Monday, January 10, 2011

The high road to the 2011 better me!

1.10.11 : 10/365

I've typed, erased, re-typed, and erased again. Writing tonight is just not coming to me, so maybe I'll try point form for now.
  • I've already mentioned that I haven't been feeling the greatest,
  • I started eating well in the early winter, but the holidays messed that up royally (I was addicted to steamed greens - bring on the Kale!),
  • I have to start eating well again - a.s.a.p,
  • I consider myself pretty well versed when it comes to food, including the more exotic things,
  • I grew up eating things that my friends had never even heard of, but some things just weren't staples anyway,
  • I've recently decided that I need to broaden my food horizons,
  • The mister got me the subscription to Chatelaine that I wanted for Christmas,
  • In my December issue there was a great article about 15 new superfoods (not really new but some were new to me for sure),
  • I decided to use this as a jumping point for the 2011 'better me' initiative.
Here`s the article so we`re on the same page;

15 new superfoods you should start eating now
This year's hot list of nutritional powerhouses includes ricotta and prunes
By Megan MacMillan, RHN Wed Jan 05 2011

(Source: Chatelaine magazine - *A link at the bottom of this page takes you to recipes that use all of these items*

1. Raspberries: Fresh raspberries rule for fibre, with twice as much (8 g per cup) as blueberries have, and frozen ones contain double the vitamin C of frozen blueberries. They score extra points as one of the best sources of ellagic acid, a powerful antioxidant thought to inhibit cancer-cell formation.

2. Beets: A great source of folate, which guards against birth defects, beets may help detoxify carcinogens and relieve inflammation. The greens are rich in eyesight-saving lutein and zeaxanthin, so eat them too.

3. Safflower oil: Olive oil gets the glory, yet safflower oil, a polyunsaturated fat, deserves praise too. A recent study found cooking with it increased lean muscle, stabilized blood sugar and torched belly fat — which could be promising news for people with diabetes and those battling the bulge.

4. Rainbow trout: Packed with protein and low in saturated fat, this delicious fish delivers a wide array of nutrients, including vitamin D and heart disease-fighting omega-3s.

5. Cabbage: Like kale, its dark, leafy cruciferous cousin, cabbage deserves top billing as an excellent source of sulforaphane, which is known to boost production of enzymes that detoxify carcinogens and may also be particularly protective for those with colon cancer-susceptible genes.

6. Barley: With a nutty taste and a chewy bite, this grain is great for people on wheat-free diets and boasts almost twice the fibre of brown rice. Both hulled and pearl barley contain hefty amounts of beta-glucans, hunger-busting fibres that have been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

7. Prunes: Prunes, or dried plums, are not just good for relieving constipation. The phenols in prunes may preclude brain-cell damage, and clinical trials indicate that they may reverse bone loss. And there’s another bonus: Prunes’ fibre generates “friendly” gut bacteria — the kind that kill pathogens and aid digestion.

8. Cauliflower: Don’t let its lack of green fool you! The anti-carcinogens in cauliflower, such as isothiocyanates, may slow cancer-cell growth. Plus, a cup of cooked florets delivers over 90 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, an antiinflammatory.

9. Parsley: More than a garnish, parsley is full of beta carotene, which may bolster immunity and alleviate arthritis. Just two fresh tablespoons provides 70 percent of the daily intake for vitamin K, low intake of which may be linked to weak bones.

10. Button mushrooms: Contrary to its humble reputation, this mushroom is a health warrior, armed with cancer-fighting selenium and energy-boosting vitamin B12. Mushrooms may combat obesity, too: A recent study found that they satisfied hunger just as much as red meat, but for 65 calories and zero fat!

11. Sea veggies: From dulse to kelp to nori, sea vegetables feature a full array of minerals, including iodine, which helps keep metabolism strong. They also supply lignans, compounds that may rid fat cells of excess estrogen, elevated levels of which raise breast-cancer risk.

12. Black beans: Full of diabetes-fighting fibre, black beans are loaded with magnesium, which facilitates calcium absorption and supports a healthy immune system. What’s more, they contain tons of antioxidants — on par with plums and 10 times the amount in tomatoes!

13. Ricotta: A half cup of this versatile dairy do-gooder contributes 14 g of protein and 25 percent of the daily intake for calcium; research has found that the calcium in dairy may enhance post-meal fat burning. Opt for part-skim varieties to cut calories and fat.

