I’m on a mission to build meals centered around vegetables and other greens, and using lettuce is an easy way to do so. This is a classic recipe, where you add a bunch of flavorful Asian-style ingredients to a leaf of butter lettuce. Wrap and munch.
It’s fun and easy, and lets each of us customize our wraps. Most ingredients are fresh (and raw), and together they form a crunchy, flavorful package. For this lettuce wrap I made a very moist five-spice pork inspired by this recipe from Williams Sonoma, but this can easily be replaced with other seasoned food such as sauteed chicken, vegetables, or brown rice. And any kind of dressing can be added to give even more flavor to the ingredients.
We’re charting new territory here, as I remove or reduce meat from our meals. I’m trying to find a balance so that it doesn’t seem like something is missing, and my goal is about 20% meat or less each day, and some days, none. To find out why, read about our initiative below.
Our latest Crohn’s initiative Our plant-based diet effort comes together in the wake of us finding a new naturopathic medical doctor (ND) for my son with Crohn’s. Our goal is to get my son off of methotrexate and on to a low a dose of naltrexone. I thought some of you might be interested to know our treatment plan in case you are looking for a solution, or are curious about why we’re doing this. We’re still working with our GI doctor, and we’ll be sharing all this with him soon.
The plan is to shift to a mostly plant-based diet, and remove red meat from our diet since it is pro-inflammatory. White meat is less pro-inflammatory, but we’re still staying on the low % for all meat. We’ve already been incorporating anti-inflammatory food and herbs into our diet, however this is a bigger step, especially since some of us here love red meat.
Other parts of the treatment include a daily gulp of orange-flavored fish oil, billions of probiotics, B-12 dots, Vitamin D capsule, multivitamin powdered drink, along with extra folic acid (on top of what he takes for the methotrexate). Whew. Did I get it all? I hope so. The trick for my son is getting out the door on time with all this stuff in him, including his breakfast and lunch packed. This teenager is a trooper. No room for forgetting homework, last minute assignments, or sleeping a bit late. Up at 6 am and out by 6:45 am. I don’t know how he does it. I’m so proud of him.
Five-Spice Lettuce Wraps
- 1 head of butter lettuce
- 1 carrot, julienned or pealed into strips
- 2 cups of bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup of sliced almonds or peanuts for garnish
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Five-Spice Pork Ingredients
- about 4 pounds of pork shoulder, cut into pieces
- about 4 teaspoons of five-spice
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or crushed
- oil for browning
- about 1 cup or so of chicken broth or water
(This recipe was improvised by me and may not reflect what the official spice tastes like.)
- 2 teaspoons of anise seeds
- 2 teaspoons of roasted Szechuan peppercorns (I used 1 dried chili pepper, crushed, since I didn’t have these on hand; and I’ve also made it without this spice for those who are avoiding spicy foods)
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
Grind all the spices together in a coffee grinder, spice grinder, or food processor.
- Prepare the five-spice recipe.
- Heat a frying pan with some oil in it.
- Combine the five-spice and salt in a flat bowl or plate.
- Cover the pork pieces with five-spice on each side, and then brown each piece in the frying pan on both sides (a few minutes on each side).
- Once browned, place all the pork in a slow-cooker or dutch oven.
- Back to the frying pan, place the onions, ginger, and garlic in the frying pan and heat for a few minutes.
- Add some of the chicken broth to the frying pan to wash all the ingredients into the slow-cooker.
- Add the rest of the chicken broth to the slow-cooker and cook for about 3 hours, or until the pork is tender and easy to shred. Cover the pork about 1/2 of the way with broth (or water).
- When the pork is done, skim off the fat from the top and pull the pork apart with a fork and/or knife.
- Bring all the green ingredients together and you are ready to start making and eating lettuce wraps. A little squeeze of lime enhances the flavor of the shredded pork.