Saturday, October 18, 2008

babies, healthy conception and fish

I've been doing some research lately into the fertility diet. What foods can help you conceive and what foods are going to maybe cause you some trouble. I found some research regarding fish. So, for years doctors have warned that pregnant women should avoid sushi for fear that contaminants in raw fish might harm the baby (not to mention the mother). Being a huge consumer of sushi myself, I am more wary of quality of fish and avoid sushi that doesn't come from a reputable place. In general I would avoid Sushi on a Sunday or Monday when there might not be fresh deliveries. Certainly on a Sunday night.

Raw fish aside, I have also been doing some research on mercury. It appears the most frequently consumed fish is tuna. White albacore tuna in the can. Good stuff, right. Not raw, safe for pregnant women and those wanting to become pregnant? Not so, tuna fish as well as shark, grouper, tilefish, white snapper all have high levels of mercury.

Fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, and canned mackerel, for instance -- that contain
low levels of mercury and are high in healthy fats. These should be part of a healthy diet for all people including pregnant women and those trying to get pregnant.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

amazing recipe on NYT health page

I saw this great recipe on the New York Times health page. I think it was published on Friday. It looks amazing and I am going to try it out really soon. I might make it slightly healthier by substituting sweet potatoes for the white potatoes or using brown rice, quinoa or another healthier lower glycemic grain. If the bouquet garni is too difficult, just chop up some fresh herbs (whatever looks nice at the market - tarragon, thyme etc. and throw in a bit of lemon juice, freshly ground pepper and salt) and you are good to go.

October 10, 2008
Recipes for Health
Red Chard, Potato and White Bean Ragout

This comforting stew makes a hearty meal when served with a salad and crusty bread.

1 cup dried white beans, soaked for 6 hours or overnight in 1 quart water

A bouquet garni made with 1 bay leaf, a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, and a Parmesan rind, tied together with kitchen string


1 generous bunch red chard (3/4 to 1 pound)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), sliced

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

1. Drain the beans and combine with 1 quart of fresh water in a casserole or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer. Skim off any foam, then add the bouquet garni. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Add 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Meanwhile, stem and clean the red chard leaves in 2 changes of water. Rinse the stems and dice. Set aside. Cut the leaves in ribbons, or coarsely chop, and set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the onion and chard stems. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes and stir together, then transfer to the pot with the beans. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and beans are tender. Salt to taste.

4. Add the chard and thyme leaves to the pot, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The chard should be very tender. Stir in freshly ground pepper to taste and the parsley. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve, passing the Parmesan to sprinkle on the top.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Advance preparation: The dish will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. If you are making it ahead, make it through Step 3 and proceed with Step 4 shortly before serving, so that the color of the chard doesn’t fade too much.

Immunity, bee pollen, green tea and buckwheat honey

So, in my arrogance of thinking I could do a half marathon without training (at all, the last run I did a week ago was 1.7 miles) I wore my body out and am now suffering the dreaded change of season headcold. I'm stuffy, I want to sleep most of the time, my head is all congested, I sound funny (which is wonderful since 90% of my job requires talking on the phone!) and my throat hurts. Not too mention the body aches and some really weird breath things going on. I tried using my tongue scraper, a tool from ayurvedic medicine to cleanse the body and the tongue for many different health reasons, for the first time in a long time today because I had this strange film on my tongue I had not seen before. The wonders of the human body.

So what is my defense: bee pollen - this stuff is amazing. Its superfood - energy producing, immune strengthening, chock full of amino acids and tastes pretty damn good. green tea (decaf) anti oxidants, chock full of vitamin C (matcha kind that you eat!) and other general goodness that has been keeping the Japanese healthy and youthful looking for centuries and my all time favorite warder off of winter colds: buckwheat honey! This stuff is awesome. It has antibiotic properties and because of its dark unfiltered form it is chock full of other nutrients. Did you know that the darker the honey the more nutritious it is. For all you beer drinkers out there - the same applies. I heard that Guinness does wonders for anemia. It probably isn't the best choice given the condition I am in now, but how many strong Irishmen do you know suffering from colds?

My thoughts for today. I also had my favorite breakfast of steelcut oats with 8 other gluten free grains and flax seeds. I think my head is starting to clear.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

cooking classes, cashew cream and urban organics

My cooking class on Friday night was fabulous. I found a wonderful new space and am looking forward to more classes. The next class is on November 11th at 7pm and will be a thanksgiving themed class. With everything going on in the economy, the price of organic vegetables has gone up, substantially. Although I hear the squash in Inwood is half the price of the squash in Union Square...not sure if its organic though - but might be worth a trip to Inwood. Not sure if I can carry the squash home on my bike. Squash is heavy...and the cab to Inwood would probably be the same price as the squash at Union Square.

I found this really interesting recipe for cashew cream. I made some authentic whipped cream from grass fed cows this is pasteurized but not homogonized. Oh my God what a difference. Fabulous. You get one teaspoon. Just to enjoy a little sweetness and a little cream. I have a tub of it in my refrigerator now, not sure what to do with it.

Here is the recipe. I don't know what the nutritional value/calorie count is on this - but I imagine its very high. Its going to be high in fat too, but not saturated or trans fats. So go ahead and indulge...a little in celebration. Remember however, celebrations are not meant for every day.

Cashew Whipped Cream
from Deanne - Alaska, USA
The American Vegetarian Cookbook
from the Fit for Life Kitchen
by Marilyn Diamond

This is VERY yummy, but best saved only for Thanksgiving because it's so rich.
I sometimes put it in the freezer for a short while before serving.
Recipe By : The American Vegetarian Cookbook
Serving Size: 2

* 1 cup raw cashew pieces
* 1 cup water
* 1 cup sunflower oil, approximately
* 4 tablespoons maple syrup
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
* pinch salt

Blend cashews and water to form a thick cream.
Slowly add the oil in a fine stream until cream thickens.
Blend in maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.
Chill and serve.
Cream will thicken substantially when chilled.

I found out about this great service called "Urban Organics" I saw their truck not too far from my place the other day. They are sort of like a mix between a CSA and Fresh Direct. You need to sign on for a subscription and you commit to a weekly delivery of fruits and vegetables (different from a CSA which is usually only veggies with optional fruit) and you can also order cheese, milk and other organic groceries. There is a one person pack that starts at $24 a week which isn't too bad. I haven't tried it yet because I am doing a CSA until December - but maybe in December I will try it out. Beats dragging stuff from union square...and unlike my CSA you can request 4 items you absolutely can't stand like tomatoes or turnips or whatever it is you don't like. Give it a try and let me know how it is.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Amazing New York Restaurants

The fabulous thing I love about living in New York is the restaurants. Even as a natural foods enthusiast, there are so many great choices. I just found out about two interesting new places.

The first place is a gluten free restaurant. That's right, everything is gluten free. How amazing is that. Here is the info about it:

Opus, 1574 Second Avenue, between 81st and 82nd Streets (212-772-2220). I found out about it through an email from Daily Candy. Apparently everything is gluten free and its an Italian themed eatery with all kinds of corn and lentil pasta and their derivatives. Pretty amazing stuff.

This morning I was buying wine for Yom Kippur dinner tonight and I saw a menu for a new organic/natural foods restaurant 2 blocks from my apartment. Its called Cafe and its on 108th and Columbus. I am going to have to go try it because they have a $20 price fixe between 6-8. That looks amazing and I am excited. I will report back in a few days after I eat dinner there!

I am still in love with a new restaurant called Community on 113th and Broadway. They are all organic/natural as well and they have amazing meat, the use dark leafy greens in all their side dishes and they have a bowl of beets as an appetizer. It was amazing by the way!

I am looking to try a restaurant in the West Village called Cookshop in the next few months and I still haven't tried that raw restaurant on Irving Place called Pure Food and Wine. Somehow now that its winter, I can't quite stomach raw food - but I do want to try it one day. Happy eating!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

bee pollen, honey and propolis for winter immunity

I love bee pollen. It has all the essential amino acids, its sweet but not overpowering and won't adversely affect blood sugar if you are a diabetic. Certain unprocessed/raw honeys from your local farmers markets are also great for building immunity, fighting off winter colds and allergies. Propolis is also great as an antiviral and works wonderfully for cold sores. Here is a great link to learn more about bee products:

I usually add bee pollen to fruit smoothies in the summer and when I am feeling the need for something cold. Now that fall and winter are ensuing I tend to like warmer foods especially in the mornings. I now put bee pollen in my oatmeal or sometimes in my yogurt (I only eat 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt at a time - usually with fruit). I'd stir it into a soup as well to get some extra protein power in an otherwise protein lacking meal.

