Today’s Health Morsel: Sweet Potatoes

Friday is burger day in my house, so today’s daily dozen is planned around sweet potato black bean burgers. Plus, I’ll explain why you should remove the skin of regular potatoes, but keep the skin of sweet potatoes.

breakfast_text

What do you do when all the fruit you bought doesn’t fit into your fruit salad container? Eat it for breakfast!

  • 1/2 charentais melon (a/b 2 c.)
  • 1/4 c. dates
  • 1/2 c. blueberries

Checklist items: berries, 3 other fruits (4 out of 18 servings)


 

lunch_text

Beans & greens is such a great lunch, b/c it can be something hot or cold, for any time of year. Today, I’ve got a 3-bean salad with a twist.

  • 1/2 c. borlotti beans
  • 1/2 c. kidney beans
  • 2 c. chopped batavia lettuce
  • 1/4 c. cannellini beans
  • 1 sm. garlic clove, minced
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T mustard
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill
  • s & p
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1/8 c. sunflower seeds
  1. Add the borlotti & kidney beans to a salad bowl along with the arugula & lettuce.
  2. Put the cannellini into a blender, along with the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, dill, and s & p, and blend until creamy. Add aquafaba if necessary to thin the dressing to your desired texture.
  3. Mix the dressing into the beans and let stand in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. If you can prepare it the day before you plan to eat it, the flavors will marry even better.
  4. Sprinkle ground flaxseed and sunflower seeds on before serving.

Checklist items: 2 1/2 beans, 2 greens, flaxseed, 1/2 nuts, spices (7 out of 18 servings)


 

dinner_text

sweet-potato2-1241696_640

The healthiest potato is the one with the most color. Purple sweet potatoes appear to have more cancer-fighting ability than any other potato, but a regular old sweet potato has been named one of the top 10 healthiest foods on the planet, especially considering bang-for-your-buck!

So, what’s the best way to cook them? They’re so good for that you can cook them however you’d like, except, of course, for deep frying. But if you really want to squeeze as much benefit as you can from every ounce of sweet potato, then you’ll want to boil them – this cooking method best retains the vitamins & antioxidant capacity. You’ll want to leave the skin of your sweet potatoes on, because the skin contains 10x the antioxidant capacity compared to the flesh (as long as you don’t bake it).

Unlike other potato varieties, sweet potatoes don’t contain glycoalkaloids. Glycoalkaloids are natural pesticides & fungicides that plants in the nightshade family produce themselves. Unfortunately, they’re toxic for humans, too. Glycoalkaloids are mostly in the skin and eyes of potatoes, which is why it’s important to remove them. How you store your potatoes can also make a difference – both light and heat increase the production of glycoalkaloids, so you’ll want to keep your potatoes in a cool, dark place. Learn more here. Sweet potatoes don’t produce glycoalkaloids because they aren’t members of the nightshade family.

What happens when you overdose on sweet potatoes? Like with carrots, you could go a bit yellow around the nose. But it’s completely harmless, and goes away on its own after some time, so no need to worry. (See sources)

The recipe I’m making today comes from Minimalist Baker. See my review, along with the changes that I made, and the original recipe is here. I’ve included the checklist below for easy reference. It’s for the recipe as I made it, and includes the bun and toppings.wp-1475230963677.jpg

Checklist items: 2/3 serving beans, cruciferous, 2 other vegetables , 1/2 nuts, spices, 3 whole grains (a little more than 8 out of 18 servings)


Taking account of the day:

19 1/6 servings in total.

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything today, plus a little bit extra beans, and an extra servings of spices.

 

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The power of the (cauli)flower

Breakfast_text
wp-1473074297458.jpgI’m still on my fresh fruit breakfasts, though probably not for much longer as the weather is beginning to show signs of cooling. Sad face. But for the moment, I’ve got a second round of raspberries ripening in my garden.

  • 1/2 charentais melon (a/b 2 c.)
  • 1/2 c. raspberries

Checklist items: berries, 2 other fruits (3 out of 18 servings)


lunch_textI love bean salads! It occurred to me that I haven’t had dill in a long time, even though it’s an herb that I absolutely adore, so I’m rectifying that right now! Lunch is a 3-bean salad with lemon-dill dressing. dill-1347095_640

  • 1/2 c. garbanzos
  • 1/2 c. kidney
  • 1/2 c. string beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 c. chopped spinach or mustard greens
  • 1/2 c. cannellini
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 T vinegar of choice
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T mustard
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Add the garbanzo, kidney, & string beans to a salad bowl along with the greens.
  2. Put the cannellini into a blender, along with the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, dill, and s & p, and blend until creamy. Add aquafaba if necessary to thin the dressing to your desired texture.
  3. Mix the dressing into the beans and let stand in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. If you can prepare it the day before you plan to eat it, the flavors will marry even better.

Checklist items: 3 beans, 2 greens, 1 other vegetables, spices (7 out of 18 servings)

*the string beans technically count as other vegetables rather than beans


Dessert_text
Post-lunch sort of dessert today. Date & nut milk.

Checklist items: 1 other fruit, flaxseed, nuts, spices (4 out of 18 servings)


dinner_textWith vegetables, color usually goes hand-in-hand with nutrient density, but cauliflower is a glowing exception. Even white cauliflower is a powerhouse, easily holding its own among its green brothers & sisters in the cruciferous family. Cruciferous veg are especially protective against prostate and colorectal cancers (but help fight other cancers, too) and cardiovascular disease, as well as helping to regulate blood cholesterol levels, increasing overall immune function, and helping to protect your eyesight and your brain (see here and here for more information).

purple_cauliflower-1218701_640Plus, cauliflower is a hearty, filling, warming veg for those cold, rainy nights, like I’m having here tonight. Dinner is a cauliflower alfredo with whole grain pasta. If you want to get funky, use a purple or orange cauliflower. My recipe is based on the one from Oh She Glows, with some changes.

