Comforting Vegan Lentil Soup!

This soup is high in fiber, protein, vitamin A, C, iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Because lentils are high in fiber, they provide you with stable energy levels. Make it a complete protein meal by serving it with wild or brown rice so that you have all the nine amino acids, essential to dietary needs.

I grew up eating this soup hearing about the great benefits that came with it, making me love it that much more.  To this day it’s one of my favorite go-tos when I’m craving a filling, yet light, meal. Here’s my mom’s great recipe straight from her, a nutritionist, talented author and fantastic cook!  :)

Nydia Lentil Soup

 

Ingredients:
1 cup lentils

1 large carrot (sliced in ½ inch pieces)

1 large celery stalk (sliced into ¼ to ½ inch pieces)

2 medium white potatoes (cut in cubes)

1 cup fresh spinach

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. paprika

3 tbs. cilantro

1 tbs. parsley

2 whole garlic cloves

1 tbs. tomato paste

1 medium onion (chopped)

Recipe:
Prepare the lentils – In a large pot, boil the dry lentils in 4 cups of water uncovered.  After they have been boiling for 5 minutes, remove the lentils and drain the water. Put the lentils back to cook with 8 cups of fresh water. Do not cover the pot. Boil them until almost tender using medium heat.

Then add potatoes, carrots, celery, turmeric, paprika, cilantro, parsley, garlic, tomato paste, onions and salt to taste.

Once the potatoes are tender, add the spinach and simmer for 5 more minutes.


Bon appétit!

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Luna’s Mediterranean Fennel Soup

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Beautiful and ancient, fennel has a subtle sweet licorice flavor and crunchy texture that has been all the rage since ancient Greece. Today, research is showing that a substance found in fennel, anethole, blocks tumor necrosis factor (TNF).  What does that mean for us exactly?  Quite a lot actually.   Tumor necrosis factor is linked with many immune disorders such as :

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • psoriasis
  • asthma

The pharmaceutical industry has been extremely invested in developing TNF inhibitors.  So much, in fact, that the global market for these inhibitors grew from 13.5 billion to 22 billion from 2008 to 2009.  The great news is that we can skip the bill and scary side effects of these synthesized drugs by incorporating more foods that naturally have TNF inhibiting properties.  Cumin, tumeric, green tea, and echinacea all seem to behave similarly by inhibiting TNF.

Fennel’s TNF inhibiting awesomeness is just the cherry on top in addition to its anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogen, antimicrobial qualities.  Now that you’ve developed a new found respect for that unsuspecting, but gorgeous, bulb, here’s my Iraqi mother-in-law’s recipe that’ll make you wish you had made more.

Luna’s Mediterranean Fennel Soup ingredients:

2 potatoes

2 small purple (or white) onions

a few small fennel bulbs (or 1 to 2 large ones)

dash of salt and pepper

water (sorry, the cook laughed when I asked her for measurements! – they run an old-school style kitchen here)

1 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil (optional)

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Recipe:

Cut vegetables into large chunks

Add all ingredients to boiling water

Cover and cook until tender (about 20 to 35 minutes)

Blend

 

Top with Golden Garlic Crispy Bits: In a small pot, heat 1 to 2 tbs. of vegetable oil that’s suitable for high heat.  Add thinly sliced garlic slivers (4 to 6 cloves) making sure you “deep fry” the garlic by tilting the pot so that the garlic is immersed in the oil.  Remove garlic when it starts turning a golden brown.   Sprinkle over your newfound winter soup and enjoy!  :)

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Kanye West, Pomegranates & the Latest Diet Trend

You wouldn’t end a friendship if they liked Kanye West.  Arguably you should could, but you know better.  You know that ending that friendship would mean you’d also lose their (usual) insight-fullness, kindness and the love and laughter that comes with being around that person. Yes you hate Kanye, but focusing on that single aspect would distract you from everything else, good and bad, that makes up your friend’s character.  After all, we’re complex beings.

And so is your body…

People’s personalities are complex and their physiology is arguably more so.  To illustrate this, it was only until the end of last year that a team of scientists humbly published an attempt to estimate the number of cells in the human body… a whopping 37.2 trillion.