Two other favorite amino acid sources of mine are hemp seeds and spirulina. I add them both to soups, stir fries or grains. Spirulina often has a strong taste, odor and color. Its chock full of nutrients - but will turn your otherwise white food green/blue. Its sort of funky, but its worth it for the antioxidants, pure absorbable amino acids and incredible amounts of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes for all of you athletes and marathoners out there. In preparation for my fall races I am being sure to increase my amino acids, electrolytes and antioxidants to replace what I have lost exercising and to push me on to a faster mile in these increasingly cold temperatures. With the right layering however I much prefer running in the cold than in the hot and sticky and I'm getting faster every day. Hope you are too!
Enjoy the power buzz of bee pollen and other bee products!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

great fall recipes and fall cooking class

As I am working out the recipes for my cooking class on October 10th taking place at Kitchen NYC on 51st Street in nyc. I found some great recipes online. Here are some of the recipes I am doctoring up for class:

If you are interested in participating in the class, here is the link:

There will be another one on November 11 and I am still working on the location. That class will focus on healthy holidays and several takes on traditional holiday fare and trying to lighten them up a bit. Turkey is great, but some of the trimmings tend to pack on the extra pounds as well as the sheer amount of eating we do. Does anyone wonder why we eat so much at Thanksgiving? It could be because the food is in front of us, but it could also be the kinds of foods: sweet potato pie, stuffing (there are often more than one), mashed potatoes to name a few high carb, high calorie sides, plus the desserts. I'm looking into a few recipes for these foods or alternatives to these foods that are still fun and tasty but pack in a few less calories. I'll also do some demonstrations of proper portions.

Using traditional foods like pastured turkeys, fresh vegetables and sweet potatoes with grass fed raw butter is also a good start for enjoyable palatable food that won't send you running for seconds.

October Market Finds - Flying Pigs Farm - chicken?

This Friday I visited the Flying Pig Farms booth at the Union Square Greenmarket. I was originally in search of beef bones to make a bone broth after taking a class where I learned bone broths are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and the other components necessary to keep and build strong healthy bones. I didn't find any on Friday because my favorite meat guy wasn't there, but I did find a chicken. A whole roasting chicken. I'm a single girl who doesn't like leftovers. I have never liked chicken. But I thought I would give this a try.

Its a pig farm...what do they know about chicken? I wondered this as I contemplated whether I should buy the chicken or not. But I read some information on pastured chickens and wondered if this would be good. Maybe it would get me to love chicken. I have been having pastured fertile eggs. A few weeks back I bought eggs at the market from Flying Pigs Farm and they were phenomenal. So I tried the chicken. It cost $10 too, which seemed like a lot for a chicken.

I got home and realized I didn't have much in the way of here's what I had and the recipe I used:

1-2 tsp of real farm fresh butter (I used Kates, but I usually use raw grass fed butter)
3-4 basil leaves torn up and mixed with the butter to make a paste
1-2 tsp of celtic sea salt (mixed with basil and butter)
2-3 cloves of garlic - smashed - and mixed with butter
1 lemon (half squeezed into butter)
1/4 cup of orange champagne vinegar (could use any herb or balsalmic vinegar or white wine vinegar)

Preheat over to 350. Prepare roasting pan with rack. Rub garlic/basil butter on chicken and make sure to get inside under skin of breast. Rub chicken with lemon and squeeze rest on top. Pour vinegar on top.

Roast chicken (I didn't turn) breast side up on rack. If any juice/fat comes to bottom - baste (I didn't get enough). Cook 1 hour at 350. After 1 hour check thighs to see if juices run clear and meat looks white.

This was the best chicken I ever tasted and I don't particularly like chicken...or perhaps I just don't like perdue chicken. I have been craving sweets all week and for the past few weeks that I have been eating vegetarian. While I still do vegetarian meals at least 3 times a week I am beginning to see how high quality, pastured chicken and beef is a wonderful addition to my diet and helpful in controlling my sweet cravings.

The other night I also had heritage pork ribs and butt at Community Food and Juice Bar on Broadway and 113th. I highly recommend this place, its one of my "community" favorites - since it is right in my community. I still haven't tried the new market on 110th and morningside park - but I'll try to get over there before November. Doing a great deal of teaching over the next few weekends, so going to make any saturday shopping hard - but I'll give it a try or send a spy soon. Anyone who goes or who has visited, feel free to post your reviews!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

new farmers markets, sugar overload and honey for sports

So, I had an idea to try to create a sports nutrition product using honey. It appears there are two products already on the market that do this. I am wondering if anyone has had any experience with these two products. The first one I found is called liquid gold made by glory bee products: . There are a lot of products there - but just do a search for liquid gold. I can't bring the link up directly. The second one I found is called Honey Stinger. I am going to order both of these products and try them out. I am a huge fan of bee pollen as a source of energy. I don't know that either of these products actually use the pollen or not.

There is a new farmers market I just found out about at 110th and Manhattan Avenue on Saturdays. Apparently they sell meat there which if its 100% grass fed and pastured is very exciting as this kind of beef is very hard to get in this neighborhood and I have to trek down to union square or spend way more than I want to at whole foods in columbus circle. I am doing a short race on Saturday morning in central park, so maybe I can stop by afterwards and see exactly what kind of meat they have at this market. I don't know if this is an official new york city greenmarket or if it is sponsored by another organization, but either way, I am curious and I am going to check it out.

I find myself craving sugar with this weather confusion. I must be protein deficient. So far the lentils I had this evening are just not cutting it. I'm looking to get myself some protein this weekend in the form of grass fed beef. I am also going to look for some good fish on the upper west side. So far, outside of whole foods (they do have good fish) and gramercy fish market I've not found great fish in this neighborhood. The fish at garden of eden is passable but not great (their shellfish is ok - but the scallops I got last week just didn't taste 100% right) and there's a place Joon I've heard could be good - but I haven't tried it yet. While I love the produce and cheese (yes I am casein addicted - even though my digestive system wish I weren't!) at West Side Market - I haven't had their fish in more than five years. Sadly, I miss Agatha and Valenta of the Upper East Side where despite incredibly high prices - they had incredible coho and sockeye salmon, which apparently can't be anything but wild, it won't grow on a farm. A few months ago I ordered some Alaskan Salmon from the Amish farmer in PA who delivers raw milk products to the Natural Gourmet. I was a bit confused how an Amish farmer in PA got Alaskan Salmon - but boy was that fantastic. I guess I have to trek down to the Natural Gourmet and place another order.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

vegetable oil

So, I just found out a friend of mine had her boyfriend do something to her car so that it runs completely on vegetable oil. It made me think, wow, that's genius! What a solution to our energy problems and Sarah Palin's suggestions that we "drill now". I also imagine economically for my friend its amazing given our current gas price crisis and that its also wonderful for her carbon footprint. However, it also made me think a lot more about our consumption of vegetable oil as a food product.

In my cooking, I try to use exclusively coconut oil and olive oil (usually expensive cold pressed extra virgin olive oil). However, in my research, I've found that the omega 3 fatty acids in olive oil become deactivated upon heating. Coconut oil (and butter) both stand up well to heat - but then what about the saturated fat. I figure since it takes me maybe 3-4 months to go through a jar of coconut oil (which is much smaller than your standard bottle of olive oil - which it takes me nearly a year to use) I think I am not using enough to pose any major challenge to my own health. However, I'm probably fairly unique. What is your oil consumption like? Think about it. I saute green vegetables and I make stir fries - probably 3 times a week at least. Each stir fry lasts me 2-3 meals. I use one tablespoon (sometimes less) of oil at a time.

I'm starting to braise my vegetables in vegetable or chicken broth or roast them in the oven as an alternative to sauteing/frying. I still see this as a good practice and moderate use of coconut oil. I'm trying to use olive oil for salads, for adding to soups and for flavoring as opposed to cooking since I want to retain the benefits of the omega 3's but I also want to be able to better absorb the vitamin K and other fat soluble nutrients in my salad greens. I used to oven roast fish and vegetables in parchment paper with just a tiny bit of olive oil, lemon and herbs. Now I am wondering if I should just skip the oil and put a tiny bit of butter or skip the fat altogether. Truthfully if I use lemon, a bit of wine, and a good fresh fish or seafood - the flavor and the natural fat from the fish is all the flavor I need, especially if I am using farm fresh vegetables which have such wonderful flavors all on their own.

I made broccoli rabe tonight in coconut oil. The great thing is it takes less than a minute for the broccoli rabe to cook - I wonder if I degraded the olive oil in that one minute or if any kind of heating destroys those omega 3s.

However, let me get back to the original theme of this post. "Vegetable" oil can run a car. A car! That's pretty also make me want to think twice about consuming some vegetable oils. If they are powerful enough to make a combustion engine run, do I want them in my body? Vegetable oils other than olive, peanut, safflower and sunflower oils are extremely high in omega 6 fatty acids. In general moderation of all kinds of fat, and all kinds of food for that matter, except dark leafy green vegetables seems to make sense. Heating oils also seems problematic. The oils degrade, the nutrients become inactive and the carcinogens seem to become activated. The more I read about heating any kind of unsaturated oil the less I want to eat them and the more I want my precious coconut oil or dare I say, butter!

According to, "Unsaturated oils, especially polyunsaturates, weaken the immune system's function in ways that are similar to the damage caused by radiation, hormone imbalance, cancer, aging, or viral infections." Do I really want such oils in my system. The unsaturated oils are prone to oxidation, especially when they are refined, which almost all are. These oils are already rancid by the time they even reach us and then we cook with them. Corn and soybean oil also tend to be highly highly genetically modified. Not to mention that commerically raised pigs are fed large amounts of corn and soybeans as well as their oils to fatten the pigs, rendering their fat nearly the same composition chemically as these oils. hence consumption of factory farmed pork and pork products give us the same hazardous effects of consuming the oils themselves. Grapeseed or canola oil as it is commonly called, although it is a monounsaturated oil, is almost always refined...and its in just about every food Whole Foods sells which makes me second guess the health factor of this multi-billion dollar conglomerate but also the foremost authority on health food.

