Posted on : 11-05-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Vegetables
“Do I need to soak lentils?” My friend and I were in the lentil aisle at ‘About Life’ – our local health food shop in Rozelle. After the past few weeks of visitors I was ready to detox with a hearty pot of lentil and vegetable soup. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to lose weight without feeling hungry. And it is so healthy.
I found a pack of soup mix which contained yellow split peas, green split peas, red lentils, green lentils, chick peas, white beans, pinto beans, red beans and blackeye beans. Just 100 grams of this mix, which is about a cup, provides 18 grams of fibre. That’s about the same kilojoules but three times more fibre than 100 grams of my healthy soy and linseed bread. No wonder a bowl of this soup is filling.
Legumes provide protein which keeps you feeling full for longer. And they are an important source of iron for vegetarians. If you are relying on legumes for iron make sure you eat some vitamin C
Posted on : 07-11-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Vegetables
Hmm – shall I buy more of that unpasteurised Italian cheese, some smoked trout or perhaps a small piece of nougat? I was in the Gourmet Grocer yet again, so entranced by the range of food available that I was barely aware of the man who entered the shop and headed straight for the counter. With a few friendly words Andy, one of the owners, handed him a mysterious brown paper bag and watched the man leave the shop. He turned to me and in a confiding tone said, “He’s from Rockpool.” I was obviously meant to know what Rockpool was. Thank goodness it only took a few seconds of pretending to be impressed before I remembered. Rockpool is one of the top restaurants in Sydney. “What was he doing here?” I asked. “Buying black garlic.”
Black garlic? I had never heard of the stuff. But there it was – a basketful of burnt looking garlic bulbs – sitting at the counter. If you want black garlic in Sydney, you have to go to the Gourmet Grocer in Balmain. No doubt if I hung around the store long enough I would see all sorts of famous chefs wander in to secure some of this latest trendy food.
I don’t buy crisps and hardly ever feel like eating them but put me in front a bowl of them and I can’t help myself! It’s even worse with a glass of wine and a few friends around. The ambiance, the conversation… before I know it I’ve mindlessly gobbled up hundreds of kilojoules and a few good spoonfuls of fat. It’s all to do with proximity.
So if it works with crisps, why not vegetables? This is the question that researchers at Cornell University recently answered with a resounding YES. Move the salad bar so it’s more ‘in your face’ and the kids eat more salad. Such a simple move, and not a mention of 5-a-day, antioxidants or any other cleverly crafted health coercement (not sure if that is a word but it sounds good!)
But hold on, don’t us mums already do that at home? We innately understand proximity. We chop an extra carrot, a few extra vegetables and pop them in front of the kids to allay the pre-dinner whining. We chop up fruit and put it on the table – and it gets eaten. If we told our kids to go eat an apple or a carrot, they would hardly jump at the idea. But when it’s placed in front of them most kids gladly eat it – especially if there’s nothing else on offer. I’ve found it works with husbands too.
So before the researchers and big business spend any more millions on working out how to get kids to eat their food, perhaps they could leave work early and see how it’s done in their own home!
It’s great to buy fruit and vegetables in season. Right now we’re eating heaps of sweet corn. It’s so easy to cook: three minutes per cob (husk on) in the microwave. My son and I munch ours straight off the cob but my husband loves his smeared with butter and salt. He’s succumbed to skinny milk, cup-cake sized steak, couscous and lentils so I figure he’s allowed the odd indulgence!
Corn gets its rich yellow colour from the family of phytochemicals (natural plant chemicals) called carotenoids. Yellow, orange, red and dark green vegetables such as spinach, carrots, tomatoes and pumpkin get their colour from carotenoids. Corn is especially high in two carotenoids – lutein and zeazanthin. The macular region of the eye has a high concentration of these substances which implies that they play an important role in keeping our eyes healthy. It’s thought that they protect against light-induced damage to the eye and help prevent macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye problems.