This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, May 23, 2014

loaf
In this week’s news: Gluten isn’t the only culprit in town; carbs, however, aren’t getting any slack; and a chef serves up a side of food politics.

Later, Gluten; Hello, FODMAPs
Studies show that 30 percent of us would like to cut down on our gluten consumption. For many, this stems from the belief that eating gluten can lead to gastrointestinal distress, an idea that drew attention after a 2011 Australian study. Thorough as that investigation was, the fact that it resulted in no real clues about why people might be so sensitive to gluten had puzzled the researchers. Recently, they headed back to the lab to give the experiment another go using an even more water-tight protocol. The results threw a wrench in prevailing thinking about gluten intolerance: Study participants reported little change in how they felt based on how much gluten they were or were not consuming. (Important note: Although gluten intolerance might be in question, celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten consumption, is real but rare.) What did seem to make some difference, the scientists note, was the amount of a specific category carbohydrate found in wheat, known by its acronym, FODMAPs.

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Gluten-Free “Birdseed” Granola

by in Gluten-Free, May 22, 2014

birdseed granola
We love a wholesome and hearty breakfast to begin our days, and this granola has four different whole grains in it, so it is exactly that! It’s a great breakfast (or snack) for summer, paired with berries and yogurt. We jokingly call this granola “birdseed” because it looks a bit like it, with the millet and quinoa. We use butter, but coconut oil can be substituted for a dairy-free version. It keeps nicely all week in an airtight container.

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The Chef’s Take: Swordfish Kebabs from Jimmy Bradley

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 21, 2014

swordfish kebabs
With Memorial Day around the corner and grill season afoot, these rosemary-skewered swordfish kebabs are just the ticket. Not only are they light and richly flavored, but they also come together in a snap.

Don’t let the unfussy preparation, which involves nothing more complicated than making a citrus-herb marinade, fool you into thinking the fish dish stints on taste. The resulting flavors are nuanced and sophisticated. Rosemary branches that pierce the fish perfume the kebabs, and the swordfish, with texture reminiscent of a steak, stands up to the herb’s signature aroma. Once the smoke from the grill works its way into the mix, the result is bewitching.

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Dessert of the Month: Almond-Vanilla Mini Cakes with Rhubarb

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, May 20, 2014

rhubarb cakes
These mini cakes are a lot like macaroons: Crisp on the outside, thanks to plenty of almond meal,  and tender inside, from the combination of maple syrup and coconut oil. Not only are these little cakes dairy- and gluten-free but they’re also packed with nutritious ingredients, including chia seeds, flaxseeds, and flours ground from whole grains and nuts.

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For the Love of Vegetables: Recipes That Celebrate Produce, Year-Round

by in Cookbooks, May 19, 2014

beekman vegetable cookbook

The journey of Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge from New York City executives to country farmers has been well-chronicled — on the reality TV show The Fabulous Beekman Boys and in their best-selling cookbook The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook (both named after their historic home in upstate New York, Beekman 1802). Combining their business savvy with their love of the land and what it can produce, the duo have become well-known for turning a struggling goat farm into a thriving enterprise, producing goat’s milk soap, artisanal cheese and a cornucopia of vegetables.

Their latest book, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden, is year-round celebration of what they grow, and delicious ways in which home cooks can share in the bounty.

What’s a good way to expand your vegetable palate beyond the basics?
When in doubt, roast. Nearly any vegetable can be tossed in olive oil and salt — and red pepper flakes if you like them — and roasted in a 375 to 400 degree oven until browned and softened. It works with everything from the hardest winter squashes to delicate hearts of romaine lettuce. If there’s anything you’re curious about, buy it, roast it, and chances are, you’ll love it.

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5 Recipes That Prove Oatmeal Has Amazing Secret Talents

by in Healthy Recipes, May 18, 2014

oat smoothie
So you thought you and your oats were pretty close. After all those mornings waking up together, you knew everything about each other … right? Turns out, your old friend has been leading a secret life. A surprising life. A savory life. Curious? Check out these five recipes that will have you thinking outside the oatmeal bowl.

Tropical Oatmeal Smoothie (above)
Make your smoothie more satisfying by grinding oats to a fine powder in the blender before adding all that nutrient-rich fruit. It amps up a standard sip with fiber and and adds a hearty texture. You may even want to break out your spoon for this one.

