As you might have understood by now, one of my goals in life is to encourage people to eat more vegetables. Why do I care if you eat enough vegetables? Because I believe that the path to wellness starts with good nutrition. And, the first step to good nutrition is eating enough vegetables.
The major problem with today’s eating culture is, that most people do not eat enough vegetables. Vegetables should be 60% of your diet. By having a diet that is based on vegetables, you are constantly reminding your body that it is alive.
While the subject is complicated and it involves biochemistry and ph levels of the blood, the way I see it is; when you eat things that are alive, your body knows that it is alive, when you eat things that are dead, your body thinks that it is dead. Slightly graphic, but you get the picture.
I am not vegan, vegetarian, fruitivore, or macrobiotic. Nor do I follow any of those fad diets that pop up every few months. I just believe that we need to eat vegetables. (Seaweed being the ideal vegetable, but that is a different blog.) An adults’ food triangle should be 60% vegetables, 30% grains and 10% protein (this includes animal and vegetable proteins). The top 1% should be fats and sweets. For all of you who are counting, I am aware that the sum is 101%. The top 1% doesn’t count as nutrition, it is your bonus points for being good.
Animal products should remain a luxury, something added to a meal to give it flavor and richness. They should never be the foundation of the diet. Consider the fact, that it is only because of enormous subsidies to farmers that dairy, meat and fowl are affordable on a daily basis. Perhaps we are better off eating the way G-d intended, instead of being influenced by political lobbies and crooked politicians.
The way I encourage eating more vegetables is that I make them delicious and beautiful. Vegetables come in three basic colors and flavors. Orange vegetables which are sweet. Green vegetables which are salty and bitter. White vegetables which are pungent and usually either bitter or sweet. Each type of vegetable strengthens a different organ and eating a variety of different color vegetables means that you are eating a balanced diet. Also understanding the flavors of the vegetables means that you can easily interchange between them, freeing you from needing to follow a recipe.
One method I use to encourage vegetable eating is that I serve them first. This is a dish that I serve for shabbat lunch as an appetizer. A type of anti-pasti if you will. While I list ingredients here, feel free to change them as you wish, using whatever you find in the market.
- 1 leek, sliced into 4″ pieces.
- 2 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 4.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into rounds.
- 5 shallots, peeled and halved.
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into large pieces.
- 2 fennel, quartered.
- 1 celeriac, peeled and sliced.
- 1 box button mushrooms, bottom of stem removed.
- olive oil
- 5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed.
- salt and pepper.
Put the vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well. Lie the vegetables flat, in a single layer, on an oven proof pan. Broil on medium setting until they begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Flip and brown the other side as well (optional).
Arrange on a serving platter.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
Note: Since this dish does not have a dark green leafy vegetables, it should be served along with steamed broccoli or a lettuce salad.
For more of Sima's recipes check out: