The Delicious Bok Choy!

Bok Choy at the Market
“Bok Choy” by Matthew Mendoza is licensed under CC BY 2.0

After being introduced to bok choy by my Chinese friends, I iimmediately fell in love. I have been making it a habit to eat vegetables as my main dish for dinner and bok choy continues to find its way to my plate. This plant is very healthy and extremley easy to prepare for a meal.

The Health Benefits of Bok Choy

  • Part of the cruciferous vegetable family (think broccoli, cabbage, brussell sprouts) and its consumption correlates with lower cancer rates
  • Contains a high amount of beta-carotene (vitamin A)
  • Rich in antioxidant nutrients which also provide anti-inflammatory benefits
  • High in omega-3 with a significant amount of apha-linolenic acid (ALA) and vitamin K

Buying and Storing

Bok choy is available throughout the year but its peak season is during winter and spring. The popularity of bok choy has increased to the point that many grocery stores in America now readily carry it. Healthy bok choy is firm with brightly colored grean leaves and firm stems. Purchase bok choy with healthy looking leaves that are unwilted and free from signs of yellowing and small holes.

In Asian grocery stores, bok choy is often stored in a plastic bag to keep it fresh and to help retain the vitamin C content. If properly stored in a cool eenvironmentsuch as the refrigerator crisper, bok choy will stay fresh for about one week.

Cooking Healthy Bok Choy

My favorite way of preparing bok choy is by a quick saute which requires no oil and retains much of the flavor and nutrients.

Ingredients

1 lb bok choy
1 garlic clove
1 TBS of chopped ginger
5 TBS of vegetable or chicken broth
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Chop bok choy in half, length wise for even cooking. Chop garlic and ginger in to small pieces
2. In a large skillet, heat broth until the liquid begins to steam. Add bok choy and saute until tender.
3. Transfer to a serving dish and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil and any additional ingredients you may prefer.

Saute Bok Choy
“Garlic Ginger Bok Choy” by Elana’s Pantry is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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Fat Chance! Fat is Innocent and the Culprit is Sugar!

Diabetes causes people to watch what they eat, especially in regards to carbohydrates, but little emphasis is placed on fats. Fats are need to be considered a part of the diet and have often been made the villain via trans and saturated fats. But fat can in fact be beneficial and there may be another culprit behind cardiovascular disease.

The Seven Countries Studies by Dr. Ancel Keys which began in 1956 examined the risk of heart disease based on lifestyle and diet. He found that in countries where more fat was eaten, there was a greater cause of heart disease, concluding that fat was the cause of heart disease. But just because people that eat fat tend to have heart disease does not reflect causation.

Debate and criticism has been apparent with the “Seven Countries Study”. In a study released in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found no association regarding the intake of saturated fat and an increase in cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, or stroke.

In 2014, Time magazine published an article vindicating fat of guilt:

The war against fat was started by one man: Much of what we think we know about the supposed dangers of high fat intake comes from a single research project by a charismatic Minnesota pathologist named Ancel Keys. His Seven Countries Study compared the health and diet of nearly 13,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Japan and Europe, and ostensibly found that populations that consumed large amounts of saturated fats in meat and dairy had high levels of heart disease, while those who eat more grains, fish, nuts and vegetables did not. The influential Keys relentlessly advocated the theory that fat caused heart disease, persuading the AHA in 1961 to issue the country’s first-ever guidelines targeting saturated fat—and he wasn’t shy about shouting down any researcher who questioned his data.

Yet it turns out there was a lot to question. Keys chose the countries most likely to confirm his hypothesis, while excluding nations like France—where the diet is rich in fat but heart disease is rare—that might have challenged it. “When researchers went back and analyzed some of the data from the Seven Countries study, they found that what best correlated with heart disease was no saturated fat intake but sugar,” says Teicholz.

Another study via UCLA shows that of the 75% of people winding up in the emergency room with a heart attack, the sample population showed normal cholesterol levels. What was shocking however was that they either had type 2 diabetes or were pre-diabetic.

Doctor Mark Hyman said that a recent talk with the researches of the Joslin Diabetes Center stated that the low fat recommendations for diabetics which are promoted by the American Diabetic Association have been more detrimental than helpful.

So what type of fats should you be eating? Well there are a wide selection of healthy fats and I’ve listed a few of my favorites:

  • Avocados – great as guacamole or as a spread
  • Nuts – walnuts, almonds and macadamias are my favorite
  • Fish – fatty fish high in Omega-3 fats like salmon and mackerel

Fat has been vilified but the big take away now is that fat is actually an important part of a healthy diet and fat does not cause heart disease, it’s sugar!