Lily Kunin Makes Clean Eating Simple in Her Debut Cookbook

by in Cookbooks, Healthy Recipes, Vegan, March 4, 2017

For health coach and blogger Lily Kunin, healthy eating is about what makes her body feel its best. This simple philosophy is the basis for her debut cookbook, Good Clean Food, in which Kunin proves that plant-based eating can be personalized to meet an individual’s needs. In it, you’ll find a bowl builder that will help you customize your perfect grain bowl, and a focus on how food can make you feel, as opposed to what meal you’re planning for. We caught up with the founder of Clean Food Dirty City to talk blogging, cooking styles and eating clean in the Big Apple.

 

Food Network: When and why did you adopt a plant-based diet?

Lily Kunin: I suffered from migraines and vertigo starting in high school, and for a period of about 5 years I had pretty severe symptoms. I tried everything from conventional medicine to alternative therapies and nothing really worked until one therapist said the problem could be my diet. And after some trial and error I gave up gluten, and for the first time in a few years, I felt symptom-free. That was when I connected what I was putting my body — food — to how it was making me feel. That said, I’m not completely plant-based. I eat a heavily plant-based diet, but I also incorporate some pasture-raised eggs, wild salmon and grass-fed meats, too.

 

FN: How long have you been Instagramming and blogging?

LK: I started my Instagram, @cleanfooddirtycity, in 2014 as a photo diary for me. I didn’t even tell my friends about it. I would make recipes off the top of my head, take a picture and post it on Instagram so I could look back in a week and see what I made. It snowballed from there when people started asking for recipes and that’s why I started my blog with gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. I’ve recently started adding new natural beauty recipes and clean travel tips. Read more

Cooking in Parchment Paper

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, March 3, 2017

Looking for a portion-controlled, mouthwatering meal that takes seconds to clean up? Try cooking in parchment paper, or as the French say it, “en papillote.” Although most French techniques have a bad reputation for being unhealthy (hello butter and salt!), cooking in parchment can be a light and flavorful, quick and simple way to cook. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Why cook in parchment?

When you cook ingredients like fish, meat, veggies and herbs in a parchment paper packet, you’re steaming the ingredients inside using their own moisture — no added fat required. Plus, there’s no need to dirty pans, so cleanup is as simple as tossing the paper in the trash.

The process

The French term for this cooking method comes from papillon, the French word for butterfly, since the paper resembles delicate butterfly wings when cut into a heart shape. You then layer ingredients on one side of the paper, fold the other side overtop, and crimp the edges to seal. (To get a visual on how to cook in parchment paper, check out this how-to.) Read more

5 Ways to Improve Body Image

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Fitness, March 2, 2017

In a social-media driven world full of perfect, curated images, it can be hard to not compare yourself to others, and love the body you are in. Since we could all use a little boost from time to time, we chatted with top fitness and nutrition experts on simple ways to promote positive body image. After all, there’s never a better time to start loving yourself than right now.

 

  1. Exercise because you want to, not because you have to.

Consider your relationship with exercise; do you do it because you have to or because you want to? When exercise is viewed as a mandate, essential only for desired aesthetics, it begins to feel like punishment, creating a negative experience that can last well after the workout is through. According to K. Aleisha Fetters MS, CSCS creator of Show Your Strength, “when people begin to exercise for performance, rather than trying to ‘fix’ something, their body image changes drastically.” Seeing your body adapting, progressing and performing tasks that didn’t feel possible before allows you to have new appreciation for what your body can do.

To begin, focus on what activities bring you the most enjoyment. Ignore the suggested caloric burns on the machines (they’re usually off anyways) and instead focus on what makes you feel your best.

 

  1. Don’t dwell in negative space

Even the most self-assured individuals can feel down about their bodies from time to time. After all, we’re only human. Instead of lingering in that space, turn a negative into a positive. Anne Mauney MPH, RD, author of fANNEtastic food offers up this advice. “Anytime your notice yourself criticizing your body, acknowledge it and then offer up something positive instead that’s not image related. Focus on the things your body can do, like enjoying a nice walk or picking up your child.” Read more

Q&A with Blogger Laura Wright, Author of The First Mess

by in Cookbooks, February 28, 2017

With more people choosing a healthy lifestyle — and caring about where their food comes from and how it makes them feel — home cooks are flocking to Saveur award-winning blogger Laura Wright of The First Mess for both accessible seasonal vegan recipes and her captivating storytelling.