A possible 37.2 trillion cells, reacting, communicating and fulfilling sophisticated jobs simultaneously throughout the day, that we’re just beginning to understand. Take adipose (fat) cells for example, that vary in type and behavior.  Some make up healthy brown fat and others collect under your abdominal muscles, coating and suffocating organs like a ticking time-bomb.  Fat isn’t only responsible for sabotaging bathing suit season but also takes part in the regulation of hormones such as insulin and those that tell the brain whether or not you’re full.

 With our busy schedules and limited memory space, it’s no surprise that the loudest, simplest messages are enthusiastically accepted, published and repeated over and over again.  Moving, crowd-pleasing speeches follow that same formula; simplify the problem, single out a villain to carry the blame, give a simple solution and promise immediate results.  Does this sound like the latest diet trend to you?  Nobody ever followed the person who started with, “There is a problem indeed!! But unfortunately it’s complicated! So now let’s get riled up and analyze those tedious details and we’ll take it from there!  WHO’S WITH ME?!”  The only thing following that speech is uncomfortable silence.  In this case, it might mean you’ve already stopped reading  :(  For those of you who are still here with impressive stamina:

Food is also complicated.
Macronutrients (fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrates) dominate health and nutrition media because they are extremely important.  They are crucial to providing us with energy in a system called the metabolic system. However, an increasing amount of research is pointing to the promise of better health through micronutrients including phytonutrients.

While macronutrients are critical for our metabolic system (obtaining, processing, using and storing energy), micronutrients are critical for a lot of other functions.  Your metabolic systems is one of many systems and overall health is accomplished by ensuring that all of your body’s systems are balanced and working properly.

For example, antioxidants are important since free radicals are constantly being produced in our cells.  Another important example is the immune system.  Macronutrients might play a marginal role in your body’s immune system while micronutrients are critical and central to an efficient, functioning immune system.  If you’re reading this, you probably already know that these imbalances are thought to be the root cause to most modern diseases such as cancer.

Ignoring the details and the Whole Truth.

If you’re still reading this, your patience by now is probably wearing thin.  ‘BUT What IS the connection between pomegranates and Kanye West??!’, you might be asking.  We evaluate people around us and hopefully take all of their qualities into consideration.  Why not apply the same principle to something as comprehensive as nutrition?

Sugar, a subcategory of macronutrients under carbohydrates, is a specific chemical found in food.  It’s today’s new villain.  We thought we had identified fat as the monster but after our waistlines continued to grow, we needed a new suspect. Like the boogieman, it hides in unsuspecting places, tempts us with ice cream, and casts a powerful spell over us.  There is a lot of truth in this message but sugar is only one characteristic within a food.  Remember that good friend who liked Kanye?  Judging a food based on a single component is a one dimensional way of thinking that could be detrimental to your health, specifically to all of those complicated systems that depend on diverse nutrients in large, frequent quantities to work properly.

A healthy compromise: Whole Analysis

Pomegranates, for example, have A LOT of sugar!  Seeds from 1 whole pomegranate have almost 40 grams of sugar.  Equivalent to about 1.25 cups of ice cream.  However, pomegranates are also full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that boost not just one system but many systems.  Pomegranates is one of a handful of foods that have an extremely important phytochemical. The high fiber content also slows down the rate of sugar absorption, making it difficult to compare to refined sugar.  Cutting out sugar from your diet will certainly make you lose weight and even cutting back on fruits can give you a boost in the beginning.  If your looking to reduce the sugar in you and your family’s diet, having half of a pomegranate will give you the benefits and take the sugar amount to less than 20 grams.

Table sugar, on the other hand, has no nutritional value whatsoever.  Absolutely no redeeming qualities.  None. This is a complete/whole analysis of table sugar.  Pomegranate is considered to be The most antioxidant dense fruit.  Judging it then based solely on it’s sugar content might rob you of all the other qualities pomegranates have.

Applying this evaluation method to the latest diet trend will empower you and not leave you and your family vulnerable to incomplete, misleading information.  The key is whole, critical analysis.

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Tuesday Tip: 5 Foolproof ways to boost nutrients

Macronutrients have dominated our view on what constitutes health.  How much fat does that have?  Am I getting enough protein?  It’s only been the past 10 years that we’ve started to really consider the significance of micronutrients. While macronutrients are essential to living, more and more experts are looking to vitamins, trace minerals and phytochemicals to truly achieve optimal health and prevent today’s most common ills and diseases.

