Category Archives: Nutrition

Nutrition example: Green drink

Green drinks are a crucial part of any healthy nutritional environment. Generally speaking, the primary healthy ingredient in these green concoctions is green leafy vegetables; the most nutrient dense things on earth. As a result, a green drink is pretty much the healthiest thing that you can ever wish to put in your body.

Another advantage of a green drink is that it is very alkaline and serves to neutralize the excessive acidity that our unhealthy modern diets cause in our bodies. This property of a green drink also becomes especially helpful after some vigorous exercise in order to neutralize lactic acid which formed in the muscles. I always have a glass or two after a training session.

The trick to making a green drink a permanent part of your healthy nutritional environment is to make sure it is always readily available. And the best way to do this is to prepare it in bulk and freeze it in smaller containers to be defrosted on demand. It can keep in the freezer for a very long time and, once fully defrosted can keep in the fridge for about three days – just long enough to be convenient and just short enough to force you to actually drink at least one glass per day.

So, here is the recipe I use:

Slice up a cucumber, two apples, a stalk of celery and a about 2 cm of peeled ginger root. 

Put all of this in a blender together with two big handfulls of spinach, the juice from one lemon and just enough orange juice to get the blending process started. 

Start up the blender and proceed to cut up the vegetables for the next batch.

By the time you are done cutting the next bunch of vegetables, the blending should also be done. Pour the contents into some freezer containers and load in the new batch of ingredients. Repeat until all your vegetables are blended.

I usually make this recipe four times which lasts me between 2 and 3 weeks.

Total preparation time: 45 minutes (15-20 minutes per week)

The green dink resulting from this recipe is too thick in consistency for me to drink and I usually dilute it by half with orange juice. Try to get minimally processed juice and be sure to look after your teeth well when drinking lots of orange juice.

Personally, I find the taste of this green drink quite pleasant. The biggest thing to get used to is the consistency. To be honest, all of those solid pieces were pretty hard to swallow at the start. If you really have a problem with the solids in the green drink, cut down on the celery since this is where the majority of the solid pieces come from. You can also use a juicer instead of a blender, but this will remove some of the health benefits.

You will probably need some time to get used to this green drink, but I guarantee that it will be endlessly more beneficial to your health than all of those other tastes we so diligently acquire (beer, whiskey, cigarettes etc.). Acquire the green drink taste. It may very well be the best acquisition you ever make.

Nutrition example: Dinner recipe 2 – Avocado

This might sound a little strange, but the thing that I eat for dinner most often is avocado on whole wheat bread. I’ve said before on this blog that I have not been sick for the past three and a half years, but to be honest, only the last two of these years can really qualify as health conscious years. The only health conscious choice I made for the first eighteen months was eating a lot of avocado and, since this single habit seemed to immunize me against all forms of illness,  I have become quite a believer in the health benefits of this rather peculiar fruit.

Avocados often get a bad rap as being a “high fat food”. Yes, it is true that they contain lots of fat, but the fat they contain is very good for you. The truth is that the body needs quite a lot of fat to function optimally and that people following special low-fat diets are definitely doing more harm than good. 

The two primary “good fats” that we all should get more of are omega-3 fatty acids (such as those in oily fish like salmon and certain seeds such as flax seeds) and monounsaturated fats (such as those from fatty plant sources such as olive oil, nuts and avocados). Parasdoxically, if you are looking to lose weight, adding some of these fatty foods to your diet will help a great deal by boosting your metabolism and getting the body to burn more calories as it starts functioning more efficiently.

However, the most important effect of these healthy fats is that they protect against almost all forms of degenerative disease, something which previous posts have established as a major problem of our society today. Aside from that, avocado also has anti-inflammatory properties, blood sugar regulation properties and anti-aging properties. It also promotes skin and eye health. 

Another very interesting effect of avocado is its ability to greatly enhance the uptake of other health promoting nutrients. For example, adding some avocado to a green salad will suddenly make all the greens in the salad a lot healthier because your body will be able to absorb their nutients more effectively.

So, eat avocados freely. Pealing an avocado, crushing it with a fork, spreading it on whole wheat bread and adding a little salt and pepper only takes a few minutes and is truly delicious. I really look forward with great anticipation to the ripening of the stock of avocados I keep in my fruit basket and consider them an essential part of my healthy nutritional environment.

Nutrition example: Dinner recipe 1 – Healthy fast food

It is perfectly understandable if you do not have the energy to prepare a healthy meal in the evening after a long day at work, but unfortunately, this is the time when the dangerous allure of commercial fast food can become almost irresistable. We have to avoid this danger at all costs and one of the best ways to do this is through healthy fast food. 

