Updated: Feb 29
Honoured to be in another issue of Sweat Equity Magazine Oct/Nov 2016 featuring Toronto’s own David Robson.
6 Tips For Sprucing Up Your Veggie Eating by Grace Van Berkum, R.H.N.
We all know that we need to eat more vegetables to increase our vitality and health. But let’s face it, no one wants to munch on boring salads or steamed veggies all the time. Here are 6 easy tips to spruce up your veggie eating, whether raw or cooked.
1) Quality of your salt. The quality of your salt is so important for increased nutrition and absence of chemicals found in table salt. Rock salts, Himilayan sea salts, Celtic sea salts, offer 80+ trace minerals which help to energize your body and actually help to keep your blood pressure balanced. Table salt on the other hand, has been stripped of its minerals, contains additives and chemicals, and will contribute to imbalances of the body over time. The beauty of a rock salt or sea salt that is not over-processed is that it is not only healthier BUT it has a stronger flavour and you don’t need to use much. Depending on where it originates, real sea salt will be either grey (off-white), or slightly pink in colour. If your salt is white it has been over processed! It’s true. A little sprinkle in your salad dressings or steamed, or sir-fry veggies goes a long way and really changes your veggie eating.
2) Garlic. If you enjoy the taste of garlic and can digest it well, a little bit of diced up, fresh garlic (not bottled sitting in oil) with a sprinkle of a good salt and a drizzle of 100% extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, raw, organic coconut oil, hemp oil, or avocado oil is delicious over a salad or steamed veggies (drizzle the oil on when finished steaming). It is so simple but divine every time. And as we know, a little bit of garlic is such a powerful immune booster.
3) Herbs and Spices. Sometimes just a little rock salt with some fresh herbs or spices, a sprinkle of garlic, and a drizzle of raw coconut oil, or hemp oil is my fave. Each herb or spice adds a totally different flavour plus they are all nutrition and digestion enhancers that contribute to better health. My favourite herbs are cilantro, basil, parsley, and rosemary. My favourite spices are cumin, cayenne, paprika, ginger, and Chinese 5 spice. These are just my personal faves but there are so many to choose from and play with. Have fun trying new things!
4) Tamari or Nama Shoyo. Both of these are healthier replacements for soy sauce which is typically very high in sodium, soy, and gluten from wheat. Tamari is becoming much more common to find in supermarkets now. Tamari is gluten-free which means it does not contain wheat and tastes just like soy sauce. Nama Shoyu is raw, unpasteurized soy sauce that contains living enzymes and cultured organisms. It is fermented soy (the fermentation process makes it a healthier choice than regular soy sauce) and it tastes great, too. Both of these are salty in taste (just like soy sauce) and tastes great in your salad dressings or on top of steamed veggies. I like to use a little bit of Tamari or Nama Shoyu with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Salty spiciness!
5) Tahini. Tahini is a sesame seed butter made from sesame seeds. It is high in calcium and protein. From a taste point of view, it is very creamy and thick so it makes wonderful sauces for raw or cooked veggies. You can make salad dressings or sauces that are so delicious and satisfying. Blend tahini with a little bit of water, garlic, cilantro, tamari, and fresh lemon juice to make a salad dressing or sauce. This is so easy, so tasty, and so satisfying!
Here is another great sauce or dressing recipe for you using TAHINI: Gracious Living Creamy Cucumber Dressing: http://www.gracevanberkum.com/gracious-living-creamy-cucumber-dressing/
6) Nutritional Yeast. Nutritional yeast is a microorganism known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and grown on sugar cane and beet molasses. Once it is harvested, it undergoes heat treatment to deactivate it and then it’s crumbled or flaked. Don’t be put off by the name or the description because this one is a tasty winner! It has a nutty cheese flavour that is vegan (that’s right….a natural cheese flavour that is not cheese!) Nutritional yeast is often used by vegans to create yummy vegan “cheese” dishes and “nacho” type sauces. Don’t confuse it with baking yeast, active dry yeast, or brewer’s yeast that are typically bitter. Nutritional yeast will definitely spruce up your salad dressings, or as a sauce for your steamed veggies. (It is also really good in soups and rice). Not only does it taste delicious but it contains vitamins, minerals, and even protein, it is low in fat and sodium, and free of sugar and gluten. They are little yellow flakes that you can buy at the supermarket or bulk food store. Nutritional yeast doesn’t have to be reserved just for vegans as it is tasty and flavourful for anyone! It definitely needs a better name though. 😉
Try out these 6 easy tips to increase your veggie eating. The more vegetables you eat the better you will feel from increased vitamins and minerals, enzymes, chlorophyll, fibre, and water content. Take care of yourself and have fun doing it. Life is too short not to!