Garbanzo Beans with Spinach and Clams

Garbanzo Beans with Spinach and Clams By Marta Díaz Megías Spanish spinach and garbanzo beans is a must try dish, especially popular during the cold winter months and during lent. This dish comes from Ancient Persia (modern Iran), where Arab traders got their hands on it and introduced it to the Mediterranean. There are records of spinach being a popular Spanish vegetable by the end of 12th century, and it was an important ingredient in Moorish and Sephardic Jewish cuisine in Spain. Garbanzos originally came from the Middle East and made their way into the Spanish kitchen by way of Phoenicians. They are of big importance in the Spanish cuisine, and they are a primary ingredient in many popular Spanish dishes. Garbanzos are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, high in protein and a great replacement for meat in many vegetarian and vegan dishes. I have added spinach to my recipe, but it can be made without clams. [foogallery id="7526"] Ingredients: 2 cups dry garbanzo beans 1 Leek 1 red onion 1 spring onion 1 green peppers, cut in long pieces 4 peeled tomatoes 3 peeled carrots cut 2 bunches of fresh spinach 2 garlic cloves 1 ½ cups of fresh clams Fresh parsley a splash of white wine salt virgin olive oil Preparation: 1. Place the garbanzo beans in a large saucepan or bowl with salted worm water. Let it stand 8 to 24 hours. Drain before cooking. 2. In a pressure cooker place garbanzo bean, peeled onion, leek and let it boil for a short time, then remove foam on the top. 3. Add the rest of vegetables except spinach, close pressure cooker and let it cook for 10 minutes starting to count when it beeps. 4. Remove, onion, spring onion and leek, grind it and place it back in the cooker. 5. Add spinach, close cooker, and let it cook for 5 minutes. 6. Right before serving, place some oil in a pan with the garlic cloves (than you remove later), a splash of white wine and some finely chopped fresh parsley and clams, sauté he clams until they open. Add to the garbanzo bean mix, heat it up and then serve. Marta Díaz Megías was born and raised in Madrid, Spain and is as an official Translator/Interpreter from the Catholic University of Paris. She has always had a personal passion for cooking and started her…

Spinach Pie Genoa Style

Spinach Pie Genoa Style By Elisabetta Ciardullo In Italy savory pies are love affairs: every region has its own secret recipe for a variation on Torta Rustica, with a multitude of filling, but always with a couple of omnipresent ingredients: flour dough, lots of vegetables, a couple of eggs and cheese. As you see right away those are very filling and satisfying pies, that can be brought to work for a quick lunch, or as a snack during the Sunday hike or for the day at the beach. And as always inspired by the need of feeding the family without breaking the bank, often reusing some leftovers or some wild growing vegetables to be picked for free. I discovered the method that we are going to use for this one from my dear friend Marica, from Genoa. To tell you the truth she made it for me with butternut squash filling, and I was flabbergasted. It could be a very welcome main dish for the vegetarians at your Holiday table! In Liguria people mostly use different kinds of green leafy vegetables for the filling, some of them growing wild in the fields; to simplify a bit and no to put you off we will use spinach, readily available already washed in every grocery store. You could also use what is labeled as “power greens”, a mixture of young kale and spinach, or chard. The secret of this delicious pie is in the dough: instead of using a store-bought puff pastry or a bread style dough, we are going to make something that, strangely enough, makes me think of the crispy baklava dough from our Arabic countries’ neighbors. Layers of thin, super thin dough, hand rolled, and brushed each time with the fantastic Extra Virgin Olive Oil preferably from Liguria as well. Strange? Not so much, just fusion ante litteram: Genoa was one of the most important Maritime Republics from the X century through all of the Middle Ages, flourished during the Crusades, became very rich supporting the Spanish Monarchy in the XVII century and stayed independent through the end of XVIII century when it was conquered by Napoleon. In all this time Genoa never stopped crossing the Mediterranean Sea with its fleet of merchant ships, and trading with all the people of the Mediterranean basin, thus the influence. This dish can be made ahead and reheats beautifully. It can also…