Micronutrients are essential in:

  1. Maintaining and boosting the immune system
  2. Keeping organs healthy and working properly
  3. Regulating body weight
  4. Preventing disease (such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes…)
  5. Detoxification
  6. Regulating mood
  7. Growth & Development
  8. Healing
  9. Cognitive function
  10. Inflammation

This is just a small, simplified list that continues to grow since we’ve just started to discover their benefits.  Here are 5 easy tips and tricks to get the most nutrients into your diet.

1. Reduce your cooking time and heat

Why? The longer the cooking time, the less nutrients.  Raw vegetables, in general, have the highest nutrients but lightly steaming them can increase your overall vegetable intake and nutrient absorption. 

Vegetable tagine Small Copy

Steamed vegetables such as broccoli, for example, are easier to chew (and digest) than raw broccoli, making it easier for your body to absorb more nutrients.   An extreme example of this would be flax seeds.  These miracle seeds are wonderful, unfortunately, our teeth can’t chew through the tough shell which means it’ll likely pass through the system intact without releasing any of the benefits inside its shell.  Grinding flaxseeds (a coffee grinder works perfect) allows us to access and absorb these nutrients. 

How to:  Bring water to a boil, add the vegetables, cover, reduce heat and simmer for the least amount of time until tender.

2. Keep it colorful

Why?  Phytochemicals (only found in plants) are often expressed in the plant’s color.  Not only is adding color to your dishes visually appealing, expanding the spectrum of colors will ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients.  This is another reason why overcooking should be avoided since the lack of color indicates the loss of nutrients.

Overboiled Vegetables

How to:  Make it a habit to include colorful foods such as purple cabbage, carrots, red peppers and greens in each meal.  The more colorful, the more variety, the better!

Homecooking

3.  Buy frozen foods

Why?  Seasonal foods tend to be more nutrient dense. If you don’t have access to seasonal foods or a farmers’ market, frozen fruits and vegetables are a surprisingly good option.  The average nutritional loss is 5% for freezing and foods are usually frozen at their peak ripeness, which = more nutrients.

How to:  Thaw in the fridge or kitchen counter before steaming to avoid excess heat and cooking.

4. Steaming with water – Drink up or cut back

Why? Vitamins and minerals leach into the water used to boil or simmer vegetables.

How to: You can either use the least amount of water possible so that the vegetable reabsorbs the water or use the remaining liquid in sauces or soups.

5. Add healthy raw fat

Why? If you find yourself starving after having just a salad it could be because a slice of tomato and iceberg lettuce isn’t cutting it… nor should it.   This is a common problem for those trying to increase whole, plant foods in their diet.  Healthy fat from raw, unprocessed plants can help boost your energy, keep you satisfied, provide you with essential nutrients and increase their absorption.

How to:  Add these to your daily diet – Avocados, seeds, raw nuts, sesame seed paste (tahini), coconut,  and olives.

Coconut chips for breakfast

{delicious slivers of coconut sprinkled over fruit salad}

*Tip:  Keep a few mason jars on your dining table with different seeds such as hemp and pumpkin seeds next to the salt and pepper.  This way you can easily sprinkle your food or salad to enhance the flavor and reap the nutritional benefits on a daily basis.

Check out this great recipe from Kimberly Snyder that incorporates most of these tips to make a delicious, easy, decadent meal for less than $6 and under 10 minutes to make!

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Tuesday Tip: Orange Creamsicle (that’s actually good for you)

I discovered this drink in a small colorful restaurant tucked away in an old, windy city by the Atlantic.  It was listed on the menu as “Advocate”, the mistranslation making us giggle (because we’re immature) and because we love to “advocate” the awesomeness of avocado (because we’re also dorks).  The drink’s ingredients were simple – fresh squeezed orange juice & avocado.

Orange Creamsicle

The first sip is something I will cherish forever.  It tasted just like an orange creamsicle… without the heaviness and weird processed food aftertaste.  It was perfection and it made me wonder why more kids aren’t enjoying this drink that actually tastes better than the ice cream flavor that’s been synthesized in a lab. You’ll have to try it to believe me and your kids will be absolutely thrilled with this treat.  We’ll keep it just between us that it’s actually good for them when they’re begging you for more  ;)

Avocado sometimes gets a bad rap because of its fat content which is a shame because there is so much more to this perfect little package.  Here’s just the short, summarized list of all the things you and your family can benefit from by making avocado an addition to daily meals.  This drink is just one of many!

