Category Archives: Nutrition

Eat Your Greens!



One of the loneliest parts of the produce section is the area where they pile up the greens– kale, spinach, chard, mustard greens, turnip greens and the like. Not that many people know how to cook them, and fewer actually know why they should. However, these humble and inexpensive foods pack an enormous amount of vital nutrients into just a few calories, and should be a regular part of everyone’s diets.

Kale is in the same family as broccoli and cabbage, and shares many of the same health benefits. The organosulfur compounds found in kale act as anticancer agents by activating detoxifying enzymes in the liver that neutralize potential carcinogens. They have specifically been shown to stop the growth of breast cancer cells. Kale also protects against cataracts, due to lutein’s ability to protect against damage from uv light. Vitamin A is also very abundant in kale; it has been shown to help prevent emphysema from smoking or being around second hand smoke. Continue reading

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Meatless Monday Eggplant Spinach ‘meatballs’

So, we have been cooking for a long time. During the past 4 years, more leaning to meatless meals.  Yes, sometimes more raw or ‘gads!’ vegan.

Tried these on Tuesday for ‘Meatless Monday’.  Yup, that is how it started.  The recipe comes from a blog we follow ‘oh my veggies‘ written by Ashley Jennings.  It is well photographed, well written and researched. A beautiful food blog. You should subscribe to her. Original recipe here

Well, let’s just day that, although we all try for ‘perfection’ whatever that is, we all need forgiveness. Not sure if the ricotta cheese or the spinach were too wet, but we should have noticed when our ‘balls’ did not look like hers on the cookie sheet.

Eggplant_spinach_meatballs3

Anyway.  This was a reminder to us that no matter what things look like, it’s the the taste that matters, RIGHT?

And, the taste was wonderful! Go make them. And watch out for how moist everything is.

We are going to do it again soon. Try, try again!

Enjoy

Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Create a masterpiece collage by combining the best of summer vegetables and an array of colors.   When we eat a rainbow we are benefiting from the super antioxidant and cell protective power of phytochemicals.  Every color in our plant foods has a different gift, a different function in our cells. One of the keys to cell protection is creating meals packed with red, yellow, orange, green, red, purple and even white (as in garlic!).  See how many colors you can eat in a day. Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free. Ingredients Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Organic Balsamic Vinegar (aged is best!)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried  basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon  dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Vegetables:

  • 3 bell peppers, red, yellow, green, core and cut into quarters
  • 2 green zucchini  trim and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 yellow zucchini  trim and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
  • 12 mushrooms (crimini or white button) cleaned, stems removed
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 large red onion sliced into 4 rounds
  • Extra olive oil for brushing the vegetables

Preparation

  • In a large bowl toss all of the vegetables except the eggplant and onions together and drizzle enough olive oil to just coat lightly.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Brush the eggplant rounds  and onion rounds with olive oil  and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the grill. If you have a vegetable rack for the grill, this really keeps the vegetables from falling through! Place the vegetables on the grill. Baste occasionally with dressing until tender and lightly charred. Remove to a platter and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve warm or room temperature.
  • Another fun addition is to grill thick slices of fresh pineapple or fresh mango!!

Ginger Green Smoothie Refresher

Ginger Green Smoothie Refresher is simple, cleansing, quick, easy and filled with super nutrients.

Rich in super antioxidant cancer fighting cell protection with a hint of ginger that adds spiciness as well as support for digestion and  enhanced inflammation control.  Ginger root is also powerful for enhancing normal control of nausea.

Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free

2 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup filtered or spring water
  • 1 large organic cucumber, peeled and cut into ½ inch rounds (approx. 10-12 ounces)
  • 2 large organic apples, with skin, seeds removed, cut
  • into quarters (approx. 12 ounces)  preferably tart and green
  • 2 organic celery stalks (approx. 3 ounces) cut into quarters, leaves removed
  • 2 cups organic kale leaves and/or spinach leaves, spines removed from the kale (approx. 2-3 ounces)
  • 1 inch square slice of fresh ginger root with peel (approx. ½ ounce)

Preparation

  1. Place in a blender and blend until smooth

Enjoy immediately!!

Variations

  • add 4 ice cubes
  • add ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • add ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • add 2-4 fresh basil leaves (try Purple Thai Basil for a more subtle flavor)
  • add ½ peeled and seeded lemon or lime

Arugula and Shaved Fennel Salad

This is a remarkably simple crunchy salad that is filled with cancer fighting plant chemicals. Arugula is a zesty leafy vegetable in the cabbage family rich in sulforaphanes which promote normal detoxification function. Fennel is an aromatic vegetable rich in Vitamin C and a phytochemical called anethole which promotes normal inflammation function by blocking a damaging and cancer promoting cell factor called tumor necrosis factor. Fennel is a member of the parsley family is also rich in quercetin, limonene and beta-carotene.

6-8 servings

This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free and egg free

Salad

  • 2 bunches arugula leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1 large fennel bulb. ends trimmed
  • 1//4 cup snipped cut chives
  • Tear the arugula leaves in to pieces and place in a large salad bowl.
  • Thinly slice  the entire fennel bulb into paper thin strips with a sharp paring knife.
  • Add the chives and toss with dressing.

Serve immediately

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Optional additions

  • roasted golden or red beets
  • crumbled goat cheese or sheep’s milk feta cheese
  • pitted  kalamata olives
  • dried cranberries
  • canellini beans or garbanzo beans
  • toasted walnuts or pine nuts
  • roasted butter nut squash, cubed
  • sliced chicken breast or salmon

This recipe is adapted from Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten Free Recipes for the Whole Family by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, M.S., C.N.

16 Tips for Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout

  • Eat breakfast. Emphasize protein rather than carbohydrates at breakfast.
  • Eat protein at every meal to support stamina, endurance and immunity
  • Include healthy fats and oils to calm your system
  • Keep blood sugar stable by eating regular meals
  • Eat something healthy BEFORE you go to a holiday party
  • Stress depletes B vitamins, C, magnesium and zinc. Include nuts, seeds, berries, whole grains, fermented foods.
  • Avoid excess sugar and sweets
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Avoid Caffeine. Try a cup of Ginseng Tea instead
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise every day (even if only a 20-30 minute walk)
  • Practice good sleep habits. Get at least 7 hours each night.
  • Consider boosting your resilience with nutrients and herbs that support your capacity to deal with stress, combat exhaustion and burnout
  • Use a digestive enzyme with heavy holiday meals
  • Take 10-30 minutes of sacred time daily to rest, relax, meditate, unwind
  • Practice gratitude and random acts of kindness to boost your immune system and decrease your stress

The positive effect of kindness on the immune system and on the increased production of serotonin in the brain has been proven in research studies. Serotonin is a naturally occurring substance in the body that makes us feel more comfortable, peaceful, and even blissful. In fact, the role of most anti-depressants is to stimulate the production of serotonin chemically, helping to ease depression. Research has shown that a simple act of kindness directed toward another improves the functioning of the immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness and the person extending the kindness. Even more amazing is that persons observing the act of kindness have similar beneficial results. Imagine this! Kindness extended, received, or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and feelings of everyone involved! – Wayne Dyer

By: Nalini Chilkov

20 Reasons to Eat Avocados

Avocados Enhance Heart Health . Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may help to lower cholesterol. In one study of people with moderately high cholesterol levels, individuals who ate a diet high in avocados showed clear health improvements. After seven days on the diet that included avocados, they had significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, along with an 11% increase in health promoting HDL cholesterol.

Avocados are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can help to guard against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Association has authorized a health claim that states: “Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.”

One cup of avocado has 23% of the Daily Value for folate, a nutrient important for heart health. To determine the relationship between folate intake and heart disease, researchers followed over 80,000 women for 14 years using dietary questionnaires. They found that women who had higher intakes of dietary folate had a 55% lower risk of having heart attacks or fatal heart disease. Another study showed that individuals who consume folate-rich diets have a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke than those who do notconsume as much of this vital nutrient.

Promote Optimal Health

Not only are avocados a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids including oleic acid, which has recently been shown to offer significant protection against breast cancer, but it is also a very concentrated dietary source of the carotenoid lutein; it also contains measurable amounts of related carotenoids (zeaxanthin, alpha- carotene and beta-carotene) plus significant quantities of tocopherols (vitamin E).

In a laboratory study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, an extract of avocado containing these carotenoids and tocopherols inhibited the growth of both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.

But when researchers tried exposing the prostate cancer cells to lutein alone, the single carotenoid did not prevent cancer cell growth and replication. Not only was the whole matrix of carotenoids and tocopherols in avocado necessary for its ability to kill prostate cancer cells, but the researchers also noted that the significant amount of monounsaturated fat in avocado plays an important role. Carotenoids are lipid (fat)-soluble, which means fat must be present to ensure that these bioactive carotenoids will be absorbed into the bloodstream. Just as Nature intends, avocado delivers the whole heath-promoting package.

Increase Your Absorption of Carotenoids from Vegetables

Enjoying a few slices of avocado in your tossed salad, or mixing some chopped avocado into your favorite salsa will not only add a rich, creamy flavor, but will greatly increase your body’s ability to absorb the health- promoting carotenoids that vegetables provide.

A study published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition tested the hypothesis that since carotenoids are lipophilic (literally, fat-loving, which means they are soluble in fat, not water), consuming carotenoid-rich foods along with monounsaturated-fat-rich avocado might enhance their bio-availability.

Not only did adding avocado to a salad of carrot, lettuce and baby spinach or to salsa greatly increase study participants’ absorption of carotenoids from these foods, but the improvement in carotenoid availability occurred even when a very small amount-as little as 2 ounces-of avocado was added.

Adding avocado to salad increased absorption of alpha- carotene, beta-carotene and lutein 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these carotenoids absorbed when avocado-free salad was eaten.

Adding avocado to salsa increased lycopene and beta- carotene absorption 4.4 and 2.6 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these nutrients absorbed from avocado-free salsa. Since avocados contain a large variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, eating a little avocado along with carotenoid-rich vegetables and fruits is an excellent way to improve your body’s ability to absorb carotenoids while also receiving other nutritional-and taste-benefits.

Avocado Phytonutrients Combat Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is even more likely to result in death than breast, skin, or cervical cancer, with a mortality rate of about 50% due to late detection, according to Great Britain’s Mouth Cancer Foundation. Avocados may offer a delicious dietary strategy for the prevention of oral cancer. Phytonutrients in Hass avocados, the most readily available of the more than 500 varieties of avocados grown worldwide, target multiple signaling pathways, increasing the amount of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) within pre-cancerous and cancerous human oral cell lines, that leads to their death, but cause no harm to normal cells. ? Semin Cancer Biol. 2007 May 17. Earlier research by UCLA scientists also indicates that Hass avocados may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer as well. When analyzed, Hass avocados were found to contain the highest content of lutein among commonly eaten fruits as well as measurable amounts of related carotenoids (zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene). Lutein accounted for 70% of the measured carotenoids, and the avocado also contained significant quantities of vitamin E. J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Jan;16(1):23-30.

Nutritional Profile

Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper. Avocados are also a good source of potassium: they are higher in potassium than a medium banana.

Although they are fruits, avocados have a high fat content of between 71 to 88% of their total calories – about 20 times the average for other fruits. A typical avocado contains 30 grams of fat, but 20 of these fat grams are health-promoting monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid.

By: Dr Nalini Chilkov

Excerpted from The World’s Healthiest Foods www.whfoods.org

Breast Cancer | Beware of Sugars and Starches

Research continues to reinforce the link between breast cancer and diet, particularly the importance of keeping your blood sugar in the low normal ranges. Higher levels of blood sugar and blood insulin are linked to higher incidence of breast cancers.

This becomes more important as you age because most women develop some “insulin resistance” (also known as Metabolic Syndrome)  in which blood sugar starts to creep higher with advancing years as your cells become less sensitive to blood sugar regulating hormones. Post menopausal women should make efforts to reduce the intake of sweets and starches. This advice also applies to younger women who will benefit by implementing healthy eating habits early in life. It’s really very easy to accomplish.

The standard American diet is filled with carbohydrates and refined sugars.

Pay attention to  food labels. Stay away from foods sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Stay away from foods sweetened with Sucralose (brand name Splenda) an artificial sweetener falsely advertised as “safe”. Eat whole unprocessed, chemical free high fiber foods.    Focus on lower-glycemic-load foods. Eat more lean meats and fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy products (if you are not allergic or lactose intolerant) , nuts, seeds, and legumes like beans and lentils.

Add some tang. Vinegar and lemon juice can help lower the glycemic load of a meal.
Don’t forget the fat. Add some healthy fat (like olive oil) to help slow down carbohydrate absorption and lower the glycemic load of your favorite foods.

Here is a great article  By Kimberly Beauchamp, ND discussing the importance of eating a low carb, low sugar, low glycemic diet quoting research emphasizing the lower risk of breast cancer in post menopausal women who make simple changes in food choices.  What you choose on a daily basis is the most powerful way to transform your health.

After Menopause, Cut Carbs to Lower Breast Cancer Risk

In postmenopausal women, higher glycemic load and carbohydrate intake were associated with a greater risk of [some] breast cancers.

High-carbohydrate diets may increase the risk of some types of breast cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Ranking your carbs

Carbohydrates are a major fuel source for the body, but some are better for you than others. Processed foods like pasta and many baked goods are generally stripped of fiber and other nutrients, leaving behind a load of easily absorbed sugar and starch.

A couple of different measures have been developed to assess the effect of carbohydrate-containing foods on blood sugar levels:

The glycemic index ranks foods on a scale of 1 to 100, depending on how much the food raises blood sugar. Higher glycemic index foods cause large fluctuations in blood sugar and are associated with an increased risk of many chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

The glycemic load takes into account the amount of carbohydrates present in a serving of a given food, as well as the glycemic index of the food. The result is a more accurate estimate of how different foods affect blood sugar and insulin levels.
High glycemic load linked to breast cancer risk in some women

The study looked at breast cancer risk among 334,849 women ages 34 to 66 who took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The women provided detailed information about their usual diets and the investigators evaluated the diets in terms of total carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, and glycemic load.

Over the course of about 12 years, 11,576 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer:

In postmenopausal women, higher glycemic load and higher carbohydrate intake were associated with a significantly greater risk of estrogen receptor negative and estrogen-receptor-negative/progesterone-receptor-negative breast cancers.
Glycemic load, glycemic index, and carbohydrate intake were not associated with overall breast cancer risk for all women.

Previous studies have suggested that diets with a higher glycemic load could stimulate insulin receptors in breast tissue or influence other hormones that affect breast cancer risk.

Make your carbs count

“Our results also suggest a potential interaction between fiber intake and glycemic load and carbohydrates on the risk of breast cancer,” said the study’s authors. “This supports the hypothesis of a role of fiber in modifying carbohydrate absorption and in lowering insulin response.”

Dietary fiber and fat can both help slow down carbohydrate absorption. For this reason, eating whole foods is a good way to help lower the overall glycemic load of your diet. Here are some ways to enjoy your food without making your blood sugar go crazy.

Get juicy. Instead of swigging sugar-sweetened drinks or regular juice, try a whole juice, one made by blending the entire fruit in a heavy-duty blender. Watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, and peaches mixed with a handful of crushed ice makes a refreshing low-glycemic-load treat.

Make it brown. If it’s white—rice, pasta, or bread—chances are it’s not good for you. Choose whole grains whenever you can.

Focus on lower-glycemic-load foods. Eat more lean meats and fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, and legumes like beans and lentils.
Add some tang. Vinegar and lemon juice can help lower the glycemic load of a meal.
Don’t forget the fat. Add some healthy fat (like olive oil) to help slow down carbohydrate absorption and lower the glycemic load of your favorite foods.
(Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:345–55)

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use.

By Dr Nalini Chilkov

 

Animals get their protein needs met from plants We can too

If you are a Vegan, a Vegetarian or a Qualitarian (like me) you’re eating right for optimal health by reducing your intake of animal proteins and fats, and when consuming them, having the best quality.  But how do friends, parents, and even healthcare practitioners react?

A lot of my clients tell me that despite the publicity for the health benefits of less animal, many will invoke the old myth, that vegetarians can’t get sufficient protein, in the name of “health”.  Let’s be really clear.  Gone are the days of having to combine foods at a singular eating occasion to achieve a “complete” protein – another meal of beans and rice, anyone?  And in fact, what we know of those eating occasions, is that they can actually be too carbohydrate dominant making weight maintenance and energy balance an issue. Today we know that, yes you can have your beans and rice (an ideal portion size of the combined rice+beans is about your fist, yes Shaq can eat more rice and beans at a serving than the average woman or man, and certainly child, despite the fact that when we eat out we are often given Shaq sized portions).

But beyond rice n’ beans you can also choose organic berries with hempseeds (a complete protein), or quinoa (another complete protein) with cinnamon, nuts, oil, and stevia for a yummy breakfast bowl. Use tempeh (non-GMO, fermented soy, another complete protein) in a salad or in place of the “meat” in your sandwich. With hemp, rice, soy, pea and sprouted grain protein sources popping up everywhere, it’s easy, healthy and tasty to get sufficient protein not from animal sources. So go on, get your protein at every eating occasion and enjoy some of nature’s best tasting and nutritious treats. AKA products include those from companies like Eden Foods, Seeds of Change, Sunshine Burger,Nature’s Path, TruRoots, Lundberg, Amy’s Kitchen, Rainbow Light, Manitoba Harvest, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Pure Bar and more.

By Ashley Koff