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.