Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who on earth eats 5 cups of vegetables a day?!

I do and you should too! Vegetables should be the main part of your diet, they are full of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fiber. They make you feel full. If you can buy organic, do so, or know that you are eating a lot of pesticides and poison too.

The first picture is my raw vegetables that I bought for the next few days meals. I have cauliflower, broccoli, beets, asparagus, portabello mushrooms and brussels sprouts. I will also use the beet greens, they are soaking in water right now.

The second picture is all of the above cooked and ready to go.

It takes a while to prep it all, but by doing it ahead of time, I am sure to have a variety of healthy choices ready at a moments notice.

If it's nice weather I will grill most of them, but it's early and cold out so I will roast them in the oven today. I have set it at 400 degrees (I believe that is a medium high mark in Europe)

Beets: Buy them when the greens are crisp and vibrant, soak the greens and roughly chop then saute in a tiny bit of coconut oil. I choose coconut oil (organic only) because it has a high smoke point. The beets will be scrubbed, put in a small pan with a splash of water, covered with foil and roasted until tender, 20 to 45 minutes depending on the beet- poke a knife into them to test. When done, the skins peel off easily, cut into bite sized pieces, splash with red wine vinegar, pepper and a tiny bit of salt.

Asparagus: break off tough ends, roast till tender and slightly charred.

Mushrooms: Slice thickly, roast till water is released and they are brown, toss some pepper and balsamic vinegar on after removing from the oven.

Broccoli and cauliflower: Cut into small florettes, roast in separate pans till tender and charred.

Brussels sprouts: quarter or halve, then roast till charred.

Any of these can be eaten alone or mixed, room temperature or warmed.

I will use many of these in salads, my salads rarely if ever have lettuce. I might include some romaine for crunch, or spinach. I love whole cilantro leaves for a burst of flavor. Salads are big, sometimes 2 cups of vegetables, then 4 ounces of chunked chicken, tuna or turkey. Don't forget the all important starches (carbohydrate) add beans, these are really good for you, I will use 3/4 cup. The darker the bean the more anti-oxidants it has. If you are watching sodium intake you should make your own beans from dried beans and not use canned, even the "low sodium" variety (the only ones I buy) have a great deal of sodium. My favorite bean for salad? Black or kidney.

I use a great dressing that my nutritionist Kim Porterfield gave me- mix in a small container balsamic vinegar, grainy mustard and a sweetener such as splenda or truvia. You can use as much of this as you like, no oil is ever added or needed. The proportions I use are approximately 1/3 cup balsamic, 1 Tablespoon mustard and 1 teaspoon splenda, make it to your taste.