Is There a Superman in Your Salad?

creative 009Did you know today was national “Eat Your Vegetables Day?” I’ve noticed over the years I can tell a lot about a person’s relationship with vegetables when I mention I’m a vegetarian. Sadly the most common response is “so you just eat lettuce?” Is that the only vegetable they eat? Frightening.

I love vegetables, always have. I know some of you have bad vegetable memories of being forced to eat them or being on some weird fad diet where you could only eat cabbage, or something similar. Please, for your sake, try to overcome this. There are so many different vegetables and varieties, not to mention the diversity of preparation methods, you can easily avoid your bad memory vegetable and enjoy a world of flavor and health benefits.

In preparing for today’s post I thought of listing the health benefits packed in these tiny miracles of nature, but where to begin? How do I choose which ones to highlight? Then I ran across this photo taken a while back of a dish I’d created while learning about the yin yang concept in cooking and set out to put the theory into practice. I created a dish that balanced the five flavors as well as yin and yang in food and cooking methods.

It was fun being creative in the kitchen with all the colors and textures and aromas; even more so when the meal turned out to be delicious. I found the ingredients list and decided this would be the best way to illustrate my point.

On the plate it looks like an ordinary Chinese dinner (like mild-mannered Clark Kent) but when you look at the power of the individual ingredients you see this dish is really Superman.

The base is rice noodles tossed with sesame oil. The flower on top is the bottom slice of the baby Bok Choy. It held together and was a lovely surprise.

The stir fry consists of the following, seasoned also with curry, soy sauce, raw agave nectar, and rice vinegar.

GarlicGARLIC is believed to:

  • cleanse and thin the blood
  • help or cure skin problems
  • hypertension
  • cancer
  • asthma, and more.

 

GingerGINGER contains:

  • More than 12 types of antioxidants
  • Essential oils
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Vitamin C
  • Choline
  • Folate
  • Inositol
  • Manganese
  • Panthotenic Acid
  • Silicon
  • Small amount of vitamin B3

Ginger is widely used in traditional medicines around the world and is most know in the west for treating gastrointestinal disorders.

carrotsCARROTS really are good for your eyes. A medium carrot contains:

  • Vitamin A – 204% of your daily recommended value (This is good for the retinas of your eyes. The retina is what enables you to see light and color and see in low light conditions.)
  • Vitamin K – 8 mcg
  • Vitamin C – 6% of your daily requirement (Vitamin C is associated with a healthy immune system and strong teeth and gums.)
  • Fiber – 7 % of the daily recommended value
  • Potassium – 400 mg

MushroomsMUSHROOMS are full of:

  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids
  • Antibiotics and antioxidants and protect you against diseases and infections.

Among the mighty mushroom’s health claims are relief from:

  • High cholesterol levels
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Increasing the strength of your immune system

LeeksLEEKS for those of you not familiar are a mild tasting member of the onion family. I first came to know them for their diuretic properties but a single cup serving (about one leek) also contains:

  • Vitamin A – 56% percent of the daily requirement
  • Vitamin K – 40% of the daily requirement
  • Lutein and Zeaxanathin – 14% of daily requirement (When consumed in adequate amounts, Lutein and Zeaxanathin protect you from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.)

TofuTOFU counts as a vegetable because it is made from soybeans. Tofu is high in:

  • Protein (making it an excellent resource for vegetarians and vegans)
  • Calcium
  • Minerals
  • Fiber

Studies have shown regular consumption of tofu is associated with improved bone density, lower cholesterol, reduced risk of heart disease, and decreased incidence of breast and lung cancers.

Bok ChoyBABY BOK CHOY also known as Chinese cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and cauliflower. Cruciferous vegetables seem to have specific benefits for cancer prevention.

In addition bok choy is a great source of:

  • Potassium and calcium (both of which help to lower blood pressure levels(
  • Beta-carotene (promotes good eye health by helping to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration)

See what I mean by powerhouses in unassuming packages?

So today have a salad, order Chinese, use a dip, or melt cheese on the top but please do yourself a favor and Eat Your Vegetables.

 

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