I know — we’re all busy in the morning! For most people, full breakfasts of omlettes, whole-grain pancakes, etc. are for days off or leisurely weekends. But that doesn’t mean you need to skip THE most important meal of the day. If you don’t have a well-balanced meal in the morning, you’re setting yourself up for sluggish metabolism, sugar imbalances, and cravings that will make it impossible for you to stick to your eating plan.
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In my experience, adding whole grains to a diet, particularly when they are replacing any kind of refined version, can have a significantly positive effect on energy, mood, and one’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. For busy cooks, grains lend themselves well to cooking in batches and providing multiple meals with less effort. Furthermore, they are a great bargain relative to their nutritional value, especially if you purchase them in bulk.
The basic steps to preparing grains are:
1) measure and check for unwanted material and rinse in cold water using a fine mesh strainer
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Green vegetables are the foods most missing in our diets. Learning to cook and eat greens is essential to creating health. When you nourish yourself with dark, leafy greens you will automatically crowd out some of the foods that aren’t as healthy. Greens help build your internal rain forest and strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. Green is associated with spring, the time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity.
Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals.
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A simple method for getting a little “exotic” flavor that’s subtle enough to be enjoyed by even the more traditional eaters in your household
1 cup dry roasted quinoa*
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
½ cup red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
Pinch of salt
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- Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer. Bring water & coconut milk to a boil. Add quinoa, garlic, salt & chili flakes.
- Bring back to boil & reduce heat. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in red pepper, sesame oil, and salt.
½ cup quinoa, cooked
2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons barley malt (a gentler sweetener)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Grapeseed oil (or another vegetable oil)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the squash
- Mix warm quinoa, barley malt, walnuts, cherries and cinnamon.
- Stuff each squash half with the mixture.
- Bake in a covered dish for 45 minutes or until squash is tender.
This dish, featured in the book, Greens Glorious Greens by Johnna Albi & Catherine Walthers, is one of the most delicious ways I’ve found to prepare kale, a food we want more of in our diets for all its health-promoting effects. Known as a “superfood” because it is such an excellent source of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese, it is also a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, vitamin B6, and potassium. Kale has also been shown in various studies to be associated with a lower incidence of various cancers, due to the high levels of active phytochemicals it contains. Furthermore, the carotenoids found in this vegetable, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, provide a protective effect against the risk of cataracts.
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Green vegetables are the foods most missing in our diets. Learning to cook and eat greens is essential to creating health. Nutritionally, leafy greens like kale are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals.
This is a very easy way to prepare kale and great for introducing it to someone who is not a big vegetable eater (and of course, children). Prepared in this manner it can be eaten plain as a side dish, over a grain, in a salad, or as a snack like chips.
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