This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, June 6, 2014

peach
In this week’s news: Taking the long view of the diets du jour; growing up on raw foods; and having a complicated relationship with diet soda.

Will Gluten-Free Go the Way of Fat-Free?
Gluten-free. Paleo. Vegan. According to an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times this week, someday we’ll likely look back on the current crop of diet trends with the same regret-slash-sheepishness we now view our fat-free binge of the 1980s and ’90s. (“Think of all the money and meals you wasted on fat-free ice cream and bone-dry chicken breasts that didn’t do you a lick of good,” writer David Sax admonishes us.) As the story points out, Jimmy Kimmel’s hit skit on gluten last month – featuring hilariously cringe-worthy responses from dieters who seem to shun gluten strictly for the cool quotient — perfectly capture our collective dietary cluelessness. But there are some winners out there: Fad diets appear to be big cash cows for food manufacturers, especially when they market products capitalizing on the nutrition words of the moment.

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Orange Is the New Orange. Nutritionally, That Is.

by in Healthy Tips, June 5, 2014

carrots
With the new season of the prison drama Orange Is the New Black set to debut this week, it seems like a good time to celebrate all things orange. But that’s not necessarily a nod to neon-orange processed food — like crunchy cheese curls — or even prison garb, for that matter. This is about the tasty orange stuff that grows on trees and plants, all of which is uniquely good for us.

“The reality is various types of orange produce are all very similar nutritionally,” says Mary Howley Ryan, MS, RDN, owner of Beyond Broccoli Nutritional Counseling, in Jackson, Wyo. “The carotenoids — especially beta-carotene that turns into vitamin A — not only give them their beautiful color but also provide big health benefits.” That said, there are literally hundreds of different carotenoid compounds to be found in orange fruits and vegetables, so it pays to try them all.

Carrot
The antioxidant beta-carotene is found in such plentiful quantities in carrots that it was actually named after the vegetable. This nutrient is also widely studied — research in the Netherlands found that those who had higher levels of carrot intake had significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. And other compounds called polyacetylenes found in carrots have more recently been shown to inhibit growth of colon cancer cells in mice.

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The Chef’s Take: Corn, Summer Squash and Avocado Salad from Suzanne Goin

by in Chefs and Restaurants, June 4, 2014

corn salad

“Being a chef is strange,” says Suzanne Goin. “Throughout service, I taste a lot of food to make sure it tastes and looks right. So, I’m not really eating for pleasure most of the time. I’m eating what I need to for my job.”

Though Goin, who co-owns six Los Angeles eateries (Lucques and A.O.C. among them) and a wholesale bakery, rarely gets to eat strictly as her heart desires, sampling this sweet corn, summer squash, sliced avocado and watercress salad never feels like an occupational hazard. “I create salads that I want to eat all the time,” Goin says.

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Smoothie of the Month: Chocolate with Coconut and Mint

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, June 3, 2014

chocolate smoothie

Refreshing, ice-cold and perfectly sweet, this drink is actually more like a shake than a smoothie. Made with nut milk and coconut ice cream, it has all of the components of a classic shake but without the dairy — although the coconut ice cream is so rich and creamy, you would never know.

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What To Do When Food Gets Recalled?

by in Food News, Food Safety, June 2, 2014

paper plate and plastic utensils
With a number of sizable food recalls in recent news, it’s important to be aware of products that have been identified as posing a food safety risk and to know what to do when they are.

Recent Recalls
Walnuts and hummus dips were on the recent food recall hit list. Last month, Sherman Produce Company, based in St. Louis, voluntarily began recalling 241 cases of walnuts, after routine sampling of the product purchased by stores in Illinois and Missouri found traces of listeria. Also in May, Massachusetts food manufacturer Lansal Inc. (aka Hot Mama’s Foods) voluntarily pulled 14,860 pounds of their hummus in various retailers, including Target and Trader Joe’s. This was done after a single 10-ounce container tested positive for listeria.

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7 Healthy Takes on Summery Seafood

by in Healthy Recipes, June 1, 2014

fish taco
You may have plunked a few salmon burgers on the grill last weekend, but typically meat gets all the glory at Memorial Day barbecues. These light, healthy fish dishes are exactly what you’ll crave as the warm-weather months heat up. 

Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa (above, from Food Network Magazine)
The chipotle-chile powder-dusted sea bass stuffed inside these corn tortillas is jacked up even more by the presence of jalapeno-red onion-cilantro salsa. But, a burst of refreshing watermelon cools it all down. 

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Farewell, My Sweets: The Sugar Shunning Trend

by in Trends, May 31, 2014

cake
If fat was the star dietary villain for the past few decades, sugar is quickly stepping up to take its place. The sweet stuff figures prominently in the recent documentary Fed Up. There are websites, such as I Quit Sugar, devoted to eliminating sugar from the diet. And several books published this year chronicle or advocate similar nutritional journeys, including Year of No Sugar — which recounts a family’s quest to rid their lives of added sugars — and The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, written by Dr. Mark Hyman, who just so happens to advise the Clinton family on matters of healthy eating.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, May 30, 2014

forks

In this week’s news: Michelle Obama hits a spork in the road to school lunch reform; researchers give a quick lesson on food costs and weight gain; and a former restaurant critic says it’s time to give up on the miracle diet pills already.

First (Lunch) Lady
Segments of the food industry and Republican legislators have criticized the 2010 federal dietary school lunch standards (called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act), citing lack of flexibility and questioning their cost and effectiveness. The School Nutrition Association, a group representing cafeteria administrators, say enrollment has gone down after the standards — which limit sodium, fat and calories, and require that fruits, vegetables and whole grains replace unhealthy menu choices. Adding bite to that bark is a new measure that would allow poorer school districts to opt out of the program. This week, Michelle Obama has been speaking out strongly against this move, penning a New York Times Op Ed that cites some tough numbers: One in three children is overweight of obese, one in three children is expected to develop diabetes, and currently $190 billion a year is spent treating obesity-related conditions. These lunch regulations can help, says Sam Kass, White House chef and the director of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, who cites academic studies showing that all children were eating healthier after the standards were established.

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5 Star Ingredients of Latin Food with a Healthy Side

by in Healthy Recipes, May 29, 2014

pork tenderloin

The ingredients that make frequent appearances in the many variations of Latin cuisine are not only delicious, they can also provide numerous health benefits.

Guava
One delicious guava provides 37 calories, 3 grams of fiber and has twice the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. It’s also rich in potassium and phosphorus. Guava is also packed with the phytochemical quercetin, which may help reduce inflammation.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo (above)

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The Chef’s Take: Roasted Salmon with Peas and Potatoes from Kelsie Kerr

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 28, 2014

salmon
“There is a niche for really delicious, finely made takeaway food — one that puts an emphasis on quality not just convenience,” Kelsie Kerr says. A Chez Panisse alumna who worked with Alice Waters on her last two cookbooks and contributed to many of the celebrated restaurateur’s other works, Kerr opened the Standard Fare, in Berkeley, Calif., to fill that hole in the marketplace this April.

Far from the average takeaway joint, the Standard Fare’s meals change daily and, to befit Kerr’s cooking, each dish comes in handmade, ready-to-serve ceramic bowls. “I wanted the food to be homey but also have a mindfulness to it,” she says. “The bowls I designed so you could have a beautiful thing to take the food home in. Ceramic both protects and heats the food nicely.”

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