Learning To Love Vegetables

Impossible, you might say, especially if the vegetables you ate growing up were boiled into oblivion. Or maybe yours were embalmed as canned vegetables or cryogenically frozen. Treated with such disrespect, it’s easy to understand why many of us avoid vegetables, and lose out on the most life sustaining and disease preventing food available to us.

Vegetables (and fruits, too) are rich in special molecules called phytochemicals. Phyto simply means plant. Phytochemicals give plants their characteristic color, smell, taste and texture. They help the plant protect itself from disease and predators. We get the same benefit when we eat properly prepared vegetables and fruits. Food from animals, such as meat and milk, do not have this effect. The greatest benefit comes from a eating a variety of phytochemicals and is as simple as selecting vegetables and fruits of different colors. The array of colors will make your plate look more appetizing, too.

The easiest way to prepare vegetables is to eat them raw. One of my favorite simple meals is a bowl of soup with carrot sticks, celery sticks spread with pumpkin seed butter, sliced fruit and a piece of whole grain bread. Green salad is also easy. Visit your nearest organic farmers market and check out the bounty of baby greens available right now. Toss with some raw walnuts, fresh berries and balsamic vinaigrette.

Another way to prepare vegetables is to steam them. Add your vegetables to a saucepan, then add a small amount of water, ¼ the level of the vegetables at most. Bring to a boil-this will happen quickly-then reduce the heat, cover and simmer. Asparagus spears and broccoli florets take about two minutes, sliced carrots, green beans and cauliflower florets five minutes, dark leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale take 15 – 20 minutes. They are done when their color brightens and their texture is tender-crisp. Eat as is, toss with extra-virgin olive oil or lightly sprinkle with vinegar. Umeboshi plum vinegar, found in the macrobiotic section of your health food store, is especially tasty.

Roasting intensifies the sweetness and flavor of root vegetables such as carrots, onions, parsnips, beets, potatoes and celery root. Peel four cups of root vegetables and cut them into bite size chunks. Place them in a roasting pan with a few peeled garlic cloves. Stir in 1 – 2 teaspoons of grape seed oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 – 2 teaspoons of your favorite dried spice until well coated. Dill is good with beets and parsnips. Rosemary goes well with the others. Cook covered in a 450°F oven for 30 – 45 minutes until fork tender. Serve as a side dish or make an entrée salad: toss baby greens with balsamic vinaigrette, and then artfully arrange raw walnuts, fresh and dried fruit, roasted vegetables, and Fantastic Foods whole wheat couscous atop the greens. Enjoy!

Bethany Klug, DO specializes in holistic medicine at the Kansas City Holistic Centre, http://www.kcholistic.com/. She blogs at http://www.drklug.typepad.com/.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

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