I stick to coconut oil in my kitchen. In the nearly 2 years since I have been using it - I think I have been through 3 jars. 3 jars in 3 separate apartments, 1 jar per apartment. I just purchased a new bottle too and I'm excited about this one. I make sure to always buy coconut oil in a glass bottle so the oil does not react with the plastic in which its encased. I'm trying to cut back on my consumption of any food containing a polyunsaturated oil that has been heated. This includes nearly every fried food, most "vegan" cookies, and other products not made in my own kitchen. Is this practical? Its hard when traveling. But I can also stick to fruits and vegetables when I am out. Egg salad sandwiches on whole grain bread or salads. It might be boring, but I know its safe. I never feel bored with food. I always seek out fresh fruits, vegetables and fish wherever I go. I am looking for office space with a kitchen so I can prepare my own food at work as well. I don't spend a lot of time cooking, but I make sure that my consumption of polyunsaturates is minimal and I roast, bake or braise many foods. I'm trying to do more raw foods. I make a lot of salads. I poach chicken, eggs or fish when I can and make them into cold salads. I stay away from factory farmed eggs, especially the "organic" ones that say they contain more omega 3s. I encourage you to do this as well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

cycling, gym ratting and cooling down with veggie protein

So, in the past two weeks in addition to organizing 3 cooking classes and putting together a series of workshops for the fall, I have pedaled 60+ miles of two organized bike rides. Not too shabby. There's something about not being able to do the whole hundred that has been plaguing me as this is not the first time I have done these rides. Actually I have done both of them three times. The first few times I did 75 miles and I did the whole hundred last year, twice! Yes, its impressive, but I've come to learn that biking is a solo sport. I have friends that blow me out of the water with their biking prowess and others who bike like my grandmother (and some of them are guys!). Tune in here to a document of the North Fork Century from August 24th on this great video:

In addition, I am in boot camp at Asphalt Green meeting each of their trainers 1:1 to learn their unique style. It is wonderful and painful at the same time. I feel like a gym rat working out with a trainer nearly every day. I have to say its been very humbling. I thought I was in excellent shape. I did a triathlon, my resting heart rate is about 60, what has happened to me? I'm working out nearly every day and biking across town (because the only way to efficiently get around the city is by bike!) and preparing for these rides, not to mention running on occasion. I have to get back into running as I have some races coming up in the next few weeks. I think not getting into the marathon lottery and having lost my ability to do the marathon despite completing my 9 races last year due to an economic technicality has taken its toll on me. The thought of doing 8 races in three months is a bit daunting and time consuming (not to mention highly expensive) but I am determined!

Now for the food. I had an unfortunate experience with a new beef guy from the union square greenmarket, who sold me spoiled meat. Its not his fault, these temperatures are ridiculous for the end of summer/beginning of fall and I had a long way to ride on my bike and I have learned to never ever buy frozen hamburgers not in a see through package again - I was really worried about those when I saw them - but my mom really wanted them and I felt pressured to get them. I don't know if the taste or smell of inedible grass fed beef has turned me off to meat altogether - but I am taking a bit of a vegetarian month off. I am experimenting with spirulina, nutritional yeast and hemp seeds as my main forms of protein. Nutritional yeast has all the B vitamins, even the mighty B12 thought only to be in animal products. Dairy, egg and meat industry beware, nutritional yeast may blow your marketing cover! I've also been taking these new drinkable vitamins called Ola Loa. I'm not a big fan of nutritional supplements but I must say that ever since I have been taking these, probably combined with my newfound veggie protein and ever love of green vegetables, I have incredible energy and happiness. Granted things are going particularly well in my life and my business, so that might be helping, but I still think its linked to what I am putting in my mouth.

I found a great set of recovery items for workouts. I am giving a lecture at the JCC of Manhattan on September 21st at 2pm on Sports Nutrition, so I have been thinking about my own recovery techniques and those endless varieties of packaged recovery suggestions on the market. I have been using unsweetened goat yogurt, kefir, bee pollen and a bit of buckwheat honey with some hemp seeds added for protein. I have also used my tried and true smoothies with acai, berries, hemp seeds, almond milk and either greens powder, spirulina, bee pollen or some combination thereof. If I have greens on hand, I will throw them in with maybe a ripe peach sliced up if I have one around. I find that nothing helps me recover better and gives me more energy than a smoothie with these ingredients. I have also been taking to having small amounts of raw honey while working out. I found small packages of raw honey that work the same as hammer gel or these other gels on the market and a) taste better and b) are more nutritious and natural that hammer gel, gu or clif shots. I'm a little afraid of some of those ingredients.

I'm going to go enjoy my early lunch now of greens, brown rice, nutritional yeast and hemp seeds with a few flax seeds and sesame seeds added for good measure. A few tablespoons of different seeds are a great addition to any grain or vegetable dish for added protein, omega 3 essential fats and good vitamins and minerals (selenium!). Look for ground varieties if you suffer from digestive issues or soak your seeds prior to adding them to your favorite dishes or smoothies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

farmers market and CSA foraging - this week's finds!

So I have been loving working with NYC greenmarkets. Its so much fun to just walk the market, see what's fresh and make up a recipe. Sometimes this can be frustrating for people who I meet at the market who want recipes right then and there. This is artist's work I tell them. The recipe didn't exist before the morning. I'm happy to take their name and email and add them to my mailing list. Each of my monthly newsletter feature one of the recipes I have created from a day of cooking at the greenmarket.

Lately I have been enthralled by two things at the market: eggplant and garlic. Its funny, eggplant just seems so ordinary. It has been around forever and its a staple of Italian, Japanese and Eastern European cuisines (especially in Jewish households hailing from Brooklyn like my Grandmother and Aunt who would put eggplant in everything). The funny thing though is I thought I didn't particularly like eggplant. At least I never liked the eggplant I had in Italian restaurants or that my Aunt prepared, and the eggplant I had in Japan was ok, but this past week I got two deliveries of eggplant with my CSA and I made stir fries and a version of ratatouille with them and boy were they delicious! I made the ratatouille with delicata squash, the eggplant and a peach that was just a bit too ripe to eat raw. Wonderful! I'll post the recipe as soon as I write it up and the first picture I've posted with this blog is the finished product.

As for the garlic. I've never seen garlic in its natural state before with stalks called scapes that are perfectly edible and taste like a scallion. They are wonderful too. I've used the scapes in stir fries and soups. I've not seen the scapes around lately and I am guessing they are now out of season. I see most garlic with hard brown stalks which I'm not adding to anything I am cooking! But the garlic at the markets lately is still so wonderful and soft. It smashes immediately into a wonderful oily pulpy almost syrupy mash and its just great to work with. I made some marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes using the garlic and it just was divine. Marinara sauce is probably the world's easiest food to make. Just tomatoes, garlic, oil and a bit of garlic. Boil, wait. mmmmm. I served quinoa pasta with it, which was also delicious and gluten free.

Salivating? Excited? You should be, I am! I advise you get out there to the market and buy some eggplant and fresh garlic. Cut both up (smash the garlic with a chef's knife) and roast it with a little olive oil and salt at 400 degrees for 30 min or wait just a bit until I post the recipe to see how to invent something a little different with your eggplant.

I work alternating Saturdays on the greenmarket on 106th and Central Park West, I hope to see you there around 11am and you can watch me make some interesting recipes with whatever is fresh that day. Bring your writing pad to take notes on how to develop the recipes or sign up for my newsletter and I'll send them to you.

See you at the markets!

Friday, August 22, 2008

kettleballs, oh my!

So I am going to be doing some nutrition programs at Asphalt Green in the Fall. In addition to doing their Triathlon Club a few years back where I trained for my first triathlon, with the help of their wonderful supportive triathlon coaches, I've been lucky enough to try out a few of their personal trainers at their very glorious athletic facilities. Equinox watch out! While Asphalt Green might not have Equinox's luxury (or Juice bar - which I have to admit, is a big draw), it makes up for in trainers. On Wednesday, I tried out Ralph, who was amazing and although I had a light workout where I wasn't really sweating, I definitely felt it in my posterior a few days later and worked out some muscles which have not been addressed in years.
Today, I had the mother of all workouts - the kettlebell workout. A kettlebell looks like an old school make it at home bomb, like the kind out of Marvin the Martian looney toons cartoons. Its apparently a Russian weightlifting technique (leave it to the Russians to develop instruments of torture...I mean, exercise equipment!). My kettlebell instructor, who was fabulous by the way, had me sweating in about two minutes. I worked harder than I have worked for most half marathons, in about 20 minutes and I kept having to be reminded to breathe. Every time my trainer, DeJuana told me I had 30 seconds to go, I thought that those 30 seconds would never end. I mean, do you know how long 30 seconds can be when you are swinging a 7 pound dead weight through your thighs? It is a very long time. Apparently, I was working with the "lightest" weight. Granted I have lifted 90-110 pounds with my quads in my prime or more but this 7 pound weight was hell. Absolute hell.
Anyway, I write about this because all in all, it was a fabulous experience and I highly recommend it. DeJuana tells me he has clients in their 80's doing this workout with him...and I bet they could kick my butt. I am a seasoned runner and triathlete and the kettelbell kicked me in the behind but good. I actually think it will be an excellent complement to my running and biking. I loved DeJuana's style and coaching. He's going to be a great partner as I kick off the Asphalt Green nutrition program in the fall and I am really looking forward to working with him. I encourage anyone looking for a fun workout, where you are going to work hard but where its really different and interesting to try a kettleball workout. Its unlike anything I have ever tried. DeJuana also teaches boxing and it was quite evident he was a boxing teacher. Kettleball workouts have many elements of boxing in the way you train. And my arms are starting to develop quite a bit of tone, Rocky watch out!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Digestive Wellness Part I

Acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, or worse diarrhea, nobody's talking about it, but just about everyone is experiencing it. If one of these foods is high on your daily consumption list, read on: cookies, ice cream, taco bell, McDonalds hamburgers, tortilla chips, licorice, potato chips, hot dogs, sandwiches, yodell's, orange and other fruit juices, bagels and cream cheese, soft cheese (cream, brie, fresh mozzarella, and other non aged processed varieties) cottage cheese or pinkberry/frozen yogurt treats. So why would these foods cause digestive problems? Let's look at some of the major culprits of some of these foods.

