Sunday, December 5, 2010

Food Focus for December

Sweet Potatoes 
Sweet potatoes are on everyone’s mind this season. They seem to go hand in hand with the holidays, and fortunately, eating these and other sweet vegetables needn’t be limited to this time of year. Cravings for sweets can be greatly reduced by adding sweet vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, beets, squash, turnips and rutabagas to your daily diet. Sweet potatoes elevate blood sugar gently rather than with the jolt delivered by simple refined carbohydrates, so there’s no energy crash after you eat them. Much higher in nutrients than white potatoes and especially rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes offer a creamy consistency that is satisfying and soothing. They are healing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and help to remove toxins from the body. They can increase the quantity of milk in lactating women and can lessen cramps and premenstrual symptoms. If you don’t have any sweet potatoes in your kitchen, go out and buy some (organic and local if possible) and make the recipe below. 

Recipe of the Month: 
Sweet Potatoes and Cilantro Chimichurri 
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes, Yield: 4 servings 3-4 


4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly cut
1/2 small canned chipotle pepper, de-seeded and chopped
2 tsp. adobo sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin  
1 bunch fresh cilantro 
2-3 limes for freshly squeezed juice
5-6 garlic cloves
sea salt and ground pepper

1. After peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes, place in a pot of boiling water. Cook covered for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the water, but reserve about 1/2 cup of the liquid.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, chop the cilantro and garlic. Mix together the cilantro, garlic, evoo, sea salt, and pepper. After they are well combined, set aside.

3. Combine the potatoes, the reserved cooking water, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper, and mash or mix well. Best to use a hand mixer for this step. To serve, plate the mashed sweet potatoes and top with the chimichurri sauce. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Food Focus for November

Oils and Fats
Not all oils and fats are created equal. Heavily processed, hydrogenated, “trans” fats and oils that are used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. However, fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels balanced, and nourish our skin, hair and nails. Our bodies also need fat for insulation and to protect and hold our organs in place. A healthy percentage of high-quality fats in a meal help slow digestion and the absorption of glucose which leaves you full longer.  When there are excess fats and oils in the diet, especially heavily processed fats, symptoms can include weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness. Signs of insufficient high-quality fats are brittle hair and nails, dry skin, hunger after meals and feeling cold. There are many sources of healthy fats and oils such as: 

 For sautéing and baking, try coconut oil because it does not break down when used at high temperatures. 
 When sautéing foods at moderate temperatures, try organic extra virgin olive oil. Good words to look for on the label are organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and unrefined. Words to avoid are expeller-pressed, refined and solvent extracted.
 Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings on top of salads, veggies or grains. 
 Other healthy fats are found in whole nuts and seeds and in their butters like almond butter or tahini. 
 Whole foods such as avocados, olives and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild salmon and omega-3 and omega-6 organic eggs. 

Recipes of the Month: 
Savory Tahini Sauce Prep time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 cup 

1/2 cup tahini 
1/4 cup water 
3 tablespoons lemon juice 
2 tablespoons tamari 
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
1-2 cloves of garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper (to your taste) 

1. In a bowl briskly whisk together the tahini and water until combined. It will look separated at first: just keep whisking! 
2. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. 
3. Adjust flavors to your taste. Add additional water if you want it thinner. 
4. Serve over grains and greens. 
Note: Tahini sauce keeps refrigerated for up to one week. 

Avocado Dip 
Prep Time: 3 minutes Yield: 1 cup 

1 large peeled and pitted avocado 
2/3 cup plain yogurt, goat yogurt or coconut yogurt 
freshly squeezed lemon
a dash of cayenne pepper, sea salt, and black pepper 

1. Mash avocado with a fork until very smooth. 
2. Add yogurt, lemon, & cayenne. Blend until smooth. This may be done in a food processor, in a blender or with a fork. 
3. Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. 
4. Serve chilled with mixed raw vegetables. 
Note: Best made a maximum of 1 hour before serving. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Soup

Halloween is right around the corner, and for all the mothers who are wondering what to do with their pumpkins afterwards, here's a yummy recipe! 
  • 1 medium cooking pumpkin, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup leeks, chopped, white and pale green parts only
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 can Masaman curry paste or curry powder
  • Salt and Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 425.  Coat the pumpkin flesh with some olive oil and place face down in a roasting pan.  Add about an inch of water to the pan and place in the oven.  Bake until the pumpkin is soft, about 45-50 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a bit, then scoop out into a bowl and puree with an immersion blender.  Set aside.  In a large pot (I use a stockpot), saute the onion, garlic, and leeks in olive oil on medium-low heat until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the apples and saute for 2 more minutes.  Add the chicken stock and coconut milk.  Add the curry paste and stir well to combine.   Now add the pumpkin puree in and slowly stir until everything is combined.  If you want a stronger curry flavor feel free to add more of the paste.  Let the soup simmer for 40 minutes.  Cool briefly and blend with an immersion blender.  Heat for another 5 minutes or so, and serve with warm bread! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Food Focus for October

Root Vegetables

The roots of any plant are its anchor and foundation; they are the essential parts that support and nourish the plant. Root vegetables lend these properties to us when we eat them, making us feel physically and mentally grounded and rooted, increasing our stability, stamina and endurance. Roots are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates, providing a steady source of necessary sugars to the body. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods, they regulate them. Since they absorb, assimilate and supply plants with vital nutrients, roots likewise increase absorption and assimilation in our digestive tracts.

