If you could be any Superhero, who would you be and why?

create_your_super_hero

This superhero question was posed to us recently and we decided to have some fun with it. Some people would choose to answer with an established character – ‘The Hulk’ or ‘Superwoman'; however, they really don’t have the abilities Green Supreme has. You see, Green Supreme has dedicated her life to personally achieving a high level of fitness and vitality. Her enjoyment and drive during this endeavor have influenced her to drop the snappy business suit and to champion for better health for everyone. She works locally with an eye towards global health and teachs people how to include more greens in their diets, how to live in an environmentally-friendly way, and how to detox their hygiene products. Green Supreme has been planting organic fields of foods OTHER THAN CORN, (a nice surprise for us all) nationwide and is persuading the USDA to change its subsidies and ties to Monsanto. She brings kale and bok choy to the masses and shows them how to blend, steam, and saute these nutrient powerhouses so that everyone can be a little more green supreme.

Create your own superhero here.

Recipe: Brown Basmati Pilaf

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup long grain brown rice (not instant)
2 1/2 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth or 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 5 minutes.
Add rice and sauté for 1 minute. Add broth, and season with salt and pepper to taste; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 45-50 minutes. Check rice occasionally and add water if necessary. Uncover and let rice stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Brown Rice with Benefits

brown rice

photo source: photos.boldsky.com

All rice is not created equal. Brown rice has more nutritional benefits than white rice because it is not as processed and is still fully intact. The hull, the outermost layer of the kernel, is the only removed item from brown rice. Whereas all three layers, the bran, germ layer, and the hull are taken out of white rice. Because the brown rice still has the bran, endosperm, and germ, it is considered a whole grain. Brown rice is filled with nutrients like manganese, selenium, and phosphorous. The manganese helps to produce energy as well helps protect against free radicals. Selenium provides benefits like protecting against cancer, heart disease, and reducing symptoms of inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis. Brown rice is also a great source of fiber which is helpful in keeping blood sugar stable as well as reducing cholesterol. Brown rice is rich in several nutrients and is a food that is easily accessible. Throw some in a skillet and make a pilaf!

Recipe: Dairy-free Veggie Dip

tahini

photo source: dishmaps.com

Every time I make this, it’s always a little different but this recent batch is a favorite. Use it on crackers, as a salad dressing, instead of mayo, poured over baked potatoes, and, of course, as the ultimate vegetable and chip dip.

Ingredients:
1 cup tahini
3 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
3/4 tsp cumin

Optional: add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a bit of a taste bud ‘pop'; curry powder added depth to the dip

Instructions:
Put all ingredients a food processor/blender and then blend! Add water to thin the mixture, if desired, for use as a dressing.

Sustainability, the Environment, & our Diets

What makes a diet sustainable? First, we’ll need to discuss it as it relates to health and to the environment.

The word “sustainable” may be defined as something 1. as able to be maintained at a certain rate or level and 2. conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources, according to the Oxford Dictionary.

With this definition, we can approach the idea of a sustainable diet as one that can endure and continue over a significant length of time.

For an individual, a sustainable diet most likely must both taste good and be enjoyable. It needs to be affordable and to contain all the nourishment needed reach and maintain a healthy weight and high level of vitality. On the other handy, an unsustainable diet is one that promotes overweight or obesity, illness, and/or fatigue, quite possibly leading to disease, especially if the diet is followed long-term. Without a doubt, there is an epidemic of obesity and chronic illness in the United State today which has been strongly linked with the Standard American Diet (SAD). This way of eating is devoid of nutrients and is comprised of too much processed food, meat, fat, and sugar while also being low in whole grains, healthy fats, protein, fruits, and vegetables.

The Standard American Diet is also harming our environment and is not sustainable in this realm. The modern farming and food system is polluting our water, degrading our soil, increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, destroying biodiversity, and using up our finite resources and energy during this process. Synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms contribute to many of the world’s ills. A sustainable diet can help conserve our natural resources and biodiversity in our ecosystem while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Consider how you can create a more sustainable diet for yourself and the environment.

Cowspiracy and Plant Based Diet Q&A

cowspiracy

There is a growing interest in plant-based nutrition and over the past three days alone, we have participated in a panel discussion following the showing of the movie Cowspiracy and presented a webinar on the Plant-Based Diet to employees of The Ohio State University. Here is a short compilation of a some common questions posed and our answers:

Q: I’m considering a vegan/vegetarian/plant-based diet but I am concerned – how will I get enough protein?

A: Some argue that Americans are getting too much protein in the typical diet. The plant-based diet includes other sources of protein, including beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Working with a nutritionist can assist you in finding out how much protein as well as the best protein sources for your individual needs.

Q: Which restaurants can I go to for a healthy plant-based meal?

A: Some obvious choices include restaurants that advertise such meals, such as Portia’s in Clintonville. Certain ethnic restaurants may have more vegetarian choices because of cuisines typical in regions such as South India. However, most restaurants and their chefs are more than accommodating in this aspect- even Hyde Park has or will make a vegetable-based dish upon request! You don’t only have to eat out at select restaurants. Explore new options!

Q: Does being plant-based mean I need to be a vegetarian or vegan?

A: No. Meat and dairy do not have to be excluded; however, rather than building a meal around the meat source,
the meal is based on whole, plant-based foods. Planning your meal this way means there is less need to add meat and dairy to the dish and ensures it is full of nutrients.

Q: How do I get others to be on-board with my new diet?

A: At the end of the day, a person has to want to make a change. Instead of the ‘hell-fire and brimstone’ approach of harping on someone about potential health issues associated with the consumption of animal products or about the suffering of animals, it is often easier to inspire. When one can see that plant-based food is appealing, delicious, helps them feel better, and is associated with less cruelty to animals and our plant, it can be a motivating force for behavior change.

Q: What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?

A: There are many health benefits associated with a plant-based diet including: weight loss, lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels, better control of blood sugar levels, and some report having more energy. The diet is low in saturated fat, salt, and cholesterol (which can benefit the circulatory system), it has more more vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which can all assist in disease prevention. Because it’s low in refined grains and sugar, it can help prevent the onset of diabetes. It’s also a diet that is more sustainable for our environment.

Recipe: Shiitake and Kale

Cook time: 10 minutes; yields about 4 servings

Ingredients:
one bunch of kale
3 cloves of garlic (more or less, depending on how much you like kale)
1/3 cup raw walnuts
a handful or two shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Cut off the stems of the kale and place it in a large bowl. Chop the garlic into thin slivers.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and then add the garlic and walnuts
3. Add the shiitake mushrooms and let cook for about 5 minutes
4. Add the kale and let it cook for a couple minutes
5. Salt and pepper can be added to taste
6. Remove from heat, and enjoy!