White flour - in cookies, taco bell, hamburgers, hot dogs, tortilla chips (don't have flour - but basically do the same thing upon digestion), licorice, sandwiches, yodell's, bagels...white flour has no fiber. It takes no effort for the body to digest it and it causes our intestines to become lazy and in people who suffer from celiac disease - the gluten in white flour causes a whole host of malabsorption problems. The other wonderful thing that white flour causes in the body is an overgrowth of yeast or Candida. Candidaysis is one of the leading causes of absorptive and digestive related problems as well as in some people brain fog and ADHD symptoms. So what can you do - first thing: replace white flour with whole grains...not whole grain breads, but actual whole grains. If you suffer from Crohn's, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis or any other major digestive problem - stick to gluten free grains like quinoa, millet, wild rice, brown rice teff,or amaranth.

White Sugar - sugar does what white flour does in the body. Its an addictive substance. It leads to candida overgrowth. It makes our digestive tracts lazy and we stop producing as much stomach acid if we eat too much of it. Try to get sweetness from natural sweeteners such as agave nectar, honey, succanat or stevia. Stevia is the only sweetener that will truly prevent candida, but the other ones can lessen its severity and are better for diabetics. Artificial sweeteners make you hungry. If only diet coke actually made us thin...dairy also leads to candida overgrowth.

Fructose - some people with digestive problems are actually fructose intolerant. Fruit juice and high sugar fruits such as mangoes, pineapple, melon and bananas cause the intestines to spasm and cause gas/problems with elimination. If you are suffering these problems try low sugar fruits in small quantities such as berries, apples or pears. Enjoy them a fruit smoothie with hemp seeds to lower the overall glycemic index and make them easier on your digestion. Cooked fruits also are easier to digest - cooked apples, peaches and pears make a wonderful dessert and are an excellent addition to a green vegetable stir fry.

Dairy - the process of pasteurization has rendered cow's milk products indigestible. Besides the lactose that causes many people intolerance, pasteurized casein is virtually indigestible and nearly half as absorbable as raw casein. Sheep and goat milk are somewhat more easily digestible due to a lower concentration of lactose and protein that is more easily assimilateable. The problem with many goat milks is that they are ultra pasteurized which pose problems. Look for raw dairy or dairy from your farmers market that may have been pasteurized just enough to meet FDA standards - but aren't ultra pasteurized. Also milk from pregnant cows (most of factory farmed milk, even some organic brands) which might not contain artificial hormones still has many many natural hormones in it because the cows are kept pregnant in order to ensure a large amount of milk production throughout the year. This milk may pose dangers to women either trying to get pregnant, control symptoms of PMS and polycystic ovarian syndrome and also those who are prone to women's cancers (all women!) or those who already have had cancer or have precancerous growths.

What can I eat? Try an elimination diet where for two weeks you eat green vegetables, grains, fish and lean animal protein and avoid white flour, sugar, fruit juice, high sugar fruits such as banana, mango and pineapple, acid containing foods such as tomatoes and citrus, dairy products and caffiene.

After a week, slowly add in each of the foods you have been avoiding daily, one at a time and see which ones cause problems for you - you should be able to tell each day because you have cleansed your system. Sometimes a longer cleanse of two to four weeks is necessary.

Its best to avoid these problem foods for a little while or reduce but not eliminate from your diet, slowly you will realize which foods are causing the problems.

I encourage you to post questions and comments on this post and stay tuned for additional posts in this series.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dairy, does it do a body bad? Conflicting research on dairy...

I have been advising many of my female clients lately to avoid dairy products. I have come across a lot of research that speaks to dairy being the source of hormonal imbalances, ovarian cancer, breast tumors and many other female issues. So if you suffer from female issues, infertility, cysts in your breasts and ovaries its time to give up the milk, cheese and yogurt. I know its difficult. We all like cream in our coffee (I'll talk about caffeine in another post!) and creamy puddings and ice creams. Where would we be without tasti delite? Oh my? But here are some articles that point out the dangers of the white stuff for women at risk for cancer, cancer survivors or those experiencing exacerbated symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome:

and other articles that refute such claims:

I want to present both sides here. But I also want to point out that this latter article talks milk positively affecting health in terms of vitamin D levels, calcium intake and healthy bones. It does not mention women's cancers or polycystic ovarian syndrome at all. I am not saying to eliminate dairy, but with all things, think about moderating it in your diet. Something else to consider is the value of small farms and unpasteurized milk. If the cows are no longer pregnant when they are being milked, the level of hormones that increase PCOS symptoms and cancer decrease. So it is possible that if one consumes small amounts of unpasteurized milk from a small non-industrial farm, she might not be affected quite as much as if she were eating commercial non-organic dairy from a large industrial farm. Even organic dairies keep cows pregnant, so despite the artificial hormones not being present, there are still quite a bit of detrimental natural hormones in organic milk and organic milk products. Perhaps yogurt or good quality ice cream is a Saturday night treat (maybe once a month, I know I enjoy a good ice cream when I go out once a month in the summer). I just want you all to think about just how much dairy you consume and think about restricting it to once a day or once every two days. Don't over do it on other "fake" dairy products such as soymilk either. The key to a healthy and lean diet is moderation and portion control. Have real, unpasteurized dairy if possible. Have a little bit. Have a small amount of soy, almond or hemp milk in its place once in a while. Enjoy your life, enjoy whole foods, but let's try to curb the pinkberry!

Buckwheat honey, yogurt and walnut treat

I've been working hard on developing recipes for an upcoming cookbook. One of my newest delights is buckwheat honey which I have been enjoying from trembaly apiaries. I bought the honey a few weeks back during my first cooking demonstration and photo shoot at the union square farmer's market. Tremaly is there on Fridays and Dwayne is very knowledgable. I've made a lovely honey yogurt dessert which I once had in a greek restaurant. The darkness and complexity of the buckwheat honey adds a depth of flavor to this treat. I am developing a recipe for goat cheesecake which will not contain any sugar or cow's milk products and I'll be using the honey as a sweetener. I'll publish the recipe after this weekend when I've had some time to experiment on my friends for my birthday dinner. In the meantime, please enjoy this recipe I developed this afternoon.


Honey Yogurt Walnut Dessert
Serves 1
1 cup thick greek style yogurt (I used liberte brand 2%, fage 2% would work as well)
1 handful of chopped of crushed walnuts
3 tbsp bee pollen (local if possible, I use trembaly aparies from union square greenmarket)
2 tsp dark unrefined honey (I used buckwheat honey)
Add yogurt to a bowl. Add bee pollen, honey and walnuts to yogurt. Stir to combine. Enjoy as a dessert or breakfast (at breakfast time use one tsp honey). Serve immediately.

COPYRIGHT Sobel Wellness, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

greenmarket cooking continues, this week's inspiration

This week at the greenmarket beets are in season! I never knew that you could eat the tops of beets. But I have been stir frying them with the tops of carrots, something else I just assumed you threw away, but did you know that both beet greens and carrot greens are nutritious and delicious containing many of the vitamins and nutrients in both plants. The beet leaves are actually quite sweet. I've been adding fresh peaches to my stir fries as well because they are also so in season and delicious now.

I've been roasting the beets themselves and having them in salads and just on their own. They are wonderful and chock full of so many vitamins and nutrients. You just need to be careful when you cut them and cook them, not for anything health related, but because they make a mess with their deep red color which can stain cutting boards and roasting pans. I've been cooking them in their skins in aluminum foil in the oven (I might switch to earthenware given the aluminum absorption problem) for about 30-40 minutes. I don't even bother peeling them (I've scrubbed them prior), the skins sort of melt off and you can just slice the beets and enjoy them at this point with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. I enjoy them in a salad with goat cheese or just on their own. I try to cut them over newspaper after I scrub them really well. I've been hearing that it is not necessary to peel beets, carrots and other vegetables we always assumed we had to peel. Instead, I scrub them vegetables well, flick off the visible dirt with a knife or use a vegetable spray to get the grit off - but eat the peel which contains many nutrients and much of the vegetable's fiber.

