Everybody knows you need to eat your vegetables. The trouble is, sometimes you just don’t like them and this can be due to everything from childhood experiences to genetic makeup to habits and what kind of flavor palate you have. Below are three steps that can help you go from being a veggie-avoider to a veggie-lover:
Think of a vegetable you know is good for you and you should eat, but you normally don’t. Make that the focus of your challenge to try it. Then try it again. Still hate it? Choose another vegetable from your list and try it a couple of times. Exposure is usually the first step to adopting a love for certain flavors.
It’s much easier to eat a pile of green stuff when there are some other flavors mixed in. Adding some complementary flavors to your vegetables can keep things interesting. For spice, try minced garlic, crushed red pepper, jalapeno slices, or your favorite seasoning blend. Sour is another flavor that can compliment veggies and includes lime/lemon juice, vinegar varieties, and fermented things like kimchi or pickles. The last category is salty and can include capers, olives, feta cheese or regular old salt.
The final step in training your palate is to add things to your veggies that make them a no-brainer for you to eat - things you already love. For sweet flavors you can go with honey, berries, citrus fruits, or even cooked onions. For more savory flavors think things like nuts, avocado, tahini, or even bacon. Take it easy with these cushion items, but use them if you need some enticement to take on the green stuff. Over time, try backing off of these things.
One of our featured menu items, Indian Butter Chicken, comes served with jasmine rice and broccoli. Jasmine rice is a little different than regular white rice and here’s how:
The taste of jasmine rice is a little sweet and somewhat nutty, making its flavor more complex than white rice.
Jasmine rice is a long-grain “aromatic” variety of rice that has a fairly strong scent that’s usually described as a mix of floral and buttery popcorn.
Jasmine rice contains iron and niacin that can help with red blood cell production and converting carbs to glucose for energy.
Compared to white rice, jasmine rice is more fluffy and clumps together slightly but isn’t sticky. Most people really enjoy its unique texture.
Increase Your Omega-3 Intake
Earlier this week we talked about what can happen in your body if you don’t eat enough foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids. Now let’s look at what you can eat to make sure you keep your levels where they should be and avoid deficiency:
• Fatty Fish
Think salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel.
Go with oysters, clams, and mussels.
• Nuts and Seeds
Great sources are walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds.
• Plant Oils
Try flaxseed oil, avocado oil, soybean oil, or canola oil.
• Fortified Foods
Things like yogurt, milk, and yogurt can be fortified with added omegas.
Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency
Omega-3 fats are used by your body for everything from boosting your immune system to cardiovascular health to proper brain and endocrine system functions. They’re an important part of your diet, but it’s not uncommon for people to have low or deficient levels in their blood. Recent studies have uncovered what symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency look like:
• Skin Issues
An omega-3 deficiency can lead to skin that’s sensitive, dry, or suffering from an increase of acne. Omegas can help your skin retain moisture by strengthening its barriers and protecting it from irritants. They’re also good for reducing inflammation which can also help reduce acne.
• Poor Mental Health
Omega-3 fats are critical for your brain and may help protect it from mental health conditions. Additionally, several studies have found a link between low levels of omegas and a higher rate of depression.
• Dry Eyes
While there are many things that could lead to eye dryness, recent studies are showing that omega-3s are one of them. Low levels of omegas may reduce tear production and increase eye dryness and discomfort.
• Joint Pain
Increased pain in your joints, reduced grip strength, and stiffness are all possible symptoms of an omega deficiency.
• Hair Loss or Changes
Much like your skin, your hair also benefits from omega-3 fats and their protective and moisture-retaining properties. Low omega consumption can lead to changes in your hair’s texture, thickness, and strength.
Five Common Kitchen Mistakes
1. Not Reading the Entire Recipe
Make sure there isn’t a step such as “chill in refrigerator for 3 hours” that surprises you further down the recipe you’re using - leaving everyone in the house hungry and you scrambling.
2. Not Using Parchment Paper in Your Cake Pans
Make sure you butter your cake pans but also line them with parchment paper to ensure a clean and easy release once baking is done.
3. Opening the Oven Door When Baking
It’s tempting, but avoid this. It stops processes such as allowing things to rise and messes with the oven temp.
4. Not Drying Your Protein Before Cooking
If you don’t pat dry your protein (fish, meat, tofu) before cooking, the extra water may cause it to steam in some places and sear in others, leading to inconsistent cooking and coloration.
5. Not Prepping Ingredients Ahead of Time
Prep by measuring, chopping, and organizing ingredients to keep things calm as you go through the recipe.
Health Benefits of Pistachios
Pistachios are fun to eat, delicious, and offer up quite a few health benefits. A 1-ounce serving has only 159 calories, 6g protein, thiamine, copper, and manganese. Let’s see what else they have to offer:
Pistachios have high levels of antioxidants that may help boost eye health and protect against cancer and heart disease. They’re also quite bioavailable and easily absorbed by your stomach.
• Amino Acids
Of all types of nuts, pistachios have the highest ratio of essential amino acids that you can only obtain from food.
At 3g of fiber per serving, pistachios are a good source of it and help to feed good gut bacteria.
• Heart Health
Another added benefit of pistachios is that they may help lower bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure more than most nuts.
• Vitamin B6
Pistachios rank as one of the most B6-rich foods you can get. This vitamin is helpful in balancing blood sugar and also the formation of hemoglobin to carry oxygen in your blood.
The levels of potassium in a serving of pistachios are close to the same amount as a banana. Potassium provides many benefits including helping balance blood pressure, supporting contracting muscles, and improving digestion, to name a few.
Why We Love Soup
There’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup to get you through the Winter months. Below are some reasons that soup can be such a great choice:
It can be hard to drink as many liquids as you should in the colder months since you aren’t usually hot and sweaty, but it’s still important as you still lose fluids throughout the day. Soup can help keep you hydrated since it’s made mostly of water.
• Huge Variety of Nutrients
The broth of soup itself is usually an amazing concoction of whole foods, sometimes even enriched further with things like bone broth. Rather than chewing your way through your daily servings of vegetables, soup can make it easy to get in several servings of veggies without even knowing it.
You can add in combos of veggies and proteins of almost any kind. Have carrots and celery in the fridge that need to be used? Chop them up and add them to the soup! No chicken on hand? Add a can of garbanzo beans for some protein and fiber. Possibilities are endless.
• Warming and Satisfying
Let’s face it, soup is just what you need if you’ve been working outside or it’s a cold and dreary day. It warms you up from the inside out. Add some whole grain bread on the side and all of a sudden everything is better.
Health Benefits of Black Beans
One of the items on this week’s menu is Chili Citrus Chicken Skillet with Black Beans and Quinoa. You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of both black beans and quinoa and we recently posted about quinoa, so let’s take a closer look at what black beans have to offer:
• One cup of cooked black beans provides
Folate (B9): 64% Daily Value
Manganese: 38% DV
Magnesium: 30% DV
Iron: 20% DV
• Bone Health
The combo of iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc in black beans all work towards building and supporting strong bones.
• Lower Blood Pressure
Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain nutrients that have been found to help decrease blood pressure naturally including potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
• Heart Health
Black beans are naturally cholesterol-free and help contribute to your heart health by lowering cholesterol in your blood, preventing buildup in your veins, and reducing inflammation.
• Digestion and Fullness
The excellent fiber content in black beans can help prevent constipation and also help support the health bacteria in your gut. Fiber can also help you feel full and satisfied longer and help avoid overeating or unnecessary snacking.