In this week’s news: Gluten-free diets spark a grain of concern; slow and steady may not win the weight-loss race; and that regrettably fattening lunch may have been your brain’s fault.
Ever since her childhood in rural Australia, Amy Chaplin’s diet has revolved around whole foods. After 20 years of cooking around the globe, the New York-based private chef, teacher, recipe developer and writer — her work appears on this very blog every week — is sharing this nurturing lifestyle in her first book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well (Roost Books). Through more than 150 recipes — and a slew of striking minimalist photos—for soulful vegetarian and vegan dishes like cherry coconut granola with extra virgin olive oil, millet cauliflower mash and roasted acorn and Delicata squash salad strewn with wheat berries and bitter greens, the former chef of the celebrated East Village vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, illuminates the simplicity and creativity of eating healthy. Read more
Of all the five tastes, umami is the most mysterious. Technically speaking, the savory flavor comes from glutamic acid. Less technically speaking, when added to recipes, umami makes a dish taste yummy (which is the actual English translation of the Japanese name).
But while umami is most commonly associated with high-sodium, bottled products — like soy sauce, miso paste, and kimchi — here’s the tastiest secret of all: Mother Nature makes it too. Those magical glutamates are also found in mushrooms, meat, seaweed, and even green tea. So when your taste buds crave a savory oomph, try swapping out the salty options for fresh sources of umami. And to get started, try this Umami Mushroom Noodle dish, complete with Five Spice Sauce. If you want to even more flavor, add in umami-rich shrimp and ground pork or beef for a multiplied umami effect.
If you’ve cooked from Plenty, Israeli chef and London restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling and award-winning cookbook, it’s probably dog-eared and food-stained from loving overuse. (Baked eggs with yogurt and greens, Brussels sprouts with tofu, and soba noodles with eggplant and mango, are personal faves.)
Now comes the hotly anticipated follow-up, Plenty More, in which Ottolenghi unapologetically celebrates the wonderful world of vegetables one cooking method at a time — braising, steaming, roasting, char-grilling and frying. In keeping with his signature inventive and vibrant style, Ottolenghi’s recipes in Plenty More feature rather exotic pops of flavor — yuzu in a dish of candy beets with lentils, sorrel and mustard in a bowl of fresh sweet peas, sweet labneh on a plate of warm baked rhubarb, and tahini on a sweet mess of honey-roasted carrots, featured below.
New research is giving us another reason to question the safety of artificial sweeteners. Researchers concluded that artificial sweeteners may be contributing to diseases like obesity and diabetes. It may be another reason you should swap the pink or blue packet of the artificial stuff for something more natural.
A recent study published in the journal Nature found that folks who were given saccharin (a type of artificial sweetener) over a week developed glucose intolerance, a condition that can lead to diabetes. Additionally, researchers also analyzed close to 400 people and found that the gut bacteria of those who used artificial sweeteners were really different from folks who did not use the fake stuff. The study concluded that more research should be done to really determine the safety of these calorie-free sugar alternatives.
Although it’s extremely difficult to pick a favorite recipe from my cookbook “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well,” these brownies do stand out as one of the true winners. The idea of combining almond butter, dark chocolate and sea salt came to me on a car trip out of the city one weekend when I was craving something sweet and satisfying. The thought of those flavors combined in a vegan brownie was something I simply had to try. I wanted the brownies to be rich and nutty without being cloying; the flaky sea salt adds a lovely texture and helps balance out the sweetness. Dates blended with almond butter are the secret here for creating the fudgy texture. These brownies taste best when cold and also keep well in the fridge for a few days. I hope you get a chance to make them soon! Read more
Are you falling for claims that many brands of frozen macaroni and cheese are reasonable options for a healthy dinner? Check out the results of this evaluation before your next trip down the freezer aisle. Read more
Halloween is not exactly associated with images of health and nutrition. It’s a day for candy, candy, and more candy. But not all candy is created equal. These recipes look and taste like the real deal, but they’re refined sugar free so they’re low on the glycemic index. Plus, they’re loaded with high-protein, energy-boosting ingredients like coconut flour, maca and raw cashews. So don’t be a scrooge. Go ahead. Let them eat candy.
When the air starts to turn chilly, there’s nothing quite like a stew simmering on the stove. These recipes not only ladle up comfort, they’ll boost your immune system too. Warm up with this quick veggie noodle soup. Lemon energizes and wakes up the flavors while garlic and parsley deliver an immune boost (pictured above).
Being a recreational athlete means you take your sport and training seriously, but you have other priorities as well, such as work, family, and friends. Multiple demands can create a hectic schedule, and result in imperfect fueling choices for training – from heavy, fat laden snacks to eating nothing at all. Thankfully, there are a number of easy grab-and-go food options that you can pack with you at the beginning of the day that can keep you fueled anytime your training happens.