"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!



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