Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Archive for the ‘antioxidants’ Category

Revisiting the Supplement Conversation


I have written about supplements in the past. As research continues on their efficacy, it is being shown for the most part, that they are a waste of money.

Studies Show Little Benefit in Supplements

Foremost is the lack of accountability placed on supplement manufacturers. are unregulated. The burden is on the government to prove they are harmful, for them to be removed from the marketplace (remember fen-fen?) Supplement makers aren’t supposed to make health claims that aren’t substantiated, yet it is done all the time. By the time regulators catch up with them, they have made their profits.

Secondly, nutrition specialists know that nutrients are best absorbed from food. For the most part, an excess of water-soluble vitamins (B1 or thiamin, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or Niacin, B6 or pyridoxine, B12 or cobalamin, Biotin, Folic acid or folate, pantothenic acid, C) won’t hurt you but will be a waste of money as anything your body doesn’t need is excreted in the urine. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D E, K) can build up in body fat and become toxic. an exception is vitamin D, especially when you are deficient.

These links are useful for explaining what these nutrients can do for you and where they occur naturally in food.

Water soluble: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/water-soluble-vitamins-b-complex-and-vitamin-c-9-312/

Fat soluble: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/fat-soluble-vitamins-a-d-e-and-k-9-315

Whole foods also provide micronutrients, antioxidants, fiber, etc., all necessary for healthy bodies as well.

Bottom line: “Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and don’t get suckered into taking many supplements you don’t need. With all this said, if you have unique medical issues, always consult with your doctor. This is generic advice for the mostly healthy.

 

The Best Roasted Kale Chips


Image

I have been experimenting with kale chips for awhile, mostly focussing on the spice factor. I discovered however, that using a different variety of kale is the real secret to improvement. When regular kale is roasted, it becomes so brittle (because it is a thin leaf), that just picking it up causes it to crumble. A variety called Lacinato kale has a thicker leaf, therefore is sturdier when roasted.

So now I have the perfect leaf and spices that will even get your kids to gobble these up. Quantities are loose here, since every head of kale is different, so you have to be a little flexible.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F or 375degrees if using a convection oven. Use a head of Lacinato kale (or a different flatter, thicker leafed kale than the traditional one). For best results, prepare the kale before washing/drying. Cut out the hard spine that runs in the center of the leaves. Break up the pieces of kale into approximately 2-3″ pieces. Soak in cold water, swishing the leaves around to loosen any sandy earth. Remove the leaves by hand, into a strainer (don’t dump it out or you pour the sand onto the leaves again!). Repeat the process one more time. Now drain and dry thoroughly. A salad spinner works wonders if you have one.

Very finely grate a hard cheese such as parmigiana reggiano, so it is snowy fine. 

Image

Lightly coat a large cookie sheet with good olive oil. I use Lyrika Groves. It’s expensive, but worth it! (Shameless plug: https://www.facebook.com/LyriKaGrovesOrganicExtraVirginOliveOil) Place your kale leaves in a large bowl and lightly coat with oil. Toss well for even distribution.

Lay out your kale pieces, touching, but not overlapping. Spread a dusting of the grated cheese evenly on the leaves, followed by a VERY light dusting of chili pepper. (When the kale shrinks, the chile gets more potent, so unless you like your mouth ON FIRE, use sparingly.) 

Here’s the main potential for kale chip destruction: Place the tray in the preheated oven. DO NOT WALK AWAY. If you must multitask, do it in front of your oven. Leave the oven light on so you can observe the chips. They go from “not ready” to “ready” in seconds!

Figure on about 10 minutes, but since ovens vary, watch your chips. When they appear to have shrunk about a third to a half in size, open the oven gingerly, remove a chip with a small spatula and test it. It should be nice and crisp. If you have distributed the leaves evenly on the sheet, all the chips will be ready when the sample is.

Let cool completely and store in a tight plastic container. I guarantee, they won’t last long!