  1. No cholesterol
  2. High in monounsaturated fats (good fats)
  3. Healthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratio
  4. High in beta-carotene, fiber, folate, and potassium
  5. Anti-inflammatory benefits which come from:
    • Phytosterols
    • Other non-carotenoid antioxidants including flavonoids, vitamins C and E, manganese, selenium and zinc
    • Omega-3 fatty acids: ALA
    • Polyhydroxylated Fatty Acids (PFAs)
  6. High in carotenoids:
    • Carotenoids are a class of phytochemicals normally found in bright red and orange plants such as carrots and tomatoes.
    • Carotenoids are essential in growth and development, boosting your immune system and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
    • The greatest concentration of carotenoids is in the dark green flesh right under the skin so don’t forget to scoop that part out!
    • Since carotenoids are fat-soluble, avocados are a perfect package in that in provides these nutrients and increases the nutrient absorption by literally binding to the digestive tract and helping transport the nutrients (by 200-400%!!!)
Mini Avocado

{this little guy dropped from our garden’s avocado tree}

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie (yields 2, 8oz servings)

16 oz of fresh squeezed orange juice

1/4 peeled and pitted *ripe* avocado (add more for added creaminess, nutrients & thickness)

That’s it!  Blend & Enjoy!

Micronutrients: Vitamins/per serving
Vitamin A: 10%
Vitamin C: 209%
Vitamin E: 2%
Vitamin K: 5%
Thiamin (vitamin B1): 16%
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 6%
Niacin: 7%
Vitamin B6: 7%
Folate: 22%
Pantothenic Acid: 7%

Micronutrients: Minerals/per serving
Calcium: 3%
Iron: 3%
Magnesium: 8%
Phosphorus: 5%
Potassium: 17%
Zinc: 2%
Copper: 7%
Manganese: 3%
Selenium: 0%

Macronutrients/per serving
Calories: 140
Fat: 3.1 g
Carbs: 27.3 g
Fiber: 1.7 g
Sugar: 20.9 g
Protein: 2.1 g

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Tuesday Tip: Fall Time at the Farmers’ Market

Happy Tuesday! It’s getting chilly here on the farm so I’ve got my warm sweater on, sipping Moroccan mint tea while looking at the front garden’s palm trees and gardenias. Sounds like heaven right? It is (most of the time) but today I realized that for the first time in my life I’m not going to experience fall in the East Coast. Fall for me is as much about the color of the leaves changing as it about going to the farmers’ market. There’s something about being bundled up in the chilly weather, hunting for treasures in a sea of color and all the possibilities of great meals to look forward to that make farmers’ markets in the fall so special.

Farmers Market

Make a spread with the kids using the goodies you just brought back from the market. {Ripe heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced onions, basil, balsamic reduction served over fresh baked olive bread}

If you’re reading this, you probably already know the great benefits that come with supporting farmers’ markets. Aside from being better for the planet, it’s a great chance to get your kids involved and emotionally connected with healthy seasonal foods from an early age, not to mention an opportunity to expand their taste palate.

Consuming produce from a farmers’ market can also be an easy and direct way to increase your family’s nutrient intake. I found this great article from Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment that goes into detail about these benefits**:

  • Variety: Supermarkets (that have more middlemen and overhead costs to cover) decide which produce and varieties to offer based on efficient yield, profit margin, consistent appearance (those apples need to look perfect and identical) and shelf-life, among other things. Having so much overhead cost and extra transportation time doesn’t leave much room for prioritizing taste and nutritional value. Farmers’ Markets do, however, have that luxury.

    …the spice of life.