Why start a food blog?
Laura Wright: I was honestly just bored when I started my blog. I had been working in restaurants for a while and was getting called off shifts at a not-so-busy spot. So my friend suggested I take all of these things I had learned about plant-based cooking and apply it to an online project.

How did you learn to cook plant-based foods?
LW: I attended a nutritional culinary program that had me learning meat, fish, dairy, egg and produce preparations. Just learning the basics of classic cookery helped me when I applied it to my plant-based preferences. For my internship portion of college, I went to a strictly vegan restaurant, which was interesting in a lot of ways, but quite educational. I also grew up with a mother who cooked from scratch pretty much every night, so watching and learning from her gave me a good start.

What impact did growing up on a farm have on your perspective of food, cooking and community?
LW: I wouldn’t call it a farm — more of a large-scale hobby garden. The constant presence of fresh, seasonal food on the part of my family definitely put me on the right path. I cook at home and plant my own vegetables in the summer because of my upbringing, which is a huge part of my life now. I don’t really waste food because I know what goes into its passage from seed to dinner. I have such a reverence for the superior flavor of good produce, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc. They make cooking easy, nourishing and fun — and that’s the message I try to convey with my work. Read more

Myth or Fact? Cooking with Aluminum Foil Is Bad for Your Health

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, February 26, 2017

Lining sheet pans, packets for the grill, and storage in the fridge are just a few of the uses that aluminum foil can have in your kitchen. But can cooking with foil can have dangerous consequences?

Myth or Fact?
Over the years, rumors have swirled about high levels of aluminum leading to health risks including Alzheimer’s and kidney disease. The truth is aluminum is all around us (even in the water supply), and regular contact does not appear to cause problems. Thankfully, the body has numerous mechanisms in place to help rid the body of excess amounts of this metal. That said, consumption of toxic levels over time could eventually be dangerous to bone, brain, muscle and other tissues.

In the Kitchen
Is there a concern for the home cook? It may depend on how you use foil in your kitchen. There’s not enough research to date to say use of foil will pose immediate harm. Studies that do exist reveal that wrapping cold or cooled foods in foil for storage did not lead to leeching of any aluminum. However, a study published in 2012 did find that cooking with aluminum at high temps and the use of acidic foods, salt, and spices did perpetuate a greater amount of leeching. Read more

8 Healthy Meal Hacks to Steal from Dietitians

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Tips, February 24, 2017


I love a nutritious meal, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m all about the shortcuts that make healthy cooking easy and fast! I was curious about what hacks my dietitian colleagues use in the kitchen, so I asked them for their best:

 

Heat hacks

  • Turn your rice cooker into a workhorse. “Like steel-cut oatmeal, but don’t like waiting 40 minutes?” asks Maggie Moon, MS, RDN, author of The MIND Diet. “Add oats and water according to package directions, and use the porridge setting on your rice cooker. Do it at night, and you’ll have perfect steel-cut oats in the morning. Rice cookers can also steam vegetables, cook fish in 15 minutes, or even slow-cook chicken or pork—just add broth and aromatics.”
  • Cook extra portions. “Make extra servings of food that you can repurpose,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It. 
    “Tonight’s grilled salmon for dinner can become tomorrow’s salmon over salad for lunch. Or just mash the salmon along with chopped veggies, egg, spices, and breadcrumbs. Then shape into salmon patties, and you’ll have a great dish for Sunday brunch!”

Read more

Have You Tried Pinole?

by in Have You Tried, February 23, 2017

Have you heard of pinole (pih-nole)? It may soon be giving quinoa a run for its money.  While this trendy superfood may be new to America, it has been around for centuries. Pinole is a grain mixture, made predominantly of heirloom blue and purple maize that’s roasted with raw cacao beans, then ground into a fine mixture. Served a multitude of ways, it’s most commonly combined with milk to form a thick, warm porridge. Similar in texture to oatmeal or grits, it’s a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.  Just two ounces of pinole provides 7 grams of fiber, 40 grams of complex carbohydrates, and 100 milligrams of anthocyanins; a specific antioxidant that may help reduce rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer and boost cognitive function.

In addition to being a great breakfast choice, pinole has historically been used as a source of fuel for endurance athletes. The Tarahumara Indians of northwestern Mexico, known for long-distance running, consume pinole as their daily staple. These native people, whose lives are highlighted in the book Born to Run, relied on two things to fuel their hundred mile journeys: chia seeds and pinole. Read more

5 Nordic Foods to Add to Your Diet

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Food News, February 21, 2017

Nordic food is hot. It’s healthy too. A recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that a Nordic diet — rich in foods like whole grain rye, unsweetened yogurt, wild berries, root vegetables, herbs and fatty fish — can lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, and even lead to weight loss. While you may not make it to restauranteur Claus Meyer’s new Great Northern Food Hall in New York, the popular Minneapolis’ Fika Café or Broder Söder at the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation in Portland, OR, you can certainly discover these delicious ways to enjoy the new Nordic diet.

