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Eating Well

Eating Well, Recipes, Seasonal

Asparagus Soup

March 7, 2017

Nothing says spring like fresh asparagus and it seems we are seeing it earlier and earlier in the produce department these days.  Although I prefer to wait for the local crop,  purchasing organic asparagus coming from some of the warmer states can satisfy a craving for a delicious soup  this time of year. 

Asparagus are loaded with vitamin C, a whopping 404 milligrams of potassium per cooked cup,  folate (an important B vitamin) and vitamin K, which is essential for healthy clotting and strong bones.  And as an added bonus,  asparagus are high in fiber and low in calories.  Enjoy this healthy and delicious soup! 

Asparagus Soup

Olive oil for sautéing vegetables (2-3 tablespoons)
2 pounds fresh asparagus trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 medium sweet onion chopped
1 leak, white part only, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch rings
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup diced baby bella mushrooms
5-6 cups good quality reduced sodium chicken  or vegetable stock
additional water if necessary
1/4 cup half and half
additional sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Heat oil on medium heat in large non-stick soup pot. Add onion and leak to hot pan, cooking until vegetables soften and start to caramelize, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for two minutes. Add asparagus, parsley, mushrooms
and chicken stock and cook on low boil until vegetables are soft and can be blended. Use your hand held blender and puree soup. Add half and half and adjust seasoning.
If soup is too thick add a half to full cup of water. Enjoy!

Eating Well, Uncategorized

THE SIMPLE ELIMINATION DIET THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE

January 18, 2017

Do you have skin issues? Digestive issues like gas, bloating, or intermittent constipation? Bad allergies or low energy levels? How is your mood? Do you suffer from brain fog? You may not realize it, but the foods you’re eating everyday could be slowly compromising your health. And a simple elimination diet that takes only 23 days could potentially help you determine a food group that should be avoided to reduce or eliminate these harmful effects.

Make a list of everything that is of concern before you begin your elimination diet and keep a journal throughout the process to determine if your symptoms have been corrected or reduced. You want to track important changes and note when they happen.

The basic elimination diet lasts 23 days and it focuses on four food groups.  1. gluten 2.dairy 3.eggs 4.soy  It’s also a good idea to give up alcohol to reduce sugar which helps things like yeast and harmful bacteria thrive in our stomach.

Why 23?

Antibodies, which are the proteins that your immune system makes when it reacts to foods, take around 21 to 23 days to turn over. So, you must give it that much time to get the full effect of elimination.

What to eat?

Clean proteins (organic meats, poultry, wild-caught fish); healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil); and vegetables, legumes, gluten-free grains, beans, fruits, etc.

On day 24, reintroduce one of the four food groups and see how you feel over the next 48 hours. If you have no reaction after two days, you can reintroduce another group. Repeat this process until all four groups have been reincorporated and see if one of the four food groups is causing your discomfort.

Pay Attention to Your Body!

Note how you are feeling, how you are sleeping, and how your energy level feels. How does your skin look? Is your belly flatter? You should know by the end of this month-long test if you have a food sensitivity and start to feel better by making some adjustments in your diet and lifestyle.

 

 

Eating Well, Recipes, Seasonal

MEXICAN TORTILLA SOUP

October 6, 2016

Cooler temperatures call for hearty soups that can replace a meal.  And this recipe makes a large quantity which can provide plenty of leftovers.  It’s great for game day, or a delicious Sunday dinner, and it has lots of protein with the chicken and black beans.   A simple green salad is all that is needed to make it a complete nutritious meal.   

MEXICAN TORTILLA SOUP

3 tablespoons olive oil
5 corn tortillas chopped
2 onions chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 jalapeño peppers seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons cumin
1.5 quarts chicken stock (3 cups full sodium 3 cups reduced sodium)
2 28 oz. cans chopped tomatoes (Muir-Glen fire roasted preferred)
1.5 pounds raw chicken tenders breast meat cut into bit size pieces
1 bag frozen corn
1 can organic black beans drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

additional salt and pepper to taste

fresh cilantro and queso fresco for garnish

In large non stick pot heat oil on medium heat. Add chopped tortillas, onions, jalapeños, garlic, and cumin to saute,  stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent ( app 5-8 minutes).  Add stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree soup with hand held blender. Bring soup back to simmer, add chicken, roasted corn, black beans, and seasonings.  Cook app. 30 minutes until chicken is done.
Garnish with cilantro, shredded cheese, and sour cream (if desired).
Enjoy!

