Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Lemon and Cumin Dressed Roasted Acorn Squash and Avocado over Greens
Check out the salad at the bottom of this post. It is one of the best I have made in a while. It has a ton of flavor and not many calories.
I am not sure what was happening here yesterday in terms of my diet. It wasn’t until I was writing the post late last night that I realized that almost everything I ate yesterday was soup. Clearly the weather is changing. ;-) Soup is one of my favorite things to make when the weather is cool or cold. You will probably be seeing a lot more soup on my blog soon.
Today started like always with me making fresh juice for Dan to take to work. For those of you that are old enough to remember I feel a little like the man in the Dunkin Donuts commercial the one that started with “time to make the donuts” where he was doing it practically in his sleep. The only difference at our house is that it is “time to the make the juice” and yes I am half awake while I am doing it.
Dan had his usual breakfast of oatmeal with cinnamon, powdered ginger, wild blueberries and walnuts. For lunch I packed him a big salad with shredded romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, salsa, roasted red pepper hummus and raw sunflower seeds. To go with that he is having the lentil soup from last night because he liked it so much. I think the fresh salsa on top is what took the soup over the top.
For some reason I was not too hungry this morning again. I suppose it was the protein content in the soup last night which we had reasonably late. Dan has two more deadlines coming up in addition to three days out of the office next week. Also I really don’t like to eat before I exercise. I prefer to wait until afterwards and then grab something to eat.
Breakfast: Tropical Smoothie with Kale, Mango, Lime, Ginger and Cardamom
Today I made myself a smoothie late morning which contained: ¼ cup oatmeal (uncooked), 1 mango seeded peeled and diced, 2 cups shredded kale, 1 lime zested and juice, ½ inch piece of ginger root, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and green tea and ice. I also added cardamom to taste. Instead of water I used green tea in my smoothie today and I have to say I have no idea why I haven’t done that before. That is going to be a regular part of my smoothies from now on. The stats were good on this smoothie too. I made two large glasses (all for me) and the numbers were:
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 339.22
Calories From Fat (11%) - 38.84
Total Fat - 4.64g
Saturated Fat - 0.65g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 66.97mg
Potassium - 1140.19mg
Total Carbohydrates - 76.69g
Fiber - 14.48g
Sugar - 32.08g
Protein - 9.72g
Additionally the smoothie contained 22,225IU of vitamin A, 245mg of vitamin C, 289mg of calcium (mostly from the kale), 1,104mcg of vitamin K. This is why I love to add greens to my smoothies.
If was such a gorgeous day outside I decided to go for a nice walk to clear my head and enjoy the weather. I like to take every opportunity I can to get in extra activity in addition to my planned exercise. In my mind humans were built to move so anytime you can you should. I try to run as many errands as possible by foot to keep my activity level high. Being a bit of numbers geek I also keep a spreadsheet that tells me how many steps I am getting on a daily basis. Do any of you track these things and try to exceed your prior results? I am very competitive with myself so keeping records and charts work for me.
Lunch/snack: Falafel, salsa and salsa
Lunch today was more of a snack than I meal. I was feeling like I needed a bit of protein so I grabbed 5 falafel out of the freezer and popped them into the microwave. The falafel are softer when they are microwaved but I like them just as much crunchy or softer. To accompany the falafel I had a dollop of salsa in the center topped with the fresh salsa from last night’s soup. Are you starting to notice that I would starve without salsa?
Tonight is the finale of Top Chef DC which means Bravo is running a marathon today. You don’t have to wonder what has been on the background at my house today. I like to watch chefs work and see the combinations they come up with. While it is almost never vegan I do get ideas watching the show for things I can make both vegan and healthy. I think inspiration can come from anywhere. In fact most of my recipes come from things I ate or made that were omni. How many of you watch Top Chef? Did anyone else expect a different person to win?
Afternoon snack: Trail mix
For some reason (probably hormonal) I was craving chocolate this afternoon. Since I know this happens every month and that the craving demands to be satisfied I just went with it. I grabbed a small amount of Dan’s trail mix with some dry roasted edamame added in. Just those few chocolate chips (maybe 5 or 6) were enough to satisfy my craving. I washed the trail mix down with some cold brewed green tea.
