2 large heads cauliflower
1 clove garlic, halved
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Soy Parmesan
Lemon wedges, for serving
1) Position an oven rack in the bottom of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2) Remove the leaves from the cauliflower, then trim the stem flush with the bottom of the head so the cauliflower sits flat on the prepared baking sheet. Rub the outside of each head with the cut garlic.
3) Whisk together the melted butter, 3 tablespoons mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl.
4) Put the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and brush the entire outside and inside with the mustard-oil mixture. Roast the cauliflower until nicely charred and tender (a long skewer inserted in the center of the cauliflower should pass through easily), 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let rest for a few minutes.
5) Meanwhile, combine the parsley and Parmesan in a small bowl. Brush the outside of the roasted cauliflower heads all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon mustard and generously sprinkle with the Parmesan mixture.
6) Cut the cauliflower into thick wedges and serve on plates with a sprinkle of salt, lemon wedges and any extra Parmesan mixture
Sodium has long been labeled the blood-pressure bogeyman. But are we giving salt a fair shake?
A new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension analyzed data from 8,670 French adults and found that salt consumption wasn’t associated with systolic blood pressure in either men or women after controlling for factors like age.
Why not? One explanation, the authors write, is that the link we all assume between salt and blood pressure is “overstated” and “more complex than once believed.” It should be noted, however, that even though the study found no statistically significant association between blood pressure and sodium in the diet, those patients who were hypertensive consumed significantly more salt than those without hypertension—suggesting, as other research has, that salt affects people differently.
As for the factors that did seem to influence blood pressure, alcohol consumption, age, and most of all BMI were strongly linked to a rise. Eating more fruits and vegetables was significantly linked to a drop.
“Stopping weight increase should be the first target in the general population to counteract the hypertension epidemic,” the study authors wrote.
All of which is surprising given the fact that Americans are bombarded with warnings that we eat far too much: just yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report finding that 90% of U.S. children eat more sodium than guidelines recommend. Almost half of that comes from 10 processed foods that kids tend to eat a lot of: pizza, bread, processed meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, processed chicken, pasta dishes, Mexican dishes, and soup.
The CDC firmly believes that salt directly influences blood pressure. “We consider the totality of the evidence,” said Janelle Gunn of the CDC’s Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at a press conference. “A vast majority of scientific research confirms that as sodium is reduced, so is blood pressure.”
We’ve reported before that the science surrounding salt is crazy confusing, and conflicting studies come out with some frequency. In keeping with the frustrating reality of so many nutrient groups, no one side has definitively won the debate.
In the meantime, it surely can’t hurt to curb some of our salt-laden processed-food intake—but the pounds we shed may be even more helpful than the salt we shun when it comes to lowering blood pressure.
I first came across the “phenomenon” of drinking pure celery juice, every morning, on an empty stomach, while delving deep into the pages of Medical Medium by Anthony Williams, as I was researching practices and tools for Thyroid Yoga.
I’m sure most of us are familiar with typical green juice, which usually consists of fistfuls of dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, along with cucumber and celery, and oftentimes herbs, lemon, ginger, and apple may be added to sweeten. They’re run through a masticating juicer (which keeps the veggies at low temperatures to preserve all of their enzymes and vitamins, which would otherwise be destroyed by heat) to separate the fiber from the liquid, reducing pounds of fresh produce down into a juice that is comparable to liquid gold in its potency—or rather, liquid green. It’s a powerhouse of a drink, with all those deep greens and their antioxidants, phytonutrients and enzymes transferred into a liquid form that can be easily sipped down, thus bypassing the energy-consuming process of digestion.
So when I read about the healing powers of celery juice, my interest was piqued, but drinking plain old celery juice seemed pretty boring and pedestrian compared to the majesty of the green juice I’m used to. However, let me tell you that if green juice is the queen, then celery juice is the magician. Williams, in Medical Medium, says celery juice, “is one of the most powerful and healing juices we can drink. Just 16 ounces of fresh celery juice every morning on an empty stomach can transform your health and digestion in as little as one week.”
