A warming bowl of slow cooked veggies served with brown rice hasn’t killed anyone. Especially when it is as cold as it is outside. This meal has all the proteins, fats and carbs you need to keep you energized on a cold winters day. You know all those things that maintain muscle and gives you energy.
A few general tips and ideas I’d like to share with you today:
– If cooking isn’t already a routine, consider introducing more of it into your life. The nutrients you get from whole foods is another planet of favor you do to your body compared with processed foods. We have a whole universe of cells and microorganisms in our bodies that needs to thrive in order for us to be healthy, and each time you put something in your stomach, you either help building yourself up or break your body down. Food is that powerful my friends! We have to learn to respect that fully.
– Don’t be shy with the herbs! Mix and match and have fun with them. That is where you will get all that desirable flavor. I have a handful of dill and a handful of parsley chopped into this one. Yes! You can mix dill with parsley, and cilantro and thyme and sage as well. Anything goes baby. It’s often in the unexpected combination where the magic happens.
– The same with spices. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and add also a bit more flavor than you’re used to. Paprika, cumin, himalayan salt, black pepper, oregano, nutmeg, chili flakes and a bit of sweetener from honey or agave to balance are all part of many of my dishes. Start with a little, taste it off, add some more, taste it…
– Ginger ginger ginger. I use ginger in anything from oatmeal to juices to stews, soups and baked stuff. Add just enough so the flavor doesn’t overpower, but well enough so that you can feel that sting of health and sweetness come through.
– I never use pre-made vegetable stock as it often contain ingredients I do not want in my food such as MSG, high levels of sodium, additives, sugar and GMO’s. It is so very easy to make your own stock using potato/carrot peel, onion skins, leak tops, vegetable stems, water, spices, herbs.. But if you don’t have that prepared, the herbs, spices and a good oil in combination with slow lengthy cooking is what will give your food a natural wholesome flavor. Learn to work with only natural ingredients always.
– I always opt for brown or wild rice instead of basmati, jasmine or regular white rice. Why? Because the white rice IS the brown rice but without the natural wholeness to the grain. Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the hull and bran and is rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Why would you want to miss out on all that when you have a choice? All foods are best for your body when they are as little manipulated and refined as possible. For those trying to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, brown rice can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.
– Splurge on olive oil. It’s one of the most nutrient rich fats you can get your hands on and gives such rich round flavor to your concoctions. Choose an organic quality oil to feel the difference it makes.
– Garlic is more magical than you might realize so make sure to use it in as many foods as you can. Garlic possesses antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal properties allowing it to stand against pretty much all sorts of infections. One particular substance found in garlic called ajoene has been used to help prevent infections with Candida overgrowth. And as you might know, garlic is great for boosting the immune system as a whole, as it contain high levels of vitamin C.
Additionally, it is also being identified as a serious anti-cancer food. Scientists believe that the exceptional anti-cancer properties may have to do with the way that garlic boosts the production of something known as hydrogen sulfide. Interestingly, high (daily) intake of garlic has been found to lower risk of virtually all cancer types except cancer of the prostate and breast cancer. However, moderate intake of garlic (roughly translated as several times per week) has been repeatedly found to lower risk of only two cancer types—colorectal and renal cancer. This difference between “high” versus “moderate” garlic intake may be a real difference that suggests we all need to eat more garlic if we want to maximize its cancer-related benefits.
As I said, food carry such immense power. Especially when the produce you use is organic as the nutrients are kept and the nasty chemicals of pesticides won’t come and destroy the beautiful healing of the body you are trying to achieve.
I know some of you may want a recipe for this meal but I hate writing them.. Never really follow a recipe (unless I cook out of someone else’s, recipe…) normally I just throw in what I find suitable. So here’s a general guideline quick for this warm, soothing, plant based winter bowl:
At low heat, sauté onion in olive oil until brown, then add garlic, ginger and all those nice herbs. Leave it to sauté on low heat for around 10 min, stirring occasionally – and always on low heat my dear! You don’t want to mess up your food by killing nutrients at too high heat + burned garlic is not very delicious.
Add in chopped veggies whatever you may have in the fridge. I had mushrooms, red pepper, courgettes. Add salt and spices, taste it off. Increase heat for a bit to give the vegetables a brownish hue while stirring to incorporate the herbs and spices. Then lower again and pour a cup or so of water and some more oil onto it. More salt and spices as the water have diluted so much of it at this point. Leave to simmer for quite some time. Maybe 45 min, maybe an hour. Add more water, add more spices. And to make the sauce thicker, use either a half cup of water mixed with a teaspoon wholewheat flour, or some cornstarch to give the sauce the thickness it needs. Serve with brown rice.