Is it really the luck of the Irish or do they just recognize the importance of foods high in fiber? There really is no luck involved. It’s an awareness of the overall health benefits of a high fiber diet. The most typical dish common to all of our March menus is corned beef and cabbage. Delicious, but enjoy it with a sprinkling of advice from Fiberlady. With all due respect to Irish culture and tradition, Fiberlady must stay true to her mission.
Opt for high fiber foods. St. Patrick’s Day is the ideal time to offer all of those green foods that you know are so beneficial to all of the leprechauns in your life. Besides the obvious green lettuce, share some broccoli, Swiss chard, spinach, green beans, asparagus and green peas. Not only are these green foods enormously healthy, many of them help curb heart disease, lower cholesterol and inhibit some cancers.
Heart disease is the leading factor of death for American men and women today. To add salt to the wound, more than 95 million Americans have high cholesterol, a major contributor to heart disease.
Saturated fats are the major culprit in raising blood cholesterol. Those who have high cholesterol levels should be watching their entire diet, not just the meat portion. Reducing the amount of fatty foods is as important as choosing leaner cuts of red meat when trying to lower cholesterol. Protect yourself and those you love against heart disease and high cholesterol by eating more fruits and vegetables.
Exercising regularly, maintaining a normal body weight, choosing unsaturated fats and including 20-35 grams of high fiber in your daily diet will all contribute to a healthier you, whether you are Irish or not so Irish.
Preparing the ever popular corned beef supper this season can be less damaging to the arteries if you reduce your portion of fatty corned beef. No need to eliminate it entirely, just include more accompaniments such as fiber-rich cabbage and turnips. Whole grain Irish soda bread can be served to round out a high fiber menu for the St. Patrick’s meal.
Fiberlady wonders how many grams of fiber there are in a four leaf clover. No matter. It’s the quest to find that four leaf clover that makes all of the difference. If you find one, enjoy the promise of good luck and continue the quest for good health.
Corned Beef with Cabbage and Boiled Vegetables
Makes 6 servings
1¼ pounds corned beef, trimmed of all visible fat
1 small head green cabbage, cored and cut into 6 wedges
18 baby carrots
6 small purple-top turnips, peeled and halved
1 cup pearl onions or small pickling onions
6 small red potatoes, scrubbed and left whole
1. Bring the corned beef and enough water to cover to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until almost tender, about 1½ hours.
2. Add the cabbage, carrots, turnips, onions, and potatoes to the pan; return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables and corned beef are fork tender, about 45 minutes.
3. Transfer the corned beef to a platter and carve into slices. Lift the vegetables from the broth with a slotted spoon and serve with the corned beef.
Per serving (1/6 of dinner): Calories: 320; Total Fat: 12 grams;
Fiber: 7 grams
Irish Brown Soda Bread
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
2. In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, white flour, rolled oats, baking soda and salt. Gently mix in the buttermilk until a soft dough is formed. Knead very lightly. Divide dough into 4 pieces; form into rounded flat loaves. Mark each loaf with an ‘X’ and place on prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Per serving: Calories: 206; Total Fat: 1.5 grams;
Fiber: 5.4 grams
Stephanie Shank aka Fiberlady has studied nutrition for many healthy years which prompted her commitment to a high fiber lifestyle and the development of her informative website High Fiber Health.