Food: yellow split peas

Yellow split peas are my new favorite food, since beginning to experiment with my new Instant Pot 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker. I make a very simple dish, and I do not like to measure, so here are my ingredients. You can’t get it wrong.

Carrot, celery, onion, garlic, yellow split peas, broth (and/or water), salt, pepper.

And Kerrygold butterEdit of course.

Simple. Cook the chopped mirepoix (carrot, celery, onion) on the sauté setting in some butter until the veggies are soft and turning brown. Add chopped garlic. Measure the split peas, I usually use 2 or 3 cups. 2 cups at my house fed 3 adults and 3 kids with no leftovers. 3 cups let me have leftovers, which I preferred. Add 2-3 times as much liquid. Closer to 2x if you want them to stay a little crunchy. 3x as much liquid makes them mushy, which is also good. My preference is al dente so I use a bit over 2x. Close the lid and use the manual setting, 13 minutes. Add more butter after serving!

One time I used 2x the liquid and it overheated because it was beginning to stick on the bottom, but that was actually my favorite texture to date.

[EDIT: 8 minutes yielded the perfect consistency today. I didn’t measure the water, and there was plenty of water after cooking (so no overheating) AND this time I added a sliced burdock root – in Japanese this is called gobo, which is excellent for the skin and the large intestine.]

If you’re unfamiliar with the Instant Pot, it’s an electric pressure cooker but can be used as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, for warming or for browning/sautéing. I’ve had it for less time than my Vita-Mix and I’ve already used it much more. The learning curve is small.

Yellow split peas are an excellent source of protein, fiber, folate, manganese, and potassium.

What should we be eating?!

When is it appropriate to jump on the dietary bandwagon? Should you be eating “paleo” if your friends are losing weight because of it and you also want to lose weight? Since there is so much bad press about gluten, should you start eating only gluten free products? Maybe veganism is the answer?

There’s no perfect path that suits everyone when it comes to diet. But there are some good guiding principles.

1. Buy the highest quality food you can afford.

Start by reading labels. Avoid GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium nitrate, and excitotoxins. Learn about the brands that make the foods you like to eat.

2. Keep the following things in moderation if and when you have digestive issues: sugar, alcohol, raw food, fried food, very spicy food, soy.

If you consume a lot of any of those groups, and you have any digestive complaints, try cutting back that group by half. Then re-evaluate how you feel.

3. Pay attention to your body’s response to foods.

If you have a complaint (for example, skin issues, weight gain, fatigue, etc) take a look at what you’re eating by creating a simple food diary. Write down what you eat for every meal for two weeks or a month, and note changes in the issue that concerns you. Often you can find a connection between diet and body complaints.

4. If you think you have an allergy or sensitivity (to gluten, wheat, dairy, or something else) do a simple elimination diet for a month and then reintroduce the potential offenders by themselves to evaluate your body’s response.

5. Eat more vegetables. Try to add some veggies to breakfast.

Using frozen vegetables in a pinch is fine. Much of the nutritional value is preserved. Fresh is best, of course, but do what works for you. Find a good cookbook, like “Simple French Cooking” by Richard Olney, and try out new vegetable recipes.

Ick prevention with what you’ve got.

Maybe you can’t tell when the ick is coming, and you only notice once you’re in the full blown ick, or maybe you can see it coming a mile away: a teeny tickle, sniffle, belly rumble, or swollen gland that precedes a whole host of other symptoms. You either notice  your early symptoms or you don’t. Either way, what can you do?

Hopefully you have an acupuncturist and they have you set up with a little emergency ick buster kit. But in the event that you do not have such a kit, here are some suggestions for using things you probably do have.

1. Raw garlic: eat some. It’s a powerful antimicrobial food — antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial — that means it’s an excellent choice for a wide variety of ailments! You can stop a cold dead in its tracks with it, amongst other things. If you have difficulty eating it straight, try putting a few smashed and chopped cloves into the pit-hole of an avocado half and adding a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Even commercial garlic paste will do.

2. Ginger. Another potent antimicrobial food, and somewhat difficult to eat raw in large quantities. Often best suited to belly-style ick, ginger can be grated, chopped, or sliced and infused (in other words you can make tea out of it), or alternatively chop it finely and eat it with an apple. Better yet, make garlic ginger paste with equal parts of each in a blender or food processor and if you wish, add a bit of olive oil at the end. Or make it easy on yourself and get some Organic Minced Ginger. Check out this research on the powers of garlic and ginger.

3. Organic Sauerkraut or kimchi. Loaded with probiotics, the beneficial bacteria responsible for keeping the bad bacteria at bay, these two can help your immune system fight things off. Drink the juice!

If you don’t have any of these items around, I suggest getting at least one of them. They keep well.

Of course it’s also important to work on having sufficient quantities of sleep and water, and minimizing processed sugars. And get that emergency kit going. Once ours is available we will update this post to reflect that.