  • Healthier farming methods = more nutritional value: The methods used in local farms vs industrial produce farms allow the plant to absorb and sustain more nutrients
  • Harvest Time
    Peak ripeness is when nutrients are at their highest.  The earlier the plant is picked the less nutritional value it has.  Harvesting prematurely is necessary when foods have to travel far to extend shelf-life.
  •  Handling
    Any damage done to a plant can lower its nutritional value.  Bruising is probably the most common problem which is hard to avoid with industry practices such as mechanical harvesting and moving them with trucks and forklifts.
  • Packaging
    If a bruise can affect the nutritional value, you can image what cutting can do.  The second the plant is altered, it starts losing its nutrients.  That why it’s best to consume fruits and vegetables sooner than later once you’ve ‘processed’ them somehow (cut or blended).  Buying pre-cut foods can save time but it does affect the value.  However, if that’s what works for you, pre-cut veggies are certainly better than no veggies!  You can work around this by eating your pre-cut foods earlier in the week or ideally the same day.
  • Longer storage and transportation time
    Plants start losing their nutritional value from the time they’re harvested.  Also, the longer it takes to transport, the harder it is to prevent damage along the way.

Getting there:  Saturday morning rolls around, my comfy sweats and Netflix are enticing me to stay in.  “What time is the market open ’til?”  My husband and I have a leisure debate about that until we know it’s too late to go.  ‘Next week’ we say.

Farmstand app no longer lets us get away with that.  It tells you where the closest market is and what time they’re open.  Did I mention it’s free? :)

Farmstand App

Photo courtesy of itunes.

What’s in Season? Check out this great interactive map from Epicurious.  It allows you to easily select your state and month to give you a heads up for what’s in season.  LOVE!

Whats in Season

Now that you’re fully armed with all this info., grab your coats, enjoy every second of the market, every sip of hot cider, knowing that these are small yet invaluable steps to keeping your children happy and healthy!

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**This is a summarized version of the article.  If you do have the time, it’s well worth reading through it.

Tuesday Tip Served on a Stainless Steel Platter

While the controversial debate about plastic continues to unfold, I decided to incorporate longer lasting materials in our kitchen that were better for us and the environment.  Glass is beautiful, classic, easy to clean and non-odor-absorbing; it was the perfect fit… until we needed a larger bowl for our salad (I like to leave my workouts at the gym) or we dropped the first of many glass items on the kitchen floor.  Stainless steel has proven to be more and more an indispensable material in our quest to eat healthier the easy way.

Pros to using stainless steel:

  • Low maintenance and easy to clean
  • Shatter proof and break-resistant
  • Non-odor-absorbing
  • Lightweight
  • Long-lasting
  • Free of phthalates and BPA
  • Attractive

The only con is the price, but, considering its lifespan, it’s arguably cheaper than replacing plastic and glass.  Another thing to be aware is the quality.  Amazon is full of stainless steel products that are not high-grade or only use stainless steel as a casting instead of making the entire product stainless steel.  I’ve read reviews complaining about peeling and chipping… Yikes!

As a parent, you can certainly appreciate the lightweight and break-resistant part, especially since babies and toddlers get a serious kick out of playing the drop-everything-all-the-time game.  If you can swing it, I think it’s well worth the splurge for your baby and their future  :)

Here’s a list of some great products I found:

Lunchbots Stainless Steel Dish Set (perfect for babies and toddlers)

$24.95 per set

Photo courtesy: lunchbots.com

Sur La Table Stainless Steel Bowls

$7.16 – $22.36 per bowl

Sur La Table Stainless Steel Bowls

Klean Kanteen Leak Proof 1 and 2 cup Food Canisters (perfect for travel or bringing lunch to school)

$17.95 to $34.95 (depending on insulation and size)

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Photo courtesy of Raw Food San Francisco

Leak proof Condiment Containers by Lunchbots

Set of 3 for $20.99

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All About Adipose: How to Reduce Fat & Your Child’s Likelihood of Obesity

There’s so much talk about fat but still such little understanding about these very same cells that can wreak havoc on our health. This post was written as a humble attempt to understand one of the most talked about cells out there, adipose (fat) cells, and shed some light onto the many myths and misunderstandings that surround them.

Do fat cells differ between lean and overweight people?

Yes, and a significant study in 2008 showed evidence that there are two contributing factors that make up what we consider to be fat mass (adipose tissue):

  1. The number of fat cells an individual has

  2. The volume or size of each fat cell. It’s important to keep in mind that adipose (fat) cells differ from each other in type, location and behavior.

The quantity of fat cells we have and how “full” each cell is determines how heavy or thin we are. Often compared to little grocery bags, each adult has a set number of bags. These bags may be full to the brim or just slightly full, expressing the weight we carry.