 

 

The Simple Salad


A salad can be a feast for the eyes, which comes before the desire to eat it! We often enjoy a salad as dinner, or with dinner. Variety in color enhances the nutritional value of the meal. Salads are versatile: you can use what’s left in the fridge. It’s fast, easy and economical. This salad has only green leaf lettuce, red cabbage and yellow peppers. It is tossed simply with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a dried spice consisting of garlic, chili pepper and a little salt. While delicious on its own, you can make it dinner by throwing in small blocks of cheese, leftover roasted chicken, tuna, canned salmon, avocado, or sunflower seeds. You can make it a little sweet by adding dried cranberries, orange slices (fresh or mandarin), apples, gorgonzola (Waldorf style). You can add other greens or red lettuce, radicchio, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. A salad is really whatever you choose to put in it!

Just stay away from the creamy dressings, caesar dressing (VERY high in fat/calories) and bacon, and your meal will be very healthy.

IMG_1263

Purple Breakfast?


It didn’t start out that way. Innocent as it was, I made Scottish oatmeal for breakfast. This time, rather than putting those blueberries on top, I decided I might like them a little cooked and warm, so I put them in midway through the cooking cycle. This is what I got:

Yes, it looks weird, but it tasted very good. Just to make it prettier, I added a few more berries to the top, along with some slivered almonds. This hearty breakfast lasted until lunchtime. It was packed with rich antioxidants, fiber, protein and good fats. Very satisfying.


Purple Oatmeal

Curried Broccoli Salad


What is better on a hot summer day than a nice cool, crisp salad? There is a bit of mayo in this however, so observe food safety rules. Don’t serve out in the sun or keep it out in the heat longer than an hour. Refrigerate until serving or put the bowl on ice for extended time. We don’t want sick guests now, do we? A change from the boring old green mixed salad, this colorful salad is high on heart healthy veggies, nuts and curry.

Curried Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli, florets and 1/2 inch of stems, cut into small bite sized pieces
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 C chopped red or Vidalia onion
1/2 C cashew pieces
1/4 C dried cranberries
3/4 C light Hellman’s mayo
Curry to taste. (Curries vary widely, so use as much or as little as you like in terms of spiciness)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Boil a pot of water. Throw the broccoli and carrots into the boiling water for 30 seconds and drain immediately. Allow to cool. When cool, put the vegetables into a large bowl. Add the other ingredients and toss to coat. Adjust curry, salt and pepper to your liking. Serves 8 as a side dish or 4 for a main vegetarian course.

Beet Salad You Will Love


Many of us grew up disliking (OK, hating) beets. They were those sour-tasting things from a can and if you splashed any juice on you, it ruined your clothes. (This was before oxidizing stain stick treatments).

Then I tasted REAL beets. The ones that come with the greens on top (which can also be cooked and eaten). What a difference. If you cook them just right, they retain some of the crunch and natural sweetness. They can also be roasted, but I’ll save that for another recipe. Beets are very high in antioxidants and protect against heart disease. They lower your risk of stroke, reduce blood  cholesterol and have anti-aging properties. Walnuts contain heart healthy polyunsaturated Omega 3 fats and antioxidants. They lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and are protective for blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and several cancers (breast, colon and prostate). Eat up.

This recipe is simple to prepare and lasts a full week in the fridge.

Ingredients:

1 lb. fresh, beets, boiled until soft

3/4cup chopped walnuts

3 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs. mustard (I use grainy but any will do)

2 apples, julienned

1 Tbs fresh tarragon leaves (do not use tough stems)

Method:

Remove greens from beets. Save for sautéing in another recipe. Scrub and peel the beet roots. Smaller beets cook faster; if using large beets, allow more time for cooking. When done, julienne the beets and cool. While the beets cook, mix the vinegar, mustard and tarragon leaves for the dressing. Cut the apples when you are ready to assemble the salad so they don’t brown. When the beets are cooled to room temperature, mix them with the apples, walnuts and dressing. Toss to coat and enjoy!

