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tips for cooking beans

Categories: Cooking tips, Legumes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Tips on cooking beans:

The Dried Bean Sort
Measure out the beans you will cook.

Use a white plate or bowl and sprinkle a few on the plate to search for dirty beans, tiny stones or damaged, wrinkled or broken beans that may be mixed in with the good beans.

Remove any misshaped or damaged beans, dirt or stones.
Yes, you must do this step or you could damage teeth when eating them later!

Pour the checked beans into a large bowl.

Cover the beans with water and remove any “floaters”. Floaters are DUDS and will not cook properly.

The Dried Bean Soak

After inspecting the beans and rinsing them, put them in a large bowl and fill with COLD water… water amount should be three times the amount of beans measured or more.

Soak the beans overnight… you’ll see them double in size and most of the water will have been absorbed by morning.

In the morning, rinse and drain the beans three or four times till the water runs clear.

Soaking dried beans activates the beans to begin the germination process. Once wet, the beans release enzymes that begin to break down their complex sugars into more simple ones. It is the bean’s complex sugars that give you gas and indigestion after eating beans that haven’t been pre-soaked. The overnight soak method reduces 60% of the complex sugars in most beans.

Never cook canned beans in their liquid! Rinse several times in water and drain before cooking, otherwise your flatulence will be great!

Bean Boil Foam
Add the rinsed beans to the pot and cover them with water. Use enough water to cover the beans and have at least one inch above the bean level. Do not use excess water, just enough to keep them from drying out during the boiling process.

When the pot contents begin to boil, the surface will form a white foam from the gases being released from the beans. This is not a time to leave the kitchen! I have had this boil over many times and the clean-up is no fun. While the beans boil, skim off the white foam that appears on the surface of the cooking water with a large spoon and discard.

Turn the burner down to the lowest setting for a gentle simmer and cover the pot with a lid… cook till the beans are done.

Taste Test
After simmering the beans for three quarters of the suggested cooking time, taste a bean to make sure it is soft enough, if not, cook for another 15 to 30 minutes and taste test again.

Once the beans are done to your taste test, turn the heat off, drain the liquid off, add seasonings or sauces and serve.

 

What do you think about cooking vegetables in a microwave?

Categories: Articles, Cooking tips, Food Safety, Vegetables, Vegetarian

For The Vegetarians: Red Curry Kohlrabi

For The Vegetarians: Red Curry KohlrabiHealthy Food Tip

What do you think about cooking vegetables in a microwave?

We get many questions about whether we recommend cooking vegetables in a microwave. As you will see throughout our website, light steaming is our cooking method of choice for most vegetables. Loss of nutrients in the microwave depends on the same factors involved with loss of nutrients on the stovetop.

To predict the nutrient loss, it’s important to know answers to questions like: “Is the vegetable placed in water? How much water? To what temperature are the vegetable and water heated? For how long? We’ve seen studies showing minimal loss of nutrients from microwaved vegetables, and we’ve also seen studies showing substantial loss. In general, we prefer stovetop steaming that can be accomplished in as little time as microwaving while providing a more even heat.

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=newtip&dbid=38&utm_source=daily_click&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_email

Are the carbs in vegetables the same cooked or uncooked?

Carbs (carbohydrates) in vegetables can definitely be affected by cooking. They are not affected as quickly or as extensively as phytonutrients like flavonoids or carotenoids, but they are still subject to changes from baking, boiling, steaming, and roasting. The exact impact of cooking on vegetables-and on other foods as well -depends on how long you cook them, how high a temperature you cook them at, and how much moisture you use when cooking them. But here are some basics about vegetables, cooking, and carbs that you should know.

Conversion of starch to sugar

Heat can help increase the rate at which vegetable starches get converted into vegetable sugars. A baked Russet potato, for example, will lose about 10% of its raw-form total starch content and convert that starch content into sugar. From a nutritional perspective, this loss of starch and increase in sugar is relatively small and not typically a cause for great concern. However, the baking of a starchy vegetable can also raise its glycemic index (GI) value. This increase in GI (often related to the conversion of starches to sugars) holds true for vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, plaintains, and carrots. A raw carrot typically has a GI value in the 15-20 range. A cooked carrot’s GI will typically fall into the 35-50 range. (You can find a reliable list of GI values in the website established by David Mendosa and based on research at the University of Sydney in Australia at http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm.)