 

Eating Well

HOW TO CHANGE THE ALKALINE IN YOUR BODY

September 20, 2016

When it comes to health, your overall PH is extremely important.  PH stands for the potential of hydrogen, which is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in the body.  The PH number determines whether your body is in a healthy state of alkalinity or overly acidic and potentially inflamed. Experts say disease is not possible in an optimal alkaline state. The PH scale ranges from 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being the most alkaline.  For individuals the ideal PH reading is 7.3-7.45, slightly alkaline. If you would like to test your PH you can purchase strips on line or in many health food stores.

What you are eating is constantly impacting the PH in your body. In “general,” animal foods such as meet and dairy, are acidic, while plant based foods like fruits and vegetables, are alkaline. Other factors such as environmental toxins, household chemicals, soaps and detergents, can also effect PH. In addition, processed foods and a diet high in sugar can also cause you to be overly acidic.

To summarize, there are numerous ways to improve alkalinity in your body:

Add lemon to your water

Eat a diet rich in green vegetables and fresh fruits

Stay away from processed and fried foods

Keep your sugar intake to a minimum

Drink quality purified fresh water

Clean with vinegar and other natural household products

Eat grass fed organic animal products

And finally, sweat the toxins out of your body through exercise, hot yoga, a steam or a sauna.  You can also relax in an epson salt bath with several drops of lavender oil for a calming way to help reset your PH.

 

Eating Well, Recipes, Seasonal

FRESH BLUEBERRY SCONES

July 27, 2016

WHILE SUPPLY LAST, ENJOY A DELICIOUS TREAT WITH THE LAST OF THE FRESH PICKED SUMMER BLUEBERRIES. PAIRED WITH TWO SCRAMBLED EGGS MAKES FOR A PERFECT SEASONAL BREAKFAST

BLUEBERRY SCONES

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup fresh summer blueberries

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon with cut up cold butter in food processor. Well egg, cream and vanilla and mix gently with several additional pulses. Fold in fresh blueberries. I use my hands to press berries into dough. Turn dough onto floured surface and with floured hands form an even rectangle Cut scones into desired triangles and place on baking sheet. Brush tops with additional heavy cream. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or desired doneness. Broil for one minute at end of baking to make tops golden brown. Enjoy!

Eating Well, Shopping & Markets

THE GMO DEBATE

February 4, 2016

Genetically modified organisms, commonly known as “GMOs,” have been around since the 1980’s and are plants scientifically altered to resist insects without the application of pesticides.  They look like any other product on the shelf, but potentially pose a huge threat.

We currently have very little data on the long-term impact of altering the genetic code of some of the world’s largest and most essential crops.  Yet, most of the corn and soybean grown in the United States today come from genetically modified seeds.  And these products enter our food system on multiple levels – we consume them directly and indirectly when they are fed to our sources of meat

Among other issues, GM crops have been modified to withstand the powerful herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto.  These crops therefore contain Roundup which has been proven to cause infertility, mammary tumors, kidney damage and liver damage in animals.  The effects of this on humans are likely to be just as serious as it is on rats, but long term data is still being researched.

Worldwide many nations have banned, regulated, or enforced labeling on GMO’s. The European Union led the way with laws demanding labeling in 1998, followed by Japan, New Zealand, then Australia, China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, India, Chile, Taiwan, and South Africa.   The most notable exceptions are the United States and Canada, which produce huge amounts of GMO crops not currently regulated by any government agency.  Very few states and municipalities have enacted laws requiring labeling, so most consumers in these countries are really on their own.

Big agriculture and its lobbying efforts have managed to keep the food industry from having to label its products, and many consumers are now voicing their outrage and demanding a change.  This is a good time to insist your local and state governments pass laws requiring the food industry to identify these foods.  In the meantime, when possible, eat organic and source your food locally where you have knowledge of the farming practices. Stick with plant based whole foods and avoid processed foods.  Change is on its way – but you can make it now!

 

Eating Well, Shopping & Markets

HEALTH AND FAT – THE DICHOTOMY OF THE TERMS

September 24, 2015

The word fat still conjures up a negative image with most people; however, “fat” in our diet is not just essential as a macronutrient, but new evidence shows that “healthy” fats ( saturated and unsaturated) in our food has been overwhelmingly underrated and admonished.

