Awaken Your Taste Buds: Mint Ginger Fruit Salad
This is a recipe that I came up with on my vacation, and something I strongly crave almost every morning now. The combination of fresh fruit and mint, ginger and lemon will awaken your taste buds and provide you with a nice energy boost for the day. Fresh mint is rich in essential vitamins and minerals (A, C, B12, thiamine, folic acid, manganese, copper, potassium, iron, zinc) and aids in headaches, digestion, cramps, colds, bloating, acne and is also related to optimal hormonal functioning. If you want to go wild and spice up this recipe even more, add a touch of super healthy cayenne to stimulate your metabolism and digestion.
Sliced fruit of your choice
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of half a lime
1-2 tbs of grated fresh ginger
Handful of fresh mint
(Touch of cayenne – optional)
Make your favorite mix of fruits (orange, apple, pear, banana, cantaloupe, grapes etc.) and add some berries if you wish. Add all the above ingredients together and mix. Enjoy for breakfast with happy and positive thoughts for the new day!
Why Organic Wine & What Does Biodynamic Mean?
Spring is the perfect time to learn about organic wines and their kissing cousins, biodynamic, natural and sustainable wines – and why they’re important. And finally, we answer the age-old question about sulfites.
Why is the organic wine movement important: Grapes are some of the most heavily sprayed items and they have thin skins, so having a more “green” option is welcome! Also, we think of wine as something straight from the soil and vines and a somewhat more natural beverage than things like soda, cocktails, etc. But it’s surprising to learn how tampered with wine can be. These alternatives help assure us that our wine is a more direct connection from grape to glass.
What do all these words mean? There seems to be overlaps and confusion between all the “green” words out there whether it’s with produce or wine. Let’s clear some of those up:
Sustainable Wine: This is a term that unfortunately been abused by marketers so be aware. There’s no legal definition for this. But true sustainable farmers and winemakers try to create a product that’s been made in a way that allows the vineyard to continue to produce in a way that isn’t harmful for future generations and production. It’s a philosophy that minimizes soil erosion, depletion of soil nutrients, water pollution, etc. It’s a holistic approach.
Organic: A wine that is labeled organic and has the USDA Organic Seal is made without chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
Biodynamic: I think of this as extreme organic. Follows same principles as organic wine but adds a whole other layer. It’s a holistic approach to winemaking. Biodynamic farmers view the vineyard as a part of an entire system – animals, other crops, with emphasis on balance between all the elements. The whole “farm” or vineyard should be self-sustaining so there is a lot of composting and not using chemicals. It also involves farming according to a lunar calendar.
“Natural” wines: Again, this is more a philosophy that says “don’t tamper with the wine!” But what it entails is not adding sulfites or additives. The shocker here is what others are adding – wood chips, colorants, acidifiers, de-acidifiers, de-alcoholization, etc. commercial yeasts, enzymes, tannin powders, heavy fining or filtration that is hardly sustainable. When a wine is labeled Organic it doesn’t mean that all of this other stuff can’t happen.
And the age old question – What’s the deal with sulfites:
Yeasts naturally produce sulfites during the fermentation process. Sulfites act as a form of preservatives for wine, allowing it a longer shelf life. Conventional wines are allowed to have 350 parts per million of sulfites. Organic wines have less with a maxium of 100 parts per million of sulfites.
By: Anu Karwa
About our Guest Contributor:
Anu Karwa burst onto the scene as the fresh, young face of wine with a mission to make wine a “fun and easy part of everyday living”. She has been called a walking 411 for a new generation of female wine drinkers and home entertainers since she launched Swirl Events (www.SwirlEvents.com ), the wine tasting events company with a fresh, hip spin. Catch Anu on her recurring appearances on Martha Stewart Radio and Cosmo radio, where she serves as the resident wine expert, as well as through her online column on Culinate.com and through her blog, SwirlSavvy (http://swirlsavvy.blogspot.com).
Fresh Start: 5 Foods That Detox
Sick of feeling sluggish, tired, bloated and fat? Want to get that hot bod into pristine shape? Feel like getting rid of all the toxins, ghosts and dirt and past debauchery off your shoulder?
No matter what level of detoxification you need, cleansing your body of the bad stuff can do wonders. Try cutting carbs, alcohol, dairy, sugar and caffeine from your current diet, and start adding in these top 5 foods to stay shiny and new! Remember drink more water + eat more greens! And be well sister.
