Healthier Alternatives

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By Martha Lee

So I’ve been on a “Deen Brothers in the Kitchen” kind of kick lately, and it’s got me all excited for fall, football, and eating right.  By eating right, I mean eating healthy foods – super foods, which all the Deens, including Mrs. Paula, cook with on a regular basis.

Even the Queen of Butter herself knows that most fruits and veggies have significant benefits to the human body (she just happens to add a boost of butter, I mean, flavor)!  Not only are some of them excellent for you and are considered super foods, but they are linked to keeping the mind and body looking and feeling younger and healthier (scroll to the bottom to see a list of super foods to try). 

Lately, I’ve been cooking up some Deen Brothers healthy goodens’.  I absolutely LOVED the extra hint of spice in the Kicked Up Eggplant Parmesan last week, and I’m boiling up their peanut recipe today for the games this weekend (found in Deen Bros magazine, Tailgating, Vol.1, Issue 3). My personal favorite was a mean chuck roast last night complete with succulent sweet potatoes and celery cooked down in the gravy.  It was a taste so sweet that let me know fall is in the air!
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The kitchen aroma of that wonderful chuck roast lingered all afternoon and into the evening, and our little one, the Littlest Lee, was quick to help right along in the cooking process and often peered through the glass into the oven as we waited.  The delightful smells of all of the wonderful flavors combined were hard to resist, so at least I thought. It wasn’t until during the meal that we got the biggest hoot out of our little “firecracker.”  She MEANT that she was not going to touch her plate unless it came from her Deddy across the table.  Same food on her tray, on my plate, and on her Deddy’s plate, yet she was determined and hard-headed enough to only eat off of his plate.  Silly girl. We’ve got our work cut out for us in the years ahead, and Deddy has a new date at the restaurant table. “She’s all yours,” I said with a smile!
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A few super foods worth raving about:  these foods are proven to boost your immune system and aid in longevity and beautiful skin. I’ll eat to that!

1. Dark, leafy vegetables – such as kale, collard greens, turnips, and Brussels sprouts. Like I’ve mentioned before, the darker the better.  Same goes for fruit. They are high in essential nutrients & antioxidants that help fight sickness and disease.  Antioxidants destroy free radicals that damage healthy cells and they also boost the immune system. Win, win!

2. Foods rich in Omega -3 Fatty Acids – nuts, seeds, soybeans, avocados, and wild-caught salmon pack a mean punch in this department, and these fatty acids are loaded with antioxidants.  Your largest external cell membrane gains the biggest boost in this department: your skin!

3. Oranges – loaded with Vitamin C, folate, and potassium, this fruit boosts energy without the unnecessary sugar and caffeine rush we’re all so used to.

4. Tomatoes – rich in lycopene which is a proven antioxidant that suppresses the growth of tumors and helps to lower blood pressure. It also packs a mean punch of fiber and vitamin C.

5. Sweet Potatoes – this oh-so-sweet veggie is packed with carbohydrates (which fill you up) and is high in the antioxidant beta-carotene which aids in vision and respiratory illnesses.

6. Legumes – beans are a great source of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein and can easily sit in as a healthy substitute for meat for those who dare give it a try!

7. Garlic and onions – These potent little guys have been found to prevent illness and kill viruses.

8. Yogurt – contains “active cultures,” calcium, and magnesium that aid in bone, digestive, and immune health.  Greek yogurt is a great source of protein too and is lower in sodium than the regular kind.

9. Blueberries – ranked number one in antioxidants by the USDA.  They contain 15 different antioxidants which are believed to boost memory and lower cholesterol. Raspberries, acai berries, and strawberries are also excellent sources. Go ahead. Eat up!

Just remember: getting more color on your dinner plate and filling half of it with fruits, veggies, or legumes can really make all the difference.  Processed foods full of preservatives are counterproductive to our health, so they should be avoided at all costs.  The best way to feed your health is to cook from scratch, and those Deens sure are an inspiration to me in the kitchen…even with a teeny tiny bit of butter on top!

***The Deen Bros. chuck roast and Eggplant Parm. recipes come from their second cookbook, Yall Come Eat.

Martha Lee and her husband began working for Paula Deen Enterprises in 2006 until Martha left to pursue a degree in Special Education. She takes a cue from her 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, leaving tiny footprints on the planet. Her blog shares practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. Born and raised in beautiful, soulful Macon, GA, Martha and her family now lives in Savannah, where she can be found outside hula-hooping and performing handstands daily.
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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm