Why We Cook

To think about cooking as purely functional would be to look at just one aspect of it. When in fact there are several reasons why we cook.

Cooking makes food more edible and in doing so cuts down on the time it takes to digest it.

Some foods we can eat raw, but there are others that need to be cooked, like meat or eggs for example.

How To Make The Perfect Egg In One Minute

Humankind has been on the earth for thousands of years and throughout the centuries we have learned the art of cooking.

Yes cooking is an art. If you are a professional-cook or not – when you put together different flavors you are creating a dish to satisfy your taste and hunger.

Frequently Asked Questions about Healthy Cooking

The More You Know

We spend just five percent (5%) of our day eating. So make the food you eat count towards a healthier you. Read more here: First Step To Being Healthy


The bottom line is, we have learned through trial and error that some foods need to be cooked.

So again, ever thought while you are preparing something to eat, why you cook it?

Why We Cook

It makes eating food safe, as cooking destroys bacteria, and the toxins they produce.

The food flavors multiple with using heat to cook. The heat browns meat, vegetables, breads, and cakes.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Cooking caramelizes sugar and helps herbs and spices to release their locked in flavors in a process known as the Maillard reaction.

Read More Here About Cooking With Herbs – Spices – and Caramelizing Sugar

How To Spice Thngs Up When Cooking
Spanish Flan – recipe and video on How To Carmelize Sugar

Food that has been cooked helps with your digestion as it softens starches and releases foods nutrients.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Garlic Parmesan

Cooked food tastes delicious and brings new textures to food.

Cooking To Gather Family and Friends

You may have heard the expression, make friends by “breaking bread together.”

Research has shown that the ritual of cooking and sharing your cooked food with others is entrenched in our psyche, and it brings family and friends together.

Regularly eating cooked food with others also improves our well-being.

Cooking Supports A Healthy Life Style

Here’s a great response to why we cook.

Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, lead author of a study on home cooking and weight lossat the John Hopkins Center, says if you are trying to lose weight or not, people who cook most of their meals at home, consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all (Study Suggests Home Cooking is a Main Ingredient in Healthier Diet).

According to Civil Eats – The power of a communal meal, or eating together – either it be a Thanksgiving feast, a community potluck, or a dinner-table gathering can build cultural ties and tear down political walls.

So now you know. Let’s get cooking.

Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Lentils as well as any legume are an inexpensive source of protein, as well  as fat-free, high in fiber and rich in a number of essential nutrients. Adding lentils to your diet offers a number of health benefits, from controlling your weight to promoting heart health.

varieties of lentils You need 25 to 30 grams of fiber everyday, and one half cup of lentils will supply 8 grams of that fiber. Fiber in foods helps suppress appetite, helping you to manage and maintain a healthy weight.  Eating a diet that is rich in dietary fiber also decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in your body.

If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes, fiber rich foods can also help in the regulation of sugar in the blood stream.

According to the World Health Organization iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder in the world, and 1/2 cup of lentils provides 3.3 milligrams in a 1/2-cup serving.

Keep in mind though, that your body can’t absorb as much iron from plant-based foods, including lentils as it does from meat sources. Eating lentils with a food rich in vitamin-C, such as sweet peppers, can help improve absorption.

As you might have guessed by now our featured recipe has lentils, and to  help your body take advantage of the iron in them, the recipe includes vitamin-C sources, including green beans, carrots, and celery.

Our featured recipe is: Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew, and here is what you will need.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium rainbow carrots, sliced (colors include yellow, purple, and red)

2 medium celery stalks, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups dried green lentils, picked over and rinsed

2 medium purple sweet potatoes, 1/2-inch dice

9 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 – 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Himalayan salt and fresh ground black pepper

Whole leaf cilantro and plain Greek yogurt, for garnishing

chopped vegetables for Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Prepare vegetables and in a extra- large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and bay leaf. Cook the vegetables while stirring until they are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Next add the garlic and curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Next add 7 cups of fresh water and the green lentils. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook 10 minutes.

Next add the sweet potatoes and continue to cook, with the pot covered, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.

Nest add the green beans and can of diced tomatoes with juice, and cook until warmed through, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove bay leaf from stew pot, and add the chopped cilantro and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Bowl of Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Serve with a dollop of yogurt and whole cilantro leaves. Enjoy!!

What Others Are Reading:

Baked Garlic and Broccoli

Baked Garlic and Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, capable of irradiating cells from your body that would otherwise become cancerous. It is a vegetable among others in its class that stimulates the lymphatic system to detox your body as well.

As for garlic, it’s your digestive aid, antibacterial, and anti-inflammation friend. If you don’t like garlic, maybe you should get to know it better, because it fights off cancer as well.