TEA: The polyphenols in tea leaves help to detoxify the body naturally. While popular herbal “detox” teas (that I LOVE) contain a blend of herbs with special detoxification and cleansing properties. Herbal and detoxification teas don’t usually tend to carry caffeine. Check labels smartie.
CABBAGE: A natural diuretic that is used to help expel excess fluids in the body. Cabbage is made up of approximately 92% water. You’d probably burn more calories chewing cabbage than anything. Cabbage is known for being a perfect source of many essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. It’s also a rich sources of vitamin C, K, E, A and folic acid.
GARLIC: Ahhh yes, the superfood of the century, not to mention the one that you don’t want to consume on your first or second hot date. So exclude garlic for dating, but include it for a great slammin’ detox. Garlic can also help to lower your bad cholesterol, prevent cardiovascular disease and also help to de-stress. Wow.. need I say more?
GREENS: Green plants will help give a chlorophyll-boost to your digestive tract. The chlorophyll in these plant based foods will rid the body of harmful environmental toxins. As well as aiding the liver in detoxification. This superfood is a blood cleanser, a natural antibiotic it also reduces blood fats thinning the blood and lowering blood pressure. Now that’s pretty badass. Can’t get enough? Well then.. Heres more on Greens!
WATER!: Are you surprised? I mean the best things in life are free right? Including water. Tap water. Don’t be afraid to down a few cups in the morning, through the day, before any meal and of course during and after a workout. Water will help to flush your kidneys, liver and will also help to hydrate your body from head to toe. Get smart. Drink more water. It’s free.
Detoxifying the body is a MUST. Definitely learn to cleanse the mind, body and soul more often and reap all of the bennies. Here’s to a happy healthy new, cleansed you! xx ♥ck
Beets: A Spring Detox For Your Bod
If you’re looking for a nice ‘jumpstart’ towards beach season, give a thought to a nice bowl of roasted beets, or a simple beet salad, or some more creative uses for the colorful root veg. Beets are like your personal springtime cleanup crew. Jammed with antioxidants and nutrients to detox the liver along with a good dose of fiber, they’ll flush out toxins and kick up digestion super fast. Just beware, they’ll stain virtually anything they come in contact with, nothing a good washing can’t take care of.
Check out these brilliant photos and easy beet recipes from my latest column in Rue Magazine‘s fourth issue. Click here for Bright Beet & Feta Dip with Grilled Toasts; Golden & Ruby Beet Salad with Oranges, Hazelnuts & Fiore Sardo Cheese; Dark Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Goat Cheese-Hazelnut Frosting (oh yeah, they’re crazy good!).
Top Photo: Flickr
Other Photos: Rue Magazine
Quick Healthy Breakfast: Mixed Berry Quinoa
It is well established that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gets your metabolism rocking, gives you energy to work, play, exercise and live! Beware though – studies have shown that BIG breakfasts can actually lead to weight gain. So, to help you navigate through all the helpful but seemingly conflicting advice, I am passing along one of my favorite breakfast recipes. Absolutely, you need to eat first thing in the morning, but make sure to keep to the principles of clean eating, portion control and most important – enjoy the food and make it YUMMY!
As you all know, being healthy and fit is a lifestyle. Eating good clean foods, exercising and being happy requires a commitment on your behalf. In order to be successful you must plan and prepare.
Join me in cooking this awesome breakfast. I will teach you how to prepare my Mixed Berry Breakfast Quinoa in just minutes with enough leftovers to eat for a few days. My method of food preparation allows for several servings of food – so it can easily be broken into portions, stored and used for several meals. This advanced meal planning technique helps you eat healthy in a jiffy! What’s more is, I live by the MANTRA – eat only those foods you find YUMMY! So all of my quick healthy meals are scrumptious!
RECIPE: BECKY’S MIXED BERRY QUINOA
1 Cup Dry Quinoa
2 Cups Water
1 Tbs Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 bag defrosted mixed berries No sugar added – but reserve the water from defrosting
Prepare Quinoa according to package instructions, adding Cinnamon and Vanilla
After Quinoa is fully cooked – remove from flame and add mixed berries and juice from defrosting; stir
Serve with Unsweetened Almond Milk or Soy Milk and Splenda or Stevia if that is your taste preference.