Changes in resistant starch

Research studies show definite changes in levels of resistant starch naturally occurring in vegetables (and other foods). Resistant starches are generally viewed as helpful carbohydrates that resist breakdown in the digestive tract long enough to reach the large intestine and support the metabolic needs of helpful bacteria and cells lining the large intestine. However, the precise relationship between vegetable cooking and resistant starch is not yet clear. In some cases, the cooking of vegetables has presented some very favorable results with respect to the amount of available resistant starches. In other cases, no change in resistant starch levels has been determined to result from cooking. While the jury is still out in this area of research, look for future studies about the impact of cooking on the levels of resistant starch in vegetables and other foods.

Dry versus liquid heat

When vegetables are boiled in water, some of their sugars and starches are lost into the cooking water. When vegetables are roasted or baked in the oven, this loss of sugars and starches into water does not take place. For this reason, vegetables like boiled green beans will typically lose a small percent of both sugars and starches into the cooking water, whereas oven-roasted green beans will not. However, these changes in carbohydrate composition are once again relatively small and not usually a major factor in deciding about cooking method.

WHFoods Recommendations

When it comes to their carb content, vegetables can generally be enjoyed without problems in either cooked or raw form. Ratios of sugar to starch may change during cooking, as can amounts of available resistant starch and GI value. Among all of these factors, GI value may be the most important factor to consider for individuals who are following a diet that is focused on blood sugar control and insulin balance.

photo by: Tobyotter

Mediterranean & Asian Foods & Recipes

Categories: Asian, Cooking tips, Mediterranean

http://www.mediterrasian.com/food.htm

Japanese cooking basics, food blog, & resource site

Categories: Asian, Blogs, Cooking tips, Eastern Nutrition, Food Culture, Japanese

http://www.justhungry.com/

 

 

What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed?

Categories: Articles, Cooking tips, Nutritional Information, Phlegm Nodules & Interior Heat, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Western Medicine

Overview

Sea vegetables, often referred to as seaweed or algae, are not as common in the Western culture as they are in other areas of the world. Sea vegetables come in a variety of colors including green, red and brown, each with a unique flavor, shape and texture. This exclusive family of vegetables absorbs nutrients from the sea and are, therefore, an excellent source of trace elements, vitamins, minerals and protein. Sea vegetables are some of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Proponents claim that sea vegetables can protect against disease including cancer; however, no scientific studies have been done to confirm this.

Dulse

Dulse is a reddish brown sea vegetable with a chewy and slightly salty taste. It is approximately 22 percent protein, offers more than 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B-6, iron and fluoride in addition to 66 percent of the RDA for vitamin B-12. Dulse is also a rich source of potassium, manganese, iodine, iron, riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamin A. It offers a variety of trace elements, enzymes and phytochemicals, yet is relatively low in sodium. Dulse is available powdered as a condiment or in whole stringy leaves. One-third cup of dulse contains about 18 calories.

Agar Agar

Sometimes called Japanese gelatin, agar agar is a clear, tasteless alternative to animal or chemical-based gelatin. Derived from red seaweed, agar agar is a natural thickener. You will typically find this sea vegetable used as a gelling agent in desserts, pie fillings, puddings and aspics. Agar agar can also be used to replace eggs and other thickening agents in baking. Rich in iodine, calcium, iron, phosphorus and fiber, agar agar acts as a mild laxative, adding bulk to your diet without the calories. One serving, or 11 g, of agar agar powder has about 40 calories.

Wakame

Wakame, also known as alaria, is a deep grayish green sea vegetable. Rich in dietary fiber, chlorophyll, beta carotene, B vitamins, calcium, iodine, iron, protein, calcium and vitamin C, this is one of the most tender sea vegetables. It has a subtle sweet flavor and slippery texture and is best eaten in soups or salads. Two tablespoons of wakame has about 5 calories Oriental medicine utilized wakame for skin problems, strengthening hair, thyroid disorders, menstrual regularity and blood purifier.

