Food Is Not Your Enemy

Green Lentils and Spinach With Hard-Cooked Eggs and Toast

Here’s another dish I make regularly in my house, often at the request of my kids.

Serves 4.

1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed

Salt and freshly milled pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons butter

2 onions, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

1 bunch spinach, leaves only, cut into 1-inch strips

1 garlic clove, minced or put through a press

4 large thin slices toast made from country bread

2 hard-boiled eggs

Put the lentils and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan with water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, reserving the broth. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon each olive oil and butter in a wide skillet over high heat. Add the onions and saute until they’re golden, about 10 minutes. Set them aside and add the remaining butter to the pan. Add the spinach, garlic, and a few pinches salt and cook until wilted.

Add the lentils to the pan with the spinach along with a little of the broth and an extra tad of butter if you like. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the toast and cut it into triangles. Peel and chop the eggs. Spoon the lentils into the middle of each plate. Cover with the onions and then the chopped egg. Add pepper and surround with the toasts.

(Recipe from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison)

Leafy Greens: Safe or Scary?

Popeye and his spinach. George H.W. Bush and his (hatred of) broccoli. Mom leaning over you and admonishing, “Eat your greens!” The leafy green vegetables we’re told more and more often to eat by the shovelful evoke strong feelings or memories for many of us. But are all greens as healthy as they’ve been made out to be? Check out my latest “Safe or Scary?” column over at AOL’s ParentDish to find out.

Why You Won’t Lose Weight If You’re Stressed
June 22, 2009, 4:16 pm
Filed under: weight loss | Tags: , ,

If you’re rushing through meals at your desk while typing up a memo due in an hour, or if you’re eating while arguing with your partner, you will derail any weight-loss efforts you’re undertaking. Furthermore, you will not properly absorb the nutrients from your food, and you may experience such symptoms as bloating and indigestion.

Slowing down to eat in a relaxing environment really is important. Check out this video from Marc David, an expert on the psychology of eating, for more.

Soba Noodle Soup

Here’s another great recipe from Daphne Miller’s book “The Jungle Effect.” This is a healthy and delicious recipe from Okinawa, where people hardly ever get breast or prostate cancer, and routinely live robust lives into their 90s. I really love this book–and if you sign on as my client, it will likely end up in your hands as one of the 12 gifts I give during your six-month program

Serves 4.

6 cups cold water

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 quarter-sized piece fresh ginger

1/4 cup dried fish flakes (Bonito flakes are the most common)

Option: Either 1 pound meaty pork ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces, OR chopped bone-in chicken parts OR 8 dried shiitake mushrooms (I’ve always used the mushrooms)

1 1/3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sweet sake or mirin

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon if not using sake)

One 8-oz. package soba noodles


2 sheets nori, cut into confetti-sized strips using sharp scissors

4 scallions, sliced in 1/2 inch lengths on a sharp diagonal

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

1 small daikon radish, peeled and grated, or 2 tablespoons dried daikon

One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 teaspoons wasabi powder mixed with enough warm water to form a soft paste

For the broth: Fill a pot with the cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, the ginger, the fish flakes, and the ribs or chicken or mushrooms and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, occasionally skimming the fat off the top if using meat.

Mix in the brown sugar, sake or mirin, rice vinegar, and the remainder of the soy sauce.

For the noodles: Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the soba to the desired doneness–about 5 minutes. Drain.

To serve: Evenly distribute the soba in four bowls. Pour the broth over the noodles, and then garnish with the nori, scallions, sesame seeds, daikon, ginger, and meat or mushrooms. Allow each diner to add their own wasabi as desired.

Olga’s Vegetable Soup

I want to share this recipe for Olga’s vegetable soup–I’ve been making it for a few months now and it’s a truly great dish. Not only that, but it’s super good for you, packed with leafy greens and other veggies. Don’t fear all the olive oil–it’s part of what makes this soup so hearty and satisfying, and it will help lower your cholesterol!

Foods That Increase Cravings

Ever notice that when you eat ice cream, you want more and more and more? Or if you have pasta mid-day, later on all you want is a chocolate bar when your energy dips? I’ve certainly experienced both of these feelings.

It turns out there is a list of “trigger” foods that tend to cause cravings. Among them are juice and bread. Take a look.

How To Fix Obama’s Health Plan Before It’s Too Late

Dr. Mark Hyman, who’s on the forefront of changing the way medicine is practiced in this country, has posted a 9-point plan for fixing our health-care system on his site. It’s spot-on, emphasizing the need for preventative care and a change in the mindset that our every ill should be solved by taking a drug or going in for surgery. I highly recommend reading it.

Dirty Birds

“Poultry was the most commonly identified source of food poisoning in the United States in 2006, followed by leafy vegetables and fruits and nuts, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

This story, from The New York Times, underlines why 1) We need better government regulation of our food supply and 2) We should not eat factory-farmed chicken.

Thankfully, the Obama administration is actually paying attention to food-safety issues. As far as chicken goes, it’s really no wonder that the commercial chicken is infected. The birds are literally stuffed into small cages, living their lives on top of each other, their beaks cut off so they won’t injure each other, their feathers falling out. The chicken that costs 98 cents a pound in the supermarket comes from sick animals. And no surprise, sick animals can make humans sick.

Vote with your pocketbook to stop this practice. If you spend a little more for organic/free-ranging chicken, you’ll be getting a healthier, more humanely treated chicken that tastes better and is better for you. If enough Americans make the switch to organic chicken, it sends a message to companies like Perdue and Tyson that we’re no longer interested in consuming dirty birds.

Eggs: Safe or Scary?
June 11, 2009, 10:31 am
Filed under: Eggs, Food/Health Blogs | Tags: , , ,

Eggs are very high in cholesterol, there’s no question about that. But does that automatically mean they’re bad for you? And what about the salmonella issue? Read my latest column on AOL’s ParentDish to find out whether you should be dropping eggs in your frying pan — or the garbage can.

Deepak Chopra Defends Oprah

While I recently expressed concern on my blog about Oprah recommending that her viewers go get themselves some free KFC grilled chicken, which is marinated in trans-fats and MSG, in general I do believe that Oprah’s heart is in the right place when it comes to health and wellness.

Deepak Chopra writes a nice defense of Ms. Winfrey in the Huffington Post this week, which is worth checking out because he goes into some depth about what’s wrong with our health-care system and the critical role that nutrition plays in preventing illness. I believe so strongly in what he’s saying, and will, as I often do, point to this fact, which I think sums up our problem: studies have shown that following a Mediterranean-style diet reduces cholesterol levels much more effectively than statin drugs (Lipitor and the like), and yet doctors continue to prescribe these drugs rampantly. This is something that has got to change.