Friday, July 11, 2014

This one-pot shrimp and vegetables dish gives you time to cook, and vote

One-pot shrimp and vegetables | PHOTO CREDIT P-G Matuszak
One-pot shrimp and vegetables | PHOTO CREDIT P-G Matuszak

No time to vote? No time to eat healthy? With this 30-minute, healthy shrimp and vegetables dish, you have no excuse.

Time. In these hustle and bustle days, there seems to never be enough of it, does there?

You know you should eat a healthy breakfast. There’s not enough time. So you opt for a mass-produced bagel and a large coffee product at the corner corporate coffeehouse. You feel tired because you didn’t have enough time to get at least six hours of sleep, making you “need” that large coffee even more. Luckily, studies have found dark-roast coffees contain vital anti-oxidants. Your dinner last night was something mass-processed that you zapped in a microwave. You may not have even taken the time to toss it on a plate. Despite many states having early voting polling sites and Permanent Early Voter Lists (PEVLs), you don’t have time to vote.

We have deadlines, kids with homework and after school commitments, attempts at social lives, Twitter tweets to catch up, email to read, bills to pay, neglected housework piling up, and a gym membership we haven’t used since two weeks after we made that New Year’s resolution.

There’s time. You just need to budget it a bit. When budgeting it, you need to find things that will fit into that budget. It’s just like doing your kitchen table economics you had to do when you sat down to figure out how you were going to afford your new Obamacare premiums. The time is there. You just have to find it.
Some people claim that eating healthy is expensive. It can be. It probably will be if you continue to buy processed, pre-packaged meals that are labelled as “healthy”. Unfortunately, unless you know what to look for, many of those things are not all that healthy. If you try to read the labels, you start wondering if you should have paid more attention to your high school chemistry lessons. Many of those same people claim that it takes too long to prepare healthy meals from scratch (or “near-scratch”).

This quick, one-pot, healthy meal takes less than 30 minutes to cook. With a little “mis en place” preparation, it can take less.

This recipe includes ancient grains, specifically quinoa, healthy leafy greens, high-omega-3 seafood, and some ingredients that help mitigate unnecessary inflammation.  It is wheat and gluten-free and designed for heart and brain health.

One-pot shrimp and vegetables


Shrimp (4 oz per serving), raw, de-veined, and peeled
Qinoa – 1/4 cup uncooked per serving
Coconut oil – 2 tsp
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Garlic (crushed) – 1 tbsp
Peas or broccoli (frozen work)  – 3 oz per serving
(optional) leafy greens, i.e. kale, spinach, or chard – 1-3 oz per serving
Chipotle powder  – 1/4 tsp per serving
Turmeric powder  – 1/4 tsp per serving
Wasabi powder – 1/4 tsp per serving
Lemon pepper – 1/2 tsp per serving
Water – 1/4 cup per serving
Nutritional quick facts: Approximately 30 grams of protein, 20 grams carbohydrate, and 10 grams of dietary fiber per serving. These are estimates and may vary.


Seasoned Shrimp | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

First prepare the shrimp. If not bought veined and peeled in the package, then prepare accordingly. Place peeled and veined shrimp in a bowl. Add half the garlic, and the spices. Now “add some love”. That means to take your freshly washed hand and massage all of that together until the spices are well blended and coating the shrimp.  Let sit. It takes only a couple of minutes for those spices to sink into the shrimp.
While the shrimp is marinating in the spice mix, place the coconut and olive oils in a medium (or larger if serving more than 4 people) pot. Add the rest of the garlic and warm at low-medium heat until the coconut oil melts. Once the oil is melted, add the shrimp and the quinoa.

Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Garlic
Oil & Garlic | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

Stir those shrimp and the quinoa until the shrimp turn pink. Add the water, stir, and raise the heat to medium-high.  Bring to a low boil, uncovered. Stir again.

Here you have two options. If you opted for frozen peas (you can substitute broccoli spears, instead, if you’d like) instead of fresh ones, you can add them at this time. For a time-saving shortcut, you can buy frozen “steam in the microwave” peas for as low as $1.50. When you add the shrimp to the pot, you microwave those steamer peas (or broccoli) for 3-5 minutes in the microwave. They do not need to completely cook in the microwave, just warm and defrosted.

