Its Vegetarian Awareness Month !

While most skin care experts I know are concerned that a strict vegan diet  is too low in  protein for the body’s growth and repair, a vegetarian  diet with eggs and dairy products  can be an express train for great health and beautiful skin.  But not all vegetables are equal and  during Vegetarian Awareness Month, I want to  look at  the best choices–  and its the perfect season to do it.  The  markets are bursting with a beautiful harvest in gorgeous colors.  Turns out that the deeper jewel colored fruits and veggies  like blueberrries, figs and eggplant are rich is an awesomely powerful class of antioxidants called anthocyanidins.

Anthocyanidins are found in fruits and vegetables with deep red, blue, and purple colors. Not only do they protect  the body from the effect of free-radicals, laboratory studies  have shown that  they appear to kill cancer cells.  And unlike some  cancer-preventive foods (eg kale),  anthocyanidins are easy to eat, sweet and  widely available everywhere.  Even   grim plastic meal on a plane will have a few grapes or berries.   Dark fresh or dried figs  are super rich in this antioxidant power house and one of my favorite ways to eat figs is in a Mediterranean style chicken from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  This is an adaption that lowers the sugar in the recipe without losing any flavor.

Chicken and Figs

Ingredients– 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces,4 cloves of garlic, mashed, 2 teaspoons of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 3 fresh figs, cut into quarters, 1/4 cup sliced, pimento stuffed olives, 1 tablespoon of capers, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon  Agave, 1/4 cup white wine

Steps–  1. Combine garlic, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, figs, olives, capers,  and bay leaf in a ziploc  bag.2. Add chicken, close tightly and move  bag around so that the marinade coats the chicken. 3. Refrigerate overnight. 4. Preheat oven to 375.  5. Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of Release tin foil so that the chicken will not stick.6.  Place chicken in a single layer and pour on the marinade that remains  in the bag.7.  Bake for 50 minutes, basting often with marinade. 8. Pick up chicken, figs, and olives with a slotted spoon and arrange on platter.  9.  Scoop up pan juices into a separate bowl to ladle on each plate individually.

There is so much great nutrition in this dish– linoleic acid in the olives, fiber and antioxidants in the figs and low fat protein in the chicken.  Serve with whole wheat couscous for a buffet of B vitamins and fiber.

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