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The motto of EcoPharmacist has always been ‘Emphasizing the importance of diet and vital nutrients—the natural disease-preventing “medicines” that people need daily.’ Easy translation for some is to look at it as, food as medicine.
Continuing education is exciting to me. Learning and exploring how we can ensure the food choices we make have a benefit to our bodies, is very empowering. Making educated choices feeds the soul with the same benefits. A recent area of intrigue is to dissect some of our household favorites, and maybe tweak them so that the emphasis of diet and vital nutrients is focused on. In our house, foods from around the world are enjoyed. Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, American and Indian foods are just a few examples of the worlds we explore with our senses. Today I want to share a favorite that has been adapted from Cooking Lights August 2010 issue, called Fall Vegetable Curry with Basmati Cashew Rice. I have dissected a few of the nutritional variables in this dish, to give my soul a nod, and acknowledgment that this dish is good for us!
While this recipe has a variety of vital nutrients, I will focus on the curry powder benefits. The garbanzo beans, rice, cilantro, yogurt, onions and cashews all add another level of nutritional benefits, but the flavor boost of curry is also giving your body a great power of goodness.
Curry powder, the key ingredient in most Indian Curry dishes, can be a blend of up to 20 different herbs and spices, including the commonly used: cardamom, chiles, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mace, nutmeg, pepper, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, saffron, tamarind and tumeric (which gives curry its characteristic golden color).
Here are some reasons I found and repeat directly, through American Grandparents Association and grandparents.com, that make curry good for you:
Reducing blood pressure
Protecting your bones
Preventing food poisoning
Fall Vegetable Curry with Basmati Cashew Rice
Total time: 25 Minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
Cooked basmati cashew rice *
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder (No Madras curry powder? Try 1 1/2 teaspoons regular curry and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper); cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with yogurt.
*Cook 1 cup basmati rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Stir in 1/4 cup unsalted cashew pieces and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Foods That Cleanse The Body: Beets
Beets are beneficial to your health for many reasons. Beets are an antioxidant vegetable which contains many nutrients that detoxify the liver, lower cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory, have anti-aging properties and are linked to reductions in certain cancers. The nutrients in beets are called betaine, betacyanin, betalains, betanin, iron, folate, fiber, iron and pectin. Pectin helps in the detoxification of the liver. It is a fiber in beets that actually cleans the toxins that have been removed. The body will then gets rid of those toxins by flushing them out. This detoxification process is what researchers link to the prevention of colon, liver, lung, skin cancers. Keeping the liver healthy is essential to everyone’s longevity. Beets get their red or yellow color from phytonutrients called betalains. These unique phytonutrients work to reduce inflammation in the body, thus providing cardiovascular relief.
The beetroot is most commonly thought of as the part to eat, however, the greens are said to be the healthiest part of the plant. These greens contain protein, vitamins A, C, B6, K, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc, fiber, iron, manganese and calcium. Beet greens can ward off osteoporosis from the calcium content, boost the immune system, and can play a key role in fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. So make sure the next time you have the opportunity to eat the whole plant, please do! Be aware that the beetroot is high in carbohydrates and sugar, but low in calories. The greens however are not high in sugar, and are low in calories too. So eat the beetroot in moderation and indulge in the greens. Here is a great salad that will allow you to enjoy the whole plant, and reap those health benefits!
Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
- 1 1/2 lb. golden or red beets or a combination
(about 6 medium), with greens attached
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 12 oz. mixed baby greens
- 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
- 12 oz. goat cheese (I prefer herbed)
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Wash beets and remove greens. Set greens aside. In a bowl, toss the beets with enough oil to coat evenly, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from the oven. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper until blended. Slowly whisk in the 1 cup olive oil.
In a bowl, combine the beets with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Rough chop the beet greens previously set aside, to match the size of mixed greens. Then in a large bowl, toss the mixed baby greens and beet greens with salt, pepper and enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly. Divide the greens among 8 salad plates. Sprinkle the walnuts and beets evenly over the salads, and drizzle with additional vinaigrette if needed. Crumble the goat cheese over the salads, and serve immediately.