Pink shrimp & quinoa
Pink shrimp & quinoa | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

If you left the peas frozen, add them and bring back to a low boil. Cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you nuked the peas, add them and cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve in bowls. Eat.

Healthy Benefits

The coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Your body uses those MCTs to create beta-hydroxybutyrate, a biochemical your body uses to regenerate cells, especially brain cells. Those same MCTs are used by your body to produce glutathione, a vital anti-oxidant your body needs to increase brain-power, fight inflammation, and increase the efficiency of your metabolism. It also can slow the aging process, a plus for those of us over 30.

Quinoa is a nearly gluten-free ancient grain. It has a mild nutty flavor and doesn’t contribute to unnecessary inflammation or plaque production like high-gluten grains (wheat, barley, rye, and even some processed oats). Plaque is not just that nasty film on your teeth. Similar substances build up, over years, in your blood vessels, your liver, and your brain. That aggravates and may even be the cause of multiple problems including type-2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s,  and ADHD. Gluten is one of the key components of that plaque.
The shrimp contains vitamin-D and the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA. Recent studies have indicated that DHA is vital for brain cell production, heart health, and combating type-2 diabetes, among other ailments. Vitamin-D’s benefits are still being studied. It enhances mood. It helps prevent unnecessary inflammation in joins, brain, heart, and bloodstream. It helps in bone health and regrowth (for bruised and broken bones).
These are just a snippet of the “good” in this quick and easy dish. To explore all of the potential benefits, you may want to take some of that time you saved making this quick meal to read books such as Dr. David Permutter’s  (@davidperlmutter ) “Grain Brain“.

Admittedly, there are better protein sources than shrimp. Red fish such as salmon or yellow-fin tuna are much more beneficial. In a time-crunch, though, they take too long to cook. Spinach and kale are better vegetables than peas. Sometimes you need to cook what you have available. Nearing the end of a week, when you’ve already consumed all of the kale and spinach, reaching into the freezer for the frozen peas or broccoli is an adequate option.

What to do with the “saved time” — vote

With that time you saved, you have generated enough time to head to an early polling location and cast your ballot. You have time to budget spending filling out your PEVL ballot and walking it down to the mailbox.
Before doing either of those, you need to use some of  that extra time doing your diligence. “Your diligence” means being a responsible voter. Voting is not a right. If you read the US Constitution, it does not directly guarantee a right to vote. It outlines and prohibits certain things from disqualifying a voter. It establishes a minimum voting age. But it does not guarantee a “right” to vote.

Voting is a responsibility and a privilege. We owe it to ourselves and our children to vote, if we are legally able to do so. The laws differ from state to state. Some require you to be a resident of your polling precinct for a minimum time period and to have registered in advance. Federal laws require states to scrub and verify voter registration rosters in advance as well. So, if you register too late or just moved, you may not qualify to vote. If you are convicted of certain crimes, you may not be eligible to vote. If you are dead, you shouldn’t be reading this much less casting a ballot.

If you are eligible to vote, you need to register. If you are registered, you need to cast your ballot. You may think one vote doesn’t count. However, if 10,000 people in your polling precinct feel that way, that’s 10,000 votes that could have dramatically swayed the outcome of an election. Ask California about Proposition 8. One of the main arguments against that bill was not enough people bothered to show up to vote. The majority who did vote passed a law that the majority of citizens of the state opposed.

If you are going to cast a ballot, you need to be responsible and do your research. Certain politicians count on “single-issue” voters to comprise their base. For example, some believe that a they will automatically get pro-life votes because of their pro-life platform. They count on you to ignore their fiscal irresponsibility or anti-second amendment platforms. You need to look into issues on which all candidates have campaigned in favor (or opposition). Look up their voting records and what bills they have sponsored. Look at their success rates. For a legislator, that success rate is how well their proposed bills have done. If they have a high passage rate for bills they sponsored that favor your views, they are “successful”.

This is just a recommended time-saving meal that is good for your health and will save you time; time to do something for the health of the nation and the futures of our children.