Apricot Bean Salsa

8 08 2012

Salsa comes down to a few key ingredients: jalapeno, lime, and cilantro.  From there, the possibilities are endless, making it the perfect setting to use summer’s ripest fruits.  Adding beans takes it from side dish to main course.

2 cups cooked yellow eye stueben beans

2 large apricots, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 lime, zest and juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To make salsa:  Combine all just before serving. Enjoy in bibb lettuce cups.

If making a day ahead, layer all of the ingredients in a large bowl, with the beans and cilantro on top.  Toss just before serving.  If you toss any sooner, you beans and apricot will get mushy.


Red Rice, Yellow Cauli

30 07 2012

Time to embrace color.  Red Himalayan rice comes from Southeast Asia.  Yellow Cauliflower is colored with the golden hue of Indian curry powder.  Make sense out of two perplexing ingredients.

Serves 4

2 cups red rice

1 white onion, diced

2 tablespoons curry powder, home-made or pre-made

1 large head yellow cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To cook the rice: In a small pot, cover rice with a couple inches of water.  Simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.  Turn off heat, fluff, and keep covered until cauliflower is ready.

Meanwhile, to make your Yellow Cauli:  Place onion, curry powder, and 1/2 cup of water in a large saute pan.  Sweat gently over medium heat until onions are soft and the liquid becomes paste-like.  Add cauliflower to the pan and stir well to coat in the yellow curry paste.  Cover and reduce heat to low to steam cauliflower.  Cook until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.  Add cilantro and stir well to combine.

Serve a big scoop of yellow cauliflower over a huge mound of red rice.  Enjoy!

Fear Not Carbs

3 07 2012

Recent tidbits in the media have reiterated the strengths of eating a Plant-centric diet.
Check out this fun video featuring some of our favorite diet guru.  Dr. Atkins is on there, as well as the writer of the Paleo Solution and some other low-carb heavy hitters:

Low-Carb vs Plant-Based

I’m usually not one to judge by someone’s personal appearance, but I highly doubt that ripped Cross Fit junkies would be motivated by the Paleo grandfather, Loren Cordain.
Beyond carbs, though, what is most important is eating whole foods.  So many times we think of “carbs” as the refined foods that have added sugars and fats.  We think of processed breads, cookies, crackers, pastries, doughnuts, and fries.  None of these are whole foods.  They have been stripped of fiber, protein, and nutrients and fortified with fats, oils, and flavorings to seem like food.  These are food imposters.

Whole carbs are plants.  They are whole grains (rice, oats, quinoa, corn).  They are potatoes (loaded with fiber, nutrients, and even protein and fat).  They are beans and legumes.  They are fruits.  They are complex, which means the body breaks them down slowly so that it can absorb all of their goodness without spiking blood sugar levels or raising insulin.

Even Women’s Health spent some time to quiet some of the myths of meatless eating:

5 Vegetarian Myths

The coolest thing I like on this list is that a Plant-Based diet is often more diverse then a meat-inclusive diet.  I think back to my chicken days.  The same chicken, 4 different ways, week after week.  Now, I eat all colors and sizes of grains.  I’m cooking beans I never knew existed.  I’m tasting different varieties of dark greens, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, spices, and more.  And if I do eat chicken?  Well, it tastes the same as it always did — boring.

Good luck, Plant-friendly eaters.  Please keep me posted on the progress.  May the plants be with you!

Enough Protein

30 05 2012

“How do you get enough protein?”

That’s one of the most frequent questions I hear when discussing plant-centered eating.  I hear it at the gym, where I work, from medical professionals, fitness experts, fellow cooks, and knowledgeable friends.

My favorite answer “I love broccoli.   Broccoli is loaded with protein.”

But not everyone likes broccoli.  Or they don’t believe me when I say I get protein from broccoli.  You mean in the whole history of humankind, vegetarians were dieing from lack of protein?  Now we know!  Really, though, my question for them is “How much protein do you need?” and then “How much are you getting?”

The tricky part here comes with the math.  Now, I love math and numbers.  Some people don’t.  The simple math:

Let’s take a healthy female.  She’s 140 (64 kg) lbs, moderately active.

She  needs about 1600 calories a day.

RDA is .8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight.  For our healthy female, that’s  about 51 g of protein.  1 gram of protein is 4 calories, so that means 204 of her calories should come from protein (about 8 percent of her total calories for the day).

If you love more math, check out my friend Jeff Novick’s post on Protein Requirements.  He’s a Registered Dietician and takes a calculator to the grocery.  He loves math.

So, back to broccoli.

98 calories of broccoli has 28 calories (more than 28%) protein.  When doing the math, remember 1 gram of protein = 4 calories.  I won’t even get into the fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, or iron that also comes with broccoli.  You probably already know all of that.  If our healthy female ate only broccoli (1600 calories worth!) all day, she’d get 114 g of protein by the end of the day.

100 calories of oats has about 20% protein.  Oats!  A day of only oats would be 69g of protein

Tomatoes.  32 calories of tomatoes (that’s a whole cup of tomato slices!) has 25% protein.  (2 grams of protein = 8 calories.  8/32 = 25%)  A day of 1600 calorie tomatoes? 100g of protein.

I haven’t made a single mention of beans, lentils, nuts, or tofu.  I also haven’t mentioned fake-meat products or processed products.  When we eat food that is stripped of its bran and fiber (aka refined flours, sugars, and oils), we strip it of its protein.  Then we usually pay for it in a bright shiny label that advertises “now with extra protein”.  Pass on the labels.  Eat your broccoli.