As an ongoing commitment to promote Vegetarian Awareness Month during October this blog post will share simple strategies and smart suggestions for super satisfying foods.
The goal is to take baby steps toward improving your health, nutrition and longevity with healthier meals by changing ingredients in recipes. One small change here and there will begin to compound your results and start a chain reaction to begin a major impact on your eating behaviors and health habits which will produce fantastic results.
So many ideas came to mind it took two blog posts to share them with you. How many more ideas can you identify to expand your health consciousness?
Try these Simple Strategies and Smart Suggestions
Pass on all commercial baked and fried corn chips and switch to healthy alternatives instead. This is to insure you are avoiding the potential of contamination from Genetically Engineered (GE) and Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) corn. As much as 85% of the corn in the US is genetically altered and one of the most notable is referred to as Bt corn due to an implant of bacteria genetic material.
Corn farming uses large amounts of chemicals, fertilizers, herbicides and petroleum products. Corn chip manufacturing also use a preparation process and seasonings that are harmful to your health. Many corn chips are fried in oils which harm your health. You can find a wide variety of flax seed crackers, kale crisps, veggie chips and veggie crackers instead. You can even learn to make a fresh organic corn chip that is prepared in a dehydrator and which provides a healthy snack made with natural ingredients you choose.
Cooked cabbage is good, lightly steamed cabbage is very good, raw cabbage is great and cabbage made into raw sauerkraut is fantastic. You can learn to stuff steamed cabbage leaves with a variety of stuffing such as steamed brown rice, bulgur wheat, hummus, marinated mushrooms or shredded veggies for a super healthy treat. Adding a special all natural marinade sauce or raw dressing is the key to these delicious meals. Raw purple (red) cabbage is great and can be shredded for coleslaw or as a colorful nutrition bonus served with beans, rice, salads or wraps.
Iceberg lettuce is better than no lettuce at all. Switching to a dark green leafy plant such as chard, endive, dandelion, escarole, kale, romaine, silver beet or spinach is a much better choice. Dark green leafy plants are very alkaline which is great for promoting health and vitality. They are also a rich source of minerals and trace elements which we know are essential for our long term well being. The green pigment in plants is chlorophyll which converts the energy of sunlight into a natural organic chemical energy in the form of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates (plant sugars) are the fuel source of all energy and life on earth.
Chlorophyll molecules in plants are almost identical to hemoglobin molecules in red blood cells which are responsible for carrying oxygen to the entire organism. Many natural food experts state that consuming uncooked chlorophyll in green plants is almost like a direct transfusion of energy, nutrition and vitality. Cooking on the other hand breaks down and destroys much of this benefit.
Avoid eating fruits from metal cans and enjoy fresh fruit instead. Naturally ripened organic raw fruit is a very good source of antioxidants, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, phyto-nutrients, trace elements and vitamins. When you cook the fruit in a pie or to put it in a can you destroy much of the nutritional benefits. Another concern is the deterioration of nutrients during the storage and shelf life. There are also concerns about any chemical preservatives, colorings of flavorings added as well as the metals in cans or the plastic lining (possibly BPA) leaching into the food and creating health issues.
Avoid fruit juices and enjoy eating whole fruits instead. While many people enjoy drinking fruit juice and feel it is a healthy choice it is time to debunk this false food myth. To begin with much of the fruit juice these days is really more of a fruit flavored drink concoction rather than fresh juice. Most of these drinks have a limited amount of juice which is typically cooked (pasteurize), processed, refined and has sugar or high fructose corn syrup added. Often they have artificial synthetic chemicals, colorings, flavorings, preservatives and vitamins added. Even if they are freshly squeezed 100% pure juice they are no longer a natural whole food.
The fiber in fruit serves vital roles to bind the sugars. slow down the absorption of the sugars as well as help fill you up faster. When you drink juice you intake a surge of sugar which quickly increases your blood sugar and causes your pancreas to secrete more insulin to bring your blood sugar levels back to a normal range. This excess sugar in your blood is converted to fat for storage. Over time these ongoing blood sugar increases can result in Syndrome X and ultimately diabetes. Diabetes often leads to appendage amputations, blindness, kidney problems and cardio vascular disease. Many doctors now feel that giving children juice early in life is a significant contributor to an earlier and more significant incidence of health issues such as weight gain, obesity and diabetes. Therefore be sure to consume only whole fruit.
Replace cooked beans, chickpeas and legumes from cans with the same foods prepared in a low temperature crock pot or solar oven. When preparing beans, chickpeas and legumes it is important to follow the ancient tradition of soaking the items in water for 24 hours and replacing the water prior to cooking. This serves to breakdown anti-digestive enzymes in the food which are why many find them hard to digest. Soaking also allows then to absorb water and begin converting to a more edible form of carbohydrate and protein which also shortens the cooking time needed. This will save an enormous amount of energy and fuel when multiplied hundreds of millions of time daily around the world. Bulk bags of these foods will also save a large amount of cans, fuel and land fill space.
Replace can soup with homemade versions such as bean soups, vegetable soups or miso soup (made with miso, dried or fresh mushrooms, shredded veggies and sea veggies). By switch from soups that come from cans to eating fresh soups you prepare in a crock pot or solar oven you compound your benefits. Fresh beans, grains, rice and vegetables are better than canned varieties and you know exactly what salt, seasonings and spices are added when you make it yourself. With commercial soups you never really know for sure what has been added or the quality of the ingredients. Many people believe even then food preparation process has an affect on the quality fo the finished product. When you think about it would you rather have a soup prepared by a loving father, mother or grandmother with TLC or one that is prepared in a factory with unknown ingredient quality and low wage labor on an assembly line?
