Inflammation—we’ve been hearing this word zipping around like wildfire and we know we need to do everything we can to combat it. Who wouldn’t want to fight something that’s been associated with a wide range of health problems, including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes (to name a few)? But when it comes to practical guidance about fighting inflammation, resources have been sorely lacking—until now.
In The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: The Delicious Way to Reduce Inflammation and Stay Healthy ($27.95), Amanda Haas, the culinary director for Williams-Sonoma, and Dr. Bradly Jacobs, an integrative medicine physician, have the can-do advice for fighting inflammation and the delicious recipes to go along with it.
After suffering through a barrage of illnesses (chronic heartburn, endless stomach pain, bouts of sudden nausea) and visiting a laundry list of health care providers with no effective treatments, Haas finally turned to food for answers “I realized that if I could create recipes that stave of inflammation, I would literally cook my way out of pain and into a healthier, happier life,” she says.
In the book, Haas and Jacobs examine sources of stress for the body, including exposure to pesticides and herbicides; a diet high in added sugar and calories; alcohol; and trigger foods (for some people) like gluten and dairy. They encourage restoring the digestive track with healthy bacteria like those found in kefir and yogurt and feeding your body with plenty of leafy greens, legumes, seeds, oily fish and grass-fed protein.
Everything in this book is gluten-free and many recipes are vegetarian and vegan, or can easily be made so. Although you might imagine the book would prescribe a rigid regimen, we found the recipes doable and with an eye towards time and budget). The recipes ping from cinnamon cashew milk to a slow cooker chicken chile verde, all with a mind to be cleansing, restorative and energizing.
We particularly love the recipe for breakfast bibimbap with a base of brown rice or quinoa (a perfect way to use up last night’s leftover cooked grains and vegetables). It sounds complex, but think of it as a flavorful ground zero for any greens or vegetables that you can’t quite figure out how to use in your fridge. And though “breakfast” is in the recipe title, this dish would be equally delicious for lunch or dinner.
- 4 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-in [6-mm] matchsticks
- 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-in [6-mm] matchsticks
- 3 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups [180 g] sliced mushrooms, such as shiitake and cremini
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 2 cups [300 g] cooked brown rice or quinoa
- 1 Tbsp chopped basil
- 1 Tbsp chopped mint
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 4 poached eggs
- Hot sauce, such as Sriracha, for serving (optional)
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Add the carrot, zucchini, and green onions, along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have just browned and are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan.
- Place the pan back over medium-high heat, add another 1 tsp sesame oil and allow the pan to get very hot. Add the mushrooms in one layer. Allow them to sit and get a nice crust before stirring, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are well browned, about 2 minutes more.
- Remove the mushrooms from the pan.
- Place the pan back over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tsp sesame oil. Allow the pan to get very hot, then add the brown rice and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Let it crisp before breaking it up and stirring, about 2 minutes. Stir, then spread the rice over the bottom of the pan again and allow to crisp for 2 minutes more.
- Divide the rice between four bowls and top each serving with vegetables, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, and a poached egg. Add as much hot sauce as desired. Serve immediately!