Let’s get started with our featured recipe: Baked Garlic and Broccoli. It’s a very simple and tasty recipe, as well as a nice way to enjoy broccoli with the pure flavor of fresh garlic.

Here are the few ingredients you will need.

Ingredients for - Baked Garlic Broccoli1 cup broccoli florets

6-8 garlic cloves

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe makes two (2) servings. Double it to serve four (4) servings or triple it to serve six (6).

Tenderizing the Broccoli Marinate the broccoli florets for 30 minutes with the olive oil and salt, so that they become tender.

Garlic and Broccoli on a baking sheetPreheat the oven to 350 F for 5 minutes. Spread out evenly the broccoli florets and garlic cloves onto a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Toss the broccoli and garlic, then continue to bake for for another 10-15 minutes or until broccoli browned a little but not burnt.

Baked Garlic and BroccoliRemove from oven and let cool about 3 to 5 minutes. Place into a serving bowl, and make it a side with your favorite meat dish.

If you wish you can add other vegetables to the baking sheet, like carrots or zucchini. Enjoy!

What Others Are Reading:

Good Reasons To Eat Whole Fresh Vegetables Every Day

Good Reasons To Eat Whole Fresh Vegetables Every Day

Many people who my be over weight or obese, are concerned about how to lose weight. When combined with exercise, a healthy diet that consists of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein, can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, also lowering your cholesterol levels, controlling blood glucose, and improving any other body functions on a daily basis.

Young Lady selling whole fresh vegetables at a farmers market There are so many ideas that my be complex or complicated when it comes to the word diet. Our bodies are an intricate machine, and it needs a variety of whole foods to maintain good health, and vegetables are an interrelated part of that process.

A diet should not consist of demonizing some foods or limiting what you eat. Your diet should be a life style.

The way food was meant to be naturally seeded, grown, and harvested meets the body’s needs for nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. 

Type “Side Dish” into search box below and find some deliciously yummy vegetable recipes.

Vegetables – Natures Perfect Food

Vegetables - Natures Perfect Food

“It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.”  – Meryl Streep
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Eating an abundance of vegetables each and every day is critical for good health, nutrition, weight loss and long term weight management.

Low In Calories

Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect FoodVegetables are very low in calories, in fact, many vegetable’s calorie content is insignificant, and so they can be eaten in in unlimited amounts.

Nutrient Rich

They also contain essential anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Antioxidants protect the body from various types of oxidant stress, cancers and diseases and also increases its capacity to fight against conditions because they increase the body’s immunity potential.

Fiber

peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect FoodVegetables are also important sources of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Fiber regulates digestion, and protects the body from conditions like hemorrhoids, colon cancer, chronic constipation, and rectal fissures.

Fiber is also essential in weight management as getting the recommended daily dose of keeps you full longer and keeps the body balanced.

Recommended Daily Intake

The United States Department of Agriculture vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect Foodrecommends that people eat a minimum of 3 to 5 servings of vegetables every day.

And, those seeking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight will be glad to know that since vegetables, especially, green ones, are so low in calories that they can safely fill a plate in abundance, which, allows people to eat more while losing weight.

Frozen Versus Fresh Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are just as good and sometimes better than fresh, since, many varieties are available year round. Frozen vegetables also keep much longer and so can eliminate the need to go shopping more often for fresh. Of course, not all vegetables are available in frozen, but, those that are, such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, green beans, lima beans, stir fry mixes, etc., are all great options for healthy cooking.

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are very low in calories and can be eaten in abundance for good health, energy, nutrients and weight artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect Food loss.
They are also very low in carbs and so make a great food choice for those who have or are concerned with Diabetes and weight loss. Nutrients include, Fiber, vitamins, A, C, E and K, and also calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Choices

  • Asparagus
  • Green Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • broccoli- artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect FoodCelery
  • Artichoke
  • Cucumber
  • Kale
  • Green Beans
  • Cilantro
  • Snow Peas
  • Sprouts

Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables offer the most nutrients calorie for calorie than any other food.

Along with all the nutrients offered by the other green vegetables, they are also a source of various phytonutrients, which include, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These protect the body’s leafy green vegetables - broccoli- artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect Foodcells from damage and a lot more.

Dark green leaves also contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats, a lot of fiber, and since they are already low in carbs and so high in fiber they generally do not even count carb-wise at all.

Choices

  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Watercress

Red, Yellow And Orange Vegetables

bell-peppers - leafy green vegetables - broccoli- artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect FoodColor veggies are rich sources of iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Red tomatoes offer high concentrations of lycopene, which is an incredible antioxidant that helps to prevent various cancers.

The American Diabetes Association recommends squash, which, is available year round in both winter and summer varieties. It also provides a high amount of vitamins A and C, B vitamins, along with iron and calcium.