By healthy fast food, I mean things like ready made salads and chopped frozen vegetables. Now as we will discuss in the special food section later on, it is best for the environment if you buy minimally processed and minimally packaged foods. Thus, if you really like spending time in the kitchen, you should buy whole vegetables with which to prepare your meals. However, if you are like most people (myself included), the convenience offered by prepared salads and vegetables will greatly enhance your eating habits and should be used completely guilt-free. 

A prepared salad is an especially convenient healthy fast food since it requires no work from your side. For example, I have a sports practice close to my place of work two times per week and always take a prepared salad to work to enjoy in the evening before I go directly from work to sports practice. The convenience of this salad really is key in this case.

Another convenient healthy fast food that I use regularly is frozen chopped vegetables. The only work required by these guys is heating up a pan and sautéing them for a few minutes. Remember to use vegetable broth instead of oil in the sauté process in order to preserve the nutrients. Be generous with the flavoring and even add in some chicken strips to enhance the taste of the vegetables and make sure that eating your vegetables is a pleasant experience (so that you will gladly do it again).

You can also prepare your own healthy fast foods in bulk over the weekend to be frozen and enjoyed whenever convenient. The soup described in a previous post works just as well for dinner as it works for lunch for example.

So, play around with the concept of healthy fast food to see what your mind comes up with. As with all the guidelines offered in the One in a Billion project, the aim here is to make healthy living as natural and effortless as at all possible. The particular healthy fast foods available in your surroundings can make a significant contribution here.

Nutrition example: Lunch recipe 4 – Vegetable soup

A simple vegetable soup is one of the quickest and healthiest things that you can prepare for lunch. It can also be surprisingly tasty and has therefore quickly grown to become one of my favorite lunches.

Before we get to the recipe though, I’d like to spend a few words on the impact that cooking has on vegetables. Prolonged exposure to very high temperatures (such as frying in oil) can destroy many nutrients, but shorter cooking at lower temperatures (such as boiling or steaming) can actually make the vegetables more digestible and enhance health benefits. In addition, nutrients such as water soluble vitamins can leach out of the vegetables during cooking.

When considering these facts, a vegetable soup is indeed a very healthy choice. Temperatures do not rise above 100 degrees Centigrade and cooking does not need to last for more than 10-15 minutes. In addition, all the vitamins that leach out into the water are eaten with the soup, so that is no problem at all. You really win all the way.

OK, now for the recipe (or perhaps rather the rough set of guidelines): 

Put a pot with some water on a hot stove plate.

While the water is heating up, slice up your favorite vegetables. You are really free to use whatever vegetable you want in whichever quantities you want. I mostly use green beans (for some protein), mushrooms (simply because of their awesome taste), sweet potatoes (because they are much healthier and tastier than normal potatoes), carrots (because they add some nice color to the soup) and onions (for flavor and health).

As you finish chopping the vegetables, add them directly to the pot and keep filling up the water level to keep it just on the same level as the vegetables. The order in which you add the vegetables does not matter.

By the time you finish the chopping process, the water should be close to boiling. Add a few blocks of dried low-salt chicken or vegetable bouillon/broth/stock and olive oil to bring out the taste.

When the pot begins boiling, put on the lid and reduce the heat to just keep the pot at a gentle boil. Set the timer for 10 minutes.

After these 10 minutes of boiling, use a fork to see if the vegetables are soft and take a few taste tests. Add any additional flavoring that might be necessary.

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.

I usually make a big pot that gives me six lunches – one of which I eat right away and five of which I freeze for heating and eating at a later stage. I also always have a slice or two of whole wheat bread on the side to dip in the soup. It really tastes great and adds some more protein to your lunch.

Nutrition example: Lunch recipe 3 – Hemp seeds

No, I’m not talking about weed (Cannabis indica) here. I’m talking about its cousin, Cannabis sativa, perhaps the most complete superfood on the planet. 

The nutritional profile of hemp is truly miraculous. It contains a wide range of micro-nutrients, essential fatty acids, fiber and protein. Its protein content is especially impressive – around 30% of its weight. Also, while most plant protein sources do not contain all 8 essential amino acids the body needs, hemp does. 

Thus far, I have not managed to uncover a single negative health fact about hemp. Really the only negative about it is its price and availability. Hemp can be quite expensive and is only available at specialized health food outlets or online stores. It certainly is worth the effort though.

