All Wrapped Up…with Lettuce

27076940_sHere is another surprising fact that I discovered while working at Feed Your Vitality. I don’t have to have bread to enjoy a sandwich. In my previous life, the bread was non-negotiable; it wasn’t a sandwich without bread. Period, end of story. Lettuce sounded like a very sorry substitute.   The first time I tried a wrap in heavy duty crispy lettuce I felt almost guilty that afterwards I hadn’t missed my beloved bread. Now I am almost obsessed with how good everything tastes wrapped in lettuce – Burritos! Tacos! Spring rolls! And of course, sandwiches!

So now, while I am more than happy to eat lettuce wraps that other people make, I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about creating them myself. Here are a few tips I learned from the experts here at Feed Your Vitality.

  • The key to the lettuce wrap is, obviously, the lettuce – and there are quite a few differences of opinion about the “best” type to use.
  • Generally, you want a large leaf that can hold a lot of ingredients.  It should be pliable so it is easy to wrap.
  • Most commonly used are iceberg, romaine, napa cabbage, Boston or Bibb
  • Cut off the end and separate each “leaf”
  • Wash well, making sure to remove any grit, and pat dry with paper towels
  • Fillings can be warm and spicy, cold and refreshing, or basically anything that you would include in a sandwich, burrito, taco, etc.  If the filling is juicy, you may want to drain it well so there isn’t a lot of dripping from the wrap.  This also goes for any additional condiments, dressings or dips you consider adding.
  • When filling, try to keep the ingredients about an inch from the edges of the lettuce. Some people prefer to mix all the ingredients first; some prefer to layer them.
  • Fold the lettuce sides into the center, and roll – it is very similar to putting together a burrito!

All in all, lettuce wraps can be very versatile and used as appetizers or main dishes. You can have a build your own wrap station, or you can prepare them yourself. Depending on the fillings they can be Mexican, Asian or just a simple sandwich.

And that’s a wrap!

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So How Do You Wrap a Paleo Taco?

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Today my two year old son and I planted seeds in our garden, a task I always feel inclined to do after the spring solstice. We planted broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and three different varieties of cabbage. Yesterday we got pea and carrot seeds into the ground. Spring is here, and the garden can come alive again! I get so excited about fresh produce from the garden. I love the whole process of growing a plant, harvesting a crop, washing, slicing, cooking, and eating. I put that same love and care into all the meals that I make at Feed Your Vitality.

All of the staff at Feed Your Vitality want you to share in this excitement for nutritious food. Eating this way should not feel like an obligation, and if you find yourself feeling this way, please let us know how we can make improvements.  We want each entrée to look appealing, and it is our hope that you will eventually savor and crave the fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and herbs that we have carefully and intentionally prepared. We ask that you provide us with feedback so that we can properly feed your vitality, because this isn’t just a diet plan; this is your health and life!

One of our customers, Nan, wrote our owner Ashley an email stating:

“These tacos are to die for!!!! OMG!  Just what I needed today!!!! What type of lettuce leaf am I eating it on!  So sweet tasting!!  Yum.  Thanks so much!”

Well Nan, It’s actually not lettuce at all. Many restaurants use iceberg lettuce for their wraps. Iceberg is known for it’s juicy crunch and low cost. While popular, many people have started straying from this variety due its low nutritional content and the desire for darker, more nutritious, leafy varieties.

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The wraps we serve (as taco shells and more) are actually made of nappa cabbage and frequently served with cilantro. Nappa is surprisingly high in absorbable calcium and researchers are currently doing research on the phytochemicals called “indoles” found in the Brassica genus of plants such as:

  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • arugula
  • bok choy
  • horse radish
  • radish
  • collard greens
  • kale
  • rutabaga
  • turnip
  • watercress
  • wasabi

According to research cited by The National Cancer Institute, during food preparation, chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates in Brassicacae are broken down to form biologically active compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates. Indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane (an isothiocyanate) have been most frequently examined for their anticancer effects.

Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of organ cancer in rats and mice, including: bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach. Studies in animals and experiments with cells grown in the laboratory have identified several potential ways in which these compounds may help prevent cancer:

  • They help protect cells from DNA damage.
  • They help inactivate carcinogens.
  • They have antiviral and antibacterial effects.
  • They have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • They inhibit tumor blood vessel formation and tumor cell migration.

Studies in humans, however, have shown mixed results.  For more information you can read the whole article. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/diet/cruciferous-vegetables

Researchers from Cancer Care Ontario report that consuming more than one serving of cauliflower and broccoli a week reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 45 percent!

We continue to do our research both academically and personally, as we create meals using ingredients specifically intended to reduce and prevent inflammation, illness, and disease. We realize that there is a lot of contradictory nutritional information out there, which can be extremely overwhelming! However, as mothers and chefs,  we believe eating meals that are minimally processed is a great start to helping you and the people you love feel good.

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We care about the details.

Every sprig of cilantro, delicately placed,  is a representation of the attention, thought, and caring labor that Feed Your Vitality puts into each meal.

Let us know how we can better serve you.