I've been eating a lot of fresh corn and summer squash too. Heirloom tomatoes. I don't even like tomatoes, but the heirlooms, especially the yellow ones are just delicious. They taste like the tomatoes in Greece and Israel. Try them! Visit to find out where your local farmers market is and how you can get your hands on this fresh produce. Give me a call if you need a recipe or some help navigating the market. I'll be teaching at Strangers Gate on 106th and Central Park West through the end of August and some Fridays in Union Square.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I have been cooking at the green markets. On some Fridays, I will be cooking at Union Square green market and on Saturdays at Stranger's Gate on 106th and Columbus. Today at Stranger's Gate market I cooked a swiss chard stir fry with apricots and a peach, apricot and cilantro salad with sheep's cheese with stinging nettles. Pierre, the cheese guy has the most amazing sheep's cheese and a mix of sheep and cow's cheese. All his cheeses are raw and there was an amazing dry mozzarella which was to die for. I've never had garlic so fresh and the cippolini onions are fantastic as well. I made my stir fry with cippolini onions and fresh chopped garlic, a touch of olive oil, a bit of sesame oil and the apricots balanced out the bitterness of the chard. It was marvelous and not a drop left.

On Friday, I did a photo shoot at Union Square. My photographer was fantastic. My new website is currently under construction and going to be fabulous with wonderful pictures of me cooking at green market. Stay tuned. On the menu Friday a stir fry with swiss chard, summer squash and turkey sausage. I made some more of that tonight for dinner with the leftover sausage. I'm in the process of putting together a cookbook on tastebook ( I'll let you all know how to order it soon. I'll be compiling all the recipes I've been making up while walking the green market. I'm trying to take advantage of all the summer vegetables, between green market and my CSA ( I am staying true to not shopping anywhere else. Although, in a weak moment where I felt I needed snacks, I went to the health food store the other day to buy some spelt cookies and spelt bread. I've been experimenting with spelt lately. I still love my quinoa (these days I've been eating lots of red quinoa, which does have a slightly different flavor from its white cousin). I've been having cravings lately for ice cream and tasti delight. I've been trying very hard to stay away, although the other day I did give into tasti - coconut mounds and butter finger, I swear they are using real candy bars to flavor that stuff. There's drugs in tasti delight, I am convinced. But I have noticed that white bean humus with garlic, olive oil and basil does fill my "creamy" craving. Trouble is, I ran out of it and either I have to make my own (always a possibility - but I have to go get some tahini) or go down to trader joes and get some more. I do have most of the ingredients in the house - so I should try to make it.

At union square green market on Friday I met with Duane from Trembaly Apiaries. I bought some bee pollen from him and buckwheat honey. Bee pollen is wonderful for staving off allergies (which I have been experiencing quite a deal of lately with some uncontrollable sneezing fits). I also learned about propolis tincture which is better than any antibiotic at fighting infections. The buckwheat honey is the color of Guinness and has a tremendous amount of nutritional value. I've run out of Greek yogurt or raw yogurt and I need to look into placing another order with Weston A. Price Foundation soon as I'm trying to avoid commercial dairy for a while. Truthfully, I'm trying so hard to avoid dairy in general, but it is extremely difficult. It is best for my system to do a dairy cleanse every so often (and yours too if you are experiencing any kinds of digestive problems!).

My dinner tonight was delicious:
leftover peach, apricot and cilantro salad
swiss chard, string bean (local) and turkey sausage saute with quinoa
spelt chocolate cookies for dessert
mmm mmm good

Tomorrow is not a market day and I'm going out for brunch...but looking forward to Monday and Wednesday. I might scout out some of the other markets in my neighborhood and see what else is available. I'm itching to try something with my short ribs, but not sure what in this weather...I've got some organic red wine I need to use up as my kitchen is about 90 degrees and that stuff isn't going to last too long.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heavy Metals - not just about music anymore

Poison, Guns and Roses, Metallica, this is what has come to mind every time I think of heavy metal. Another mental reference would be a throwback to high school chemistry or even that second semester of General Chem I took in college (snoozer!), that never showed up on the MCAT. But more recently, I've just learned how important or rather detrimental heavy metals are to your health. There are some that we are all aware of because of how toxic they are: mercury, plutonium, and lead are toxic metals that have no known vital or beneficial effect on organisms, and their accumulation over time in the bodies of animals can cause serious illness. I think many of us are doing what we can to avoid mercury exposure by changing to wild fish from safer waters and being careful on the canned fish we consume. But apparently, we are all exposed to other heavy metals, which in trace amounts can be beneficial, but in excess can be toxic and cause a whole host of disorders.

These metals are: iron, aluminum, or beryllium (the fourth lightest element) or such a semi metal as arsenic. Guess what, there's aluminum in toothpaste and deodorant especially solid deodorant and it gets absorbed into the body with little escape mechanism. Using aluminum in baking (aluminum foil! Foil pans, broiling trays etc.), hair highlighting (god I hope not!, but its on there at least one half hour, not to mention what the color chemicals that close to my brain might be doing) or food storage can cause absorption of aluminum into the body. Excess aluminum in the body can cause dementia, heart attacks and heavy metal excess is linked with ADHD symptoms. So perhaps it is not a coincidence that ADHD is so much on the rise nowadays compared to ten or twenty years ago. Perhaps we need to think about switching our deodorants and cookware to avoid this problem. The good news is that zinc acts as an oral chelator to link to the aluminum and get it out of the body. Food sources of zinc include oysters (highest amount of zinc in any food per serving), zinc fortified cereals, grass fed pastured red meat, and organ meats especially. You can also get a good quality zinc supplement. I like usana brands, solgar, and blue bonnet. I'm trying to get my hands on some isagenix which might also be fortified with zinc.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

B vitamin containing foods

I just checked the world's healthiest foods websites for foods rich in B vitamins...they are:

Excellent sources of folate include spinach, parsley, broccoli, beets, turnip and mustard greens, asparagus, romaine lettuce, calf's liver, and lentils.

Excellent sources of vitamin B6 include bell peppers, turnip greens, and spinach.

Excellent sources of B12 include calf's liver and snapper.

However, the B1, B2 vitamins are also good to get and its important to have a balance of these vitamins not too much of any one of them - which is why supplementing can sometimes not be such a great thing because it leads to imbalances.

I guess I am going to have to develop a taste for liver. I can't say its my favorite - I do prefer snapper, but looks like it might be medicinal. I know a great French place that serves it in the east 50's...and there appear to be many French places on the west side. I do love French food...I'm sure with a nice demiglace its probably quite good.

Vegetarianism, supplements and heart disease

So, I read a book a while back in 2004 called Skinny Bitch. The book made me want to become a vegan and I did. Of course at the time I was dating a man who lived in France and frequent trips to France involved quite a bit of cheese much for veganism. Somehow I also found myself eating quite a bit of steak while I was in France. I also found myself 3 pounds lighter after one week in Europe eating cheese and steak as well as quite a bit of Belgian beer made from cherries. Since 2004 I've had an on again off again love affair with veganism and at times have felt quite good as a vegan and at other times quite tired.

Yesterday I found out I have high levels of homocysteine in my blood. With the knowledge that heart disease runs in my family and now knowledge that homocysteine is linked to heart disease, so I want to get that level down. I've been researching foods that have B vitamins (folate, B6 and B12) and find that spinach contains folate and B6. I had spinach at lunch and well raised animal protein has B12 - check for dinner tonight. I also learned the process of making yogurt deactivates nearly half the B12 in milk - so all the yogurt I have been eating for probiotics have not been helping with B12. Being a vegan for several years probably didn't help either. I was taking B12 supplements - but I forgot to take them and I don't really like having to take pills daily. I am trying now to take fish oil and vitamin D (cod liver oil), but I'm not terribly compliant. I'd so much rather get my vitamins from food. Also I found my cholesterol is slightly elevated. I've been enjoying a diet rich in eggs lately since I found that I can now tolerate them (for 20 years or so I could not eat eggs - but I also had low cholesterol)...but I've also been under a lot of stress lately and I know stress and cholesterol are linked. Being O positive blood type I need to consume some red meat. This evening I had a tenderloin steak which I ordered from a farm in PA where I know the cow was fed grass on pasture and well taken care of. Needless to say, that even in my george forman grill, the steak was delicious. I enjoyed fresh corn, swiss chard and yellow squash from my CSA (the Roxbury Farm in Roxbury, NY). I get my next CSA delivery on 7/31 and I am really looking forward to it. We got a huge delivery this week and I am still not done with even half the veggies.

Lastly, I found out that zinc is wonderful for lowering negative side effects of being on birth control pills and is good for immunity and preventing infections. Since I do not like to take antibiotics unless I absolutely need to I've been trying to increase my zinc. I just found out that whole grains (which I eat a lot of) have high levels of phalates which inhibit zinc absorption. Good thing is soaking grains can reduce the phalates and phytic acid that does this, so I will be soaking my grains from now on - sure its a pain, but I want to be able to absorb my zinc. Also honey is a natural antibiotic - so I've been having some honey in my kefir (fermented milk, made slightly differently than yogurt - a bit runnier and has even more pre and probiotics which if you suffer from digestive problems like I do is just wonderful). I've also tried kombucha - fresh from the farm (without all the added sugar/evaporated cane juice in the store bought brands), which was a bit sour and was not the apple cider it looked like - but its also quite rich in pre and probiotics which are great for digestive wellness.

I'm using my SPF 8 to get vitamin D, avoiding aluminum in solid deodorant (because my aluminum levels were high - this is linked to dementia and heart disease too, and ADHD symptoms in kids) and aluminum foil on my food in the fridge (and those lovely salmon packets I make in the oven - going to need to switch exclusively to parchment - it actually tastes much better in parchment anyway!

