Monday, September 26, 2011

More Salmon Please!

I often wonder about people's diets.  I wonder how many people are motivated to eat foods that are meant to specifically keep their body's healthy, or do the majority mindlessly eat, without a care about what foods negatively affect their body. 
I believe the latter is true, simply by judging the condition of Americans and the obesity epidemic that has skyrocketed in the last 20 years and sadly making millions of people, including children, chronically ill not to mention conditions that have ultimately lead to death.

Recently I've been happily bombarded with people's questions about food and nutrition.  I absolutely LOVE teaching people about healthy eating, understanding food labels, and how they can cook healthy meals that taste good.  
What I have found shocking is how many people still think of carbohydrates as "bad" and "fattening", how not eating breakfast will help them lose weight, and many questions pertaining to how much protein one should be eating. Most people make guesses, and/or don't bother to investigate the facts about nutrition.  
People want simple answers to complex issues, but if people do not understand the underlying importance of nutrient values and benefits, then they won't care, or not as much to do anything about it. 
I can say, "eat more fruit because it's good for you", this statement will go in one ear and out the other, right? But if I can give you in a nutshell the importance of WHY you should eat a certain food, then maybe, just maybe you will take it into account and make the effort to include that particular food in your diet.  

So that's what I've done with today's post.  I hope that you will consider all the health benefits and make the adjustment in your diet to incorporate these powerful foods! :)

I've been anxious to post about this next food item, because it is a frequent presence on my family's dinner plates, as well as lunch, every week!
So let me rave and praise on about Salmon, Wild Salmon that is!
 It is an absolute must for a healthy body and mind!
Prepare now for a short lesson on WHY we need to eat more Salmon... ;)

The fact is our bodies, although truly amazing machines, are not capable of producing certain nutrients that are essential for normal body functions. 
One of those nutrients is, Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  We can ONLY get Omega-3's from certain foods, hence "essential".  I won't bore you with all the technicalities of the various types of Omega-3's let alone bring up Omega-6's (both being essential, meaning that our bodies can not produce them). 

Here are some facts to know about what Omega-3 Fatty Acids have the power to do:

1) Evidence strongly suggest that it can help prevent heart disease and stroke
2) It can improve cholesterol levels
3) Reduces high blood pressure
4) Improves blood vessel function
5) Promotes brain function and memory
6) Can alleviate depression
7) May help to control lupus
8) Helps to maintain joint health by reducing inflammation, which may help to control rheumatoid arthritis
9) Helps bowel diseases
10) Promotes healthy skin
11) Encourages the production of collagen and elastin fibers, which aid in youthful looking skin!

Well how amazing is that?! I marvel at foods that can do incredible things! Not to mention that it is also low in calories, high in protein,and low in fat! Yes, I did specify, "Powerful"! 

Salmon tastes great, it has a mild flavor and not "fishy", it has a nice texture, that's not "rubbery", just be sure not to overcook it! 

Grilled Salmon Salad

The amazing looking salad above was my dinner one night last week. Look's good right? I can tell you that it was delicious and completely satisfying!

You can pretty much see the ingredients but I'll list them anyway...

1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
1/2 cup of cook black beans
mixed greens
balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 diced green onion
2 tablespoons of chopped onions
fresh ground pepper
one 4 oz filet of grilled, tender salmon
a lemon wedge
( again this is for one person, adjust the ingredients for provide for more)
Assemble the brown rice on the bottom of the plate, top with the black beans, add the greens, tomatoes, and onions, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. Season with fresh ground pepper. Place the salmon on top of the greens, squeeze one wedge of lemon over the salmon. 
Optional:  For more flavor, add 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese over the  top of the greens. 

The next recipe is from another dinner from last week, yet once again a very simple, healthy, flavorful and quick dinner to make!

Seared Salmon, with Caramelized Onions and Zucchini with Arugula

2 Four oz. cut pieces of Salmon
One medium onion
Three to four medium zucchini
2 cups of Arugula or Fresh Spinach
Olive oil
Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper, Thyme, Herbs de Provence
Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the onion into slices. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, saute onions in a medium sized saute pan.  Add fresh ground pepper and an itty bit of salt ( pinch). Cook until browned an caramelized.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season salmon with some fresh ground pepper, thyme and an itty bit of salt. Place in the hot pan and sear until you can see the fish cooked about a quarter of the way up, then turn over.    Do the same, then place into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to finish cooking through. Do not overcook. Salmon should have a pink tinge still inside and be tender.

Slice 3 to 4 zucchini into 2 inch rectangular pieces, season with fresh pepper and herbs de provence, place on a heated grill with a drizzle of olive oil.  Squeeze one lemon wedge over the zucchini, cook until somewhat tender. We don't like mushy zucchini! Once onions have cooked, remove from pan onto a warm plate. Using the same pan , add a bit more olive oil, then add the arugula, gently toss as it's cooking down.  This will cook very quickly so keep an eye on it, about five minutes. Once cooked down add it to the zucchini.

Now to plate! Plate the salmon and place about 2 tablespoons of the caramelized onions on top.  Alongside, place the zucchini and arugula. And Voila, dinner is served!
Seared Wild Salmon with Caramelized Onions and Zucchini with Arugula
These are just two ways that I've enjoyed salmon in my diet last week.  There are many ways to cook salmon, experiment with it.  You can certainly find more recipes online.  Just stay clear of heavy sauces, you'd simply be adding more calories and fat that is just not necessary. 

Nutritional Information for 3 oz. of Wild Salmon:

Calories: 155
Fat: 7 grams
               Polyunsaturated = 2.8 grams
               Monounsaturated = 2.3 grams
               Saturated = 1.1 grams
               Omega-3 Fatty Acids = 2,198 mg
               Omega-6 Fatty Acids = 187 mg
Carbohydrates: 0
Protein = 22 grams
Water = 50.7 grams

Also a great source of; Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Niacin, Selenium, Phosphorus, Potassium

Have a happy and healthy day!!

;) ~Rebecca~ 

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