Wednesday, 15 September 2010

umm…you should buy a spiralizer.

I’m usually not one to get attached to a piece of kitchen equipment, especially with all of the crazy things being invented every millisecond. However, I’ve been completely blown away by the spiralizer (no, I don’t get paid for writing a positive review)!

There’s something about changing the texture of vegetables that makes them more appealing. The simple ingredients for stir fry…


…dressed up with spiralized zuke noodles, farmers’ market fresh vegetables, a drizzle of tahini, and your choice of spices.


You can also spiralize cucumbers, carrots, and red onion for a fresh salad. Spiralizing increases the surface area of vegetables exposed to the dressing, creating a more flavorful dish. I dressed this salad with a little Fig & Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette from Lucini Italia, and it was delish.


Last but not least…to all of you who are obsessed with sweet potato fries, the spiralizer does it right.


Add 5 tbs dijon mustard, 2 tbs olive oil, 1 clove garlic (chopped), and 1 tsp Italian herbs to a gallon plastic bag. Shake to mix.


Bake at 450 F for 30-40 minutes and voila…restaurant quality sweet potato fries without the frying! The spicy mustard really adds a lot of flavor to these fries.


If I can’t get pumpkin during this fallish weather, I guess I’ll just have to settle for sweet potatoes. Has anyone been able to find pumpkin lately?!

On the job front, plans might be changing a little, and if you’re interested in online nutrition counseling, you should stay tuned!

p.s. who's interested in winning an entire case of Larabars? see ccv's site for details!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

will clean eating destroy my life savings?!

….probably not…but if you aren’t around to enjoy them, what’s the point, anyway?

This weekend I helped pass out food from a gleaner’s truck as a part of my church’s outreach program. Most of the food was actually fresh (or fairly fresh) produce, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people were excited about eating fruit and vegetables.


So many of us struggle with choosing to eat healthfully, and it makes me think we have too many options. If you were offered only fresh produce, you’d be pretty happy to eat it…right?


Which brings me to another issue. Is eating healthfully more expensive than eating fast food or heavily processed food?


Yes and no. If you’re buying a lot of local, organic produce, it will probably cost more money up front. At the same time, choosing to eat healthfully now will likely save you more money in the future in relation to health care costs.


In terms of fast food and packaged products, you can actually save a lot of money (and calories) by preparing homemade versions.

homemade hummus $0.12/oz    vs.    Garden Fresh hummus $0.38/oz

100_3261                     hummus

Caloriewise they probably aren’t too different, but packaged hummus can add up to 3x the cost of homemade hummus!

What about a grilled cheese sandwich made from local tomato basil bread and local Gouda cheese?

homemade grilled cheese: $2.63        vs.       Steak and Shake: $3.17

DSCF4073       chee

Ok, so not a huge savings…but I’m pretty sure S&S serves American Cheese on their sandwiches, and their bread is definitely not local. I say a penny saved is a penny earned.

Clean eating can be kind to your wallet and your waistline. Other money-saving stories slash thoughts?!


Friday, 10 September 2010

salads are not boring, people

I’ll never forget the time I told a friend in college that I was studying dietetics. He said, “So…you eat a lot of lettuce, right?!” For some reason, eating healthfully is synonymous with bland and boring in the eyes of most Americans. Simple does not mean tasteless.


Yes, I do eat a lot of salads, but I think they’re pretty far from boring, especially when using my new fave kitchen tool. CSN was kind enough to provide this spiralizer for review [yes, it looks like a modern day torture machine, but I promise it’s harmless].


In 10 seconds, cabbage becomes coleslaw. I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical about the efficiency of this machine, but it was pretty impressive. I think this would be a great way to get kids to eat more veggies. Sometimes it’s more fun to eat vegetables and fruit in interesting shapes.


Add carrots, celery seed, Vegenaise (or mayo if you’d prefer), and a few other ingredients for a quick weeknight salad. Try this recipe!


Spiralized apples put a fun twist on regular old waldorf salad…and take the work out of chopping 60 billion apples.


Research has shown we crave variety, and I think this is certainly true for food preparation. However, let it be known that I’ve been stuck in an oatmeal rut for about 3 years now?!

If you’re getting tired of eating vegetables, try a different prep method. Experiment with different shapes, mixing hot and cold ingredients, a new dressing, or even a blended salad.

Fave salads or salad dressings? Please share…I’m sure we’re all looking for interesting new ways to eat veggies!


Monday, 6 September 2010

tomorrow's food

As I've posted before, with my new job, morning exercise class, and evening activities, I'm gone from 6:50 am until 9 pm on weekdays. I eat all my meals "out" (but not in a restaurant), so that means preparing them the night before. Here are tomorrow's meals:

At top are salads for each meal: 1 large head romaine lettuce, raw broccoli, 1 nectarine, 2 small apples, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds, divided into the 3 salads. That's pretty much a random selection from the fridge, though the nectarine was ripe so that wasn't random. The fridge is full of apples, so random selections will usually lead to apples now that the season is upon us. At middle right is a small bottle of D'angou pear vinegar. It's yummy on salads. At bottom are 2 servings of beans & greens plus. I prepare those on the weekend and freeze in serving-size containers. I'll have those for breakfast and lunch. Then at dinner I'll have two boiled ears of corn, courtesy of house-mate--we will cook at eat them at the office. Only one week left of sweet corn season.

Here are the meals packed in bags, along with my supplements, a knife and fork, and 3 napkins:

These stack in one of my bike bags, and my exercise/work clothes go in the other bag. So far so good though I haven't had time to practice my flute. I wish I had one more hour in the day.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

easy eggplant, tomato, etc dish

This varies depending on what food I have on hand, and doesn't need to be followed exactly.

1-2 medium eggplants
1-2 16 oz cans tomatoes or 3-6 fresh tomatoes
1 lb mushrooms
1 onion or some leeks
a bunch of kale
a can of beans, any kind
fresh basil, parsley, chives, or dried italian seasoning
ground seeds, e.g., sesame, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, or chia (no need to grind the chia)
1 Tbsp date syrup

Chop everything up except date syrup and seeds, throw into a big pressure cooker, cook for 3 minutes, then add the date syrup and seeds. This probably works with any veggie substituted of eggplant, like broccoli and cauliflower, brussels sprouts.

Late summer beans & greens

This is similar to my usual beans but it uses harvests from the garden too:

1 lb beans (any variety from Rancho Gordo)
juice from 5 lbs carrots--about 36-40 oz
water as needed--a few cups
1-2 onions
1-2 lb mushrooms, any kind (Dr. Fuhrman now says all mushrooms are good for you).
tons of collard greens (a week's worth from 6 plants!)
eggplant if there is any ripe
herbs from the garden (parsley, chives, basil)

Rinse the dry beans. Chop the onions, mushrooms and collards in a food processor--not required for onions and mushrooms but saves time and compacts them--required for the tons of collard greens to compact them. Combine everything in a big pot, and soak overnight or for several hours. Cook for 4 hours, or until desired tenderness, adding water as needed.

Note: We can tomatoes from the garden, and sometimes a can doesn't seal. I might add in one of these if there is one.

my new schedule

As I said in this post, I've started a new job outside the home, and that combined with my morning exercise class and evening activities, keeps me away from home from 6:50 am until 9:30 pm pretty much every weekday. Occasionally I get home at 8-9 pm. I really wish I could get home by 9 pm on a regular basis, because I need about an hour to prep my food for the next day. I do some food prep on the weekend: I make a big batch of beans & greens & mushrooms & onions, freezing into 1-serving portions. I also make a week's worth of smoothies for house mate, and even smaller portions of beans, greens, and potatoes to freeze for some of her meals. Then each weeknight I just have to make salads for the next day, split into three meals (sometimes a big one alone, or a small one with the beans dish). These are simple and good. Some versions are 1) lettuce, berries, edamame (or not), seeds, d'angou pear vinegar; 2) lettuce and/or kale, apples or pears, fresh picked cherry tomatoes, seeds, d'angou pear vinegar; 3) cabbage, lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, pears, lime, seeds. chopped in food processor; or any other version of lettuce, fruit, seeds, raw veggies. I often throw carrot sticks and kohlrabi on top of the salad because I love them. I don't chop them because I love their individual flavors.

This works well, but sometimes when I'm out with friends and they are just getting started having fun, I say I have to go because I have to get home and spend an hour fixing tomorrow's meals. So I miss out a bit on some social stuff. Oh well. I think I can get them to adjust and realize we have to get the music jams going earlier since I leave early. :)

orange remainders

Okay, this post demonstrates how weird I've become. Here I am making orange juice for my housemate (not weird yet):

Here's the results: about 1 cup or orange juice, and the orange remainders from 4 small oranges (not weird yet):

Here's our respective meals (now it's getting weird):

I eat the rest of the oranges off their peel (i.e., don't eat the peels). I prefer this to eating a whole orange! It's fun to eat, not as intense and sweet as the whole orange, and I get to eat more. Now I look forward to making house-mate's orange juice! We might have the ideal juicer for this food because it doesn't disrupt the orange too much, just smashes it (and I purposely don't smash it all the way to leave a little juice for myself). I did a complicated calculation to determine the number of calories (measuring weights of original oranges, orange juice, and finished peels, subtracting weights of juice and peels from original, subtracting calories of juice from original orange minus peels) and determined that it's about 100 calories in the orange remainders for a 1 cup orange juice yield (4 small oranges, or 2-3 medium). It's similar to the amount of calories in the cup of juice. But it takes a lot longer to eat so the enjoyment per calorie is quite high.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

clean eating

As a Featured Health Editor for Healthbuzz, I’ll be publishing a variety of posts about clean eating in the month of September. I’ve heard this term floating around the blogworld for months, but it’s not clearly defined and rarely presented from an evidence-based standpoint.

100_3578 - Copy

What is clean eating?

To me, clean eating means consuming products as close to nature as possible. This means focusing on a diet of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains and limiting consumption of highly processed foods. I do want to point out that processed foods are not necessarily harmful. It is our abuse of these foods that makes them harmful. One cheeseburger will not cause heart disease, but eating 3 cheeseburgers a day for 3 years may give you a run for your money.


Why should we participate in clean eating?

A steady diet of processed foods may lead to health problems. Processed foods are often calorie laden and contain high levels of sodium, sugar (the number one food additive in the US), and fat. When we crowd our diets with these foods, we leave out nutrient-rich foods that contain the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to run.


Controversies in clean eating?

To some, clean eating means elimination of all animal products, including dairy. To others, this means abstaining from added sugars. I think clean eating is very personal; each person’s diet can be adjusted differently to achieve benefits. If you’re currently eating a diet heavy in red meat, you may reduce consumption to 1-2x a week. If you’re eating a diet of mostly convenience foods, you may decide to pack a sandwich 2 days out of the 5 day workweek. Clean eating should be achieved without judgment, peer pressure, or feelings of superiority.


What it is and what it’s not.

I think clean eating should evolve into more of a lifestyle as it is practiced. Most everyone can benefit from consuming more vegetables. Clean eating should not be a sort of wacky detox diet that is used to make up for poor eating choices. To experience benefit, clean eating should be implemented continually.

Future Posts

You may see new posts on the Healthbuzz site, but you can also expect to see some previously written posts, as well. Feel free to email me with questions you may have concerning this topic!

How do you define clean eating?