Monday, April 25, 2016

Benefits of Breakfast

Need an energy boost? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it replenishes our depleted energy stores and keeps our metabolism running. Skipping breakfast or not eating enough tells our body to conserve energy, slow down our
metabolism and burn fewer calories throughout the day. This is why people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight than breakfast eaters.

New studies are revealing even more evidence of how
important breakfast is as it relates to metabolic function. When skipping breakfast study participants produced 39% more
insulin and had higher blood sugar levels later in the day as a result. Concerns over regularly skipping breakfast might lead to chronic insulin resistance, a major risk factor for type 2

To keep your blood sugar stable and to kick start your energy select fiber and protein rich foods for breakfast that provide about 20-35% of your total daily calories. For someone
targeting 1600 calories per day that is 320 calorie breakfast. For someone targeting 2000 calories per day that is 400 calorie breakfast. Below are some ideas:

· Whole grain English muffin topped with 1 tbs peanut butter and 1/2 sliced banana (285 calories)

· 6 ounces nonfat plain Greek yogurt topped with 3/4 cup blueberries and 2 tbs slivered almonds (240 calories)

· 1 slice whole grain toast topped with 1/4 mashed   avocado, 1 poached egg, and hot sauce (255 calories)

· 1/2 cup egg whites mixed with spinach, tomato, and onions served with 1 slice whole grain toast topped with 1 tbs peanut butter and 1 cup of melon (350 calories)

· 1/2 cup dried oats cooked with 1 cup skim milk, 1 chopped apple, 2 tbs chopped walnuts, and cinnamon powder (415 calories)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Have you tried Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented and slightly carbonated tea drink  originating in ancient Chinese medicine over 2000 years ago. Sweetened tea is fermented with a colony of bacteria and yeast which produces a mushroom in the liquid. In fact in the Chinese language Kombucha is called “chajun” which translates to tea mushroom.

The beverage is acidic, tart, vinegary, and slightly alcoholic. 8 ounces typically has 30 calories and contains B vitamins as well as probiotics, bacteria, and other chemical compounds.

Unpasteurized kombucha can ferment and develop an alcohol content to the level of some beers. In fact Whole Foods pulled kombucha from its stores due to concerns of fluctuating alcohol content beyond the legal limit of 0.5%. Pasteurizing stabilizes the fermentation process and makes the beverage safer to   consume allowing Whole Foods to carry the beverage again.

Many health claims include improvements in digestion, liver   detoxification, cancer prevention, and stimulation of immune function. To date there is no scientific evidence to support these health claims.

There have been several documented cases of serious adverse effects from drinking kombucha, particularly when home-brewed and unpasteurized. The FDA warns of a high risk of contamination from home-brewing kombucha which could result in toxic reactions and death in some reported cases.

In the late 1990’s Kombucha became commercially available, and when pasteurized, is much safer to drink than home-brewed varieties. The bottom line is that kombucha is not a magic cure-all elixir. Science is not substantiating the health claims but if you do believe in the health benefits drink it in moderation and be careful with your selection to ensure safety.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Eat the Rainbow, with Rainbow Chard

This colorful vegetable is cousins to kale and is packed with nutrients you want to be eating. As one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean, research shows chard contains 13 different antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, and iron to nourish your body.
As a member of the chenopod family (along with beets, spinach, and quinoa) chard provides a number of health benefits not available from other foods. The bright red and yellow pigments protect our nervous system, including organs like our eyes. Chard also has a high level of nitrates which has been shown to lower blood pressure in some studies.
One cup of cooked chard provides over 700% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K necessary for bone health and blood   clotting. It also contains over 200% of the recommended Vitamin A  necessary for eye health, immune function, and cell growth.
When purchasing chard look for plants with firm, deep green leaves. Smaller leaves will have a more milder taste and be more tender. Store chard in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. When cooked, chard is very similar to spinach and can be used interchangeably in       recipes. When eating raw, try chopping it into thin ribbons to make the chard more tender and easier to handle.
This colorful vegetable is packed with good for you nutrients and is a great addition to soups, stir-fries, or as a topping on pizza. For a tasty salad try our Roasted Pear and Rainbow Chard Salad Recipe below.

Roasted Pear and Rainbow Chard Salad Recipe
Serves: 4
360 calories each

Vinaigrette Ingredients:                         
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tsp Champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

Salad Ingredients:
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs Champagne vinegar
4 small, firm pears
1 bunch rainbow chard, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup goat cheese 
4 lemon wedges

Directions: To prepare vinaigrette whisk together all four ingredients and set aside. To prepare salad preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil and champagne vinegar. Cut pears in half and carefully cut out the core. Set pears with sliced side facing up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil mixture over pears. Place in oven and roast 8 minutes. Turn and roast an additional 6-8 minutes until edges are golden and pears are easily pierced with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl toss greens with half the vinaigrette. Crumble goat cheese and toss in gently. Divide greens between four plates, add 2 pear halves and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Garnish with lemon wedge before serving.