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18 Nutrition Habits You Are Probably Neglecting

by | Sep 29, 2015

Purple Artichokes

 

Going to a restaurant with me is not a normal phenomenon. I’m not impressed by comfort foods that most people love like mashed potatoes and mac’n cheese, and I almost always order the “weirdest” thing on the menu––think crudo (aka raw) platters, seaweed tastings and organ meats.

Just last week, for instance, I took my brother Shay to lunch at Mozza in Southern California, and without even asking him ordered the bone marrow appetizer. He looked at me incredulously. “Bone marrow?”

Me: “Yep, don’t worry about it. I always get it. You don’t have to have any if you don’t want.”

To Shay’s credit he tried it and––like 75% of the “weird” stuff I’ve encouraged him to try––he loved it.

So why am I such a freakshow?

Beyond my general disdain for social norms and conformity, my desire to eat at the fringes of the menu and grocery store stems from my desire to get as broad a spectrum of nutrients from my food as possible.

Healthy eating is about more than avoiding flour, sugar and trans fats. It also requires optimizing your nutrient intake of basic vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fats, amino acids, and trace micronutrients science may still be unaware of.

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Quick Fix: Summer Squash, Peppers & Zürsun Heirloom Beans Recipe

by | Oct 21, 2009
Squash, Peppers and Beans

Squash, Peppers and Beans

A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone from Zürsun Idaho Heirloom Beans and was immediately intrigued. I’m regularly approached with requests to review (aka endorse) products and my answer is almost always the same,

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

Companies that contact health bloggers like me are usually selling energy bars, supplements or some other kind of “functional food”–the exact same junk I’m always reminding you not to bother with. Not only do I think this stuff is useless, I actually consider it dangerous and contrary to your health goals.

If it has a health claim on it, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

But heirloom beans and lentils are not junk food, and I jumped at the opportunity to sample what Zürsun had to offer. A few days later I received a shipment of assorted beans and lentils and have been thoroughly enjoying them ever since.

Heirloom beans are special, and if you’ve never tried them I highly recommend you do. The flavor and texture of high-quality beans does not compare to the cans you get at the grocery store.

To prepare, I soak my beans overnight then cook them 10-12 minutes in the pressure cooker (this is the one I use) with a bouillon cube–preferably beef flavored, but any will do. A big batch of beans can last weeks if you freeze it in 2 or 3 portions.

What has been the most surprising to me is how fantastic I’ve felt since I’ve started eating legumes nearly everyday. Though beans are famous for causing digestive problems, I have not had even the slightest issue with dried heirloom beans. I’ve read that this is probably due to the overnight soak, but I haven’t seen the science to back this claim.

My energy levels have been especially high (even for me!) and the past few weeks have been some of the best times I’ve ever spent in the gym. Oddly, I also weigh less than I have in my adult life (I was so surprised I double checked the calibration on the scale at the gym).

I don’t know if I can attribute all this amazingness to the beans, but I can tell you they have made for some tasty and satisfying meals.

I’m happy 🙂

My favorite bean so far has been the fawn bean. Zürsun calls these “rice beans,” probably because they are long and slender. Fawn beans are very versatile and I used them in salads, stir fries and on their own.

For me the simplest way to eat beans is to toss them in a pan at the last minute when cooking my usual vegetables. This makes for a simple, delicious, one-pan meal perfect for a busy week night.

In this recipe I used some of the season’s last zephyr squash and some Basque frying peppers. It might have been better with cilantro, but I only had basil so that’s what I used. It turned out delicious.

Summer Squash, Peppers & Zürsun Heirloom Beans

Serves 1 main course or 2 sides. Total time ~15 minutes.

Ingredients:

Zursun Beans & Lentils

Zürsun Beans & Lentils

  • 1 cup cooked Zürsun fawn beans
  • 2 medium zephyr squash or zucchini, cut in half and into 1/2 in. slices
  • 1-2 Basque frying peppers or 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cippolini onion or shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Chopped basil or cilantro

Heat a pan on medium flame and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onions and peppers and cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add squash, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the squash turns bright colored, has stopped sweating and is starting to gently brown on the edges, 4-5 minutes.

When the squash is nearly done, clear space in the center of the pan and add the garlic in a single layer. When it becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds), mix it in with the rest of the vegetables.

Add the beans to the pan and mix. Continue to cook until the beans are heated through. Do not allow the beans to sit long enough to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Toss in herbs and serve immediately.

This dish is great on its own or as an accompaniment to fish or light protein. You can also use also use this same basic recipe to cook any standard vegetables with beans or lentils. I made it one day with beet greens and it was awesome.

Do you ever cook beans together with vegetables?

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Farmers Market Update: Late Spring

by | Jun 7, 2009
Summer Squash

Summer Squash

I do not want to call it summer just yet, but we’re certainly getting close. I was finally able to return to my beloved Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this weekend in San Francisco. What a delight!

Last time I visited cherries were just starting to get good and a few apricots and tomatoes were peeking out. Now stone fruits have completely taken over the market, tomatoes are abundant and summer squash have exploded in a way I don’t remember from years past. Truly breathtaking.

Larian & Rainier Cherries

Larian & Rainier Cherries

Organic Plums

Organic Plums

Strawberries are particularly sweet right now, while blueberries are the perfect combination of sweet, tart and crunchy. I saw raspberries for the first time today, but did not get a chance to taste them.

Another remarkable sight was the fresh herbs. Scents of basil, thyme, mint, oregano and lavender infuse the air with the unmistakable fragrance of the coming summer. I couldn’t help but buy all I could carry.

Oregano

Oregano

Spearmint

Spearmint

Some notable early spring items have also disappeared. There are no longer aspargus or *sniff* ramps. Citrus is also on it’s last legs.

Finally, today was the first time I have been to the market since plastic bags were banned. I bought a roll of the biodegradable kind from the CUESA information booth. Some vendors gave them out for free, but most did not. All around the experience is a little bit annoying (I accidentally spilled a bag of cherries on the ground because of the chaos in my shopping bag), but mostly manageable. I do wish there were a better solution, but I’m sure I will get used to the inconvenience eventually.

Salad Mix

Salad Mix

Garlic and Squash Blossoms

Garlic and Squash Blossoms

Today’s Purchases:

What did you find at the market today?

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