On Nutrition, part 1: Omegas and Sound Eating

Most of you, I am sure, are well aware of the benefits of a vegan diet. However, it seems like there tends to be more emphasis on the amazing wonders of vegan junk food, and not so much on the basic elements. Now I am absolutely in no way what-so-ever saying that your food has to be bland and boring and tasteless, or that you should be cooking out of a vegetarian or vegan book from the 1970's (or even 15 years ago). What I am saying is that that more emphasis should be placed on the nutritional sound-ness of a meal. Incorporate some form of green into your main dish. Try to eat from as much freshly prepared food as possible (I know this may be hard for some of us- believe me, it gets hard on my end too at times!) Enjoy dessert or baked items on the weekends rather than every nite.

This morning while I was drinking my daily cup of coffee at work, I stumbled upon an article
proclaiming the health benefits of Omega 3's. However, it also decried the abundance of Omega 6's in the SAD, due to the change in animals' diets. The author called Omega 3's spring fats, because they are abundant in green vegetables, and Omega 6's fall fats because they are abundant in seeds, nuts, all things we use to fill ourselves up with. While the article is written from an omnivorous point of view, I feel that it is important to know what you are putting into you body and how your body processes it, and leafy greens of all sorts are highly emphasised. Vegans certainly do not eat fat-fed animals, but almost all of us eat greens and seeds/nuts. This is simply telling you which is better for you, what you can eat more of, and why. Frank and I eat some form of green with our dinner every nite. Whether it be incorporated into the dish, sauteed with garlic or chili and liquid smoke on the side (especially brilliant with collards), or as a huge bowl of salad, the green element is always there. And! Would you believe that Broccoli Rabe is better for you than Kale? Yes, you heard me right. For a break down of leafy green nutrition, check out the following information, courtesy of Nutritiondata.com:
Broccoli Rabe
Collard Greens
Swiss Chard

Whole grains, and a variety of them, are also usually a part of our meal. These too, are very high in Omega's and other fantastic minerals, most notably, calcium. I used to eat far less grains back when I was single, but even then it was the miraculous quinoa (which is actually a seed) for it's health benefits. Over the last year, I have added to my brown rice and quinoa regime the likes of black rice, millet and wheat berries, and also brought back bulgur and barley. Most of these are incredibly inexpensive in bulk, especially millet (which is very high in Omega 3's) and wheat berries. At Whole Foods in Union Square of all places, organic millet is $1.19 / pound and wheat berries are 0.89 cents /pound! Soak them when you leave the house in the morning, cook them as you are preparing the rest of your dish, and you have yourself a grain that cooks in the same amount of time as rice. Once again, the break-down:
Brown Rice

I know that this may seem like a lot to take in all at once, and I hope that this has helped to put a new twist on some things for everyone reading. I really like to get to the nitty gritty behind my passions, and this is definitely one of them. Being a healthy vegan while still enjoying my veganism is very important to me and should be to you as well. Now I say to you, be creative with these items and more! I have only focused on what I consider to be the basis and staples of most meals, so they are yours for embellishing as you wish. As I noted above, collards are delicious cooked with a bit of chili powder and liquid smoke. Stick them on the side of a black eyed pea Texas caviar, or stuff them into tofu omelets. Brussels sprouts taste amazing when cooked with a bit of sesame oil, Chinese 5 spice powder and roasted peppers. Broccoli rabe is wonderful with lots of garlic and cherry tomatoes mixed in. And so on and so forth... the kitchen is yours to take on!


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