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Dr. Amy Doherty

Let us seek health for ourselves, our community, and our world.

Sriracha Lime Summer Cucumber Salad

Sriracha-lime is the easiest, most summery flavor combo ever.  Today, I used this dressing for another summery item: cucumbers.  Cucumbers just chill everything out a few degrees.

In addition to being refreshing and summery, eating citrus has been shown in small trials to improve DNA resistance to damage.  Antioxidants, present in all fruits and vegetables, help prevent DNA damage.  Increased fruit and veggie intake is associated with decreased risk of cancer. One proposed mechanism is this protective effect fruits and veggies have on DNA.  So basically, more fresh produce = deliciousness, also happier bodies with less cancer = yay!

Ingredients

  1. 2 cucumbers, spiroolied into noodles or chopped into matchsticks.*
  2. 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  3. Juice of 1 lime
  4. 1 tsp honey
  5. Sriracha to taste

*Note on what a spirooli is: it’s a kitchen gadget like in the picture above on the left that cuts veggies into noodle shapes.  If you don’t have one, don’t worry about it, because you can just cut the cucumber into bite-size pieces and that’s totally fine.  If you do have a spirooli, it helps to make vegetables into noodle shapes, so then you can use veggies like you use pasta, which then makes it easier to use veggies in general.  So, nice to have, but not necessary.

Recipe

Combine last three ingredients until well-mixed.  Combine this dressing with the first two ingredients in an appropriately sized bowel.  Sit on the porch and enjoy… because even if it’s hot out it’s totally cool with the cucumbers!

5 ingredients, less than 5 minutes,bean dip meal ready.

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This takes about as much effort as throwing a frozen dinner in the microwave, but is way cheaper and healthier.  Although I enjoy cooking, and I would prefer to spend an hour in the kitchen prepping and cooking a meal, most days this type of meal is what makes eating healthy consistently possible :-).  It can be made quickly when coming home from work as a full meal, or packaged for lunches.  Heating it up is also an option if you feel better with a warm meal!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 c cooked beans
  2. 1 T tomato paste
  3. 1 T cilantro paste (herbs come in a tube in the fresh produce section of grocery stores… I’ve seen in for ginger/basil/garlic as well).  Or, use 2 T chopped, fresh cilantro.
  4. Hot sauce and garlic powder to taste (start with a tsp hot sauce and garlic, go from there)
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Stuff to dip in the bean mixture- veggies, whole wheat crackers, etc.

Directions:

Combine ingredients 1-5 in a medium-sized bowl.  Mix.  You’re done!  Eat with veggies and whole grain crackers to get even more antioxidants, micronutrients, phytates, and good-for-you yummy stuff.

Roadtrip food… Healthy, portable and cheaper!!

 

20160313_132635.jpgSo I ended up driving to a medical conference 12 hours away with my boyfriend last week.  Before we left, I was thinking, “Maaannn… long road trips make me feel like junk.  Not just because being in the car for forever feels terrible, but because I get sucked into buying Cheez-Its at a gas station instead of being in my normal groove of eating food that makes me feel amazing.” It also seems hard to pack healthy food instead of processed food, because processed food almost by definition is meant to survive harsh conditions (like a road trip) while healthy food tends to be more ephemeral.

This road trip was different, though.  There are actually PLENTY  of cheap, healthy options for Spring Break road trips (like we just had) or summer road trips (coming soon!).

These ideas can also be used for snacks at work.

1.) Red Cabbage– this stuff survives anything.  I know, because I had a head of red cabbage in my fridge for 2 weeks before taking it on the road trip.  Despite being days without refrigeration and sometimes just hanging out in a hot car, it lasted the entire drive down in addition to the weeks it sat in the refrigerator before being used.  It’s crunchy, pretty, stops cancer from growing, is rich in anti0xidants, and costs about $1.50 for an entire head of cabbage.  We dipped it in hummus or used it as a carrier for roasted garbanzo beans, like in the picture.

2.)  Carrots: these things also survive anything, are incredibly cheap, fill that desire for crunchiness, and have all the benefits of antioxidants/fiber/etc. your typical gas station doesn’t have (or has at $5/cup of fruit).

3.)  Nuts and seeds

4.)  Beans: If you don’t want to have to refrigerate a bean dip, you can cook beans with spices before the trip to make them more transportable.  They are a complete meal with fiber, carbs and protein and will make you feel full so you don’t gorge on things you will regret later.Here is a recipe for Spicy Roasted Chickpeas from one of my fave vegan blogs, Connoisseurus Veg.  It is the topping to a soup recipe but hey, the topping worked great for our road trip.

5.)  Lacinato kale also survives anything and can be used the same as Red Cabbage.  For even greater portability/tastiness, consider baking kale chips by dousing the kale in a modest lemon juice/olive oil/dash of salt bath and baking at 250 degrees F until crispy.

