Monday, July 7, 2014

Decadent Dessert

Want something delicious, decadent, and crave worthy?  How about berries and cream?  We talk about berries and cream at NWW all the time, but even I forget how delicious this dessert can be.  But right now is the perfect time to incorporate these lower carb fruits into your diet.  
To make whipped cream I've found that pouring the cream into a mason jar and then using only 1 beater attachment on my hand-held egg beater works perfectly.  I get almost no splatters outside the jar, and to store any leftover cream, I just twist on the lid.  Sure I could stand there and shake the jar by hand, but that just leads to leaks and a mess.

Layer fresh sliced berries with homemade whipped cream and top with chopped nuts and a few small pieces of dark chocolate.  Now that's the perfect ending to a hot summer day.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Oh Boy! Bok Choy!

Looking for a new green vegetable to add to your arsenal?  Try Bok Choy.  This member of the cabbage family originated in China and therefore is frequently used in stir-fry.  1 cup is packed with 100% of your daily value for Vitamin A and C.  Just like the darker greens such as kale and collards, BC also contain high amounts of vitamin K and folate.

According to my Flavor Bible, Bok Choy pairs well with ginger, rice, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  But it also goes with other green vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, snow peas, and zucchini; as well as with any meat, fish, poultry, and nuts.

Lucky for me, I just happened to buy bok choy and snow peas at the farmer's market last sunday.  Not because I like it... until now I've only eaten bok choy 2 maybe 3 times.  When I tried stir frying it, it just tasted like watery, tasteless cabbage or celery.  But being the dietitian that I am, I decided to revisit this nutritious vegetable.  Many parents out there know it takes trying a new food 10-20 times before we learn to like it.

Since It cooks so quickly, I save my BC for Thursday night supper: Stir-Fry BC with broiled Tuna Steaks.  I mostly followed the basic stirfry/braise method used by a lot of recipes.  For flavor I used grated ginger and 2 grated garlic cloves, a little soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh sliced basil, and a little sriracha .  I didn't add any extra liquid since they wilted down nicely and I didn't want to dilute the seasonings.  Unfortunately, even with the added herbs, ginger, etc... they still seemed to just be tasteless, or unexciting.  Alas, still not a hit on my list.  Also, I forgot to take a picture before we ate it, sorry.

While Bok Choy might be native to China, I tried to find other flavor profile/recipes for people who aren't so keen on the soy-sauce, ginger, garlic combinations typically seen when cooking this vegetable.  I think I'll try making a salad or a soup with BC in the future, this stir fry business just isn't working for me.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Stir-Fried-Baby-Bok-Choy-with-Garlic-240548

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Braised-Baby-Bok-Choy-103970

http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/5-ways-with-bok-choy/

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/bok-choy-10-healthy-facts

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/grilled-bok-choy-salad-recipe.html

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=380591

http://greenearthinstitute.org/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&products_id=1759

http://blog.sanuraweathers.com/2010/03/stir-fry-bok-choy-shrimp-and-peanuts-over-coconut-rice/

http://eatandrelish.com/2013/08/28/not-like-grandma-used-to-make-chicken-noodle-soup-with-baby-bok-choy-snow-peas-and-rice-noodles-in-a-ginger-garlic-and-lemon-broth/

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rich Food/Poor Food Book Review

The good thing about being me is my very strong circadian rhythm.  The bad thing, is my VERY strong circadian rhythm.  I would have made a great farmer/farmer's wife back in the day.  I'm ready for bed when it's dark, and up whith the sun is.  Unfortunately this means that when I do stay up late (aka 10pm), I'm currently waking up at the crack of dawn...4:30am.  The birds are chirping, sun is seeping between the curtains, and Samoa is getting restless.  That's been my morning for the past 7 days, this is getting old.  Enough complaining.

A client recently lent me her copy of Rich Food, Poor food: The ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS), by Jayson and Mira Calton.  While I haven't read their first book, 'Naked Calories', but I fully intend to now.  RF/PF isn't like any of the other Paleo books on the market which all seem to cover the same topics of digestion, cholesterol, the evils of gluten, and the benefits of coconut.  Instead, the Caltons teach you how to shop for the foods promoted by the Paleo diet.  Some people feel that paleo is for the elite, but really it's not.  Throughout the book Jayson and Mira specifically name brands that can be found at most national grocery store chains.  Yes, some of them are expensive, but they also give the less expensive brands as well.  Not only that, but the Caltons realize that not everyone needs to cut out dairy, so there is a chapter on picking the best dairy.  They also realize that not everyone needs to cut out beans, so they talk about how to properly prepare/buy beans.

