lettuce

SALAD WITH MANGO AND CHIA SEED DRESSING

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY MAY START WITH A SALAD

Yesterday I posted an article from The Independent on my Facebook page that criticised the governments efforts (or lack of) to tackle the obesity crisis. The predictions are staggering, by 2050 some 50% of children are expected to be obese or overweight and in the same year the annual cost of obesity is predicted to be £50bn. Year 2050 may seem like a distant future but we need to do something now so these numbers never come true.

Today I saw a disturbing article about the rise of breast reduction surgeries (funded by NHS) on girls under 16, the youngest being 11. These are not cosmetic surgeries, NHS is not that generous, these procedures are due to obesity. These girls are suffering serious back pains and apparently cannot exercise due to their large bust. I do find this outrageous and can’t but get angry at the people who have failed these girls and allowed them to get into this kind of situation.

A recent study at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California shows that obese children have a raised risk of gallstones. The risk is 4x larger for the moderately obese and 6x for the extremely obese. My aunt used to suffer with this painful condition that has always been associated with adults not kids. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, especially children.

I do strongly believe we have to assume personal responsibility for what we feed our kids. As for the government, maybe taxing the processed, sugary and fatty foods would be a good start. The money made from these taxes should be put into companies who supply healthy food, the fruit and vegetable growers and the companies struggling to produce and sell healthy options in market flooded by cheap junk. The money should also go into education of both adults and children. Maybe that way we can avoid health tragedies.

When it comes to personal responsibilities, salad is always a good start, especially one with dressing made without any refined oils. I constantly try to come up with oil free dressings and finely feel like I struck gold with this one. It is slightly French inspired (I used some fine Dijon mustard). The oil replacement? Chia seeds soaked in water, the jelly like mixture makes a great emulsifier similar to oil. And since chia seeds are an amazing source of good fats they will also boost the absorption of fat soluble vitamins from your veggies.

Chiamangosalad


SALAD WITH MANGO AND CHIA SEED DRESSING

I love using broccoli stalks, it makes me feel great about reducing waste but they are very delicious indeed. You can substitute julienned kohlrabi for the broccoli.

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side salad

ingredients:
salad
1/2 a red leaf or dark leaf lettuce
1/3 of medium red cabbage (about 2 cups)
3 stalks of broccoli
half a medium red onion
1 mango

chia seed dressing
1 Tbs chia seeds
60ml water
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 tsp agave syrup
2 Tbs sherry vinegar


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method
  1. First, make the dressing. Soak the chia seeds in water for about 10min. You should end up with jelly like texture, it kind of resembles frog spawn :)
  2. Add rest of the ingredients, stir thoroughly until well emulsified. Set aside.
  3. Make the salad.
  4. Wash the lettuce and tear into bite size pieces.
  5. Shred the red cabbage as thinly as you can, I used a knife but a food processor or mandolin will work great.
  6. Next peel the broccoli stalks and cut off any hard ends, cut the stalks into thin matchsticks (julienne).
  7. Slice the red onion as thinly as possible.
  8. Peel the mango, cut the mango cheeks away from the stone and slice very thinly.
  9. Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing and serve.
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PEAR AND LETTUCE SMOOTHIE

PEAR AND LETTUCE SMOOTHIE

There has never been a better time to eat a plant based diet. According to latest research, correlated by the fabulous Dr. Greger, it can help prevent, treat or even reverse the leading causes of death. It will not prevent you from a freak accident but all the other causes may just be in your plant strong hands. Check the bellow talk by Dr. Greger and all of his other brilliant videos on his website.

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/

Wouldn’t it be great if we could slash our chances of getting heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s or kidney failure? Especially in the light of today’s articles about chemotherapy, we need more prevention rather than treatment. According to new research chemotherapy seems to undermine itself making tumour cells treatment resistant. The BBC article noted that: “ around 90% of patients with solid cancers, such as breast, prostate, lung and colon, that spread - metastatic disease - develop resistance to chemotherapy”. Wouldn’t it be better to slash our chances of ever being in need of such treatment?

The report on chemo maybe some scary stuff but not a huge surprise, the 2004 Australian study showed : “The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.” See link below.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630849

Nobody can guarantee plant based diet will definitely work in preventing cancer and other diseases but as far as research goes it is the best tool we have. And the only side effects are that you may just feel a whole lot better. Why not start with this great smoothie?

pearandlettucesmoothie


PEAR AND LETTUCE SMOOTHIE

Makes 2 refreshing tall glasses

2 pears
half a cucumber
1 baby gem lettuce
100ml unsweetened almond milk
thick slice of lemon
slice of ginger
I Tbs ground flax seeds
cup of ice

  1. Put all your ingredients into your food processor. I don't bother with removing the core or stalks from my pears.
  2. Blend till smooth.
  3. Enjoy!
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KOHLRABI, LETTUCE AND PEA SOUP

KOHLRABI, LETTUCE AND PEA SOUP

Kohlrabi is still rather unknown in the UK. You are lucky to find it at farmers markets or through an organic box scheme. When kohlrabi was discussed on Riverford facebook page many of the comments were full of confusion about this wonderful vegetable.

In the Czech Republic, we have grown up eating kohlrabi, but we don’t really know what to do with a turnip or swede... My preference has always been to eat kohlrabi raw, in salads or just thinly sliced on top of a good piece of bread. When I manage to get one here in the UK (and I get excited when I do), I just peel it, cut it up and enjoy it’s sweet flavour unadulterated. What does it taste like? Similar to a young turnip, but much better, sweeter, crunchier. You could also compare it to the juicy core inside of a broccoli or cauliflower stalk. Yum.

The Czechs also use kohlrabi in broth based soups. Unfortunately as a child I never enjoyed pieces of boiled kohlrabi in my soup. Bad memories aside I thought to reinvent the soup idea and really enjoyed the results. The kohlrabi complements the flavours of tender sweet lettuce and green peas. I think this is a perfect light soup for spring (or summer).

To enjoy the best flavour of raw kohlrabi choose smaller younger ones, about the size of a medium apple. The older and bigger they get (especially towards the end of season, they tend develop rather tough woody texture). My kohlrabi was on the large side (the downside of box scheme - you get what you get), but surprisingly sweet and without any tough woody bits.

As far as nutrition goes, kohlrabi contains great amounts of fibre and Vitamin C, it is also a fantastic source of potassium. Other minerals in Kohlrabi include copper, calcium and phosphorus. As all members of brassica family the sweet crunchy vegetable contains cancer fighting phytochemicals. Give kohlrabi a go!


kohlrabi

KOHLRABI, LETTUCE AND PEA SOUP

ingredients
1 large kohlrabi (mine was 760g - 1 3/4 pound), peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks
1 litre of light vegetable stock
half of a large head of tender sweet lettuce
250ml (1 cup) of peas (I use frozen)
extra peas to add texture (if using frozen just defrost, if fresh cook in a separate pan till tender)

method
  1. In a medium saucepan bring the stock to a boil, add the kohlrabi pieces and cook about 15min till tender.
  2. Wash the lettuce and tear or cut into smaller pieces.
  3. If using a good blender pour the stock with the kohlrabi into the blender, add lettuce and 1 cup of peas, season and process till smooth.
  4. If using a stick blender, add the peas and lettuce into the stock let heat up but don’t boil and blend with your stick blender.
  5. Add the extra peas (about 2 Tbs per portion) and serve. ( I have defrosted the peas by pouring just boiled water over them)

kohlrabisoup

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