Long roots, like burdock, carrots, parsnips and daikon radish, are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. Round roots, like turnips, radishes, beets and rutabagas, are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate blood sugar and moods, and alleviate cravings. Some

Recipe of the Month: Roasted Root Vegetables

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25-35 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


1 sweet potato

2 parsnips

2 carrots

2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga

1 daikon radish (or substitute/add in your favorites, like squash)

olive oil

salt and pepper

herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage (fresh if possible)

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 2. Wash and chop all vegetables into large bite-sized pieces. 3. Place in a large baking dish with sides. 4. Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil. 5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. 6. Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, checking every 10 minutes to stir and make sure veggies are not sticking. Note: Any combination of vegetables will work. Roasting only one kind of vegetable also makes a nice side dish. Enjoy!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Successful Tips for Weight Loss

Step 1: Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.  Since they are high in fiber, they take a while to digest which will keep you satisfied for a longer time. 

Step 2: Watch your portion size
Today portions are out of control.  When cooking at home serve yourself half of what you normally would put on your plate.  Keep in mind that half your plate is veggies, followed by 1/4 protein and 1/4 whole grains.  After you finish eating, wait 10 minutes, because it takes our bodies 10-15 minutes to realize we are full.  When dining out, it's best to share an entree or take half home.  Restaurants typically serve large portions loaded with extra calories. 

Step 3: Do not skip meals
Eating small meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism going and burning calories all day long.  When we skip meals are blood sugar level rises, which inhibits calorie burning and when we finally eat our body stores the food.  

Step 4: Eat real whole foods
Try to avoid eating overly processed and packaged foods.  These fast foods are higher in calories, fat, and sodium.  

Step 5: Drink Water
To figure out how much water you should be drinking: divide your body weight in half and that number is how many oz. you should be drinking a day.  When our body is dehydrated, we can make the mistake of thinking we are hungry instead of thirsty.  Drink plenty of water to avoid bloating, headaches, and hunger pains.  

Step 6: Stick to whole grain
Whole grains are loaded with fiber, nutrients, and even protein (i.e. quinoa).  White bread, pasta, and rice is processed with no nutritional value.  Whole grains consist of brown rice, buckwheat (aka kasha), oats, millet, spelt, & quinoa.  

Step 7: EXERCISE!!!
Diet alone will not keep the pounds off.  Exercise aids in weigh loss, in addition to improving your mood & energy, increasing your metabolism, and strengthening your muscles & core. So what are you waiting for? Get moving now!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Milk! Does A Body Bad

As kids we are told to drink our milk... but WHY??

Dairy products are a health hazard. They contain no fiber or complex carbohydrates and are full of saturated fat & cholesterol. They are contaminated with cow's blood and pus along with pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics.

Milk does not build strong bones, but actually weakens them and accelerates osteoporosis. Osteoporosis results from calcium loss, which is caused by drinking milk. Dairy products have a high-protein content that leaches calcium from the body through urine. That's right, consumption of milk causes the very condition it's advertised to prevent. Pretty scary huh? You can decrease your risk of osteoporosis by reducing sodium and animal protein intake & increasing fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens such as: brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale all give the body a greater absorption of calcium than dairy products.

Milk does not "do a body good." Milk is the leading cause of iron-deficiency anemia in infants, and the American Academy of Pediatrics now discourages giving children milk before their first birthday. Julian Whitaker, MD is the editor of Health & Healing, which states that milk consumption during childhood also contributes to the development of Type-I diabetes, milk allergies, sinus problems, constipation and fatigue. Over 1/4 of Americans experience allergic reactions, poor digestion, and mucous build-up when they consume milk.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Organic vs Non-Organic

How many of you choose the organic apple over the non-organic apple? Is organic food really worth the extra dollars? Originally, all food was “organic,” which meant it was cultivated & processed without fertilizers, insecticides, and artificial coloring, flavoring, or additives.  In terms of livestock, it refers to the animals being grass-fed and reared without antibiotics or growth hormones.  It wasn’t until the 20th Century, when a surplus of new synthetic chemicals was introduced into the food supply.  At the grocery store these products are referred to as the “conventional,” non-organic and cheaper products.  Non-organic methods in livestock inject growth hormones into the animals to fatten them up quickly & bring them to a larger market size.  These methods also use antibiotics in rearing the animals in order to keep them alive longer, however, when we eat this non-organic meat we are ingesting these high volumes of antibiotics.  Furthermore, non-organic produce contains pesticides that pass through our immune system during digestion.  These chemicals have all shown to cause cancer as well as liver, kidney & blood diseases. 


According to research published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry (Feb 2003), organic fruits & veggies have 50-60% higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than “conventional” fruits & veggies.  The average conventionally grown apple has 20 to 30 artificial chemicals on its skin, even after rinsing.  Although organic food is more expensive, the extra dollars spent may save you your health. 



4oz of cooked wild salmon

6 brown rice crackers

½ onion, minced

2 cloves minced garlic

1tbsp fresh lemon juice

1tbsp EVOO

dash black pepper

dash of coriander


1. Break  salmon and rice crackers into small pieces.  Mix all ingredients together.  

2. Create several small patties.  And refrigerate for 1 hour. 

3. In a skillet, heat EVOO on high.  Cook each patty for 3-4 min on each side. 

Serve with sauteed spinach and brown rice. Yum!!