Not Your Grandpa’s Snake Oil

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I find it ironic that as soon as my husband and I embark upon the quest for superior nutrition the entire family is stricken with plagues–it doesn’t exactly make me the model spokesperson for good health.

But, we survived, and today, since the weather wouldn’t freeze off my eyelashes, I felt compelled to hit the trails.

I can hardly describe how good it was to feel a little bit of warm-ish sun on my face. There’s nothing like Siberian winds and weeks of illness to make you grateful when the temperature climbs to just above the freezing mark.

As I ran, it occurred to me how good my body felt. I used to think that getting older entailed aches and pains and a lot of medication, but the more I learn about nutrition, the more I realize that aging does not have to come with massive quantities of pharmaceuticals.

I don’t think anyone would argue if I said that eating one cup of raw spinach a day would be good for me. Spinach contains vitamins K, A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, and Omega 3s, not to mention a whole list of other things I’ve never heard of.

Now what if I added a cup of kale to the mix. Then I would be getting: vitamins K, A, C, E, calcium, potassium, iron, B1, B2, B3, and Omega 3s, plus more good things I’m not even listing here.

What if I topped my spinach/kale salad with a few collard greens? I would have the usual vitamins K, A, C, E; B1, B2, B3, B5 (I didn’t know there WAS a B5); iron, protein (yes…it’s in plants too), and potassium.

I haven’t even mentioned antioxidant nutrients, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and the anti-cancer nutrients found in these leafy greens.

What if I told you that I don’t eat a cup of spinach, a cup of kale, and a few collard greens each day. Rather, I consume 6-8 cups of spinach, an entire head of kale, and 6-8 leaves of collards.

But it gets better…

I top that with 2-3 cucumbers; 4-6 green apples; 2-3 lemons or limes; a few stalks of celery; and two thumb-sized hunks of ginger root. Sometimes I add small green pears for fun.

Eating raw kale, spinach, or collards doesn’t sound appetizing, but somehow putting it all into the juicer creates a tasty drink–yes, it actually tastes good–that gives my cells the nutrients they need in order to function properly.

While Dr Joel Fuhrman is NOT the juicing guru, his book Eat to Live should be read by every person who is old enough to say “King Meal, please.” My husband and I are combining the nutritional information in Eat to Live with our juicing.

Dr. Fuhrman’s Plan In a Nutshell:

Eat: You eat as many veggies a day as you want, with the goal of consuming at least 1 pound raw, 1 pound cooked.

Eat at least one cup of legumes, beans, sprouts, or tofu each day.

Have a minimum of 4 fresh fruits per day.

Eat more if you are still hungry!

Limit: cooked starchy veggies or whole grains: squash, corn, potatoes, rice, bread, cereal; raw nuts & seeds (1 oz per day); avocado (2 oz); dried fruit (2 tbsp); ground flaxseeds (1tbsp).

Off limits: dairy; animal products; snacks; fruit juice; oils; sugar; processed foods.

Many people I know and love are struggling with health issues. Whether it is high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, headaches, excess weight, diabetes, heart conditions–whatever ailment you have can only improve by adding nutrient rich foods to your diet.

When you begin to break lock with the addictive salt/fat/sugar laden foods which are so cheap and readily available in the Western World, (after you detox) you will begin to feel stronger and more energetic. You will begin to crave Lean Green rather than Big Macs.

And that’s gotta’ be a good thing.

I’m not trying to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn; this is not some fad diet or cure-all scam; I’m not peddling juicers, nor am I on Dr. Fuhrman’s payroll–I simply want people to enjoy this brief life to the fullest.

Some people will spend 6 weeks during the course of their lives in doctors’ offices, in hospitals, physical therapy clinics, nursing homes, or waiting in line at Wal-Mart to have prescriptions filled. So why not invest 6 weeks (or a lifetime) in superior nutrition?

It seems so simple, so easy that it sounds be too good to be true!

The only real way to tell is to try it for yourself.

All I need is your credit card.

Just kidding. Now go buy some veggies!

*Thanks to The World’s Healthiest Foods for the nutritional information: http://whfoods.org/
*For more info on the Eat to Live lifestyle: http://www.drfuhrman.com/

Recipe of the Week: 

Non-Scary Fried Tofu & It’s All Over But the Choppin’ Veggies

You may notice that most of my recipes are extremely easy. This is because I have four kids, and they are notorious for distracting me with things such as theological questions, hugs, political debates, and secret laundry piles. The most time consuming portion of this week’s recipe is the chopping…but it’s totally worth it–trust me!

The Raw Materials: Veggies

1-2 eggplants, peeled, rinsed, drained, and chopped into bite-sized hunks

1-2 packages fresh baby asparagus

1 small red onion (thinly sliced)

1 package fresh mushrooms

1 zucchini, peeled and chopped (and optional)

1/2 lemon

The Method

Peel and chop veggies so that you could take a bite without having things fall off your fork. Place it all in a glass baking dish and spritz with your lemon half. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until the veggies are tender and are giving off a nice aroma. You CAN toss this all with a little olive oil if you want, but if you’re trying to cut fat, then you can leave it out.

While the veggies bake, get ready for some non-scary tofu. (This is what my kids have asked me to make 3 times!)

The Raw Materials: Tofu

1 package Extra Firm Tofu, drained, cut into bite-sized cubes

2 or 3 green onions

Your favorite tamari or soy sauce

olive oil

The Method

If you’ve never seen it before, tofu comes in a big hunk. Slice it so it’s not too thin (or it will break when cooking) and not too thick. 2 inch cubes or triangles are perfect. Extra firm also works best–otherwise your tofu will end up looking like cottage cheese in the pan.

Place your tofu chunks in a bowl and drizzle with tamari or soy sauce, gently tossing the tofu to coat, and heat up a little olive oil in a pan or wok. Let the tofu sit while you thinly slice the green parts of your onions. You may use the white part too, but I’ve found the greens give plenty of flavor.

When your pan is hot enough for water to sizzle, drain the tofu and add it to the pan. Add the green onion and saute the tofu. When the tofu looks golden or brown, it’s ready to eat.

The Arrangement

You can either toss the fried tofu with the veggies when they’re done, or you can serve them separately. Another option is to serve the veggies and tofu with brown rice and drizzle with tahini. Or, if you feel fancy, fry up the veggies and tofu with some rice in a wok.

Basically, slap it all together, sit back, and enjoy the non-scary tofu!

*Note: Every time I made this in my stainless steel pan, the tofu stuck to the bottom, making a thick brown crust that my teenager did not appreciate scrubbing off. The tofu does not stick to my oiled cast iron wok. So, beware of which pan you choose for this tofu experience.
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