PS-If you like more fermentation (pickling) you can leave the mix overnight before eating.

 

 

Charoset


This is by far, one of my favorite Passover foods. Why I don’t make it other times of the year I don’t know, but it is so great and I use it for many things other than its original purpose. It is a food that most Passover Seder hosts make symbolically and put a teaspoon of onto your plate. I want A LOT of it, not just the taste for the Passover story to be told. Anyway, everything at the seder has significance. Charoset looks like mortar, so it was invented to represent the mortar between the bricks used by the Jewish slaves to build Pharoh’s kingdom. I just love the stuff, and as a bonus, it’s healthy. Well, at least something at the Passover table is!

I added charoset to chicken leftovers to make it into a version of Waldorf salad. You can spoon it over ice cream, put it in hot cereal, or, if you are like me, just eat it off a spoon. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
4 finely chopped apples (I like macintosh but many varieties work. If you use tart apples, you may need to add sugar. Taste first.n
1 C chopped walnuts
3 tsp brown sugar or honey
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 tsp cinnamon (more if you love cinnamon)
About 6 Tbs of sweet red wine or grape juice. Add more if it seems too dry.

Add all ingredients. Let sit for several hours so flavors meld and enjoy on a piece of matzah, plain water cracker or as I do; off a spoon!

 

 

Roasted Tomatoes


Roasted Tomatoes

Technically a fruit, we use tomatoes more like a vegetable. Tomatoes are SO healthy! They have no fat or cholesterol, very few calories, sugar and sodium, yet pack a lot of flavor and nutrients. They have a good dose of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and choline, and minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Their high antioxidant content makes them good cancer fighters as well, sweeping up all those free radicals we accumulate from other “bad” foods, particularly those with nitrates and nitrites, grilled foods, etc.

Roasting tomatoes brings out the intense tomato flavor that is delicious with the right herbs and spices. I find the best complement to tomatoes are spices used frequently in Italian cooking: parsley, oregano and basil. Because they will bake and absorb the seasonings, you can happily use dried herbs, but feel free to use fresh if you want to.

I use many kinds of tomatoes, but the juicier varieties are the best. Roma tomatoes are nice, but tricky to stand in the baking dish due to their shape. Slice lengthwise if using this variety. Here is the simple recipe. Enjoy.

Discard the stem. Slice tomatoes in half and line up on a lightly oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the tomatoes with dried oregano, basil and parsley (equal amounts of each) and a dusting of salt if you like, though it is not necessary if you are minding your sodium intake.

You can also sprinkle with grated parmesan or romano cheese (then don’t use the salt) and bake at 350 degrees. The length of time depends on the size of your tomatoes. For cherry tomatoes, 20 minutes will do. For medium to larger ones you will need at least 30 minutes, and up to 45 minutes. Remove and serve!

Also good at room temperature, so you can make it a little ahead if you need the oven for other dishes.

Ginger Carrot Soup Made Healthy & Easy


I am always looking for ways to make great recipes easy and more healthful. Starting with a class assignment, I took a fat-laden soup and made it healthy, as well as vegetarian/vegan friendly with some alternative suggestions. Here is the result of changing an Emeril recipe, made with heavy whipping cream and sour cream, to a heart-healthy winter dish, saving 426 calories (496 calories if milk is omitted). There are 45 fewer grams of fat and most of it is shifted to mono or unsaturated fat – the good kind). Serve with good bread and a salad and you have dinner! Yield = 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 to 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk (* may be omitted for vegan)
  • Chopped chives, for garnish

Using a 4-quart stock pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Place the onions and celery in until they are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the carrots to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are lightly caramelized and start to soften, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the stock, salt, pepper and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the soup until the carrots are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf from the soup and puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches in a heat proof blender. Adjust the seasoning, add the milk at the end if desired (omit for vegan).

Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh chives or parsley.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: