Posts Tagged ‘healthy foods’

Healthy Preparation

November 6, 2014

There are lots of healthy foods out there and you can’t go wrong with fresh, seasonal produce.

But did you know that the way you prepare them may actually up the nutritional benefits of some of your favorite foods?
1774700006

We often cut our carrots, since looking like Bugs Bunny has never been our thing. Even those store bought baby carrots have been put through a machine to shave them down into smaller, more manageable bites. Studies have found that cutting carrots increases the surface size allowing some of the vital nutrients to seep out. Cooking them increases the bioavailability of the antioxident rich carotenoids. Wash and peel carrots and toss them whole into soups, stews or roast them in the oven, to get the most benefit from eating them.

Garlic crusher

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibiotic properties, and is thought to decrease blood pressure.Allicin does not naturally occur in the garlic bulb, but is produced when the garlic is crushed, or finely diced. Allicin is a bit flightily, and begins to degrade the moment it is created. Cooking helps that process along, and microwaving destroys it completely. For maximum health benefits, add a little finely diced raw garlic to cooked food, if the flavor is not too strong for your taste.

4093600522

Broccoli is a popular vegetable, and can be an effective cancer preventer. How you cook it however, determines just how much of those cancer fighters are present. Steaming is the only method that preserves or possibly increases those properties. Frying and boiling were found to be the worst. Find steamed broccoli a bit dull? Researchers also found that adding spicy foods upped the cancer fighting ante. Go ahead and steam it, and toss it in a spicy sauce!

Eating your vegetables, no matter how they are prepared is a win. Knowing how to get the most from them is a triumph!

photos: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Advertisements

Unrecipe of the Week: Summer Salad Rolls

May 19, 2014

These vegetable rolls are riff on the traditional Vietnamese Summer roll. A study in simplicity, these rice paper rolls are filled with fresh julienned vegetables. The secret lies in the sauce: we dipped ours in a carrot, sesame oil and soy based dressing that brought the flavors to life. The best part? We’re torn between how healthy and low calorie they are, and the fact that nothing needed to be cooked.  Twice the reason to try this unrecipe!

images

For the rolls:

Julienne a variety of vegetables, including cucumbers, carrots, diakon, red bell pepper, radishes and beets. Mix it up to suit your tastes. I used a mandolin, but depending on how many you are making, you can just cut them by hand. Be sure to peel the carrots, diakon and beets first!

To assemble:

Dip a large rice paper wrapper* in warm water to soften. There is no need to soak them, just get them hydrated enough to be pliable.

Place the rice paper on a work surface. Lay a small piece of lettuce and a fresh mint leaf or two at the bottom of disc. Layer on the julienned vegetables. Begin rolling the rice paper, tucking it tightly, but gently as you go. Roll it twice, fold the sides in, and continue rolling to the top. It should look like a fat, transparent egg roll.

Lay the finished roll on plastic wrap. The rolls will stick together, so be sure to keep them from touching. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.

For the sauce:

Peel about 3-4 medium carrots, and cut them into chunks. Place them in the food processor, along with a small shallot, peeled and quartered, a good sized chunk of peeled fresh ginger, about 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, about a 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Puree until everything is finely diced and combined. With the machine running, add about 1/4 cup or so of vegetable oil ( We used grape seed oil, which has a neutral flavor. Do not use olive oil, as the flavor is too strong!) Add about 1/4 cup of water, and continue mixing until it forms a a chunky dressing. Check flavors, and add more vinegar, or soy sauce as needed. If the dressing is too thick, add a little bit more water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

We served the rolls cut in half lengthwise, on a pool of drizzled dressing, and then put the rest on a platter with a bowl of sauce on the side. Sounds like the perfect dish to toss in my lunch bag tomorrow!

*rice paper wrappers are sold packaged in the international foods section of grocery stores, or at Asian markets.

Kohlrabi

January 9, 2014

4263000275

It’s hard to walk into a restaurant these days, and not find some type of kale on the menu. Over the last few years, it has become one of the trendiest foods on the planet, and one of the best for you.  Chefs are serving it up raw in salads, sauteed as a side dish, shredded in soups, and macerated into juices and smoothies. Sometimes it’s treated better than you are, and massaged to make the sturdy leaves more tender.

Well,move over kale, there’s a new kid in town: kohlrabi.

Food experts are predicting that this ugly root, not commonly found in American cuisine, will be the next big vegetable to hit the food scene.

The bulb, which comes in stylish shades of purple or pale green, sprouts stalks and leaves. Although the entire plant  is edible, it’s the crunchy bulb with a slightly sweet yet tangy flavor similar to a radish, that gets the most attention.

Kin to the more popular broccoli and cauliflower, kohlrabi was just that that perplexing root found in CSA boxes that people were not sure what to do with.

In Asia, it’s often pickled, and in other areas, it is grated into pancakes and fritters. Chefs on this side of the world are experimenting with it, due to it’s unusual flavor, and high nutritional content. At just 36 calories per cup, this  high fiber, potassium and vitamin C rich vegetable is worth looking into.

Peel away both the hard outer skin and the underlying fibrous skin, to reveal the crisp flesh.

Cut it into sticks and bake them into healthy “fries.”

Julienne the bulb, and use it as you would raw cabbage to create “kohl-slaw.”

Puree it as you would mashed potatoes, or slice it and bake it au gratin.