A Dietary Guide to Healthy Ageing in Middle Age

A Dietary Guide to Healthy Ageing in Middle Age By E. Dylan Mayer As we age, we naturally experience various degrees of muscle loss, bone loss, and a slowing metabolism. While ageing is inevitable, and we have no control over our genes, we can significantly influence healthy aging by modifying our lifestyles, by refraining from smoking and substance use, and by optimizing social activities, diet, and physical exercise. By healthy ageing, I mean extending the number of healthy, active years of your life. While it is generally accepted today that smoking and substance use are detrimental for our health, it remains unknown to many people that having a strong social support system, exercising regularly, and consuming a largely plant-based diet have been shown to be some of the strongest promoters of healthy ageing. In this article, I will be focusing on the role of diet in healthy ageing. I’ve written an article in the past on the importance of protein in our diet to prevent sarcopenia, but didn’t go into detail about protein’s role in preserving lean body mass, as well as improving metabolism. It has been shown that a “higher” protein diet can aid in weight loss, specifically burning fat while maintaining muscle mass (with physical exercise). A study that observed two groups of subjects, those on a lower protein diet, and those on a higher protein diet, found that after 6 weeks, those on the higher protein diet gained 2.4lbs more muscle and lost 2.9 lbs more fat. This is relevant to those in middle age since it is generally more difficult to gain/maintain muscle and lose those extra pounds around your waist. The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight (0.8 g/kg), but research suggests that adults over the age of 50 require more to preserve their muscle mass. According to the studies above, the amount of protein needed to maintain muscle mass and support an active lifestyle at this age is closer to 0.5 – 0.9 grams per pound of body weight (1.2- 2.0 g/kg). Important to note is that increasing your protein intake does NOT mean you have to eat more meat. Plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, and various seeds are packed with protein, as well as fiber, polyphenols and essential vitamins and minerals. Next up, fiber. Consuming adequate amounts of fiber promotes a healthy gut…

Where Physical and Mental Health Meet: Achieving the Eight Pillars of Holistic Wellness

Where Physical and Mental Health Meet: Achieving the Eight Pillars of Holistic Wellness By Jamisen Cook The beautiful truth of life that stands, through the unforgivable messes and the unforgettable moments, is that both physical and mental health must be made, unequivocally, our top priorities. The two go hand in hand when it comes to overall well-being. The gut brain axis is just one of the body’s mechanisms where physical health and mental health meet. Experts recognize eight pillars of holistic wellness: physical, nutritional, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial, and environmental. So, let’s take time to explore each pillar and how you can incorporate them into your life… Physical When we think of health, our physical body is often what comes to mind. Sleeping well, getting enough exercise, and taking care of our hygiene, to name a few. These things might already be on your radar as you work towards your best self, but for many, taking care of the external body is new, and sometimes even terrifying. Know that it is ok to start simple. Sleep. Your body’s means of repairing, handling both internal and external stresses. Better quality sleep can have cascading benefits, reaching into many aspects of your life you might not have anticipated. Exercise. More than just a requirement for physical health, the boost of endorphins helps us stay positive, energized, and better equipped to take on the other pressing matters in our lives. Hygiene. Looking your best can help you feel your best. When you take care of yourself, you are not only protecting your physical body but your mental health too. Nutritional We know that what we eat changes how we feel, both in the body and the mind. Enriching our lives with food that makes us feel good to our core is a basic, yet crucial goal of human life. In our current world, this process can become complicated. Conflicting advice turns something that should be simple, into a chaotic confusion. Enhancing variety in your meals can be a fulfilling first step. A flourishing gut microbiome depends on the diversity of our diets. Consider integrating new, whole foods into your favorite meals. Work them in, limiting the portion sizes of processed ingredients over time, allowing the good stuff to permeate the flavor until you can’t imagine your new favorite dish the old way. Emotional For some, emotions are an afterthought, something we learn…

Discussing Women’s Health

Discussing Women’s Health By Ariel Suazo-Maler A more nuanced conversation needs to be had about women’s mind-body wellness. This is especially true when it comes to the connection between diet, emotional and physical health. With women making up 56% of Americans actively dieting, an unpacking of the word ‘diet’ is a necessary place to start. Ideally, ‘diet’ would be used to describe everything one does eat as opposed to what one doesn’t. This would imply the presence of an education surrounding proper nutrition as well as an understanding of the role a balanced gut plays in achieving whole-body health. While this is something we can hope for moving forward, before we can make a conscious shift away from ‘diet’ as an exclusionary term, society must first reckon with the havoc caused by the “thin ideal.” Around the turn of the 20th century, a greater importance was placed on being slim. By the 1920s, calorie counting was common practice. Assigning numerical values to food, with the goal of standardizing dress size, paved the way for an oversimplification of eating, and forced food into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ boxes. Even still, this semi arbitrary categorization negates the emotional ‘good’ associated with the crunchy mouthfeel of a potato chip, or the pleasurable dopamine surge of a piece of chocolate. It also conveniently overlooks the ‘bad’ connected to the trauma of a force-fed vegetable. Together, this showcases the importance of expanding the connection between diet and emotional health to not only include a strictly scientific conversation about the gut-brain axis, but also disordered relationships with food and the importance of eating what you love. With the inclusion of these concepts—both underscored in the practice of mindful eating — one receives a more holistic education on food/eating’s role in emotion/physical wellness. Importantly however, this is not to say that women are the only ones who need this more nuanced education. Nevertheless, with 75% of women reporting disordered eating behaviors and being the targets of unhealthy diet advertisements across media platforms, it’s safe to say that having inclusionary conversations with women can help facilitate the necessary unlearning needed in order to lay a healthier foundation from which one can make informed decisions and learn about sustainable mind-body wellness. Once this reeducation takes place, space is created for more particular conversations like those surrounding the female microbiome and the role it plays in a woman’s unique health experience.…