Since man first figured out how to domesticate plants we’ve been trying to make them more palatable. Most edible wild plants are too bitter, sour, astringent, tough, full of seeds, or dry to be enjoyable.

Over the course of the last 12,000 years we’ve bred plants to taste better, be more productive, and easy to harvest, store, and transport. But the real reason we eat, for nutrition, has been the last priority. So the food we now eat may be tastier and we can get it all year round, but its nutritional value has been left in the dust.

Native plants contain more protein and fiber than crop plants and a lot less sugar. The original ancestor of corn, teosinte, contains a mere 2% sugar while sweet corn contains 40% sugar!

Wild plants also contain a lot more antioxidants, which neutralize free radical damage, and phytonutrients – chemicals we need for health like beta carotene and lycopene.

Wild tomatoes, for example, contain 15 times more lycopene than supermarket tomatoes. Wild apples in Nepal contains 100 times more phytonutrients than apple varieties we normally eat. Of course, these wild versions would not receive any rave reviews from a modern palate, either.

We can’t go back to foraging, but there are some amazing “veggie hacks” that you can use to get the most nutrition of out the vegetables you do eat. By properly using, storing, and preparing vegetables, you can up their nutritional content and enhance bioavailability tremendously!

1. Eat broccoli first.

Broccoli is one of the most perishable vegetables yet the average time from harvest to plate is a long 7 weeks. By the time you get it home it’s lost 80% of its nutrition. For this reason try to buy broccoli at a farmer’s market and buy whole heads not cut up florets. Store in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge and eat within a day or two of purchase. Eat raw or cook minimally - steam for 4 minutes or sauté lightly.

BROCCOLI RECIPES

2. Tear up lettuce before you store it.

Most lettuce eaten in the US is iceburg. This is the least nutritious kind. The more colorful and the looser the leaf, the more nutritious it will be. One of the weirdest tips is to tear your lettuce into bite size pieces before storing. This activates it to produce more phytonutrients to protect itself from predators!

Better yet, skip lettuce and make salads with spinach, wild arugula, or radicchio, which generally more nutrition rich than lettuce.

3. Scallions trump onions.

Sweet onions are the least nutritious type of onion and scallions by far are the most nutrition dense. They contain an unbelievable 140 times more phytonutrients than white onions!

4. Buy new potatoes, organic if possible.

Potato skins contain half of a potato’s antioxidants, but it also contain most of the pesticides. For this reason, you should consider getting organic.

New potatoes cause a lower rise in blood sugar and colored potatoes that are blue, purple or almost black are the most like wild potatoes and contain the most nutrition.

5. Cook your beets.

In the US we eat very few beets, and that’s too bad! Beets are extremely nutritious and have a low glycemic index in spite of their sweetness. This is one of several vegetables that is actually healthier when eaten steamed (not boiled) or roasted instead of raw.

BEET RECIPES

6. Bye-bye baby – carrots, that is.

Carrots are hard to breakdown so cooked carrots provide more beta carotene than raw! Buying carrots with the tops left on assures they are reasonably fresh. Carrots that come in a bag can be months old.

If you rely on baby carrots for a healthy snack, you’ll be disheartened to learn that they are only misshapen big carrots that have been whittled down to baby carrot shape and are nothing special. I felt very ripped off when I learned of this, how about you?

CARROT RECIPES

 

7. Tomatoes – when bigger is not better.

Most people look forward to a big juicy tomato, but when choosing tomatoes, the smaller and the darker red, the better. \

Tomatoes on the vine are more expensive but unless you find they taste better, you can give them a pass. Nutritionally they are not a big improvement.

Tomatoes are more nutritious when cooked. Cooking slightly changes the lycopene to a more bioavailable form.\

Counterintuitively, processed tomatoes of any kind – paste, sauce, or diced – are often the most nutritious form! These tomatoes are usually cooked and processed within a few hours of harvest, retaining all their phytonutrients.

Look for tomato products that come in glass jars, BPA-free cans, or tetra packs or make your own.

(For the purists out there, tomato is actually a fruit.)

8. Choose cabbage and cauliflower’s colorful cousins.

These two veggies are the pale members of the cruciferous family and are not the most nutrient dense. Try their colorful antioxidant rich cousins instead. Red cabbage costs more than green but contains 6 times more antioxidants.

Cauliflower comes in bright green, purple and even orange. You might think these are some weird mutants, but actually it’s the other way around. The colorful versions are closer to wild forms. The white cauliflower we’re used to is a mutant albino.

9. Cook your kale.

Kale and collards come close to being as healthy as wild greens. But it’s best not to add raw greens to smoothies or salads.

