Posts Tagged ‘beans’

Iron Maiden

August 14, 2012

Lately, I have been feeling exhausted. I have attributed it to everything from not sleeping well, the weather, over training, and just plain having too much to do.
Seeking a more tangible cure, I looked at my diet, which often holds the solution to my ails. Could I be anemic? I don’t eat red meat, and my spinach intake is not of Popeye proportions. I avoid gluten, which makes me sluggish, therefore I don’t eat iron fortified breads or cereals.  I could be onto something.

I immediately consulted Dr. Google, and who served up a list of iron rich foods.

There are definitely some pleasant surprises for those of us for whom eating liver is not an option!

While meat has the highest amount and easiest absorbed source of iron, there are many other healthy choices that I find more palatable.

Fish: Salmon, halibut, perch and tuna are all very high in heme or animal based iron, which is most readily absorbed by the body. Clams, oysters and mussels are also good sources, but I find them too slimy for my taste!

Beans: Canned Lima beans, kidney beans, chickpeas or split peas are all good options. Be sure to rinse them, to reduce the starchiness, and the calories.

Tofu

Pumpkin or sesame seeds

Baked potatoes

Broccoli

Sundried Tomatoes

Nuts: Peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachio, almonds, and cashews

Dried fruits: Raisins, apricots, peaches or prunes (do I sense a trail mix or homemade granola thing evolving here?)

Cocoa powder and chocolate

Dried Herbs:

The drying of fruits and vegetables ups the iron factor, topping its fresh counterpart dramatically. By removing the water, the nutrients are increased, as are the sugars and calories. Beware!

Food pairings are also an important factor in helping your body actually absorb the iron.

 Iron Enhancers:

Fruit and fruit juices, such as orange juice, cantaloupe, and strawberries

Vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and red or green peppers

White wine

Iron Inhibitors:

Red wine, coffee and tea (boo!)

Spinach, chard, beet greens and sweet potatoes (spinach?!) Apparently, these foods contain high levels of oxalic acids, which prevent the absorption of iron into the system. Who knew?

Whole grains and bran

Now that I know my diet is not to blame for being tired, its time to look at other factors. Perhaps powering down the computer might help me get a better night’s sleep?

photo:Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

July 13, 2011

This week, I have been making lettuce-less salads for lunch. So far, this is my favorite:

 Cucumber Salad with Mint and Tomatoes

Chop ½ a cucumber, 2 small stalks of celery and a small tomato.

Add a handful of chopped parsely and fresh mint leaves.

Mix in ½ cup beans and 1/8 cup feta cheese crumbles.

Drizzle with olive oil and the juice of one lime.

Season with  sea salt and pepper.

Toss and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

In partnership with Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

September 2, 2010

In Pursuit of the Lettuce-less Salad

Lately, I have grown weary of lettuce.  I tend to eat salad for lunch and dinner and last week I hit the wall. Although I vary the selection of greens, at the end of the day, lettuce is still lettuce.

This week, I have been experimenting with new combinations in the pursuit of the lettuce-less salad. The goal is to find filling, healthy alternatives for the base, and build around that. I try to stay low fat and low carb, while still getting a balance of protein and vegetables.

I have experimented with a base of chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes, mixed with steamed green beans, broccoli florets or roasted zucchini.  The previous night’s dinner often plays a role in my choices. I try to toss in some kind of bean such as cannellini, kidney or garbanzo.  A little low fat cheese, such as feta, goat or even shredded Parmesan adds flavor. I have found that a few chopped Kalamata olives give the salad a salty tang. Roasted red peppers or some corn add color and texture.

If the ingredients are right, a little extra virgin olive oil and lime juice is enough to bring the flavors out without drowning them in dressing and calories. Although anything goes, here is one of my favorites so far:

Chopped mini Heirloom tomatoes in various colors

Green beans, lightly steamed, cooled and cut into bite sized pieces

Cannellini beans, rinsed

Feta cheese, crumbled

Corn

Chopped Kalamata olives

Roasted red peppers

Olive oil

Lime juice

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Sprinkle with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss.

Enjoy!

Note: According to my “Lose It” iphone app, this salad was only 215 calories! Of course, serving size plays a role in this number.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

February 28, 2010

What better thing to do on a cold, winter day, than make homemade soup?
This vegetable soup is so easy to make, that it just isn’t worth buying the preservative and sodium-laden versions at the grocery store.

I cheated, and used some frozen vegetables. At this time of the year, certain things are not readily available, and the frozen varieties still contain the nutrients found in the fresh versions. Experiment with different combinations of vegetables. You really can’t go wrong here!

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Saute  a large, diced onion in a little olive oil, until soft.

Add diced carrots, celery, peas, spinach, corn and tomatoes. (I used canned San Marzano diced tomatoes and added the whole thing, including the juices).

Add 1 or 2 cans of red kidney beans, and / or cannellini beans, rinsed.

Fill the pot with chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simmer the soup for an hour or two, until the flavors begin to meld.

Serve with a dollop of pesto for extra flavor.

Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 372 other followers