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A Salad and a Meal, All In One: Wheat Berries and Brussels Sprouts

by in The Grain Attraction, May 17, 2014

wheat berry salad

I don’t know about you, but if I’m eating a salad as a meal, I want it to have some heft. I can’t last until my next meal on mixed greens alone. Enter wheat berries and Brussels sprouts. Together with some nuts and cheese, they make tasty a salad filled with protein and fiber, which does wonders for satiety.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, May 16, 2014

pickles

In this week’s news: A buzzkill study related to red wine emerges; a documentary suggests not all calories are created equal; and food dyes appear in unexpected places (et tu, pickles?).

Glass Half Empty, But Cheers Anyway
In 2006, Harvard scientists won the hearts of red wine and chocolate lovers everywhere by reporting that obese mice that were fed huge amounts of resveratrol — a polyphenol antioxidant found in those two foods — tended to live longer and stay healthier. Fast-forward eight years: Resveratrol supplements are a $30 million dollar industry, Dr. Oz enlisted the antioxidant for his “Ultimate Anti-Aging Checklist” and we’ve all been happily drenching ourselves in wine and chocolate. In light of this, a new Johns Hopkins study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine was, well, a bit of a downer. Researchers who studied a group of 783 elderly people in Tuscany’s Chianti region found no association between lifespan and the amounts of reseveratrol these individuals had consumed (presumably mostly through wine). That said, there’s still plenty of reason to raise a glass, says David Sinclair, the lead scientist behind the 2006 study. While it would take 100 to 1,000 times the amount of resveratrol you’d get from imbibing to have the kind of health impact he saw in mice, he points out that there are over three dozen other polyphenols in wine, many with similar and complementary sorts of benefits.

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5 Must-Haves for a Healthy Summer Fridge

by in Healthy Tips, May 15, 2014

5 Must-Haves for a Healthy Summer FridgeI know the 4th of July will be here in what feels like minutes. What better time, then, to “summer-ize” my fridge? I want to keep things lean, light and healthier in the summer, and by stocking my fridge (and freezer!) now, I’ll be ready for the season well before Memorial Day.

You probably do your own version of spring-cleaning in your fridge, making it healthy and appealing: chopping veggies to store in chilled water, peeling and slicing fruit into bowls for a fresh healthy dessert, or making a few batches of refreshing spa water to keep you hydrated now that the weather is warmer (see my post on that topic).

Here are my top five food items to add to your healthy and lean fridge this summer:

1. Low-Cal Condiments: I keep my fridge stocked with low-calorie condiments. I reach for these as dips or to add flavor to foods. My favorites are: Dijon mustard, hot sauce (such as Frank’s) and the less-known Slawsa. Here are some ideas for using them:

  • Dijon Mustard: Use it as a base for salad dressing. It will help emulsify a water-heavy vinaigrette, so you can make a dressing out of 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water and 1 part olive oil if you start with a hefty spoonful of mustard. Or mix Dijon mustard with some chopped herbs and use it to coat chicken or pork before cooking for added moisture and flavor. Finally, try whisking it into sauces at the end of cooking for a creamy texture for almost no fat or calories.
  • Hot Sauce: Mix a few tablespoons of hot sauce with a spoonful of water and a tiny knob of melted butter, then toss with grilled chicken or fish for a healthy Buffalo-style appetizer. Or pour it over an egg white omelet tucked into a corn tortilla for a perfect breakfast or lunch soft taco.
  • Slawsa: This is a low-cal condiment of cabbage and a tangy sweet mustard. It has 15 calories per serving, and it can go on anything from sandwiches to roasted or grilled fish or chicken. It’s also great for topping a plate of eggs or loading up some baked whole-wheat pita chips. My grandmother always said her health secret was to eat cabbage every time she had a chance, so I love honoring her with my favorite condiment. Note that there is some sugar in Slawsa, which is only significant if you start eating it out of the jar by the spoonful. (I say that completely hypothetically, of course.)

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The Chef’s Take: Vegetarian Meatballs from Daniel Holzman

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 14, 2014

veggie balls

“Vegetarians want the vegetarian option not to feel like an afterthought,” says Daniel Holzman. “And so the question was how can we celebrate vegetables and make something really delicious.” This question was particularly perplexing to chef Holzman, who, in 2010, along with his partner Michael Chernow, opened a restaurant called The Meatball Shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The plan, as you can imagine, was to specialize in meatballs. “We wanted to include a vegetarian meatball to be as inclusive as possible,” Holzman explains.

Their solution to the vegetarian meatball conundrum came in the form of this recipe, a green lentil meatball, which Holzman is partial to serving with a basil-spinach pesto, one of five sauces guests can choose from at each of the Meatball Shop locations (a sixth shop is opening this summer on New York City’s Upper West Side).

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