Life in My Kitchen. Always Testing Out Something New. And if Son #2 Likes It, It Has to Be Good
Click Here if You've received this via email.
Living the Plant-Based No-Oil Life in the Real World
The Restaurant Scene. I'm not-yet-so-comfortable about asking for special orders, or asking waiters or chefs a lot of questions, but I sucked it up this week, and did what I needed to do. This was a huge hurdle. To me, a happy healthy long life is so wrapped up with breaking bread and sharing meals with family & fiends--I don't want to miss out on it. So...if I want to continue to join my friends & family at restaurants occasionally, I've got to ask the restaurant staff the right questions. I can't always say, "Hey, why don't you just come to my house. I'll cook."
- Hippie Healthy Stir-Fries & Noodle or Rice Bowls. Monday night, I was meeting a friend for dinner, and we tried out a local store-front healthy fast food joint near the university. What could be better? Homemade brown rice, fresh steamed veggies, a choice of 3 no-oil spicy sauces, topped with tofu. Nothing fancy, but we sat outside and enjoyed the summer evening, and some hearty rib-sticking healthy fare. And the price was right!
- Hip & Mod Mexican. Friday night we met son #2 across town at a cool out-of-the-box Mexican restaurant in one of those old semi-gentrified neighborhoods. I figured this was going to be a real challenge. I could end up eating just steamed corn tortillas, salsa, beans, and a glass of wine--and that would have been just fine. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. If I wanted no-oil, vegan fare, our waiter told me my best choice was the grilled portobellos with sofrito, corn tortillas, and salsa verde. No-oil, he promised! The mustard crema was on the side, so I could just ignore it. And I did.
It Tastes Much Better Than It Looks! Grilled Portobellos Over Sofrito, with Corn Tortillas & Salsa Verde. Hold the Mustard Crema, Please!
- My Big Mistake This Week. Missing Breakfast, and Eating a Late Lunch. After 27 years in our house we are FINALLY redoing our circa 1964 bathroom. It all started on Wednesday--and I was home to "supervise" the demolition. Right! I thought my kitchen ceiling was going to come crashing down as the demo crew sledge-hammered out the old cast iron tub. Breakfast got waylaid, and lunch was delayed until 1:00 pm. Note to self: Never do that again. My fuel tank was running on empty. To refuel I enjoyed this wrap for lunch. It did the trick in no time!Food tip of the week thanks to Mina: Her suggestion--add broccoli slaw to wraps or salads! Loved it and who would have thought?
Refueling with a 3 Bean All-American Chili, Sweet Potato, Broccoli Slaw, Spinach Wrap
Wrapped Up & Heated in a 450 Degree Oven for 10 Minutes--Crispy & Delicious
My new favorite wrap: French Meadow Bakery Sprouted Grain Tortillas. More pliable, and less dry than the Ezekiel brand.
Finding a Breakfast That Works for my Lab Rat Runner Husband
My niece Jamie clued me into a new product aimed at peanut butter lovers who don't want all the fat that's in peanut butter! It's called PB2, and it's powdered defatted roasted peanuts that you mix-up with a tablespoon or two of water, and voila! Instantly you have 2 tablespoons of peanut butter with just 1.5 grams of fat, and only 45 calories--sure it's almost 40% fat, but compare that to the 190 calories, and 14 grams of fat (+2 grams of sat fat) for the real thing! It's got less fat than heart-healthy cocoa--which has 25 calories & 1 gram of fat per tablespoon. PB2 is made by Bell Plantation, click here for more info. To get some--we had to order it--but it was quick & painless. But I can't vouch for what the Esselstyn's would say about PB2.
Believe me, this stuff is a very suitable peanut butter substitute--according to my nut butter aficionado husband--and niece, Jamie! I'm not interested in imbibing, but PB2 is a huge boost for my husband who has given up his long-time-habit of morning almond butter on Ezekiel---too much fat. And way too many omega-6s--as in 3802 mgs! I can't vouch for the number of omega-6s in defatted PB2, but you can always sprinkle on some high omega-3 chia for good measure! I'm planning to experiment with PB2 for spicy peanut noodles, and a homemade energy bar.
So where did Jamie hear about PB2? On Emily Malone's Front Burner blog. Check it out--she's a 29 year old culinary school trained chef who's cooking vegetarian lunches for the staff at an organic farm (I think--I don't exactly know her back story). She's a vegetarian, a runner, who cares about healthy food, keeping fit, and she loves to experiment with food. Her food photos are amazing. She does use a bit of oil, & sometimes tiny amounts of cheese, eggs, or dairy---but hey, you can modify any recipe. BTW, niece Jamie also recommends Chocolate PB2, made with cocoa.