Raw kale is high in oxalic acid which can lead to muscle weakness, kidney stones, gout and low thyroid function. Lightly steaming first destroys oxalic acid.

KALE RECIPES

10. Eating asparagus is a walk on the wild side.

The asparagus we eat today has barely changed from its wild ancestors and thus is one of the most nutritious vegetables. There was no need to improve on perfection!  It is one more veggie best to eat steamed rather than raw. Steaming increases antioxidant availability by 30%.

11. Use an onion to keep avocados fresh.

Wild avocados (another fruit) are ½ the size of an egg and mostly pit with little flesh. It doesn’t seem possible that something so smooth and creamy could be fibrous but an avocado contains as much fiber as 2 bowls of oatmeal!

If you are left with ½ an avocado, keeping the pit in place then applying lemon juice is the old standby to keep it from turning brown. But what I find works even better is to put a thin slice of onion on top. Remove the center rings to leave room for the pit.

12. Grow your own and shop local.

Using these tips can give your more nutrition and more value for your dollar. But of course the best “veggie hack” of all is to grow your own or shop from your local farmer’s market!

SOURCE:
Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson

I love the fact, that our fridge is always mostly GREEN on the inside :-)

Yum yum yum!

Ooooh, what a great way to grow your veggies and herbs when space is limited.

Breakfast - 2 org eggs over Ezekiel toast, black coffee

Work 10 hours, crazy busy, all I had few bites of these snacks in between clients:

- 4 oz chicken, tomatoes

- spinach salad, mushrooms, hard boiled egg, 1/2 c quinoa, steamed broccoli and cauliflower

- lots of lemon water and 2 more cups of black coffee during a day

Dinner - courtesy of my dear amazing cook / hubby - healthy version of chicken tikka masala, will be served momentarily…. picture coming up soon :-)

My 5th workout of the week will be accomplished on Sunday!

I feel pretty snazzy about today, but I am glad it’s over, now 2 days off, yey!

19 Vegetables that Burn Calories Instantly

It is true that food could really be beneficial factors in the weight loss process. To most people, the concept of eating to lose weight is a bit ridiculous, but strangely enough, it is indeed true that it can be done. Simply consuming foods like fruit and vegetables could result in painless weight loss. Since fruit and vegetables are low in calories and high in volume, they are excellent sources. Not only will the fruit and vegetables help you to lose weight, but they are full of vitamins and nutrients as well. Since for weight loss you can simply eat vegetables that burn calories or fruit that burn calories, why wait?

Below is a list of 19 vegetables that burn calories and fat instantly simply by eating them, aiding you in your weight loss mission.

19 Vegetables that Burn Calories Instantly

  • Asparagus
  • Fennel
  • Gourd
  • Broccoli
  • Leek
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Marrow
  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers
  • CeleryRadishes
  • Chicory
  • Spinach
  • Cress
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Turnips
  • Onions
Even if you are looking to eat these vegetables solely for the purpose of losing weight, you will be pleased to find out that overall health boosts as well. All vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, K, carotene, carotenoids, and much more. Consuming many of these vegetables will effectively make for better quality hair, skin, and nails, while boosting the immune system as well.
Another important result of consuming more fruits and vegetables is the decrease in junk food consumption. While making the change to fruits and veggies, even if only for weight loss, you will ultimately end up consuming less of those foods contributing to weight gain and disease. Many foods today are loaded with sugar and full of harmful ingredients like food coloring, high-fructose corn syrup, and hydrolyzed oils.  Omitting these foods more and more will result in a profound positive effect on health.

Pickled Vegetables

  • 2 pounds vegetables cut into half inch slices. Cabbage, turnips, beets, carrots, cauliflower, green tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, pears, spring green garlic are all good, I used cabbage, cauliflower, beets and carrots for the bottom, because it looks cute :-)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup salt depending how salty you like them
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves, left whole but smashed with knife
  • 1 large bunch thyme (or other herbs you like)

Put 8 cups water with all the ingredients except the cut vegetables into a pot and bring to a boil then simmer 5 minutes. Pour this over the vegetables in a glass or stainless steel bowl, cover with a towel, and leave on the counter 3 hours before refrigerating. They will be good to eat after 24 hours.



April 16 - Fitness Photo Challenge - vegetables

Had a great day off, spend most of it with my best Czech gf, packed lots of fun activities in including Body Rock fitness test, beach, fruit eating during a day, one long sweaty tennis game, dinner she prepared for us (see above, chicken breast, salad, she cooked the SHIT out of zucchini and carrots, well do not look at gift horses teeth :-)…now onto wine, chick flick and sleepover :-) tomorrow morning 4am wake up call for spinning :-) We do this every time her hubby and kids are away!

