Wednesday, January 21, 2009

11 Best Foods

I love it when the greatness of the vegetarian way of life is confirmed! This article appears on the NY Times blog, and is titled "The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating." Only one isn't vegetarian, and it's sardines. Ew. I don't think those that eat meat want to eat them anyway. Otherwise, I consume most of these foods pretty regularly, and there are numerous tastey dishes that utilize them.

Here are the foods, and some of the ways you can incorporate them into your diet!

1. Beets: To be honest, I don't really eat these. We have some on our counter, and I swear I've been meaning to try them, but I haven't yet. I've heard they're great raw, shredded in a salad or on a sandwich.
2. Cabbage: Especially awesome because it's dirt cheap! Only until you shred a head of cabbage and see the vast quantity you've just unleashed do you truly understand what a great value this stuff is. My all-time favorite preparation method is my mom's cabbage soup (recipe to come soon), but steamed/sauteed cabbage and potatoes are really good. It's a little bland, but sometimes bland is good. Mmm Irish comfort food. Add some sliced veggie sausage to make it a meal.
3. Swiss Chard: Sauteed greens! Yummmmm. Swiss chard, collards, mustard greens, etc. can all be prepared basically the same. My favorite method is braising: you sautee your greens for a few minutes then steam them. I use a little olive oil and garlic, sautee for a few minutes, then add a little bit of both water and tomato sauce, then cover and steam for about 5-10 minutes.
4. Cinnamon: Sprinkle on your oatmeal. Also, it's really good with peanut butter. I'd suggest a pb, banana, and cinnamon sandwich. Cinnamon in coffee is also tasty. And if you want to be a fat kid there's always spice cake :)
5. Pomegranate juice: I haven't jumped on the exotic juice bandwagon, but I can see the benefits to drinking this regularly. However, right now I'm an invincible 23-year-old and don't want to shell out the cash it takes to drink this stuff regularly. But Pama, pomegranate liquor, makes delicious martinis!
6. Dried plums: Aka prunes. These actually work really well as a fat replacer in darker baked goods, specifically chocolate things. Just blend or food-process with a bit of water. They're also supposed to be good on their own, but I honestly haven't worked up the courage to try that yet.
7. Pumpkin seeds: Also known as "pepitas," these are tasty. Unfortunately, I'm lazy, so I never buy pumpkins and do the whole scooping, rinsing, and baking thing. If you're like me, you can buy these in the bulk section of your local natural grocery store!
8. Sardines: Yuck. Yeah, they have omega-3's and lots of vitamins, but so do flax seeds and other nuts. Eating little fishies is gross. Plus, commercial fishing is killing our oceans.
9. Turmeric: One word: Indian. Turmeric is a staple spice in Indian cooking, and it is so damn tasty. Apparently it's a "superstar spice" that makes you fly and live forever. Not really, but pretty close. Turmeric is also great in tofu scramble!
10. Blueberries: Many people don't buy blueberries alot because they're really expensive. That's why I do one of two things: buy a bunch when they're cheap during the summer and freeze them or just buy frozen. It is important to try and buy organic berries, since they are one of the foods where the toxins from pesticides can stick around.
11. Canned pumpkin: I never realized how awesome canned pumpkin is until I started reading Hungry Girl. She has a ton of great healthy recipes incorporating this stuff. My personal favorite: subbing pumpkin for the fat and liquid in cake and brownie recipes.

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