Cooking vegetables and other plant foods can soften naturally occurring fiber
“You aren't what you eat; you're what you fully digest, and thoroughly chewing your foods is an essential requirement for optimal digestion and health,” Dr. Ben Kim, wrote in his newsletter. He says Chewing your foods until they are liquid takes burden off your digestive organs, and allows your body to maximally extract and absorb nutrients in the foods that you eat.
Ben Kim is Korean doctor whose newsletters are full of healthful common sense and rather than copyrighting his materials, he encourages us to share with family and friends.
You may have heard about blending fruits and vegetables in a powerful blender- a popular recommendation of TV infomercials. Many people I know, including me, have bought powerful blenders noted for breaking down fruits and vegetables into smoothies. This is a healthy trend and I am glad to see it becoming popular. My Vita-mix is the most used equipment in the kitchen and it is worth every penny. There are other less expensive smoothie- maker blenders that are very satisfactory.
Dr. Kim suggests that cooking vegetables and other plant foods can soften naturally occurring fiber, which makes it easier for your digestive system to extract the many micronutrients that are abundant in plant foods.
Another way to soften and even break down fiber in plant foods and thereby get the most out of what you eat is to blend some of your foods.
Dr. Kim has found that people with chronic inflammatory bowel disease who couldn't tolerate even small servings of raw vegetables had little trouble digesting generous portions of blended salads. People who have dental problems that make it difficult for them to chew their foods thoroughly benefit from blended meals, particularly blended salads.
How do you make a blended salad? It's quite simple. Combine a few leaves of romaine lettuce, one chopped tomato, half an avocado, and small chunks of any other raw vegetables that you enjoy (chopped onion and zucchini are nice choices) in a strong blender or food processor, add a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and begin blending while adding a slow drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Add just enough oil to allow the vegetables to come together into a thick soup-like consistency - you may be able to stop drizzling in oil after the first tablespoon or two and let the food processor do the rest of the work. For extra flavor, you can add a little sea salt and pepper or herbs that you like.
Blended salads don't look appealing at first glance, but they're exceptionally rich in nutrients and easily digested by people of all ages and health statuses. Think of them being like freshly pressed vegetable juices, but with all of the naturally occurring fiber still present.
Another way to promote optimal digestion is to blend steamed vegetables to make simple soups. Kim says people with severe ulcerative colitis find that the most easily digested food is a bowl of plain Yukon gold soup, made by blending steamed Yukon gold (yellow flesh) potatoes with a little vegetable broth or freshly pressed celery juice. Also well digested is a bowl of soup made by blending steamed zucchini and vegetable broth or celery juice.
Blending soups maximizes the number of nutrients that your digestive tract is able to extract out of them; this applies to both cooked and raw soups. Most of the popular creamed soups, especially commercially canned, are high in sodium, white flour, hydrogenated fats, sugar, corn syrup, and other questionable ingredients. Blending soups of all kinds give the consistency of creamed soups and which are much healthier and with fewer calories.
Some of us have discovered the great taste of roasted vegetables, and cauliflower is one that is especially delicious. Dr. Kim provides a recipe for roasted cauliflower soup that sounds like it is well worth a try.
Dr. Kim writes, “This roasted cauliflower soup is surprisingly rich in vitamin C. It's also rich in indole-3-carbinole, a phytonutrient that can stimulate cellular detoxification. Indole-3-carbinole's ability to prevent estrogen dominance is what makes cauliflower - naturally rich in indole-3-carbinole - an excellent food choice for cancer prevention, particularly breast cancer prevention.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Ingredients: 2 heads cauliflower
2 Yukon gold potatoes, roughly chopped into bite-size pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots (or one large onion),chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cups vegetable broth or organic chicken broth
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cut cauliflower into 1-inch flowerets (about 10 cups). In a large baking pan toss cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, and shallots with olive oil and roast in oven for about 25-35 minutes, or until golden.
In a large pot, simmer broth, water, roasted cauliflower and potato mixture for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is very tender. Use your blender to puree soup in batches until smooth and return to pot. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Heat soup over low to medium heat until just heated through.
Makes approximately 10 cups.
Optional: sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley on top of each bowl for presentation just before serving.
Your food is still your best medicine but it has to be well digested.
(Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, and wrote a weekly column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)