Like adopting a new exercise regime, changing an approach to eating requires learning the fundamentals. In choosing what to eat, understanding the benefits or possible harm of your decisions is key knowledge. Once you have the tools, you are not at the mercy of what is being served, you can choose.
Take into consideration what your goals are – to get stronger, to bulk up, thin down, get rid of inflammation, to live longer and healthier. These targets are achievable through diet. Ask yourself what have been the obstacles to getting on track. Often it is lack of time and the easiest, most conveniently accessible meal becomes a habit. Sometimes emotional eating is a stumbling block. Stress always plays a part in poor food choices.
Emotional eating and food addiction are universal phenomenons. If a person reaches for comfort foods on a regular basis, this will lead to significant problems. The underlying stress of emotional eating can trigger a cascade of cortisol, a stress hormone that regulates how our bodies use carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Our bodies crave sugary, fatty, and salty foods. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, gets released and kicks into gear a feeling that something positive is about to happen – like eating a food you love. Tryptophan is found in cheese. It is an amino acid that is necessary to produce serotonin, “the happy chemical”. Chocolate is also linked to a serotonin spike.
Over time eating becomes associated with emotional relief. It distances you from dealing with your feelings and calms down your stress. A study in 2015 found that people reach for comfort foods when they crave an emotionally comforting memory.
It is time to separate your emotions from your food intake.
Remember that food’s main purpose is to nourish us. Friends, family, pets, and a deeply, satisfying sense of well-being are more healthy ways to get comfort.
Your Nutrition Partner is a tool to connect with mindful eating. What does your body need when it tells you that it is hungry? Focus on the act of eating when it is time to eat. Enjoy the preparation. Make the food look beautiful on the plate. Chew it well and savor the effort you made to prepare it. Turn off the tv. Put on music. Talk with a friend or enjoy peace and quiet.
This blog site is not a diet guide. Your Nutrition Partner will not tell you what to eat but will educate on how to choose the best foods that match your age, stress level, health and ethnicity.
Your Nutrition Partner will highlight sustainability. Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Agriculture contributes directly to sustainable stewardship of the land, air and water. The goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s food and textile needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Practitioners of sustainable agriculture seek to integrate two main objectives into their work: a healthy environment and economic profitability.
I will sometimes suggest foods and products but I will not have paid advertising or take compensation from any of these sources.
Future blog posts include information on organic produce, how to calculate your daily caloric requirements, what are endocrine disruptors, and, of course, foods and recipes that will make you happy.
Cauliflower is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables.
- Fights Cancer – Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth. Some researchers believe eliminating cancer stem cells may be key to controlling cancer. Research has shown that combining curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, and cauliflower may help prevent and treat prostate cancer.
- Boosts Heart Health – Sulforaphane in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables has been found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function.
- Anti-inflammatory – Cauliflower contains anti-inflammatory nutrients, including indole-3-carbinol or I3C, an anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant compound.
- Rich in Vitamins and Minerals – One serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.
- Boosts Brain Health – Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development. Choline intake during pregnancy “super-charged” the brain activity of animals in utero, indicating that it may boost cognitive function, and improve learning and memory. It may diminish age-related memory decline and your brain’s vulnerability to toxins during childhood.
- Detoxification Support – Cauliflower contains antioxidants that support Phase 1 detoxification along with sulfur-containing nutrients important for Phase 2 detox activities.
- Digestive Benefits – Cauliflower is a good source of fiber. Researchers have determined that the sulforaphane can help protect the lining of your stomach. Sulforaphane prevents bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach.
- Antioxidants and Phytonutrients – Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Antioxidants resist aging caused by exposure to pollutants, chronic stress, and more. If you don’t have an adequate supply of antioxidants to help get rid of free radicals, then you can be at risk of oxidative stress, which leads to accelerated tissue and organ damage.
How to Buy
- Look for cauliflower that has a creamy white color with densely packed florets that are free of blemishes, browning or wet spots. The cauliflower head should feel heavy in your hand for its size.
- Give the leaves a good look. They should be fresh and vibrant, which is a sign that the cauliflower was recently harvested.
- If buying purple, green or orange cauliflower (you’ll find these at many farmers markets), they should be uniformly colored.
- If the cauliflower has a strong smell, it’s past its prime.
How to Store
- Most grocery store cauliflower comes wrapped tightly in cellophane, which can trap moisture and promote rot. When you get it home, unwrap it immediately and transfer to a tea towel to absorb any excess moisture.
- Whole heads of cauliflower can be kept in the refrigerator for 4 to 7 days. Precut florets should be stored for no more than 4 days.
- To cut a head of cauliflower into florets, quarter the head through the stem end and cut away the small piece of core from each quarter. Then cut the cored cauliflower into bite-sized florets.
- Don’t toss the stalk and leaves! They’re edible and delicious, so you may want to include them in your cooking. Peel and cut the stalks so they’re about the same size as the florets you’re using to ensure even cooking.
- Rinse the cut up pieces of cauliflower in a colander to remove any residual dirt. Use a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel to pat them dry before cooking.
How to Cook
Bring a large pot containing several quarts of water to a boil.
- Optional: Add the juice of 1/2 lemon to the water. The lemon juice can help keep the florets whiter.
- Place a vegetable rack above the boiling water. Place the vegetable rack high enough above the water so that the water won’t boil over onto the florets.
- Drop the cauliflower onto the vegetable rack and reduce heat to medium. Cover cauliflower with a lid.
- Steam cauliflower for 4 to 6 minutes, checking after 4 minutes. When a knife pierces the stem of the cauliflower easily, the vegetable is fully cooked. You want the cauliflower to be tender but still slightly crunchy at the core.
- If you want to steam a cauliflower whole, the process will take about 17 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400° F (~204° C) and bring 7 to 8 US quarts (7,000 to 8,000 ml) of water to a rolling boil.
- Parboil one head of cauliflower, cut into florets, in the boiling water for 3 minutes. Parboiling means quickly boiling, not fully cooking. Remove from water and strain away all water.
- Assemble the cauliflower on a baking dish or roasting pan.
- Season and drizzle with avocado oil.
- Once the oven has reached 400° F, cook the cauliflower in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Mashed Cauliflower can replace mashed potatoes. Cook the cauliflower until tender, mash well (use an immersion blender!), add butter and season with herbs.
Tree of Life Stir-Fry
Terry Walters, Clean Food
1 cup dried arame (or any seaweed you have)
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, cut into wedges
3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 T mirin
Water as needed
2 t kudzu dissolved into 1/4 cup water (This is thickener made from the root of the kudzu plant. You can replace with arrowroot or cornstarch.)
1 t mellow white or chickpea miso
1 T grated fresh organic ginger
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- Place arame in a bowl with enough water to cover and soak for 10 minutes.
- In large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil for 3 minutes until soft.
- Add carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and mirin and continue to stir-fry until vegetables become brighter in color.
- Drain the arame and add to stir-fry, adding water as needed to-recent sticking.
- In a small bowl, combine dissolved kudzu with miso and ginger. Add to stir-fry and cook 3-4 minutes to thicken sauce.
- Remove from heat and top with sesame seeds and serve over long grain brown rice.