Healthy Bytes

Healthy Bytes

with Ezio Garritano

Hello and welcome back to this segment of the Leap blog. I’m happy to once again have the opportunity to share with you some helpful information from personal experience that I think can add a little more health and well-being to your daily lives!

This time around, I want to provide you with a fairly quick and simple nutrient-dense recipe that not only is very tasty, but as I said, is packed with quite a nutritional punch! This was, and still is, one of my favorites growing up. My stay-at-home mom was quite the cook and was well-versed in simple, healthy home-cooked meals. With that said, what we’ll be looking at is a basic recipe for black beans and rice, a favorite amongst Brazilians (and Italians as well)! I’m providing the instructions for just the beans, and leaving the rice up to you. Keep it healthy though with the choice of brown or other varieties of more nutritional rice.

When you combine any type of bean with rice, the result is an excellent source of a complete protein, providing all of the essential amino acids which the body cannot make and must therefore get from the foods that we eat. Besides that, you are also getting a good portion of fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals!  We can’t go wrong!!!

First off, we need to begin with the best choices for our starting ingredients. If you use either dry beans or canned, I would strongly advise the organic source for both. In the case of the canned ones, check to make sure that the lining of the can is Non BPA, a chemical which we want no part of in our food! So, proceed from here, appropriately preparing either source of black beans. Once ready, using canned beans in this example, we start with 2 cans or 30 oz. of beans. You can double these amounts if you’re cooking for the whole family. Otherwise, you’ll have enough for 2 people with some leftovers. I like to cook enough so that there are leftovers for 2 or 3 more meals, easy enough to just reheat at a later time! In a large enough pot, we sauté at least 3 minced cloves of fresh garlic in olive oil, covering the entire bottom of the pot with the oil. If you love garlic like I do, then be generous and add more! When ready, we add the beans. We’re going to cover the beans with either a good spring water, or you can substitute that with an organic vegetable broth. Either way, the beans themselves are quite flavorful and will make their own tasty sauce using just the water. Bring this to a boil, and then set the heat to a slow simmer, which we will keep going for a good 2 hours. Add salt to taste when starting to simmer, so that it has a good chance of being incorporated into the beans and subsequent rich, creamy sauce. That’s really all that is needed! Stir occasionally and give the beans a taste throughout, checking the salt content. As you come to the end of the cooking time, you will notice that the water/broth has thickened up and taken on the flavor of the beans and the garlic. That’s what we’re after, at which point you’ll know that they are done! I like to keep it simple, but I’ve seen recipes that add vegetables as well. I would suggest this basic approach first, without the addition of veggies, and then next time around decide if you want to experiment and add some of your favorites to the cooking process.

And there you have it, a delicious and nutritious meal! I usually toast a corn tortilla on the burner and then add the rice to it and cover that with the beans. Corn tortilla chips are also a tasty choice, along with a slice or two of avocado and a choice of greens, such as romaine lettuce. I also like to top the rice/bean combo with a little arugula in place of the romaine; quite a power-packed source of nutrients with minimal effort and preparation time.

As you can see, this is a vegetarian version of the Brazilian dish known as feijoada, which has either chunks of pork or beef, or pieces of sausage added to it as a main ingredient; also quite tasty! If you’d like to go that route, go for it, but as always, choose a healthier source for your meat, such as grass fed beef, and so on. There’s plenty of good instruction out there to make that addition with minimal effort. I’ve eaten it that way and enjoyed it as well!

Herb of the day (and some added health tips)!

I’m sure everyone now-a-days has come across some information about the importance of detoxing at least twice a year, particularly during the spring and fall seasons. And though I agree to the relevance of this process, I think it much more critical and beneficial to eat healthy and follow a life-enhancing routine on a day-to-day basis, incorporating nutrient-dense foods and plenty of physical activity, like walking and yoga. By adhering to such a lifestyle, we provide our bodies with the proper nutrients and the movement our bodies need for eliminating toxins and waste more efficiently and continuously. Our bodies, primarily through the work of the liver, detoxify anyway on a daily basis, and depending on what we’re eating, can do it much more effectively! For instance, 3 excellent food sources for liver support are organic dandelion greens, beets and garlic. These supply specific nutrients that have been shown to increase the elimination of toxins and improve overall liver health and function. So why not make use of these healing foods, and get ahead of the health curve! All three can be combined, along with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, to make quite the tasty beet salad. Details on that perhaps in an upcoming blog!

As inhabitants of a planet that has become overwhelmed with thousands of toxic chemicals circulating in our air, water and food, it only makes sense to take a close look at what we can do to keep the body working optimally for as long as possible! And what we choose to eat is the most direct path we can take to do so. I’ve included a link below which contains some practical advice we can all benefit from! And the website itself is a great source of information and herbal products from a company whose decades-long reputation is widely recognized amongst industry professionals.

So until next time, remember that healthy eating leads to healthy living!

Let’s enjoy life!!!



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