*This recipe is vegan and Paleo-friendly*
It’s been such a sad time for me lately. Last week, I heard of a former school mate who passed away suddenly because of a heart attack. Heart attack at the age of 40!!! His third child was only one-week old when it happened.
Then, I also received news from the Philippines that one of our family friends that I grew up with, was diagnosed with liver cancer and he is in terminal condition. He’s just 38.
I don’t want to put a damper to your day with all these bad news, but this really “woke me up” to how fragile our lives are. Nevermind that I walked away from my job recently, but I am grateful that I still have my health and my wits about me. A job is a job and if I don’t have one, I can always search for one. But if I ever lost my ability to work to support my family because of illness…that is so scary to me!
So, I keep reminding my family that we need to make a major overhaul in our diet: to focus more on whole foods – make it more plant-based. (I truly believe that bad diet contributes to cancer). And if we do eat meat and seafood, we choose grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and wild-caught or sustainably fished seafood. We try to keep meat as the “supporting act” to the “star” (which are the veggies).
One of my favourite vegetarian / vegan dishes is this Asian-style Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy. If I gave up meat, I would have to eat mushrooms everyday because of their meatiness and earthiness that reminds me of meat! I’m crazy about this dish but – I’m not going to lie – it’s like pulling teeth to get my kids to eat this. Oh well, I just keep offering to them, even if they will only eat one forkful in disgust. I subscribe to the theory that if you expose new foods to kids consistently, they will eventually surrender. So, hopefully, in 20 years…LOL!
So, here’s the Cliff Notes version of shiitake’s and bok choy’s nutritional profile.
Mushrooms were once thought to be a nutritional zero, not a hero. We all thought that they were only really good for fibre and not much else. Wrong! Mushrooms – especially shiitake, maitake, and reishi – have powerful effects on the immune system. They’ve got enzymes and vitamins, and an essential amino acid known as linoleic acid. Shiitake mushrooms also contain a very important chemical - lentinan – that Japanese use as an injectable drug to prolong survival of patients in cancer therapy. Read about it here. Japanese researchers are zoning in on an active compound in shiitakes called eritadenine. So far, they have been found to lower cholesterol in rats. Read abstract here.
As for the bok choy – baby or not – it is a member of the famed brassica family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, chard. Do you know what this means? I’ve written about the cancer-fighting properties of cabbages here.
Follow me to the kitchen and we’ll celebrate life with this dish. What are you thankful for today? I am thankful that I have my health and my family. I am taking control of my life the best way I can. As for a new job, I know good things will come to those who work hard!
- 8 to 10 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
- a small bag of baby bok choy, cut vertically in half
- 2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons coconut amino or organic soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoons coconut sugar or maple syrup
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- black and white sesame seeds
- Brush away the dirt of shiitake mushrooms, remove the stems and slice the caps.
- Rinse the baby bok choy completely to remove the grit and dirt stuck in between leaves. Slice the baby bok choy vertically in half. Dry leaves with a towel.
- In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, coconut amino or soy sauce, water, and coconut sugar or maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a pan over medium heat, heat olive oil and add the shallots, cooking until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Then, add the baby bok choy and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the reserved sauce into the pan and cook, stirring continuously until the vegetables are coated. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.
- Sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.