5 Veggies to Stock Up On For Spring!
Ahh… finally the thaw of Spring is here. We are more than ready to feel the sun shining, to smell green grass growing and to taste the delicious locally grown produce that spring has to offer. Here are 5 phenomenal fruits and vegetables coming this spring to a market near you.
Artichokes: The fiber rich artichoke is a nearly fat free source of many essential minerals and nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, calcium, folic acid and vitamins A and C. No matter how you cook this versatile veggie you can be sure that it will promote liver health, aid in lowering cholesterol, and help to fend off migraines, gout, arteriosclerosis and diabetes. All these benefits come in a beautiful tasty bundle.
Asparagus: Thought to be an aphrodisiac, these stalks should be more alluring for their nutrient content. These easy to prepare savory stalks are filled with essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C and K, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They are high in fiber and protein and remain low in calories. In fact, you get whopping 144% of your vitamin K, a nutrient essential for bone health, in just 1 cup of asparagus! Now that is appealing!
Apricots: These tiny, tangy fruits contain colossal amounts of nutrients. While 3 small treats contain only about 50 calories, very low in comparison to other fruits, they boast almost 50% of the daily value of vitamin A. These low-carbohydrate (about 8 grams per 2 fruits), fat free snacks are also great sources Vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, potassium, and iron. We should all try and eat more of these small, fuzzy fruit friends.
Rhubarb: Although commonly thought to be a fruit, this vegetable is one of the first to awaken from its long winter sleep. Leave the poisonous leaves alone and enjoy a delicious “vegetable pie” to obtain a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and calcium.
Avocado: Just one serving of this rich, buttery fruit is jam packed with 40% of your daily value of fiber. Enjoy this spring star as an awesome source of oleic acid, a “good fat” known to increase levels of HDL cholesterol (or good cholesterol). High levels of health-promoting carotenoids and loads of folic acid are also delivered in the avocados in tasty guacamole. Another reason to say Ole!
Spring’s great thaw brings other offerings as well. Green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, swiss chard, arugula and watercress grow in abundance. Sweet onions, gnarled celeriac, and sweet green peas are all welcomed in by the warmth. Spring brings a plethora of new treats to be enjoyed. Pick them up at your local market and enjoy an abundance of nutrient packed springtime flavors.
Gluten Free: Food Talk With Jennifer Esposito (& Her New Sweet Spot!)
Our friends at Clean Plates always find what’s new, hot, and healthy in the big city. This week they’re talking with actress Jennifer Esposito, who opened her own Gluten Free Bakery here in NYC after discovering she had celiac disease.
Do you get bellyaches after eating your favorite pizza or pasta? How about unexplained weight changes, when you haven’t changed your diet? Actress and baker Jennifer Esposito suffered from these symptoms (and others) for years before discovering she has celiac disease. But going gluten-free turned out not to be enough: packaged “gluten-free” foods were still making her ill. So she’s opened Jennifer’s Way Bakery, which is also free of refined sugars, non-GMO and organic. We asked about her diet:
Q. Is it not enough for a gluten-sensitive person to just eat “gluten-free?”
A. Gluten, a protein mostly found in wheat, rye, and barley, is everywhere and in an astonishingly high number of foods, as well as vitamins, drugs, cosmetics and other items in which we come into contact. It’s also important to be aware that even products that claim to be “gluten-free” can be contaminated with microscopic amounts of gluten from another part of the factory or kitchen. Cross-contamination can happen very quickly and easily in restaurants or at markets (organic or not). Fresh meals are being prepared with the intent of being gluten-free but are contaminated during preparation with a knife or cutting board that was exposed to gluten. I keep my bakery safe from all gluten contamination.
Q. Do you have any favorite treats?
A. Some of my favorite treats at the bakery—besides everything—is the fresh baked bread. Yes, you read right—bread that tastes like bread! Also, I made bagels that sold out in 45 minutes last weekend. But my new banana vegan cupcakes and vegan devil’s food cake cupcakes really make me smile, as well.
Q. Are there any local restaurants and dishes you enjoy?
A. I can’t really say a particular restaurant since I cook for myself a lot. The best advice I can give to a Celiac [sufferer] is take back control and get in the kitchen. Focus on what you can eat and make it delicious with what you can eat. Once you create something for yourself, you will start to feel like the disease doesn’t “have you.” You can still eat well.
Q. Any yummy recipes you can share with us?
A. Yes! Here is a vegan, gluten-, soy- and dairy-free sweet potato scone.
In this recipe, I decided to use quinoa flour which is a wonderful fiber and wonderful grain—and almond flour because it is full of protein and fiber.