Celery contains compounds called coumarins, which are known to enhance the activity of white blood cells and support the vascular system. It also helps to purify the bloodstream, aid in digestion, relax the nerves, reduce blood pressure, and clear up skin problems. Celery is rich in vitamin A, magnesium, and iron, which all help to nourish the blood. Celery juice is also rich in organic sodium content, meaning it has the ability to dislodge calcium deposits from the joints and hold them in solution until they can be eliminated safely from the kidneys. Sounds pretty phenomenal right? I was certainly intrigued enough to give the simple green juice a try. Here’s what happened:
1. It gave me easy, blissful digestion, and more energy, to boot.
The discomforts of indigestion, bloating, and even acid reflux are often caused by low stomach acid. Studies have shown that people with Hashimoto’s (the autoimmune thyroid condition) and hypothyroidism (low thyroid) often have low, or lack of, stomach acid, and low stomach acid sets off a wheel of undesirable health consequences. Many of us are all too familiar with the fact that when we’re stressed one of the first things to go out of whack can be our digestion. This is where the superhero of celery juice steps in, as its natural sodium content raises stomach acid, and when drunk first thing in the morning primes you for easy digestion for the rest of the day. Stomach acid is essential for breaking down food, particularly protein. If your stomach acid is lowered, the body then has to step in using more resources to try to digest that food, thus making you tired. This also leads to liver backlog, so there’s less chance your liver will be able to keep up with the onslaught of toxins it has to process from mere everyday life, as well as its job of balancing blood sugar and recycling and producing new hormones, among its many other tasks. The liver is a heavy-duty organ—and as you can see, this is where the cycle continues, continually overwhelming the body so it never has a chance to reset, heal, and thrive. Every once in a while this may be OK (we all get stressed from time to time!), but if this is happening continually, it can lead to more chronic and serious manifestations of dis-ease in the body. Once I started drinking celery juice, I noticed that my food digested easier. Instead of uncomfortable feelings of fullness and heaviness after meals, I instead felt satiated but still light and could go on with my activities easily.
2. It made me slimmer.
With its ability to improve digestion, celery juice also kicks one of the most pesky symptoms of digestion to the curb: bloating. Celery juice is an effective natural diuretic, and along with its ability to flush toxins out of the body, it reduces bloated abdomens and edema, too. With my stomach acid raised and my digestion improved, I wasn’t bloated once during my experiment with celery juice—since everything was running smoothly through my system and digesting well, there was no chance for food to get backlogged, sit there undigested, and therefore cause gas to build up.
3. It reduced my cravings.
Oftentimes, cravings are the body’s way of calling out for nutrients that we are low or depleted in. For instance, if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, I’ve found you’ll crave all things salty. This is not a mistake of the body, as the adrenals need minerals to function at peak performance—like the minerals that are found in high-quality salt. Unfortunately we can often confuse this craving for wanting a bag of potato chips! With my food being broken down, digested, and therefore assimilated better, my body could soak up all the goodness and nutrition I was putting into it. All of my body’s nutritional needs were being met better, and thus I never found myself craving foods or reaching for foods out of habit, because I was much more satiated.
4. I felt sharper.
Since stomach acid is essential for breaking down proteins, the amino acids in my food were being broken down better and became more bioavailable. Amino acids are precursors for creating neurotransmitters, so in theory, the simple act of drinking celery juice even made me smarter. I was firing on all cylinders during the month, and the surplus of energy I had from my food being digested better also helped give rise to a more natural feeling of being a superwoman. Feeling less overwhelmed also helped to reduce stress, thus creating a happy, natural cycle.
