We’re still celebrating National Nutrition Month and in doing so, our meals should be focused on well-balanced nutrition! That means including as many of the five main food groups as you can in each meal with emphasis on plant foods.
I attended a lecture last week by Mark Bittman, New York Times food columnist and author of the highly-acclaimed cookbooks How to Cook Everything: The Basics and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
For those not familiar with Mark Bittman, he is a major proponent of the plant-based diet for optimal health and for sustainable agriculture. In a market full of messy, convoluted messages on health and nutrition, Mark Bittman has a way of making it all, well, make sense. He also encourages the plant-based diet without isolating or even restricting nutrients (This idea is favored amongst dietitians as it promotes nutritious eating as a lifestyle and, usually, enhances commitment to a healthy diet).
His presentation was titled “The Future of Food” and took place at the Congregation Rodeph Shalom on Broad Street in Philadelphia on March 13th. During his presentation, he spoke about his own experience with overweight and heart disease. He explained that when his doctor told him he needed to go vegan in order to save himself from heart disease, he responded with something like, “are you kidding me?”
Instead of completely rejecting his doctor’s advice, Mark adopted his own “vegan before 6:00” diet. (Hey, whatever works, right?) Well, it did work for him. He now has a book titled “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health… for Good.” The book goes further into detail about how the diet that favors plants and offers solutions for others seeking sustainable weight loss/weight management.
The lecture was enjoyable and, for me, inspiring! It’s my goal to make nutrition information translate clearly to my patients and clients in a similar fashion to Mark Bittman. I highly recommend any of his books to both nutrition buffs and novices.
Here’s a pic of Mark Bittman autographing my copy of his book Food Matters!
Find some of my favorite quotes from his lecture below:
“Change the proportions of the things in your diet so you favor plants over all else.”
On foods versus non-foods, Bittman says, “Stay away from the UFOs (unidentifiable food-like objects)”
“If we can make a difference locally, we can make a difference globally.”
“’Big Food’ fights regulation to protect its province.”
“The more we know about what’s in our food, the more we know how it’s produced and the more careful we’re likely to be.”
“Chronic lifestyle diseases kill more than contagious diseases.”
“Soda is a sugar-delivery system.”
In 20 years, added sugar will be the tobacco of the 21st century.”
“Particular diet doesn’t matter as long as your diet has a variety of nutrients and its low in fat and sugar.”
“The reality is that people now smoke less because of regulation. We need to tax and demonize soda as we did cigarettes.”
Mushroom & White Bean Stuffed Peppers
Makes: 4 peppers
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: ~50 minutes
- 4 red bell peppers, seeds removed, tops removed & set aside for later use
- 1 (15-ounce) can white northern beans, rinsed well and dried
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked (yields ~ 2cups cooked)
- 2 ½ cups mushrooms, chopped thick
- 1 cup Spanish yellow onion, chopped
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste, no added salt
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped (~1 T dried)
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic (~1 large clove)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Follow instructions on the box to cook quinoa. (Tip: cooks like rice! 1 part grain to 2 parts water!)
- In a large pan, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. Add garlic to infuse oil. In about a minute, add onions. Sweat the onions for about a few minutes or until they begin to look translucent.
- Add mushrooms and continue to cook until soft.
- Add all remaining ingredients with exception to the peppers and parmesan cheese (This includes the beans, kale, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil, basil, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn up heat to medium and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- Stuff peppers with even amounts. Top off with even amounts of parmesan cheese. Place tops back on and arrange the peppers in a 2-3-inch deep pan. Cook for about 40 minutes or until the pepper is cooked to your liking (I like mine slightly charred!)
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 365 Calories, 8 g Fat (1.5 g Sat Fat), 5.5 mg Cholesterol, 156 mg Sodium, 58 g Carbohydrate, 11.5 g Fiber, 18 g Protein