Food Levity

HEALTH QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION

Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it… don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products. Click to continue reading »

Mediterranean Frittata

We have some major construction going on at my house, so I offered the workers a homemade lunch in lieu of their usual fare (picture a bag with golden arches…you know the rest.)  I had no idea what I would whip up on such short notice, but then all I had to do was rely on my recent trip to the farmers market for inspiration.  I collected farm-fresh eggs, roasted tomatoes, Swiss chard, goat cheese and parsley for one of my favorite ‘kitchen sink’ recipes: the frittata.  You always know it’s a hit when they ask for seconds, or in this case – thirds.  And it’s incredibly easy.  Serve for lunch or dinner with a garden salad and heaven awaits.

MEDITERRANEAN FRITTATA

9 free-range eggs
1/3 C organic low fat milk
1 med. onion
1 TB garlic, minced
1 TB olive oil
1 C spinach, chard or kale
1 C roasted or sun-dried tomatoes (drain excess liquid)
2 TB chopped parsley
1/4 C chopped Kalamata olives
1/3 C  feta or goat cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 TB flax seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat eggs with milk and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Chop all veggies.

Sauté olive oil with onion and garlic for about 1-2 minutes, but don’t brown.  Add all veggies and cook over medium for about 4 minutes.  Add Italian seasoning.

Prepare ceramic baking dish (pie shape or oblong) by spraying with oil and coating with freshly ground flax seeds.

Add veggies to egg mixture, along with cheese. Pour into prepared dish and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until center is set. For additional browning, broil for 3 minutes until golden.

Storing Fresh Produce

A lot can happen from the time produce is picked off the vine or pulled from the earth. Some fruits and veggies go to a packing house; others are cooled and transported an average of 1200 miles before reaching the consumer.

According to the folks at “Ideal Bite,” the average cost of food per American family jumped 36% between Jun. 2000 and May 2008, so every lil’ bit you can save helps.  Since I know you are all shopping at your local farmers’ markets, here are some hints on how to preserve the freshness and nutritional values of your perishable produce:

Store at room temperature

  • apples               lemons            pineapple
  • bananas            limes               pomegranates
  • grapefruit         mangoes          papayas
  • watermelon     persimmons    basil (in vase with water – cut stems every other day)
  • garlic                dry onions       potatoes (put in paper bag and keep in drawer – avoid light)
  • tomatoes          eggplant          peppers

Ripen on counter first, then to refrigerator

  • avocados         nectarines        pears
  • kiwi                 peaches            plums

Refrigerate

  • blueberries       cherries            strawberries (put in Tupperware with paper towel – do not wash first)
  • apricots            grapes              figs
  • raspberries       blackberries     artichokes
  • green beans      herbs               Brussels sprouts
  • carrots              cabbage           peas
  • radishes            corn                 spinach/lettuces (wash first, then store with holes in plastic bag)
  • cauliflower       celery              leeks
  • beets                 broccoli           mushrooms (put in paper bag in produce drawer)

General: store fruits and vegetables separate.  Some fruits let off the gas ethylene, which speeds ripening during the process.

Check out the Oliso Frisper Foodkeeper, a vacuum sealer for all types of food that uses reusable plastic bags.

I use  Evert-Fresh reusable bags which truly have a lasting affect on the produce .

In order to maximize the nutrients you receive, it is best to consume your fresh (organic) produce within two days of purchase but these tips can help extend their life span.  General rule of thumb is to wash all produce – even citrus – just before eating, with exceptions above.

Eat Your Sunscreen

Most of you know that the skin is the largest organ in our body, but may not consider this when creating a daily eating plan.  The skin covers approximately 25 square feet and weighs six pounds.  It is our protective outer boundary, which coats and defends us against infection and germs. It helps regulate our body temperature and plays a major role in transmitting messages of pain and pleasure.

The skin regenerates itself every 27 days but requires proper care to maintain its vitality.  That’s where we come in.  One of my teachers claimed to never use anything on her skin that she wouldn’t eat.  She is a big fan of unrefined coconut oil for maximum hydration and wrinkle prevention.  Here are some other foods that nourish our outer bodies, ourselves:

Mushrooms – in the diet mushrooms have anti-cancer and immune boosting properties; on the skin shiitake and matsutakes are considered to have natural hydrating components as well.  Dr. Andrew Weil now has a line of skincare under the Origins label which includes mushrooms.

Green tea – soothes the skin after overexposure to the sun, and calms rosacea and other irritations.

Vitamin A foods – anti-viral, anti-inflammatory which aid in fewer breakouts.  Found in carrots, peppers, papayas, and apples.

Zinc – for cell reproduction and repair. Found in oysters, raw nuts and seeds, wheat germ and organic poultry.

Ginseng – used to enhance memory, increase endurance, lower cholesterol and boost circulation.  On skin, it helps with elasticity.

Healthy fats – like those found in raw nuts, avocados, cold-water fish all of which help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins D, E and K.

Soy (non-GMO) – valued for its protein and anti-oxidant rich content, soy has also been found to have anti-cancer properties for the skin.  But some people have intolerances, so be sure to read labels first.

Vitamin C – helps keep the skin plump.  Eat broccoli, grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes, kiwis and strawberries to your heart’s (or skin’s) content.

Lemongrass – soothes and calms the nervous system and is good for digestion, which keeps the body and skin well balanced.

Anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables (don’t we always include these:) – they protect the skin from dulling effects of free radicals, caused by environmental stressors, smoking and drinking.  Load up on dark, leafy greens, blueberries, beets, grapes, yams and tomatoes.

It’s nice to know we can nourish ourselves from the inside out and have visible results!