Grains are much more diverse than white and brown rice. Grains are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals and are considered complex carbohydrates (the good stuff). Eating grains can make you, and your cardiologist, happy! These foods are delicious and nutritious. Check out the list below. Which are you familiar with? Which are you intrigued to add to your plate?
Barley - Subtly sweet and chewy, this rice-like grain holds up well in fresh or cooked dishes. Add to your salad or soup to add substance and satiety. Toss with thyme or other fresh herbs for a flavor boost.
Farro - This ancient grain is texturally pleasing and has a strong cashew flavor, with hints of cinnamon. Best in pilafs, salads, steamed with kale and spinach, or cooked risotto-style.
Spelt - Another ancient grain with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor similar to whole-wheat. Use in pilafs with mushrooms and onion or in recipes such as ‘meatless’ loaves and more.
Bulgar - A favorite in Turkish cuisine and used often in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a popcorn-like scent when cooked. Pilafs with fresh herbs or onions and garlic or subbed for rice in soups are great ways to experiment with this grain.
Quinoa - A complete protein! This grain contains all the essential proteins needed for building muscle. It's also gluten free…bonus. Rinse before cooking to remove the bitterness it may have from the outer germ. Great in salads, soups, stir-fries and pilafs or simply as a side dish with fresh herbs, shallots and garlic.
Using grains in your routine is a great way to get your fiber in along with protein, a little fat and lots of texture and flavor that leads to a satisfied tummy.
New Year's Resolutions vs End of Year Reflections
As we approach the new year, many of us may be thinking about new year resolutions. Perhaps you want to improve your health or get to bed earlier or exercise more. This is a time when many people in the world commit to doing something differently. These resolutions are made with the best intentions to make a change for the better. Resolving to do a thing is a step in the right direction. The missing link for those who do not follow through with their resolution is readiness. We can make up our mind to do something but if we are truly not ready, it is unlikely to happen.
Humans have been creating new year resolutions for about 4000 years. Nowadays, about 40% of us do this. The majority of the resolutions we create revolve around lifestyle…exercise, eating habits, sleep habits and meditation are biggies. Trouble is that we can start of really strong and then 2-3 weeks in, something comes up and throws us off track. Getting back on track happens for a small percentage. Old habits show up…they're deeply ingrained. Old habits are easy…we've done things that way and our reflexes will take us back when we experience a level of uncomfortableness. This is the risky area….we feel uncomfortable and it doesn't feel good so our minds take us back to what feels comfortable…even if it doesn't serve us well from a health standpoint. We go back to that cigarette or to that cookie and we often end up feeling like we've failed.
So what if we shift the whole new year resolution idea toward more of an end of year reflection? Reflecting on the year is a great way to evaluate where you are and where you want to be. When we take the time to look back on our year, we reduce our risk of repeating a behavior that does not serve us well. Reflection includes what has gone well and what challenges were faced along with how we dealt with those challenges. It may be helpful to use some of the questions below to trigger your thoughts to reflect on aspects of your life where small changes may bring big results. This list is from NoteJoy.com.
What is the most important goal I achieved this year?
What was my biggest career accomplishment?
What was my biggest relationship accomplishment?
What was the most enjoyable part of my work (both professionally and at home)?
In what area do I feel I've made my biggest improvements?
What was the most challenging part of this year for me?
Who were my most valuable relationships with?
Who is someone I got to know better this year?
Who do I wish I had gotten to know better in the past year?
What was the best way I used your time this past year?
What was my single biggest time waster in life this past year?
What was the biggest surprise of the year?
What's the biggest mistake of the year, and the lesson learned as a result?
What was the most fun I had this year?
What was my best memory of the year?
What are three words to describe the past year, and why?
If I could travel back to the beginning of the year, what advice would I give myself?
What's the status of the goals I set last year and what goals do I want to set for the year going forward?
Use this list to spark your thoughts to reflect on 2022. It may guide you to create a plan for 2023…not necessarily a resolution but more of a life plan. Be realistic with yourself. Assess your readiness. Reach out to your health coach (that's me) for additional support and accountability. You can create the life you want, the health you want, the body you want. You have the power. It is within you. Unleash it to create the best year ever!
About 40% of people make New Year's Resolutions
Only 9% actually follow-through are accomplish them.
Approximately 25% give up within the first week of January.
Recipe of the Week
Makes about 6 servings
Bulgar Taco Salad
Dig into layers of flavorful bulgur taco ‘meat' and all the taco fixings you can handle for a supreme vegan taco salad.
Bulgur taco ‘meat’
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 fresh jalapenos, diced (remove the seeds if you want to make it less spicy)
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon chili powder (adjust depending on how hot you want it)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon date paste or maple syrup
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup bulgur wheat
The salad fixings
1 - 15 ounce (400 gram) can of black beans, drained (substitute any beans you like)
4 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 avocado, diced
Tortilla chips - they are nice to crush over individual servings
Prepare the lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, avocado, any other toppings, and the salad dressing before starting the bulgur.
To make the taco ‘meat’, heat a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pan to medium.
Add the onions and jalapenos and saute them for 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Use small amounts of water to prevent sticking.
Next, mix in the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Saute for 30 seconds.
Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, date paste, and vegetable broth. Mix everything well.
Mix in the bulgur and bring the pot to a low simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the bulgur is tender.
To assemble the salad, layer half the shredded lettuce, followed by the bulgur. Then add the black beans, the remaining lettuce, the tomatoes, black olives, and any other toppings.
Serve with the dressing or salsa at the table, along with the tortilla chips (make your own from corn tortillas cut into triangles and baked without oil).
Recipe adapted from Veganwithgusto.com
Perfectly Plant-Based - A Curated Collection of Original Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Oil Recipes from the PBNSG Chefs
Excellent cookbook from the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group Chefs. Designed as a tool for prevention and reversal of heart disease (and other chronic illnesses).
Listen to my Health Tip Tuesday video on Facebook on Tuesdays around 10:30am to hear my book review!
I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.
--Dr. Dean Ornish
The content in this newsletter is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional.