Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moroccan Stewed Chicken

This is a great recipe I found a year ago in a Men's Health magazine. I've made it about 4 times now, and it always makes for a great healthy meal!

1 can Organic Diced Tomatoes
2 Organic Chicken Thighs (no skin)
1 Organic Zucchini (med - Lg)
1 can Organic Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
1 cup Organic Chicken Broth (or water)
1 Tbsp Organic Food Grade Coconut Oil
1 tsp Organic Cumin
1/2 tsp Organic Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Organic Cinnamon
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper to taste

Heat oil in large iron skillet over med-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, place them in pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until browned thoroughly. Add the zucchini and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. When zucchini pieces have browned lightly, add the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, cayenne pepper, cumin, and cinnamon. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is tender & cooked through.

Click here for any soy and dairy replacements

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bring on the Summer Time Snacks!

Ok it's not quite summer yet, heck spring's barely 1 week old, but those delicious summer time snacks are already on our minds. There is nothing wrong with indulging in a tasty treat once in a while, but remember it doesn't have to be unhealthy to be a tasty treat. There are many healthy alternatives to the all too common unhealthy treats most of us turn to.

Fresh fruit for instance is a very refreshing summertime treat that is both very tasty and healthy. But when opting for the many "sinful" pleasures that so often tickle our fancy, be smart and remember moderation is key.

Probably one of the most popular summertime treats is ice cream, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy a little vanilla once in a while. Even with a soy and dairy allergy I am able to surrender to the urge once in a while thanks to La Loo's Black Mission Fig Goat's milk ice cream. It is so good that I don't miss regular ice cream one bit. My wife even agrees that it's very tasty, but at about $7 a pint you have to be able to enjoy this treat in moderation, as I do.

So indulge once in a while, but be smart about it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Keep a Food Diary

Whether you’re dieting trying to lose weight or someone like myself who lives with food allergies, it's important to keep a food diary. Some food allergies are more cut-and-dry than others, and for me my dairy allergy falls under the more "cut-and-dry" of the two, but my soy allergy isn't so simple. Even with a diet consisting of mainly unprocessed whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and most of the meals home made as is the case with me, we still depend on some prepackaged products; the oat milk I use, bread (if I'm not up to making it), a few choice canned products, and even supplements.

It never fails that every that every once in a while just when I think I'm in the clear I may experience a reaction (usually the itchy swollen knuckles), and have to figure out what caused it. This is where the food diary comes in handy. If you record the food and the date of when you incorporated this new product into your diet, you can always refer back to that if a reaction occurs; it's also good to record how long the reaction lasted and the severity of the reaction. These entries should include dining out as well as eating at home. If you note what you ate a particular restaurant and you experience a reaction, then you would know not to order that dish again; and the same goes for safe meals. It's always good to know a couple of dishes at a restaurant you like to frequent that you can enjoy.

Lets face it even if you are a very health conscious person like me and enjoy cooking healthy meals, it's always fun to go out with friends or family once in a while and enjoy a meal without that you didn't have to slave over.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Get Some Sun

With the warmer weather coming it's important we take some time out of our busy days and enjoy it. A 15 minute lunchtime walk will not only clear your head and help relieve some of the daily stress we all contend with, but it is a good source of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is very important to a healthy immune system and studies show that Americans get far too little of it on a daily basis, especially during the colder months. Supplement form is always a good option (always see your health care practitioner first), but the sun is a great source...and it's free! We have all been so scared into believing that the sun will kill us that we either spend very little time in it, or when we do we're all covered up with cloths or sun screen.

I'm not a doctor and don't claim to be, but based on what I've read 15 of sun a day can do a body good.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Millet Root Vegetable Stew

1 cup Whole Grain Millet
3 cups Water
4 Organic Carrots (med-Lg)
2 Organic Parsnips (med-Lg)
1 Organic Beet Root
4 Organic Celery Stalks (med-Lg)
2 tsp Organic ginger (powder or Fresh)
1 tbsp Organic Food Grade Coconut Oil
Organic Basil
Organic Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste

Serves 4 (Enjoy!)

Snack Healthy!

We've all seen it at work, coworkers snacking all day without even considering the consequences. If your office is anything like mine, there is always a candy jar, or pretzel jar, or other office snacks lying about, and no shortage of takers. I watch my coworkers every day walk by the jar and grab a handful of whatever is available, almost subconsciously like they're not even aware they're doing it. I say subconsciously because I would like to believe that if they knew what the tallied amounts of fat, calories, and refined sugars from all of those handfuls were they would think twice before diving in.

Snacking is not an unhealthy thing. As a matter of fact snacking throughout the day can even cause you to eat less at your usual scheduled meals (lunch and dinner), but the key is in what your snacking on. The healthiest foods you can snack on are whole foods (uncooked), such as raw vegetables, fruit, and raw nuts (any variety is good) and seeds (I like pumpkin seeds myself). These snacks actually give your body what it needs without dramatically affecting blood sugar levels (spiking up and down) as many of the refined overly processed foods (fast digesting carbohydrates) often do. You eat less because your body is being fed what it is actually craving...nutrients!

So snack healthy today, it's what your body wants.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nature...The Perfect Gym

People spend hours upon hours in a gym trying to get healthy, stay healthy, or convince themselves they're healthy. Regardless of whether or not they are, the real question that begs to be answered is, "is working out in a gym the healthiest choice"? The answer in my opinion is no. Sure it is beneficial when compared to not working out at all, and is probably ideal during those cold harsh winter months, but when it comes to the "perfect gym" you can't hold a candle to what nature has to offer.

The best example of this can be seen in much of the equipment you pay to use. There is a lot of engineering behind much of the cardio equipment that are popular in most gyms (bikes, treadmills, steppers, etc.), but if you look closely at all the bells and whistles this equipment has to offer you will begin to see what the designers behind the equipment were trying to mimic. With all of the programmable workouts that can be used; incline, decline, fast, slow, or a combination of all of them, it becomes plainly obvious that someone is trying to duplicate what nature provides for free.

So the next time you feel the need to use the stepper or treadmill, consider visiting you're local park or state park and go for a hike. You may find out it's the best workout you’re not doing!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Beauty of Spring

Well spring is finally upon us, and along with comes all the bounties nature has to offer. Making fresh organic produce part of your diet (all year round) is probably one of the healthiest choices you can make, but everyone knows that the freshest tastiest (not to mention most nutritious) fruits and vegetables are those with the shortest shelf life. That red juicy tomato grown down the road at your local organic farm (or in your own garden for that matter) is sure to be tastier than the one that was shipped from some farm across the country...across the world.

That's the beauty of spring! In its wake comes those juicy blueberries, strawberries, apples, and pears that we wait all year for. With it comes tastier salads with all the fixings; peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, etc. The bounty is plenty, and the health benefit of these fresh organic foods are endless. So visit your local organic farm this spring/summer, it just may be the healthiest chose you make.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Support Your Local Organic Farmers

Without a doubt buying organic food is a smart and healthy choice, and in my opinion the right choice, but why not take it one step further and support your local organic farmers. It's true, those organic tomatoes, that organic lettuce, or even those organic apples you're buying are a much healthier choice than the non-organic variety, but are they as fresh as they could be? If you're buying them from your local grocery store then the answer is probably no.

You would be surprised how many local organic farms are in (or near) your area, it just takes a little investigating. Even if you don't have farm stands nearby eager to sell you their fresh organic fruits and vegetables, you probably have a health food store in the area. Most likely they get their produce locally, compared to grocery stores that get most (if not all) or their organic foods from California.

Nothing compares to fresh organic fruit and vegetables, both nutritionally and in taste. So the next time you stock up on your weeks supply of all your healthy favorites, look for the locally grown organic variety (when/where available), you'll be doing yourself and your community a favor.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Working for Your Food

An important aspect of human life that's seems to be lost in today's world is working for our food. As a society we have ventured too far from our hunter gatherer roots, while becoming all too lazy looking for that next quick meal. Obviously it is not practical to live life in today's world to that extreme, but the very principle of working for something is philosophy we all could benefit from and it all starts in the kitchen.

Instead of looking for the next quick meal idea, why not choose the healthier one. It’s no secret that a healthy diet consists of lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc., but there are a number of ways to go about obtaining these foods. So what does all of this have to do with working for your food, and how will this benefit you? Nature has provided us with a plethora of tasty nutrient rich foods, many of which are available at your local health food store, farm stand, and in the organic section of many grocery stores, but they're often available in two forms; one that caters to our quick "on the go" life styles, and the other that forces us to do a little more work for our meal.

A simple fact that can't be stated enough is the more processing our food goes through the less we benefit from all the nutrients it has to offer. If you buy your fruits and vegetables pre-cut, sliced, chopped, peeled, cored, mixed, packaged; your grains precooked, chopped, mashed, or rolled, then you are not getting all of the nutrients the food has to offer. Most of the nutrients fresh foods have to offer are locked in by (and in some cases contained in) the skin or out layer of the food itself. Once this seal has been broken the food begins to lose its nutritional value at a pretty alarming rate, so by the time it's gone from the field to the processing/packaging plant to the store, and finally to your kitchen it's only a fraction of the super food it once was.

So make the choice to live a healthier life and start working for your food, it will yield healthier better tasting and more rewarding meals. And who knows this philosophy may even rub off onto other aspects of your life. You may start taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking the car further from the store instead of circling the lot for a half hour in search of the closest spot, or even walking the dog further than down to the end of your street and back.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Corn-Fed Cows...Not a Healthy Choice

Omega-3 fatty acid is key to a healthy diet, but Americans get far too little of it. There are many food sources rich in omega-3; fish, nuts, seeds, etc., but the average American diet is not high in any of those foods. Not eating foods high in omega-3 is the obvious part of the problem though, another factor may actually come from a very unlikely source. Have you ever wondered what the difference between grass fed cows and corn fed cows was?

"We've come to think of "corn-fed" as some kind of old-fashioned virtue, which it may well be when you're referring to Midwestern children, but feeding large quantities of corn to cows for the greater part of their lives is a practice neither particularly old nor virtuous. Its chief advantage is that cows fed corn, a compact source of caloric energy, get fat quickly; their flesh also marbles well, giving it a taste and texture American consumers have come to like. Yet this corn-fed meat is demonstrably less healthy for us, since it contains more saturated fat and less omega-3 fatty acids than the meat of animals fed grass. A growing body of research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with con-fed beef."

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast cereals play a big role in childhood obesity. If you pick up a box of any of the popular kids (even adult) breakfast cereals, you will notice that they are high in fat, cholesterol, calories and loaded with sugar...refined sugar, the worst kind. Unfortunately these facts go unnoticed to many because manufacturers purposely draw your attention away from this sad truth and try to fool you with false promises in the form of fortified vitamins and minerals. The truth is these products are only fortified with synthetic nutrients to replenish what they lose during processing, which is about everything. If these cereals were so healthy then wouldn’t that translate to a healthy diet…a healthy person? Breakfast sets the trend for the rest of the day, and it's no wonder why obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes are becoming more and more common in children.

A healthy diet is a must, and breakfast is the perfect place to start. There are many alternatives to the highly processed toxic foods that we continue to feed ourselves and our children. My first choice would be organic whole grains (oat groats, barley, kamut...), they're nutrient rich, naturally low in fat, and contain no cholesterol or refined sugars. If time is an issue in the morning though (these take at least 30 minutes to cook up) than at least choose a healthier cereal.

Organic foods are always my first choice, but organic or not one of the most important things to look for are products with the least amount of ingredients listed; they must be all natural ingredients, no artificial anything. Being cereal lovers (I have mine as an evening snack), my wife and I always have a few boxes on hand. Our two favorites are Kashi's Cinnamon Harvest (contains Organic Whole Wheat, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cinnamon, Natural Cinnamon Flavor) and Barbara's Shredded Wheat (contains all natural Whole Wheat...nothing else), and both taste great.

So if living healthy is important to you then start the day that way, healthy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Organic Food has More Nutrients

"A study by University of California-Davis researchers published in the journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2003 described an experiment in which identical varieties of corn, strawberries, and blackberries grown in neighboring plots using different methods (including organically and conventionally) were compared for levels of vitamins and polyphenols... The Davis researchers found that organic and otherwise sustainably grown fruits and vegetables contained significantly higher levels of both ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and a wide range of polyphenols."

The omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Wrap

2 Chicken Breasts
4 Organic Garlic Cloves
Organic Unrefined Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
2 Jalapenos
Cheddar goat cheese
Avocado, sliced
Black Olives, sliced
Organic Lettuce
Whole grain pitas

Marinate chicken breasts with first five ingredients. Grill chicken breasts and 2 med jalapenos. Slice chicken and jalapenos and place on tortilla, followed by goat cheese and the rest of the ingredients. Fold the bottom up first then the sides in making a cozy pocket. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I just wanted to share a quick exerpt from a book I'm currently reading "Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan.

"The recent discovery of these secondary metabolites in plants has brought our understanding of the biological and chemical complexity of foods to a deeper level of refinement; history suggests we haven't gotten anywhere near the bottom of this question, either. The first level was reached early in the nineteenth century with the identification of the macronutrients-protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Having isolated these compounds, chemists thought they'd unlocked the key to human nutrition. Yet some people (such as sailors) living on diets rich in macronutrients nevertheless got sick. The mystery was solved when scientists discovered the major vitamins-a second key to human nutrion. Now it's the polyphenols in plants that we're learning play a critical role in keeping us healthy. (And wich might explain why diets heavy in processed food fortified with vitamins still aren't as nutritous as fresh foods.) "

Friday, March 6, 2009

Treat the Cause NOT the Symptom

A bad habit within western medicine is to treat the symptom without ever actually addressing the root cause. It's all too easy to simply take a pill to pacify a pain or ailment, without ever actually investigating the real question of “why”. Especially in this day and age when there's a pill for just about anything imaginable; if your head hurts, take a pill; aches and pains, take a pill; can't sleep, take a pill; no energy, take a pill; high blood pressure, take a pill; high cholesterol, take a pill; addictions, take a pill; depressed, take a pill. I recently watched a commercial for some antacid pill (people in a diner eating ridiculously large portions of greasy unhealthy food) basically advocating poor eating habits, and what’s there solution…take a pill!

Sure it takes time and effort to thoroughly investigate a health issue, more so than picking something off the shelf at your local pharmacy, but who are you really benefiting other than the pharmaceutical company? When you get that ache or pain, or those common symptoms of poor digestion, it’s your body trying to tell you something. So why not listen? The human body (and all its workings) is a remarkable and complex natural wonder, which even today’s modern science has not been able to duplicate. So the question is why are we so comfortable leaving our health in the hands of chemists and scientists, and often shy away from taking a natural approach. As complex and advanced as the human body is, we are all dependent upon key nutrients; and it’s these key nutrients that nature provided for us to maintain optimal health.

You can be assured that if you took the natural approach to health and wellness, you would undoubtedly find a nutrient deficiency (of some type) at the root cause; be it vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, polyphenols, etc. You can’t expect to live a pain free life if your diet consists of fast foods, processed foods, refined sugars… There is no substitute for fresh whole foods! Try them, and start feeling better today!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Garlic Stuffed Flounder

2 pcs Flounder Fillets (or other white fish)
4 Lg Shitake Mushrooms (sliced)
1/8 organic Onion (sliced)
Grated Goat Cheese Mozzarella
Unrefined Extra Virgin Olive Oil
organic Garlic Powder
organic Parsley
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper to taste

Lay the flounder fillets out flat. Spray both sides with Olive Oil (I use an olive oil sprayer) and coat with garlic powder, parsley, slat/pepper. Add the sliced mushrooms, onion, and grated cheese to one end of each fillet. Roll the fillets and hold with tooth picks. Bake for about 20min at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Smart Shopping During Tough Times

During these tough economic times we often tighten our budget. We reanalyze our spending to see where we can save a few pennies, and in reality it's the only smart way to ride out the storm. The question though shouldn't be where within our monthly budget we make the changes (food, gas, entertainment...), but rather how we make them. Although it is financially smart (and extremely healthy) to lessen the amount of eating out we do, it is not smart to skimp on what we buy at the grocery store. It is true that an unhealthy diet is cheaper (at check-out) than a healthy one, but you're not doing your health or your wallet any favors by avoiding the healthier, better quality foods. It's an indisputable fact that a healthy diet directly contributes to better health, and I'm sure no one needs a reminder as to what the average American spends in health care (Dr. visits, Rx's, tests and procedures, etc.) within a given year.

So make the smart healthy chose, and maintain a healthy diet, even through these tough times. The benefits to your overall wellness will be evident in no time, and financially you'll be amazed come next year’s tax time as to how much you've saved.

Curried Quinoa Stew

2 tbsp Olive Oil (Organic Unrefined)
1/2 c Quinoa
1/2 med Onion (chopped)
1 Lg Carrot (chopped)
1 Lg Parsnip (chopped)
1 sm squash (sliced)
2 Stalks Celery (sliced)
1/2 can Corn
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Light Coconut Milk
2 tsp Curry Powder
2 tsp Cumin
Sea salt and Pepper to taste
1 Cinnamon stick

Heat the oil in a medium size pot, then add the onions and brown. Add the remaining vegetables (except for the corn) and the seasonings, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook for another minute. Add the water, coconut milk, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Let simmer until quinoa has absorbed the water.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chicken Garden Salad

Pan Fried Chicken Breast (slice up and put on salad)
-1 egg (organic)
-Ian's Whole Wheat Panko Breadcrumbs
-organic Rosemary (crushed)
-organic Garlic Powder

Salad (mix together ingredients below)
-organic Mixed Greens
-organic Broccoli (raw)
-organic Pepper (green/yellow/red)
-organic Cherry Tomatoes
-organic baby Portabella Mushrooms
-organic fresh Garlic (crushed)
-Cracked Pepper

Dressing (drizzle over salad)
1 part organic Spicy Mustard
1 part organic Raw Honey

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Selfless Good Deeds

We all live very busy lives, with tight schedules, always in a rush to get where we're going. We have one thing in mind, and that's getting to the next place on our proverbial list of "things to do". It's always about us , and seldom are we thinking of others. All too often we complain about the small annoyances that may put a kink in our day-to-day routines, but never do we stop to take a look around, and realize how good we may actually have it. Everyone has problems, be it at work or at home, but no matter how bad we may think we have it there is always someone out there that has it worse.

It's important we take some time out of our busy lives to do something with the sole purpose of helping someone else. Whether it's donating clothing, donating food, or donating your time; it's time we put a selfless good deed on that to-do list of ours. Doing something for others is a win, win situation; it helps those in need by giving them something they would not have been able to obtain on there own, and at the same time it may actually make you feel a little better about yourself. It is amazing how a smile can benefit your overall state of health. It can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and give your immune system a healthy boost. Try it; you won't be disappointed!

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