A Second Challenge

August 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm Leave a comment

During my last post, I asked for some healthy living challenges to be used as part of SlimKicker.com‘s healthy living level up game. Congratulations to Maddie for being chosen for her excellent idea!

“A good challenge to do is to have at least 1 home cooked meal a day (bringing in your own lunch counts too). Eating out is bad for the waistline!”

I have been trying to take Maddie’s advice, even on my busy surgery rotation. My secret for overcoming the early morning rush for a 5:30am start time is to pack my lunch the night before. Not only is it good for the waistline but also for the wallet… salads at the hospital cafeteria are ridiculously overpriced! Maddie – you can email team@slimkicker.com to claim your prize!

In the process, a friend posed another challenge in her comment to me. She will soon be going to Kenya, and will be teaching a nutrition course while there. On top of that, they will be planting a garden of chaya, mustard greens, moringa tree, cucumber, cranberry hibiscus, cauliflower, beets, and carrots. She wants to be able to leave behind some simple, healthy recipes using some or all of these vegetables and has asked for some brainstorming help! Keep in mind that this is a rural community, so access to ovens and appliances is limited.

To give you some starting points: Chaya is a bitter leafy green that is sturdy, able to stand up to bugs and draughts. It is most often boiled before being eaten. Mustard greens are another leafy vegetable, prized for their cholesterol-lowering ability. Again, these are best steamed or sauteed with onions and garlic. Moringa tree is being grown frequently in poverty stricken nations because of its high-protein leaves and seeds. I have also seen it ground and used in a “Moroccan spice blend,” which I actually have in my cabinet right now! (Sources: Wikipedia and here)

Some ideas I have brainstormed so far: a raw (or lightly steamed) shredded beet and carrot salad with a squeeze of fresh citrus juice, salt and oil and moringa seeds for protein. Along similar lines, cucumbers and carrots sliced with fresh ginger also makes a great vegetable side! For chaya leaves and mustard greens, a simple saute with garlic and onion sounds like a great way to add in greens, or they could be steamed and added to traditional soups and stews! Cranberry hibiscus seems to be perfect for a drink – maybe boiled in tea or blended with citrus juice and a bit of natural sugar. Cauliflower is another vegetable that would be a great addition to traditional soups. It could also be blended into a puree with onions and garlic.

I am sure that there are many far more creative and knowledgable ideas out there – I would love to hear what you think! Anyone ever cooked with any of these tropical ingredients and want to share their expertise?

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