When I was growing up (which was only recently by the way) the nutritional guidelines food pyramid looked like this.
There was also a song, or maybe it was an ad on TV, that told us to “Eat more breads and cereals….”. (Anyone else remember that one?). And, given that these were the healthy nutritional guidelines of the day, eating more breads and cereals we did.
But recently I’ve learned that eating more breads and cereals probably isn’t the greatest idea, and so I have decided to reduce the amount of grains in my diet.
That is where our friend the cauliflower comes in. Given that breads and cereals have been such an integral part of my diet for so long, I miss them. But, luckily the cauliflower (with a little help from some friends) can replicate a number of the grain type foods that i am so used to eating. And they are good, and not just in a “this is good for a grain replacement” kind of way.
But before sharing the genius of the cauliflower, I’m going to explain a little about why I have decided to reduce the amount of grains I am eating.
Now, I want to be clear, I am not bashing grains (well whole-grains that is, I am definitely going to bash any refined grain that comes near me, but that is for another time). In my opinion, given that whole-grains come from nature, contain plenty of nutrients AND they taste so good, I am sure we’re meant to eat them.
It’s volumes at which we consume them that is problem.
Grains, as you are no doubt aware, are carbohydrates. Plenty of people rant about how bad carbohydrates are, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t bad, mainly because a)our bodies, and brains in particular rely on them for energy to function, and b)vegetables are carbohydrates.
But the thing with carbohydrates is that, although they are essential to our health, they are only essential in relatively small amounts.
I’m going to get technical for a minute…… When you eat carbohydrates they are converted into glucose, this is how your body uses them for fuel. Any glucose that isn’t used straight away is converted into something called glycogen, and stored in the liver for later. But here is where it gets tricky. It’s estimated that the brain uses around 120g of glucose a day, and the liver can only hold around 60 – 90 grams at any one time.
But in our current weston diet, it would be pretty common for most people to be eating over that amount. So what happens if you end up with more glucose than this? I’m so glad you asked 🙂
An average sized person can store and extra 300g – 400g in their muscles, but the thing about that is, that unlike the glycogen that is stored in your liver, once it’s stored in the muscles it can no longer be accessed for energy, and so there it stays. So once your muscles are at their capacity the only other place your body can store it is in your fat cells, it stores it there because that is basically what fat cells do, they store excess energy. And, just like with the stored amounts in your muscles, once that glucose is stored in our fat cells, our bodies cannot access it for energy. So there it stays, and there it is continually added to.
Now, remember that grains aren’t the only food that contain carbohydrates that we eat. Fruit, vegetables, legumes and sugars all contain carbohydrates. But sugars and grains contain a lot more carbohydrates than fruit and veggies so, those are the areas you need to be a lot more careful.
Below is a table showing the carbohydrates per 100g for a bunch of foods. (I am currently in the process of changing myself from being a “counting everything I put into my mouth” person to a “eating for my health” person, so the table below is not to encourage us to count the carbohydrates we are eating every day, it’s just to give you an idea of the amounts of carbs contained in different foods.) I wasn’t able to find a conclusive conversion rate for carbohydrates to glucose but some sources said there is a 1:1 ratio, so for now, I’m running with that.
This glucose storage situation is just one issue for our bodies when it comes to eating grains. But I am going to leave it there today and jump to the cauliflower recipes. But if you would like to read more now, Dr Mercola has a very comprehensive article called Lower Your Grains & Lower Your Insulin Levels! A Novel Way To Treat Hypoglycaemia.
Back the cauliflower.
There are plenty of ideas on the internet, in fact there is quite the following for cauliflower, checkout instagram #holla4thecolla 🙂
So far I have made:
Cauliflower rice, or Crice as I like to call it – super simple – cut the cauliflower into smallish florets and chuck them in the food processor and process until it looks like rice. Then stick it in a fry-pan, over a low heat, with a bit of coconut oil and cook it until it is at the required texture, I like mine soft. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week and I find that half a cauliflower head serves 3 – 4 people as a side.
Cauliflower pizza base, (the whole pizza didn’t make it into the picture on account of tasty it was) – I use the detoxinista recipe for this – vegan cauliflower pizza crust.
Cauliflower quiche crust (non of my quiche actually made it into the picture, that is because it was even tastier than the pizza) – I use Fresh April Flours recipe – Cheesy Vegetable Quiche with cauliflower crust. I don’t necessarily follow the recipe for the rest of quiche, I just basically use whatever I have lying around.
Next on my list to try are:
- cauliflower wraps
- cauliflower muffins
- cauliflower hummus
- cauliflower summer sushi roll
- cauliflower fritters
What am I missing? What are else are you making with cauliflower that I should too be making?