Six Seasonings with Surprising Payoffs
Spices add a punch of extra flavor to our favorite dishes, but they also possess proven health and wellness properties. From regulating blood sugar to reducing inflammation to helping control appetite, behold the magnificent six. (read more…)
What Five Countries Can Teach Us about Good Eating
Americans love to explore ethnic cuisines and then put their own “more is better” spin on them, like a Chinese stir-fry turned into chop suey with fried rice or a pasta side dish super-sized into a whole meal.
“We’ve Americanized dishes to the extent that they don’t have their original health benefits,” says Dr. Daphne Miller, a family physician in the San Francisco Bay area and author of The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World—Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You. (read more…)
Top 10 Heart Healthy Choices
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning once penned this unforgettable line to her husband and fellow poet, Robert Browning.
Let us also count the ways to improve our loved ones’ heart health: Lower blood pressure. Modulate irregular heartbeats. Avoid plaque build-up in arteries. Improve blood flow to the heart. (read more…)
Eight Ways to Restore Gut Health
The New York University Langone Medical Center recently reported that 74 percent of Americans experience some form of digestive distress, a quarter are obese and more than 100 million U.S. adults are pre-diabetic and don’t know it. While many blame such problems on eating wheat, some food scientists disagree, including those citing two major studies by Harvard researchers; following more than 100,000 people for 25 years, they concluded that those eating the most wheat compared to low-gluten folks had a 13 percent lower diabetes risk and no greater risk of heart disease. (read more…)
Colorful Good Health in Holiday Dishes
Winter citrus fruits that arrive in a gift basket or show up on sale at the grocer present a welcome bright spot on winter’s darker days. Valencia and blood oranges, limes and Meyer lemons are delicious in their own right, and deserve their place on the breakfast table. Yet there are many other intriguing ways to enjoy them in vinaigrettes, salads, main dishes, baked goods and desserts. (read more…)
Healthy Twists on Old Favorites
Thanksgiving side dishes continue to evolve, even though traditional entrées still hold pride of place. New, lighter alternatives to time-honored stuffing maximize flavorful dried fruits, herbs and nuts. Healthy options may use gluten-free bread or black rice, cauliflower, chestnuts or pecans for flavor, bulk and color. A stuffing can also fill a halved acorn squash or cored apple. (read more…)
Rediscover Probiotic-Rich Foods
Colorful jars of fermented Korean kimchee, Indian chutney, German sauerkraut and bottles of kombucha line many grocery store shelves today. We’re in the midst of a fermented food revival. (read more…)
Healthy Tailgating Foods to Cheer For
Eat, play, party… and repeat. We may call it tailgating, fangating, homegating, a watch party or simply eating with friends before a big game. According to the American Tailgaters Association, in St. Paul, Minnesota, an estimated 50 million Americans tailgate annually. (read more…)
The Rise of Pop-Up Organic Dining
The flip side of enjoying farm to table is taking the table to the farm. So-called “pop-up feasts” are booming at farms throughout the country during growing and harvest seasons. While the format varies, dinners are typically hosted on working rural or urban farms, last about three hours and include aperitifs and a tour before the meal. Wine pairings or beer tastings and live music may be among the enticing activities offered. (read more…)
Clever Ways to Eat Healthy Anywhere
Traveling can be tricky for those trying to eat a plant-based diet, especially on long stretches of highway. More than 33 percent of Americans, or 100 million-plus people, are eating vegan/vegetarian meals more often, even if they do not adhere to a strict plant-based lifestyle, concluded a 2011 Harris Interactive study commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group. Here is what the discerning traveler can do when hunger strikes. (read more…)
Grill Scrumptious Pizzas and Flatbreads
Summer is high season for grilling when just about anything sizzled over high heat tastes great. Grill masters Karen Adler and Judith Fertig recently put this theory to the test when they fired up their grills—gas and charcoal—to cook bruschetta, panini, flatbreads and pizzas. The results tasted so good that they created a cookbook: Patio Pizzeria: Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads on the Grill. (read more…)
How to Buy Good Eggs from Happy Hens
Janice Cole, the author of Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes, knows how delicious a really fresh egg tastes. She keeps three chickens she calls “the girls” in the backyard of her suburban Minneapolis home. “Jasmine, a white Silkie, lays small, beige-colored eggs; Keiko a black and white Ameraucana and Silver Wyandotte cross, green eggs; and Peanut, a brown, feathery Cochin mix, brown eggs,” relates Cole. (read more…)
How to Move Past Food Sensitivities
Complaints of digestive upsets, brain fog, headaches, relentless food cravings and unrelieved stress appear to be at epidemic levels these days.
