Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cheers to Your Health!

It’s the time of year again for making New Year’s resolutions. They usually center around the betterment of health: quitting smoking, losing weight, more exercise. Having a plan can help one succeed in meeting these aspirations.

The US government offers online assistance for quitting smoking. There are many support groups for weight loss, such as Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous. To meet of goal of more exercise, join a gym or enlist a friend to make the commitment.

Eating more green vegetables can improve overall health and boost energy. Having a variety of new ways to eat these vegetables is great way to insure success.

An enjoyable way to start the day is with a Green smoothie. Raw greens maintain more of their nutrients than their cooked counterparts, making their health benefits even greater. It’s easy to create a variety of recipes so that the green smoothie becomes a good habit.

Keeping veggies fresh while maintaining variety can be a challenge. This can be a factor in discouraging one from continuing with a good and healthy habit. Washing and freezing greens keeps them from wilting. Roll up in parchment paper and store in a freezer bag. When needed, a piece can be broken off and added to your smoothie. This also eliminates the need to add ice to any recipe. Apple should be stored in the bottom of the refrigerator in a bag that allows air circulation. Keep the pit in an avocado for maximum freshness. Browning of surface exposed to air can be scraped off before use.

Here are a few recipes…

Basic Green Smoothie
Cilantro Lime Refresher
Kiwi Green Smoothie

Apple - a good source of dietary fiber, regulated blood fat levels, promotes heart health, reduces asthmas symptoms, balances blood sugar, lowers cancer risk, especially lung cancer.
Arugula - imparts a spicy flavor, rich in antioxidants, lowers cancer risk, source of trace minerals.
Avocado - contains heart-healthy fats, anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants, balances blood sugar, lowers cancer risk.
Beet Greens - rich in bone-building nutrients, promotes heart health, high in antioxidants, promotes good vision.
Celery - imparts a light flavor, contains cold-fighting Vitamin C, lower cholesterol, promotes blood vessel health.
Chard - enhances digestion, lowers cholesterol (better than kale when steamed,) detoxifies liver, lowers cancer risk, anti-inflammatory.
Cilantro - anti-inflammatory, heavy metal detoxification, balance blood sugar, balances good and bad cholesterol, antibacterial.
Cucumber - imparts a light flavor, promotes heart health, anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants, promotes skin radiance.
Dandelion Greens - detoxifies liver and kidney, balance blood sugar, balances good and bad cholesterol, protects against lung and mouth cancers.
Kale - enhances digestion, lowers cholesterol, detoxifies liver, lowers cancer risk, anti-inflammatory.
Parsley - promotes optimal health, tames bad breath, rich in antioxidants, lowers cancer risk, promotes heart health, protects against rheumatoid arthritis.
Spinach - high in Vitamin C, anti-inflammatory, lowers cancer risk, rich in antioxidants, promotes bone health.

Some greens are bitter. The sweetness of fruit or Medjool dates can mask this. After a few weeks, these ingredients can be eliminated to suit one’s taste.

Non-green ingredients can add a boost to flavor and texture while enhancing the nutritive value

Date - adds fiber, sweetness, and a boost of iron
Fish/Flax Oil - high in Omega-3 fatty acids which benefit heart and brain health. Also promotes colon health and boosts immunity. This ingredient should be added during the last 10 seconds of blending to maintain maximum health benefits.
Strawberry - contains manganese which can help fend off chocolate cravings, a great source of vitamin C, balances blood sugar. 
Tomato - protects men’s health, benefits heart health, balances blood lipids, rich in vitamins, A, C, and K.

During the winter months, raw foods may have adverse effect on digestion. According to Chinese medicine, this is due to the “cold” properties of uncooked foods. To avoid this discomfort, follow smoothies with warm liquids or detoxifying teas, such as those that contain licorice.

Basic green smoothie recipe

Click here for other allergen-free smoothies at Vitamixerific.

Eat well and be well,


Friday, December 23, 2011

A Toast to the Holidays

The holidays can always be a challenging time of year for those with food allergies. There are many tempting foods available which need to be avoided. Having substitutes available can help keep willpower strong. 
Starting in the late autumn, mulled apple cider is a seasonal favorite. Making your own fresh can avoid preservative which can be a hidden source of allergens. Find the recipe here for Mulled Apple Cider.  As autumn turns to winter, and the snow starts falling, nothing this the spot like hot chocolate. Find two recipes here for Hot Chocolate. One with a homemade flavor and another similar to a popular powdered mix.

Holiday parties are just not limited to evenings. This alcohol-free mimosa recipe can help you keep a clear head and enable you to make better food choices. Find the recipe for Faux-mosa here.

Happy Holidays!

Eat well and be well,


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Roasting Squash and Pumpkin

I recently bought a can of pumpkin and was disappointed with the lack of flavor. It was flat and tinny. By roasting and freezing your own, you can preserve taste and guarantee that it is free of food allergens.

Small varieties of squash, such as acorn, can be cut in half, seeds removed, and placed face down on an oiled surface. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F. Cook until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. This can vary depending on the size of the squash, but is generally between 30-45 minutes. Once cooled it is easily scraped from the skin and frozen for future use.

Butternut squash should be cut into equally thick pieces. Then remove seeds. Place in an oiled casserole dish and bake in an oven preheated to 350F. Cook until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. Time can vary depending on the size of the squash but generally is between 45-60 minutes. Once cooled it can easily be scraped from the skin and frozen.

Cut the lid off of a pumpkin in the style that you would use to make a jack-o-latern. Scrape out the seeds. Put 3 tablespoons of water inside and replace the lid. Place in an oiled casserole dish and bake in an oven preheated to 350F. Cook until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. This time can vary depending on the size of the squash but generally is between 1 - 1-1/2 hours. Once cooled it can easily be scraped from the skin and frozen.  Pumpkin is used in the recipe for Quinoa Everything Cakes.

Eat well and be well,


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Oil Slick

Olive oil has many health benefits. It is a good source of healthy fats (monounsaturated fatty acids) and contains antioxidants. For people suffering from allergies, it has the extra bonus of being made from a fruit rather than a nut.

A 2010 report at the UC Davis Olive Center found that approximately 69% of olive oil imported into California, is adulterated. Even more shocking, according to Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive OIl by Tom Meuller, soy bean oil is often mixed with a small amount of olive oil, beta carotene, and chlorophyll and then labeled extra virgin olive oil. This oil may end up on your grocery shelf but more often, it is sold commercially to restaurants. (Listen to the entire interview on Fresh Air, aired December 12, 2011.) 

Take action to protect your food sources. Contact your congressional officials to encourage their support of the fair labeling of oilive oil and adequate funding of the USDA for enforcement to prevent counterfeiting.

Eat well and be well,