Loving The BITE: Powerhouse of Detoxifying Super Awesomeness
When you look at food, do you see what it has to offer? The nutrients, antioxidants, detoxifying components, fibers, energy-producers, and taste? Or, do you mostly watch out for what you should avoid? The foods that drag down your energy, promote disease, and harm your cells? For years, there seems to be a mind-set of what to avoid.
Hopefully, you’re past that, and look for both what to avoid, and what to seek out to promote health. This week, to encourage healthy cells, tissues, muscles, and systems, so we can ride and feel better, we’ll replace one food (that doesn’t necessarily harm you, but doesn’t offer the best of nutrition), with an absolute nutrition all-star.
Recipe of the Week: Lime Cilantro Cauliflower Rice
- 1/2 medium cauliflower head
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice (typically juice from 1 lime)
- 2 Tbsp cilantro
- salt/pepper, to taste
- Cut florets in small pieces and place in food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is reduced to the size of couscous or rice grains. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in multiple stages.
- Place in microwavable bowl with glass lid like Pyrex. Do not close tightly.
- Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil.
- Microwave 5-6 minutes. Then, remove from the microwave and allow to steam for 1-3 additional minutes.
- Fluff rice, add cilantro, lime juice, and season to salt/pepper, to taste.
There’s more to healthy eating than just avoiding what’s “bad” for you. It seems like the fat-free era of the 80s and 90s instilled a sense of “good dieting” in which you just avoided what you thought was bad. “I don’t fry things, I don’t eat egg yolks, and of course, I only use fat-free dressing.” First of all, as most readers know, I don’t subscribe, in any way, to fat-free eating. Healthy fats are necessary and very important to your health, hormone balance, and obtaining a healthy weight. In addition, I generally see healthy eating as what healthy whole foods and nutrients you’re actively consuming, not just what you’re avoiding.
Which brings me to our topic today.
Cauliflower rice. Why in the world would you want to take a head of cauliflower and substitute if for rice? Good question.
Obviously, rice is not a horrible food for you. As an “intact” grain, rather than a ground and processed one, it is actually one of the better grain choices (along with oats). But, it does lack in nutrients and health benefit it offers when compared to a vegetable. And cauliflower is not just any vegetable, but a powerhouse of detoxifying super awesomeness.
That’s a big claim, I know. In the past, I’ve called it a Wellness 1-2-3 punch:
Punch #1, Anti-inflammation: Who knew? Cauliflower provides both vitamin K and alpha-linoleic acid (the same omega-3 found in flaxseeds) to combat and prevent inflammation in our bodies. What’s more, one of its detox components, glucobrassicin, can be converted to another anti-inflammatory compound that works at a genetic level to promote a reduction in bodily inflammation!
Punch #2, Antioxidants: Next, to combat the free radicals that have built up in our bodies, cauliflower provides 2 excellent antioxidants, vitamin C and manganese. Additionally, it contains many phytochemicals (remember, phytochemicals fight-o disease and damage) that work against oxidative stress, such as beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol.
Punch #3, Increased Cellular Detoxification & Gastrointestinal Immune Support: Lastly, cauliflower’s phytochemicals also include a group that works directly on cellular detoxification – both Phase 1 and Phase 2 cellular detox. These phytochemicals belong to the glucosinolates group, and include glucobrassicin, glucoraphanin, and gluconasturtiian. Add to it cauliflower’s high content of fiber, which directly promotes gut health and therefore indirectly promotes improved immune function, and you’ve got yourself a serious health promoting vegetable. If you want to include more detox vegetables along with your cauliflower, add Brussels sprouts, Savoy cabbage, Broccoli, and Kale. All fine cool-weather foods.
And, taste? Cauliflower rice is delicious. Imagine my dietitian delight when I look across the table to see my kids eating a stir-fry that includes both cauliflower rice and stir-fried broccoli. Double the cellular detox. Oh yeah!
So how might this affect your ride? While cycling absolutely makes us healthier is most every aspect, athletes’ cells deal with a lot of junk, too. Extra oxygen and nutrient turnover, more free radicals, more cellular damage, likely more time out in the sun, and a lot of physical stress. You can give yourself a helping hand by pouring on the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying nutrients found in many vegetables…like cauliflower (and not like white rice). Go ahead and eat grains at dinner a couple times per week, but consider subbing in some extra vegetables on the other evenings. Healthy, detoxifed cells await.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.