it in a salad - this one looks really good too - swiss chard, cabbage and brussel sprouts salad!

Now sitting right beside the swiss chard is my patch of parsley that seems to grow regardless of heat or cold this year. I'm going to plant some kale in this area this week too because I've seen it last through even the harshest Nebraska winters. 

 

Now I'm not sure what to do with this much parsley though. Freeze it, dry it? Any suggestions?

Do you have some good ways to incorporate greens into your diet? Please share!

Thanks for listening!

ann c wooledge, RN, CCAP, aromatherapist, herbalist, organic and natural cosmetic formulator

Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health, nutrition and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

See our disclaimer statements here.

 

Spring Vegetable Stew

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegetarian Entrees
on April 17, 2012

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew Recipe

Still putting the finishing touches on the blog about the extremely powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties of clove, both as an essential oil and a spice/herb. In the meantime, I came across this recipe and with AICR's permission I'm posting it for you. They are our information site for all things pertaining to cancer and nutrition. If you visit, take a minute to donate a little (or a lot) if you can. They are really making a difference in the world of cancer research and information. The original article is here.


Picture by permission from American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)


Satisfying Spring Stew

This hearty one-pot is full of cancer-fighting vegetables and flavorful herbs and spices. Best of all each serving weighs in at only 300 calories and 6 grams of fat, making it a great dish to help you maintain a healthy weight. Butternut squash and carrots contain cancer-fighting carotenoids while onions and garlic pack quercetin and allixin —compounds that show the ability to slow tumor growth in the lab. Serve with hearty brown rice or whole-wheat couscous for the perfect New American Plate meal.

 Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth (low-sodium chicken broth may be substituted for a non-vegetarian dish)
1/2 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground paprika
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (or substitute 1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder for spices from chili powder through cardamom)
1 lb. (2 cups diced) small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 cup raisins
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/4" slices
1 (15-oz) can garbanzos, drained
1/4 cup pitted black olives, halved
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white or black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 cups cooked brown rice (whole-wheat couscous may be substituted)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.

While broth is simmering, combine spices in a mixing bowl then stir them into pot. Add butternut squash, raisins, carrots and garlic. Cover and continue simmering until vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Let me know if you try it!

 


 

Fresh Warm Spring Asparagus Salad

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegetarian Entrees
on April 03, 2012

Warm Spring Asparagus Salad


Well, for our part of the country spring has come very, very early this year. Yesterday, April 2nd, the temperature on our deck was around 95 degrees! No - I'm definitely not complaining! I love spring and summer. One of the things I love about spring is the nice fresh asparagus that is so readily available. We planted it one year and it came back a couple of years, but never where it was big enough to pick. So, we depend on our local farmers. We've noticed too that Trader Joe's has a frozen asparagus which frankly is as good as any fresh I've tasted. We mostly just saute it in a little butter or olive oil, but when I saw this recipe for warm salad, I had to give it a try. The recipe came from George Matelian's daily email (from Whole Foods) we receive and it always has good information and recipes. To read more "in-depth" nutritional information and how to sign up for his newsletter - click here.


This one salad has an amazing array of healthy nutrients. Certainly, enough to give it a try. By using the frozen asparagus spears, you can save some time and effort. We'd use the raw apple cider vinegar and McKay's chicken seasoning. When our bell peppers are ready for picking this summer, we'll use those. In the meantime, we freeze them every year, so I have some and those are what I'll use in this recipe. I do always keep jars of roasted red peppers - maybe I will use those. The balsamic vinegar is a no-brainer for me - love the stuff.

The entire credit for the following goes to Whole Foods and their extremely informational website:

You can add this easy-to-prepare salad to your Healthiest Way of Eating in a matter of minutes. Not only is it an excellent source of health-promoting vitamins A, C, and E, but it provides 16% of your Daily Value for folate. Enjoy!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small onion, cut in half and sliced thin
  • 2 TBS light vinegar (rice, apple cider, or white wine)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 3 TBS low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 7-1/2 oz jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained and slivered (or 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced thin)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Slice onion and place in a small bowl with vinegar and hot water while preparing rest of the ingredients.
  2. After about 10 minutes, remove onion from hot water and squeeze dry.
  3. While onions are marinating heat 3 TBS broth over medium heat in a stainless steel skillet.
  4. While broth is heating, snap off the woody bottom of asparagus stems, then cut the spears into 2-inch lengths. Cutting them into short pieces of equal length ensures quick, even cooking.
  5. When broth begins to steam, add asparagus. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. The outside will be tender and the inside will be crisp. Thinner spears will take about 3 minutes.
  6. Mix together roasted peppers with marinated onion, asparagus, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Marinate for 4-5 minutes and serve warm.

    Optional: If you use fresh red bell peppers, Healthy Sauté them for 7 minutes and toss with rest of ingredients in place of roasted peppers. Serves 4

     

    Let us know if you try this! 

    Thanks for listening!

      

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!




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