Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cole slaw, veggies and potassium

A long ride on one's bike can be difficult at best when you are on a low-carb diet. Add in hot weather that leads to copious sweating and loss of potassium, and you've got the makings of a leg spasm in the middle of the night.

This kind of painful contraction in the back of your leg that results from over exertion and loss of potassium recently awakened me from a deep sleep. It wouldn't settle down easily so I was forced to get up, walk around and massage my leg before I could return to bed and get back to sleep.

The same scenario repeated itself for several nights in a row before it dawned on me what the problem was. I wasn't consuming enough foods with potassium. But how could I up my potassium if I couldn't eat foods like bananas and other types of fruit? That's when I decided to do some research. I discovered there are tons of other foods besides bananas that are high in potassium, including lots of veggies, fish and meat. Some high potassium foods that mesh with my current low-carb diet include: Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, tomatoes, cantaloupe, salmon, cod, turkey, soybeans, lentils and white beans.

More than half of the foods on that list are vegetables, naturally low in carbohydrates but yet high in potassium. It occurred to me that I had a potassium gold mine at my fingertips---our community garden, pictured above. Our lush veggie patch has been churning out cucumbers and zucchinis at 300 plus per week as well as beet greens and chard so far. Most of the pickings have been going to the Salvation Army to help those in need. Soon there will be cantaloupe, tomatoes and green beans, all good sources of potassium.

My potassium problems were solved. All I had to do was incorporate more of the good stuff into my cooking. I was in the mood for a fish taco with cole slaw. How could I pump up the veggies and get more potassium? I came up with my super-duper potassium cole slaw.

Super-Duper Potassium Cole Slaw
1/2 head each of green and red cabbage, chopped
3 unpeeled zucchinis shredded
2 cups broccoli slaw
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup silken tofu
salt and pepper
2 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 drops liquid stevia
4 pieces of grilled cod, rubbed with spicy rub of garlic powder, chili powder,dry cilantro, salt and pepper

Prepare the veggies for the cole slaw. Place in a large bowl. Mix up the dressing, including tofu, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stevia drops, in a measuring cup. Pour over the veggies and mix thoroughly. Place the slaw in the refrigerator to chill.

Meantime, prepare the grilled cod. Rub with your favorite spices. I like garlic powder, chili powder, dry cilantro, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and grill under the broiler or on the barbecue.

Serve the cod on a bed of slaw (with or without a taco shell or tortilla) and soak up a bounty of good taste and potassium.

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