by Sharon Quercioli
The sun is high and the skin is showing here in Florida. Around this time, people (women in particular) start to worry about their appearance a little more than normal. What we should be worried about, however, isn’t just our appearance but whether or not we are living a healthy life. There are two simple things that you can incorporate into your diet to help transition into a more healthy lifestyle: drink more water and eat less (simple) carbohydrates.
Cutting the amount of carbs that you eat each day can be a bummer, but there are some great work-arounds that will allow you to eat your favorite foods—albeit, a healthier, modified version of your favorite foods. Believe it or not, cauliflower can help you with that and a lot more!
The Benefits of Cauliflower
There are around nine glucosinolates that are found in cauliflower, including glucobrassicin and glucoiberin. These are great for your digestive tract and immune system. They works as anti-inflammatories, and can help detox your body. They’re also great for your cardiovascular system.
The biggest and main antioxidants that are found in cauliflower are beta-carotenes, caffeic acid, feruic acid, rutin and manganese. If you’re looking for the most antioxidants, try some purple cauliflower.
Choline is a type of B vitamin that helps your brain development, and cauliflower is a great source of it. Some people even take choline supplements during their pregnancies to help develop their babies brains. Remember that your brain is always developing in different ways. We need to keep it healthy, clean and active to help keep away and lower the risk of age-related decline and memory loss.
Cauliflower is like the chameleon of vegetables. It can hide in almost anything and mimic other foods. You can make cauliflower into:
• pizza crust (instead of using flour)
• tater tots (instead of using white potatoes)
• mashed potatoes (instead of using white potatoes)
• pancakes (instead of using flour)
• sushi! (instead of using sticky rice)
This versatile vegetable is great for anyone who’s looking to cut their carbohydrate intake and work more vegetables into their diet. But is it good for you?
My Favorite Cauliflower Recipe
Cutting carbs means that you shouldn’t have as much white rice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have brown or white rice. After all, if you’re going to have carbohydrates, these healthier versions are the way to go. However, sometimes, the healthier versions don’t have the same texture or flavor as the original—and rice can be a great example of that. I’m a sucker for fried rice. Trying to fry wild or brown rice is okay, but it doesn’t have the same texture or flavor as white rice. Enter cauliflower! Did you know that you can make fried rice with a cauliflower substitute? Not only is it healthier, if done right, you can’t even taste the difference.
You can either mince your cauliflower yourself using a food processor or blender, or you can buy bags of pre-cut cauliflower. In many grocery stores, you can find bagged cauliflower, precut into different sized pieces in the produce and prepacked salad section. Florets, chunks and rice are all available at my local grocer. However, if you want to cut it yourself, it takes just a little bit of prep. I find that washing and cutting the cauliflower ahead of time (at least an hour ahead of time) helps with the texture. Wash the cauliflower, cut into manageable sized florets, and dry thoroughly. I like to pat mine dry, then let the florets sit for a little bit to ensure they are thoroughly dry. If you put the cauliflower in the blender or food processor while it is still wet, it will turn into a mashed potato texture. That won’t work for this recipe. When mincing it with your blender/processor, make sure you watch it and mince in small batches so that they are all the same size and won’t blend into a puree.
My Favorite Cauliflower Rice Recipe
What you’re going to need:
• medium or large head of cauliflower or a bag of cauliflower rice
• large carrot
• celery stalk
• half a cup of peas (frozen)
• small onion
• two cloves of minced garlic
• one large egg and two egg whites
• tablespoon of sesame oil
• five scallions
• three tablespoons of low salt soy sauce
• salt and pepper to taste
What you need to do with these things:
• Mince all the vegetables except for the peas. The scallion greens and whites should be kept separate. Set aside.
• Combine and whip the eggs. Season with salt and pepper, cook them (scrambled), and set aside.
• Add sesame oil to pan, cook the scallion whites, minced onions, and garlic until onions are clear. Add the rest of the vegetables (including the cauliflower), except for the peas and scallion greens. Cook until tender.
• Add eggs and peas. Mix and cook for about five minutes. Add the soy sauce and cook for approximately two minutes.
• Take off the heat and mix in the scallion greens. Serve and enjoy.