When trying to eat a little more clean and green, you may want to use a grocery list as well as a daily list to streamline your efforts. In researching and comparing lists, we found some commonality in several credible lists. Each list contained whole foods with antioxidants, healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, protein, and vitamins making a nutritious variety. This mixture serves to enhance immunity, well-being, and reduce inflammation.
Our favorite lists:
1. Our favorite whole food, plant-based Doctor created, "Dr. Gregor's Daily Dozen Checklist," which is a free app where you can click off the 12 items, or you can find it on his website at Nutrition Facts
2. WebMD shared their 5 Superfoods as the following: Kale for Vitamin A, C, E, and K which serves as cancer fighting; Avocado which is a nutrient powerhouse and full of healthy monounsaturated fat; Blueberries with Vitamin C, fiber, maganese, and antioxidants; Quinoa with high fiber and high protein; and Salmon for Omega 3s and fatty acids. See the video at WebMD Food
We encourage you to create your own list and include items you like best from the above list and your palate pleasures. We like this short list: blueberries, lentils, avocado, flaxseed, chia seeds, kale, turmeric, and cinnamon. That's a nice mix of whole, anti-inflammatory, high fiber, good fats, and protein packed tasty foods. Whatever list you choose, we hope it supports you and your family eating a little more clean and green!
Growing a garden in your backyard, some greens on your patio, or herbs precariously perched on your windowsill can enhance your nutrition, our environment, and even stretch your budget. Dr. Greger from nutritionfacts.org claims, "dark-green, leafy vegetables are the healthiest foods on the planet, which is why I recommend two servings each day." If you can't grow them yourself, explore how to cultivate a green kitchen. You can shop for fresh veggies at your local farmer's market or grocery store, and buy organic and in season produce when possible. You can think out of the box and barter for greens. Perhaps you swap babysitting services for you neighbor's extra fruits or irregularly shaped vegetables. You could offer meal prep services for a busy friend, or even cook up and freeze meals for a gardening friend.
By going green and ensuring your food is local, you are helping to ensure your food is fresh and more nutritious. Stephanie Rice, a local health author featured in thomasvillemagazine.com explains "When food is harvested, picked, and packaged, and shiped to the grocery stores, it loses nutrients along the way. So the longer the produce takes to get to you, the fewer nutrients it will contain." In her article "Embracing the Green Kitchen" she shared the exmple that Vitamin C levels were almost undetectable in broccoli only 7 days after beign harvest. So in addition to eating all the colors of the rainbow to ensure diversity in the foods you eat, let's try eating what's fresh locally for the best nutrition! Here's a reipe for easy veggie tacos: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/recipe-easy-veggie-tacos/.
Perhaps you’ve read the reports and noticed the plant-based changes in grocery stores as well as the increased plant-based options on your favorite restaurant menus! But, you may need a plan or some helpful hints in order for you to take the first few steps to changing your dinner plate. Remember, small changes can make BIG differences to your health, our Earth, and of course the welfare of “agriculture animals."
Explore some of these tips for transitioning to a more plant-based diet:
o Start slowly and incorporate changes
o Eat less dairy and meat products
o Add a large salad to your daily meals
o “Meal Swap” - substitute plant-based ingredients in your favorite meals
o Go meatless for an entire day as a family, Meatless Mondays
o Become a “Flexitarian” – eating “mostly” whole food that’s plant-based
o Watch documentaries as a family: The Game Changers, What the Health; Forks Over Knives; Cowspiracy; and Food, Inc
Sometimes we can take clues from nature for optimal health. In an article called “God’s Pharmacy,” you can take a look at some whole foods and immediately see the connection to your well-being.
· Walnuts look like your brain, and their Omega 3 content supports brain function
· Citrus looks like a breast and supports breast health
· Carrots cut in a circular manner look like your eyes and supports ocular health
· Celery stalks look like a long bone and supports strong bones
· Figs support men’s reproductive health
· Avocados for pregnant women…and more!
To many of us, there’s nothing better than a meal of fresh, out of the garden vegetables. While vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, many of those of us who grew up in the South ate our fresh vegetables breaded in cornmeal and/or flour and fried without even thinking about the health issues this could cause. Humble Warrior would like to share with you some other, healthier ways to enjoy your fresh summer vegetables. Here are six other ways to prepare fresh vegetables this summer—boiling, steaming, blanching, roasting, stir-frying, and griddling. We recommend you give them a try.
