A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting Better and Sweet Tubers

It's taken longer than I planned for another post, but driving back from Breckenridge and fighting the infections kept me pretty busy.  I just got a call from the doctor confirming I had MRSA, which is defined on WebMD.com as:

 "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It's tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus -- or staph -- because it's resistant to some commonly used antibiotics"

A basic Google search on MRSA made me very grateful my infection was stopped earlier rather than later.  I have my wife, Kelley, to thank for pushing me to go to the doctor.....thanks Kelley! I am still trying to fully recover from MRSA on my finger and nose, but have improved a great deal.

Anyway, on to the important things.....FOOD!  I mentioned a great meal I had at a local Breck eatery called Amazing Grace Natural Eatery, with sweet potatoes, black beans, scrambled eggs, and spinach.  I wanted to post a similar recipe I am going to use to recreate this meal at home.  I figured this would be a great time to find some benefits of sweet potatoes to know how I'm helping my body as I take each delicious bite.

It turns out that sweet potatoes offer numerous benefits I wouldn't have expected.  I found the following information at http://www.whfoods.com/:

High in antioxidants - "In some studies, sweet potatoes have been shown to be a better source of bioavailable beta-carotene than green leafy vegetables." and "Recent research has shown that particularly when passing through our digestive tract, sweet potato cyanidins and peonidins and other color-related phytonutrients may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals. That risk reduction is important not only for individuals at risk of digestive tract problems like irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis but for all persons wanting to reduce the potential risk posed by heavy metal residues (like mercury or cadmium or arsenic) in their diet."

An anti-inflammatory - Skip the Tylenol, eat sweet potato! "In animal studies, reduced inflammation following sweet potato consumption has been shown in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body. "

Assists in controlling blood sugar - "Recent research has shown that extracts from sweet potatoes can significantly increase blood levels of adiponectin in persons with type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced by our fat cells, and it serves as an important modifier of insulin metabolism."

And there are studies connecting the sweet potato to antibacterial and antifungal properties as well.  Seems like something I could've used several days ago!!  Click the link provided above for an in-depth analysis on the sweet potato, very interesting and informative.

Now for the edible portion of this post.....

Most of my cooking is for lunch at work for Kelley and me, therefore, I am replacing the original protein (eggs) with tuna.  I feel eggs do not hold up very well in dishes that will be re-heated after a day or two, so using chicken, turkey, tuna, or whatever you like might work out better.

What you need for 4 servings:
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic and use a lot of it!)
  • 1 cup + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed (no need to peel unless skin is really damaged)
  • 6 oz frozen, whole leaf spinach, thawed
  • 1 15oz can of black beans, drained
  • 1 6oz can of tuna in water, I buy the "no salt added" variety
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro / 1 TBS dried cilantro 
  • Favorite jar of salsa
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Heat 1 TBS broth in a large stainless steel skillet. Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute. (I choose to saute in broth and add oil to finished foods since most of the benefits of oils are damaged when exposed to high temps.)
  2. Add spices and mix thoroughy. Add broth and sweet potatoes. Simmer covered over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover to allow sauce to thicken and cook another couple minutes.
  3. Press water out of spinach, drain the canned tuna, and add both to the sweet potatoes. Cook uncovered for a few more minutes to allow sauce to thicken. Add cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pour as much salsa as you would like on top. I also sprinkle more cayenne for myself since I (obviously) like it a lot. 
Here are the ingredients, minus the frozen spinach, which of course I did not have.
I opted for frozen broccoli instead, turned out good to me, hopefully Kelley will like it for lunch today!!  I know, the potatoes cooked too long and were pretty soft....but still tasty!

Enjoy and let me know your own variations!!

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