In honor of October which is Vegetarian Awareness Month it seemed like a great idea to share simple strategies and suggestions for super satisfying foods.
It is easy to begin making small steps toward improving your health, nutrition and longevity by switching ingredients in recipes and making healthier substitutions. One small change here and there will begin to compound and start a chain reaction to have a major impact on your eating behaviors and health habits which will produce fantastic results.
Try these Simple Strategies and Smart Suggestions
Switching from white rice to brown, black, cargo, red and wild rice is an easy step for better health. Most people do not realize that white rice is not a natural grain or whole food product. White rice is a processed food that comes from healthy brown rice which has the brown layer of rice bran and rice germ removed. What remains is the polished rice starch and refined carbohydrate and when digested it will spike your blood sugar. Brown rice or the other rice mentioned retain the outer covering which has more fiber and nutrients. These help you become and feel full faster and provide the healthy components your body needs so you do not need to eat as much.
You can also switch from white rice to quinoa, amaranth or chia which have more protein and less carbohydrates. This provides your body more healthy amino acids and less sugar which will help you prevent excess calories to stay leaner and healthier.
Avoid using bleached and refined white flour and use whole wheat flour instead.Most people are aware that refined white flour is the result of removing the health wheat bran and wheat germ which are rich in healthy fiber and nutrients. When consuming highly processed white flour you are eating the carbohydrate (sugar) portion of the grain which increases blood sugar problems, digestion issues and weight gain.
Switch from white potatoes to red or sweet potatoes. Another tip to consider is instead of baking is to cut the potatoes into thin slices and lightly steam instead of baking. This requires less energy and time to cook and maintains more nutrients than baking at higher temperatures.
Avoid white potato chips and try baking thinly sliced sweet potato chips instead. You can also slice sweet potatoes extra thin and use a dehydrator to make sweet potato chips.
Switch from common white flour breads and tortillas to sprouted grain breads and wraps. Several companies now make these sprouted grain and seed breads using an ancient recipe that creates a delicious and nutritious bread or wrap which is much better that non-sprouted breads and those made with yeast. They are often referred to as Essene, Ezekiel, Genesis or Sprouted grain breads and are found in most health food stores. You can also make them yourself in a dehydrator or low temperature oven.
Pass on the white pasta and try thinly sliced squash instead. You read that right. Many health conscious people today are looking for alternatives to white pasta and finding spelt, buckwheat and whole wheat pasta. Those that really want to find the healthiest substitutions are using very thinly sliced pumpkins, squash and sea veggies to make incredibly nutritious and tasty faux pasta dishes. You must try one served with a raw primavera or veggie alfredo sauce to appreciate how great they taste.
Oats with some honey, raisins or stevia are better than the sweetened cereals loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Pass on the quick oats and choose rolled oats or steel cut oats. One of the secrets to enjoying and preparing oats is to let them soak in enough water to cover them overnight. This will naturally break down the fiber and make them much easier to chew and digest. In the winter if you want then warm only a little heating is required. Please avoid using the microwave which disrupts the water and food molecules and therefore your delicate system.
Switch from those highly heated, processed, refined, treated and sweetened rice and wheat cereals to raw buckwheat instead. Many natural sweeteners are available to compliment the healthy buckwheat.
Switch from eating sugary cereals with milk to eating natural muesli with homemade natural raw nut-milk. Cereals in boxes create a lot of waste by product and using milk requires excessive energy and fuel for processing, transportation, distribution and refrigeration. Muesli in usually a much healthier blend of whole grain flakes with much less sugar and often comes in a cellophane bag. You can make a fresh nut-milk by blending some raw nuts in water and adding a little honey or stevia. This combination is much better for your health and the health of the ecosystems and the environment.
Stuffed grape leaves with sprouted or steamed amaranth, brown rice, quinoa or shredded veggies make a delicious dinner. You can find many recipes and versions of these delicious eastern European and Mediterranean dishes referred to as dolmas, dolmanthes or stuffed grape leaves. Where ever you have access to locally grown grapes you should be able to find grape leaves for about 6 months of the year. Prepared or served with a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice makes them a delicious mouth watering delight.
These simple strategies and suggestions for super satisfying food selections are just a small sampling of the creativity and imagination can abounds for promoting October as Vegetarian Awareness month Give some of these a try and let me know what you think. Remember this is a great opportunity to enjoy some new food choices which can protect your health and the environment at the same time. Enjoy.
Mastery Action Plan: Preparing Dolmas
The following recipe offers simple and delicious recipe for Dolmas.
[colored_box title=”Morningstar’s Simple Dolmas Recipe” variation=”teal”]
- 1 cup brown rice (you may also use bulgur wheat)
- 1 medium onion, chopped very fine
- 1./2 cup of tomato paste or puree
- ¼ cup of parsley, chopped fine
- About 1 – 2 tablespoons of Chaimen (a middle eastern spice blend recipe listed below)
You will also need:
- Assorted vegetables for preparing stuffing (green, yellow or white squash and eggplant.)
- Some fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
- Some cabbage, collard, grape or other sturdy green leaves to line the steamer and to be used after steaming.
- In a covered pot of water warm the brown rice until tender. Then add the shredded dolma veggies and seasonings and mix well.
- Spoon some stuffing mixture into each green leaf
- Use a steamer insert in a covered pot and line it with some cabbage, grape leaves or other greens.
- Place each dolma into the pot, to form a layer on top of the greens. The dolmas may be lightly touching.
- Place a loose layer of greens on top and then add another layer until the pot is ¾ full.
- Cover the top layer with another layer of greens and place the remaining stuffing mixture on top. Then put the pot with a lid on top of the stove on low heat with a layer of water on the bottom of the pot.
- Steam lightly until the greens and stuffing have been warmed and are tender.
- Remove from the heat and allow the pot to remain covered until ready for serving.
- The extra stuffing will also be placed into the greens used for steaming and eaten.
- Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over dolmas before serving.[/colored_box]
Note: While this version is lightly steamed a similar variation can be made using all raw ingredients and using soaked bulgar wheat instead of rice.
Chaimen Armenian Spice of Life
Chaimen is a unique spice blend that gives Armenian casseroles, vegetable dishes and soups their delicious and f distinct lavor. It’s a simple mixture you can easily prepare and store for future use.
Recipe for Middle Eastern Spice Mixture
The basic dry spice mixture consists of:
- 1 part Allspice
- 1 part Cayenne Pepper
- 1 part Fenugreek
- 1 part Cumin
- 2 parts Paprika
- 1 part cinnamon (is optional)
Our next blog post will share: Part 2: Simple Strategies and Suggestions for Super Satisfying Food Selections