Month: March 2013

FAT = Good!!

This is short, and simple. You need fats.  Do NOT try and lose weight by turning to low fat options.  Guess what they trade for fat so that the product tastes ok?  SUGAR = CARBS.  The trade off is that you’re hungry in an hour!  Why?  Your insulin just spiked. How many times have you eaten a meal only to feel hungry in an hour or two?  Fat gives us satiety, the feeling of “I’ve had enought to eat”.  So, fat is your FRIEND, especially if you want to lose weight.  Here’s simple guidelines for fat consumption.  Did you know you don’t absorb certain vitamins without fat?  Vitamins A, D, E and K are considered “fat soluble” and are absorbed MUCH better when paired with fat. List of “Good” Fats: vary where they come from, add them to your meals, and find you’ll stay full longer. Olive oil Coconut oil (yes, it’s saturated, but healthy despite that, see references below)  Refined coconut oil is one of the BEST cooking oils, and it doesn’t have a …

Mercury, and how to avoid it… and why you should.

Mercury and heavy metals exist in our bodies.  You don’t have to eat tuna or fish from Lake Superior 5 times/week to be at risk.  And there isn’t enough media attention on this yet.  So, read this and be aware of the risks of how mercury can truly change your balance and make you susceptible to disease.  There’s no way to avoid exposure to mercury.  It is a much larger problem today because of 20th century technological advances. If you think back to centuries ago, the pollution, power plants and industrial waste didn’t exist the way it does today.  The Industrial Revolution brought coal, which was thought of as a huge step forward in keeping people warm.  But…  guess what?  The downside is that when you burn coal, mercury is released into the environment. Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions to the air in the United States, accounting for over 50 percent of all domestic human-caused mercury emissions.  We need to move towards safer ways to provide power. Mercury in …

Halibut with Spaghetti Squash

Fish intimidates people.  So, what if I told you that fish is one of the easiest things to master!  The KEY to fish is freshness.  And it cooks so quickly that you can make dinner in a flash!  Although this requires baking spaghetti squash, you can do that ahead of time. This is a recipe from “The Olives Table” Cookbook, by Todd English and Sally Sampson.  It is another favorite cookbook of mine.  The flavors are fabulous.  I made this for Christmas Dinner last year, and it was a hit.  Plus, it stays moist, and unlike a lot of fish entrees, it tastes pretty good the next day! STEAMED TAGINE OF HALIBUT WITH MOROCCAN-SPICED SPAGHETTI SQUASH The Moroccan spices make the spaghetti squash taste marvelous, and it adds an exotic taste that takes it from bland to “I need this recipe”.  So, here it is! SERVES 4 (photo at left is a triple recipe, but I only increased the fish portion, 2 spaghetti squash make a lot of sauce!) 2 medium-size spaghetti squash, halved 1 …

Vitamins and Supplements, making sense of it all.

Nutritional Supplements – what are they, how do they work and how do you choose them? Nutritional supplements are without a doubt one of the most easily accessible and also one of the most confusing aspects of self care. Regulation of the vitamin/supplement industry only began in 2011.  The bottom line, in my opinion, is we need them. Each person is vastly different, and needs to find resources which can help them navigate the supplement and vitamin “world”.  There are a lot of people out there who want your money!!! Why do we need nutritional supplements or food supplements? As I’ve already discussed, our food supply is not as nutritionally rich as in the past.  (see post) When it comes to meat and poultry, feeds have changed from the natural foods they ate in the wild to highly processed, chemical filled “feed” that is designed to maximize growth and minimize cost.  This allows these “Factory Farms” to turn a huge profit.  The result is meat and poultry that is dangerously high in chemicals and lacking …

The Dirty Dozen

So, when is it REALLY important to eat organic? Every year, the Environmental Working Group releases their list of the best and worst veggies and fruits (in terms of pesticide contamination) on the market.  The video below is also quick and easy to watch.  I will update this list as the new lists come out. Here’s their most recent Dirty Dozen™ and their “safe” counterparts.  If you have limited funds, I strongly encourage you to buy the left side of the list below ORGANIC.  The rest, try to find a balance! See more on their website Click here for a good article from “The Daily Green”

The reverse of Super-size me and it’s lessons for us…

At this point, everybody probably knows about “Supersize Me”, the awesome documentary where a 30-something healthy male filmmaker named Morgan Spurlock vowed to eat McDonalds for a month and look at his health (to the horror of his vegan girlfriend!).  The results surprised even him.  The film documents the diet’s drastic effect on Spurlock’s physical and psychological well-being.  Spurlock ate at McDonald’s restaurants three times per day, eating every item on the chain’s menu at least once. As a result, the then-32-year-old Spurlock gained 24½ lbs. ( a 13% body mass increase), a cholesterol level of 230, and experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation in his liver. It took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight gained from his experiment using a vegan diet supervised by his future wife, a chef who specializes in gourmet vegan dishes. Fast forward to writer Michael Pollan, who has done more than anyone to teach us about food and what the western diet is doing to us.  Here’s the reverse of Super-Size Me! “The human animal,” Pollan …

