“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)
“I think, as diabetics, you have to make permanent changes in your nutrition knowledge base and in the fiscal choices you make about food. The national monetary news isn’t really any better this week, although some stock markets are rallying a little. I expect this will be a long-term problem (at least 5 years duration), and for diabetics on medication, this could become serious, or if any bread-winner loses a job, then changes need to be made with knowledge you’ve already acquired here.
I suggest putting your discretionary financial resources into food, after making sure you have a roof over your head, and have paid the utility bills. My family is spending all its so-called “extra” income on food, at the moment. It’s important to know the most nutritious foods and how to use them in ways which protect that valuable nutrition.
I watched the Biggest Loser again this week, when all the participants went home. I was infuriated when friends and family let (and even “helped” to push) the contestants back into old habits. Even though some of the contestants didn’t “cave in” to temptation e.g. Ron and Michael seemed just to eat a couple of small slices of pizza (rather than the whole pie, as they used to) at their favorite pizza place.
I found them returning there at all, frustrating. To watch others over-indulge ends up just making you feel “left-out”. I think new habits are better supported by new venues, and the excitement of new, healthier foods and recipes. Celebrate in healthier places, and don’t be shy about asking to split the all-too-common GIGANTIC portions, or taking 1/2 – 2/3 of your meal home, if there’s no other option.
Meanwhile, I am continuing with Mango recipes, here, as they are a nutritious food which is found year-round in most markets, but do understand where your food is grown. Many tropical areas use pesticides, so trying to get organic fruit is important.
Yes, I know, you may think that “budget” and “organic” don’t belong in the same sentence, but they do. Science has finally begun to investigate organic foods, and the results are at least double the nutrition for about 1 1/2 – 2 times the price — so it is a bargain or equal value, when viewed in that light. For organic food, use half a portion of fruits or vegetables for the same nutrition (only if you need to for budget reasons).
And, organic, grass-fed animals or clean-ocean, non-farmed, wild-caught fish need to be in the same size portions as their counterparts, but you will have much better lipid profiles and nutritional complexity from free-range or wild-caught animals and therefore they are cost effective, in their support of health and less illness.
Next, to some traditional recipes for mangoes, which are also called maqo, aam, mang’ga, ui, wewei in Polynesia and Asia, where they are native plants. But before I write actual recipes, I want to share some information.
The mango tree has the scientific name Mangifera indica and it is a member of the cashew family (if you see pictures of cashew nuts still on their tree, you will see the similarity). Mango trees can grow 15 to 18 metres (50 to 60 feet) tall and are thickly covered with narrow, dark green leaves.
Ripe mangoes just yield lightly to whole-hand palm pressure (the way ripe avocadoes do) and mangoes are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is needed for proper growth, healthy eyes and protection from many forms of disease. Green mangoes contain smaller amounts of Vitamin A, but are still a decent source.
Mangoes are high in Vitamin C too. Vitamin C keeps your body tissues strong, helps you to use iron, is an anti-oxidant which aids in chemical metabolic actions. The amount of Vitamin C varies in different kinds of mangoes, but this time, a green mango usually has more than a ripe one.
Mangoes are best when picked ripe from the tree, but when picked still-green and almost-ripe, they will continue to ripen if they are kept in a cool, dry place. Once mangoes are fully ripe they must be eaten straight away or kept in a refrigerator for one day at most (real cold tends to make them start to rot, from the inside, so you don’t see it happening). Mangoes are a lovely mix of tart and sweet. Different varieties can have quite different flavors, so try several kinds to find your favorites.
Please enjoy the following recipes from www.fao.org .
Mango Drink (called Otai in Tonga) 6 servings:
1 coconut – make sure it has no punctures or cracks
2 cups mashed, ripe mango
3 cups spring water
1. Crack the coconut, through one of the eyes at the base. Let the coconut water pour into a bowl.
2. Grate the white coconut flesh into the same bowl.
3. Mix 1 cup of the grated coconut with the mashed mango.
4. Add 3 cups of water to the left-over grated coconut, then mix thoroughly and squeeze out the cream through a strainer. (Hot water is best.) Let it cool down to warm.
5. Strain coconut cream into mango mixture and stir.
6. Serve cold.
In our markets, I would offer to shorten this process by using organic dried coconut and coconut water aseptic packs and a can of lite coconut “milk”, but the whole coconut will be cheaper. A green coconut (usually looks like a white cone, wrapped in plastic — and refrigerated in good stores) will be best.
Mangoes and coconut are alkaline foods and aid in detoxification of body tissues as well as helping to balance pH values in your tissues, too. Slightly alkaline pH is needed for good Health. You blood will rob other tissues in order to stay alkaline, but you must re-alkalize those tissues to regain and maintain Health.
Coconut has important medium-chain fatty acids, critical for sex hormone production and for protective cholesterol formation (yes, cholesterol is protective, in normal quantities).
Green Mango Salad Relish 4 servings:
4 small green mangoes
1 ¼ cups coconut cream (use fresh green coconut flesh or use lite coconut canned milk)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash, peel and grate the mangoes.
2. Mix the coconut cream and lemon juice or vinegar in a bowl.
3. Add the grated mango and chopped onion and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
You could also use this as a relish with fish, or as a base to add on top of greens, especially frisee endive, would be nice.
Coconut Dressing — makes half a liter:
1¾ cups thick coconut cream
¼ cup lemon, lime or orange juice (or a combo)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 finely chopped chilli
1 finely chopped green onion
NOTE: (I would add some finely minced cilantro, right at serving, not before, as it oxidizes quickly and flavors change)
Mix all ingredients together and serve with cooked fish, meat or shellfish, or as a dip or dressing over vegetables. Prepare just enough to last for the day. Use any left-overs to cook as part of the liquid for dry beans or rice, or add to “cream” a soup at the last moment, after pureeing the veggies.
See Meg’s Asian Slaw recipe made especially for us at:
http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/budget-diabetic-recipes-1/ It is delicious!
Coconut and mango are an excellent natural pairing. Enjoy.
Best to all — Em
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