Food That Prioritizes Health
Have you ever been scrolling through social media, when one of those snazzy cooking videos starts playing, showing you how easy it is to prepare frosted-cookie-dough-Oreo-stuffed-brownies dipped in chocolate and topped with whipped cream? (Drool.) Most recipes on the internet and in cookbooks do not prioritize health. Full stop.
Whether you like to meal plan or prefer to wing it, you need a source of (yummy!) recipes you can trust will not exacerbate your inflammation. Actually, let’s AIM HIGHER! You need a source of recipes that will REDUCE your inflammation, while also preventing and reversing the most common chronic diseases of Western civilization.
Plants, Plants, and More Plants
Dr. Greger centers his recipes around his Daily Dozen checklist, which is a set of recommendations for the healthiest whole plants foods to incorporate into our diets every day.
In case you didn’t notice, there aren’t any meat, eggs, or dairy on that checklist. Dr. Greger promotes reducing or eliminating animal products, based on his research linking them to various health issues. Now we at Fully Human are not advocating veganism; we think there is definitely a place for high-quality animal products in a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet (especially specific fish). But the reality is that most Americans do not eat anywhere NEAR enough unprocessed plant foods. And since plant foods average 64 times more antioxidants(!!!) than animal foods, we recommend adding more plant-based dishes to your repertoire.
Here are the recipe categories:
- Simple Preparations
- Snacks, Dips, and Spreads
- Soups and Chilies
- Salads and Dressings
- Burgers, Wraps, and More
- Very Veggie Mains
- Bean Cuisine
- Great Grains
Why I Like This Book
Skill level – Most of the recipes are relatively easy.
Variety – The cuisine runs the gamut and includes so many different types of dishes.
Flavor – The recipes use lots and herbs and spices to help you bring out the deliciousness of plants.
Novelty – It has introduced me to ingredients that I had never used before, and interesting ways of preparing familiar ingredients.
Inspiration – It re-imagines traditional favorites (e.g., burritos, lasagna, pasta) to make them more nutritious, which helps me see the possibilities of incorporating more whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, and seeds in to all of my cooking.
Try It Out!
You don’t have to buy the book to try some of the most popular recipes. Woohoo!
Dr. Greger wrote a series for the Daily Mail that features a bunch of his most popular recipes, like:
- Fudgy No-Bake Brownies
- Three Bean Chili
- Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
- Super Easy Veggie Rice
- Chocolate Oatmeal
- Black Bean Burgers
Here is my absolute FAVORITE one – Burrito Breakfast Bake. Not just for breakfast, these bean and sweet potato burritos are good at ANY time of day. Nom nom nom.
Burrito Breakfast Bake
Makes 4 Servings
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- 1 orange or red pepper, finely chopped
- 6 cups chopped spinach, chard or kale
- 1 tsp Savory Spice Blend (recipe below)
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 cups Homemade Salsa (recipe here) or your favorite salsa
- 5 cups black beans, cooked, or 1 15.5-ounce (preferably BPA-free) or Tetra Pak carton salt-free black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 baked sweet potato, mashed
- 2 tbsp minced fresh coriander
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 4 salt-free 100% whole-grain tortillas
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, coarsely ground
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, diced (optional)
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the onion and pepper in a large saucepan with ¼ cup water. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until they are wilted and the water has evaporated. Add the Savory Spice Blend, chili powder, cumin, oregano and ¼ cup of the salsa, and stir well to combine.
Remove from the heat. Mash the black beans in a large bowl. Add the onion mixture and stir well. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato, coriander, yeast and another ¼ cup of the salsa.
Spoon ¾ cup of the salsa into a 9 x 13-inch ovenproof dish, spreading evenly. Lay the tortillas on the work surface and spoon a quarter of the sweet potato mixture down the center of each tortilla. Top each with a quarter of the bean mixture. Roll up the tortillas and arrange them, seam-side down, next to each other on top of the salsa in the dish. Spread the remaining ¾ cup of the salsa over the burritos. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Cover and bake for 20-30 minutes, until hot. Serve at once, garnished with diced avocado and chopped jalapeno, if desired.
Savory Spice Blend
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard (mustard powder)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
Combine all the ingredients in a spice grinder or blender to mix well and pulverize the dried herbs and spices. Transfer the blend to a shaker bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry place.
Humans have been using food to treat disease for millennia, and despite advances in technology, food may still be the best medicine. Now with The How Not To Die Cookbook, it might be the most delicious medicine a doctor has ever ordered. Live long (eat plants) and prosper!