6.)  Fruits and veggies that already have wrapping in place– I don’t know if you have seen this meme, but it is this picture of bananas in plastic with the caption, “If only bananas had a natural, biodegradable wrap that could be used to store them instead of this plastic.” 😉banana wrap

So obviously, bananas have their own wrapping which makes them easy to store and transport.  So do avocados, oranges, apples, grapes… the list keeps going.  So don’t forget about these, too!

 

 

I am sure you can come up with more possible options; as usual just takes some creativity and planning to make easy, cheap, healthy choices.  I actually planned ahead and did it this time, and didn’t feel gross by the end of the trip!

Roasted Napa Cabbage

So there’s this secret to cruciferous vegetables. If you roast them with any type of dressing, it’s amazing.  I have done this with brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and today it’s with a Napa cabbage.  For this specific recipe, I put a different dressing on every fourth of the Napa cabbage head because I had leftover dressings from the week and I felt like it, but you don’t have to.  Got ginger dressing hanging around, or balsamic or Italian?  Cool, use those.  I will also provide some dressing ideas.

Ingredients and directions:

Take a Napa cabbage, cut it into fourths as demonstrated above, pour a dressing over it making sure it gets into all the leafy crevices.  The more the dressing infiltrates the cabbage, the more flavorful the product.  Bake at 450 degrees Farenheit for about 10 min, or until it is warm and crispy.  Consume.

Possible homemade dressings:

  1.  Italian- pour 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil (I chose a Tuscan flavored one), 2 tsps freshly ground black pepper , and 1.5 tablespoons Mediterranean spices with a pinch of salt onto the cabbage.  There are various Mediterranean/Italian spice mixes you could use, or make your own with choices such as garlic and onion powder, oregano, parsley, marjoram, basil of course, and rosemary.
  2. Asian: 1/4 c toasted sesame oil, 1/4 c Mirin, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 T soy sauce, 2 T sesame seeds.
  3. Asian peanut sauce: same thing as above but add 2 T peanut butter and 2 T Sriracha or 2 tsp cayenne.
  4. Olive oil + balsamic + fresh ground black pepper

Easy Winter Miso

So I am taking a break from the whole Garbanzo bonanza on the blog, but not in real life so stay tuned.  In the mean time… Oh miso how I love thee.  So delicious, healthy and simple.  The first time I was introduced to Miso soup was my senior year in high school when my family was housing a Japanese foreign exchange student.  She explained, “Japanese people eat it, and everything Japanese people eat is healthy, so this is, too.”  I think she wasn’t far off, after researching the idea!

Miso is a fermented (read: full of probiotics), Asian soup traditionally served with tofu and nori. I keep a package around to make into quick, warm, filling soups with whatever veggies I have on hand.  Warm brothy soups in chilly months is the best, and in 340 A.D. Chinese medical practitioners touted its benefits to cure the common cold.  I am not aware of any randomized controlled trials on this, but it has worked for me in the past :-). Here is an example.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c dried, sliced shiitake mushrooms or 1 c fresh
  • 2 c water
  • 4 cloves diced garlic
  • 2 chopped kale leaves
  • 2 T miso paste
  • 1 T sesame seeds (I like them roasted, put them in the oven at 375 until they are golden/your kitchen smells amazing for this option)
  • 1 grated carrot

 Directions

  1. Put the mushrooms and garlic in the water and boil
  2. Add kale leaves, turn off heat.
  3. Add miso, sesame seeds, and carrot.  Yum you are done.
  4.  I like adding sesame seeds for protein and to make it filling, but tofu or any kind of seed or bean could fulfill the same purpose.  Also, if you don’t have kale, any kind of green will work!  Like celery better?  Cool, put it in instead.

Garbanzo Stuffed Dates

My latest foray into garbanzo creaminess brought me here. I like cheese stuffed dates, but … could this be an opportunity to use beans as superfood in a recipe instead of cheese? Cheese is pretty salty, and I wanted to avoid that, too, so I used apple cider vinegar for tanginess instead.  You can add salt if you choose.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup garbanzo bean paste

1 T tahini

3 T apple cider vinegar

1 tsp ground black pepper plus more to taste

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Directions: Mix all ingredients, stuff in halved and pitted dates, consume.

