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Cherry, pistachio and amaranth stir-fry

Posted Jun 13 2012 8:27am
Amaranth - a whole grain, kinda like quinoa.



( Source )

Used in soups, dressings, breads and baked goods, I was really excited to get creative with a new whole grain....

Here's the nutrition facts of AmaranthIngredients: organic whole amaranth grain (from Arrowhead Mills bag)
Serving size 1/4 cup (47grams)
Calories: 180
Fat: 3g
Potassium: 170mg
Carbs: 31g
Fiber: 7g
Sugars: 1g
Protein:7g

About Amaranth:
"Amaranth has been cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years. The yield of grain amaranth is comparable to rice or maize. It was a staple food of the Aztecs, and was used as an integral part of Aztec religious ceremonies." - Wikipedia

Many people fear whole grains....because they are "carbs". Others, because they have "calories". Knowing that most people need at minimum 1500 calories to support daily living and activity, where are you getting your calories from?

It is very common for individuals to justify eating "this" or not eating "that" and to excuse eating "it" because they burned it off in training. Certainly, with the many hundreds and hundreds of calories that you can consume on a daily basis, is it really worthwhile to pass on a delicious, high fiber, high protein, highly nutritious option (such as a whole grain) and to choose the 100 calorie granola bar or sugar-free pudding?
To repeat myself, if you know you need to eat calories, where are they coming from in your diet? There is room for everything you want in the diet but at the end of the day, you have to address your health, performance and body composition goals when determining what and how much you should be eating to improve quality of life...and in my world, dark chocolate is needed for a quality-filled life :)

Secondly, once you assess the composition of your diet, identify your reasons for eating both at meal and snack time as well as any other time of the day.

Food is for fuel and for health. It is also at every celebration party and holiday. But sadly, it is not a way to solve problems, cure emotional problems, de-stress you or keep you awake when you should be sleeping. Be kind to your body, always thinking of the now and the future.

I try to keep my diet simple...real food. Because this is a lifestyle for me, I want to stress that for other people, you may still be in a stage of changing habits and it is hard to appreciate a more real food diet. That's ok...everyone is in their own journey and you can not rush the journey.

Here's a few suggestions:
1) Bulk up on greens for your meals. This is not a "diet" trick..this is a powerful nutrition suggestion. I will be discussing some options for greens in a future blog but as you can see in my pics below (w/ recipe), there is a lot more volume that comes with eating greens (or veggies) without sacrificing flavor or even some of your favorite foods. Whereas many people see salads as "diet" food, for me they are meals.
If anyone wants to argue with me about this.....how can you make a sandwich without two pieces of bread? Now a day, there are countless "diet" breads available and in all honesty, how much can you actually stuff between two slices of bread. When it comes to salads, greens are simply my "bread". It is something to hold all the goodness that comes with my toppings, such as healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, oils), whole grains and protein. So, next time you are eating a salad, be sure it isn't boring and be proud of your "meal".

2) Shop seasonal and shop around. If you think I pay a lot for groceries, you are kinda right. We go through fresh food FAST in the sumbal household but we also eat meals prepared from home (breakfast, lunch, dinner). However, I shop around for the best purchases. I found the most beautiful cherries at wal-mart today for almost $2 cheaper per lb compared to Publix. But at Publix last Thurs, Plantars Pistachios were on sale - buy one get one free for $6.37 - so I got 4 for less than $13! Peaches were on sale at Whole Foods Market (I rarely shop there but fun when I go and not always that much more expensive than non-organic) so when I got my whole grains, I also found red leaf lettuce for a great price. So for a change, we bought some organic produce and used a coupon for a discount. The most important thing in your diet is that you are eating variety - the more color you can eat in your diet...the better.

To say that eating healthy is expensive is not a true statement for many reasons. For it may be more expensive than what you are use to but according to some research , it's all about feeling more satisfied with more volume but not necessarily more calories. It does take some work but it's likely you won't be eating as much throughout the day (feeling more satisfied) and really appreciating each meal and snack. By increasing nutrient density, you are focusing more on nutritional value and really, you can't put a price on that.

But at the end of the day, you have to think about the investment you are putting into your health and life......
For prevention is cheaper than medicine.

I hope you enjoy my latest creation...DE-licious!

Cherry, pistachio and amaranth stir-fry

Cherries (tip for cutting - slice like an orange all the way around the pit)
Peaches (chopped)
Firm tofu (cubed)
Frozen sweet peas
Sweet red pepper
Pistachios (chopped)
Fresh basil (chopped)
Sunflower oil
Amaranth - or you can use quinoa or brown rice if you can't find amaranth
Your choice of dark green(s)

1. In large pot, set to medium heat and add peas w/ 1-2 tbsp oil. Cook for 2 minutes, stir every 45-60 sec.
2. Add cherries, peaches, tofu, pepper and pistachios to peas. Cook for 8-9 minutes, stir every few minutes.
3. Place 1 cup greens in large, shallow bowl.
4. Turn off heat and add basil.
5. In smaller bowl, add ~1/2 cup mixture + 1/4 cup amaranth and combine with fork.
6. Place on top of greens and enjoy!
(the amaranth is kinda gooey in terms of being clumpy but very shiny - almost sugary looking. Not sure if I didn't cook it right but I suppose the amaranth is best in bakery items because it can likley be mixed in well with wet and dry ingredients).


 You decide - what would be more satisfying for you?
(and with more satisfaction comes more powerful nutrients!)



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