Americans don’t eat enough vegetables….so here’s a way to bridge the gap (recipe)

It’s no surprise to you that we, on average, are a little light on the vegetable side.  According to the 2011 statistics, the majority of us are either overweight or obese.  Off-white eating alone won’t necessarily prevent weight gain.  Whole grain flours, natural sweeteners and unrefined foods are just as calorie-dense as the white stuff (but they have fiber, are more filling, and have valuable nutrients so don’t you dare stop eating them!).

But, let’s get real.  You gotta each some veggies too.  Not just some, but actually a lot of veggies – like 2-4 cups/day of veggies.  Like veggies at every meal every day.  Yeah, it’s no easy feat. But we can do this together, I promise.

Oh, and they say that the #1 vegetable consumed is….wait for it….POTATOES!  Yep, you probably knew that.  French fries are the #1 vegetable consumed, if you can even really count that as a vegetable.  With things like French fries and ketchup counting as vegetables we are going to be in a sad state unless we change our approach to vegetables.

So, I have a solution.  Since we apparently love potatoes, but need to eat more veggies, why not find foods that bridge the gap.  For instance, this potato-sneak-a-peek-leek soup.  Not only does it have potatoes, but you get a peek of asparagus, kale, parsley, and onions also.  But just a peek, because they are almost all pureed in with the potato, so you won’t even know it’s there.  Trust me.  This soup is so dang tasty and is especially nice with Aidell’s Chicken Sausages.  Yum.

2 Tbsp Olive oil
2 large leeks, the dark end trimmed off and the white part cut in half and cleaned thoroughly.
1 medium onion, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups chopped asparagus, discard ends
2 tsp sea salt, pepper, coriander
5 potatoes – something like Yukon gold – a bit creamier than a Russet or Idaho
1 1/2 cups  chicken stock
1 cup water
2 cups finely chopped kale

In a large stockpot, heat the oil on medium heat.  Finely chop the leeks.  Mix the leeks, onions, parsley and spices into the stockpot.  Cook on med for about 5 minutes, stirring about every 30-seconds.

Cook until the onions are translucent.  Next, add the chopped asparagus

Once added, mix in the stock and water.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add the chopped potatoes and stir.  Cook, covered, for about 20-minutes.  Check to ensure the potatoes are soft but not mushy. 

Next, use an immersion blender to puree.  If you don’t have one – get one.   I have the Food Network imimmersion blender.  It’s okay, but I’d rather have the Cuisinart.  If you can’t get one, they you can put the soup in the blender and pulse for a few seconds.


And finally, add the kale.  I prefer the texture of the soup with the kale unblended, but it’s up to you.


And, lst but not least…ENJOY!


groceries: $100. Making good food choices: priceless


In our modern world we “vote” for things with our money. If you think about money as energy, how we direct our energy says a lot about what are values are and what is important to us.

How many of us have thought about our grocery shopping from the perspective of values? I didn’t until I began studying the work of John DeMartini and his emphasis of living inside one’s value system. Now I see many people in conflict because they say they want to be healthy/eat welll, but they “vote” for junk food or foods that make them feel bad physically or emotionally.

Today when I did the weekly shopping, I got the inspiration to give you both a guide to shopping the off-white way, and an invocation to examine how you trade your financial energy for food energy everyday. In a lot of ways, money and food are the same: We need both to live, it hurts to be without, and the repeated habits of how we use each of them carves out our life experience in a lot of ways.

For today’s project I had $100 to spend. Part of my food value is spending $100/week for 2 active adults to eat. It may seem like a lot, but some of my food values include:

  • buying nice groceries so that I enjoy what I have to fix and won’t be tempted to go out
  • having as much fresh produce as I want. Feeling deprived or having food devoid of color and texture make sad and want to eat sugar 😦
  • Buying good quality food. I’m worth it. My husband is worth it. We consider it our health insurance policy. This means no trans fats, no HFCS, and really no white sugar/flour at all. We also don’t buy stuff with MSG and try to avoid soy protein isolate and “natural flavorings” as much as possible. The latter two are hard, as “natural flavorings” are in everything

I’d rather spend more $$ on my weekly groceries and feel empowered about my choices than just get the minimums and then either have to go back for more, or start eating out. The less times I go to a grocery store in the week, the better. Supermarkets are a notorious place where I have little control (especially if I’m hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT)). I’ve been known to get sucked into a vortex of fresh donuts or oatmeal cookies and once that happens, all bets are off.

