As I mentioned a couple weeks ago I turned 50. Along with all the feelings that may arise from thinking of myself as half a century old comes practical medical tests that are recommended for everyone my age. Yep, time to go get examined inside and out. Knowing that, a small article caught my attention from the New York Times.
Actually it was a blog written by Nicholas Bakalar. The headline reads Vegetarian Diet May Cut Colon Cancer Risk. Basically, a study was done on over 75,000 people to assess how diet may affect the chances of getting colon cancer. They studied a group of people who do not smoke or drink to eliminate those triggers. The results? A purely vegetarian diet cut the risk of developing colon cancer by 21%. People who included fish but no other types of meat cut the risk by 42%! The results have been published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.
As I have mentioned before, it doesn’t matter to me if anyone choses to eat meat. It is a purely personal choice and my choices are mine alone. This information piqued my interest, though, because I would prefer not to eat any animals, including fish. The main reason I still include some fish in my diet is to make it easier to eat out. The vegetarian options on many restaurant menus are limited to salads or pasta with vegetables. Occasionally I prepare salmon filets at home or make a tuna melt sandwich when I need a really quick dinner. Reading about this study made me feel a bit better about those meals.
My point today is as we age and start thinking about how we are going to stay healthy for the next half century, our eating choices are going to play a big role. I encourage everyone to do your own research to make sure what you are putting in your body is going to keep your quality of life as high as possible. It seems I have had many conversations recently with people who are starting work out programs and/or changing their diets to lose weight. We are realizing that we can no longer be mindless about how we treat ourselves and expect our bodies to bounce back from any abuse. If meat is a part of your diet, choose wisely. If you are contemplating cutting back on meat, choose wisely. If you want to lose weight or feel healthier, choose your food wisely. See a pattern? Make mindful choices. It will help when you go in for the tests I need to go in for because the results might not be so scary! And that is a win-win!
Also, go get a colonoscopy! My husband is going on Wednesday and I am confident he will get a clean bill of health because I feed him!
This week’s recipe is a treat to enjoy after you have made good choices about your meals. If someone were to offer me a chocolate brownie or a blondie, I will always choose the blondie. (That was true even before my chocolate trauma after Christmas). When I saw a recipe for Chickpea Cinnamon Blondies I had to check it out. One day my husband made his favorite chocolate date bars and I made the blondies. He declared the blondies to be better than his bars! I tweaked the recipe a bit and this is my version. They remind me of an ooey gooey cinnamon roll without the flour, butter and white sugar.
Cinnamon Sunflower-Butter Chickpea Blondies
1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and skins removed (see note)
1/3 cup sunflower seed butter (or your favorite nut butter)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons good cinnamon (I use Saigon Cinnamon. It does make a difference)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries (optional, or add your favorite mix-in)
Note: To remove skins from chickpeas, place rinsed beans in a bowl of warm, not hot, water. Rub the beans and remove the skins as they rise to the surface. You don’t have to get each one. Drain the skinless chickpeas. This will ensure an extra smooth batter.