DIARY OF A CHEF AT HOME
a collection of holistic nutrition tips & tricks, plus many of Food on the Table's favourite recipes
Adding more vegetables to your diet doesn’t have to be complicated. And that step alone can vastly improve your health. Vegetables have LIFE FORCE and such varied nutrient profiles that by mixing it up you have the capacity to create a balanced and healthy approach to nutrition.
And the benefits don’t just come in the form of the vitamins that we know from big-agriculture’s ad campaigns. There are other elements like micro-nutrients and digestive aids within vegetables that make every veggie unique and equally as useful.
In the case of raw veggies, we know that cucumbers and celery contain mostly water which can be hydrating to your body, without diluting your stomach juices the way large amounts of water can. Plus, raw veggies are hydrophilic which means they have a stimulating effect on the digestive juices and enzymes, making the breakdown of other foods like chickpeas (a complex-protein and -carbohydrate) even easier. So, rather than having your little one down big glasses of water post-game, try also adding a raw veggie habit to their routine.
Variety is a benefit that we rarely think about. But, what happens when we eat the same foods repeatedly is that we develop a palette for a single flavour profile. We almost become addicted to sweet or salty or sour (okay…it’s less likely to be addicted to sour, but you get the idea). So, in Ayurveda cooking it’s natural to accept all 6 senses into your meal, and not just the sweet, salty and sour. We can add a few familiar items to get the remaining flavours into every meal, for example:
Bitter - Dark leafy greens, herbs and spices
Astringent - Cauliflower, cranberries and pomegranate
Pungent - Chillies, garlic and hot spices
And while you’re adding flavour, you’re adding water-soluble vitamins that your body won’t make, as well as, fibre that will keep your digestive system functioning. From veggies, we can absorb more than just vitamin C. There’s vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, as well as, biotin and choline. Not to mention the amazing cancer and heart disease fighting phytonutrients that we know as carotenoids, which include the more familiar beta-carotene and lycopene.
Vegetables fill you up without filling you out. So, when you add vegetables to your diet, you reduce cravings for notorious sugary, processed non-foods. This keeps your body healthy, but also allows room in your diet to add some fat to the vegetables – like butter, ghee or a gorgeous fruity olive oil. Fat adds amazing flavour, helps transmit and store fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A, D, E and K and keeps you feeling satiated.
Incorporating more veggies into your lifestyle is a sure-fire way to improve digestion and replenish the water-soluble vitamins and nutrients. Here are few examples of how to pack your day with vital foods:
And finally, eating seasonally and eating locally is bound to bring more veggies into your life. Just head to a local farmers’ market and you’ll see that veggies are abundant – even year-round. FarmFolk CityFolk made a chart that will show you what's available year round in Vancouver and surrounding areas.
I hope you’ll join me for my next class: Spice of Life. It’s sure to help you get more bitter, astringent and pungent foods into your life, as well as, teach you about the longevity of your herbs and spices, blending ideas and must-haves for your cupboard. Also on the agenda, I lend you my knowledge on how to read labels and find those nasty additives in the tiny print on most labels. See you soon!
One of my great joys in life is cooking! As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) & food lover I continue to explore the balance between healthy, traditional food preparation and tasty dishes.
Check out my new COOKBOOK! Planting Seeds of Nourishment with over 40 whole-foods based recipes and tons of nutrition info!