Eat Well: Good Food Resolutions

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
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I like New Year's Resolutions. Not that I always come up with great ones or follow through on them. A couple of years ago I joined a gym for New Years and went regularly for about two months, sporadically for another two and then stopped altogether. The problem was that I don’t like gyms or working out on machines and I knew that before hand. I'd hoped I'd learn to like them, that going would quickly become a habit, but that just wasn't the case. I joined the gym because I thought I should but “shoulds” don’t stick. Not for me anyway.

I think the trick to New Year's resolutions is to pick things that actually mean something to me, that I WANT to do, that fit into who I am as a person and also aren’t so huge that they are difficult to follow through on. Like the year I decided to only buy meat that wasn’t factory farmed. That I could do. I WANTED to do it. In fact, that resolution lead to my decision not to eat meat altogether, buy only free range eggs, and dairy that was from humanely and grass fed animals. One small step, one decision, created a domino effect and today, I am a making decisions about how I eat that coincide with my ethics.

So that leads me to this year’s resolutions. I have made a couple so far: do yoga at least twice a week (I hope to do it more but I don’t want to overwhelm myself) and take a class in something related to my work. So far so good. I have been to yoga twice this week and I signed up today for a jazz piano class (I am a musical theater composer).

Yesterday, while reading a book called The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason (I HIGHLY recommend this book…it’s kind of life changing), I was struck by the chapter on coffee and chocolate. I am a big fan of both coffee and chocolate and I am familiar with “Fair Trade” products and have bought them from time to time. But I guess I had never thought about what was happening on the farms that aren’t Fair Trade. Let me tell you….there are some bad things happening. Fair Trade products assure not only sustainability but also a fair wage, no forced labor (child or adult) and safe working conditions.

So, my first food New Years resolution is to buy Fair Trade chocolate and coffee (as well as rice, quinoa and tropical fruits). The few pennies more that I will spend is worth it to know that I am supporting ethical practices and encouraging more Fair Trade farming.

My last resolution, and this finally brings us to this week's post, is to incorporate more sea vegetables into our diet. I recently started taking vegetable based calcium instead of calcium citrate for my calcium supplement. From everything I have read our bodies absorb plant based calcium much easier than either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. (It makes complete sense that we would know how to metabolize a plant better than a rock). Also, many studies have shown that eating lots of dairy products does not increase the calcium in our bones. In fact, it can actually PULL the calcium out of our bones. This is supported by the fact that Asians have virtually no osteoporosis and eat very few dairy products. What they DO eat is lots and lots of leafy greens and especially, sea vegetables.

The sea veggies with the highest calcium content are Hijiki and Arame. Arame is a lot cheaper and has a milder flavor than Hijiki so I have been adding it to my stir fried vegetables and it is delicious.

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Just soak it in water for about 5 minutes, rinse, and then add a handful to your other vegetables. Here are a couple of ways we ate Arame this week.

Arame Stir fry #1
Olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger (optional)
½ cabbage, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
½ cup dry Arame (soaked in water for 5 minutes and rinsed)
1 T sesame oil
Ponzu (soy and citrus sauce. If you don’t have Ponzu, add lemon to soy sauce or tamari)
2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup washed quinoa cooked in two cups of water for 15 minutes)
Salt and pepper

Saute chopped onion in olive oil on medium high, stirring until soft and brown around the edges. Add garlic, ginger, carrots and cabbage and saute, stirring frequently, until cabbage is soft. Add sesame oil and arame and stir for a few more minutes. Generously sprinkle wtih Ponzu. Salt and pepper to taste. Combine with quinoa and serve with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top:
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Arame Stir Fry #2
Take out the ginger and substitute edible pea pods for the cabbage.
Also sub ½ of the quinoa with cooked Israeli couscous.
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Arame Stir Fry #3: Calcium Explosion
Stir fry garlic and a mixture of fresh greens in olive oil and sesame oil (I put in whatever I had in the garden…broccoli leaves, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cilantro, and mizuna). Add arame and season with ponzu. You can sprinkle with sesame seeds if you want.
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(Serve over rice. You can also add tofu or tempeh.)

Care to share any of your New Year’s Good Food resolutions?

Love,
WWW

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*Speaking of calcium explosions, (omg) tomorrow is WWW's 55th birthday! Which means? Let's all shower her with love! Thank you, mom for all that you do here and everywhere else. Best mom ever dot com.

21 comments:

Anonymous | 5:20 PM

I second Peter Singer's, "The Ethics of What We Eat"! Highly recommended. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and inspiration you post.

Peace to you in the new year,
Leah

That one girl | 5:22 PM

THANK YOU for having a brain! (Umm, was that mean? ) Dairy is terrible for you! I've written several posts about it and so many people disagree. And it's just nasty. Puss filled milk that pulls calcium from our bones, drink up! We love our almond milk!

On a lighter note, that recipe looks DELISH!!!

Candace | 6:02 PM

Not only does dairy pull the calcium out of your bones but it also blocks iron. When babies and tots do the iron test here, if their iron levels are low the doctor tells them to increase the orange juice and greens and decrease the dairy. My daughter was vegan for both her 1 year and 2 year iron tests and her iron levels were great but her friends who eat meat and dairy were very low.

My resolution is to veganize it again. I started eating dairy when I was pregnant last year and haven't quit the stuff. Going dairy made life so much easier but now we are relying on dairy instead of eating a healthier, albiet more difficult, plant based diet.

