Roasted Chimichurri Bowl

This is a nice collection of roasted vegetables with a grain that is topped with creamy chimichurri herb sauce and avocado. You can make it your own by varying the roasted vegetables and grain.

I used brown Jasmine rice, Portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, red onion, garlic, rainbow carrots, and kale.

Cook rice by combining 1 cup of rice per 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and then cover and lower temperature to low and simmer for 35 minutes. Strain off extra liquid.  To roast the vegetables, cut vegetables into 1 inch thick slices, and lay on a roasting pan lined with parchment. Brush olive oil over each vegetable and sprinkle with salt.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.  To roast the kale, wash and remove stem, tearing leaves into large pieces. drizzle with olive oil and massage to coat the leaves. Spread onto a parchment lined pan and roast for 10 minutes until softened and slightly crisp.

To make the chimichurri sauce, blend together one bunch each of chopped parsley and cilantro, a couple stems of mint, a teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/2 cup olive oil, and the juice of one lime, 1 teaspoon each of coconut aminos and cider vinegar and one clove of garlic. Blend this until smooth.  Spoon this over the rice and vegetables.  This sauce can also be used as a dip or sandwich spread, or added to soups and dressings to ramp up the flavor.

Varying the vegetables and substituting millet, quinoa, buckwheat groats, and even oats cooked in a broth will allow you to make this dish with what you might have on hand, while keeping the flavors fresh and the nutrients dense and filling.

I hope you enjoy this warming dish, which is full of antioxidant and immune boosting nutrients.

You Are What You Eat…Not!

I have been all about the food I put in my own mouth and recommend to others, because I’ve always believed getting the food part “right” would make a huge difference in reaching health goals. Yes, the emotional and spiritual aspects are definitely involved in health and healing, but the physical is also more than exercise and the right food – it actually relies on how my body and yours absorbs the food we choose to eat.  Let me say that another way…You are what you absorb.

So, let me mention a couple things that will help ensure better breakdown and absorption. If the food isn’t broken down properly, it will not get properly absorbed. First, the food starts in the mouth, where saliva is critical to begin the breakdown of carbs and fats. And chewing starts the process. Did you know that chewing for at least 35 times can increase nutrient absorption and even help with weight loss? Count how many times you typically chew a bite of food and then take another bite and count to 35 before you swallow. And swish drinks and smoothies around your mouth to blend it with saliva before swallowing.  Try to make this a habit. The second thing that can help improve absorption is making sure you have a good supply of stomach acid. How do you do that? Well, one way to tell if you need to support your stomach acid is if you have reflux, bloating, burping, or bad breath. One way to support your stomach acid is to take about a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a cup of water before you eat. Doing this will help the natural production of stomach acid. The hydrochloric acid and pepsin produced in the stomach is paramount to the breakdown of proteins. Proteins break down into amino acids and they form the building blocks of every tissue and enzyme needed for the functioning of the body. Sometimes, enzyme supplements and raw foods are also recommended to increase the enzyme activity in the stomach to ensure proper digestion. (When food does not digest properly and completely break down into absorbable compounds, nutritional deficiencies and disorders occur.) And finally, supporting the micro-biome or “good bacteria” in the intestines is essential to absorbing nutrients and getting the most out of the food we eat. You can support this area of the body by incorporating cultured and fermented foods into the diet, which would include raw cultured vegetables, fruits and krauts, kimchi, miso, kefir, rejuvelac, kombucha, cultured nut cheeses, and the like. You can also take a probiotic supplement to build up the good bacteria colonies.  Here’s an interesting and eerie fact: there are tens of thousands more bacteria residing in our bodies than the number of cells that make up our body and there is more bacterial DNA than human DNA in US. But these bacteria are vital to our survival because of the influence they have on our nutrient absorption, immune activity and brain function.  So, chewing, drinking a little lemon juice or ACV before meals and incorporating foods high in probiotics can make a significant impact on our body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the food we eat. And if you are eating real whole foods, another name for food without a box or label, then you will get a bigger bang for your buck if you digest those foods more completely. (And if you’re eating food from boxes and packages, you wont get anything more, because they are primarily devoid of nutrients in the first place) So, choose foods that are nutrient dense and make sure you are doing everything you can to improve your digestion so that you absorb as much as possible. Remember, the body counts nutrients, not calories.

I know there may be other things that need to be addressed to heal the digestive tract for some people, but for many people these three steps can be a great starting point to bring about greater health. Contact me if I can support you in reaching your health goals.