Making Healthy Food Convenient; Part 2
Making Healthy Food Convenient; Part 2
(c) by Emily Boller
Last week, I explained how to make bean dips, bean spreads, and hummus convenient and inexpensive. Making Healthy Food Convenient; Part 1
Let’s face it, one of the reasons why “fast food” has become popular is it’s easily accessible and relatively cheap (although “relatively cheap” is rapidly changing!).
I want to bust the myth that eating healthy is too time consuming and expensive.
Cooking is a pleasurable hobby for many people. Certainly, one can devote hours in the kitchen preparing healthy food–using a long list of hard-to-find ingredients. However, one can achieve great health with limited time and resources too.
This week I’ll be explaining steamer baskets. They are one of the world’s best kept secrets in making healthy food convenient and inexpensive.
These are what steamer baskets look like. (The lid is on the right.)
I was first introduced to them by culinary expert, Chef Chad Sarno, at one of Dr. Fuhrman’s health getaways. I was fascinated by his demonstration. I came home enthused and bought a set of two baskets at a local Chinese grocery store. (They can be purchased online too.)
But then guess what I did?
I made the mistake of putting them away in a cupboard for the next couple of years!
This past year, I unburied them and now I can’t live without them–thank you, Chad!
First, fill a small stock pot with 2″ of water (the rim of the pot needs to be slightly smaller than the perimeter of the baskets).
Then, heat the water to boiling.
Chopped red onions, slided mushrooms and zucchini in the bottom basket–
quartered tomatoes and baby kale in the top basket.
While the water is heating up, chop any vegetables you prefer, and layer them in the baskets.
The bottom basket should contain the thicker vegetables such as sliced yams and chopped red onions; or slices of red peppers, chopped onions and snap peas. Be creative and have fun playing with the various colors and textures of vegetables.
Remember, we eat with our eyes too, so make the presentation colorful!
The top basket can contain mushrooms and fresh greens such as de-stemmed kale leaves or mixed greens.
When the water is rapidly boiling, stack the baskets on top of each other; ending with the woven “lid.” Then place the stack of baskets on top of the pot. Set a timer for eight minutes. When the dinger goes off, turn off the heat source.
Baby kale and tomatoes–fresh from the garden–
and slices of red onions, mushrooms, and zucchini.
Steamed yams and red onions. Yum!
An entire meal can be eaten from the basket. This was my outdoor lunch one day.
When serving guests, just stack the baskets on top of each other until ready to pass around the table.
Set some bean dip, balsamic vinegar, and freshly cooked corn-on-the-cob on the table for a very simple and delightful meal. (Various bean dips and balsamic vinegars, mixed in with steamed vegetables, create a delicious combination of flavors.)
Quick tip: cut the thick end off an ear of corn. Leave the husk on and cook in the microwave, on high, for three minutes. Then, using a hot pad, hold the top of the cob and squeeze the corn out of the husk . . . even the silk slides off!
(Add one minute to the cooking time for each additional ear of corn.)
Food savings tip: gardening is a huge way to save money on produce. For instance, this past summer, I’ve harvested more than 500 pounds of tomatoes from $3.98 worth of seeds. I’ve also harvested dishpans full of kale and collards from $3.89 worth of seeds. In addition, one does not need to have traditional garden space in order to grow plants. Flower pots on patios make great gardens too!
Kale grown in a pot on my patio.
Nutritional facts that I learned from Dr. Fuhrman:
For optimal nutritional value, vegetables should be eaten 50% raw and 50% steamed.
If you eat cooked and steamed cruciferous vegetables at the same meal (vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, and cauliflower), it increases their antiviral super powers. [myrosinase enzymes are released, which increase the plants’ isothiocyanates] They clean up wastes in the body, boost the immune system, fight cancer cells; and they also contain “Nrf2,” which prevents plaque build up in the vessels.
Add some cooked mushrooms to the mix (never eat them raw due to a toxic fungus) to kill viruses and cancer cells. Mushrooms also block the production of estrogen. In addition, they prevent the growth of new blood vessels that feed both fat cells and cancer cells.
If you add sliced or chopped onions or minced garlic, both raw and cooked, you add even more cancer-fighting compounds. (Red onions and scallions have the most super powers!) Plus, onions and garlic lower the risk of heart disease by reducing bad cholesterol. Garlic even has compounds that decrease dangerous platelet clotting in blood vessels. Bottom line, eat your vegetables if you want to prevent heart disease; cancer; flu bugs, colds, and viruses; and a myriad of other illnesses!
“Let food be thy medicine
and medicine be thy food.”