This isn't to say that all they do is list foods to buy and foods to avoid.  I still learned some new tidbits of information.

PG 26: The discussion of MSG lead me down a rabbit hole of my own research.  The Caltons quote Dr. Cate Shanahan, stating that 95% of "natural flavors" found in packaged foods are in fact MSG.  I thought, "How can this be?" So I did a little more research at work and discovered that if protein has been processed to contain 99% free glutamate is must be listed as MSG on a label.  However, if the proteins are processed in such a way to contain less than 99% free glutamate then the label will read hydrolyzed protein or natural flavor(s) or any of the other 30 different names the additive.  This is so unfortunate since natural flavors can also include benign flavorings such as lemon juice.

PG 34: I've known for a while now that it's not "healthy" to microwave foods in plastic or to place hot foods into a plastic container. Why?  The chemicals from the plastic transfer themselves into the food.  The specific chemical in question is BPA.  When looking at the number on the bottom of the plastic container (similar to determining recyclability) avoid plastics with the numbers 3, 6, and 7.  I've already identified a few in our house that need to be thrown out.  But also found a few with the better numbers of 2, 4, and 5.  Here's an article a co-worker sent me on the very popular Tupperware.

PG 36: Have you noticed a lot of products boasting "Nitrate Free" or "No Nitrates Added".  Needless to say I have, and it's partially because I buy them.  I had read a few research articles describing how nitrates can be irritating to the gut lining as well as to the lungs.  However, the celery extract or salt used in more 'natural' products contains naturally occurring nitrates/nitrites which prevent bacterial growth. So do these natural nitrates also cause inflammation?  I haven't figured that one out yet.  What I learned is that manufactured nitrites often come ladened with leftover arsenic and lead.  EeeeK! good enough reason to continue to avoid them.

PG 133: Love the discussion of why choosing color fruits and veggies is important and how each color contributes different nutrients to the body and what those nutrients do for us.

PG 153: I was inspired to finally attempt my own mayonnaise. First attempt on my own since my college foods class that is.  All these Paleo peeps keep advocating the use of olive oil for making mayo... have they tasted it?  Sorry, but when you use a high quality expeller/cold pressed EVOO the resulting mayo tastes nothing like my Hains, let alone Miracle Whip or Hellman's.  The product I got is so strong in olive oil flavor I'm sure no one would want it on their sandwich.  I'm thinking of thinning it down with extra vinegar or purreing it with avocado to make salad dressing.  I will definitely be making my own again, however I think I'll find an expeller pressed sunflower seed, grape seed oil, or use MCT oil instead.  Something less flavorful.

PG 237: Ice cream...need I say more? I love ice cream!  But I can't keep it in the house because I will eat the whole container and it gives me a runny nose.  Thanks to the Calton's though, I now know that the compounds used to make strawberry flavoring (one of my favorites) is from the pus that beavers excrete from the oil glands beneath their tails.  EEWWWW!!!  Knowing that makes me want to make my own ice cream even more than I did before.  Therefore I'm going on the search for an ice cream machine at the thrift stores.  No need to buy one new since I'm sure I'll only use it a few times in the summer.

The Calton's are very focussed on nutrient density, this includes salt.  Processed salt does not contain iodine; the exceptionally important mineral needed for fertility, growth, and yes...thyroid function.  Post table salt has been iodized to prevent deficiency (especially here in the midwest, aka the goiter belt).  However, processed salt does not have any of the other micronutrients added back.  So choose unrefined sea salt.  Iodine is found in the ocean/seas and when you choose un-refined sea salt not only will you get iodine but also magnesium, calcium, and even a little potassium.  So I've refilled our salt grinder with pink Himalayan sea salt and am adding a seaweed snacks for a little extra iodine.

So overall, if you are struggling with knowing which brands of cottage cheese, butter, mustard, eggs, ground beef, and even peanut butter to buy, you should seriously buy this book.  I've been recommending it to clients as a way to help take the decision making out of shopping.