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December 4, 2012

Winter Warmers for Better Health. ~ Mehdi Comeau

Photo credit: Happy Earth

Are you a blend enthusiast?

Summer or winter, morning or night, blending is always a delight.

“Blends?” you may ask, “do you mean smoothie?”

Well, no. Smoothies are my jam in the summer.

When the days get cold and chilled concoctions don’t suit, it’s time for a smoothie hiatus (they’ll be that much better once the snow melts).

Don’t put your blender away just yet.

In the winter our bodies want hearty cooking and warm dishes to heat and sustain energy. As cold winter air moves in, there’s nothing like a hot, healthy blend to warm up.

Now, liquefying meals may sound odd, but that’s how my adventures with blending began. After ‘preventive’ dental surgery, a liquid diet was the regimen. Protein and meal replacement powders may have their place, but since I prefer whole foods, I started blending anything and everything for sustenance.

You can cook and blend grains, greens, root veggies, lentils, hard-boiled eggs—anything—and add whatever spices and likings you please. Maybe there’s a dish you like that would blend well—give it a try and enjoy as a warming soup—easier than pie.

This is a concept, not a recipe (although there is one below).

Cook veggies for health.

Cooked green vegetable blends present a winning way to boost nutrition during winter months, encouraging you to eat copious amounts of nutrient dense root vegetables and other crucifers that should not be eaten raw.

Cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, Brussels sprout, and mustard greens, to name a few, suppress your thyroid as they increase the body’s need for iodine. Suppressed thyroid is common and usually goes undiagnosed. Some side effects include fatigue, coldness and slowed metabolism—not ideal during cold winter months.

Kelp is chock full of iodine and can serve as a healthy, natural remediation for decreased thyroid—in case you’ve overdosed on raw kale smoothies all summer.

Coconut oil is a wonder with a wide array of uses and benefits—one being increased metabolism to combat suppressed thyroid.

Spinach, Swiss chard, beets and broccoli are a handful of vegetables high in oxalic acid, which binds to calcium in the body restricting its absorption and serving as a primary component of kidney stones. Boiling these vegetables significantly reduces oxalic acid.

When preparing blends, don’t be shy with quantity. Gorillas and mammoths are/were large, strong mammals that ate vegetation, but they at a lot of it—imagine what half a gorillas weight (what they tend to eat in a day) in greens would amount to.

If you’re going to eat a salad, make it a big one. If you’re going to blend vegetables, use a lot. Of course, today we’re getting dense calories from other sources, but the more vegetables in your diet the better.

My standard serving is nearly 40 oz.

One strictly veggie recipe:

Basics:

¼ stalk healthy sized leak

4 big leaves or equivalent of kale of choice

4 garlic cloves

1 cup green peas

Miso or Bragg’s amino acids, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper

*Adjust proportions freely

Possible additions: Corn, carrot, onion, red bell pepper

Process:

Add 24-30 oz. of water to a pot and begin heating towards a boil.

Chop and add leek and kale. Cooked leek adds a pleasant taste and creates a smooth blended consistency, while kale explodes with nutrients, flavor and alkalizing properties.

Add a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon and ground black pepper into the mix. If you’re looking for spice, try chipotle pepper powder.

Boil/simmer for five minutes.

In the meantime, crush and peel garlic. Add at the end to retain potency if you love garlic, but if you prefer it less pungent, add less, cook it or leave it out.

Add a cup of frozen green peas. They balance out flavors and add to consistency.

Once the peas are done, dump everything into the blender. Water/vegetable proportions will vary, so you’ll have to guesstimate at first. Usually you want the vegetables to be towering out of the water, half an inch or so, to reach a thick, yet smooth and drinkable blend.

Toss in the garlic, pop a dollop of miso or squirt of Bragg’s amino acids, put a cap on it and blend until thoroughly infused.

Pour your hefty lot of hot, healthiness into chosen vessel.

Grind pepper on top, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and add another few drips of Bragg’s.

Toast suits it well. Try Ezekiel lathered in coconut oil.

Let me know what you think! And experiment with other warm winter blends and share favorite concoctions so others and myself can give them a whirl.

 

 A flat-capped nomad, Mehdi Comeau enjoys adventuring, discovering and musing on people and life. As a keenly curious enviro-gastronome, it’s in his nature to pursue perpetual learning and growth, be outdoors, active and create crafty kitchen concoctions, while tuning in and allowing life’s clues to guide. When he’s not engaged elsewhere, you’ll often find him writing with a green blend at his side. He likes the motto: everything in moderation and full appreciation. You can read a growing collection of his musings on his blog, SolsticeSon’s Celebrational Servings.

 

~

Ed: Emily P. Perry

 

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