So I bet you are wondering what doctor found all these interesting tidbits about my health. I went to Path Medical 304 Park Avenue South to Dr. Braverman who is an MD who does a lot of holistic testing and is very orientated toward prevention. He's extremely into supplements which is not my preferred method, but I found some very interesting things working with him. He doesn't accept my insurance so right now I can't afford to continue seeing him, but in time I think I will...and in a few months I might try to get the blood tests again with some changes in my diet to boost zinc and B vitamin levels (before I resort to supplements if necessary) and lifestyle see if my cholesterol, aluminum and homocysteine levels have lowered and vitamin D levels have gone up. I encourage you all to get these tested.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

executive breakfasts - stay away from muffins

OK, so I have decided that if ambrosia is the nectar of the gods well then muffins are the nectar of the devil. Seriously, these little fat globules enrobed in sugar are evil. They make you hungry within 1/2 hour to 1 hour of eating them and make you run for the carbs. I was starving, almost sweating from a sugar spike and not ingesting enough protein at this "executive" networking breakfast I attended this morning. Either I am going to have to have a serious talk with the caterer or I am going to have to start eating breakfast at 5:45 AM to avoid another encounter with the muffin. Other glorious options at breakfast this morning: Bagels and cream cheese (aka glue for the alimentary canal, seriously why do you think there's a cow on a bottle of elmer's?), nice bowl of fruit (which on its own probably would have been a good choice - but then I would have been craving protein), hard boiled eggs (which I guess I just detest, the overcooking of eggs like that just makes the protein hardly absorbable or assimilatable to the body) and highly sweetened danon fruit on the bottom yogurt (a 6 oz container has 26 grams of sugar - that's 6 and 1/2 teaspoons...come is completely unnecessary) which not only had regular sugar, but also fructose, corn syrup and if it wasn't sweet enough, high fructose corn syrup, an entirely evil substance. This entire day (and its only 2pm) I've been sluggish, starving for carbs and fairly miserable. I blame the high fructose corn syrup and the muffins. Seriously when I start my day with steel cut oatmeal or a fruit smoothie with greens powder I'm happy, healthy and I want to run 8 miles. Today, I feel like crying most of the time and I am starving...regardless of what I eat. I tried to save the morning with a multi-grain lunch with lentils and swiss chard, but it didn't help and I had a bowl of cereal to stave off the rumbling in my stomach. Seriously, no more muffins, I promise...and I am going to wake up at 5:20 instead of 5:30 on 7AM meeting days. Maybe I can bring some unsweetened yogurt or gasp (really, b/c it should get a gasp) instant unsweetened oatmeal - its slightly better than muffins - but not much - at least it doesn't have all the sugar...and I can guarantee there's some trans fat in those muffins - or at least some soybean oil that's probably highly refined. So I am not writing down my food for you today because its fairly terrible and next Tuesday I'm making breakfast. On a good note - the veggies from my CSA delivery are delicious and I had some salad leaves and a carrot (with the skin still on because I was told there's nothing wrong with the skins of carrots grown locally and organically if you just rinse and scrub them a bit, not sure that I'd give the same inattention to a dole carrot). Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. I'll be running in the AM and having a lovely breakfast of whole grains and perhaps and egg...maybe I'll sauté or steam some greens or have some of the salad leaves. Maybe I need to do this cleanse after all or just vow only to eat food I have prepared and just be more vigilant about doing the preparation beforehand. This sugar is really getting to me. See what happens when you eliminate sugar - your body becomes very intolerant to it. It could happen to you too you know :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Health Challenge Progress and NYC Greenmarkets

I have not yet received the Isagenix products. This is probably because I live in a non-doorman building and I am never home. It could also be because I never ordered them :) I will, soon. I'm having second thoughts about cleansing. There are so many wonderful ways to get all the nutrients I need right here in food which I can get without going more than a few blocks from my apartment. I've been doing some modified cleanses. I've been only eating fresh fruits and vegetables I buy from farmers markets or my CSA. I also got some meat and dairy from weston a. price foundation which comes from a farm in PA. I have had some gluten free or non wheat grains from the health food store and occasionally a bread or cheese from the farmer's market. I've had a bit of cheese from Fairway as well. Today, I had a spinach and feta cheese omelet with salad that I am sure was not organic at a diner near Westchester Square in the Bronx because I was traveling. I know how hard it is when you travel. I was appalled by the supermarkets and food stores in this supposedly nice section of the Bronx. Processed cheese, very few fruits, only white bread, scary looking pork products. Its ridiculous what these places call food. No wonder why so many people are obese and struggle with their health. This country is just not set up to be healthy and I guess there's a third world right here north of 106th Street and west of Columbus Avenue. I can see I have my work cut out for me. However, there is a green market right on 106th and Central Park West every Saturday and there are a few on 125th as well. There are community gardens all around the neighborhood. There is a wonderful Pathmark near 125th with a pretty decent (but not organic) produce section (but selling a lot of other questionable processed food like items) There are just a lot of options and people need to be educated.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Get Healthy Challenge

I am trying out a new product for cleansing called Isagenix. I am about to order their 9 day cleanse and I will report my progress here. I am also going on a new health challenge which I encourage everyone to join me in. I am going to restrict myself to local seasonal foods from the farmer's market or health food store. I am going to try and only have meat from sources I know and not have it more than once a week. I will have whole grains, green vegetables, other vegetables, fruits and yogurt but very little other dairy. I will write down my daily meals here. I will avoid repeating a day like today:

Multi-grain wheat free hot breakfast cereal with raw goat milk - 9am
Black Tea with unpasteurized raw goat milk

1 cup of raw goat milk at 4pm (client day)
1 cup of water

Quinoa and Lentils with Hearts of Red Lettuce with squeeze of lime
3 organic chicken apple sausage links
handful of blueberries and raspberries
a few bites of leftover brown rice crispy treats.

I felt better about my day once I got to dinner time. I was starving most of the day, but too busy to eat. I know many of us get in these situations and this was poor planning on my part.

I encourage all of you to be better food planners. Tomorrow I am going to start the 30 day food challenge where I write down all my meals and provide inspiration for all of you. As well I'll be starting the isagenix cleanse as soon as it arrives and trying their greens drink as well.

I'm trying out a few new supplements recommended by a new holistic MD I went to see yesterday. I am not a strong believe in supplements, but i thought I would give these a try.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Resources, Books and a new sustainabIe market

I am constantly meeting new people as Sobel Wellness grows. Two new people I came across and their centers are:

The Running Center LLC
NYC's First & Only Training Facility for Runners
461 Central Park West
New York, NY 10025
Ph: 212-362-3779
Fx: 212-362-5017

Coach Mindy will appear tomorrow evening on ABC's 20/20 at 10pm EST to discuss a new flip flop that actually makes you fitter. This should be interesting since the New York Times just published that the flip flop is quite dangerous for walking and posture - so I am eager to hear from Coach Mindy tomorrow evening. Read the New York Times article here:

Matthew Grace who wrote a book called A Way Out. You can find more information about him on his website Matthew is a personal trainer and raw foods enthusiast. I'm just getting to know his work, but it looks very interesting and I have just ordered a copy of his book.

Lastly, I just just made aware of a new sustainable market that has opened up in South Street Seaport called the New Amsterdam Market. This new market is hoping to become a permanent fixture, tons of local purveyors show off farm-fresh cheese, produce, meats, and prepared foods — with a focus on sustainability. The market will features breads, honey, mushrooms, and other mouth-watering groceries. It will be open Sundays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m at South Street Seaport, South St., b/t Beekman St. & Peck Slip.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

reactions to Tim Russert's Death and CSA delivery

I've been following the news of Tim Russert's death and while many cardiologists and modern scientists find it "surprising" and cite that his coronary artery disease could have been controlled better with statin drugs, I hesitate to cite diet and exercise first. Tim Russert was a big man, with low HDL levels. He was "dutifully" trying to lose weight. How dutifully, I wonder. My own father died of a sudden heart attack at 48. His father died at 61. These were men who loved their food and I am not talking fruits and vegetables here.

We live in a society where we have an excuse and a drug or medical intervention for everything. We overeat, we take a pill, we don't exercise, we take a pill, there's a pill or a "procedure" for every medical ailment we often create for ourselves. There's a plethora of negative food influences out there from sugary cereals to high fructose corn syrup (its in everything what do we do - how about eating non-processed foods!) to trans fats. But we humans have the ability to make choices. We can choose our health and foods that still taste delicious without all the artificial processed junk. We can choose more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (not breads, but actual whole grains, like quinoa and bulghur wheat), beans for protein and some pastured, grass fed animal protein (but not a 24 ounce steak - the body has no capacity to store that kind of protein) in 4-6 ounces in a meal serving. We need to monitor our portions and we need to eat real wholesome food that we chew carefully, slowly and mindfully, eating at a table with our families or friends.