Why it’s worth all the fuss…

I’ll admit, planning menus, cooking, shopping, being organized more than four hours in advance is HARD!  And when you have kids, it gets even harder.  So, I understand.  Here’s some things that have helped me look at cooking and food differently: Cooking and eating the right foods is a gift you give yourself.  A gift you give your family. Cooking and eating healthy is an insurance policy to ward off medical problems. Cooking healthy allows your children to develop good habits.  Yes, they may still beg to go to fast food places (my kids stopped eating fast food after they watched “Super-size Me”, especially the DVD special features), but once they become young adults, they will start remembering what you taught them, and they will be healthier adults for it. Yes, eating some organic and buying fresh is sometimes more expensive.  Do you put the right kind of gas in your car?  Even if it costs more?  Do the same with your body.  We think nothing of spending $8-10 on a movie (ok, that’s $16 …

Cucumber Radish Salad

Radishes were never big on my “have to have list”.  As you can see by the photo below, these are the tiny, spring radishes that you can find at the Farmer’s Market, where I found these last June.  Together with small cucumbers (I buy the mini kind, packaged in 5/6 to a package and fairly symmetrical in size), these make an unbelievably yummy, crunchy salad.  If you can’t get miniature cukes, use english or regular.  If you use larger cukes, cut in half lengthwise and seed them first.  Then cut into moons.  Worth it.  Also, if you have time, sprinkle some salt on them, let them drain for 30 minutes, rinse and towel dry.  The more water you can get out makes them crunchier. Cucumber Radish Spring Salad   4-5 mini cucumbers (or 1 English or 1 large regular) 1 bunch of spring radishes (you can use any radish, the key is slicing them THIN) 2-3 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 tablespoon mirin (do NOT use mirin that contains corn syrup, use REAL mirin — Eden …

A vitamin-a-day with your apple?

Many people believe that if they eat a balanced diet, they don’t need a vitamin.  I challenge that belief based on today’s research.  Here’s why. Over the last century, modern farming methods have caused massive soil depletion on the farms where we grow most of our food crops.  With the exception of some smaller farms and home gardens that practice sustainable farming, involving crop rotation and composting, this soil depletion remains a significant problem for our food supply. When WWII ended, the drug and chemical companies inherited huge amounts of nitrates and phosphates which had been used in the manufacturing of munitions during the war. They knew from earlier experience that these minerals made very effective fertilizer. They then started to aggressively market these N (nitrogen) P (phosphorus) K (potassium) fertilizers to farmers at extremely affordable prices. This made the traditional organic methods of farming uneconomical, so that by the 1960s, the majority of US farms had become wholly dependent upon NPK products.  This system of farming was a tremendous success, creating lush and abundant …

Kofta b’siniyah by Yottam Ottolenghi

These are the middle eastern version of meatballs, and in my opinion, far superior to what we often see in frozen packages in the “big box” stores.  Blech.  Yottam Ottolenghi has two GORGEOUS cookbooks, with his Palestinian childhood friend and partner, and is based in London.  Oh how I wish I was able to drive to his store!  Check out “Plenty” and “Jerusalem” on your favorite book site.  Well worth the cost, if only to gaze at the fabulous photography.  Kofta Ingredients ~ 14 oz  ground lamb ~ 14 oz  ground veal or beef (I used grass fed ground beef) 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed 2½ tbsp  toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra whole ones to garnish ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish (this is often called Italian Parsley, you can use regular parsley too) 1 T aleppo pepper or 1 large medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 1½ tsp ground cinnamon 1½ tsp ground allspice ¾ tsp grated nutmeg 1½ tsp ground black …

French Lentil Salad

This salad is a take-off of the Parslied Lentil Salad from Dr. Mark Hyman’s “Ultrametabolism Cookbook”, a cookbook I highly recommend!  If you need a basic cookbook on eating healthy, his two cookbooks are what I recommend you begin with.  Here is a link to his writing on Amazon:  See Dr. Hyman’s books here French Lentil Salad  Makes ~ 4-10 servings (depending on if it’s a side dish or main course!)1 cup French green lentils, dry (smaller than “regular” green lentils)2-3 cups chicken broth* or veggie broth for vegetarians  (use 2 if you have a pressure cooker, 2-3 if you cook on stove)*1 small red onion, diced small2 carrots, shredded (I used a small shred setting on my grater)½ tsp sea salt1 cup minced parsley, FRESH 1 small avocado, diced¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil1 cup chopped green olives 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice½ tsp freshly ground black pepper Cook lentils in chicken broth until tender.  Drain if there’s any liquid left (will probably be some).  Add remaining ingredients, serve on endive leaves, romaine leaves or …