LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - It's hard to miss the buzz about plant-based vegan diets, and many studies show they can have health benefits.
The easiest way to get started is to just jump right in. First, experiment with your favorite foods. One of the best aspects of a plant-based diet is you can make it your way simply by sticking to the healthy basics: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Christie Beck came to THV11 to explain.
One of the Becks favorite family-friendly recipes are fajitas. The secret is to add nutrient-packed ingredients and bold flavors every step of the way:
Makes 6 servings
-1/4 cup Vegetable Broth or water
-1 onion, sliced into strips
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-3 bell peppers (red, yellow, green, or a combination), seeded and sliced into strips
-2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
-6 whole-wheat tortillas
-1 cup salsa
Heat broth or water in a nonstick skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add cumin and bell peppers. Cook over medium heat until peppers are tender.
Heat beans in microwave for 1 minute.
Place tortilla in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup of heated black beans and 1/2 cup of the onion and pepper mixture. Fold tortilla in half, over the beans and vegetables, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with salsa. Repeat this procedure with the remaining 5 tortillas.
Per serving (1/6 of recipe)
Calories: 257; Fat: 2 g; Saturated Fat: 0.4 g; Calories from Fat: 7%; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Protein: 12.9 g; Carbohydrates: 50.3 g; Sugar: 8 g; Fiber: 10.5 g; Sodium: 408 mg; Calcium: 101 mg; Iron: 4.2 mg; Vitamin C: 83.4 mg; Beta Carotene: 681 mcg; Vitamin E: 1.3 mg;
Source: Jennifer Reilly, R.D.
LOW FAT GUACAMOLE
Makes 2 cups (10 servings)
The peas in this guacamole help to lower the fat content, and they are also rich in cancer-fighting fiber. Fiber helps your body get rid of excess cholesterol and cancer-causing compounds, which are otherwise reabsorbed back into your bloodstream.
-1 cup drained and rinsed canned green peas, or 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
-1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
-1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
-1 green onion, thinly sliced (optional)
-1 garlic clove, minced or pressed (about 1 teaspoon)
-1/2 cup mild salsa (commercial variety or Colorful Corn Salsa)
-1 ripe avocado
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
If using fresh or frozen peas, blanch peas by placing them in boiling water for 2 minutes to soften. Drain peas and immediately shock with cold water to prevent further cooking. Place in either a mixing bowl or food processor. Cut the avocado in half from stem to bottom. Remove the pit and use a spoon to scoop out the inside. For a chunky guacamole, mash avocado and peas together using a potato masher or fork. If a creamy texture is desired, use a food processor. Mix in salsa, garlic, green onion (if using), lemon juice, cumin, and cilantro (if using). Add salt and black pepper to taste.
***Tip: Guacamole is best when consumed on the same day. To prevent leftover Low-Fat Guacamole from turning brown, cover it directly with plastic wrap in the refrigerator, and it will keep for up to one day.
Calories: 45; Fat: 2.7 g; Saturated Fat: 0.4 g; Calories from Fat: 53.5%; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Protein: 1.3 g; Carbohydrates: 4.9 g; Sugar: 1.3 g; Fiber: 2.1 g; Sodium: 227 mg; Calcium: 12 mg; Iron: 0.5 mg; Vitamin C: 6.1 mg; Beta Carotene: 118 mcg; Vitamin E: 0.5 mg
Source: The Survivor's Handbook: Eating Right for Cancer Survival by Neal D. Barnard, M.D. and Jennifer Reilly, R.D.
COLORFUL CORN SALSA
Makes 4 cups (18 servings)
Corn adds fiber, onions supply allyl sulfides, and tomatoes bring lycopene to this nutrient-rich salsa—all are cancer-fighting ingredients. Enjoy it with baked chips, stuffed in a burrito, or atop a bed of fresh greens.
-1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
-2 medium tomatoes, chopped
-1/4 cup chopped red onion (about 1/2 medium red onion)
-1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1/2 medium bell pepper)
-1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper (about 1/2 medium bell pepper)
-10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
-3 - 4 tablespoons lime juice, or to taste
-3 tablespoons rice or cider vinegar
If using fresh corn, blanch it in boiling water for 3 minutes and immediately rinse in cold water to prevent further cooking. If using frozen corn that isn't thawed completely, either blanch it in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain (immediately rinsing it in cold water), or microwave until thawed.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Serve at room temperature.
***Tip: For the best flavor, remove the desired portion of leftovers and allow it to come to room temperature before eating. If you are preparing this salsa in advance, wait to add the basil until 15-20 minutes before serving, as basil quickly oxidizes.
Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Colorful Corn Salsa will keep for up to three days.
Calories: 13; Fat: 0.1 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Calories from Fat: 7.5%; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Protein: 0.4 g; Carbohydrates: 3 g; Sugar: 1.1 g; Fiber: 0.5 g; Sodium: 1 mg; Calcium: 4 mg; Iron: 0.1 mg; Vitamin C: 13.6 mg; Beta Carotene: 88 mcg; Vitamin E: 0.1 mg
Source: The Survivor's Handbook: Eating Right for Cancer Survival by Neal D. Barnard, M.D. and Jennifer Reilly, R.D