Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fatty Pants Says Hello

Hello people. I miss you. What’s going on in your worlds out there? Are you getting into the kitchen and trying new things? Are you filling your plates and bellies with wide arrays of beautiful colors and textures, vegetables and grains? Are you making whole, natural food dishes brimming over with vitamins and nutrients, fiber and living enzymes? Are you becoming ever more inspired to eat a diet that’s kind to yourself, the environment, and our two, four, and no legged friends??!! If so, drop me a line - I could use a little inspiration.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mustard Roasted Celery Root and Potato Salad

Hey there folks.  When's the last time you bought a vegetable that you didn't know what to do with?  It's a heck of a way to expand your repertoire, and a good way to get in touch with what your grocer/farmer has on hand that's seasonal and inexpensive.  One of my favorite sites is 101cookbooks.com.  You can do a search by ingredient and come up with a list of dishes that include what you're looking for.  And I love her site as a starting point because the recipes tend to get high marks in the tasty, healthy, and whole foods departments.

The bad boy pictured above, however, is not in that ingredient list.  I call it celery root, but wikipedia just schooled me and let me know that it's technically "celeraic." Excusez-moi, wikipedia.  So celery root, sorry, celeriac is a root vegetable, and word on the street is that it's high in fiber, way less starchy than many other root vegetables, and is low on the glycemic index.  There's lots more exciting nutritional information at the bottom of this post for all of you nerds out there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine's Day 3 Bean Chili

Beans beans the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you regulate your blood sugar, stay fuller longer, fight free radicals, and meet your fiber needs.  What?  That's now how the rhyme goes.  We sing about beans because they make you fart.  Silly Lacey.

Actually, dear friends, if prepared properly, beans are not the gaseous beasts they're purported to be, and their benefits far outweigh the flatus they may bring on.  Besides, farting is funny, not to mention romantic, and who couldn't use a little more laughter in their life?

Making beans less gassy is simple:  soak and rinse them.  Starting with dried beans, cover them with water and soak for 6-8 hours.  Drain the soaking water and give them a rinse.  When you're ready to cook them, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until soft, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the bean.  Drain and rinse them again, and your beans are ready.  Just make sure that you don't add salt until they're soft, as adding salt to early will prevent them from cooking properly.  Eating beans more often can also reduce their gassy effect, so actually the more you eat the less you toot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quick and Simple Guacamole

Guacamole is as simple as avocados smashed up with salt and an additional add in or two if you're feeling feisty.  My mom, a die hard guacamole lover, surprised me recently when she told me she had never bought an avocado.  What the what?  How can you never buy something that is so amazingly delicious and easy to work with?!  They're not so intimidating, just take a look at these little guys:

Pretty harmless.  I really wish I would have had googely eyes for that picture...

Oh but they're high in fat, you say.  Well yes they are, but they're high in monosaturated fat, the kind that can help to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, and they're also high in fiber, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K.  I found an interesting study that showed a significant reduction in bad cholesterol in participants who ate an avocado rich diet for a mere week.  You can find it here if you're curious.

Also, I find that if I'm eating a varied, whole foods, plant based diet, I can indulge away in things like avocados, coconut milk, and nuts without having to sweat it.  None of them contain cholesterol, and they all contain vitamins and nutrients that you won't find in animal products.  Everybody wins.

Hazelnut Parmesan Cheese

I've been talking to more and more people lately who are starting to think about increasing their intake of plant foods, and decreasing their intake of animal foods.  The reasons are many and varied, but it seems like this transition is the most difficult for people who need to do it for health reasons.  A friend of mine in her 50's recently told me that her cholesterol was dangerously high, and that she needed to do something about it.  She was overwhelmed and put off because, "all of the foods I love to cook include meat."  That's a tough spot to be in.  

I consider myself to be lucky because I lost the taste for meat once I started to learn more about the meat industry, animal conditions, etc.  When I realized that I didn't need it to be healthy, and that the environment (and the animals in it) would be better off if I left it out of my diet, the desire to consume meat fell away.  

This has not been the case for me with cheese.  I love cheese.   I love to eat it often and in bulk.  I get giddy and cheese high, especially here in Quebec where killer cheese abounds.  But here's the thing - a person can't go crazy on the cheese plate too many times without starting to feel consequences.  It's highly caloric, loaded with saturated fat, high in cholesterol, and let's be honest;  it's not exactly great for keeping your pipes clean, if you know what I mean.