Everyone needs fun and sporty gf to hang with.

April 4 - Fitness Photo Challenge - Breakfast

  • omelet (1 egg, 1 cup egg whites)
  • lightly sauteed vegetables (red onion, red pepper, zucchini, squash)
  • seasoned with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
  • green tea
  • morning supplements (Chlorella, Turmeric Formula, VitD3)

Have a great day everyone!

Steaming bunch of cauliflower and broccoli.

Great to have precooked in the fridge:

  • omelets and scrambles
  • quick stir fry
  • quick to sautee with bunch of other veggies

I make it my mission to have a plate of vegetables with every meal, preparing ahead of time makes it easier to grab on the go.

Save it, print it, use it!

Easy guide to pick your “should I get this organic or not?” battles of the mind in the market :-)

(via lil-miss-fitness)

Just in case you need any more reasons to go ORGANIC!!!

Organic produce is so much more nutritious, well worth the investment and in a long run actually cheaper that eating crappy conventionally grown produce (no medical bills to pay, no sick days, ….. you get the picture :-)

And if that is not enough motivation, study shows, mothers who eat organic during a pregnancy have children with higher IQ. AWESOME! Smart kids, less help with homework :-)

Pesticide exposure in womb may hurt your child’s IQ:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/21/womb.pesticide/index.html

Cheers to healthy body, feed it well!

Woke up early reminded by how much I loved wine and how much I didn’t like the mornings after. Having wine after 6 week hiatus made my liver scream in pain :-) But it was so much fun having our best friends over for dinner, so worth it!

I love my Mondays off, so much fun to be had!

Today Boston had a heat wave, felt like summer all day!

This is what I did:

  • took in my VW ‘Jedi’ for maintenance and fixin’ bright and early
  • discovered the wonder of Tumblr queue and loaded it up
  • caught up on my Facebook, emails, phone calls etc.
  • went on gorgeous hike with my pup 
  • hugged trees
  • recharged my Crystal Quartz in the sun and in the lake water

  • got bunch of veggies for tomorrow - my full day of juicing
  • picked up my car $1500 later, ouch, but necessary, it’s just money, life is great, moving on :-)
  • pickled vegetables
  • made delicious Czech salad for dinner (tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, kefir, salt, pepper)
  • off to watch Lost on Netflix (I am about 100 years behind everybody else, just started watching it and LOVE IT!!!)


Hope you had a great day too!!! 

Love and Light!

ACID/ALKALINE-Get Your Greens On-

Here’s a salad you can make for under $2 a serving! This is a great Alkalizing salad. An Alkaline environment in the body means that the body is functioning efficiently and that disease and cancer cannot grow in this environment. Diets high in Acidity cause the body to over absorb precious minerals, cause fatigue, restlessness, imbalance of yeast (LADIES!!!), headaches, blood sugar imbalances, digestive problems… You get the picture.

This subject is detailed and complex, but here’s what you need to know-

  • The Acid/Alkaline Scale runs from 0-14
  • 7 is neutral
  • Anything below 7 is Acidic 
  • Anything above 7 is Alkaline
Ideally you want the body to be around a 7.35-.7.45 (Alkaline). You can create this environment in the body by eating a majority of Alkalizing foods. Check out what they are here! 
Here’s the catch, once you consume something acidic (think: Coffee, Processed Foods, Bread, Meat) It take 3 times the amount of alkalizing food to rebalance the body. 

Kick Off Your Alkalinity Diet With This:

If you have been feeling fatigued try adding more Alkaline foods into your diet!

I made this salad tonight, it is one of my favorite combinations! You can mix up the veggies and store your dressing separately and take a fresh, awesome salad to work! 

Ingredients:

Fresh Spinach

Fresh Kale

Organic Carrots

Cabbage

Tomatoes

Squash ( If preferred, you can flash cook in skillet w/ sea salt and black pepper)

Chia Seeds

Red Pepper Flakes

Sea Salt

Dressing:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Lime

Olive Oil

*Chop all veggies then lightly drizzle Olive Oil over the greens, massage the olive oil into the greens (this is specifically important to do with the Kale. It breaks down the fibrous part of the leaf and makes it more palatable)

*After all veggies have been tossed and massaged with Olive Oil (They will have a slight shine to them), add 1 cap full of Apple Cider Vinegar (can add more depending on the size of salad then squeeze half of a lime. Make sure the salad is well mixed and tossed with all dressing ingredients. 

*Sprinkle top with Sea Salt, Red Pepper Flakes and Chia Seeds