"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Plant Strong Plates, not Pills

Today I went to the farmers market after church. I was running low on fruits and veggies and needed to stock up. I went a little crazy.....
I get excited about fruits and vegetables:) Not only do they taste good, but these power packed foods keep me healthy and prevent diseases. Yesterday I was at a health screening and someone was joking that the local pizza place knew their order when they walked in the door. And this person was dealing with a chronic disease, diabetes. Now I am not saying that pizza is a bad food (there are no bad foods, just everything in moderation), but I have a feeling that their favorite pizza was not topped with lots of veggies. So many chronic diseases including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer can be prevented and better managed by eating a plant based diet. In a blog that I read on a regular basis, Dr. Michael Greger reviewed a research study on individuals who eat plant based diets. http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/01/10/plant-based-benefits-extend-beyond-the-top-killers/.
The lower rates of disease found in those eating plant-based diets appear to translate into fewer surgeries (from hysterectomies to varicose veins) and fewer medications. Compared to meat-eating controls, those eating vegetarian had only about half the odds of being on aspirin, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antacids, pain-killers, blood pressure medications, laxatives, and insulin.
In conclusion, if you’re like most people and don’t like being dependent on drugs, don’t like paying for drugs, and don’t like all the side effects, you may be able to cut your odds of needing medications in half by choosing to eat a more plant-based diet. 
So maybe you don't like fruits and vegetables. Try them in different ways. I remember when I was a kid in grade school, we had canned spinach for lunch with ham and beans, a carrot and cornbread. I was a picky eater as a child and only ate the carrot and cornbread. That canned spinach was gross and it was served with vinegar. I didn't get it. But as an adult, I started buying fresh spinach to put in salads. It is awesome and much better than iceberg lettuce which has minimal nutritional value. So get creative. You would be amazed at the wonderful flavors created by roasting vegetables. Here is a quick and easy recipe for roasted vegetables:
1 eggplant
2-3 yellow squash
2-3 zucchini
1 8 oz package of mushrooms
1 onion
1 bell pepper
2-3 garlic cloves

2 tsp of olive oil
balsamic vinegar
Herbs including oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, about a tsp of each

Chop vegetables. Note that they cook more evenly if they are about the same size. But if you don't have Top Chef knife skills, that is ok- they will still taste good. Place veggies in a big pot or bowl. Add olive oil and herbs and balsamic vinegar (if you prefer). Stir to coat the vegetables evenly and then place in a 13 x 9 pan (I usually use my glass pyrex pan). Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. You can use the roasted veggies in pasta, quinoa or other grains; in omelets; in salads or even as a side dish. Enjoy!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Clean Eating

Check out the video interview that I did for Florida Southern Wellness TV (it is the second story). Power your body with a plant strong diet!



Saturday, October 27, 2012

IM World Championships, Parties and Clean Eating

Today is the broadcast of the Ironman World Championships on NBC. Watching the Ironman World Championships is so inspiring and the coverage is peppered with human interest stories that tug at your heart strings. I am sure to shed a few tears before it is done...I am headed over to a fellow triathlete's house to watch with the local triathlon club the Lakeland Landsharks. The party is BYOB and a snack to share. I was debating about what to bring the past couple of days. My first thought was Kona carrot cake cupcakes (those sound delicious, don't they- maybe another time). But since I had to work this morning, I opted for something more simple. I could have just picked up a jar of salsa and called it good. But I was thinking about an interview that I did yesterday for Florida Southern's Wellness TV show about clean eating. Basically clean eating is all about consuming whole food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. This means eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins instead of pre-packaged, processed foods or fast food. Many people who follow a clean eating plan don't count calories, but instead trust in good quality, healthy food. I think that clean eating is a great movement and will result in more people cooking meals at home instead of eating out. Plus people will eat more nutrient dense foods instead of processed foods loaded with sodium, sugar and other preservatives.
So back to my recipe, I decided to make a salsa. My boss gave me a Florida avocado from her brother's tree so I first thought about guacamole, but I finally decided to make a salsa with avocado, tomato, red onion and cilantro. This is a quick and easy recipe, taking only about 10 minutes to make.

Tomato, Avocado & Red Onion Salsa

1 tomato, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
almost 1/2 of Florida avocado, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (this ingredient gives it a kick- If you have never tried it before, I highly recommend it. The smokiness enhances the flavor and I use it in tacos, chili and even on my scrambled eggs).

Finely chop the tomato, red onion and avocado since it will be a salsa served with chips. Juice the lime and add the spices. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that the flavors will develop. Or if you have time, make it a day ahead- the flavor will be even better. Serve with chips.

Check out the cute serving dish that my mom gave me (that's what mom's are for- giving you cute stuff that comes in handy every once and awhile:). Have a great weekend everyone!