07 Jun Do We Really Need Sodium in Our Diet? // Baked Falafel with Lemon Garlic Cream
“NUMEROUS SCIENTIFIC STUDIES NOW CONFIRM THAT A WHOLE FOODS DIET COMPRISED PRIMARILY OF VEGETABLES, FRUITS, GRAINS, LEGUMES, AND NUTS WITHOUT ADDED OIL, SUGAR, AND SALT IS OPTIMAL FOR HUMAN HEALTH, NOT ONLY PREVENTING A BROAD RANGE OF DISEASE AND ILLNESSES, BUT ALSO REVERSING SOME OF THE MOST DANGEROUS CHRONIC CONDITIONS. THIS FINDING IS OF THE HIGHEST IMPORTANCE TO THE COMMONWEALTH BECAUSE IT COMMUNICATES A TRUTH THAT HAS THE POWER TO SAVE LIVES.”
BARELY VEGAN MEAL PLAN #23
SMOOTHIE: SAVORY TOMATO, CILANTRO, AVOCADO SMOOTHIE
LUNCH: CRISPY BAKED CHICKPEA FALAFEL WITH LEMON CREAM
DINNER: CLAM SOUP WITH BABY SCALLOPS, GARLIC & THYME
I’ve started to dabble in savory smoothies recently. When I first made this savory Tomato, Cilantro, and Avocado Smoothie I thought “Hmmmm, it’s okay”. Then I added a little salt and it completely changed the taste of the smoothie! It made it so much better, as salt does with most foods. When used properly, salt can make a “blah” dish taste great! I was worried what my readers would think about putting a pinch of salt in their breakfast smoothie. Is that taboo in the smoothie world?! Will they think the smoothie is unhealthy now?
Well I don’t think it’s unhealthy! Especially since a lot of people eat salty bacon, eggs, etc… for breakfast every morning. This made me want to learn more about sodium and how it benefits our bodies.
Sodium is actually needed for our bodies to function properly. Don’t get me wrong, I think most of us eat way too much salt and we should all try to practice eating our foods with less salt (i was always known to have a heavy hand with salt), but I do see many people without any serious health issues completely cutting out salt from their diets because they see other people doing it and I always find that a little interesting.
According to studies, sodium “helps control the balance between fluid in the cells and fluid outside the cells in your body. It also controls blood pressure. Sodium influences the body’s function to either hold onto extra fluid when you need it or excrete fluid when you don’t. Sodium also plays an essential role in nerve and muscle functioning.”
I would also like to add that tons of plant foods naturally contain sodium and we could probably get enough daily sodium by eating certain vegetables everyday. For example, one cup of raw Swiss chard contains about 313 milligrams of sodium and one cup of raw celery contains about 96 milligrams of sodium. From what I’ve learned there is no official minimum daily sodium intake requirement, but some say our bodies could do well with just 200 – 500 milligrams a day. One cup of Swiss Chard easily covers that!
So in the end, like I say with most things, we should do what feels right for our bodies. My husband has high blood pressure so he tried to completely cut sodium out of his diet, but he started to feel very bad and weak (which I later learned is a common symptom for some people who completely cut out sodium), so he ended up adding it back into his diet. Now he eats very low sodium. He did what was right for him.
If you do choose to use salt in your food, try to use high quality salt, like Pink Himalayan Salt or natural Sea Salt. I would stay away from Iodized salt. Check your ingredient labels my friends! You’ll be surprised that your salt might contain more ingredients than just salt. A lot of them have a chemical added to keep the salt from clumping together. Ummmm, I’ll take the clumpy chemical-free salt please!
I hope you give all of the recipes in this meal plan a try, especially the Crispy Baked Falafel with Lemon Cream. These bad boys are super flavorful, low in fat, and have a good amount of protein from the chickpeas!! Hec, if you don’t oil your baking sheet and use parchment paper then they will be fat-free!! Woohoo!
***NOTE: This blog is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner. All information contained in this blog is the opinion of Monique and is not to be interpreted as medical advice.
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- 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ½ cups chickpeas, preferably freshly cooked or canned rinsed & drained
- ½ red onion, diced small
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- LEMON CREAM
- 1 cup cashews
- juice of 2 lemons
- ¼ cup red onion
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- salt to taste
- ¼ cup water, filtered if possible
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- To make the patties, add the chickpeas to a bowl and use a fork or potato masher to mash all of the chickpeas. Add the next 12 ingredients to the bowl and thoroughly mix.
- You could also do this in a food processor. I would pulse the mixture and stop every now and then to stir it and ensure the mixture is not becoming too mushy and watery. Blending it too much could result in watery patties.
- Taste the mixture for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Take a ½ cup of the mixture and form a patty. Place the patty on the oiled baking sheet and finish making the rest of the patties. Brush to top of the patties with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Bake the falafel patties for 20 minutes, flip them over, and bake for another 20 minutes.
- While the patties are baking, place all of the Lemon Cream ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- To serve, place the baked falafel patties on your plate and top with the lemon cream. I like to eat this over a salad and sometimes in a wrap.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 5 anchovy filets
- 1 pound wild caught middle neck clams, cleaned
- 3 cups clam broth, or seafood stock
- ¼ pound bay scallops
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place a large pot on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic, thyme, and anchovies and cook for about 1 minute, until the garlic has softened a little and the anchovies have pretty much melted in the olive oil.
- Add the clams and clam broth, or seafood stock, to the pot. Cover with a lid and cook until the clams open, about 3 minutes. Remove the lid, turn off the heat, and add the scallops , lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir and serve.
- SUGGESTED SIDE: Roasted Asparagus
- 2 vince ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ½ hass avocado
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (Braggs brand if possible)
- 1 cup water, filtered if possible
- 1 cup ice
- salt to taste
- Blend everything together until smooth. Add water to adjust the sweetness and consistency, if desired.