The Naturopathic Kitchen: Cilantro 101

The Naturopathic Kitchen: Cilantro 101We live in a fast-paced world with the convenience of ready-made, processed meals. However, with that convenience, can come a hefty price – our health. Meal choices are not only determined by hunger, they can be influenced heavily with a small dose of awareness. Some people are hesitant to step in to the kitchen because they were never taught the art of healthy cooking. We agree, it can be intimidating starting out, and this blog is intended to take away a little of the fear of the unknown.  Through The Naturopathic Kitchen series, we intend to help educate you on easy ways to incorporate natural foods into your diet. Each week we will highlight a food or herb and its related health benefits. In addition, stay tuned for helpful hints and a tasty recipe for you test out. Today, let’s take a closer look at a popular herb used around the world – cilantro.

Cilantro 101

Whether it’s in a fresh salsa, Thai food or an Indian curry, chances are you have probably had cilantro and weren’t even aware of it. If you were to try it on its own; well, that is a different story. Cilantro is a robust herb with a bittersweet citrusy flavor. Not only does it offer flavor to a wide variety of dishes, it is also known for its high antioxidant properties and high mineral content.

Where does cilantro come from? Where can I find it?

Cilantro originated in the Mediterranean and Western Asian regions, though “Chinese parsley” can be found around the world in many windowsill herb gardens. The plant is formally known as coriandrum sativum. The leafy greens are referred to as cilantro and the seeds are called coriander, each offering a wealth of health benefits and different flavors.

How does cilantro help my health?

Cilantro is a powerful antioxidant and a great source of vitamins and fiber. It contains a flavonoid called quercetin that has demonstrated antioxidant properties.1

Let’s try it out with a delicious and nutritious recipe!

The Naturopathic Kitchen: Cilantro 101

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cabbage Slaw

This recipe was prepared with cod as fresh fish was in limited supply. For a more robust flavor, substitute wild, (not farm raised) red snapper or Mahi Mahi. Not a fan of tortillas? Enjoy this entrée on its own or on a bed of leafy greens.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large fillet of fresh (not farm-raised) cod
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ t sea salt
  • ¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 t chipotle chili powder
  • 1 t oregano
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 8 radishes, julienned
  • 3 scallions, julienned
  • 1 avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 2 1/2c shredded Napa cabbage
  • 4 non-GMO corn tortillas

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cabbage - from The Naturopathic Kitchen

INSTRUCTIONS

In a small bowl combine garlic, salt, cilantro, chili powder, oregano, lime zest and olive oil. Place fish in an oven-safe pan and brush half of the garlic mixture on each side of the fillet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, flipping the fillet half way through. Remove from oven and discard any skin. Flake the fish into bite size pieces using two forks. Toss fish with remaining half of the garlic mixture, radishes, scallions, avocado and cabbage. Serve in tortillas. *hot sauce optional

Not sure about this recipe but still want to incorporate the benefits of cilantro into your diet?

Cilantro pairs well with a variety of dishes, especially in Asian or Latin American cuisine. Try adding the leafy greens to your protein, soups or salads for extra flavor without the added sodium.

 

 

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The Naturopathic Kitchen: Dill 101

The Naturopathic Kitchen: Dill 101

Each week we go back to the basics to use food as medicine in an effort to lead healthier lives. It can be intimidating to try new things especially when you don’t know what it is good for or how to prepare/cook it. Let’s learn together. Today, our focus is dill.

There’s so much more to dill than pickles which is probably what you first thought. Let’s dig into its history, origin, where you can find it, and how it works to benefit your health. Finally, let’s test it out with a tasty recipe: Dill Chicken Salad. This recipe is a delicious addition to any spring picnic or daily lunch box.

Dill 101

Dill has been used for centuries dating back to Greek and Roman eras as a culinary and medicinal spice. In fact, the word dill means “to calm or soothe,” likely stemming from the herbs power to treat upset digestive and immune systems. Dill is a light feathery weed that should be cleaned carefully with as little moisture as possible to prevent wilting. Its aroma and strong flavor make it a great compliment to many dishes, especially seafood and appetizers.

Where does dill come from? Where can I find it?

Dill originates in the Mediterranean region but today, its benefits are enjoyed throughout the world. You may find fresh dill weed in the produce section of your local grocer or in dried form in the spice aisle. It’s also pretty easy to grow in a kitchen windowsill.

How does dill help my health?

Flavonoids in dill work as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial to benefit the digestive and immune system.1

What medical symptoms is dill good for?

• Breath freshener
Anti-flatulence
• Heartburn
Menstrual disorders
Digestive health
Wound healing
Free-radical fighter for cancer prevention
Strong antioxidant

Let’s try it out with a delicious and high protein recipe!

 

 

 

Dill Chicken Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 organic chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3/4 c organic Greek yogurt (or coconut yogurt for a dairy free recipe)
1 T fresh dill
¼ c organic dried unsweetened cranberries (can substitute dried unsulfured, unsweetened cherries) *optional if on a low glycemic/low carb diet
¼ cup chopped raw, unsalted walnuts
¼ c diced green onion
¼ c diced red onion
½ c arugula/spinach mix
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl combine ingredients and mix well. Scoop onto your choice of bread or romaine lettuce for a lower-carb option.

Not sure about this recipe but still want to incorporate the benefits of dill into your diet?

Try adding dill to your water to freshen your breath, add to Greek yogurt for a healthy veggie dip, in soup, or sprinkled over your fish fillet.

 

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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The Naturopathic Kitchen: Garlic 101

You’ve heard us say it before, healthy living starts in the kitchen.  Many people find that cooking can be somewhat bland when first starting out, however, that need not be the case!  This week we highlight one of our favorites, Garlic – the stinking rose. Garlic is not only a healthy addition to your meal but a very tasty option as well!

