Fertility-Friendly Cooking

I was looking for some dinner inspiration the other night, so I opened my new cookbook, “It’s All Good” by Gwenyth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. One recipe in particular caught my eye, “Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley”. My first thought was, what interesting combinations. More importantly, was the delicious use of a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower. Yummy!

In my acupuncture practice, when discussing a fertility-friendly diet with a patient, I often recommend cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are members of the cabbage family and get their name from their four-petaled flowers which look like a crucifer or cross. They are high in Vitamin A carotenoids, Vitamins C and K, manganese, folic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, anti-oxidants and glucosinolates. Also, as Randine Lewis mentions in her book “The Infertility Cure” (under the heading “how nutrition makes a difference”), cruciferous vegetables contain di-indolymethane (DIM). DIM increases the metabolism of estradiol, a form of naturally produced estrogen. Metabolism of excess estradiol is positively associated with improved mood and libido, weight loss and reductions in certain cancers (e.g., uterine and breast).

The other part of this recipe I really enjoy is the cooking method. In Chinese medicine, creating the ideal environment for conception includes the food preparation. The method with which a food is prepared effects its “energetic quality”. The Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley recipe is all about roasting, which gives this dish an energetically warm quality. Depending on one’s constitution, minimizing raw or energetically cold food may be important in preparing your body for conception. If cauliflower is not your favourite, you may also want to try some other cruciferous vegetables such as arugula, broccoli, brussel sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, radish, rutabaga, turnip, kale or bok choy. So many to choose from!

Let’s get cooking. You are in for a surprisingly tasty meal.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley

Ingredients
• A 14 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried in a kitchen towel.
• 1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves removed and discarded. Cut into bite sized florets.
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Coarse sea salt
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• Freshly ground black pepper
• ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

Directions
• Preheat the oven to 400F and set the rack in the middle.
• Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.
• Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar and ¼ cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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