Tag Archives: chickpeas

Deep Six your B6?

Wow. There’s been a bunch of bad news lately – and I’m not talking politics or climate change or Ukraine. This bad news has been about taking supplements. Vitamin D3, Vitamin B6, and Fish Oil supplements have all gotten some bad press in the last few months.

Andy and I have been religiously taking Vitamin D3 for several years, partly because it was recommended by Andy’s doctor and partly because we like the idea of strengthening our bones. But in July the New England Journal of Medicine published a government-funded study of Vitamin D supplements and frequency of fractures; it involved over 25,000 participants. The result? “Vitamin D3 supplementation did not result in a significantly lower risk of fractures than placebo among generally healthy midlife and older adults.” This is a big deal, since, according to an article in the NYTimes about the research, millions of Americans take vitamin D supplements and labs do more than 10 million vitamin D tests each year; the Times article states that an editorial published along with the paper offers some blunt advice to these millions of Vitamin D-takers: STOP.

These are like candy. How can we possibly STOP?

Earlier this month, The Atlantic published an article entitled “Fish Oil Is Good! No, Bad! No, Good! No, Wait …”

While The Atlantic article is focused on problematic research involving a fish-oil-based heart drug, called Vascepa, Pieter Cohen, a professor at Harvard Medical School made the comment that…we’ve known for years that fish-oil supplements have virtually no benefits for your average, healthy person. He goes on to say…that hasn’t stopped tens of millions of Americans from popping the pills every day. Clifford Rosen, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, added “People just love to take supplements. It’s religiosity … It’s magical thinking.”

Wynn and Oakley, our dogs, have very shiny, healthy fur. Can we attribute it to this fish oil we give them daily?

The final blow to our supplement intake came in an August 2 NYTimes article which focuses on Vitamin B6. Though we don’t hear as much about B6 as we do about other vitamins, according to WebMd – This hard-working vitamin holds many big jobs. It affects your mood, appetite, sleep, and thinking. You need it to fight off infections, turn food into energy, and help your blood carry oxygen to all corners of your body. While it’s actually rare to run low, you really can’t afford to do so.

A recent British study, though small in size, shows that high amounts of B6 might make us feel less anxious. Andy’s 13-year-old self might have benefitted from that. Who would have thought a camping trip to the High Sierras could cause overwhelming stress? See today’s Andy’s Corner.

Pine Creek to Piute Pass hike in the Sierras

Here’s the bad news – and the good news – about Vitamin B6: As with the other essential vitamins, the body cannot produce B6 on its own, so you can get it only from foods or supplements. But here’s the caveat: most of us don’t need B6 supplements. Most healthy adults get more than enough vitamin B6 from their diets alone, says Dr. Katherine Tucker, a nutritional epidemiologist at UMass Lowell. “It’s widely available in whole foods,” she said, like tuna, salmon, fortified cereals, chickpeas, poultry, dark leafy greens, bananas, oranges, cantaloupe and nuts.

So go ahead and deep six your B6 vitamin pills. And then stock up on…chickpeas! The recommended daily intake of vitamin B6 is 1.3 to 1.7 milligrams. One cup of canned chickpeas provides 1.1 milligrams of vitamin B6, while three ounces of roasted chicken breast only supplies 0.5 milligrams.

True confession: we like Goya chickpeas better – but can’t bring ourselves to buy them for political reasons
Home-cooked chickpeas are super delicious

We’ve got some great summery recipes with chickpeas – and even an easy back-to-school chickpea curry recipe for those of you whose young’uns are headed that way. When you get tired of chickpeas, check out the other vitamin B6-loaded and d-lish BigLittleMeals recipes we’ve listed below.

And before I share today’s nut-filled, B6-rich new recipe, I just have to show you the supplement my mother made me take as a kid. I’ve searched for years to try to find out more about what it was, and I finally found this photo – with its content listed. I always wondered whether the “Co” in “Cofron” meant it secretly had cocaine :). But no, it was made from copper and fresh liver! No wonder I hid every time my mother pulled out that dreaded bottle – filled with its dark, nasty, livery-colored, yucky liquid – to cure me of whatever ailment I might have.

So here’s to the end of summer with its bounty of locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables – to the demise of Cofron – AND to foods loaded with vitamin B6! Enjoy.

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

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It’s an Open-Up-Your-Taste-Buds-to-New-and-Exciting-Tastes Day at BigLittleMeals.com.  And it’s also an Isn’t-Spring-Wonderful Day.  The fires which devastated Sonoma in October are still a part of almost every conversation around here.  It’s mind-boggling how many people we meet who lost their homes.  The massive re-building has barely begun.  But re-birth in nature is already evident, as you can see in this gorgeous green field just above our little neighborhood.

While green seems to be just right in that field, green in food can be tricky.  Or as Kermit sang, “green is the color of spring.”  Yet, “it’s not easy being green.”  Actually, Andy looked a little green recently – while we were eating grilled oysters….see Andy’s Corner.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.30.20 AMMoss (how apropos his name is for this topic 🙂 ) and Silas, our grandsons, have always liked Odwalla’s “Original Superfood Fruit Smoothie” and I’ve always winced at its color.  But when we went to Ixtapa, Mexico, for the first time a number of years ago, I fell in love with the new and different green drink we were served on the beach.  Well…maybe it was being on that beautiful Pacific beach, but I think I’d have loved the drink no matter what.  Jugo Verde – a name so much prettier than Original Superfood – and way more delicious too.

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Our version of Jugo Verde

Moss also loves Snickerdoodles and I’ve made them frequently in his honor.  Since I already had a tin of ground green tea (Matcha), when I saw a recipe for Matcha Snickerdoodles I was intrigued.  Even more intriguing was the fact that the recipe came from a patisserie in San Francisco which is in the same building as the office for Tacolicious.  The patisserie’s name? Craftsman & Wolves.

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The cookies, after baking, looked….well, kind of weird, to put it nicely.  But I’m now wondering whether there is something slightly addictive about matcha.  I’ve been sneaking these amazing and unusual cookies all morning long – and still haven’t gotten my fill.  They’re like perfect.  Not too sweet.  Kind of delicate.  And the flavor doesn’t resemble anything you’ve had before – in a very good way.

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Craftsman & Wolves’ Matcha Snickerdoodles

Ras el hanout may not be a spice mixture that you routinely have in your cupboard but it’s what makes the Watercress, Spinach and Chickpea Soup, a riff on a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, unique.  And if you don’t want to bother to make it (I actually did – a combination of at least 13 spices!) or buy it (Amazon, of course), you can substitute the easily-found Garam Masala spice mixture, making it more Indian than North African, but still delicious.

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Watercress, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup – before adding the yogurt

And one final green-ish new-ish thing to try: freekeh.  It’s a young, green wheat, high in protein and fiber – those things we want and need – that has been roasted.  Freekeh, which dates back to around the 13th century Middle East, is delicious…better than barley or quinoa IMHO.  I combined some cooked freekeh with slivered red and green cabbage and mango for a delicious, healthy salad, using one of Ottolenghi’s dressings.

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Cooked freekeh

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I got this from Amazon but some Whole Foods carry it

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