People often confuse coconut butter with coconut oil. Coconut oil contains only the oil from the coconut, whereas coconut butter is made from coconut flesh, so it retains more nutrients. Coconut butter is made by blending dried coconut into a paste-like consistency that is similar in texture to nut butter.
Japanese-born Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto planned on becoming a baseball player. But luckily — at least for the food world — a shoulder injury sidelined those plans and he switched careers. Today, he oversees a family of restaurants around the world, including New York City’s Morimoto. While true to his Japanese roots, Morimoto’s cooking fuses the best of both Eastern and Western gastronomy, with results that are as delicious as they are innovative. Here, he answers the Healthy Eats Q & A.
What health food trend would you like to see go away?
Anything that is too extreme. For example, low-carb versus no-carb. If you go for a no-carb diet, you cannot eat even healthy dishes like sushi. So, if you eat everything in moderation, including carbs, you can enjoy your favorite dishes without overdoing it.
Chia seeds: Love them or leave them?
I have not tried Chia seeds before, so I don’t know if I love them or want to leave them!
What shortcuts do you use when you’re cooking?
Using the microwave! There are many high-tech microwave these days, and you can adjust the cooking time and temperature easily. My wife often microwaves sweet potatoes for our dog, and I like to eat them too!
If you spend more time on the phone with the takeout-delivery guy than, let’s say, your family members, this is the moment to put down your device and head to the kitchen. The best part about turning out your own takeout favorites: You might just wind up with some leftovers you feel good about.
Lightened Shrimp Fried Rice
The words “light” and “fried” don’t usually travel in the same sentence. But with protein-rich shrimp and fresh veggies as the main event, this homemade rendition proves the stir-fried standby can pull up a seat at the healthy table.
Hemp products are making more appearances at health-food stores, but what exactly is the story with this plant? To answer just one burning question: Yes, hemp is a species of Cannabis sativa, but no, it’s not the same as marijuana.
White beans are deliciously creamy, extremely versatile and can be made into tasty protein-rich meals or snacks in minutes. When using white beans or any other canned beans, be sure to drain off the liquid in the can, rinse them a couple of times and then drain them well. These steps will remove any flavors the beans have absorbed from the can and give you the perfect base for any of these recipes. In general I like to use cannellini beans for their larger size and creamy interior but navy beans will also work well.
In this week’s news: Mondays are the new January 1; “sad desk lunch” is no way to live; and salt gets a sprinkling of controversy.
T.G.I. … Monday?
New Year’s Day is notorious for being the time for all kinds of resolutions we know we’ll break (or simply ignore). Now, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that we treat Monday like a weekly January first. Cue Twilight Zone music. When researchers looked at health-related Google queries from 2004 to 2012, they found a consistent spike on Mondays and Tuesdays, followed by a steady decline through the rest of the week — and finished off with a big plunge on Saturday. Enter the Monday Campaigns, an initiative put forth by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications. To date, they’ve been keeping the Internet abuzz with Meatless Monday, now practiced in 31 countries worldwide. But there’s more to come, say the seize-the-Monday folks. Expect to see campaigns like Monday 2000, which encourages people to balance out their daily calorie counts, and a child-friendly Kids Cook Monday.
Step. Away. From. Your. Desk.
Did you know that 65 percent of Americans eat lunch at their desks or don’t take a break? Or that people who eat at their desks tend to eat more calories and snacks than those who eat out? Probably. Or you could have guessed. But don’t let that stop you from watching the hilarious new video from James Hamblin, MD, The Atlantic’s online health editor: “Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?” The title speaks for itself, and if you like the video, check out Buzzfeed’s take. They made “the most delightful MD ever” into a gif.
Whipping up a healthy meal doesn’t have to be a source of agita — or a gigantic time commitment. Each of these good-for-you dinners is ready in 25 (make that 24!) to 40 minutes.
Swiss Chard Soup: 40 min (above, from Food Network Magazine)
Swiss Chard is in charge when it comes to this satisfying soup. Cooked in a spicy caraway- and cumin-scented broth, the greens go wilt-y before being topped with hard-boiled eggs and Greek yogurt. Dinner is done in 40 minutes, i.e., less than the time it takes to catch up on an episode of Downton Abbey.
“As far as I’m concerned, vegetables — plant foods in general — are good things to eat and we should eat more of them. That’s as far as we need to go,” says Deborah Madison, the founding chef of Greens, the trailblazing vegetarian restaurant that opened in San Francisco back in 1979. “I am flavor-focused, not nutrition-focused.”
The fresh and tangy flavors of citrus fruit never fail to wake up taste buds in the morning. Serving a selection of different varieties is a great way to make a striking yet super simple breakfast. But the addition of vanilla-infused honey and a sprinkle of fragrant toasted pistachios takes it up a notch.
A longtime filmmaker and environmental activist (she produced the Academy Award–winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth), Laurie David is now on a crusade to change the way America eats. A lofty goal, for sure, but after revamping the way her own family approached food, she’s primed to share her practical yet sly spin on healthier home cooking (sample recipe: Roasted Cauliflower “Popcorn”). A few years back, she coauthored The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids One Meal at a Time, cookbook that combined recipes with advice on how to establish a regular and semi-sane dinner routine. She’s now followed that up with her new book, The Family Cooks: 100+ Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That’s Simple, Tasty, and Incredibly Good for You, out this week. David also tackles the issue of childhood obesity in her new documentary, Fed Up, co-produced with Katie Couric and slated for release on May 9th.