Nori

Nori is 28 percent protein and an excellent source of calcium, manganese, fluoride, iron, copper and zinc. It is the sea vegetable with the highest B vitamins, including B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6 and B-12 as well as vitamins A, C and E. This easily digested, deep purple-green vegetable is sweet in flavor with a slightly nutty taste. Nori is most commonly used as wrappers for sushi rolls. One sheet of nori has approximately 10 calories.

Kombu

Dark purple, kombu is one of the most commonly used and recognized seaweeds. Kombu comes in thick strips or sheets and will add iodine, calcium, magnesium and iron to your diet. It is also a good source of vitamins B, C, D and E, as well as calcium, beta carotene, potassium, silica and zinc. Tough and chewy, kombu contains enzymes that help break down the raffinose sugars in beans, making them more easily digested. One 4-inch piece of kombu has 10 calories.

Overview

A staple of Asian cuisine, sea vegetables are often vastly under-appreciated in the West. Sometimes referred to as seaweed, these vegetables actually include a wide range of different types of algae. Frequently sold dried, most sea vegetables need to be reconstituted before or during cooking. Sea vegetables may also be sold as dietary supplements in powder, tablet or capsule form.

Types

Sea vegetables come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and flavors. The most familiar for most people is nori, the green or dark purple sheets used to wrap some types of sushi rolls. Arame looks like thin black shreds and is cooked in stir fry dishes or used in salads. The brown sea vegetable dulse is frequently served in powdered form as a condiment but its leaves can also be pan-fried. Kombu comes in dark purple sheets that are often added to soups. Sweet and salty sea palm and tender wakame can both be eaten raw or served in salads or cooked dishes.

Nutrients

Sea vegetables are all typically high in iodine, iron, fiber and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. The iodine in sea vegetables is highly concentrated, but may dissipate some when the vegetables are reconstituted in water. The iron in sea vegetables is accompanied by vitamin C, which helps in making iron bioaccessible. Sea vegetables are also a good source of antioxidant micronutrients. In addition, they contain high levels of selenium, manganese, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E.

Phytochemicals

In addition to the micronutrient antioxidants, sea vegetables also supply phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. Different varieties of sea vegetables contain differing levels of carotenoids and flavonoids. For example, nori contains high levels of beta-carotene, the carotenoid that can be converted into vitamin A and benefits visual health. Sea vegetables also contain alkaloids, compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. Because of the complex interactions between the phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, sea vegetables are best eaten whole instead of taken in supplement form.

Health Benefits

Proponents of sea vegetables promote their consumption as good for cancer prevention, particularly colon and breast cancer, and healing degenerative diseases. Extracts from sea vegetables have been shown to halt cancer cell growth in the lab, but these results have not yet been replicated in human or animal models. Research on the health effects of sea vegetables have been mostly limited to laboratory studies thus far. Human clinical trials are needed to determine the effects of sea vegetables on diseases such as cancer, diabetes or asthma.

Source of Nutrients

Most seaweeds are high in essential amino acids, which makes them valuable sources of vegetable protein in a vegetarian or mostly meatless diet.

Like most land vegetables, seaweeds contain vitamins A (beta carotene) and C. Seaweeds are rich in potassium, iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium because these minerals are concentrated in sea water. They are also one of the few vegetable sources of vitamin B-12.

Weight Control

Seaweed is a “free food” when it comes to weight control because it provides only 5 to 20 calories in a serving and contains virtually no fat. Its fiber content also contributes to a feeling of satiety, or fullness when eaten in a meal.

Japanese researchers at Hokkaido University have discovered that a substance in brown seaweeds called fucoxanthin helps reduce the accumulation of fat in the body cells of laboratory animals–although there is no evidence that these results carry over to humans.

Salt Substitute

Seaweed granules have been tested in the United Kingdom as a flavor enhancer that could replace sodium in snack foods and other processed food products. Cutting back on salt can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Blood Sugar Regulation

When eaten as part of a meal, seaweed can help balance blood sugar because its soluble fiber content helps slow the rate at which foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Digestive Aid

Agar agar is a gelling agent made from seaweed that’s high in soluble fiber. When used as a laxative, agar agar soaks up water in the intestine and swells up. This creates movement in the bowels that helps with elimination of waste.

