Thursday, January 8, 2015

Its down to the bone, or shall I say, the Broth!

After much curiosity about the benefits of bone broth and what it tastes like, I decided to make it myself. Well after several weeks of sipping this warming, healing liquid, I have come to the conclusion, that yes, it is indeed, pure liquid gold! I even have my family hooked on their daily dose of steaming broth.

In almost every civilization in history, bone broth has been a staple in their daily diet . It has been traditionally used for generations for it's amazing flavor, it's multitude of nutritional benefits, as well as it's versatility. The bones,organic and grass fed are best, are simmered for up to 24 hours. The prolonged cooking, extracts minerals,gelatin, collagen and nutrients from the marrow and the bones themselves into the liquid. 

The broth may be used as bouillon for other soups and stews, to add flavor, or may also be enjoyed as is, with healthy additions such as ginger,umeboshi vinegar to aid digestion, shitake mushrooms, chili oil,tumeric or organic garlic.

Benefits of Bone Broth

You may wonder why so many trendy New York's  are lining up to purchase the broth that is so basic.Well here are a list of the multitude of benefits of this pure liquid gold.

* It is rich in glycosaminycans, or glycosamine,which is absorbed in it's intact form, and lays down collagen into the joints ,tendons and ligaments, and even arteries, healing them.

* It is rich in minerals such as silica, sulfur, calcium, phosphorous,calcium and various trace minerals,that are highly bio available, and therefore easily assimilated.

*Helps with many digestive issues such as IBS, Crohn's disease, collitis, and leaky gut syndrome.

* Helps heal and seal the gut lining due to the high glutamine content from the gelatin , and aids digestion.

*Increases red blood cell and hemoglobin levels.

*Increases serum calcium level, and aids in the absorption and utilization of calcium in the body.
 Calcium can be most helpful in treating pain and inflammation, as well as muscle cramps, depression, anxiety and insomnia.It may also be useful in the treatment of hypertension,dental disease, osteoporosis, rickets, and almost any disease relating to bone loss.

*It is a natural tonic for the liver, the master detoxifying organ in the body, and helps get rid of the toxins present, due to the glycine made bio available. 

*Helps with food allergies and sensitivities.

*Aids in treatment of anemia

* Aids in the prevention and treatment of muscle wasting.

And the more visible benefits from the collagen content of this healing broth include:

* Shinier and  healthier hair and nails.

* Youthful and glowing skin, as collagen has  powerful anti aging properties.

Our grandmother's knew that a pot of steaming broth could cure anything from the common cold, to an aching belly.The simmered bones, together with an elixir of love and tender care, was a cure all in every tradition. It could put a skip in our steps, as well as a fresh sparkle into our love lives.

So the next time you are feeling poorly,no matter what the reason, before rushing off to get a prescription from your doctor, try a cup of this steaming liquid gold broth, and see how you feel.The broth may just do the trick.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kale the new spinach? Or is just a passing trend?

Kale, the New Spinach ? Or just a passing Fad?

Kale seems to be the focus of so many articles, and is the main ingredient in tons of recipes and crops up on menu's in many of the finest restaurants. So what is it about kale that is creating such  buzz and attention? Is it truly the world's healthiest, powerhouse food or is this just a passing trend? 

Kale belongs to the to the Bressica family of plants, and resembles the green,leafy, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, known  for the super nutritional benefits and properties. Kale greens are known for their deeply colored leaves , that are firm and do not  yellow or wilt, but retain their crisp texture. They have therefore been used in salad decorations for years, however their benefits far extend beyond their appearance.

Kale contain rich amounts of beta-carotene, a pigment that helps protect against many skin diseases.The amount of beta-carotene found in kale  is seven times more than that found in broccoli..Besides beta-carotene, kale also contains carotenoid lutein, which helps prevent damage to the eyes and the formation of cataracts. It can also be beneficial in fighting cancer, due to it's high content of potent phyto chemicals, as well as in aiding the liver in detoxification of cancer causing substances, due to it high concentration of gluosinolates.

