Food Is Not Your Enemy

Kale Chips
October 27, 2009, 9:32 am
Filed under: Recipes, Vegetables | Tags: , ,

This is a fun recipe to make, and if you have kids, they’ll enjoy getting their hands in the bowl of oil and rubbing the leaves.

1-2 bunches of kale

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove kale from stalk, leaving the greens in large pieces. Place a little olive oil in a bowl, dip your fingers and rub a very light coat of oil over the kale. Put kale on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until it starts to turn a bit brown. Keep an eye on it as it can burn quickly. Turn the kale over and bake with the other side up. Remove and serve. For added flavor, sprinkle with a little salt or spice, such as curry or cumin, after rubbing on the olive oil.

(Recipe courtesy of “Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health & Happiness” by Joshua Rosenthal)

Lose Weight By Eating Cookies
October 22, 2009, 9:52 am
Filed under: Sweets, weight loss | Tags: , , ,

This kind of thing drives me nuts. Behold, the “Cookie Diet”:

“Ms. Kane is one of an estimated 500,000 people who have lost weight on Dr. Sanford Siegal’s diet — at least according to Dr. Siegal. The gist of it is simple: Eat cookies and lose up to 10 pounds a month.

Or, in blunter terms: Consume a substance whose ingredients and nutritional value are somewhat vague and drop weight, because how can you not when you’re only consuming 800 to 1,000 calories a day?”

Yes, you will lose weight eating any kind of food at all if you’re restricted to 800-1,000 calories a day. Eat sticks of butter all day. Eat nothing but mayonnaise. You WILL lose weight on that amount of calories.

Of course, everyone gains the weight right back as soon as they get off the diet. Why? Because they’re starving–both for real food, and nutrients from real food. The Cookie Diet is an unsustainable way of eating, and only a quick fix that will ultimately fail you.

To learn more about my approach to lasting weight loss and to sign up for a free consultation, visit my Web site.

Strengthen Your Bones for $5
October 22, 2009, 9:09 am
Filed under: Chronic Disease | Tags: , ,

Worried about osteoporosis? Then go get yourself a pair of thin-soled walking shoes. Walking in shoes that don’t have lots of cushioning allows for a firm heelstrike on the ground, which helps strengthen your bones. Me? I like the $5 cloth Maryjane-style shoes from New York’s Chinatown for this purpose (men can get the more masculine version, which Bruce Lee wore in “Enter the Dragon”).

Click here to find out how to take part in “Prevention not Prescriptions.”

Salt: Safe or Scary?

The latest nutritional bogeyman is partially hydrogenated oil, also called trans-fat. Hello, increased risk of heart disease!

But what about salt, that evildoer of yesteryear that seems to have disappeared from our list of worries? Have we been lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to the white stuff? Or is salt — whether regular, iodized or sea salt — actually a perfectly safe flavor-enhancer? Read my latest column on AOL’s ParentDish to find out.

Vegetable Gratin-Souffle

Souffles, despite their reputation, aren’t actually hard to make. Try this one.

Butter for the dish

3 cups vegetables (you can use anything; I use broccoli, carrots, potatoes)

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk

1/2 small onion or 2 large shallots, finely diced

1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese

2 eggs, separated

Salt to taste

Pinch grated nutmeg

Lightly butter an 8×10 inch gratin dish. Steam or parboil the veggies until barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain, rinse under cold water, then finely chop them.

Lightly brown the bread crumbs in 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the milk. When it’s hot to the touch, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, cook the onion in the remaining butter in a small skillet over medium heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Combine the onion, vegetables, and bread crumb mixture in a bowl, then stir in the cheese and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper to taste and the nutmeg. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the mixture. Pour into the prepared dish.

Bake at 375 degrees until puffed and browned, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

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

Go Ahead and Roast Yourself a Chicken
October 9, 2009, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Meat, Recipes | Tags: ,

There’s pretty much nothing easier to make for dinner than a roast chicken. Rinse it. Put in in a roasting pan. Brush it with a mixture of melted butter, a few tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of any dried herb you like. Put it in a 375 degree oven for about 2 hours. Done.

If you don’t have time when you get home from work to wait the 2 hours, then cook the chicken the night before, during your TV-watching time after dinner. You can then simply reheat it or enjoy it cold the next night.

When wholesome, home-cooked food is this easy to prepare, there’s no reason to constantly rely on takeout, now, is there? Plus, you’ll save a ton of money over the long run. And a ton of calories.

Natural Sweeteners: Safe or Scary?

What is going on with sugar? We’re suddenly being inundated with ads for soft drinks and other products touting that they use “real sugar!” Is sugar not so bad then, at least when compared to the near-ubiquitous food additive high-fructose corn syrup? And what about honey, pure maple syrup, and agave nectar — are these natural sweeteners (“natural” because they all contain some form of real sugar) a healthier option for you and your kids? Read my latest column on AOL’s ParentDish to find out.

Calorie Postings Don’t Change Habits, Study Finds

You know those calorie postings in fast food and chain restaurants in New York? A new study, reported in today’s New York Times, has shown that they don’t work so well. In fact, the people studied– residents in poor NYC neighborhoods with high rates of obesity–have consumed more calories since the calorie info went up.

What to make of this? The takeaway is that cheap food trumps nutrition.

“‘Nutrition is not the top concern of low-income people, who are probably the least amenable to calorie labeling,’ said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit health advocacy group in Washington.”

This is no reason, of course, to dump this program. More information, rather than less, is a good thing. The problem is that the cheapest foods are also some of the unhealthiest. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone in the Bronx could walk into a restaurant and order a shrimp, vegetable, and soba noodle stir fry off the dollar menu?

The Bad Economy May Be Good for Your Health
October 2, 2009, 11:05 am
Filed under: Chronic Disease, Food/Health Blogs | Tags: , , , ,

While totally counterintuitive, some new studies have shown that life expectancy has historically increased during economic recessions and depressions.

Smoking and drinking tend to drop during recessions, and people eat out less often (so, you know, fewer cheese fries and 32 oz. steaks dunked in butter). But people also see a health benefit from coming together with the community around them for support. You can read the whole thing here.