Friday, 1 April 2011

Superfoods you can use in offerings to Krishna

Having last week talked about the need for a health-giving diet, here is a list of foods that are generally classed as "superfoods": that is, they are particularly rich in one or more antioxidants and/ or other nutrients and so have powerful health-giving, anti-ageing and disease-preventing properties:

  • Vegetables:  broccoli,  peppers, kale, spinach (also contains lutein to help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration), and  brussels sprouts, chillis, daikon radishes (mooli), sprouted beans and seeds. Broccoli and the cruciferous vegetables can help prevent/ fight cancers of the lungs and breast.
  • Fruit: a├žai berries, goji berries, cranberries, avocado, apples, blueberries, pomegranates, pumpkin, kiwi, oranges,and tomatoes- all rich in antioxidants, soluble fibre and vitamin C; can help prevent cancer and other diseases. Citrus fruits contain bioflavinoids with anti-cancer properties. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant which can help prevent cancers, especially of the prostate.
  • Grains/ pulses/ nuts: beans, barley, oats (help reduce chloresterol and balance blood sugar levels), seeds, nuts (especially Brazil nuts, also walnuts, which contain omega-3 fatty acids and help prevent heart disease and almonds, which can help lower LDL chloresterol levels) and buckwheat. Many contain high levels of zinc, which helps skin repair itself.
  • Other: Cinnamon, turmeric (haldi), dark chocolate, honey, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil , sea salt, umeboshi plums,wheat grass, miso, yogurt and kefir.
There are more and more superfoods being discovered all the time, and more well-known foods are also being added to the list as we find out more about their properties. I wonder if eventually we will find out that ALL plant foods are superfoods?


      Tuesday, 29 March 2011

      Tofu and Roasted Vegetable Quiche

      I sometimes fondly remember the days of my early adulthood in the 80s and those trendy vegetarian cafes like Cranks: those were the days of quiche and salads with iced Perrier and a carob flapjack for lunch, discussing our latest anti-Thatcher demo or hunt-sabbing exploits... before Subway, Starbucks and Greggs took over every high street in England every town seemed to have its little independent veggie cafe tucked away down a sidestreet where everything was served in earthenware bowls and the salad bar was bigger than the seating area. There would always be a large noticeboard with adverts for yoga classes and alternative gigs and a stack of fanzines, flyers and leaflets to peruse. Am I the only one who misses these places with their handmade sincerity and their wholesome fare? I decided to revive the "quiche and salad" lunch idea some time ago, and was gratified that my family received it so well bearing in mind they do not necessarily share my predilection for small, old-fashioned wholefood cafes.

      Makes 8 portions, in a 10"/ 25.5cm loose-bottomed flan dish.

      Blind-baked pastry case made with vegan unhydrogenated margarine (you can use oil, but it's harder to handle the pastry)
      1x250g block of firm tofu
      250-300g sweetcorn
      a handful of roasted vegetables such as peppers, courgettes (zucchini) and aubergine
      200ml soya milk
      2x tabs lemon juice
      black pepper, hing, herbs
      1 tab soy/tamari sauce/ liquid aminos
      sunflower seeds and/ or pine nuts
      • Line the pastry case with the roasted vegetables
      • Reserve a handful of sweetcorn and the seeds/ pine nuts and whizz everything else in a blender until quite smooth.
      • Add the rest of the sweetcorn to the blended filling.
      • Pour into the pastry case and top with the seeds and pine nuts
      • Bake for 20 mins at 200C (or 225C if you don't have a fan oven).