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Got Lycopene?!

Delicious homemade tomato sauce w/ fresh basil
photo by: Jennifer Nicol

Lycopene is a plant pigment and carotenoid that gives fruits and vegetables their rich reddish color. It can be found in high amounts in pink guava, watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, red peppers, purple cabbage and tomatoes.

Tomatoes are particularly rich in lycopene and studies show that cooking the tomatoes makes lycopene more absorbable. It is recommended to consume lycopene with a source of fat, further increasing it's absorption. Tasty examples of healthy fats to pair with lycopene include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, fresh avocado, nuts and seeds.

This powerful antioxidant is known for it's ability to lower the risk of heart disease, help prevent the oxidation of healthy fat cells and protect against damage to DNA from free radicals. Lycopene is a powerhouse against heart disease because it lowers LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol we don't want excessive amounts of sticking to the arterial walls and creating blockages that cause serious heart disease as well as other heart conditions.

Boost your intake! Use stewed or strained tomatoes in sauces, chilli dishes, soups, marinades and stews. Drink tomato juice paired with a small handful of raw cashews or pistachios or smear tomato paste on whole grain pizza dough or bread, drizzle with olive oil and fresh arugula, red peppers, mushrooms and capers.

Enjoy creating dishes by pairing lycopene rich fruits and vegetables with a source of healthy fat for maximum absorption. Eat a variety of colors, textures and different foods daily.

Eat the rainbow! A diet full of fresh whole food is essential to the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.

Delicious homemade tomato sauce w/ fresh basil
Delicious homemade tomato sauce w/ fresh basil photo by: Jennifer Nicol

Delicious homemade tomato sauce w/ fresh basil

Spelt pasta topped with homemade sauce.

Easy to prepare sauce from a jar of unsalted strained tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, dry and fresh basil, olive oil, hot peppers or cayenne and fresh minced or chopped garlic if desired. Heat on low to medium for 20-25 minutes. Let stand for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Pair with Arugula or dark green salad.

Lentil broccoli bean stew in a tomato base
Lentil broccoli bean stew in a tomato base photo by: Jennifer Nicol

Lentil broccoli bean stew in a tomato base

Lightly curried stew in a diced tomato base with onions, garlic and celery for a rich and savoury flavour. Slow cooked in a soup pot, gently simmered for 1hr until the texture comes to a thick stew.

Add any veggies or beans to the stew, mix in broccoli florets in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Serve with whole rye toast.

Papaya Watermelon Salad
Papaya Watermelon Salad photo by: Jennifer Nicol

Papaya Watermelon Salad

Super scrumptious fresh fruit salad!!

Papaya, watermelon, blueberries, dried figs topped with hemp hearts and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Sauteed sweet pepper and Bean tacos
Sauteed sweet pepper and Bean tacos photo by: Jennifer Nicol

Sauteed sweet pepper and Bean tacos

Talk about colorful!!

Corn tacos made with lightly sauteed sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and beans, topped with fresh shredded cabbage, cilantro, salad greens and hot sauce.

Served with salad greens.

Vibrant chickpea bowl
Vibrant chickpea bowl photo by: Jennifer Nicol

Vibrant chickpea bowl

For lunch or dinner, this bowl is loaded with healthy goodness!

Chickpeas and colorful veggies including purple cabbage, red peppers and diced fresh tomato tossed in a fresh garlic, apple cider and olive oil dressing. Sprinkled with fresh herbs and sunflower seeds.