Stop boiling veggies and try lightly steaming them instead. By now most people have heard that boiling foods destroys most of the high quality nutrients. However many commercial canning operations, cafeterias and restaurants still boil foods in water or use other means to over cook the veggies which causes the best antioxidants, phyto-nutrients and vitamins to be altered and break down. This is the best part of any food so be sure to use minimum heating or low temperature steaming or better yet serve raw veggies to get the most nutritional value from your foods.
Forget serving mounds of macaroni and cheese or plates of pasta made with refined white flour and switch to using a whole wheat noodles instead. You can even be creative and substitute amaranth, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, quinoa, lentils or thinly sliced squash for the noodles and create new magnificent master piece dishes.
Eliminating home delivery pizzas and frozen pizzas will help you eat healthier and create a healthier environment at the same time. Making your own pizza will allow you to control the ingredients and reduce the amount of cheese and meat that is piled on those commercial pizzas made with refined and bleached white flour dough. You can replace these unhealthy items loaded with cheap ingredients, fats and grease and use better choices such as whole wheat crust, fresh broccoli, tomatoes, onions, spinach, squash, mushrooms and other veggies, spices and natural ingredients. Those not so cheap commercial pizzas and sodas are major contributing factors to the growing waist lines and obesity epidemic facing individuals and families around the world. Now is a great time to reduce the animal products, fuel, money, and time that is wasted on making, processing, transporting and warehousing these low quality and high priced items with high quality homemade ones you create yourself. Try drizzling a little extra virgin olive oil on top right before serving to create a great flavor and rich taste treat and always enjoy a fresh garden green salad with your pizza. There are even specialty pizzas that are made without traditional crust and some are prepared in a low temperature dehydrator or oven.
Avoid hybrid fruits without seeds and switch to natural fruits with seeds. Many of the watermelons, oranges and grapes available today come from hybrid plants that are sterile and do not produce seeds. A natural fruit has seeds which provide the ability for plants to naturally reproduce and maintain the species. You want to eat fruits with the seeds which are a great source of fiber and nutrients to maintain optimal health. Seeds are a great source of antioxidants, minerals, trace elements and vitamins which are essential for great health. Chewing seeds will also slow you down and fill you up faster so you will not over eat too much sweet fruit. The oils in the seeds also seem to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream and help provide a steady supply of energy rather than create an energy spike and followed by a blood sugar and mood crash.
Replace homogenized and pasteurized milk with fresh raw nut and seed milks you make yourself. Many people are aware of the increasing variety of natural dairy substitutes available. While soy milk is common to many people there are numerous reasons such as the refined sugars, GMO soy, manufacturing process, packaging and transportation costs for you to avoid it and make your own fresh nut and seed milks instead. These homemade varieties cost less, taste better and are healthier for you. When you make it yourself you know the exact quality and quantity of ingredients that you are consuming. Using a handful of raw nuts or seeds, some bananas, dates or honey for sweetener and some water in a blender will enable you to create a delicious and nutritious alternative to the commercial varieties sold. Many of the ones in stores contain unhealthy ingredients as well creating a burden on the environment.
Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) products and replace with those sweetened with stevia, honey or raw sugar. Reading the labels of foods currently in your pantry, refrigerator or shelves will reveal an excess of items sweetened using HFCS and corn syrup. In addition to already mentioned issues with weight gain and obesity you must also be concerned about the corn coming from Genetically Modified (GM) corn. This creates a risk to your health and our environmental health. Since companies are not required to disclose the use of Genetically Engineered (GE) and GMO ingredients and most of the corn grown in the US is GMO it is best to avoid all foods with HFCS and corn syrup to be safe.
Replace beef and chicken fajitas with vegetarian fajitas and wraps. You can make great vegetarian sprouted gain wrap fajitas with guacamole and grilled mushrooms, onions, squash, pumpkin, eggplant of other veggies. Another great idea is nori wraps made with fresh mung bean sprouts, avocado, julienne cucumbers and shredded carrots, sweet potato or yams with a dash of wasabi for a special spicy treat.
Taking a pass on rice cakes and enjoying a snack of sprouted bread chips or flax seed crackers will provide better nutrition and taste. You can also enjoy jicima strips or celery with some raw almond or cashew butter to double your pleasure.
Avoiding low quality cereals and granolas and replacing them with a healthy bowl of muesli or porridge (oatmeal) naturally sweetened with honey or stevia is a great way to enjoy a healthy meal. These will taste great without the refined white sugar, HFCS and corn syrup which are major concerns in regards to your health and well being.
With a little creativity and determination anyone committed to their health and longevity can use these simple strategies and smart suggestions for super satisfying foods. Investing a little energy and time now to protect your body and mind from the ravages of unhealthy fast foods, junk foods and highly refined foods will pay major dividends for the rest of your life.
Mastery Action Plan
Make a commitment to visit a vegetarian, vegan or raw potluck dinner in your community.
Also go to you local library, used book store or shop on line for a great recipe book with healthy vegetarian meals
Our next blog post will share: Alarming Antibiotics Abuse an Advancing Atrocity