We need to remove the stigmas that "healthy" food is "tasteless". I received an email this morning from Nina Planck on different kinds of salmon. King salmon (chinook) and Silver (Coho). Both of these varieties of salmon cannot be farmed and must be wild by design. Look for them. The redder the salmon, the more anti-oxidant qualities it has. Take your fish oil. I recommend Omega XL ( which has no fishy aftertaste and comes in a very small manageable pill. I take 2 daily. However, I have been studying with another holistic health counselor, Andrea Beaman, who successfully cured herself of thyroid disease and several "precancerous" conditions who does not recommend supplements, saying that a balanced diet can contain the proper vitamins. I've been studying the benefits of supplementation for at least 3 years now and I have so many conflicting views on them, but I too have to believe that your food can give you all the vitamins and minerals you need if you eat well. This means eat your green vegetables! Kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, bok choi. Go to your farmer's market or join a CSA. I have tons of greens in my house now from my last CSA (community supported agriculture - a way of getting farm fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to your area through purchasing a share of the farm. Economically the farmer benefits by knowing he can sell all of his produce to a prepaid/interested audience who makes a commitment to 6 months of purchases. Purchasers get "farmers pick and the option to exchange anything they don't want/like with other CSA members) delivery. They taste phenomenal, scales above the organic baby greens they sell in whole foods. If you live near a farm or a farmer's market - now is the time to have greens. They are wonderful and in season. If you don't live near one, visit or if you are resident of New York City to learn more about how you can join or start a CSA in your neighborhood. I've still got some turnips at home that I am trying to figure out what to do with. I'll be searching for recipes tonight! I encourage you all to do the same.

At the conference I am working at today I have been avoiding the sugary scones, muffins and yogurts as well as the coffee and I cannot tell you how much better I feel. Its not that hard. I've got some raw cashews to snack on.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I've been eating a lot of sugar lately. I don't know if its because I have started organizing conferences on the side or I had my brother's wedding this weekend...but boy have I noticed how sensitive I am to sugar. I just can't eat it anymore. I had all of one cupcake at the wedding and today I had a scone and I tasted a cannolli at lunch. I'm in a fog now...a sugar induced fog. I feel unable to concentrate, depressed and not motivated. I get it. I haven't felt like this in years and tomorrow, I am bringing my own lunch and snacks so that I am not tempted by the white stuff. Its unreal how dangerous this stuff is. I urge you all to curb the habit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

fage yogurt, sugary smoothies and ode to summer

Hello world. Greetings from 106th street my new abode. Today I got a post from Daily Candy on Fage yogurt. I've been eating fage for maybe 4 years now, ever since I returned from Greece where I fell in love with the yogurt there - which sorry, Fage producers, isn't even close to what you produce. However, Fage is a good replication of the real stuff. Fage brand yogurt which comes in a full fat version containing a whopping 20 grams of fat (and a good deal of it saturated) per 1 cup serving is a non-stabilized, non-processed wonderful tasting (without any added sugar) thick yogurt. Its great for snack, use in sauces, smoothies, what have you. It comes in a 5% fat, 2% or 0% fat version as well. I can sort of tell the difference between the full fat and the 0% fat versions, but the 2% and the 5% are fairly hard to distinguish. I love the 2% one and somehow I feel better about it. I've had their fruit ones as well - where you get something resembling fruit on the side and you can determine how much you add. So I add the bare minimum to get the taste without the tons of sugar added to it - but the amount of sugar in the entire fruit topping is still less than danon or breyers. Now what I wonder about Fage yogurt is if the milk comes from grass fed cows or if the cows are fed grains and given growth hormones. I believe that all the milk is imported from Greece or maybe even the yogurt is imported from Greece in the containers already. I wish it weren't pasteurized as I am sure the Greek yogurt in Greece, especially in the Islands or villages certainly was not pasteurized.

I'm started having Danon plain low fat yogurt as well which I don't think has any stabilizers in it. Its quite good tasting, but I am sure it comes from grain fed cows pumped full of hormones.

I went to a new smoothie bar yesterday. They only have smoothies in 24 ounce size. I went home and looked up their website - they have 73 grams of sugar per serving. 73 grams - that about 20 teaspoons of sugar - double the amount in a can of regular coke. I felt lightheaded and starving for sugary snacks most of the day afterwards. I had a new dark chocolate bar that evening (which I was planning to give to a client, but forgot) which had 14 grams of sugar per serving instead of my usual 5 grams or 8 grams and the same thing happened. Even with 14 grams of sugar, the chocolate tasted incredibly sweet and where in the past I would have been satisfied with 3 squares I felt inclined to eat half the bar which I would never do. Damn sugar and your addictive nature. I hope this diatribe from a former recovered sugar addict can help you on your quest to recover from your sugar addiction and shed some light on this very serious condition.

Summer is upon us. Thank God here in New York we're experiencing a bit of a setback in sweltering temperatures and the rain has lifted a bit so I can get some outdoor runs in. I hope that all of you are taking advantage of summer temperatures and getting out there on a bike, on the road or climbing rocks or whatever it is you do for fun and sweat! Does moving boxes count?

Monday, June 9, 2008

coconut oil

I love coconut oil, but today in the health food store I learned some even more wonderful things about it. First of all - only buy coconut oil (or any oil for that matter) in a glass container as oil and plastic will interact and you will actually be ingesting molecules of plastic in your oil if you use it from a plastic bottle. I just can't imagine that's good for you! Also coconut oil is a saturated fat - ooh saturated fat is bad, right? Wrong. Saturated fat has never been proven to be linked to heart disease. It has just been one dietary factor linked to heart disease, but more recent research shows that heating fats such as canola oil and other refined vegetable oils high in omega 6 are even more dangerous in that they break down and cause free radical production in the body leading to cancer. Coconut oil is more stable when heated and when used in moderation can be a healthy alternative for high heat cooking. Today I learned that a bit of coconut oil on the gums can help prevent gingivitis, a teaspoon taken before working out can really help with sweat production for detoxification and its really good for treating thyroid conditions - who would have thought. Best of all, it tastes terrific. The kind I bought today in a glass bottle is International Harvest's brand. Its certified organic and also raw - which means it has not been refined in any way. Refined oils have usually been heated, disinfected and bleached (because they went rancid!). This is as pure as you can get and its worth the extra money for an investment in your health!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vitamin D, Inositol and PCOS/Fertility

This came from Nancy Dunne's Newsletter. It is great for learning more about reducing PCOS symptoms and increasing fertility.

Inositol Improves Quality of Your Eggs

In previous newsletters we've shared with you
several studies showing that the B-vitamin inositol
and d-pinitol (another form of inositol) are useful
for improving ovulation, reducing insulin resistance
and reducing symptoms of PCOS.

New evidence suggests inositol may also be
beneficial for improving egg quality in women who
have PCOS.

You need to have good egg quality in order to
become pregnant, and in order to avoid a
miscarriage. As you may know, PCOS women
have a greater risk of miscarriage.

The results of this study indicate that if you are
interested in increasing your chances of becoming
pregnant and reducing risk of miscarriage, inositol
supplementation is advisable.

It appears that women with PCOS have a need for
higher inositol intake because they metabolize and
lose it faster than other women.

Read the full article here.

You can find inositol and d-pinitol here:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ideal School Lunches

I am beginning to do some research on the best school lunches for kids. I am working with some families and will be doing more investigative research when I begin teaching this fall. I am going to try grain sweetened brownies, stir fries, flax seed/whole grain (maybe spelt or amaranth crust) pizza with fresh unprocessed mozerrella, fresh tomato sauce and olive and flax seed oils, lentil salads, quinoa bean bowls and the like. I'd love some suggestions from any moms out there that have gotten this right. I am meeting someone next week pretty high up in the NYC public school system who I might be able to convince to try out some of these ideas. Please send any suggestions my way.

non meat sources of protein

I found this great post on the following website:

Proteins are necessary to sustain life, repair body tissues and promote cell renewal, to manufacture hormones, enzymes and blood cells. It is one of the most plentiful substances in the body second only to water, totaling approximately one fifth of a person body weight. Lack of protein in the diet could result in fatigue, weakness and increased susceptibility to colds, flu's and infections.

These are all facts I took for granted when I was living a vegan lifestyle, expecting my carbohydrate heavy diet to fulfill all of my nutritional needs. After a taking a deep breath and diving into the wonderful world of nutrition I came to realize just what I was missing out on.

Many people frown upon vegetable sourced protein viewing it as inferior to animal based proteins. However along with supplying the body with a valuable source of protein, plant foods also contain micronutrients, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber that you will not find in meat.

It is also much lower in saturated fats and is often cheaper and less perishable. Many people consume their protein from only vegetable sources and have no problem meeting there daily requirements.

Even if you are not a vegetarian your diet could probably benefit from the addition of some plant based protein so think twice before wiping it from your plate completely. Now I realize tofu isn't everybody's idea of the perfect meal (my sister used to refer to it as fried snot) so I have come up with some suggestions to keep your plates forever varied and interesting.

(Note: all protein amounts are given in grams per 100 grams)


Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that originally developed in Indonesia about 2,000 years ago. It is high in protein (19 grams) as well as fiber, iron, potassium, B12, calcium and isoflavones. It is made from cracked cooked soybeans inoculated with beneficial bacteria to give it a chewy, meaty consistency.

There are many different varieties of tempeh on the market today and alongside the plain versions you will also find blocks with additions such as grains, seaweed, tofu, herbs and spices. Because it is a fermented product the enzymes are already partially broken down making it easier to digest and metabolize.

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It is user friendly, easy to cook and does not produce the gastrointestinal discomfort that some bean meals do.


Also known as bean curd, tofu is made from soybean milk, water and nigari (a natural coagulant) and is probably the most common soy product. Tofu was first used in China around 200 B.C and is still used as an addition to many Asian dishes today.

