Food Is Not Your Enemy

My Dark Fast-Food Secret
September 27, 2013, 11:08 am
Filed under: Healthy Lifestyle, Meat, Restaurants, weight loss | Tags: ,

As a holistic nutrition counselor, my job is to help people eat better and live healthier lives. Which is probably why at some point one of my kids said to me, “What if your clients found out you were eating McDonald’s right now?”

I shrugged and said that I wouldn’t try to hide it–in fact, I would happily confess that I indulged in this meal. Here’s why.

Does McDonald’s, like virtually any fast-food chain, serve low-quality, genetically modified, factory-farmed food that is overloaded with fat, salt, and sugar? Yes. Do I advise my clients to avoid such food? Yes. And I generally avoid this food also.

But two or three times a year, I do eat it. I have to admit that while I do know that the food is disgusting, I enjoy the taste of it. You can’t beat those fries! And whenever I’m done with my Quarter Pounder with Cheese, I always wish there were just a few more bites left.

I don’t feel guilty about these meals, because I know that these two or three McDonald’s runs are not going to undo the healthy eating I do the rest of the time.

It is very important to strike a good balance with your eating–once-a-week fast food WILL lead to weight gain. But if you try to be too “perfect” or “pure” with your food choices, you can drive yourself nuts. This kind of stringency can also lead to binge-eating or secretive eating, where you end up shoveling Oreos into your mouth at 2 a.m. while everyone else in your house is asleep and unable to witness what you’re doing.

So cut yourself some slack. When it comes to your food choices, aim high, but don’t feel bad about missing the mark sometimes.

Butternut Squash Soup With Parmesan and Sage
September 23, 2013, 11:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Here’s a recipe for a yummy butternut squash soup…

Serves 6.

1 medium butternut squash

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock, or water

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1/2-3/4 cup whole milk

12 whole fresh sage leaves

6 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Halve the squash and scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy pulp. Use a large knife to cut away and discard the tough skin. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch chunks. There should be about 6 cups. Set aside.

Heat the butter in a medium pot or soup kettle. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the squash and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes more. 

Add the stock or water, salt, and white pepper to taste. You can also throw in a parmesan cheese rind for extra richness. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the cheese rind if you used one and discard it.

Transfer the squash mixture to a blender. Add 1/2 cup milk and puree, working in batches. (You can also use an immersion blender directly in the pot.) 

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with 2 whole sage leaves. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese over each bowl and serve.


(Recipe courtesy of “The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook” by Jack Bishop)

Powerful Plant Protein
September 4, 2013, 9:07 am
Filed under: Beans, weight loss | Tags: , , ,

I was determined to know beans.” – Henry David Thoreau, The Bean-Field

How well do you know beans?

Creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos, and so many more–beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around.

Consider this: Beans are packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are low in calories. Plus, studies have found them to lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. And if you’re constipated? You can’t do much better than eating beans to solve this all-too-common problem.

What to Do With Beans

Many people avoid beans because they just don’t know what to do with them. Are you one of them? Here are some tips:

  • Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, and red peppers) with vinaigrette for a bean salad.
  • Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
  • Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favorite bean.
  • Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.
  • Add beans to eggs. Top with avocado and salsa!
  • Add 1/4 cup pureed beans to your favorite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans.