Good Morning and Welcome to May!
Many of you know that I love my food dry. Dry, people; not bland and not without flavor. There is a difference! Also, my preference has very little to do with health and fitness.
From as far back as I can remember, I have always liked my food(s), clumpy and dry. But with flavor! Tons and tons of flavor. So where appropriate, dry “recipes” were and are what I prefer.
When I was a kid, even the most basic of meals would be eaten this way. I would put the least amount of milk in my cereal – just enough to touch each morsel. When I made oatmeal or cream of wheat…the same thing…just enough water to complete the cooking process. If fruit was added to either, bananas and raisins please. No berries!
And now, sushi with wasabi. No soy sauce. My burgers, toast the bun (whole wheat or seven grain of course). But hold the ketchup. My eggs? Don’t even get me started. Pepper only. And finally, yes my dear “pasta” eaters, no, it’s not “spaghetti”, unless it is (get it?), it’s pasta. And I ate it without “gravy”. Just cheese and crushed red pepper.
Yes, by the way, it’s “gravy” not “sauce” and it is especially not “meat sauce”. A quick culinary lesson…if it is made with meat, as all gravies are, it is not a sauce. So, unless you’re only using tomatoes and veggies, what you put on your Sunday dinner, especially if you’re a Jersey Italian, is gravy!
Anyway, sorry for the detour. I just had to get that off my chest.
Now back to the real issue…Even though I personally don’t like to add too many “condiments” (for lack of a better word) to my food, it doesn’t mean you need to refrain from them as well. However, be sure you choose ones (or amounts) that add as few calories and sodium as possible. If you’re not careful, they can really add up.
Below is a short list (since this is already too long) of both “dry” and “wet” ways you can add flavor and health benefits to your food without adding to your waistline.
Ketchup (3 – 4 tablespoons a day) has lycopene – a powerful antioxidant that may slow the process that leads to atherosclerosis. A recent study shows that organic versions contain up to 60% more per gram than the more conventional brands. The organic type also had the highest levels of vitamins A, C and E. Finally, the ones with a darker hue have the most lycopene.
Soy Sauce contains isoflavones which have been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and slow one’s elevated resting heart rate to a healthy level.
Buckwheat Honey (2 to 4 tablespoons a day) may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, and macular (vision) degeneration. You can add it in small doses to oatmeal, plain yogurt, and tea. Try using it instead of refined sugar when baking.
Rosemary (1 – 2 tablespoons a day) minimizes or eliminates carcinogens formed when cooking some foods. Scientists at Kansas State University found that seasoning beef before grilling can reduce cancer-causing substances by 30 to 100 percent.
Horseradish (1/4 teaspoon a day) detoxifies your liver of carcinogens and may suppress the growth of existing tumors.
Cinnamon (1 teaspoon a day) enhances insulin sensitivity, so it allows you to use more of the glucose in your blood – keeping blood sugar levels stable, and for those with diabetes, it could mean needing less insulin.
Hot Sauce (a few dashes a day) which contains capaicin (“the heat element”) has scientifically been shown to reduce reduces levels of hunger and boost metabolism. This unique combo not only results in fewer calories consumed…it as allows for more calories to be burned than when not used.
Sauerkraut (1/2 cup a day) is full of probiotic bacteria which can help relieve the gas, stomach distension, and discomfort associated with irritable bowl syndrome.
Lastly, Black Pepper contains piperine which has been found to help interrupt the self-renewing process of cancer-initiating stem cells; thus limiting the potential for your body to form tumors.
So diners, instead of always choosing something different to eat with the potential of making a poor decision, choose what you know is good and change its preparation. You’ll find yourself enjoying the variety of tasting something “new”, as well as reaping its increased health benefits.