Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Lea Michele, Brad Pitt… These are some of the A-listers, whose talent, success and glamour shine on the red carpets of movie premieres and exclusive fashion shows by Chanel, Valentino, Alexander McQueen or Dolce & Gabbana. But they have one more thing in common: they are avid vegetarians, so maybe we should pay attention to their lifestyle.
When we review the testimonies of nutrition specialists, the evidence becomes clear. In his book Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, director of the Nutritional Research Foundation, affirms “a vegetarian diet is essentially healthy because it avoids animal fat and increases the intake of fiber and antioxidants”.
How can we put this in practical terms? First, the green kitchen, along with a daily physical exercise routine helps us maintain the ideal weight. In addition to providing the body with an ample supply of energy, vegetables are also our allies in the prevention of diabetes and heart disease, which results in a longer, healthier life. One interesting observation: the residents of Okinawa, Japan, who follow an ancestral diet based on fruits, vegetables and soy, are the most longevous people on the planet.
If this is not enough to encourage you to join the club of the “veggie-sybarites”, we are going to recommend two delightful vegetarian dishes, which can be enjoyed in the comfort of home as if you were dining at innovative restaurants like Hangawi in New York City; Food for Thought in Covent Garden, London; or the incomparable Grenier de Notre Dame in the Ville-Lumière.
Eggplant paté is an easy to prepare first course that only takes an eggplant, two garlic cloves, two spoonfuls of low fat peanut butter, and two spoonfuls of virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of lemon juice, cumin, salt and thyme. The preparation is very simple: roast the eggplant and, once ready, peel it and mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Of course, you can also puree everything in the blender. Serve it on whole wheat pita bread and garnish with parsley.
As a main dish, we suggest you substitute ground meat with chopped vegetables. For this recipe, you will need only two green plantains sans the end tips and a medium sweet chili pepper. For a delicious seasoning, use two spoonfuls of olive oil, two of salt, two of brown sugar, two of butter and four garlic cloves. Boil the plantains in salted water until the skin begins to come off. Let them cool and cut then into thin slices (including the peel!). Sautee the rest of the ingredients and finally cover the plantains with the mixture. Let it stand for a few minutes. Serve with brown rice, Caribbean style, or corn tortillas for a Mexican touch. ■
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