Tag Archives: healthy eating

Braised Broccoli and Tomato Pasta

Important Note: This recipe was inspired by and based on: Serious Eats – Braised Broccoli and Tomato Pasta. I changed the recipe based on what I had available in my house and omitted the oil to make the recipe Engine 2 and Dr. Esselsytn diet friendly.

 


  

Braised Broccoli and Tomato Pasta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

8 cloves of garlic, diced

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (garnish)

1/4 cup lemon juice + 1/4 cup water (or 1/2 cup dry white wine)

1 12 or 16 oz bag frozen broccoli (or)  1 head of fresh broccoli (cut into 1/2 to 1 inch florets)

2 cans of diced tomatoes (normal size cans – 14.5 oz each)

1 1b pasta – such as rotini or ziti

1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Sea or Kosher Salt

Directions

1. Reserve 10 florets or so for later, place remaining broccoli in a large pot (so you can mix pasta and sauce in one pot later) and cook on medium. (If using frozen broccoli, no need to add water or oil.) If using fresh broccoli, add some water and cook, stirring occasionally, about five minutes.

2. Add the crushed red pepper, oregano and garlic to the pot and stir. Cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds. (I forgot to stir and left it on for two minutes and mine turned out fine – careful though, you don’t want the seasonings to burn.)

3. Add the lemon juice water mixture (or dry white wine) to the pan and stir. Cook to slightly reduce – about 2 minutes.

4. Pour in your diced tomatoes and give it a stir. Turn up heat and bring to a boil. One the sauce boils, turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 1 hour. Season with salt to your taste.

5. Make pasta according to package directions. Drain and add to sauce.

6. (optional) Add reserved frozen broccoli to the pot and allow to pot to continue to simmer for a few minutes (until broccoli is slightly tender.) This step creates better color and another dimension of texture – slight crunch. (You may want to steam fresh broccoli before adding it in.)

7.  Season to taste (add more salt if needed) and add nutritional yeast. Stir. (The nutritional yeast takes some of the heat out and makes me feel like I am adding cheese.)

8. Add chopped parsley leaves as a garnish according to your taste and preference.

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Going Plant Strong

I never thought I’d be writing this…I have been the epitome of the carnivore. I love beef – especially steak, chicken, cheese, especially, especially cheese!! In fact, I have been staunchly in favor of eating a balanced diet low on sugar and processed foods and this diet most certainly included meat, dairy, etc. But, now I’m heading off in a new direction – a plant based direction.

What!!!??? How did that happen? 

On accident really. My boyfriend’s parents (Annette & Peter) were over a few weeks ago, I came home to find my refrigerator full of meat, eggs, etc. that I had not purchased. Annette was over and they told me that they were doing a special diet – cutting out meat, etc. Now, I could tell she wasn’t that excited to tell me…and I’ll tell you why…a few years ago they tried to do a similar diet, but I was pretty unsupportive – I just plain didn’t get it and I made my opinion clear – to be frank I thought it was stupid. This time when Annette told me about their plan I decided to try to understand their reasoning and find out what was compelling them to make this change. They love their meat, eggs, dairy and all the rest just like me – so just maybe I ought to look at their side and minimally be supportive. It’s not as if eating lots of veges will harm you!

Here’s why they did it: both Peter and Annette have high blood pressure – Peter especially. Peter is in his late 50’s and without medication his blood pressure is in heart attack range, with medication it’s still high – scary. Annette has been pre-diabetic for years. Annette’s dad has had triple bypass heart surgery.  They knew that if they didn’t do something about their health now, there might not have a chance to later. So the search for a change began.

Fast forward and they had stumbled upon Dr. Caldwell Esselyton’s book – Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and they decided to give it a shot. Now, I am the kind of person that needs to understand how and why. I am actually not big on extremes, but in an attempt to be supportive I started to read the book.

For me, this book was perfect. I love Dr. Esselyton’s approach – the first thing he does is make sure his patients understand why the diet is the way it is. I LOVE that! In reading the material (I spent a lot of time in the dictionary learning the medical terminology used.) I found out that Dr. Esselyton has statistics – he has successfully used this diet to help people at death’s door and they have gotten better. Now, I haven’t finished reading the book yet, and I am not 100% that the diet is perfect – but the diet is workable and has gotten the product of people who are now well.

Now, not only am I supportive of Annette and Peter’s choice – we are going to be embracing it in our household – with some modifications. We are actually doing something closer to the Engine 2 diet – which is the diet put together by Dr. Esselyton’s son Rip. This is a diet that includes avocado, coconut and nuts – with the Esselyton diet does not include. And we will probably eat the occasional fish and some meat – though I can already tell my body just isn’t into meat anymore. I plan on cataloging the journey and share the tips I learn along the way.

RESULTS: Annette and Peter have been on the diet for 3 weeks so far. Peter has lost 7 lbs and his blood pressure dropped 20 points. Annette has lost 10 points, her blood pressure has dropped – not sure on the exact amount, less than 20 points.

Our Starting Point

Aiden

Blood Pressure: 108/67

Pulse 93

Weight: 119 lbs

Boyfriend

Blood Pressure 119/64

Pulse 67

Weight 193

Our Goal

We are both in pretty good shape health wise. The main thing we want to do is stay in good health and maybe shed a few pounds. Since we are both predisposed to heart disease through genetics (though his family is much worse) we want to make sure we don’t follow the same path that our forebears have followed.

The Struggles

One of the biggest struggles so far is simply eating enough and staying full. Our bodies are used to high density, high calorie meals and so far the meals we’ve been eating just haven’t been filling us up. I’ll feel full, but then be starving just a few hours later.

We had a yummy vegetable lasagna and salad for dinner last night. That was the first really filling meal I have had. Beans have been pretty filling too. So, I’ll be experimenting!

 

 

 

 

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Hungry for Change

hungry-for-change

I started watching this documentary on my phone while making brownies – a little bit of irony for you there…

This is a documentary about food and its effect on a human body. It is an interesting documentary that addresses a daunting problem in today’s urban societies – the use of sugar and chemicals in foods and the resulting disease and lack of health. This film didn’t advertise one specific diet plan or ideology. Rather, it touches upon several different ways of approaching the same problem.

I think that the American society at large has not examined the obesity epidemic and faced its true root. The majority of overweight Americans do a couple of different things (this is based on my personal observations and not any sort of scientific study) 1. They do nothing. 2. They continue to eat the same foods and simply take pills to curb the symptoms. These two methods of handling the problem aren’t workable. This film presents a workable way of handling the weight. The great thing about it is, is that the people are giving the information are people who have lived through it themselves and have gotten results.

Rather than making people feel guilty about what they are eating, this film is inspirational. It presents a mindset that isn’t about dieting and isn’t about depriving yourself or forcing yourself not to eat certain things. Rather, it is about adding things to your normal eating habits that promote health, it’s about loving yourself.

I think this film is worth the time it took to watch and I have personally resolved to eat healthier this coming year.

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