NUTRISPEAK by Vesanto Melina
The scrumptious aroma of potatoes baking in the oven on a winter afternoon. Minestrone soup simmering, bringing an invitation from onion, garlic and herbs. The vibrant reds, greens and purples of a rainbow-hued salad. The explosion of flavour when you bite into an avocado and tomato sandwich.
If the word “vegetables” doesn’t conjure in your mind sensations of colour, fragrance, delicious flavour and bountiful health, it’s time to update your attitude about these amazing foods. When we have a savoury soup and salad for lunch, and build our dinner around veggies, we consume a wealth of vitamins, minerals and other nutritious compounds.
More than any other group of foods, vegetables have proven their worth as cancer fighters and as our powerful protectors. This is a great time to make the acquaintance of new members of this family of plant foods and also to discover what powerful allies they can be in supporting your health.
One of the best things that veggies have going for them is an abundance of protective phytochemicals (plant chemicals). These substances provide many of the colours that make the produce aisles so attractive and vibrant. Veggies also give you more bang for your buck, in terms of providing vitamins, minerals and protection against disease, per calorie and per mouthful, compared with any other group of foods.
The recipe shown is from our newest book, The Raw Food Revolution Diet*. This bean-free hummus has all the flavour of traditional Middle Eastern hummus and is full of nutrients, including bone-strengthening calcium. It’s tasty with raw veggies. To expand your horizons about which veggies you can eat raw, here are a few ideas: asparagus tips, broccoli florets, carrot sticks, cauliflower florets, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber discs, green onions, green pea pods, jicama sticks, parsnip sticks, peppers (red, yellow and green), snow peas, zucchini strips or circles.
The Raw Food Diet Revolution
A trend that is sweeping North America is the raw foods movement. Some people are motivated by a concern about their bulging waistlines, others by the abundance of protective antioxidants and phytochemicals in plant foods. Many are inspired to increase their intake of uncooked veggies and fruits without adhering to an entirely raw diet. Are raw diets nutritionally adequate? What are the potential pitfalls? Are they good for children? Can a raw or mainly raw diet form the basis for a successful weight loss plan? I will be delivering a seminar entitled The Raw Food Diet Revolution at The Wellness Show. See information below.
Vesanto Melina delivers The Raw Food Diet Revolution seminar at The Wellness Show, Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Ctr, 999 Canada Place, Sun. Feb. 8, 12:30pm. Drop by the Book Publishing Company booth (620) and say hello.
*Authors: Cherie Soria, Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (The Book Publishing Company, 2008.)
Attend a free presentation by Vesanto, “Rx for Healthy Eating” in Langley’s Walnut Grove Library, Wed. Feb. 11 at 7 pm
Makes 1-2/3 cups (5 servings)
Serve hummus with raw veggies or as “Romaine Boats” on the inner leaves of a head of Romaine lettuce, topped with diced tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts.
1 small zucchini, peeled and chopped (1 cup/250 mL, firmly packed)
3 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. flaxseed oil or olive oil
1-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/2 cup sesame tahini
1/3 cup sesame seeds, soaked 4 hours and drained
Place in a blender the zucchini, lemon juice, oil, garlic, paprika, salt, cumin (if using) and cayenne. Purée. Add tahini and sesame seeds and purée until perfectly smooth and creamy. Store in a glass jar or other covered container, refrigerated, for up to four days.
Note: This recipe can be made in a food processor, although the mixture will contain whole sesame seeds, rather than being smooth. Alternatively, you can replace the seeds with 1/3 cup more tahini plus a little water.
Vesanto Melina is a BC-registered dietitian and co-author of the following nutrition classics: Becoming Vegan, the Food Allergy Survival Guide andRaising Vegetarian Children.