Overweight people compared to leaner individuals have both a greater number of cells, as well as, fuller larger cells. Once the number of bags are set, gaining or losing weight is a matter of changing the volume within each bag, not how many bags you have.

{Interestingly, the only way to reduce the number of fat cells is through liposuction by which the cells are literally extracted from the body. If and when the individual gains weight again, the newly formed fat droplets will migrate and find shelter in other fat cells located in other areas (since the cells where they would normally go to have been removed). For example, liposuction in the thigh area will decrease the size of the person’s thighs but months after surgery, fat will start showing up in new parts of the body such as the back of the arms and/or stomach where they normally wouldn’t go to prior to surgery. This is irrelevant as far as children are concerned but it does give us a better insight on how adipose cells work.}

How does having a higher number of fat cells affect a person?

It’s been shown that individuals who have a higher cell number struggle more with weight-loss than individuals with a lower number.

This also highlights how important it is to take the time to understand the complexity of nutrition rather than to simplify and overlook significant details. Blaming overweight or obese individuals for lack of self-control and discipline when chemically speaking it’s more difficult to do so, robs us of understanding, and as a result, efficiently treating obesity. That’s not to say discipline and emotional eating don’t play a role in obesity, but that there’s a lot more to ‘deciding’ to be heavy.

When are adipose cells formed?

Historically, experts believed that the number of adipose cells were formed within the first year or two, however, recent studies indicate adipose cells are formed throughout childhood and adolescence. While these findings are important, the research is still far from being complete. What is certain is that instilling healthy habits at an early age can make a huge impact on achieving good health in the child’s future.

Photo Courtesy: http://realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com

Photo courtesy: http://realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com

Do overweight children become heavy or obese adults?

There is a 70 to 80% chance an obese child or adolescent will suffer from obesity as an adult. As we age, the accumulation of unhealthy lifestyle choices and other factors such as hormonal changes and less activity increases our adipose tissue consistently and cumulatively.

The earlier added accumulation and extra formation of fat cells  will make it that much harder for the child to be a healthy weight as an adult. Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss childhood chubbiness as a phase they will inevitably grow out of. We might have to move away from this mindset to one that is more proactive considering these recent findings.

It’s not all doom and gloom. The fact is that there is a lot we can do. Not to mention that succeeding in health is actually fun and involves eating delicious, colorful foods. Understanding the slightly boring details is the worst part, I promise!! With that said, Part 2 will cover the fun stuff and how to make unhealthy weight a thing of the past :)

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__________________________________________________________________________________________________
References

Cold War Bomb Testing is Solving Biology’s Biggest Mysteries
A PBS article written by Carrie Arnold, Published: Dec 11, 2013

Dynamics of Fat Cell Turnover in Humans
Kirsty L. Spalding, Erik Arner, Pål O. Westermark, Samuel Bernard, Bruce A. Buchholz, Olaf Bergmann, Lennart Blomqvist, Johan Hoffstedt, Erik Näslund, Tom Britton, Hernan Concha, Moustapha Hassan, Mikael Rydén, Jonas Frisén & Peter Arner
Nature.  June 5, 2008.

Fats and Cholesterol in the Diet
Sherry Henley, Instructional Specialist, Scottie Misner, Associate Nutrition Specialist
The University of Arizona. August 1999.

Fat cell number is set in childhood and stays constant in adulthood
Ed Yong, popular science writer
ScienceBlogs. May 4, 2008

Tracking of body mass index in children in relation to overweight in adulthood.
Guo SS, Chumlea WC.
Am J Clin Nutr. 199 Jul;70(1): 145S-8S. via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

 

 

Tuesday Tip: 124% of Vitamin C in a Single Serving

All you need is love daikon.  One 7 inch long daikon (consumed raw) will give you 124% of your vitamin C for the day.  The added toasted sesame seeds will boost the goodness to 37% calcium and 31% of your iron and folate daily requirement.

I used to ignore this wanna-be white carrot until I came across that percentage when I was researching vitamins.  Vitamin C is very sensitive to cooking so it’s best consumed raw.  It’s also a vitamin that depletes quickly so topping off is always a good idea especially with cold and flu season coming up.