Here is more detailed information about each method:
Cut up the vegetables into same size pieces and place them in as little salted water as possible and avoid overcooking so all the vitamins and flavor are retained. Place lid on saucepan, bring salted water to a boil as quickly as possible, reduce heat and simmer gently until tender when tested with a skewer, point of a knife or fork. Always simmer vegetables as vigorous boiling will cause some vegetables to break up. Cooking times will depend on the size and density of the vegetable: 3-5 minutes for leafy vegetables, E.g., bok choy, cabbage, kale, spinach. 8-10 minutes for firmer vegetables, E.g., broccoli, beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leeks, peas, sweet corn. 12-15 minutes for harder vegetables, E.g., carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, turnips, yams. 18-20 minutes for starchy vegetables, E.g., kumara, potato.
Steamed veggies are cooked briefly and then removed from the heat. During steaming, the heat of the steam cooks the veggies, and they are spared from the boiling water. The goal of steaming is to cook the vegetables until they are no longer raw but are still bright and crisp. If you don’t have a steamer, you can wrap the vegetables in baking parchment or foil then cook in the oven at 350° for 20 minutes until tender, or on the stove, you can fill a medium pot with 1/2 inch of water, place three golf ball–sized balls of aluminum foil on the bottom, rest a heat-proof plate on top of the foil balls, cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil. Add vegetables to the plate, cover, and steam until crisp-tender.
A technique used to soften vegetables, either to remove their raw edge before adding to salads or to loosen skins on foods such as tomatoes or shallots. Vegetables should also be blanched before they are frozen to destroy the enzymes that cause deterioration. Just add vegetables to a pan of boiling water, return to the boil and cook for one minute. Then plunge the vegetables into iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper before using or freezing.
Potatoes, root vegetables, squashes and tomatoes all taste wonderful roasted. Roasting intensifies flavors and causes natural sugars to caramelize, creating a crisp outer coating and a tender center. Cut large vegetables into even-sized chunks and toss in oil and fresh herbs, if you wish. Use enough oil to give the vegetables a slick, glossy coating—a tablespoon or two will usually get the job done. The oil helps the vegetables cook more evenly and crisp up in the oven and adds a rich flavor that makes roasted vegetables irresistible. Use a mild oil when roasting vegetables. Tossing the vegetables with your hands allows you to rub the oil into the vegetables and make sure they’re evenly coated. Preheat the oven to 420°. Roast until the vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork and you see some charred bits on the edges.
Uses very little oil and cooks vegetables quickly, so they keep their texture and taste. Cut the vegetables into small, even-sized pieces, add a little oil to a preheated wok or frying pan and heat until just smoking. Start with the vegetables that need the longest cooking and keep stirring as they cook. Don't overfill the pan, as they will steam rather than fry - cook in batches instead. If you are adding a sauce, do so at the very end, then toss to coat and serve immediately.
Also called barbecuing, is a direct heat cooking method, which produces vegetables with a crisp coating and a tender center. For the best results, make sure your barbecue or griddle pan is hot before you start. Slice the vegetables so they sit flat in the pan, then brush with a little oil. Avoid pricking them while they are cooking, as this will release their juices and dry them out. To get the chargrilled stripe effect, don't move them as they cook - just turn them once.
And now that you know other ways to prepare your vegetables, add some variety to your summer recipes. Feel free to add whatever spices you choose and most of all, share your favorites and your not so favorites on our Humble Warrior Facebook page. Bon Appetit!
In recognition of Earth Day, each Humble Warrior Alumni received a surprise package of organic non-GMO vegetable seeds and an invitation to “Grow With Us!” in the mail. Who doesn’t love getting real mail? Soon tomatoes, onions, squashes, carrots, beans, sugar peas, bell and hot peppers will be sprouting all over the US. Our veterans will grow food that feeds the body, mind, and spirit. We hope you join us, too!
When we are closer to our food source, we have the opportunity to eat healthier. Gardening combines seeds, soil, water, and sun for fun, health, and enhanced wellness. Whether you have a large garden, pots on the patio, or do-it-yourself windowsill containers, you can reap some of the many benefits of growing your own food.