“These symptoms may be part of newfound awareness of the wide-ranging and seemingly unrelated health problems caused by food sensitivities and intolerances, which are different from food allergies,” explains microbiologist Kiran Krishnan, from Chicago. (read more…)
Good Fat Doesn’t Make Us Fat
In an era of too much information, the role of fats in our diet has been a victim of not enough information. Today’s turnaround in nutritional thinking acknowledges natural fats as being vital to heart health and weight loss.
Heart Health Benefit
A recent metastudy in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American College of Physicians, concluded that saturated fat does not appear to increase heart disease risk, overturning almost 60 years of accepted medical thought. (read more…)
Easy-Grow Microgreens Are Big on Nutrition
Fast, fun to grow and packed with flavor and nutrition, tender young microgreens can go from seed to table in as little as a week. Close cousins to edible sprouts, microgreens are grown in potting soil or seed-starting mixes instead of plain water. They customarily grow beyond the sprout stage until they have produced a true leaf or two. After that, harvesting is a simple matter of snipping off fresh greens. (read more…)
Restorative Drinks Revive Good Cheer
During jam-packed special occasions like holidays, our drinks should multitask, too. We need festive tipples to refresh us without overdoing it, restore equilibrium if we overeat or drink or revive us when we’re feeling low from a seasonal cold or flu.
In addition to traditional offerings that family and friends might expect, why not add a new and improved signature drink to everyone’s repertoire? These feel-good beverages, featuring winter fruits high in vitamin C, anthocyanins, therapeutic herbs and fresh ginger, deliver delicious boosts to help us feel our best. (read more…)
Vegan Holiday Treats that Everyone Loves
For those that like to eat plant-based meals most of the time, the holidays can present a challenge. Social occasions from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day abound, including multi-course dinners and potlucks; tree-trimming and baking parties; neighborly hospitality; nibbling on treats while wrapping gifts; and gathering to watch a holiday movie.
Because so much is happening in such a short period of time, people often revert to serving traditional foods such as Aunt Mary’s cheese ball or Grandma Daisy’s three-layer chocolate bars. These vintage recipes, however, can be laden with processed ingredients. Foods that signaled holiday cheer ages ago need a tweak or two to satisfy today’s health-minded friends and family members. With traditional flavors of the season like aromatic spices, fresh rosemary and chocolate, plus a plant-based philosophy, family favorites can get a new twist. (read more…)
Why Ancestral Diets Boost Health
In The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan surmised that we’d be healthier if we ate the way our great-grandparents did. It would mean sticking to regularly scheduled meals instead of impulsive snacking, having a meat or protein item comprise only a quarter of our plate, adding fresh vegetables and eliminating junk food. (read more…)
Plant-Based Choices Provide Midday Boost
We all have good intentions to eat more fruits and vegetables, and it’s easier if we start with just one plant-based meal a day—lunch. Natural Awakenings has enlisted the help of vegan lunchbox experts to help us all enjoy easy-to-make and colorful feasts good for home, office, school and on the road.
“Vegan food offers so much variety, especially at lunch,” says Johanna Sophia, of Pine Plains, New York, who recently hosted the online series The Raw Lunchbox Summit. “A vegan lunch gives an extra boost in the middle of the day for more brain power, clarity and energy.” (read more…)
Keeping Food Out of the Trash Bin
As much as 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is wasted, even as one in six Americans goes hungry. Instead of feeding people better, we are feeding the city dump. Of all types of trash, food consumes the most space in our municipal landfills, followed by plastic and paper. Rotting food then releases harmful methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
While food waste is a big problem, social entrepreneurs see a big opportunity. Around the country, they are working to reduce, recover and rethink discarded food valued at more than $160 billion a year. In the process, they are not only cutting food costs, but also creating jobs and fighting climate change. (read more…)