Okay, back to the project:

Of $100, I spent $96, and here is what it looked like:

weekly food

Here is what I can make with my purchases:

large tray of veggie or meat lasagna
eggs for breakfast 4-6 days/week + eggs to cook with
mushroom barley stew
quinoa pilaf w/green onions
2-3 servings of fruit/day (x 2 people)
roasted beet ravioli with almond cheese
Spinach salad x 5-7 days
Collard green dolmades (like stuffed grape leaves)
carrots + beandip for snacking
almond milk hot chocolate daily
3 sweet potato dinners
spaghetti squash with redsauce, goat cheese and basil
hamburgers x 2-3 dinners
salmon X 2 dinners
chicken enchiladas
roasted chicken breast with garlic and onions
quick refried beans for side dish
beet green + Swiss chard salad with grapefruit/ginger dressing
fresh ginger tea with fresh lemon
and more…..

And here is what I spent:

Dry goods/boxed food: $22.41: almonds, almond butter, tabouleh, pasta sauce, dried apricots, dehydrated beans, 1 cup of Nile soup, quinoa, etc

Dairy/meats: 33.96: Salmon, hormone-free chicken, 7% lean gr. beef, ricotta and mozerella cheese (for lasagna), almond cheese, and eggs

Fruits and veggies: $39.63: spinach, collards, ginger root, apples, zucchini, onions, yams, spaghetti squash, green onions, cherry tomatoes, avocados, etc

That is 41.5% spent on FRESH produce. If I factor in the dry goods, that’s $62.04 on plant-based foods, which is 64.6% plants and 35.4% animal products. And all of it is 100% refined sugar, MSG, hormones, white flour free!

Another perspective: of the 51 items purchased, 28 were fresh fruits or veggies (55%) and I got a total of 25.81 pounds of fresh produce. I also purchased 6 whole grains/nuts that were NON-boxed, which makes 34 whole plant-based foods, or 66.7%.

And yet another perspective: I got the foods I need to eat well 100% of the time for my body and my husband’s body, so I have to hassle with stressful food choices 0% of the time: priceless

Get your calcium – no milk needed!

We’ve all heard for years about the importance of calcium for strong bones. For year’s its been the same slogan: Eat 3 servings/day of dairy for getting in that calcium! Well, what if your body doesn’t handle dairy too well (like mine!). Are you destined to frail bones – no way!

In fact, I like non-dairy sources of calcium because this usually means fruits, veggies, legumes and grains – all which also contain other phytonutrients and FIBER. Think about it: if you eat 3 servings of dairy (no fiber), that is dairy at every meal, basically. That means 1 major part of every meal is already void of fiber. This is no good.

If you look back at Eastern medicine (AKA 5,000 year old knowledge), it suggests that limiting dairy in the diet is a good idea because of its “congesting” nature – it constipates, it creates mucus, it mucks things up. Even our everyday wisdom tells us to avoid dairy when we get a cold because of the phlegm factor. This seems to me like a good thing to just not OD on no matter what, because…who needs more “congestion” in their GI tract. Most of us already have a hard enough time keeping things moving, so let’s find some creative sources of Calcium that won’t leave you feeling backed up.

The sweetest part of what I’m going to reveal: these non-dairy foods are usually also naturally good sources of Magnesium too, which is needed for proper Calcium absorption. So, to get that recommended 1200 mg/day of Calcium without dairy, consider the following “off white” options:

Collard greens: 1 cup = 266 mg
Oatmeal: 1/2 cup raw = 326 mg
Figs: 10 medium = 269 mg
Northern beans + Navy beans: 1 cup = 121 mg
Tofu: 1/2 cup = 248 mg
Edemame: 1 cup = 175 mg
Spinach: 1 cup = 291

Even Salmon and Sardines have calcium. Yea, I know they aren’t veggies/beans but they aren’t dairy either. Salmon kicks in with 180 mg/3 oz and Sardines rock the house with 325 mg/3 oz.

Okay, so my FAVORITE discovery about Calcium is Molasses. Blackstrap Molasses, to be exact.

Just 1 Tbsp of Blackstrap gives up 172 mg Calcium. That is awesome! Molasses is a great topper for oatmeal (which also has the calcium), great in baking, and even works nicely as a sauce to sweeten white meats (mix with a little olive oil and a little chili powder and baste some chicken – YUM!).