5. I experienced a feeling of Zen bliss.
Celery is a major alkaline food. This means it helps to purge the body of acid and toxins and cleanse the liver and bloodstream like nothing else. It helps to smooth out frazzled nerves and soothe any tensions from stress. I found drinking celery juice to have an amazingly calming and relaxing effect on my mind, body, and emotions—so much so that I often found myself making it at the end of a busy workday to help switch myself out of go-go-go mode and wind down for the evening. It gives you the feeling of post-meditation bliss and an internal “ahhhh.”
Want to try it out for yourself? Here’s a quick and easy recipe for celery juice (no fancy juicer required!).
The Quickest, Easiest Celery
This is one of the most flavorful shrimp dishes I’ve ever had! I’ll be adding it to the Meal Delivery Service regularly!
For the brine;
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 4 cups water
- 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (defrosted)
- 1/4 cup butter
- One 4-inch x 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 4 teaspoons sugar
In a medium bowl, combine the salt, sugar, chili powder and water. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Drop in the shrimp and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue stirring until the garlic is pale gold, 1-2 minutes more. Do not let the garlic turn dark brown.
Drain the shrimp in a colander, and immediately add to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are pink and barely firm, another 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately.
2 1/2 pounds green beans, preferably haricot verts, trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
3 lemons plus zest
2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only
1 1/2 cups duck or beef fat (available at health food stores)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 5–7 minutes. Drain, then immediately transfer to a large bowl filled with ice water. Drain again and pat dry.
2. Meanwhile, zest lemons to yield 1 Tbsp. zest. Juice lemons to yield 1/4 cup juice, then slice any remaining lemons into wedges. Cut leeks crosswise into 4″ sections, then thinly slice lengthwise into matchsticks.
3. Heat fat in a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Cook half of leeks, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels; season with salt. Repeat with remaining leeks; reserve oil in skillet.
4. Cook green beans, pepper, lemon zest, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in reserved oil over medium heat, tossing occasionally, just until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and toss to coat, then transfer to a platter. Drizzle about 1/2 cup oil from pan over; reserve remaining oil for another use. Top with leeks and serve with lemon wedges alongside.
1 large eggplant
8 ounce jar of roasted red pepper, not in oil
1 cup black olives
1 Tablespoon Roasted or fresh tahini
Handful of fresh basil
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 teaspoon garlic granules
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast eggplant in oven until it implodes, about an hour at 350º. You can microwave it also, but I tend to cook in the oven more. I bake them when I roast a chicken, with whole sweet potatoes, all in the same roasting pan.
Remove meat from eggplant and place in food processor. Buzz briefly. Add all ingredients except olives and peppers. Blend, leaving it chunky. Then add veggies and buzz a few times, leaving the olives and peppers in pieces, NOT Blended.
Then add the basil and barely buzz until it looks chucky and still colorful.
This is great on chips, rice crackers, Ezekiel toast points, carrots, celery.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
6 medium sweet potatoes (6–8 ounces each)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons white miso (fermented soybean paste)
1 2/3-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated (about 2 teaspoons)
2 1-inch pieces scallion (dark-green parts only), thinly sliced lengthwise
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Cook bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered and bacon is starting to crisp. Transfer bacon to a sieve set over a small bowl; reserve drippings.
Return bacon, 1 Tbsp. drippings, sugar, and sesame seeds to same skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar turns the color of milk chocolate, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet and use a spatula to spread out evenly; let cool. Break brittle into shards. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400°. Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until tender, 45–55 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle.
Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Working over a large bowl, scoop out flesh from 8 halves, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick layer inside skins. Place potato halves on same foil-lined baking sheet. Scoop flesh from remaining 4 halves; discard skins. Mash flesh with a whisk; add eggs, butter, miso, and ginger and stir until mixture is smooth. Spoon or pipe filling into reserved skins. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Bake potatoes until the tops are lightly puffed and golden brown, 30–35 minutes (potatoes will take longer if they’ve been chilled). Top potatoes with bacon-sesame brittle and scallions.