Kale is extremely rich in three vital nutrients, namely vitamin's A, C, K  as well as vitamin B and E.Vitamin C and E  help protect the body from the negative effects of free radicals produced in the body due to metabolic reactions, and vitamin K is essential in maintaining heart and bone health.

It is also a valuable source of calcium,potassium,iron and magnesium, which are crucial for controlling blood pressure, thus aiding our cardiovascular system, and can be is very helpful in weight loss, since it is nutritionally extremely dense, while being low in calories.It is a wonderful source of fiber, which aids digestion, and provides satiety and has a significant amount of protein.

So how do we eat this miracle vegetable? It may be prepared in many different ways either raw or cooked. For weight loss purposes, eat it raw with some apple cider vinegar, or add to your favorite green smoothies to add texture and a bite, and benefit from it's wonderful alkalizing properties. Kale is also great added to soups, or baked in the oven and crisped for a healthy snack. 

This minestone soup is one of my favorite winter soups, which is made even tastier and more nutritious with the addition of kale.

My Favorite Minestrone

11 oz canellini beans , dried and soaked over night or organic canned.
Bay leaf
1 large red onion
2 large carrots , peeled and chopped
3 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped.
3 cloves of fresh garlic
good quality extra virgin olive oil
pinch of ground fennel seeds
pinch of red chili
1 14 oz can good quality plum tomatoes
kale leaves, stalks removed and sliced
2 large zucchini
a small glass of red wine
2-3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, depending on preference
sea salt to taste 
fresh ground black pepper
handful of fresh basil or use dried if unavailable
fresh or dries parsley

If the beans are dried, add the soaked beans to boiling water with a bay leaf, and simmer for 30 minutes. 

I begin by chopping  the vegetables the same size.Heat a saucepan with a splash of olive oil, and add the chopped onion, celery, carrots , garlic as well as the fennel and chili. Sweat slowly on low heat, with the lid ajar for about 20 minutes, till soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and zucchini and wine  and simmer 15 minutes .
Add the drained  beans and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the kale, basil and parsley and continue cooking for another 30 minutes . 
Season with salt and pepper and serve with a few splashes of olive oil.
Serves  6 -7 large bowls.


Or, make kale chips, for a quick, tasty and nutritious snack!

Kale Chips

I bunch of kale, washed an dried thouroghly and thick steams removed
1-2 TB Olive Oil
i tsp course salt
1 tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Tear kale into bite size pieces
Arrange on the cookie sheet without overlapping
Drizzle with olive oil , salt and chili 
Bake 15-20 minutes until the edges are brown, crumbly and crisp.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Beautiful Benefits of Beets

The Beautiful Benefits of Beets

During the summer months, and into the early fall, one is bound to come across local and organic farmers markets, where everything is tantalizingly fragrant, vibrantly colorful and oh so fresh. I am always drawn to the beautiful deep purple and yellow beets. Beets are part of the chenopod family, and show continued increase in health benefits. The pigments that give beets their rich colors are called betacyanins.

Beets contain many phytonutrients, including betanin and vulgaxanthin, both of which have been proven to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification benefits. And why throw out the beet greens? Beet greens are a valuable source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These are two carotenoid pigments and phytonutrients, that play a very important role in health, particularly eye health. One cup of red beet greens, may contain over 275 micro grams of lutein, so toss them into your favorite salad greens and enjoy. Yellow beets are also valuable sources of carotenoid

The additional benefit of the antioxidant qualities of beets, have made them beneficial in the treatment of colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast and testicular cancer. Beet fiber has also been proven to be a specific type of fiber, which benefits the digestive tract. Beets are also known to boost immune function, slow down the aging process and protect against Alzheimer's disease.