Sweet Potato Scones
1/2 of 15-oz. can of sweet potato purée
3/4 c. rice milk or other milk (if rice milk, Clean Plates recommends unsweetened)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. quinoa flour
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. arrowroot starch
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/3 c. grapeseed oil
1/3 c. maple sugar (or can use coconut sugar, date sugar, or lastly brown sugar just has less nutritional value)
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (Clean Plates recommends sea salt)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh dried vanilla, or 1 tsp. liquid vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1/3 c. maple syrup (for brushing on top of scones)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk together sweet potato, rice milk and lemon juice (if using liquid vanilla, add here). In a separate bowl, combine all flours, starch, xanthan gum, maple sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves (and pecans if you choose); whisk out lumps. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine with a wooden spoon. On a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, drop batter in tablespoons. Place in oven for about 15 to 17 minutes (look for firm texture and/or slightly browned bottoms). After about 11 minutes, or when tops of scones get a bit firm, brush maple syrup over top and then continue to bake.
Jennifer’s Way Bakery
263 E. 10th St., New York, NY 10009
The French Diet: How To Eat Like A Parisian & Lose Weight
We’ve definitely contemplated as to how Parisians eat what they do and look the way they do. My recent trip to Paris had me worried because I knew that I’d go nuts with the chocolate croissants, apple turnovers, cheese, and macaroons but I was pleasantly surprised with myself. Not a single pound gained! As I racked my brain to figure out how and why, I learned a few things that I’d like to share:
1.Portion Is Key
Have you ever observed the portions of food served to you at a french restaurant? The typical portion of meat is very close to the suggested 3-4oz (palm portion).
*”American-sized servings are substantially larger than their Parisian counterparts,” says Paul Rozin, PhD, a psychologist with the University of Pennsylvania. In one study, Rozin and colleagues found that a carton of yogurt in Philadelphia was 82% larger than a Paris yogurt; a soft drink was 52% larger, a hot dog 63% larger, and a candy bar 41% larger.
2. Quality, Not Quantity:
If you took a minute to actually savor the taste of French food, you would realize how satisfied you really are. You probably wouldn’t be thinking about your next meal before you finished the present one! Their food is rich, high-quality, and satisfying.
*The French love their food, he says, but not the way Americans love food. “In America, we confuse enjoyment of food with over-consumption.” The result: only 39% of Americans claim to greatly enjoy eating, compared to 90% of people in France.
3. Time Is Everything
Have you noticed how long it takes to complete a meal at a restaurant? It is so nice to not be rushed. Although, they literally won’t bring you a check until you ask for it about 5 times! Most meals last at least 2.5 hours. Why rush the experience?
*A study in Psychological Science found that Parisians who dined at McDonald’s spent an average of 22 minutes eating, while Philadelphian McDonald’s-goers were in and out in just 14 minutes. Our culture reinforces speed-eating, just as it encourages rushing through everything else. The problem is that faster eating leads to eating more. It takes an average of 15 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full, which means that eating slowly makes it more likely you’ll stop at a point where you’re “satisfied” as opposed to “stuffed.”
4. Fresh Is Where It’s At
You probably haven’t taken time to realize that ‘processed foods’ don’t exist! The concept of farm-to-table doesn’t need to be emphasized because everything is practically farm-to-table. Not to mention, when you are savoring your food, you feel way more gratified.
*Staple foods of the French diet include full-fat cheese and yogurt, butter, bread, fresh fruits and vegetables (often grilled or sautéed), small portions of meat (more often fish or chicken than red meat), wine, and dark chocolate.
So, the next time you sit down to eat, why not: take your time, savor the meal, focus on adequate portions of quality, satisfying, rich foods. Trust me, you can’t go wrong!
Top Photo: Flickr
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anita Mirchandani, M.S, R.D, C.D.N received a B.A. from NYU and M.S in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. After doing her internship at New York-Presbyterian hospital, Anita is now a practicing Registered Dietitian. She is also the co-founder of Fitmapped.com
Morning Warm Up: Oatmeal Done Right
Yup, it’s still oatmeal weather these days. It’s chilly here in NYC and oatmeal can offer up a warming, filling breakfast option. But with it, there always seems to come a side order of questions…are these carbs ok to eat for breakfast? Why am I ready to eat my fist an hour after having a packet of instant oatmeal? Is the flavored, low-sugar stuff ok? Is it absolute diet-blasphemy to have a bit of brown sugar, milk, raisins, nuts etc?