Other Possible Benefits

Seaweed extracts have been shown to have an anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effect on laboratory animals, though this has not been scientifically proven in humans.

1. Sea Vegetable History

People from all over the world have eaten sea vegetables for centuries. In Boston, years ago, dulse, a purple-colored sea vegetable, was available to purchase in the street markets. Russians and Irish have favorite sea vegetable dishes. Nevertheless, nowhere are sea vegetables as popular as they are in Japan. In Japan, an organization grades sea vegetables for quality as the United States Department of Agriculture grades meats. Sea vegetables are an important part of the macrobiotic diet.

2. Most Nutritious of Food Groups

Due to modern farming techniques and poor topsoil quality, vegetables today are not as vitamin-rich and nutritious as they were in times past. Sea vegetables may be one of the only ways to get precious trace minerals such as cobalt, copper, chromium, fluorine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc back into our diets. These minerals are necessary in small amounts in our bodies. Of all the foods recommended in the macrobiotic diet, sea vegetables are the richest source of minerals.

3. Sea Vegetable Variety in the Macrobiotic Diet

The most popular sea vegetables used in the macrobiotic diet are arame, dulse, hijiki, kelp, kombu, nori, wakame, Irish moss, and agar-agar for thickening. Their benefits are unmatched. For instance, arame is very high in calcium; dulse is 30 times richer in potassium than bananas and has 200 times the potency of beet root in iron; hijiki has 4 times the amount of calcium of whole milk; kelp has 150 times the amount of iodine and 8 times as much magnesium as garden vegetables; kombu equals corn in phosphorus; nori has as much vitamin A as carrots and twice the amount of protein as some meats; wakame is high in calcium and phosphorus also.

4. Alkalize Acid and Remove Radioactive Substance from the Body

Sea vegetables help alkalize the blood to a healthy pH level. Modern diets and junk food make the blood acidic, which over long periods of time leads to acidosis, which means our bodies do not get enough oxygen. This continued process can lead to cellulite in women, skin disorders and overall unhealthiness. Sea vegetables can also reduce excess fat and mucous. Toxic metals in the intestines turn into harmless salts, thanks to the darker sea vegetables. In 1964 at McGill University in Montreal, an experiment showed sea vegetables removed radioactive strontium-90 from the body.

5. Buying Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables are in all good health food stories. Usually you will not find the full variety of sea vegetables in one store, but bigger stores may carry most of them. If there is a particular variety, you want talk to the section manager about getting it ordered. You can also order online with Japanese and macrobiotic food outlets.

Overview

Some types of ocean plant life are beneficial for human consumption. Seaweed and other types of algae have been eaten for thousands of years. You can buy seaweed in the dried form or as a supplement at most health food stores. Commonly called sea vegetables, seaweed supplements may also go by other names and address a variety of health concerns.

Types of Sea Vegetables

Seaweed, whose varieties include kelp, kombu, bladderwrack, wakami, nori, dulse and algae, grows rapidly in the cool waters of most oceans, especially along the Pacific coast of North America.

Sea Vegetable Claims

According to The American Cancer Society, some proponents of sea vegetables claim they can prevent or treat myriad physical ailments, from cancer to obesity. They claim that these vegetables contain concentrated nutrients not available in land-based foods, as well as some nutrients that are not available to humans elsewhere. Infomercials and other marketing tactics claim seaweed can help control appetite and aid in weight loss.

Benefits

Seaweed contains high amounts of iodine. According to Dr. Donald W. Miller, the recommended dietary intake of 100 mcg to 150 mcg may be about 100 times too low. Iodine is a crucial element of thyroid hormones and is essential to the proper functioning of the thyroid, the gland located at the base of your neck that regulates your metabolism. Miller says that increased amounts of iodine may protect you from breast cancer and can improve your immune function due to its antioxidant properties.

The “Journal of Nutrition” found that several types of marine algae are also high in iron and vitamin C. Sea kelp may be able to help reduce the uptake of dietary fat by more than 75 percent, according to a 2010 article published in “Science News.”

