Blooming Health

Plant Yourself in a Healthy Lifestyle… And BLOOM!

Month: March, 2012

Brain Food? Yeah, Dude!

by kerryabdow

HapHapHappy Thursday, y’all!!  It’s almost the weekend! Whoooooohooooooooo!  My ol’ brain gets soooo fatigued by the end of the work week… does yours??  I’ve been thinking about that situation lately, and it has inspired me to do a little investigative research into what all of us can do to support our beloved noggins.

Sooooo… Let’s talk about brains, baby!  *Cue Salt ‘N’ Pepa*

Let’s talk about brains, baby!  Let’s talk about you and me!  Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad we do and eat… let’s talk about brains!

Are you singing?  Me, too!  Anyway…

I’ve talked a lot about how integrating more plant-based foods into your diet helps body and spirit, but I haven’t really discussed how food impacts our brains.  I was just thinking – with my brain! – about that the other day, so I reached out for help.  I discovered that by paying a little extra attention to adding a few different foods into our diets and doing a few different activities, we can really improve the health of our brains!

I contacted Mark Costello, a fantastic Denver-based acupuncturist who also happens to be an old friend of mine, for some scoop.  Mark is one of those rare holistic practitioners who has a wealth of knowledge and extreme passion, but can truly relate to anyone and everyone.  He takes the “woo woo” out of acupuncture and makes it understandable.  Love.  When I asked him what we can do to for brain health, he said this:

“Keeping the brain young and healthy is a multi-elemental pursuit. Here are some of the highlights: Fish oil, balancing the blood sugar, cardiovascular exercise, constant learning, and reducing inflammation.”  He also recommended doing things that require hand-eye coordination (like tennis or playing the piano), and balance (like yoga).

Mark is a wealth of information, so if you live in Denver you should RUN to him!  And if you don’t… you should move to Denver!  Heeheeeee.  Or you could email him.  🙂

One thing I read long ago is that a little quinoa a day keeps the migraines away!  I don’t suffer from that brain pain – thankfully – but I loves me some quinoa!  And I loves to bring me some quinoa to the office for lunch!  It’s totally satisfying and keeps me feeling sharp and energized!

I cook the quinoa and chop my veggies the night before… and transport everything separately so it’s super fresh!

Takes just a minute to assemble and… voila!  Five out of five yums!!

Add whatever you like!  For this rendition, I used black beans, tomatoes, some red onion, lettuce and avocado.  Avocado… mmmmm… *sigh*

I also bring a bag of healthy snacks so I won’t be tempted by vending machine fare!

There’s ye ol’ crudite…

And pumpkin seeds!

I like to have a balance of textures and flavors, and want a little good fat in there for a slow burn!

There is SO much more to talk about, let’s continue this on Tuesday, shall we?  Is there something that you do to take care of your brain?  Let me know!  Post a comment, or email me at kathy.welsh@comcast.net.  Share the wealth!

In the meantime… have a great weekend!  Get in some cardio, do some yoga, eat some quinoa…  and SING!

Cheers, Dears!

It’s Tuesday News Day!

by kerryabdow

There has been a LOT of talk in the news lately about red meat.  And pink meat.  Pink… Eeeewwww.  I have to say once again that even though I stay away from meat, I’m not trying to preach to anyone who still eats it!  But it’s important to be informed, right?!  Soooooo…  in case you missed it, here are a couple of really interesting articles-  here’s the one on the “pink slime” and then the one on the dangers of eating too much red meat.  Not the most uplifting reading, but… again… knowledge is power, baby!

Okay, now after you read those articles, you will be even MORE excited about my recipe today:

Sweet Potato-Vegetable* Lasagna!  *Or, if you’re at Starbuck’s, Vegatable…  😉

I think by now you’re on to the fact that I like to make big batches of food so that the husband and I can have yummy lunches during the week.  Well, THIS recipe is enough for 10 to 12 people!  It’s pretty huge!   And get this – NO cheese!  I had it at a potluck that my pal, Phytofoods Taryn, had and it was just unbelievably delicious!  Sounds a little weird, right?  Sweet potatoes instead of cheese?  Well, it ROCKS!  And it was created by the super cute guy who wrote The Engine 2 Diet.  He even served it at his wedding reception!   *cue “aaaaaawwwwwwwww”s*

It’s a little time consuming, but I promise you it is totally worth it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained (I omitted the corn, but you do what you like!)
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 jars pasta sauce (I like any brand that is natural and has a low amount of sugar)
  • 2 boxes gluten-free lasagna noodles (The ones that don’t have to be pre-boiled!)
  • 16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup raw cashews, finely ground

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan.

Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan. Sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl. Sauté the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl.

Drain the tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl. Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.

To assemble :

Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy. Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce. Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles.

Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes.

Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Aaaaaaannnnnnnndddddddddddd… TAH DAH!  Isn’t it beautiful?!  And it tastes even better than it looks!!

Oh emm geee… YUM!  I can’t wait until you try it!  Will you promise to post a comment on here if you do so I can see what you think??  Yes, yes!!

I think I am certain to have sweet potato dreams tonight!  Hope yours are sweet, too!  Until next time…

Cheers, Dears!