Thursday, July 2, 2009

Green Living

You are what you eat. Or, as Michael Pollan would say, you are what what you eat eats. For this post, however, we don't have to worry about whether our cows are eating grass or corn mixed with growth hormones because I'm talking about vegetables and herbs. Specifically, green ones.

Nevertheless, it is no secret that everything that you eat has the potential to benefit you (by giving you essential vitamins and nutrients) or harm you (by clogging arteries), with the exception perhaps of celery which in college circles has long been believed to only offer negative calories (once you are done chewing).

The real point of this post was to give me a chance to play around with my food photography, using some recent items that I've incorporated into my meals. Seeing that they are all green, and healthy, I thought that in addition to sharing pretty food pictures, I'd share with you the nutritional benefits of the subjects as well. Plus, summer squash, peas and basil also happen to be delicious!

Summer Squash: chock full of beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamin C making this vegetable an excellent fighter against cancer, heart disease and inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and asthma.

Cooking Suggestion: summer squash has a light yet somewhat sweet taste. I find it best just lightly sauteed in olive oil. No seasonings needed; it can completely stand on its own.

Fun fact: the largest squash ever grown weighed in at 962 pounds.

Green (and purple) Basil: basil also has anti-inflammatory properties. It is recommended for nausea and motion sickness and aids in digestion. Also a good source of folic acid.

Suggested uses: basil's most common usage is probably in pesto or paired with tomatoes, but is also delicious added to a stuffed chicken breast with goat cheese, mixed in with salad, or as a stand-in for mint in a mojito.

Fun fact: in Italy, basil symbolizes love (where ELSE would a symbol for love be a food?).

Peas: green peas provide 8 vitamins, 7 minerals and are important in promoting good heart and bone health. They also supply dietary fiber and protein - good for digestion and recharging your (inner) battery.

Suggested uses: like summer squash, peas have a deliciously delicate flavor all on their own. I prefer to quickly blanch them and eat them sans dressing.

Fun fact: peas found by archeologists on the Thai-Burmese border have been carbon-dated to 9750 B.C.

1 comment:

Jill Riter said...

I didn't know about basil's anti-inflammatory effect/property. I love it and ate some again today, perhaps why I didn't have any joint pain!? Will enjoy reading your ideas/recipes.

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