  • 2 c. cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 lg garlic cloves, 1 minced
  • 1/4 c. aquafaba or plain, unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c. parsley
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic & onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. string beans, chopped (fresh from the garden, if you’ve got ’em!)
  • 1 1/2 c. whole grain pasta, cooked (I used wheat)
  1. Boil the cauliflower until just tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, water-saute the beans and the minced garlic until the garlic is cooked. The beans can stay nice & crunchy to add some texture to the dish.
  3. When draining the cauliflower, reserve some of the cooking liquid in case you need it to make your alfredo sauce a little less thick.
  4. Place cooked cauliflower, 1 garlic clove, aquafaba or milk, parsley, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, and spices into a blender & blend until smooth & creamy. If you need to, you can add some of the reserved cooking water. The mustard is important for the nutritional benefits of cauliflower. If you don’t have mustard powder, no problem! Just plan a little ahead and chop the cauliflower at least 40 minutes prior to cooking it. To find out why, see this video.
  5. Mix everything together in a large serving bowl.

Checklist items: cruciferous, 1 other vegetables, spices, 3 whole grains (6 out of 18 servings)


Taking account of the day:

20 servings in total.

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything today, plus 2 extra servings of spices. That’s never a bad thing!

Coco Beans, Kiwi & Mushrooms

Breakfast_textI love kiwifruit. Some people eat the skin, but I just can’t get myself to do that. I’m sure I’m missing out on some extra fiber & vitamins, but I’m okay with that for now.

  • kiwi-fruit-580332_6402 kiwifruit
  • 1 banana
  • 1 peach
  • 1/2 c. cherries
  • 1/4 c. nuts of choice

Instructions:

  1. cut each fruit into bite-sized pieces
  2. mix together (or eat nuts separately)
  3. nom nom

Checklist items: berries, 3 other fruits, nuts (5 out of 18 servings)


lunch_textOnce upon a time, the idea of a bean salad would have really turned me off. Now it’s something I love! I recently discovered the small white Coco bean, popularly used in the French dish cassoulet.

  • wp-1467617963864.jpg1 1/2 c. pre-cooked beans of choice (I used a 6-bean mix including cannellini, coco, kidney, adzuki, garbanzo & green beans)
  • 1 c. kale, chopped
  • 1/4 c. parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c. onion, diced
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 T maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Blanch green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes
  2. Drain and rinse other beans
  3. Mix everything together and let stand in refrigerator for at least half an hour before eating. It’s probably best to make a batch ahead of time.

Checklist items: 3 beans, 1 greens, 1/2 other vegetables, spices (5 1/2 out of 18 servings)


dinner_textIt’s pizza night!! Definitely one of my favorites. If you’d told me one year ago that the best pizza ever was cheese-less, I would have called you crazy. I’ve tried different variations of this recipe, but I always come back to the original because it’s perfect how it is, and any changes I’ve tried to make have left me ever-so-slightly less happy with it. At first you might think I’ve made a typo on the amount of mushrooms but, I assure you, I did not.

Note: unlike most of my recipes, this is for two people. Or you can eat the other half cold the next day; it’s just as good! The checklist items below are per person, or for 1/2 the pizza.

  • wp-1467614411446.jpg250 g. mushrooms, sliced thin (I use white mushrooms the size of my palm, which don’t fit well into a measuring cup even after I’ve sliced them, but the internet machine says this amount is 2 c.)
  • 100 g. (1 c.) red onion, sliced thin
  • 62 g. (generous half-cup) red or yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 62 g. (generous half-cup) sun-dried tomatoes, drained and diced
  • 2/3 c. olive marinara
  • 2 T ground flaxseed
  • oregano, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • pizza dough- you can buy ready-made or make your own. We make our own using 250 g whole wheat flour
  • garlic powder, to taste (optional)
  • 3 c. arugula

Instructions:

  1. The key to a properly-cooked pizza is to slice your vegetables as thin as you can. That goes for the mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion. The sun-dried tomato you can just cut into small chunks, a/b the size of a dime.
  2. Once the crust is rolled out, spread the olive marinara over the dough leaving a 1/2-inch border for the crust, and sprinkle with oregano, flaxseed (& cayenne, if using).
  3. For the vegetables: bell pepper goes down first, then a ridiculous layer of mushrooms. This part takes a little bit of patience, because you need to overlap them in order to make a layer that completely covers the pizza, except for the crust.
  4. Sprinkle the onions evenly and, finally, the sun-dried tomatoes.
  5. A nice finishing touch is to sprinkle garlic powder around the crust.
  6. Bake on the bottom level of the oven, at 500 F (just under 270 C), until the crust is golden brown, the mushrooms start to shrivel a little, and the onions are turning brown – around 15 minutes.
  7. Just before serving, cover the pizza with arugula

Checklist items: cruciferous, 1 greens, 4 other vegetables, flaxseed, spices, 3 whole grains (11 out of 18 servings)


Taking account of the day:

21 1/2 servings in total.

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything.

In addition, we had 2 1/2 extra servings of other vegetables plus an extra serving of spices.