Jennifer | 6:26 PM

First of all, you rock, WWW! I am digging all of your posts - thanks for all of your insight and inspiration.
Thanks for the sea veggie ideas. I have not ever tried incorporating them into our family's veggie diet. Thanks for the shove.
And YES to fair trade, especially chocolate and coffee. I want to give a shout-out to Theo Chocolate, hailing from Seattle. They are the only fair trade, organic chocolate maker in the USA, and it's absolutely amazing. There is a great Ted.com presentation by the owners of Theo, and worth a watch.
Thanks again. And Happy Birthday!

Maile | 6:38 PM

Thanks for the recipes! I have all the ingredients for #1 already! I will make it tomorrow

Amanda | 7:39 PM

This is awesome! Can't wait to try it.

I started doing a 30 Day Dare segment on my blog where I pick something I think will be challenging and well, do it for 30 Days. This month I picked going completely vegan and while I expected it to be challenging I didn't expect it to make me think more about where I should be taking my lifestyle. I feel amazing. More energy, better skin, better mood. So after this 30 days is up, I decided I'd (my family has also decided to join in with me, which=amazing!) be going vegetarian, with a vegan lean.

I'm more excited abut food than ever!

CraezieLady | 7:42 PM

Dude, Awesome Post, Rebecca's Mom! I'm a die-hard fan of fair trade coffee (I absolutely don't like anything else! Weak diner coffee? Barf!), so I'm going to cut my chocolate indulgences down to fair trade only, too!
Also, LOVED the recipes! Can't wait to rock these in my kitchen!

Baby in Broad | 9:53 PM

OMG! I'm just now reading this (at almost 10 PM) after having had arame and quinoa for dinner! (Stuffed into bell peppers - good times.)

And I will second Jennifer's Theo Chocolates shout-out. Amazing, amazing stuff.

Happy birthday, Wendy! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your incredibly delicious recipes. Here's to (at least!) 55 more healthful, joyful years!

~ Noelle

Alex | 11:23 PM

WWW, you're amazing! You have given me so much courage to try new veggies, and shown me how to make them not be boring. Happy happy birthday!

Sydney | 4:24 AM

Happy Birthday WWW!

The best resolutions are the ones you want to stick to.

And you've got me thinking about sea vegetables - does wakame count?

Anonymous | 10:06 AM

What are your thoughts on multivitamins/ supplements? I've been using a whole source "green food powder" called Vitaforce for a while now, and can't say enough good about it. I use it basically as a safety net when I know I can't or haven't been getting all my vitamins/ minerals from diet alone.

Just wanted to put it out there :)

I look forward to the WWW posts every week! Glad you're posting about "sea vegetables," I'm a pacific islander and have eaten them my whole life, mostly begrudgingly but now I'm more than willfully eating them!

x

Anonymous | 12:57 PM

cool dish but did rebecca abandon her blog?:(

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 1:19 PM

Anon 12:57 - Seriously? Totally bewildered by your comment.

Heather | 7:47 PM

Happy Birthday Wendy! I love your posts, and you have inspired me to cook with some ingredients that I would have been afraid of before.

And I love that you let your hair go grey. Aging is such a strange thing, and it is so hard to find women of your (and my mom's) generation who are doing it with any pleasure. But I get a sense from you that maybe it isn't all that bad.

I am so hungry for role models to look to on what to expect twenty years from now. Thank you for being such a great one!

Wendy Woolf | 9:50 PM

Thank you all for your kind notes!! I had the most glorious birthday! :) Sydney, Wakame counts as do all of the sea veggies but Arame is especially high in calcium so I am including it in all of my stir fries. Wakame though has been shown to have anti-cancer agents so it is really good for you, too.

And Heather...I LOVE my white hair...I wish I had let it go years ago. I have never felt more like myself, but that is because I never wanted to color my hair. I let myself get talked into it, let society dictate my actions instead of following my own feeling inside of me. So in a way, going gray for me was returning to my authenticity.

Sydney | 9:12 AM

After reading your post yesterday I wandered through china town (in London) before making my way home. I picked up some great stuff including ponzu and an enormous bag of wakame for £1.88! Kept my eyes out for arame but didn't see any. I did see an enormous array of different types of chinese vegetables though which I will try to include in a stir fry once a week.

Thanks for the inspiration, your post prompted me to look closer to home and take advantage of all the different markets and food cultures that surround me. I have also enquired about getting a local veg box delivered once a week, supporting local agriculture and eating seasonally. Baby steps, right?

Aaron & Cassie | 1:51 PM

This may be a dumb question but I'm a newbie to eating sea veggies. Does a regular grocery store have them? If so, what section are they in? Thanks!

Syefa Amanina | 7:06 PM

Tempeh!..i love Tempeh. they sold it there also?

Wendy Woolf | 1:21 PM

Sea vegetables can be found dried in the Asian section of your grocery store. If you can't find them in the regular store, you might have to look for a whole foods type store, co-op or an Asian market.

tricia | 6:51 PM

Happy Birthday. i am right behind you @ 53. thanks for your easy recipes that inspire me to eat better. my new years resolutions were simple. to eat healthier, more fresh less processed and to take care of myself so that i can keep up with my 8 year old daughter and twin 6 year old sons. keep those recipes coming.

Kristin | 11:19 AM

You've saved the day again! I was thinking what do I cook tonight, we have NOTHING FUN. But I actually have all of these ingredients (well except Ponzu). I will give it a shot.