 

Adding creaminess with Garbanzo beans

20160130_160455~2After I made that creamy greens dip/soup, I thought about all the uses for garbanzo beans to add creaminess to dishes.  Think about it: you can switch from eating dairy (something high in fat, cholesterol, and linked to prostate cancer and increased fracture risk) to beans,  which lower cholesterol/inflammation/blood pressure/blood glucose and diabetes markers all kinds of bad things. #winning

I mashed up a bunch of these chickpeas and added some tahini and garlic powder and pepper to make a thick paste.  I guess I can only use it for savory dishes now; should have waited on the garlic/pepper.  I’ve had really good chocolate chip cookies with the main ingredient being garbanzo beans.  Today I made an amalgamation risotto type dish.  I had Farro lying around, so I used that as the grain.  I sautéed frozen broccoli and collards, garlic and onion together, added the farro, and made a tangy sauce by mixing a portion of the bean paste with apple cider vinegar until it became a more mix-able consistency, added some orange zest and a pinch of salt.  It was super creamy and… risotto-y.  If you don’t have orange zest that’s fine, experiment! If I peel an orange to eat it, I often just freeze the peel so I can use it at times like these.  The peel is the most antioxidant-rich part of the fruit, might as well not waste it.  I plan on doing all kinds of creamy dishes using garbanzo beans instead of cheese over the course of the next week with this paste.

Cherry Pie Smoothie

20160117_093748~2Berries are some of the best things you can put in your body.  I also will often say that about beans and greens, but seriously they are all pretty stellar contributors to your well-being.  Despite being sweet, berries will not spike an insulin response like other sweet foods.1, 2  In fact, increased berry consumption has been linked to decreased risk of stroke, heart disease3, diabetes, and GERD4,5 among other health benefits.

Today,  I was in the mood for cherry pie, so I made this creamy-deliciousness to satisfy the craving.  It has the yummy lemon-almond-vanilla-ginger flavor that’s so great in cherry pie without the processed sugar… Just as good for breakfast or dessert.

Ingredients:

1 heaping cup fresh or frozen cherries

1 inch of peeled, diced, fresh ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest or 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 T almond butter

2 dried dates

1 c milk-preferably soy/almond/coconut/nondairy variety

Directions: Blend all ingredients together in a blender… Drink!  I use a Vitamix which makes blending easier; if it’s not blending properly, scrape down sides when blender is turned off, and/or add more milk.

 

 

 

  1.  R Torronen, M Kolehmainen, E Sarkkinen, K Poutanen, H Mykkanen, L Niskanen. Berries reduce postprandial insulin responses to wheat and rye breads in healthy women. J Nutr. 2013 Apr;143(4):430-6.
  2. K Johnston, P Sharp, M Cliffor, L Morgan. Dietary polyphenols decrease glucose uptake by human intestinal Caco-2 cells. FEBS Lett. 2005 Mar 14;579(7):1653-7.
  3. JG Jung, HW Kang, SJ Hahn, JH Kim, JK Lee, YJ Lim, MS Koh, JH Lee. Vegetarianism as a protective factor for reflux esophagitis: a retrospective, cross-sectional study between Buddhist priests and general population. Dig Dis Sci. 2013 Aug;58(8):2244-52.
  4. HB El-Serag, JA Satia, L Rabeneck. Dietary intake and the risk of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a cross sectional study in volunteers. Gut. 2005 Jan;54(1):11-7.

Lemon Dill Green Soup

Sometimes, I can be a bit ambitious with the amount of greens I think I am going to eat and find 20160112_183831~2myself with a huge bag of spinach or mixed greens that is going to go bad tomorrow if I don’t eat it tonight.  Enter this soup.  In addition to using green smoothies to get large amounts of greens into a little meal, it is also possible to make soups and dips out of them.  I was looking over the internet to find cream of spinach soups, but I only ran into versions that got their creaminess from dairy/fattening and unhealthy stuff.  Boring.  This version uses blended garbanzo beans for texture and creaminess.  So instead of upping your risk of all-cause mortality and fracture with milk consumption ), you can decrease blood pressure, inflammation, body weight and cholesterol by choosing beans instead.  So you can use it like spinach artichoke dip, except if you eat the whole thing with a spoon it is good for you instead of bad for you!  Or soup, whatever floats your boat.


 

Serves 2 (or one plus lunch the next day!)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp ground black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or turmeric
  • 1/2 X 15 oz can drained garbanzo beans
  • About 3 c packed greens (you can also halve or quarter the recipe based on whatever amount of greens you need to use up)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Dill of whatever variety you have on hand… I used 2 tsp of the stir-in paste you get in a 4oz plastic bottle in the produce section… an equivalent amount of fresh dill would probably be about a tablespoon of chopped herb, and an equivalent amount of dried dill would be 1 teaspoon.
  • 1 c veggie broth

Directions

1.) Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion becomes translucent.

2.) Add pepper, paprika or turmeric, garbanzo beans, and greens and saute until greens begin to wilt.

3.)  Add lemon juice, dill, and vegetable broth.

4.)  Use an immersion blender or standard blender to blend soup to desired consistency (careful, it’s hot!  May want to blend after you add veggie broth then heat after blending if using a conventional blender).  You can also add hot sauce as desired depending on spice preference, and in the above picture the soup is served with lentil chips!

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