10.05.2011

Warm Peanut noodles and Veggies

Is it only Wednesday this week?  I feel like the days have been getting longer and longer, probably because I get up pretty early and don't go to bed till midnight or later.  Funny thing is that I'm never very tired, and I have been off of all caffeinated things for nearly a month!  The nice thing about finally being off of this very addictive, yet socially acceptable/encouraged drug, is that I have no artificial energy.  So when I'm tired, I indefinitely know it, and when I'm not meeting my nutritional needs, I notice it with slight fatigue.  I took the advice of Dr. Fuhrman in his book "Eat to Live", in which he does not recommend the use of caffeine to mask toxic hunger or chronic fatigue from inadequate nutrition:

"Clearly, excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages is dangerous.  Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.  Coffee raises blood pressure, as well as cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease.  One cup of coffee per day is not likely to cause a significant risk, but drinking more than one cup can interfere with your health and even your weight-loss goals.

Besides the increased risk of heart disease, there are two other problems with caffeine.  First, it is a stimulant that allows you to get by with less sleep and reduces the depth of sleep.  Such sleep deprivation results in higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and interferes with glucose metabolism, leading to insulin resistance.  This insulin resistance, and the subsequent higher baseline glucose level, further promotes heart disease and other problems.  Put bluntly, caffeine consumption promotes inadequate sleep, and less sleep promotes disease and premature aging.  Adequate sleep is also necessary to prevent overeating.  there is no substitute for adequate sleep.

The second issue with caffeine is that eating more frequently and eating more food suppresses caffeine-withdrawal headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.  When you are finally finished digesting a meal, the body more effectively cleans house.  At this time caffeine addicts experience a drive to eat more to suppress caffeine-withdrawal symptoms.  Thus they are prodded to eat more food than they would if they were not addicted to caffeine."

I would highly (highly!) recommend getting "Eat to Live" because it gives you a guide towards a healthy nutritarian lifestyle and gives you easy-to-understand scientific and nutritional reasons why to make the changes he suggests.  This is not a "diet-fad" book, this is an educational book on serious life changes; it is for those who want/need a dramatic change in their lifestyles.  I would recommend you read the entirety of the book, take a good hard look at your happiness about yourself, and decide if its worth it to really listen and change.

Now on to the food!  This is a recipe my mom sent to me in our PNE (pre-nutritarian era) as a good vegetarian dish, specifically for me because I'm a college student and didn't often cook with meat anyways.  The recipe was called Warm Peanut and Sesame Noodles from Health Magazine.  While the recipe in itself is very good, I decided to make a nutritarian version with much more veggies, less oil, less sodium, and home-ground peanut butter (lesson on making homemade nut butters I used is found on a blog called Heather Eats Almond Butter).  Here is my recipe:


Warm Peanut Noodles and Veggies

Ingredients:

1 c water for sauteing
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp hot chili oil (omit for less heat)
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 TBSP low sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP rice vinegar
1/4 c ground peanut butter
1/2 c boiling water
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti
2 zucchinis, halved and crescent shape cut
1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
8 medium white mushrooms, quartered
green onions, chopped
green cabbage, shredded


Directions: 
Peanut Sauce: With a small amount of water in a small skillet, saute minced garlic until fragrant and water has evaporated.  Add hot chili oil, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, and boiling water to skillet.  Stir constantly until nut butter mixes and sauce becomes thick.  Add slightly more water to sauce if wanted to make sauce thinner or stretch for a larger meal.
Noodles: Boil noodles till al dante and drain water.
Vegetables: In a large skillet saute onions in small amount of water until tender.  Add mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms shrink and slightly brown.  Finally, add zucchini and red peppers, saute for 5 more minutes.  Throughout sauting the vegetables, add water as not to burn vegetables, but allow most water to evaporate before serving.
Mix peanut sauce with noodles and add red pepper flakes, green onions, and sauted vegetables.
Serving: Place a bed of shredded cabbage on plate, serve peanut sauce noodles and vegetables on top.  Place a few green onions on top and serve!

Amy's notes:  This is a great recipe for a family or to plan for leftovers.  I love the flavors in the dish, and next time I plan to make it I will substitute the noodles out all together and have only the vegetables with peanut sauce on top of cabbage.  I could also substitute the noodles with the zucchini cut into noodle shapes with a shredder or a spiral vegetable cutter.


What is your favorite meal with noodles in it?  What could you add/substitute to make it more of a nutritarian meal?


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