Some sea vegetables contain varying amounts of carotenoids, flavonoids and alkaloids, which may have anti-inflammatory properties.

The USDA recommends you fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Eating sea vegetables counts towards your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

Sea vegetables can also be used as thickeners in some food, ranging from infant formula to ice cream.

Iodine Deficiency

Too little iodine in the diet can contribute to hypothyroidism, goiter and mental retardation. According to the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, iodine deficiency is the most preventable cause of mental retardation and brain damage in the world.

Supplements

Common sea vegetable supplements include kelp and red, green or brown algae. Some manufacturers combine kelp with marine algae or other ingredients, such as sodium and iron.

Traditional Soups for the Modern Soup Drinker! Chinese Soup Web site

Categories: Articles, Asian, Cooking tips, Soup

http://www.thechinesesouplady.com/

Epicurious.com has amazing resource to look up quick and easy recipes

Categories: Articles, Cooking tips

http://www.epicurious.com/recipesmenus/quickeasy/recipes

As presented by Lori Sherlock in Chicago

Farmers Markets: The Way to Eat

Categories: Articles, Cooking tips, Food Culture, Food Safety, Vegetables

Farmers Markets: The Way to Eat

http://www.wholehealthchicago.com/2011/farmers-markets-the-way-to-eat/

In May the Chicago Tribune ran a list of strategies for making the best of your visit to the farmers market. But, honestly, most of it is common sense.

My list of tips is decidedly shorter and easier to remember:

1. Do most of your food shopping there. Choose whatever fruit’s in season and eat it for breakfast with plain yogurt, ground flax, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Or with cottage cheese and almonds for lunch. Fresh berries with a little cream are a dream for dessert, as are tarts and muffins studded with whatever berry’s in season. For dinner, think grilled vegetables, a veggie stir-fry, or a steamed vegetable plate drizzled with olive oil and fresh herbs. Snacks abound at the farmers market: whatever you can cut up and munch raw you can enjoy to your heart’s content (and your heart will be most content when you eat like this) whenever a snack attack hits. Why not blend up a nice hummus to dip into?

2. See which produce looks best and find a recipe for it after you get home. Use the internet to browse. By Googling ‘zucchini’ for example, you’ll be presented with an array of possibilities, from zucchini bread to ratatouille (see also today’s recipe in the column at left). This classic vegetable stew can be served over brown rice or on its own ( hot, tepid, or cold) for lunch or dinner.

3. Your body will thank you for choosing the widest possible selection of seasonal produce. Spinach and chard are loaded with potassium and magnesium, and some calcium as well. Every cell in your body requires these minerals to function smoothly. They’re vital for a top-performing immune system, strong bones, good blood pressure, and a steady heart rhythm. Eat veggies from the broadest color spectrum you can find, including yellow summer squash, purple eggplant, and bright red peppers. Each color offers unique antioxidants, which neutralize the free radicals that cause health-damaging inflammation.

To find out what veggies are in season where, check out this nifty map from Epicurious, though if you’re trekking regularly to the farmers market you’ll be able to tell by just looking at their offerings.

And remember: buying what’s grown in your neck of the woods supports local farm families even as you’re supporting the health of your own.

Vegetarian Athlete Recipes and Training Tips

Categories: Cooking tips, Food Culture, Vegetables, Vegetarian

www.nomeatathlete.com

La Dolce Vegan!

Categories: Cookbooks, Cooking tips, Food Culture, Vegan

LaDolceVegan_books_shop_store_canada_vivagranola.jpg

Know someone that has decided to go vegan?  Have you decided yourself?  La Dolche Vegan is a great book for any beginner vegan.  The recipes are simple to follow, and the ingredients are easy to find in the store.  Sarah Kramer includes recipes with faux meats, and also just straight up veggie fare.  In the back, she gives ideas on how to substitute the things I would never give up such as butter, but you will be impressed by how she gets around those things.  The author of the book Sarah Kramer is super cute.  She includes recipes from her friends, her husband (Wolfie), and lots of pictures of not just food but all the cute outfits she owns.  I would rate this book 3.5 stars and the only reason why I am not rating it 4 is just because I wish the book was bigger.