Using the seeds directly in your morning cereal as described in a previous post is a good and delicious start, but there are many other ways in which you can incorporate hemp into your diet. My favorite quick, healthy and tasty hemp recipe is the hemp porridge discussed below:

Melt about 25 g of butter in a pot on the stove (avoid the dangerous trans fats in cheap margarines).

Add one cup of whole wheat flour, half a cup of hemp flour and two and a half cups of oat or soy milk. 

Keep the heat up high and mix well. It works quite effectively to simply use a hand-held electric mixer directly in the pot on the stove to ensure that the porridge has no lumps.

Let the porridge come to a boil and keep on stirring for about five minutes thereafter.

Turn off the stove and mix in some sugar to taste.

Preparation and cooking time: 10 minutes.

Even though one would normally eat porridge for breakfast, I eat this for lunch because of the high protein content. The recipe gives me two lunches, one of which I eat right away and the other which I store in the fridge to be heated up in the microwave the next day.

There are also many other ways to prepare hemp (just ask Google), but since I have just discovered hemp recently, I have not tried that many of them yet. Let me know if you know of some quick, healthy and tasty hemp recipes.

Nutrition example: Lunch recipe 2 – Salmon

Today I’ll share two of my favorite quick, healthy and tasty salmon recipes. I use farmed Norwegian salmon; perhaps a somewhat controversial choice, but one which I am comfortable with as described in this post. As is demanded by a sustainable nutritional environment, these recipes are quick and practical to make, good for your health and very tasty.

Recipe 1:

Put the oven on grill and put a stainless steel pan (with a stainless steel handle) in the oven to heat up.

While the pan is heating, chop up one onion and around 10 mushrooms.

Sauté the onions and mushrooms in vegetable broth for 7 minutes (do not use oil since the high temperatures reached by oil will destroy some of the vital nutrients in these vegetables).

Cover the sauté pan for the first 3 minutes so that the vegetables cook thoroughly and use this time to chop up a clove of garlic. 

Remove the cover from the pan for the last 4 minutes to let most of the moisture eveporate. Stir regularly as the moisture reduces.

Once done, transfer the onions and mushrooms to a mixing bowl and mix in the garlic together with some salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.

Rub four salmon fillets with the juice from half a lemon together with some salt, pepper and ground garlic.

Remove the hot pan from the oven, quickly put in the salmon and grill in the oven for 7 minutes.

Use these 7 minutes to clean up and set the table.

Total preparation, cooking and cleanup time: 20 minutes.

Recipe 2:

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Centigrade and put in the pan to heat up.

While the oven is heating up, season some salmon fillets in the same way as described above.

Slice some pickled beets (just enough to spread evenly in a single layer on the salmon) into strips.

Get some brown rice cooking.

Take out the hot pan, place the salmon in the pan and spread the sliced beets on top of the salmon.

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes.

I mostly make one of these recipes for lunch on Saturday, eat half of it right away and store the other half in the fridge for lunch on Sunday. It keeps well in the fridge and tastes just as good when heated up in the microwave the next day.

Nutrition example: Lunch recipe 1 – Bobotie

The first lunch recipe I would like to share with you is my favorite South African dish: Bobotie. Not only is this my favorite dish, but it also freezes very well and can last for many weeks in the freezer to be heated up and eaten on demand. 

Minced meat is traditionally used as the basis for this recipe, but I have found that it tastes even better when made with high quality organic veggie-mince (which is both much healthier and more planet-friendly). You can make this substitution for any traditional minced meat dish such as lasagne or spaghetti bolognese (both of which also freeze well).

Ingredients:

2 Onions

0.8 kg veggie-mince

2 slices of whole wheat bread

250 ml milk (I use oat milk)

2 eggs

15 ml curry

7.5 ml turmeric

10 ml salt

15 ml sugar

2.5 ml pepper

Juice from one lemon

250 ml raisens

45 ml peach chutney (optional)

4 laurel leaves

Instructions:

Oven at 180 degrees Centigrade.

Put bread in milk in a mixing bowl.

Chop onion and cook with veggie mince on the stove top in a large pot.

While the mince is cooking, mix all the remaining ingredients (accept for the laurel leaves) together with the milk and the bread. The measures for the spices given above are only suggestions and you are free to change this according to taste.

When you are done with this, add this mixture to the mince cooking on the stove pot and mix well.

Put the mixture in a deep baking tray, slide in the laurel leaves and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with brown rice.

Prep & cleanup time: 25 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes.

In my case, this recipe creates six lunches which I store separately in freezer containers for later use (ideal for a packed lunch). In this way, it works out to about 250 seconds of labor per meal. Healthy, tasty and very convenient 🙂