Tips For Doing Oatmeal Right
1. Go For The Nutrient Rich. Yes, oats are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, they’re high in fiber and they suck out cholesterol from the body. BUT consider the type of oats you’re eating. Instant oatmeal, while convenient, likely isn’t doing a stand-out job of satisfying you for much for much of the morning. The more dense the oat/grain, the more sated you are. So on a scale of most-filling to least-filling you’ve got steel cut oats at the top (you know, that Irish oatmeal that takes a million years to cook but is fantastic); old-fashioned rolled oats with a mere 5-7 minute cooking time; and the instant stuff, which is perfectly fine for an emergency or a quick breakfast, but likely isn’t as filling. Try making any version of oatmeal with all or part skim, low-fat, soy or almond milk and it’ll stick with you that much longer.
2. Ditch The Fake Stuff: Flavored, low-sugar stuff – too man-handled and processed = not as satisfying. Stick with the basic, plain oats and flavor it yourself. A teaspoon of brown sugar or maple syrup is a mere 16-20 calories, not too terrible and there are zero artificial sweeteners involved. Cinnamon’s a total of zero calories, so go for it.
3. Dress It Up: Back to question 2, it’s not blasphemy to add a sprinkling of condiments here and there and will surely make breakfast more interesting and allow you to get to lunch without starving yourself. Fresh fruits, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and event nuts (in small amounts) are great choices for adding a little extra zing to your morning bowl.
What’s my morning oatmeal routine?
I generally make 2 to 4 servings of old-fashioned rolled oats at one time to hold me throughout the week, reheat it and poof, breakfast is done. A 1/2 cup of dry old-fashioned and 1/4 cup of the steel cut is a serving. And if you refuse to sacrifice a moment of sleep in order to make breakfast, don’t worry – I refuse also. I set my oats with half water and half milk on medium heat and hit the shower. Done and done in about 7 minutes or so. My flavoring agents of choice at the moment include a mix of: golden raisins, chopped pecans, a drizzle of maple syrup and a dab of butter and a pinch of salt – yes, real butter, it’s only a smidge, and salt (the way my mom used to make it!). Toss in a few slices of banana or throw in diced apple while you’re cooking and you’ve got a killer, energy-packed morning meal. My extremely discerning brother more than deemed this concoction breakfast – worthy, so hopefully that gives it some additional backing.
Five Foods With Benefits
You may not realize it but some very simple changes could yield huge results. Clean eating can do wonders for your weight, skin, metabolism, and have you feeling re-energized and better than ever. Candice Kumai introduces us to her “Five badass foods with benefits” that will have you looking and feeling great.
Eat better, eat cleaner and reap all the free benefits.
Five Foods With Benefits:
1- Arugula: Let me give you a style update here. Iceberg and Romaine are so over dressed, change up that pantry.. opt for darker colors this season. The darker the leaf the more nutrient dense baby. In regards to greenery, dark is in… light is out.
2- Rainbow Swiss Chard: Besides being stylishly colorful and delicious, Swiss chard packs on mega amounts of Vitamins A, C and K. Along with copious amounts of manganese, magnesium and iron. If you don’t know how to cook the darn stuff? Well click here for a video that aims to please: How to Cook with Swiss chard?
3- Sardines: Dr Oz once explained to me what “leptin” levels were… levels that control your FAT. Keep them in check with more omega rich foods, Sardines are our top pick! Plus they are SO frickin’ delicious, sustainable and cheap. Get smart(er). Consume more sardines.
4- Berries: Blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, currants, strawberries, raspberries! And no, I’m not talking about Captain Crunch Berries either. Berries are a spark of delight from childhood: handfuls, bowls with yogurt and a sprinkle of granola, sounds delightful! The most fantastic part about consuming these little bits of heaven? They contain plenty of vitamin C, E and antioxidants and can also help in keeping your skin smooth and sexy by helping your body with the natural manufacturing of collagen.
5- Quinoa:If you really want to fill up on one of the world’s perfect foods? This complete protein is the Inca’s secret to life longevity. With amino acids, protein and it’s gluten free!? Well, then sir, I’ll check out this interesting looking grain. You’ll be swapping from wasted cous-cous in no time.