The thinking of “eat fat gain fat” is giving way to a new, more nuanced understanding of dietary fats.  Here are some facts: The body needs fat for many important cellular functions; Fat facilitates the absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins, such as A and D; Fat is a source of energy for our body, it insulates us, and it provides cushioning to our organs;  Fat is a building block of our cell membranes. (think of how dry your skin would be without it); and, fat  increases metabolism and  fat-burning, decreases  appetite, and does not cause spikes of insulin.  And surprisingly, new evidence is showing there is no link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease as we were taught in the past.

In addition to the many benefits of fat, shortages of fat can lead to problems, such as, hormone deficiency, depression, dry skin, fatigue, and poor recovery after exercise.  For the average person, 30% of daily caloric intake should be from fat -ideally, omega 3’s- the rock star of all fats.  Animal fats should be kept to about 1/3 of that 30% intake (10% of daily intake), with the balance of fat coming from plant-based foods (e.g., nuts and oils)

Here are my top choices for healthy fats in your daily diet:

HEALTHY SATURATED FATS;                         HEALTHY MONO-UNSATURATED FATS;

Red meat- grass fed                                                         Olive oil

Coconut oil                                                                       Canola oil

Butter                                                                                Nuts

Milk                                                                                   Avocados

Cheese

Seafood

Poultry

 

Eating Well, Shopping & Markets

Soda and the American Diet

April 9, 2015

SUGAR IS EIGHT TIMES AS ADDICTIVE AS COCAINE

Recent studies have shown that almost 90 percent of kids and 50 percent of the US population drink soft drinks at least once a day. And only one can per day increases a child’s chance of obesity by 60 percent and increases an adult woman’s chances by 82 percent. So, with over one billion cans of Coke alone sold daily, it is safe to assume the number one cause of obesity is sugar sweetened beverages. Clearly, the benefits of removing both regular and diet soft drinks from the American diet are innumerable.

When your biology is affected by drinking too much sugar two things happen. First, your body becomes insulin resistant, and you have to pump out more insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin and glucose levels in the blood increase. Since liquid sugar (fructose from soda) is absorbed more quickly and mainlined to the liver, blood sugar and insulin are increased. The second biological response is that the body becomes leptin resistant. Leptin is the hormone produced by fat cells that tells the brain we have had enough food. Leptin resistance means your brain stops being able to read those signals and you just keep eating with increased cravings.

Believe it or not diet sodas are worse. Even more addictive than regular soft drinks, artificially sweetened drinks are hundreds of times sweeter than regular sodas. Artificial sweeteners trick the metabolism into thinking real sugar is on the way and causes the body to pump out insulin, which also leads to belly fat. Artificial sweeteners slow down your metabolism, which causes you to burn fewer calories, make you hungry and increase your cravings for more sugar and starchy carbs. And the average diet soda drinker tends to consume 3 sodas per day! The bottom line is that diet sodas are no substitute and actually worse for you than regular sodas in the fight against diabetes.

To put it simply, regular and diet soft drinks are no longer acceptable in the American diet. They should be removed in order to improve our health and avoid the numerous health issues associated with obesity.

Eating Well, Seasonal

Detoxing with Abundant Winter Superfoods

January 12, 2015

Now that January is here and the holidays are over many of you are feeling the need to get back on track and recover from the season that sometimes leads to overindulging.  Just like “diets” I am also not a fan of “resolutions”-they just  set you up for failure with the “all or nothing” approach. Instead you should start by turning your  health choices into daily habits,  just like brushing your teeth before going to bed. But whatever it is you are struggling with, like not getting to the gym, eating too many snacks,  or drinking too much alcohol ,  it’s time to change the habits leading to your derailment.   A good way to start the New Year and establish better habits  would be a  detox eating plan that is rich in nutrients.

I believe firmly that detoxification is critical for optimal health.  When asked how I feel about cleansing my response is that cleansing should be a choice based on an individual’s biochemical needs.  Most people do not do well on straight liquid diets, even if they are for a short amount  of time. And because it can be dangerous if done improperly, these regimes should only be done under the guidance of a qualified health-care provider.  I much prefer to recommend that you ramp-up your diet with nutrient dense foods while at the same time eliminating or reducing wheat, sugar, and dairy for a stretch of time to naturally cleanse your body and aid your detoxifying organs. The gallbladder and liver are two of these organs responsible for breaking down and removing toxins, and there are many super foods that aid them in cleansing the body.