Photo courtesy: burpee.com

A third of your folate, iron and calcium condensed in a single bowl isn’t the only good news though.  Did I mention it tastes DELICIOUS!?  I used a julienne peeler to get perfect slivers of these yummy crunchy bits.  If you don’t have a julienne peeler, the $10 is certainly worth every penny.  Especially for crunchy vegetables (cucumber, radish, carrots, etc.), being able to create uniform thin slices can really make a difference in saving time and getting the best results.

Julienne Peeler

Photo courtesy: ShapeMeUp & Culinary Pro

In a bowl, mix the following ingredients for a treat you and your children will love as a snack or served over any Asian-inspired dish you’re serving for dinner.  The raw garlic gives it that spicy kick to it and the earthy roasted flavor of the sesame seeds meld all of the flavors together in perfect unison.  I hope you enjoy it!

Asian Daikon Slaw

Deliriously Delicious Daikon Slaw (serves 1)
1 daikon (7″ long)
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Cilantro, chopped
Apple cider vinegar
Dash of sea salt
Thin slivers of 1 raw garlic

****These nutrients are based on just the daikon and toasted sesame seeds since the other ingredients are optional and the amount varies depending on individual preferences.

Micronutrients: Vitamins
Vitamin C: 124% (All of that comes from the daikon alone!!)
Vitamin E: 0%
Vitamin K: 1%
Thiamin (vitamin B1): 20%
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 8%
Niacin: 9%
Vitamin B6: 19%
Folate: 31%
Pantothenic Acid: 5%

Micronutrients: Minerals
Calcium: 37% (28% comes from the sesame seeds)
Iron: 31% (23% from the sesame seeds)
Magnesium: 39%
Phosphorus: 26%
Potassium: 26%
Zinc: 16%
Copper: 54%
Manganese: 41%
Selenium: 5%

Macronutrients:
Calories: 219
Fat: 13 g
Carbs: 21 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sugar: 8 g
Protein: 7 g (5 grams from the sesame seeds)

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Our First Tuesday Tip of the Week!

Tuesday tips are weekly, bite-size tips that can help boost you and your family’s health.
We’ve been so busy with projects in the making, events and marketing that we’re going back to this blog that desperately needs some tending to!  We’re making some big changes actually but more on that later.  For now, let’s get to it because…

Pomegranates are in season  :D  and while some of you may or may not know this, I happen to live on a fruit and vegetable farm in Morocco, so it’s been quite the feast over here.  We’ve watched the fields of this ancient fruit change throughout the year.  The blossoms are an indescribable red-orange color and while you’re sad to see them go, the fruit they bare is such an exciting treat for everyone here on the farm.

Pomegranate blossoms
I normally enjoy the seeds with watercress and lemon juice or paired with eggplant but after doing some research and discovering the incredible health benefits of pomegranate, I started looking for more ways to incorporate these delicious, garnet-colored gems.

  • Pomegranate is considered to be THE most powerful anti-oxidant rich fruit of all fruits (woah.)
  • They help protect us from heart attacks, strokes, and have anti-cancer properties
  • They boost our immune system
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • They have also shown to speed up the removal of life-threatening artery plaque

Removing the seeds yourself can save money and increase the nutrient value of the pomegranate.  You can  check out how to do this here.  This recipe is a quick and easy way to get a lot of great nutrients packed into a little bowl of happiness.  I hope you enjoy it!

Pomegranate oatmeal

Yummy Pomegranate with Rolled Oats Recipe
1 whole pomegranate seeded
1/2 cup dry rolled oats (unfortified)
Add hot water to reach the consistency you like
Add 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds
Sprinkle 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

 

Micronutrients: Vitamins
Vitamin C: 48%
Vitamin E: 9%
Vitamin K: 60%
Thiamin (vitamin B1): 33%
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 14%
Niacin: 8%
Vitamin B6: 13%
Folate: 32%
Pantothenic Acid: 17%

Micronutrients: Minerals
Calcium: 10% (3% comes from the cinnamon alone!)
Iron: 18%
Magnesium: 29%
Phosphorus: 31%
Zinc: 19%
Copper: 34%
Manganese: 122%
Selenium: 22%
Potassium: 25%

Macronutrients:
Calories: 431
Fat: 9 g
Carbs: 85 g
Fiber: 18 g
Sugar: 40 g
Protein: 12 g

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