I did something to my lower back yesterday. Have I mentioned lately how much fun it is getting older? Since my back is not quite right I have spend quite a bit of time stretching and trying to work the kinks out. I feel much better now but earlier today it was bad enough I actually took a Tylenol and I hate taking meds. The idea of putting something toxic into my body doesn’t sit well to me.
About our food philosophy:
I wanted to spend a few minutes discussing my food philosophy today to answer a lot of questions that I get by email. The reason my food is “so clean” as many of you have mentioned is that we are eating to keep cancer under control. That requires not only a vegan diet but a very healthy one. It is easy to make vegan food that tastes good if you aren’t concerned about health. I see examples of that type of vegan food every day on other blogs. If you throw enough fat, sugar and salt into/onto anything it is probably going to taste good. The problem is that won’t be good for you. It may help the animals but the humans will still suffer. My approach is a vegan diet that tastes as good as it is good for you. To accomplish those goals I have imposed the following restrictions on our diet:
• maximize our consumption of vegetables, fruit and beans
• our fats come from a variety of seeds and nuts with a concentration on those sources that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
• minimize our consumption of flour (even whole wheat)
• don’t eat too many whole grains since that results in less room for veggies, fruits and beans
• no sweeteners unless absolutely necessary to make a dish work
• no coffee or espresso unless I can’t function (this is harder for me than you know since I am a recovering Italian espresso addict)
• minimize our sodium consumption (another very hard one for this oil cured olive lover)
Our diet didn’t start this clean in fact it was far from it. Dan and I were both consummate foodies prior to our life changing event (that is how I refer to the cancer). This uber clean diet came about after I read “Eat for Life” which made so much nutritional sense to. If you feed your body the most nutritious food possible it has to have an impact on your overall health. Do all doctors agree with me? Heck no. But then again doctors aren’t trained in nutrition so I can’t worry about what they think on this topic. We do have one oncologist that did a stint at National Cancer Institute that told us to keep doing what we are doing because it has to be making a difference. Is it a coincidence that he is the youngest doc? Probably not. The younger docs seem to be much more open to the idea that nutrition plays a role. Maybe one day all docs will be there but they aren’t now so you need to do your own research and decide what changes you are willing to make.
I hope that gives some of new reader’s insight into why my food is “so clean” as someone so eloquently put it in an email to me today. Both Dan and I truly believe that our diet has had a big health impact. If nothing else we both feel great and all the blood tests show we have achieved excellent results. If any of you are facing a serious health challenge I think diet and lifestyle (by that I mean the ugly e work, exercise) can have a significant impact on your health. It would help me to know what to mention in my posts if I know why you are reading the blog. Are you interested in health, weight loss, vegan food or all three?
Dinner: Salad with Acorn Squash and Avocado
Not having any salad today or yesterday I am craving a big green salad. As you probably expect it isn’t going to be a standard salad since mine usually aren’t. All I knew today was that I wanted to roast acorn squash. So that they had more possible leftover uses I cooked 3 acorn squash of them cut into halves so they could be stuffed tomorrow if the mood strikes me. To do this I roasted the acorn squash halves (which were cleaned) and the seeds in a 400 degree oven until the squash halves were tender and the seeds crispy. Here is what I made for dinner:
Lemon and Cumin Dressed Roasted Acorn Squash and Avocado over Greens
1 acorn squash, roasted, cooled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 lemon, zested and juiced
¼ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 head of romaine shredded
¼ cup parsley leaves
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon roasted squash seeds
Whisk the lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, garlic, and Dijon together. Taste for seasoning and add black pepper as desired.
Place the greens on the base on the plate. Top the greens with roasted squash and avocado. Drizzle half of the dressing over each salad and finish with roasted squash seeds and parsley.
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 329.53
Calories From Fat (43%) - 142.14
Total Fat - 17.08g
Saturated Fat - 2.43g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 139.62mg
Potassium - 2134.55mg
Total Carbohydrates - 48.34g
Fiber - 18.9g
Sugar - 4.11g
Protein - 9.69g
We loved this salad. In fact both Dan and I think this might be the best salad I have made in a long time. If you like big bold flavors you should give this a try. It is sweet from the roasted squash, crunchy from the squash seeds, fatty from the avocado and fresh from the parsley. If there is a way to make this better I can’t think of it. You may see this again tomorrow since we both enjoyed it that much.
It is getting late now so I need to turn in soon. I hope everyone had a great Wednesday. Talk to you again tomorrow.