Foood For Thought: Gluten Free and Nutritious

  1. This is something I twiddled around with recently. What You’ll need is:
  • Leek
  • Sweet Potato
  • Ginger
  • Egg
  • Butter
  • Almonds
  • Your Favorite Mushroom

So Super easy – let’s first talk a a little bit about the nutritious benefits of using these things, and how to even make it slightly more nutitious. First of all, all my ingredients are organic, and my favorite mushrooms that I chose were Chantrelles, though Shiitake is an ectremely close and more nutrient-packed second.

It is always best too to consider ingredients that are local and in season. Your body is acclimated to your specific region, and thus will cope better with said region based on the local foods that are produced. This isn’t always possible, but it can be fun, educational, and an excellent way to get to know the people that are growing your foood as well, thus contributing to your community.

  • Leeks:
    This food is one of my favorite foods that I consider a winter food. It is iin the onion and garlic family, and really is like the green onion’s big brother, though without a bulb. They are sweet yet still have that onion taste. It should be a golden rule that they are always cooked in butter and with garlic, since really they are the grandest of friends. They go great in mashed potatoes as well, and make a fantastic soup.
    They are very rich in vitamin K and Manganese. The body needs Vitamin K to help attach calcium to tissues, and acts as a blood coagulative. This means that it’s the stuff that helps wounds heal a bit better and ensures that calcium is doing its job. Also important for bone health is Manganese.  Again, it works with calcium to ensure the strength of bones and to prevent bone loss.  It is also an important factor in skin protection – protection against UV light, and an anti-oxidant. Considering the amount of coffee consumed by students, this can be quite beneficial. Some studies have even suggested that Manganese is helpful with the body’s management of blood sugar, though the link isn’t fully understood at this time.
    Leeks also act as a protector of our blood vessels. Any pathway for the blood is of the upmost importance, as it is the blood which carries the oxygen to our organs and muscles, giving us energy and most importantly, out brain optimal functioning.
  • Sweet Potato:
    Having gotten a lot of hype over the recent years, the sweet potato is definitely worth yammering about. They are extremely high in Vitamin A – a medium baked sweet potato yielding over 200% of the Daily Recommendation, and Vitamin C. It is also high in Manganese and Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6. While Vitamins A and C are important for supporting your body’s ability to ward off all those flu bugs that like to go around during the fall and winter months, the B vitamins are essential for that ol’ noggin.  Not only are they a vast contributor to daily energy levels, But B1 specifically promotes the integrity of the brain cells. B2’s super power is the metabolizing of iron in the body, which promotes healthy red blood cells. B3 is a personal favorite of mine, also known as Niacin. This helps the body to detox as well as acts a very productive mood stabilizer – and when anxiety around finals times hits, it is essential!
  • Ginger:
    This is one of my top ten favorite herbs – well, spices, if you want to get technical. It is superb for digestive health as well as supporting the body’s immune system. Having a healthy digestive system is extremely important for having a healthy and active mind. A sluggish digestive system can lead to an unhealthy colon – or a toxic colon. This means that food isn’t getting processed and moved elsewhere fast enough, and begins to rot, leaching toxins into the colon and onto the rest of the body. This can cause chronic fatigue, asthma, chronic bad breath, chronic back ache, other allergies within the body, and can negate the body’s ability to ward off bad bacteria, causing growths such as Candida to flourish.
    Whats more, ginger is great for increasing circulation. This is especially helpful for those cold toes and fingers, but also means that the blood is circulating better to the brain, meaning support to help it act more optimally.
  • Eggs:
    Aside from the fact that they are rich in protein, which means brain food in and of itself, they are also rich in Omega 3’s, the other amazing brain food. Not only do the Omega’s help with thinking, but they act as a mood stabilizer as well. A study was done with English inmates who were known for their violence. They were supplemented with Omegas and it was found that violent offenses were reduced by 30% (I will write more on this and give specific citations to this in a future entry).
    Furthermore, all the B vitamins are found in eggs, which is excellent news for vegetarians (such as myself) who might experience difficulties finding that needed B6 and B12 combination.
  • Butter:
    While I’m not going to go into the break-down of butter, I will mention that this should under no circumstances be margarine! You might as well melt plastic in with your food instead. I personally use a vegan butter which tastes just the same and is a little bit healthier. However, Butter from happy healthy grass-fed, field lounging cows has been yielding great nutritional benefits, and as long as you’re selecting the right butte, you will be giving to your body the good cholesterol, which is also good for the brain. However, the key is Happy Healthy Grass Fed Field Lounging  Cows! What and how a cow eats contributes just as much to your diet as it does to their own.
  • Almonds:
    Nuts are known for their excellent protein content, and almonds are no exception. In fact, just ten almonds has as much protein as half a pound of beef, and just as many almonds can ease the discomfort of a migraine, as well as ward off future ones. Almonds contain was is called monounsaturated fats – those are the good ones. These are the ones found in avocados and olive oil.
  • Mushrooms:
    While I mentioned earlier to pic you favorite ones, and I chose Chantrelles and you probably are choosing field mushrooms because they’re easy and cheep to find and you’re a college student not looking to spend a fortune (I don’t blame you!), I’m going to focus on the nutritional value of the shiitake mushroom. For one, it has amazing texture when cooked. I cannot say that enough. Many people might disagree with me, but I personally could eat ann entire bowl of pan-friend shiitake mushrooms.
    Shiitake mushrooms are highly medicinal, and a great go-to for immune system support, and is a great veggie-friendly way to get your iron intake. They are great for your heart and circulation health and also have anti-oxidant properties.

Ok, now let me tell you about the meal you can make with all these delicious things.

  1.  Slice your sweet potatoes about a quarter to a third of an inch thick. On a greased pan (I like to use coconut oil – again, thinking brain food!), lay out your slices and season with garlic granules, pepper and dill – or you know, whatever makes you happy. Put them into the preheated oven at 350 degrees, and set your timer for 8 minutes.
  2. Begin chopping your leeks, almonds, and mushrooms. When chopping your almonds, you don”t need to powder them, or make them all fancy and sliced or whatever, just so that they’re possibly quarterd or so.
  3. Once your timer goes off, check your sweet potatoes in the oven, and flip them. The bottom sides should be slightly browning, in a delicious sort of manner. Set the timer for ten minutes and chuck them back in the oven.
  4. Get out a frying pan and melt your butter. The Paula Deen side of me wants to tell you to go nuts with the butter. But the sensible side of me, with a little thought to the almonds, tells me to tell you to maybe stick to no more than a couple table spoons.
  5. When the butter begins to melt, add your almonds and grate your ginger over top with a cheese grater, unless you have a more suitable grater handy. Add enough to suit your tastes, and then maybe just little bit more, just for kicks!! Once the butter is fully melted, add the mushrooms and leeks.
  6. Remove pan from heat once the leeks are a soft and the mushrooms floppy.
  7. Take your sweet potatoes out of the oven when they’re done – you should be able to stick your fork in them no problem, and put them on your plate (I like to chuck in the oven for a minute or to heat it a little so my food doesn’t cool so quickly).  Pile your buttery fried gooodness on top, and quickly crack your egg into the frying pan. I am a fan of a simple fried egg, English style, but cook it however makes you feel happy.  However, a little tip – there is nothing more awesome than having a fried egg over your food and allowing the yolk to ooze over everything as you break into that first bite.
  8. Voila! Breakfast of brainy champions is served!



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