Below are my top detoxifying foods. ( There are many more that are not listed.)

Beets:  Full of vitamins B3, B6, C and beta-carotene.  Also a valuable source of iron, magnesium, zinc,  and calcium.  The high amount of fiber improves digestion and helps eliminate bodily waste.

Broccoli and Broccoli Sprouts:  Broccoli contains valuable phytonutrients that are released when chopped, chewed, cooked or fermented.  These substances all have a specific effect of detoxification.  Broccoli sprouts can be 20 times as powerful as regular broccoli.  Both are easy and delicious additions to your daily salad.

Flaxseed:  Ground flaxseed provides an excellent  source of fiber that helps to bind and flush toxins from the intestinal tract.  They are also a great source of health promoting omega 3 oils.  Add1-2 tablespoons  to your morning smoothie or mix with lemon and water to start your day.

Lemons:  This super fruit stimulates the release of enzymes and helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can easily be excreted from the body.  It’s a no brainer to add lemon to your water.  Start first thing in the morning to combat any acidic foods you may consume.

Garlic and Onions:  Antiviral, antiseptic, and antibiotic.  Need I say more?  No detox plan should be without.

Turmeric:  Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, which is why it is yellow.  It has long been used to treat liver and digestive disorders.  This is a super antioxidant that should not be forgotten when trying to detox.

Apples:  Apples are great source of soluble fiber pectin, which can help detox metals and food additives from your body.  It is always prudent to eat organic apples as they rank among the top 12 foods that contain the most pesticides.

Cabbage: High in vitamin C, vitamin K, B6, manganese, potassium and iron, along with loads of fiber.  Cabbage also looses very little of its nutrients when cooked or fermented.  Delicious in salad or soups- should be a staple all winter long.

 

Eating Well, Shopping & Markets

My Top Positive Weight Loss Tips

December 16, 2014

1. Take measurements at the start of your weight loss program and weigh yourself regularly. Be sure to use the same scale and weigh only in the morning without clothes. Use this as your start and continue to monitor until you have met your goal. Chart your loss and your size changes.

2. Don’t shop hungry. Carry plenty of protein rich snacks to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day. Almonds would be a great choice. Be sure to portion your nuts (15 almonds) and keep handy for when hunger hits.

3. Get a calorie counter. Whether it is an app or a book, you need to understand food’s nutrient breakdown and keep track of calories consumed when trying to reduce your weight.

4. Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep is a stressor, which raises cortisol, a hormone that causes your body to store fat around the middle. Lack of sleep also lowers your serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and low levels are associated with cravings and overeating.

5. Exercise. Weight loss only works when combined with an exercise program.

6. Clean out the kitchen cabinet. Get rid of processed foods and road blocks that will derail all your hard work. Remember: Healthy food taste great! If you are filling your body with nutrient rich satisfying foods the junk cravings will disappear.

7. Drink water. Repeat. Drink more water.

8. Eat breakfast every day. Even if you are someone who does not like to eat in the morning a protein smoothie will be appetizing. When you skip breakfast your insulin release intensifies at the next meal and your blood sugar is destabilized. You will be much more likely to be subject to cravings.

9. Be mindful and conscience when you are eating. Turn off the TV, put down the paper and enjoy the food you are eating. Chances are you will eat less.

10. Keep a journal. Seeing your success on paper, preferably logged online, will be encouraging as you strive to meet your goals.

11. No eating after 7:00. When trying to loose weight most of your calories should be consumed spread out throughout the day, the evening meal should not be your biggest portion.

12. Protein at every meal. This keeps the blood sugar stable and eliminates spikes and lows of energy.

13. No more juice, soda, or high calorie drinks. These can be loaded with sugar and throw a healthy day right out the window. Drink water, sparkling water with a splash of juice, or green tea.

14. Pack your lunch. Avoid eating out and consuming hidden calories in restaurant food. Plan your week ahead and portion out your own meals.

15. If eating out, skip the bread!

16. Roast large trays of vegetables and always have them in the refrigerator for adding to your packed lunches. Roasting makes any vegetable taste good.  No more excuses, even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy.

17. Read your labels and look for added sugars and fats. Become an advocate for you!

18. Reward yourself with something other than food. Splurge of something entertaining at small milestones. This is a journey and slow and steady wins this race.