Choices

  • colored vegetables- bell-peppers - leafy green vegetables - broccoli- artichokes- vegetables- peppers - Bell peppers - Vegetables - Natures Perfect Food Carrots
  • Baby corn
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes (though a fruit, it is used like a vegetable)
  • Radishes
  • Peppers

White Vegetables

The University of California Cooperative Extension has reported that white vegetables help to reduce the risk of various health conditions, including, heart disease, cancer and some types of infections. They also help to lower cholesterol and regulate high blood pressure.

white vegetables- Vegetables: Natures Perfect Food Choices

  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Jicama
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Leeks
  • Scallions

Purple Vegetables

Vegetables that have a deep purple color offer phytonutrients, and most importantly the essential antioxidant-rich purple vegetables- white vegetables- Vegetables: Natures Perfect Foodflavonoids.

Purple vegetables, such as, turnips are low in calories and are a good source of fiber, protein and B-vitamins.

Choices

  • Eggplant
  • Turnips
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Rutabaga

What Others are Saying About Vegetables:

How Important is Breakfast for You

How Important is Breakfast for You

All of us have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
But knowing this doesn’t stop an individual from skipping this meal or choosing to only have coffee.

coffee on the run No time for Breafast

Breakfast is a very significant meal of the day, and by eating breakfast first thing, will actually help your overall diet and eating habits.

Breakfast is appropriately named: break-fast, as we do not eat while we sleep, and 6 to 8 hours is a long time to go without food, and even longer if we had no meal the night before.

Therefore, your body is fasting, and upon raising the fast should be broken.

There are a number of nutrients, such as proteins, that can’t be stored in the body, and need to be replenished as soon as possible.

Breakfast is similar to a match that lights the fire. Eating is an essential source of energy that allows the body to function properly, both physical and mental.

Weight control with eating breakfast every dayWeight Control with Eating Breakfast Every Day

Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast weigh less than those who don’t.

Not eating breakfast can lead to snacking several times before lunch and even overeating at lunch.

Usually the snacks are not nutrient dense, but rather non-nutritious.

Eating early in the day keeps us from “starvation eating” later on. But it also jump-starts your metabolism.

According to the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School, “When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re actually fasting 15 to 20 hours, so you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight.”

Overeating can lead to obesity, with other side effects, including cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes, too mention a few.

The gall-bladder is also affected. During the night the body repairs itself from the prior day.

The liver makes bile and stores it in the gall-bladder. By morning the gall-bladder is waiting for food to enter the stomach, so it can release the bile.

When this does not happen, morning after morning, the vile will soon calcify, and will become infected. With reoccurring infections the gall-bladder is removed.

Once the gall-bladder is gone, weight problems will set in.

By consuming a healthy breakfast, it results in us choosing healthier foods throughout the rest of the day, so you consistently obtain the proper nutrition that your body needs.

Setting aside 15 minutes in the morning to enjoy breakfast, can really make a big difference in your life, and how you feel.

Link Here For Some Great Breakfast Recipes

Breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated.

What Others are Saying About Breakfast:

Going Organic

Meet Guest Blogger: Grace Simpson on Going Organic

If you’ve ever thought about going organic, you’ve probably had a few questions on your mind.

What does organic really mean?1-a-veg Going Organic

How can it benefit you?

And can it really be done on a budget?

Well, I’ve enlisted a special guest for our site here and her name is Grace Simpson. She’s very educated about organics and is great at helping people understand and ease into a more natural way of eating.

She’ll be here for the next little while sharing great advice and tidbits, so I’ll let her introduce herself…

Hi, I’m Grace. I’ve been studying organic living since the USDA introduced national standards in 2002 and my family has been eating fully organic since about 2006. This subject means a lot to me because I want my family to have the healthiest meals possible. A few other related subjects that I feel are important are our nation’s health, our wildlife and the sustainability of food production.

Even though certified organics have been around for a decade, I know there are still a lot of questions surrounding organic food. That’s why I am so happy to be here to talk about many of those concerns people have.

1-b-growing-veg Going Organic

Here’s what you can expect in the next few posts:

– Why eating organic is important…to you and the world around you.
– How to introduce organics, even if you’re on a budget.
– What does organic really mean and are you really eating organic?
– We’ll also discuss issues surrounding, meats, and produce in more detail.
– Being your own source of organic foods.
– Do you need supplements?

We’re going to cover a lot, but remember, as you start consider the organic lifestyle; you don’t have to do this all at once. Just take it one step at a time adding healthier options slowly and keeping this great earth of ours in harmony.

Next theme click here: Eight Reasons Eating Organic is Important to You…and the World around You

What Others are saying about Going Organic

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