The Amazing Benefits of Eating Your Sweet ‘Taters!

11 04 2012

One of the neat things about eating plant based is that your tastes really do change after awhile. As a kid, I despised sweet potatoes but after eliminating all sugars from my diet, I’ve gone back to try them and found them to be nature’s candy. They are delicious and one of the most nutrient packed vegetable that you can eat. Sweet Potatoes are loaded with vitamin A. An average sized sweet potato packs more than the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A. This is especially beneficial for smokers who often end up having a vitamin A deficiency which over time can lead to emphysema. They are also a great food for asthma sufferers and are low on the glycemic index for those with diabetes.

An average sized sweet potato can give you nearly a third of your daily vitamin C allowance while providing you with 15% of your recommended daily fiber intake. They are also loaded with antioxidants. You won’t find more betacarotene anywhere so sweet potatoes are perfect for good heart, eye and skin health. They are also full of anti-inflammatory properties and are excellent for people suffering from arthritis.

Because sweet potatoes are often chemically treated during and after the growing season, it is best to remove the skin prior to eating. As always, buying organic is going to be your best bet. It’s worth the extra money not to eat the poison.

Sweet potatoes are so nutrient rich that they can potentially cause harm if you eat them too often while having kidney or gallbladder issues. They contain small amounts of oxalates which when taken large doses can be problematic. Healthy digestive tracks will be more able to properly digest sweet potatoes. But like all things, eat them in moderation. Definitely don’t pass them up thpogh because they are amazingly beneficial and delicious.

Here is a great looking recipe that I cannot wait to try. It’s from Engine2 Diet:

RIP’S SWEET POTATO LASAGNA
1 onion, chopped
1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 head broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1 package Silken Lite tofu
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 jars pasta sauce cashews
tomato
2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
1 cup raw cashews, ground

Preheat oven to 400º. Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick
pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liq-
uid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan.
Sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl. Sauté the peppers and
corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl. Drain the tofu by wrapping in
paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl. Add spices to the
vegetable bowl and combine.

To Assemble:
Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover
the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy. Spread
the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dress-
ing of sauce. Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the spinach with the
mashed sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping
of sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews,
and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!





Veggies – the Perfect Prescription

23 02 2012

So the Broccoli Rabe soup came out fantastic. As I tried it, I was thinking of how much my mother and grandmother would enjoy it. My mom stopped by today and tried a little and told me it was some of the best soup she has ever had. Success!  This soup is hearty!

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I love cajun food and recently came across this recipe. I’m hoping to give it a try soon! It would have been perfect for Fat Tuesday!

CHICKPEA GUMBO (From Fat Free Vegan)
2 teaspoons olive oil (or 2 tablespoons water or broth—see SUSAN’s TIPS)
1 tablespoon flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
1 16-ounce can chickpeas (drained)
16 ounces sliced okra, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1-2 cups additional broth or water

In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the onions, pepper, and celery in the olive oil. When the onions begin to get translucent, add the flour and stir continuously, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the flour begins to brown slightly. Add the vegetable broth and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Then add the remaining ingredients.

The gumbo should have enough liquid to resemble a chunky soup; if it is too dry, add some more vegetable broth or water. Cook for at least 30 minutes, until the flavors have a chance to mingle. Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.

Veggie sausage can also be added!

That’s it for today, Brother Body wants some rest now!





A Delicious New Take on Soup and Salad

19 02 2012


I’ve been eating an awful lot of veggie wraps lately and they have been delicious.  I’ve enjoyed all sorts of variations of peppers, bok choy, broccoli rabe, mushrooms, lettuce and sprouts.   Here’s a pic  of the veggies that were going into one of my recent wraps.  Doesn’t that look fabulous?!

The wraps themselves have been high in fiber while low in fat and calories.  But my weight has leveled a bit and I need to switch it up and get some more variety this week.  I’ve recently got a hold of some wonderful plant-based cookbooks that are giving me some excellent ideas.

