Hey all! It’s that time of the month again when we take a deeper dive into the nutrient density of a few of our Model Meals from this weeks menu. This week we are taking a little dive into some Asian inspired dishes and the incredible nutrition benefits they offer us.
Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps with Macadamia Lime Sauce.
One of the main flavor boosters of this dish is lemongrass, a tropical grass that is commonly found in asian style broths and soups. It provides a wonderful layer of flavor while also aiding digestion and helps to reduce inflammation. You can also find lemongrass in tea form, using it as an after dinner beverage to sip on if digestion tends to be a little finicky for you. Taking a look at some of the more prominent ingredients, we have the carrot. A typical vegetable for most, but don’t let this run of the mill root fool you. It is the number one food source of Vitamin A and a top three food source for Beta-Carotene. Both incredibly potent antioxidants that help to fight off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are constantly occurring in the body and while we do produce our own antioxidants, it is important to provide excess sources of antioxidants as well in order to account for added oxidation that could occur from stress, poor diet, high intensity exercise, etc. Another important component to our wrap are the bean sprouts. Now these white looking strings might not look like much but they actually pack an enormous punch of nutrition. Sprouts and or microgreens in general provide up to four to six times more vitamin A, C, E, K, and Beta-Carotene that their mature counterparts. Meaning if the bean sprout was allowed to continue maturing, it would actually lose some of it’s nutrient density. Therefore eating bean sprouts, or any kind of sprout or microgreen for that matter is much more effective and efficient. Moving on to one of my favorite parts of the dish, the dressing! Personal note, I love it when I can add a sauce, dressing, dip etc to a dish that I know is going to provide me with some serious nutrients, because let’s face it most dressings, sauces, or dips are loaded with preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, and MSG. Alright so macadamia nuts, one of the most buttery, decadent nuts provide us with monounsaturated fats. Now before you freak out, this kind of fat is very important to maintain a healthy balance of cholesterol and also provides us with a great source of energy, as fat contains 9 grams of energy whereas protein and carbohydrates only contain 4 grams of energy. And last but certainly not least for this menu item, is our coconut aminos, or as my spell check likes to call them our coconut amigos! Which is actually pretty accurate because coconut is our friend. Coconut aminos are an ideal substitute for soy sauce, even gluten free soy sauce known as tamari. Due to the fermentation process, soy can often times be contaminated with mold spores that are unknown to us. Being exposed to mold in any capacity is never a good thing and can cause fatigue, headaches, or worse. Coconut aminos provide a great substitute that avoids the possibility of mold contamination.
Before we move on, I want to take a minute to take in all that we just discussed. Realizing that food truly is medicine. Sometimes we are going a hundred miles a minute grabbing whatever we can to hold us over till our next meal. And while I’m pretty sure that thing you are grabbing for is your nutrient packed model meal, if you are not, just be aware of what you are putting in your body. Because whatever fuel you put in it, is how you are going to perform.
Sweet Chili Salmon Fillet with Parsnip Mash
First off the shining star of this dish is also a big nutrient booster, Wild Sockeye Salmon specifically is particularly high in astaxanthin which is naturally found in algae. The algae is consumed by the salmon and passed on to us as a potent antioxidant. We have talked a lot about antioxidants in these two dishes, but astaxanthin is one of the most potent phytonutrients that we know of right now, and is also what gives salmon its vibrant pinkish red coloring. Sesame oil is another potent ingredient of this dish and contains phytosterols which are a class of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds that are solely found in plants and are there to perform specific functions within the plant. They have also been found to help us as humans prevent disease. In general these phytonutrients can be seen as additional antioxidants that are not produced naturally by the human body and can be looked at as added defense against free radicals. Now the final ingredient we are going to look at is the Parsnip, in our parsnip mash. Parsnips are a root vegetable and are closely related to carrots and parsley. They are a top food source of vitamin B5 aka pantothenic acid which has been shown to help strengthen metabolism and nourish the adrenals giving it an anti-stress effect. In addition, fiber is also a main component of parsnips and is important for proper digestion and maintaining the health of the colon. Parsnips are an excellent substitute for potatoes as they provide a different combination of nutrients than potatoes, and are also a lower carbohydrate option.
Food can be such an amazing experience to share with family and friends, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner, its a reminder of how sacred and special sharing a meal can be. But remember it can also be an incredible source of healing as well. I hope you enjoy these nutrient breakdowns and take a minute to see just how nourishing food can really be.
About Dani Ferguson, CN
Dani is a Holistic Nutritionist & podcast host of Detoxing with Dani. Her motto is Gut Health, Glowing Skin and a Gorgeous You. After years of struggling with digestive issues and chronic acne, Dani discovered her passion for nutrition and the ability of food to heal from the inside out. After graduating college Dani went on to get her education in nutrition and now works with clients to address their health issues head on, focusing on the root cause of their symptoms and developing a personalized program that suits their health and wellness needs.