Currently viewing the tag: "vitamins"

by Buck Reed

The Eight Vegetables You Are Not Cooking With

Vegetables are and always have been an important part of our daily dietary needs. They also get a bad rap as being “icky.” Unless they are your favorite, most of the time we don’t give them a second thought. Yet, most of the time, it is a matter of not knowing how to properly prepare them that turns people away from cooking with them.

Eggplant: This member of the nightshade family of vegetables is usually stuck in the Parmesan group, which is a shame. Roasted eggplant can be served as is or can be stuffed. Grilled, it makes a great appetizer,  caponata, that can be eaten with salad greens or added to any Italian sandwich.

Brussels Sprouts: There are many ways to prepare these guys, but the best is probably sliced and roasted. Just drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; roast until well browned and tender.

Turnips: Most people can’t even tell you how a turnip tastes or what they even look like. This root vegetable has a pleasant, bitter flavor,  as well as an underlying sweetness, that works great with roasted meats. I suggest roasting them with your beef or chicken.

Greens: Collard greens are an art form unto themselves but are well worth the effort to learn how to properly prepare them, one healthy way is simply steaming them for five minutes.

Green Tomatoes: Naturally, fried green tomatoes are a part of everyone’s favorite list, but few people actually make them. The secret is to soak the slices in buttermilk and bread them with any good southern-style breading flour. Then, just pan-fry slowly in plenty of oil. The goal is to get the tomatoes cooked through and properly browned on both sides. I would suggest using them in a BLT.

Beets: Roasted beets are an exquisite and unique addition to any meal. Served as a salad, soup, or side dish can brighten and enhance any plate. I also like leftover beets in Red Flannel Hash.

Parsnips: Parsnips look like yellow carrots but pack a punch of flavor. Cooked until tender, they can be smashed and added to mashed potatoes—delicious silky mash. They can also be shredded and added to soups or salads, or you can add them to a potato pancake mix.

Lima Beans: To prepare fresh lima beans, first examine them and discard any with blemishes. Then, soak them overnight in cold water, discarding any beans that float. Discard the water and rinse well. Cover with fresh water and simmer until they are cooked. Use as needed for soups, stews, or as a side dish. I hear good things about succotash!

Let’s face it, vegetables are good for you. They pack an arsenal of vitamins and minerals, and consuming a wide variety of them will only benefit you. Learning to prepare vegetables properly will make them taste better.

by Buck Reed

Boosting Your Immunity

Given the state of the world today and the unusual circumstances our health is going through—not just here, but all over the world—I think it is important to remember that there is more we can do as individuals to keep ourselves and those around us safe than the government will ever be able to do. To avoid this current health threat, and any other pandemically inclined virus, we can help keep it in check by avoiding groups, washing our hands, covering our cough, and stop licking doorknobs. Also, it might help if you strengthen your immune system with a change in diet.

First of all, I am not a doctor. So, any information put out here should be backed up with a doctor’s consultation. Always defer to a doctor over a chef-turned-food-writer.

When building a good immune system, we want to look at vitamins. Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system, followed by vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. But, the king is vitamin C, which is one of the biggest immune-system boosters of all. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Getting these vitamins into your diet may well help you keep fit and give you peace of mind as those around you lose theirs.

Getting enough vitamin D is also important. Getting regular sun exposure is the most natural way to get enough vitamin D. And, as all good dieticians will tell you, you should limit your sugar intake. Too much sugar is an immunity destroyer.

Another good habit we can incorporate into our daily routine is to get enough sleep—six to eight hours, minimum—will help your immune system.

As far as foods, try incorporating medicinal mushrooms into your diet. Studies show that shiitake, Cordyceps, reishi, and maitake mushrooms are known for possessing some of the most powerful immune-supporting compounds in nature.

Yogurt is good for replenishing probiotics. Look for a label that says “live and active cultures.”
Garlic is an easy way to add an immunity booster into your cooking. Garlic contains allicin, which is known to combat viruses and bacteria.

Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which our body cannot produce on our own. A daily dose of vitamin C helps to produce white blood cells that are responsible for fighting infection.

Shellfish is high in zinc and helps produce white blood cells. It’s recommended that we get two servings a week; however, too much can lead to problems within the immune system.

Being aware of what we eat and how we take care of ourselves may not help us in the current crisis; it takes time to build an immunity system. But, perhaps we can start today, so we are ready for the next one.

by Jeanne Angleberger

The Value of Eating More Vegetables

Every new year gives us the opportunity to begin a healthy lifestyle. It is an individual choice.  What can I do to improve my health?

Let’s start the new year researching the value of eating vegetables. We know vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet; they supply us with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring compounds.

There are many benefits when increasing your daily intake of vegetables: they are low-calorie (only about 25 calories per cup, raw); they are low in sugar; and they provide a rich source of antioxidants.

Research recommends we aim to consume two to three cups daily. Studies show that people who eat more vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases, as well as a reduced risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.

Variety is the key. It’s better to include several types of vegetables since each one contains a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Making colorful vegetables (red, yellow, green, orange, purple) a regular part of your diet ensures a good variety.

You can also up your vegetable quota simply by adding them to prepared food. Soup recipes are a great way to get more in your diet. Pizza, casseroles, burgers, meat loaf, and scrambled eggs are more nutritious when adding your favorite vegetable.

Think outside the box! Start searching the vegetable category. You’ll be surprised how many vegetables await your discovery.