I recently had a unexpected cholesterol reading. Although my good-to-bad ratio remained good, my LDL number was high. The doctor even suggested medicine. (I declined and am going to try to reduce it on my own (along with a few lbs. if I can).
This was quite a surprise to me, and those that eat with me, because I pretty much eat all the right foods for health and weight maintenance. I rarely eat red meat, ice cream or desserts. I don’t bake cakes, cookies or pies. I don’t deep fry. Nor do I eat fast or processed foods. I don’t even snack on cheese or keep mayo or butter in the refrigerator. Moderation is the queen of my kitchen and table. So, what gives?
Determined to identify the culprit(s), I pondered what changed in my diet. I’d eaten more meals at home this past year than any other in my adult life so there was less ‘hidden’ fat or temptation from restaurant bread baskets and dipping oils, creamy sauces or desserts. This should have been a good thing. After some thought, I identified 4 things…all of which are touted to be good for your health!
So…while nothing jumps out at me as the culprit, I’ve taken to eating oatmeal for breakfast most days and I’m watching my intake of eggs, nuts and oil for the next 3 months, at which point I’m going to be tested again.
That’s my story. Now here’s something for you.
At this time of year, I’m not the only one taking a good look at diet and food choices. Everyone’s making a resolution to eat healthier. And, no matter what plan you look at, plant-based meals are always recommended. I’m fortunate because I already love my veggies. I know they’re more than peas + carrots. And I know there are many interesting ways to prepare them so that they are the star of the plate — or worthy of standing alone. They do in the FOODalogue kitchen!
Here’s a few:
Baked Stuffed-Eggplant Parm with Anchovy
Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Escarole + Garbanzos
Israeli Couscous Veggie Paella on a Portabella Mushroom
Roasted butternut squash, roasted poblano pepper, toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped cilantro, grape tomatoes, chipolte powder and a vinaigrette made with fresh lime juice and drizzles of olive oil and honey to taste.
Pear + Veggie Salad
Pears, red cabbage, radish, red onion, carrots, red pepper, garbanzos, celery, slivered almonds, parsley. Dressed with a little parmesan, salt, lots of black pepper and a vinaigrette of fresh lemon juice with a drizzle of olive oil.
Ensalada de Bacalao (Codfish Salad)
Dried codfish (de-salted overnight, boiled for a few minutes + cooled), minced carrots, tomatoes, chopped boiled egg, a couple of pieces of cubed boiled potato, avocado, onions, parsley, garlic, splash of hot sauce, lemon juice + drizzle of olive oil.
Stewed fruits + vegetables (dried dates, dried plums, carrots, baby pearl onions, green olives, mini sweet peppers, capers), plus chicken broth and a splash of Sweet Vermouth. [photo taken before cooking]
Note: All of these dishes are heavily-weighted to vegetables, other ingredients are minimal in quantity and all of the dishes have little-to-no fat.
Parting Thought. I hope this gives you some inspiration to create some interesting vegetable-based dishes in your kitchen. And if you have any cholesterol-lowering advice for me, I’d be happy to hear from you.