The nitrates in beets help reduce blood pressure and reduce heart attacks, thus enhancing our cardiovascular system in addition to the multitude of other health benefits. Being naturally sweet in taste, beets may even help curb that sweet tooth that always seems to presents itself, and therefore reduce cravings for sugar.
There are many ways to enjoy beets. In the summer months cold beet root soup is one way to enjoy their rich flavor, or simply juice them with other of your favorite fruit and veggies. My roasted beet recipe is always a standard in my kitchen. Eaten as a side dish, added to quinoa with chickpeas, or chopped into a salad. This is the recipe that I make repeatedly for my family

Roasted Beet Salad Recipe

8-10 Whole Beets
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 TB fresh orange rind
1 TB Honey 
Coarse ground salt and black pepper 

My favorite way to cook beets is to roast them. What I do first is to wash them thoroughly under cold water, scrubbing off all the soil, dry them and wrap them in aluminum foil individually, and place on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven. Bake for anything from 40 to 90 minutes, depending on size. They should be tender when pierced with a fork.
While beets are roasting spread sunflower seeds out alongside the beets in the dish and toast for about 8 minutes. While the beets are roasting mix all ingredients for the dressing.

Remove both the beets and the sunflower seeds from the oven.
Once the beets are cool, peel them, the skins should come off easily. Cut into quarters, and place in a roasting pan with half of the dressing. Replace beets in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes to roast.

Once cooled, place the roasted beets over your favorite salad greens, with the beet greens and sprinkle with roasted sunflower seeds. Dress, and enjoy. Depending on your preference you may sprinkle goat cheese grilled salmon or grilled chicken for additional protein options.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Are you addicted to sugar? Just how much sugar are you consuming?

" Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurotically to certain foods, especially sugar. They've discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine"             

Micheal Moss , Salt,Sugar, Fat : How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Do you know how much sugar you are consuming ?The USDA  has shown that sugar consumption since 1982  has increased annually, giving rise to a growing obesity epidemic.The cause of this increase is greatly related to added sugars within a wide variety of popular soft drinks and processed junk food. This rise in obesity, has in turn given rise to increase in heart disease,stroke,diabetes,cancer and other diseases.It is the leading cause of liver failure in the US .Too much sugar may also disrupt one's ability to think clearly, due to impaired brain signaling.

As Dr. Mark Hyman MD says, " Eggs don't cause heart attacks, sugars does". According to him, fifty years of doctor's advice and government eating guidelines have been wrong. Swapping eggs for cheerios. has killed millions of Americans. More than 70% of Americans consume at least 10% of their total daily calories from sugar.

Sugar and flour, which is converted to sugar once digested, have been proved to be highly addictive. Americans consume on average about 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour , a year. Sugar calories, are far worse than any other calorie that one could consume, including fat calories, as excess sugar in the blood stream, results in insulin resistance, and may trigger inflammation, which is the root cause of heart disease.

So how much sugar are you consuming? Here are some facts:

A candy bar with 24 g of sugar , is equivalent to 6 cubes of sugar.
An 8.3 ounce can of an energy drink, with 27 g of sugar, is equivalent to 7 cubes of sugar.
One pint of vanilla ice cream with 84 g of sugar, is equivalent to 21 cubes of sugar.
A liter of soda with 124 g of sugar, is equivalent to 31 cubes of sugar.
2 pancakes with cane syrup are equal to 9 cubes of sugar.
A single cookie with 18 g of sugar, is equivalent to 4 and a half cubes of sugar. 

The America Heart Association recommends that we consume no more than 5% to 7.5% of sugar a day. However,  most of us don't realise just how much of the deadly stuff we are actually consuming. Sugar in it's various forms like fructose, cane sugar, sucrose,and high fructose corn syrup, just to name a few, is added to just about everything we eat. There is more sugar in ketchup, than in one Oreo cookie and  fruit yogurt has more sugar than a Coke . " Healthy" breakfast cereals like Cheerio's, are made of whole grain, but also contain 75% sugar!

So my advice to you, is this. Start figuring out, just how much sugar you are actually consuming on a daily basis, and cut back. Read food labels, and be aware of the ingredients in all the food  you are purchasing. Become an informed consumer and protect  yourselves and your families. Opt out! Do not become victim to the rising obesity epidemic , and take control of your life and the lives of your loved ones!