14. Rutabagas: Sky-high amounts of potassium in this root veggie help sink blood pressure and ease muscle cramping after tough workouts. A dieter’s dream, rutabagas also contain less than half the calories and carbohydrates of sweet potatoes, as well as a good dose of slimming fibre.

15. Oat bran: Already love oatmeal for breakfast in the morning? Why not try oat bran instead? Culled from the husk of the oat, oat bran offers more soluble fibre, which soaks up and eliminates harmful LDL cholesterol. Lower in calories than regular oats, oat bran enjoys a slightly better nutrient profile too, with higher amounts of protein, iron, vitamin B and vitamin E.

The other day, I decided that Rutabaga was the first one to try and lo and behold, we loved it! So in an effort to FEEL BETTER ALREADY (!!!!), it was declared veggie night tonight and we did it with some variety.

I made a roasted vegetable ragout (found here), and it was tasty! I also made shaved parsnip salad (here) and while we didn`t really realize it, we quite like parsnips too! (I didn't add the prunes, I'm not ready to do prunes yet... they scare me.) (Oh and, I took some artistic licence with these and it was all dandy, so feel free.)

Tomorrow night`s menu contains more of the veggies seen here and at least one other item from the superfoods, I hope it all turns out just as well.

Now as far as I am concerned, I`m sitting here drinking my second cup of Calm tea (which normally knocks me out cold) and about to head to bed. Please, please, please let this have paid off... I need sleep and to feel well.


Ps - Blogger is doing whatever it wants as far as formatting is concerned tonight, and I'm sick of trying to outsmart it, so... sorry. :)


Leslie said...

I love parsnips. Pretty much my favourite thing in the world is parsnip fries - I roast them, tossed in a combo of a bit of olive oil and thai red curry paste. Then dip in yogourt+honey+curry powder. best. snack. ever.

You might be interested in this recipe - I'm making it later this week. It uses both rutabaga and celeriac, along with lentils and mushrooms....can't go wrong, I figure!

Alison Hobbs said...

Have you come across any of those companies that deliver regular bags of fresh organic vegetables? Elva is a customer of Bryson Farms in Shawville, Quebec ( -- she opts to pick up her bag of produce from a neaby store every other week and has fun when she unpacks the bag at home, trying to identify the mystery vegetables! The selection forces her to be inventive with her meals. She brings some over to my house sometimes and we play with the options. Even I, as an interested onlooker, have learned a thing or two about vegetables since Elva started shopping like this. It saves some of the hassle of the normal weekly shop, and this local food does taste good.

Anonymous said...

Great work Mich!!!
eating healthy and really getting into it!
I did a produce program before and it was alot of fun! great way to discover new foods, and a fantastic source for fresh local and usually organic food!

Have you ever eaten at the table on wellington street??? it's one of my favs!
xo Ash

Rymistri@la vie en fuchsia said...

Hmmm, blog has one hit from Netherlands Antilles, who could it be?? Hiiii Ash!! :) xo

Leslie, that lentil dish looks good. I'm the lentil lover in this house but I am working on it. Those parsnip fries sound like they would be a huge hit with everyone though, I will be trying those very, very soon.

Alison (and Ash actually), funny you should mention those because they have come up. Actually, it was with Leslie that I was discussing it (well listening to it being discussed, because I was intrigued) and it peaked my curiosity. When my latest produce haul ended up being four bags full, I brought it up and now it looks like we're going to do something like that this summer... We're pretty excited about it!

Oh and as for The Table, I have never eaten there but I want to. We used to park behind it and smelling them prepping food at 6:45 in the morning, was awwwwesome!! It smelled of sweet balsamic...yum! We must try it!

Thanks everyone!

Julie Cole said...

Awesome Girl!!! I'm on the road to a better me too :) Always believed in superfoods and tried to get them into my diet on a daily basis - but last summer I fell off the wagon and my body is regretting it! Time for the slow crawl back to healthy!! I'm following in your footsteps..don't know if I'm ready for prunes yet too, though :)

Rymistri@la vie en fuchsia said...

I'll try to do good things if you're following in my footsteps!! Tough though considering I still have half the wonderful wedding cake you made me in the freezer! :D