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Super Bowl Survival

According to my top secret research elves, tomorrow’s Super Bowl partying could add up to the following:

26 million avocados (mostly as guacamole, mmm)

8 million pounds of popcorn

1 billion chicken wings

4.4 million pizzas (from the top three deliverers)

50 million cases of beer

Wow.

No wonder heart disease hasn’t budged out of its place as the top killer of Americans. That’s an insane amount of fat. And not for a significant holiday. Just a football game. But one day can’t hurt that much, right? I mean, if you worked hard all week you deserve a day on the couch with a case of beer and a hundred wings, right? Well, such a sporting party can actually kill. “Holiday heart” is a well known, but not wholly understood phenomenon where binge drinking and eating can lead to life threatening heartbeat irregularities. Ouch.  But throughout the holidays there are more heart attacks too. Clearly the rich, fatty, salty food and festive cheer in a glass is killing us. But it gets worse party professionals, not only can a festive day or night put you in the emergency room,just one meal can demonstrably damage your arteries. How do those wings look now?

Is there any way to survive the Super Bowl with your arteries intact? Here is what I’ll do:

Two Dips Good for Your Arteries:

Spicy Bean Dip

1 can black beans

1/2 to 1 C Medium Spicy  fresh salsa (store bought)

Lime

Cilantro

Hot sauce

Blend beans and salsa in a food processor, adding the salsa a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Taste and correct seasoning by adding hot sauce, cilantro and lime juice.

Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans

2-3 cloves garlic

Lemon

Roasted red peppers (jarred)

Cumin

Tabasco

Blend all ingredients in food processor and adjust seasonings

I stay away from nearly all chips and crackers due to the calorie density and the oil used. So I will make my own. Simply bake corn tortillas and split pits breads until crispy. No oil needed. Plus the beans will help clear out cholesterol, what a deal.

So that’s my plan to keep my arteries and watch a good game.

And the beer? Why not? A little juice goes good for the heart, right? (well, not so much, but…)

Do you minimize the damage? Take an indulgence day? Hide under the covers or watch lacrosse?

Mushrooms Protect Against Breast Cancer

I found a great nutrition source the other day, Dr. Michael Greger’s NutritionFacts.org where he archives an incredible array of vlogs about various nutrition topics. I have seen a couple of his presentations, one on cancer and another on bird flu, but neglected to see all the goodness he has assembled for free on his own site. I think I spent an hour just randomly watching his videos. But this recent video on mushrooms and breast cancer really grabbed my attention. Since I know a couple of people facing breast cancer, I was particularly interested. Earlier in the summer I watched a PBS show by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in which he claimed that his top recommended anti-cancer foods included mushrooms. For years our nutritional analysis of shrooms has concluded that they were basically “empty”. Low in calories, tasty to some, but not very nutrient dense. I always thought that there must be something more to them since they are so revered in Asia. Ancient humans must have had some reason to risk the many toxic varieties out there, and science has finally caught up. I would like to call them “phytonutrients” to link them to all the other wonderful disease fighters, but a fungus is not a plant. So what are they? Myconutrirnts? Fungichemicals? I love mushrooms, and here are one of my favorite dishes that feature them. This is now my anti cancer go to dish as features all of Fuhrman’s favorites: allium family (onions and garlic), greens, beans, and mushrooms. The only one missing is some kind of berry. But they wouldn’t fit here, so I’ll stick to eating berries with my oatmeal.

Spicy Kale and Shrooms

1 bunch kale, chopped
8 oz mushrooms sliced or quartered
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
jalapeno, minced
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1 pound waxy potatoes, mostly cooked
1 can beans, drained and rinsed
Bragg’s or soy sauce
Chili paste

Directions

Cook the potatoes until almost done.
In a large skillet, saute onion, jalapeno and garlic until soft.
Add mushrooms, and saute until mushrooms release their liquid.
Add kale and a little water, cover and cook until kale is tender.
Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking until heated through and veggies are done to your liking.

Summer Potato Salads


What’s more summer than potato salad? OK, for most people that would be BBQ, but for us plant powered people, summer means potato salad, fresh corn, and watermelon. If you remove the greasy, fatty, artery clogging dressings that are traditional, what you’re left with is the perfect canvas for nutrient rich plant power. Spuds of all kinds are ideal since they are a whole food in its natural state, minimally processed by cooking, retaining gobs of nutrients. In fact, a rather wacky experiment in the 1930’s showed that people can live on nothing but potatoes in perfect health. What’s even more, the test subjects did not grow tired of their regimen! That’s probably because potatoes have a very high satiety score. They do indeed satisfy. Here are two interesting variations of a summer classic for endurance athletes.

Tahoe Potato Salad

A favorite in our family to accompany veggie burgers. Also makes a delicious lunch on top of crisp greens. The dill is very important, so taste and adjust carefully. The crab boil adds a nice layer of flavor to the potatoes, don’t leave it out!

Ingredients:
10 Small Red or yukon gold potatoes
1 Package Zatarain’s Crab Boil Seasoning
1 Box Firm Silken Tofu
2 tablespoons each Horseradish and Mustard
1/4 C Fresh Dill, chopped
2 Stalk Celery, chopped
1 Cucumber, peeled and sliced or chopped (optional)
1/2 C Red or green onion (or shallots), chopped

Instructions:
1. Cook potatoes in water to cover with crab boil
2. While potatoes cook: mix together tofu, horseradish and mustard in a food processor or blender until well blended.
3. Add celery, cucumber, dill, relish and onion Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. When potatoes are done and cool enough to handle, chop or slice and add to dressing.
5. Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning.

Variations: Change up the vegetables: red or green bell pepper, grated carrot or beet

Southwest Salsa Potato Salad

Change up the usual potato salad dressing with this spicy version. Use fresh or jarred salsa of the desired heat.

Ingredients:
2 C cooked black or pinto beans
1 lb cooked, chunked waxy potatoes
1/2 C diced red onion
1 bell pepper, chopped, any color
1 C salsa of choice (fresh is best, but jarred works well)
juice of one lime
chopped cilantro to tast
hot sauce to taste

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients, check seasonings and adjust as necessary. Chill for an hour to blend flavors, and serve cold or at room temperature.

Variations: Cook your beans yourself from dry for the best flavor and to save money.
Cook the potatoes while prepping the other ingredients, and combine while the potatoes are still warm to better absorb the flavors. Add chopped hot chiles.