Loving the BITE: Thai Chicken or Thai Tofu

02
Jun
2011

This is one of my all-time favorites.  The meal I often go-to when company’s coming over.  The one I freeze and take to a friend who needs an extra meal.  The one that gets rave reviews, but only takes a few minutes to prepare.  It tastes good, freezes well, and provides some flavor variety.  And, it delivers the nutrients healthy cyclists need:

Recipe of the week:  Thai Chicken or Thai Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 8 Organic Chicken Thighs OR 1.5 lbs firm tofu, cut into chunks
  • ¾ Cup fresh or jarred Salsa
  • 1/3 Cup natural Peanut Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Lite Soy Sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp Fresh Ginger Root, minced or grated
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ Cup Peanuts, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Chili Peppers, chopped (optional)

Instructions: (prep: 10 minutes, cook in Crockpot: 8-9 hours)

  1. Place chicken or tofu in 3 ½ to 6 quart crock pot.  Mix remaining ingredients except peanuts, cilantro, and optional chili peppers; pour over chicken or tofu.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8-9 hours or until juice of chicken is no longer pink in thickest part of centers.  Remove chicken or tofu from cooker, using slotted spoon, place on serving platter or individual plates.
  3. Spoon sauce over chicken or tofu.  Sprinkle with peanuts, cilantro, and optional chili peppers.
  4. Serve with Sautéed Vegetables.

Comments:

It’s getting hot in here – this many spices in one recipe?  You’ve got a variety in salsa, ginger, and chili peppers.  This week, while adding fire to our recipe, we’ll add a lot of beneficial components to our bodies.  How?  By adding red chili peppers, jalapenos, and other spicy peppers, you add:

Capsaicins:

These are the nice little components of peppers that make them HOT.  They are also a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. The hotter the pepper, the more anti-inflammatory it is. The hottest varieties include habañero and Scotch bonnet peppers. Jalapeños are next in their heat and capsaicin content, followed by the milder varieties, including Spanish pimentos, and Anaheim and Hungarian cherry peppers. Capsaicin is actually being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy.

And what’s more, capsaicins have anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties to boot.

Cardiovascular Benefits:

Red chili peppers, such as cayenne, have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.

Antioxidants:

As an antioxidant, chili peppers may also protect the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals—a first step in the development of atherosclerosis. In a randomized, crossover study involving 27 healthy subjects (14 women, 13 men), eating freshly chopped chili was found to increase the resistance of blood fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, to oxidation (free radical injury). In addition, after eating the chili-spiced diet, women had a longer lag time before any damage to cholesterol was seen compared to the lag time seen after eating the bland diet. In men, the chili-diet also lowered resting heart rate and increased the amount of blood reaching the heart.

Clear Sinuses:

Anyone who’s eaten too much spice at once (usually in a public setting, right?) knows it makes your nose run.  The peppery heat stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs.

An Immune Boost:

The combo of Vitamin A (10% of daily value) and Vitamin C (6 % of daily value) in chili peppers provides an immune boost for the body.  Vitamin A is often called the anti-infection vitamin, and it is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens. Vitamin C is thought to improve our defenses against colds and shorten the duration of colds once we have them.  Good, healthy lungs and nasal passages are crucial to a cyclist, so add the heat!

Reduced Prostate Cancer Risk:

Red chili peppers’ capsaicin, the compound responsible for their heat, stops the spread of prostate cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms, as indicated by recent animal and lab studies.  Capsaicin triggers suicide in both primary types of prostate cancer cell lines, those whose growth is stimulated by male hormones and those not affected by them. In addition, capsaicin lessens the expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), inhibits the ability of the most potent form of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, to activate PSA, and directly inhibits PSA transcription, causing PSA levels to plummet.

Stomach Aide:

Chili peppers have a bad–and mistaken–reputation for contributing to stomach ulcers. Not only do they not cause ulcers, they can help prevent them by killing bacteria you may have ingested, while stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices.

Reduced risk of Diabetes and High Blood Sugars:

In a study published in the July 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Australian researchers show that the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar after a meal is reduced if the meal contains chili pepper. When chili-containing meals are a regular part of the diet, insulin requirements drop even lower.

Plus, chili’s beneficial effects on insulin needs get even better as body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) increases. In overweight people, not only do chili-containing meals significantly lower the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar levels after a meal, but chili-containing meals also result in a lower ratio of C-peptide/ insulin, an indication that the rate at which the liver is clearing insulin has increased.

And last but not least, little Boost in Fat Burn:

As luck would have it, capsaicins promote fullness which can cause a reduction in calorie intake, and they cause an increase energy (calorie) expenditure after they are eaten – a direct increase in metabolism.  Then, as an indirect metabolism boost, they promote less insulin requirements (as noted above), which can reduce the amount of fat stored in the body.  Chili Peppers make for lean, mean, (hot), cycling machines.

I love Thai Food, so getting a Chili Pepper Nutrition Boost from it is a no-brainer for me.  But, you can get all the same benefits in any dish by just adding some heat to any meal.  Fresh chili peppers work well with many foods and can be an easy addition to scrambled eggs, sandwiches, and more!  For health benefits, flavor, and a fiery metabolism, don’t forget the heat!

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body.

 

Enjoy Your Ride

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3 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Thai Chicken or Thai Tofu ”

  1. green Chili peppers on February 13, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Nice to be here and see your post !

  2. master on January 18, 2013 at 12:55 am

    It’s Chile not chili !

    • Kelli Jennings on January 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Hello and thank you for your comment. However, as I understand it, chili vs. chile is one of those sets of words with acceptable, variable spellings, like potatoes and potatos. According to Webster’s dictionary:
      Definition of CHILI: 1a: a hot pepper of any of a group of cultivars (Capsicum annuum annuum group longum) noted for their pungency —called also chili pepper.
      Variants of CHILI: chili also chile or chil·li ˈchi-lē.
      I, for one, am certainly not smart enough to argue with Webster so I’ll take it!
      Thanks again and take care!

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Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.

Answer:

Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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