The AARP organization shares that exposure to Vitamin D “increases your calcium levels, which benefits your bones and immune system.” Once you try gardening, you may find out for yourself some of these wonderful benefits:
Humble Warrior would like to share a special THANK YOU to Cofer’s Nurseries & Gardening of Athens, GA for the generous seed donation and a community couple for covering the postage. If you’d like to make a donation or volunteer to Humble Warrior, please visit our website.
Halloween has passed, but pumpkins are plentiful! We decorate our Thanksgiving Day tables and doorways with them throughout autumn.
Before you throw away the gooey, icky, seedy guts, or compost your table decorations, consider eating the pumpkin and seeds! Pumpkin is a seed-bearing fruit that is highly nutritious and considered a superfood--power packed with nutrients. However, pumpkin-based junk food, like candy and lattes, may be loaded with sugar. After baking, steaming, or roasting, add a little pumpkin puree to a smoothie, oatmeal, or make soup, muffins, or a pie.
Let’s take a look at this superfood...
Check out this article by "Trash is For Tossers" to learn the importance of "upcycling" your pumpkins! Pumpkins release methane gas when they are thrown away which contributes to the climate crisis. Instead, check out the recipes on how to use those pumpkins for nutritional and delicious benefits!
With over 7,500 varieties, apples are popular worldwide. Why? To answer this we need to go beyond just the red and green skins and look at what Nourish by WedMD calls Core Benefits. "A medium one [apple] has about 80 calories, 1 gram of protein, 19 grams of sugar, and zero fat, sodium, or cholesterol. They are healthiest when we eat them fresh and whole (as opposed to pre-sliced, juiced, or as applesauce)." Simply put, apples are a low-calorie, delicious snack, grown and eaten around the world.
Dr. Greger, from nutritionfacts.org, cautions us that drinking the fruit in a juice will cause us to miss out on both the soluble and insoluble fiber benefits. "If you like drinking your fruit, blending is better than juicing to preserve nutrition. Juicing removes more than just fiber. Most of the polyphenol phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables appear to be bound to the fiber and are only liberated for absorption by the friendly flora in your gut. When you merely drink the juice, you lose out on the fiber and all the nutrition that was attached to it." He adds that "even cloudy apple juice, which retains a bit of the fruit fiber, appears to have nearly triple the phenolic antioxidants compared to clear apple juice."
When we tip the apple cart over, we see more benefits of apples:
~ Antioxidants may help cancer prevention
~ Packable snack
~ Satisfying taste
~ Supports digestion
~ Supportive of a healthy immune system (everydayhealth.com)
Check out some of these resources for more information about the benefits of apples and for fun and delicious ways to use them!
We hear this all the time whether speaking about eco-friendly cleaning products or healthy food. We are going to focus on healthy food greens. For a nutrient-dense boost, consider adding microgreens to your meals or favorite smoothie. Microgreens are small but mighty!
What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are vegetables (aka “greens”) harvested after the cotyledon leaves have developed. They are nutritionally dense and can be used as a nutrition or supplement enhancement or visual enhancement on your plate or in a planter. So, what are cotyledon leaves? The easiest explanation is that they are the first leaves to appear from a seed.
Research from the Department of Nutrition and Food Science (NFSC), discovered that “microgreens contained four to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts.” The NFSC found nutrients like Vitamin C, E, K, and Beta Carotene in 25 different types of microgreens including cilantro, celery, red cabbage, green basil, and arugula.
Our favorite whole food plant based enthusiast and doctor is Dr. Michael Greger, author of “How Not to Die”. He delves into the benefits of eating broccoli sprouts (which are microgreens), which have a radish-like taste and may improve survival rates of bladder cancer patients, help to protect sun damage to skin, and more. Visit www.nutritionfacts.org click on topics and broccoli for details.
Salads, smoothies, pasta, and more! There are so many ways to sneak a handful of microgreens into your diet. In some recipes you might not even taste them, but your body will know the difference by the numerous benefits they provide! Check out this compilation of microgreen recipes by GroCycle to get started with some delicious ideas!
Grow Your Own Microgreens
You can grow and harvest your very own microgreens at home! Check out some of these resources for how to get started and get growing.
You can visit your local grocer, farmers’ market, or try growing your microgreens in your house. So, go beyond thinking green...and explore eating mighty microgreens!