Emily's PB2 & Jelly on Rice Cakes
Chia Water=1/2 squeezed lemon or lime + 1 TBS of Chia Seeds. Shake Well & Shake Again!
Chia isn't a new story around this blog--but drinking Chia Water is! What a great way to enjoy all the benefits of this nutritional powerhouse. It's tasty, it has a great mouth feel, it will keep hunger at bay for about an hour longer than usual, it will energize your workouts, and it's like getting a slow IV drip of omega 3's.
I've been taking it along to work and to work outs--instead of just plain old water. My husband has followed suit. And now son #2 is ready to try it out on the soccer field. Give it a try--and report back! My favorite brand is Salba--it's superior to common chia seeds. Click here to find out why it beats common chia. Click here to find out why it beats flax.
"The Salba agronomic teams have invested the past 15 years researching Salba (Salvia hispanica L.). During those 15 years, we found the perfect location, the perfect soil composition, the perfect climate, the perfect irrigation methods, the perfect crop life-span, and the perfect amount of sunlight. We perfected the art of Non-GMO selective breeding and studied each crop carefully.
Salba seeds are hand-picked, and only the seeds with the highest nutrient density are harvested and replanted. The result? Higher quantities of the quality nutrients you need and guaranteed consistency from crop to crop. When you choose Salba, you choose quality of life."
Tip: Use a funnel, but be sure to pour out enough water from the bottle so that the funnel spout does not touch the water. The seeds get a gelatinous coating as soon as they hit the water, and you don't want the funnel clogging up. Add about 1 tablespoon to 25 ounces of water--and start shaking to keep the seeds separate. Shake for about a minute. And then shake the bottle before you take each sip, to suspend the chia in the water. You'll quickly get the hang of it!
This ancient seed is the highest plant source of omega-3s, and it's also loaded with fiber (soluble & insoluble), antioxidants, protein, calcium, and a laundry list of other vitamins & minerals.
If you've read Christopher McDougall's best-selling book, Born to Run, about the fit & healthy Tarahumara barefoot runners you know what a nutrition powerhouse the chia seed is. McDougall likens chia water to "drinking a smoothie of wild salmon, spinach and human growth hormone". Not at all sure about its human growth hormone similarities!
To learn more about all the benefits of drinking chia water, click here for Christina Pirello's article about chia. And a big thank you to reader M.L. for sending Pirello's article this way. If the Tarahumara Indians sound familiar to you, it's because they are Dr. Esselstyn's poster children for zero heart disease--thanks to their plant-based diet of squash, corn, and beans. Now I'm wondering how much a role chia has contributed to their stellar health. That is until Western food made its way into their once hidden Copper Canyons--bringing along diabetes, obesity, & heart disease.
Excerpt about chia from McDougall's Born to Run:
"...after I satisfied my hunger and thirst with some iskiate, I at once felt new strength, and, to my own astonishment, climbed the great height without much effort. After this I always found iskiate a friend in need, so strengthening and refreshing that I may almost claim it as a discovery." (written by the great Norwegian explorer, Carl Lumholtz in the 1890's)
Months later, I'd (Chris McDougall) learn that iskiate is otherwise know as chia fresca--"Chilly chia." It's brewed up by dissolving chia seed in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime.
In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone.
As tiny as those seeds are, they're superpacked with omega-3s, omega-6s protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants.
If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn't do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease; after a few months of the chia diet, you could probably swim home.Chia was once so treasured, the Aztecs used to deliver it to their king in homage. Aztec runners used to chomp chia seeds as they went into battle, and the Hopis fueled themselves on chia during their epic runs from Arizona to the Pacific Ocean.
Despite its liquid-gold status, chia is ridiculously easy to grow; if you own a Chia Pet, in fact, you're only a few steps away from your own batch of devil drink.
So there you have it! This week's new additions to my adventures in healthy eating.
- No need to miss out on meeting friends & family at restaurants. Call ahead, ask questions, find out what you can eat that's plant-based, and prepared without oil. And bottom line: The goal is getting together with friends & family. Don't decline invitations. Make it work.
- NEVER MISS A MEAL. Carbs are our number one primary fuel supply--and our brain's only fuel supply is carbohydrate glucose. Keep the fuel tank filled by eating something about every 3 hours. Unrefined carbs provide a nice slow drip of fuel. Besides, small meals create less oxidative stress.
- Nut butter lovers might consider PB2 as a serious stand-in.
- Chia Fresca--for a daily omega-3 energizing drink! And try chia seeds sprinkled on the higher omega-6 carbs, like oatmeal or rice to balance out their omega-6 content. It's like eating mini-sesame seeds--great texture--no taste.