Brassicas: A Renewed Approach

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January is often a time for re-evaluating in many shapes and forms, including one’s diet.   But by diet I don’t mean depriving yourself, but rather eating what your body needs. As I’ve mentioned, two of my favorite quotes are:

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.

When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.

- Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb

Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.

- Hippocrates

Increasing your consumption of foods rich in organic sulfur can help keep the winter blahs as well as aches and pains away, or just plain starting 2012 feeling great!

Sulfur-containing vegetables helps with the generation of neurotransmitters called GABA which can aid in calming and quieting both physical and mental pain and distress. Try eating 2-3 cups of vegetables from the cabbage family (brassicas) including: broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, garlic, kale & leafy greens, leeks, onions, radishes, and shallots for a renewed start in 2012!!!

If you are like me, the first time I heard 2-3 cups, I thought IMPOSSIBLE!! But it really is doable with just a little planning. Here are a few things that I have found helpful:

I often try to keep hummus, a dip, or dressing on hand for cut up cauliflower and broccoli. Hummus is great because it has a lot of protein without a lot of extra calories. It provides a great snack or lunch option especially when I'm eating out or not planning on eating a brassica side at dinner. If you want to make your own hummus, a great recipe to start with is Ina Garten's hummus.

Sometimes I make a frittata, quiche or soup on the weekend that includes brassicas and then eat it for lunch throughout the week.

One of our sides at dinner is generally from the brassica family, providing me a great way to load up. I eat the leftovers the next day for lunch and wa-lah, 2 to 3 cups of brassicas a day!

Our newest favorite brassica recipe is an adaptation of the acclaimed Momofuku’s Brussel Sprout recipe. Even O, not generally a Brussels Sprout eater, has been eating a couple with his meal. The recipe has an Asian-twist and uses fish sauce, two pluses in our family. We don’t use as much fish sauce as the original recipe calls for and you can reduce to your level of taste. But the tang of the fish sauce is balanced out with the saltiness of soy sauce and the sweetness of a little sugar. You may just find yourself licking your plate clean!!

Ingredients:

For Brussels sprouts:

1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise

2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil

For Dressing:

A little less than 1/8 cup Asian fish sauce

1/8 cup water

1/8 cup sugar

2 T Mint, finely chopped (you could substitute 1 T dried)

1 T Cilantro, finely chopped STEMS

1 Garlic clove, minced

½ to 1 fresh red Thai chile or Jalapeno (use to your taste)

Directions:

Half the Brussels Sprouts, toss in oil and roast in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and top with dressing. Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

For other Brassica recipe ideas, visit the Brassy Brassicas section, located in the top menu bar.

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