In the northeast US right now, it’s fairly cold.  And nothing beats the chill like a nice warm homemade bowl of soup.  I’m looking for something different though and I think I’m going to give this a try and see how it goes:  Broccoli Rabe  Soup!  I don’t know what it is about Broccoli Rabe but I am just absolutely crazy for the stuff.  Through the course of last week, I ate three heads of it.  I know, I just said I need to switch it up, but I’m not letting go of my Broccoli Rabe!   I’m going to add carrots and onion chopped very finely, lots and lots of garlic, mashed white beans as a thickener and then add some seasoning to my veggie stock. I’m going to let that simmer for a few hours and then add trimmed and chopped broccoli rabe!  I imagine you could substitute  escarole, spinach or kale if you prefer one of those.

I’m also going to make a Roman-Style Marinated Broccoli Salad.  It’s really quick and easy.  You take a package of broccolislaw (big time saver), add 3 chopped plum tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and season to taste.  Combine, sprinkle with a bit of parsley  and then refrigerate for several hours.  This will be a really nice side salad to that soup.

I can’t wait to make these.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Pics to come!





Weekend Comfort Foods!

3 02 2012

Just spoke with a friend who I haven’t seen in some time.  He has lost over a hundred pounds and is eating a mostly raw foods diet.  That is amazing!   What an inspiration.

“Human beings have great potential; they can do anything.  The power of the mind is incredible, limitless.”
-Lama Thubten Yeshe
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Some folks have been sharing some fantastic recipes with me lately so I thought that I’d pass a few along:

VEGAN SPLIT PEA SOUP
one bag split peas
3 carrots – chopped
1 chopped onion
Baby red potatoes – chopped in half
2 tablespoons garlic
2 bay leaves (remove before serving if you  can find them)
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 Tablespoon marjoram
9 cups vegetable broth
Dash of cayenne pepper
slow cooker – all day
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VEGETARIAN MEATLESS MEATLOAF
One Pkg extra Firm Tofu
1 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/3 Ketchup
3 tblsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Medium Chopped Onion
1 Cub Italian Bread Crumbs
2 eggs (or egg beaters)
Mix
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch square baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, mix,  Place the mixture into the prepared pan, and mold into a loaf shape.
  3. Bake the meatloaf 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven.

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VEGETARIAN GRAVY
http://allrecipes.com/Video/117/Vegetarian-Gravy/Detail.aspx

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And this fantastic link (that won’t link for some reason) to a downloadable file of plant-based recipes for the big game from “Forks Over Knives”.

http://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes-for-super-bowl-xlvi/

Have a great weekend friends!





One Step at a Time

23 01 2012

And so begins week five of my switch to a (mostly) plant based diet.   I shed two more pounds this last week.  I was looking for more but I did go a little off track on Saturday, so I’m not exactly surprised.  This brings the total weight loss to 35+ pounds from my heaviest weight.  It’s a nice jumping off point for the next round of serious weight loss.  I’m upping my exercise regiment and trying to better control my portions of plant based fats.  We’ll see what difference that makes this week.

I made a crock pot full of amazing homemade 13 bean soup yesterday  with celery, tomato, onion and a small helping of zucchini/spinach pasta.  After about 8 hours the beans and pasta sucked up all of the liquid and I was left with mush.  The best tasting mush ever!  These are the kind of meals that I need to be preparing more frequently.  If I can eat closer to the source and get away from the bagged snacks and boxed meals, I know I’ll be better off.

In the morning with the journey all before us on the road,
It takes courage to begin, that is sure;
For the first step is the hardest, and we always think the load
May be greater than we’ve power to endure.
When the first mile lies behind us we can say, “Now that is done,
And the second and the third will soon be past.”
So we trudge on through the noontime, and the setting of the sun
Finds us coming to our stopping-place at last.

When a man would climb a mountain he’s appalled to see the length
Of the slope that reaches up into the sky;
But he starts, and with the climbing he will find he’s gained the strength
To attain the very top, however high.
For the climbing of a mountain takes but one step at a time–
Who has courage to do that will reach the goal;
He will stand upon Life’s summit and will know that joy sublime
Which is his alone who dares to prove his soul.

-Joseph Morris








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