Here we are in Autumn, settling back into our routines and perhaps spending more time preparing meals than over the summer months. I do consider meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and the subsequent clean-up a good investment of my time. It is hard to argue that cooking healthy meals, mostly from scratch and enjoyed together with our loved ones is healthy for us on many levels. There is no shortage of recipes out there and you can always give the classic lentil soup below a go for a warm and satiating meal. And read on for good reasons to munch on some nuts while you create in your kitchen…
Something to Consider about the Mediterranean Diet
In follow up to my August newsletter about unhealthy levels of toxins in fish, I figured some of you may have wondered, why then, has Mediterranean diet has been getting so much great press over the past few years? Isn’t it because of higher levels of fish and olive oil?
The famous PREDIMED Trial (upon which much of the press is based) studied the Mediterranean diet alone versus the Mediterranean diet plus nuts, versus the Mediterranean diet plus extra virgin olive oil. Results show that of all the components of the diets, only increased consumption of vegetables and nuts were related to a decrease in cardiovascular events. The participants who ate more nuts suffered half as many strokes as the other participants. And the increased frequency of nut consumption was associated with a significantly decreased risk of death (including due to cancer). Click here for more information with references.
Nuts are amazing because they contain a wide range of important nutrients including proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, phyto-estrogens and many phytochemicals.
Eat More Walnuts!
If one take home message from the PREDIMED Trial is to eat more nuts, here are some things to consider:
- Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, whose opinion I truly value, recommends those with known heart disease avoid nuts due to the high saturated fat content
- For the rest of us, walnuts and pecans seem to confer the best health benefits followed by hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds (and after watching this 3-minute video I am going start eating 4 Brazil nuts a month)
- Indeed nuts contain a lot of fat, and so especially if you need to lose weight, go easy on them and stick to a handful a day or sprinkled on cereal or salads
- Choose unsalted over salted
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
PCRM is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., which promotes a vegan diet, preventive medicine, alternatives to animal research, and encourages a higher standard of ethics and effectiveness in research. Some of you may already be familiar with PCRM’s much respected president, Neil Barnard, MD, who is such an influential advocate. We had the pleasure of meeting him in March. Linda recently reminded me of the PCRM website – she enjoys the Success Stories page – but also check out their 21-day vegan kickstart program, recipes and breaking medical news sections for a little inspiration.
Cowspiracy recently arrived on Netflix so now’s a great time to watch this thought provoking documentary about the link between animal agriculture and some of our most pressing environmental concerns.
I have fond memories of trying out this China Study Cookbook recipe on Mafalda while in Toronto. As I recall, she liked it so much that she when home and made double batches for the freezer…great idea for mid-week meals!
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
41/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1 cup scallions, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
sea salt to taste
In a large soup pot, saute onion, garlic, carrots and celery in 1/2 cup vegetable broth over medium-high heat until vegetables are soft. Add curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
Add remaining vegetable broth, lentils, scallions, lemon juice, nutritional yeast (optional), black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat low to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
Add salt to taste.