Garlic 101

Garlic is one of the most widely used seasonings. From meat marinades and soups, to (YES) herbal tea, garlic is a versatile herb that is a fan favorite. Besides being indispensable in many kitchens, garlic is a potent medicine that has been used for centuries dating back to Hippocrates. It has been shown to help the immune system and cardiovascular health.

Where does garlic come from? Where can I find it?

Garlic can be found worldwide though it is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. You can purchase garlic in its natural form in the produce section of your local grocer or in its powdered form in the spice aisle. Garlic may also be found in oil form. The garlic bulb itself is made up of many cloves. This is important to know so you don’t overkill an entrée when trying a new recipe.

How do I peel garlic?

There are many ways to get garlic out of its skin. If you just need a clove or two you can pick them off, then smack with a large flat blade or spatula and the skin will separate. It’s also fun for kids to try!

It can then be sliced, diced or macerated with a mortar and pestle and a pinch of salt.

How does garlic help my health?

Garlic works primarily through the sulfur component called allicin. Allicin gives garlic its distinct scent and goes through the digestive systems to release its therapeutic benefits.

What medical symptoms is garlic good for?

High Blood Pressure

High Cholesterol

Diabetes

Antimicrobial

Let’s try it out with an easy and nutrient dense recipe!

Roasted Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Spaghetti Squash

Not a fan of spaghetti squash or pine nuts? Substitute with a noodle and/or alternative nut of your choice such as whole grain linguini and walnuts.  Dairy free? You can substitute coconut or almond yogurt for organic Greek yogurt.

INGREDIENTS

1 spaghetti squash, cooked and scooped out of the shell
1/3 c canned sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
3 T olive oil from sun-dried tomatoes
¼ c Parmesan cheese or vegan cheese substitute
½ garlic bulb
½ c sliced mushrooms
2 free-range organic chicken breasts, cooked and cut into strips (can be removed for vegan version)
1 c organic spinach and arugula mix
½ c organic cherry tomatoes, cut in fourths
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of parsley

DIRECTIONS

Strain the olive oil from the sun-dried tomato and heat in skillet. Retain sun-dried tomatoes in a separate bowl. Sauté mushrooms, chicken and garlic. Add spinach/arugula mix and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir well and add spaghetti squash. Sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes until the mixture has heated through. Dish and top with Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, crushed red pepper and sea salt. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 2.

Not sure about this recipe but still want to enjoy the benefits of garlic in your daily living?

Try incorporating garlic into your pastas, beans, steamed veggies, potatoes, and meats for great flavor and even better health benefits! One thing that’s great about garlic is that it isn’t selective with what it pairs with, making it a tasty match for just about any entrée or side dish.

 

The Naturopathic Kitchen: Ginger 101

 

Healthy living starts in the kitchen. With the temptation and ease of processed foods, it can be difficult to choose a healthy alternative especially if it means more preparation and valuable time – but your health is worth it!

Each week we will go back to the basics to explore how to spice up some of our favorite regulars or invent some new favorites to live healthier, more natural lives. Food that is not only tasty, but also a nutritious source of energy and sustenance. Together we will use food as medicine. It can be intimidating to try new things especially when you don’t know what it is good for or how to prepare/cook it. Let’s learn together. Starting with Ginger.

Ginger 101

Ginger is a versatile Asian herb that adds a sweet, peppery flavor to a wide variety of dishes. Ginger can be found in a fresh or dried state.

Where does ginger come from? Where can I find it?

Ginger is a spice native to the warm climate of Asia. You can purchase ginger in its natural root form in the produce section of your local grocer or in its powdered form in the spice aisle.  Ginger root will spoil. One trick to make it last longer is to keep it in the freezer, and grate or slice off the section you need.

How does ginger help my health?

Ginger works primarily in the digestive system but has also been shown to impact the nervous system.

Decreases inflammatory cytokines

Modulates leukotriene and prostaglandin synthesis

Inhibits NF-kB

What medical symptoms is ginger good for?

Nausea
Migraines
Diabetes
Heavy Periods
Anti-inflammatory properties

 

 

 

Let’s try it out with a couple recipes!

Ginger Mango Infused Water

New to ginger? Start by adding ginger to your water to add a little kick! Whether sipping poolside on a warm day or using as a workout refresher, this is a great way to introduce the healing power of ginger into your daily life.

Not a fan of mango? Try pairing with another fruit like pineapple.

INGREDIENTS

1 inch of ginger root, peeled and minced
1 cup of mango (frozen or fresh), cut into small, bite-sized pieces

DIRECTIONS

Place ginger and mango into a pitcher, fill with ice and water. The purpose of the ice is to separate the mango and ginger from the water in an effort to retain them while pouring for continuous flavor diffusion. Refrigerate for at least an hour and stir before serving. Allowing the water to rest before consumption will provide time for a more flavorful beverage.

Stays fresh for 24 hours after preparation. Serves 6-8.

Thai Chopped Salad with Ginger Dressing

Thai Chopped Salad with Fresh Ginger Dressing

Try substituting this ginger recipe for one of your regular salad dressings. Check out the video at the very bottom of this page!

SALAD INGREDIENTS

4 c chopped Romaine
½ head chopped red cabbage
½ c sliced carrots
½ c snap peas
1 chopped yellow pepper
1 chopped red bell pepper
3 green onions

½ c cashews

DRESSING INGREDIENTS

1/3 c natural peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
2 T local honey
3 T ginger
2 T rice vinegar
2 t sesame oil

DIRECTIONS

Mix together salad ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together dressing ingredients adding water to dilute to desired consistency. Either drizzle salad dressing over the salad or serve on the side. Serves 2-3.