Canned or jarred fish

Pickled herring anyone? While not typical lunch fare, a Swedish smorgasbord would be incomplete without it. In the Nordic Diet study, people ate two to three servings weekly of fish. And eating fish more often is as easy as opening a jar of pickled herring from IKEA stores or most supermarket deli sections. Herring are mild tasting fish that are often pickled in a vinegary onion and black pepper brine, and are addictive on dark rye crackers topped with red onions, fresh dill and a bit of sour cream. And don’t forget canned sardines, which are harvested in the frigid waters of the Norwegian fjords; these trendy tins are packed with immunity boosters. Norwegian salmon is also an appealing choice; add it to potatoes and greens in our hearty-and-healthy Salmon Hash.

Pickled vegetables

The old technique of pickling vegetables is new again. This is evidenced by the whopping $14 price tag found on a jar of pickled seasonal veggies – and by their appearance on restaurant charcuterie platters. Participants in the Nordic diet study ate a lot of cukes and cabbage. Both would be perfect in this quick pickle recipe. Read more

Market Watch: Romanesco

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, February 19, 2017

Romanesco

With its florescent lime-green hue and funky spire-shaped florets, Romanesco looks a little like broccoli from another planet. In fact, its alien appearance earned it a cameo in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” (In one scene, Rey is shown biting into an apple studded with Romanesco florets, which drew commentary from famed astrophysicist and Star Wars fact-checker, Neil deGrasse Tyson.) In reality, this cruciferous veggie, sometimes referred to as Romanesco broccoli, is more closely related to cauliflower than broccoli. It’s also a bit crunchier with a milder, slightly nutty flavor. Though Romanesco has been on the menu in Italy since the 16th century, it didn’t make its debut in the United States until the late 90s. Until recently, it was found mostly at farmer’s markets. These days, however, you might spot it at your local supermarket during the fall and winter.

 

Romanesco Facts

Like other members of the Brassica family, including kale and cabbage, Romanesco is high in Vitamins C and K, and is a good source of dietary fiber. Romanesco is also particularly high in carotenoids and phytochemicals.

 

When buying Romanesco, choose heads that are bright in color. The stem should be firm, with no signs of wilting. Any attached leaves should be perky and crisp. Pick it up: it should feel dense and heavy for its size. Store it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate for up to a week. Read more

Fix Your Diet, Fix Your Sleep

by in Food News, February 18, 2017

You snooze, you win! Turns out eating sleep smart will deliver enough zzz’s to boost your immune system and shrink your stress. “Sleep is one of the first things I ask patients about,” explains Dr. Donielle Wilson, N.D. naturopathic doctor, certified nutrition specialist and author of the upcoming, A Natural Guide to Better Sleep, “because it tells me about their health and how well they’re holding up under stress.”

But a good night’s sleep — generally defined as 7.5 to 9 hours of uninterrupted slumber per night — can be elusive. Sure, caffeine and alcohol are known sleep disrupters, but your daily eating habits could also be sabotaging your shut-eye. Besides perfecting a bedtime routine (see below), here are Wilson’s top 5 ways to fix sleep issues by giving your diet an upgrade:

  • Balance your blood sugar level during the day, which affects your blood sugar balance while you sleep. If you eat large meals, infrequent meals and/or high sugar/carb meals (including bananas), especially near bedtime, you’re likely to wake up from blood sugar fluctuations.
  • Reduce inflammation in your body, which for many people means avoiding gluten and dairy. Inflammation can travel to the nervous system and cause symptoms from anxiety to insomnia.
  • Boost nutrient-dense foods high in sleep-friendly vitamins and minerals, including magnesium (nuts, seeds, fish, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate), B6 (salmon, beef, chicken, turkey, sweet potato, hazelnuts) and melatonin (cherries, pomegranate, cranberries, pineapple, oranges, tomatoes).
  • Ditch your sugar-filled, late-night treat for a non-dairy protein powder–fueled smoothie to break those sweet cravings.
  • Calm your nervous system with herbal teas like chamomile and lavender. Stress triggers a stress response involving stimulating cortisol and adrenaline, which leads to disrupted sleep patterns.

Read more