Use it in soups, or fry it into pancakes. The options are vast.

Have you tried kohlrabi yet? Share your recipes in the comments below!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Like us on Facebook, follow us on TwitterTumblr, Instagram and Pinterest too!

Too Much of a Good Thing

August 8, 2013

We pride ourselves in eating healthy foods that taste good and are good for us. It would seem that eating lots of these foods would be a good thing, right?
In some cases yes, but in others, it can be a case of too much of a good thing.

carrots, vegetables, nutrition

Carrots contain beta carotene, which gives them their beautiful orange hue. They are low in calories, and high in vitamin A and fiber. If you eat too many of them, your skin will take on that same orange cast as the carrots. Not so pretty,we think!

4093601050

Nutmeg is a spice, generally used as a flavoring in small amounts. Consumed in huge quantities, it can cause hallucinations, fear, anxiety attacks, and in two rare cases, death. We can’t imagine why anyone would willingly consume such a vast amount of the spice, so feel free to keep enjoying it in moderation.

4093600714

Fish in general are very heart healthy, and it is recommended that we eat fish at least a few times per week. However, the  kind of fish you eat can come with consequences that out weigh the benefits.  The larger the fish, the higher the mercury content is, due to the fact that these species eat many other smaller fish, causing a cumulative effect in their systems. Tuna, swordfish, and mackerel are among those to eat in moderation. It is recommended not to consume more than 12 oz. of these fish per week, and it is advised that pregnant women avoid them completely.

8696400079

Kombucha is a trendy drink, consisting of raw, fermented and naturally carbonated tea. The fermentation brings out probiotic properties, but also produces alcohol. Whole Foods markets recently pulled all Kombucha products from its stores, citing concerns that the alcohol levels exceeded the legal amounts in some cases. Over indulging in kombucha can bring about a nasty hangover. Home produced kombucha also carries the risk of harboring mold and bacteria. We say “YUCK” to that!

Close up detail coffee beans on countertop

Lots has been written lately about the positive effects of coffee. Other than the obvious caffeine kick that gets us up and moving in the morning, coffee also has superfood powers that can help prevent diabetes, protect your brain, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. When too much coffee is consumed, it can lead to a serious case of the jitters, involving dizziness, heart palpitations and in some extreme cases, heart attacks.  Limit caffeine consumption from coffee, energy drinks and supplements to keep the effects in check.

photos: Glasshouse Images

Like us on Facebook, follow us on TwitterTumblr and Pinterest too!

Nutrition Fiction

May 20, 2013

4330300167

While flipping through a popular health and wellness magazine today, I was a little surprised at some of their nutritional suggestions.

I am an armchair expert, admittedly with no formal training in nutrition and look to articles written by others to provide me with much of my information. Through this process, I have a heightened awareness of what is good for you, and what is not. Clearly, some of what I read falls into the latter category.

First up on the agenda: The 2013 Healthy Food Awards.

In this segment, 175 readers blind tested foods that the editors and contributing registered dieticians selected and deemed healthy.

The winners all came in a package, something that generally doesn’t spell “super food” to me.

With categories like “best potato chip”, “best nuked popcorn” and “best chewy granola bar” on the list, it’s hard to grasp the concept of these foods being healthy.

The next page featured celebrity chefs’ recipes using kale, which they dubbed “the holy grail of health.”

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Kale and Watercress Soup has white potatoes, whole milk and heavy cream. It is 252 calories per serving.

I don’t know about you, but the soups I usually enjoy are closer to 80-120 calories per serving. The potatoes, when pureed, should be enough to give the soup a creamy texture, making the heavy cream and milk unnecessary. Using broth instead of the dairy, would probably add more flavor to the soup, and a fraction of the calories and fat.

Instead of the suggested garnish of low fat sour cream, how about recommending a dollop of fat free Greek yogurt? It is lower in calories and fat than the sour cream, and is higher in protein and contains healthy probiotics.

As an avid and well-informed reader, I am concerned that a magazine of this type, would feature foods that are processed, high in saturated fat, and not the best, healthiest versions available. This is not a food magazine, where the flavor and ingredients take center stage, nutritional aspects be damned.

This is a magazine about healthy eating, fitness and wellness. They owe it to their readers to provide them with informed choices. High fat, high calorie soup is not healthy, just because it has a trendy super-food in it.

Processed foods laden with preservatives, huge amounts of sodium and a few unpronounceable ingredients, often in potentially toxic packages, are not healthy, just because they are organic, or lower in calories than their counterparts.

So how does the average consumer get real information about the seemingly healthy foods that are not in fact, as healthy as they seem?

Let me introduce you to a not so secret weapon called Fooducate.
Fooducate is a website and an app for smart phones that offers nutritional profiles culled from a huge database of supermarket foods.  The free app allows you to scan the food’s barcode, and it provides a breakdown of the item’s nutritional data from a list of ingredients to calories, fat and sodium contents, chemicals and preservatives, information about what makes it a good or bad choice, and sums it up with a letter grade. It is a valuable resource for those who want to make wise decisions in the food aisles. The app also offers daily tips, and can help zero in on gluten free or diabetic friendly foods as well.

Perhaps the experts featured in my magazine might benefit from swiping a few of the foods they list, before awarding them best healthy food status.

photo: Glasshouse Images


%d bloggers like this: