We all have the power to heal ourselves and fight infection. We can activate this power with a plant based diet. A plant based diet is the #1 way to keep yourself healthy and immune system strong. A plant based diet boosts more than immunity, it boosts your mood and decreases pain. When some people hear plant based, they may think of just eating a raw carrot. I am going to give you an easy recipe to steam your vegetables that is simple and most importantly, delicious. This is what I teach to my clients and now I am sharing this with you.
You can enjoy this dish by itself or you can build on it (which is what I normally do) and add your favorite protein, grain, and/or legume. I like brown rice and quinoa for grains. For legumes, my go to's are kidney beans, lentils, black beans, mung beans, and garbanzo beans. For protein, I go with organic and grass fed protein because this kind is better for my immune system. It has less hormones, more nutrients from the grass, and more healthy fats because the animals are eating plant based too. I normally have chicken, turkey, tofu, salmon, and sometimes beef. For my meat lovers out there, aim to make your plate 2/3 vegetables, 1/3 meat. For kiddos, make this recipe, and then blend the vegetables up in sauces, smoothies, their favorite dishes, and baked goods.
Steamed Vegetables Recipe
Steaming vegetables is the healthiest way to eat vegetables, second to raw vegetables, because they are easier to digest and absorb. We want to absorb as many nutrients from our food to strengthen our immune system. Steamed vegetables is a great way to assist with that. I know they might sound boring but I promise, if you follow this recipe, they will be delicious! I personally enjoy eating steamed vegetables because they are warm and comforting.
If you are making rice, quinoa, legumes (lentils or beans), or meat to go with this dish, I recommend making the steamed vegetables last because they will cook the fastest. This recipe serves 2 and I usually have some leftover.
You will need:
10-15 minutes of time
Knife (chef's knife preferably)
Small skillet with lid
Steamer basket (optional)
5-8 vegetables for steaming (I use: 1 sweet potato, 1/2 broccoli crown, 1 asparagus stalk, 1 baby bok choy, 1 carrot, 1/2 celery stalk, 1 jalepeno, 1/2 red pepper)
1/2 cup water
Unrefined organic olive oil
2 cloves of fresh garlic
Chili pepper (optional)
1/4 piece of cabbage or 1/4 piece of kale leaf or 1/4 cup of spinach for building your immune boosting plate
Step 1: Grab 5-8 different vegetables and chop them into bite sized pieces. Aim for 3 different colored vegetables. Different colors of plants provides different vitamins. In this recipe, I used 1 sweet potato, 1/2 broccoli crown, 1 asparagus stalk, 1 baby bok choy, 1 carrot, 1/2 celery stalk, 1 jalepeno, and 1/2 red pepper. However, I usually just grab 5-8 different colored vegetables and chop them up and throw them together. You can grab whatever you have in your frig. If you do not have vegetables in your frig, then there is no better time than now to go get some.
Step 2: Add chopped vegetables and 1/2 a cup of water to a skillet. If you have a steamer basket, then place steamer basket over water first and then place chopped vegetables in the basket. You do not need a steamer basket. I do not use one. I simply mix the vegetables with the water.
Step 3: Turn the heat to medium, cover vegetables with a lid, and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Check on the vegetables after 8 minutes. The vegetables are done when you can easily pierce the thickest part of the vegetable with a paring knife. Most vegetables are also bright and vibrant in color when ready. Make sure sweet potatoes or carrots are cooked through.
Step 5: If you do not have a steamer basket like me, you can drain the liquid.
Pro tip: I drain the liquid into a cup, sprinkle a little sea salt in it, and drink it when it cools down. You can ditch the liquid if you'd like but the nutrients in the water is especially helpful to fight infection, heal, and make us feel better. Think of it as medicine because it is.
Building Your Bowl
Step 6: Next, build your plate with a small amount of chopped raw greens. This is a crucial step in optimizing your immune health. Having a little bit of raw fresh greens daily fights infection, inflammation, and cancer. You can do this with almost any dish even pasta and casseroles. For pizza and tacos, I always add a small amount of raw greens on top.
To build my plate, I begin with a small base layer of chopped raw greens - spinach, kale, and/or cabbage. Eating foods that are raw and natural daily can boost your immune system.
Then I put the steamed vegetables over the raw greens. You can add rice, legumes, and meat on top of greens too. I usually mix them all together. If you are not using any rice, legumes, or meat, then simply put the steamed vegetables over your greens.
Then, I drizzle olive oil generously over my food. I'd say about 2 tbsp. Olive oil fights infection, inflammation, and cancer. It's also essential for hormone production which impacts our mood and energy. It's a super food! I drizzle it fresh on everything.
For extra health and tasty benefits, I sprinkle 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic over the food. Garlic fights bacteria, viruses, inflammation, and pain. It helps reduce cholesterol too among many other things. You can also sprinkle hemp seeds, chia seeds, and seaweed for added immune strength.
Step 7: Make it delicious by sprinkling a heavy amount of mineral rich sea salt over your food. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, probably best to be easy on the salt. You can add chili pepper, pepper, and any other seasoning you love. If you need to add more salt or seasoning, add it. Seriously. It will be less salt than any food from a restaurant or frozen meal. You want to make it delicious to you and your tastebuds. The more you eat this way, the healthier you will be, and the less salt you will need.
Step 8: Sit down, relax, disconnect from media or anything else, and simply enjoy eating your immune boosting food. Smell the food too. This activates your digestion. Chew thoroughly and appreciate that the food you are eating is medicine. If you are a parent and feel like you can not sit down, remember that your children are watching you and will copy everything you do. Teach them how to sit and digest food properly now so they don't have to deal with digestive issues later which can lead to a weakened immunity.
As a holistic naturopathic doctor and self healer of ulcerative colitis, I have learned how important food determines how well we feel and function. One size doesn't fit all though. We are all unique and have different nutritional needs. Work with someone to support you. I am currently accepting new clients. To request an office or virtual appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.