In recipes, tofu acts like a sponge and has the miraculous ability to soak up any flavor that is added to it. Tofu comes in a few variations; soft, silken, medium, firm or extra firm and you can find it plain, flavored or marinated. It is best to use only extra firm tofu as it has been pressed for the longest and contains the highest amount of protein (16 grams) and the lowest amount of carbohydrates.

When cooking with tofu it is important to add some sort of sea vegetable to the final dish as there are goitrogens present in tofu that can suppress the thyroid and the naturally occurring iodine in sea vegetables helps to counteract this. This however should not stop you from consuming tofu because along with being low in fat, it is a good source of B vitamins, iron, and calcium as well as being a complete protein.

* A note on soy products. People can easily buy ready-to-eat chicken, ham, tuna fish, and turkey made from soybeans. The foods are called 'textured vegetable protein." Although soy beans in their natural state and as tofu, miso or tempeh are healthy, the "textured" protein is a manipulated, over-processed product that has lost most of its original food value and should be avoided.

Sea Vegetables

In the orient sea vegetables are well renowned for their medicinal and healing properties. They are nutrient dense, full of vitamins and minerals and very low in calories. You might have to acquire a taste for them but it will be worth it for the benefits you will reap, they can be added to almost any salad, soup, and grain or protein dish.

* Arame comes in dark thread like shapes and is probably the tastiest variety. It is rich in calcium, iron, iodine and protein.

* Dulse is a reddish-purple leafy sea vegetable with a nutritional make up similar to arame. If you rinse dulse thoroughly it will lose some of its strong taste.

* Kelp is often used as a salt substitute. It is higher in iodine and potassium than the other sea vegetables.

* Kombu is meatier and also higher in sodium. It is good in soups and can also be added to beans to cut down on the gas producing enzymes.

* Nori is the most familiar seaweed known for its use in sushi making. Nori is about 50 percent protein and is also high in vitamin A, calcium and iron.

* Spirulina is richer in nutrients than any other green plant and 60% of its make up is protein. It has a fairly neutral taste and is usually sold in powder form.


Miso is another soy product, it is made from concentrated soybean paste and comes in many different types and shades, from dark brown, to ochre red or even white depending on what grains are added and how long it is aged for. They all have a distinctive taste so it is a good idea to experiment with a few versions to see which you prefer.

The white and yellow misos are generally lighter and sweeter than the darker versions with have a stronger richer taste. Miso can be used alone as a soup or as an addition to another meal as a stock or flavoring.

* Hatcho miso is made from soybeans alone and has a rich hearty taste.

* Kome miso is a combination of soybeans and brown rice and is the sweetest of misos.

* Mugi miso is made with fermented barley and is mellow and light.

Basic Miso Soup

* Chop finely garlic, onions, ginger and veggies of your choice (carrots, peppers, zucchini, celery, mushrooms etc).
* Stir fry briefly in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.
* Add some tofu, seaweed and a small amount of water and cook for a further 2 minutes.
* Add miso paste to a cup of warm water and mash with a fork until smooth.
* Then add to the veggie mix with some additional water.
* Bring water to the boil, take off the heat immediately and serve.
* You can top with finely chopped spring onions, seaweed or sesame seeds if you want to be creative.


Nuts in general are very nutritious, providing protein and many essential vitamins, such as A and E, minerals, such as phosphorous and potassium, essential fatty acids and fiber. Because nuts are high in fats they should be eaten in moderation, an addition to a meal or snack as opposed to the focus of a meal.

However the fat that nuts contain is primarily the heart-friendly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types of fat, which are known to prevent heart disease and lower total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol while protecting good HDL cholesterol levels.

They should be eaten in their raw state, NON roasted and NON salted to gain the most nutritional benefits. Some people have difficultly digesting nuts and seeds so it can be preferably to soak them or grind them first. Doing this helps to reduce the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors they contain.

* Almonds are known as the "king of nuts." A slightly sweet variety that is high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and 21 grams of protein. It is the most alkalizing nut.

* Cashews are grown mostly in India and Brazil. They contain a high amount of potassium, magnesium and vitamin A with 18 grams of protein.

* Chestnuts are the lowest in fat content, but also lowest in protein. They are rich in dietary fiber, several minerals and B vitamins. The have a texture more like a vegetable than a nut and are a tasty winter treat.

* Filbert (hazelnut) a mildly flavored nut that is high in potassium, sulfur and calcium. Filberts contain 15 grams of protein.

* Peanuts, although they are technically a legume they are often referred to as a nut. Peanuts are complete protein source containing 26 grams but have the highest fat content of all nuts. Often contaminated with the mould aflatoxin, a known carcinogen so make sure you are buying high quality fresh peanuts.

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* Pecans have a taste similar to walnuts and are rich in essential fatty acids, potassium and vitamin A. Lower in protein than other nuts containing only 9 grams.

* Pine nut (pignolia): A sweet and chewy nut popular in Middle Eastern and Italian cuisine and is an excellent source of thiamin, phosphorus, iron and niacin. Good source of protein boosting 24 grams. Pine nuts are highly susceptible to rancidity so it is best stored in the fridge.

* Pistachio nuts have 20 grams of protein they taste sweet, bitter and slightly sour, an excellent source of iron.

* Walnuts are high in potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and omega-3 essential fatty acids (five per cent of its total oils). Walnuts have 15 grams of protein.

An easy way to get the nutritional benefits from nuts with all the munching is to make nut milk. Nut milk is easy to prepare, does not need to be cooked and is alive with vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

Nut Milk

* Take any nut of your choosing; almonds and cashews normally work the best (hard nuts, like almonds are better if soaked overnight and rinsed)
* Water, usually 3-4 Cups of liquid per cup of nuts.
* Blend together then strain the nut pulp with a fine sieve.
* Refrigerate and drink within a couple of days, you can add a dash of cinnamon or vanilla essence to taste.


Much of what has been said about nuts also applies to seeds, seeds are a lot smaller than nuts and are therefore harder for the body to digest and assimilate. To get the most benefit from seeds it is a good idea to grind them slightly before consumption.

* Sunflower seeds are filled with potassium which helps flush and reduce sodium in the body. They are plentiful in magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. They contain an impressive 23 grams of protein. They are also a good source of omega 6 essential fatty acid.

* Flaxseeds: Flax seed is one-third omega 3 oil; the remainder consists of fiber and 19.5 grams of protein. Flaxseeds promote good intestinal health and help to keep us regular.

View All Flaxseed Products...

* Pumpkin seeds are a high source of vitamin A, calcium and iron, containing 24 grams of protein, B1, B2 and B3. Pumpkin seeds contain both omega 3 and 6 oils.

* Sesame seeds are one of the richest sources of calcium; they contain 18 grams of protein and are an excellent source of B vitamins and minerals.

Here Are A Few Simple Ways To Add These Nutritious Foods To Your Diet:

L.S.A Mix

* 1 cup flaxseeds/Linseeds
* ½ sunflower seeds
* ¼ cup almonds
* Grind up the mix in a coffee grinder until you have a fine powder.
* This mix is best kept in a tightly sealed container in the fridge to maintain its freshness.
* L.S.A mix (linseed, sunflower and almond) is a great source of essential fatty acids and fiber. It can be easily added to oats, smoothies, yoghurt, and anything else that takes your fancy.

Tahini Dressing

* 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
* 1 clove of finely chopped
* Juice of ½ a lemon
* And water as required
* Place the ingredients into a blender adding enough water to get the desired consistency.
* As well as being a good source of protein tahini is high in absorbable calcium.


Beans have had a fairly boring reputation. Time consuming to prepare, dull to eat and let's not even go into the after effects (beans beans the magical fruit…). Beans and legumes have been used widely around the globe for roughly 5,000 years; they are inexpensive and contain relatively more protein than other plants.

However it should be noted that only 70% of the protein from beans will be absorbed by the body the other 30% will passes through the intestinal tract with the fiber they contain.

Learn The Nutrient Profile Of Beans & Legumes...

Furthermore because they are also high in carbohydrates (with the exception of soy) it can be a good idea to prepare them with another protein rich source such as nuts, seeds, protein powder (soy or whey) or eggs. Low in fat, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals here are a few ways to spice up the beans:


* 1 Cup Chickpeas/garbanzo beans
* 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
* 1 Tbsp Tahini (sesame seed paste)
* Lemon juice
* Spices fresh or dried mix and match to your taste (cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric are a few good ones to try)
* Oil or water to mix
* Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until you have reached you desired consistency (smooth or chunky).


Start of by cooking some onions, garlic and ginger in a fry pan with either oil or a little bit of water. After about 3-4 minutes when they soften up you can add in a few veggies (carrots, celery are good) chopped up pretty small.

Then add heaps of spices; turmeric, paprika, caraway seeds, chili powder, cumin, coriander etc. Add a little more water and cook for a few more minutes. Then add about 1 cup of brown lentils and about 2 cups of water, mix well, pop a lid on and simmer for about 40 minutes.

If you aren't carb crazy you can add some sweet potatoes in when you add in the other veggies, or some mushrooms nearer to the end of cooking. You can also chuck in a scoop of whey powder right before serving for an extra protein punch. Serve with heaps of steamed broccoli and zucchini. The beauty of this recipe is you can just use pretty much what ever you have in the fridge.

Other Beans To Experiment With:

* Black beans are medium-sized, black-skinned and oval-shaped. They have an earthy sweet flavor and 9 grams of protein.

* Kidney beans are also called Mexican red beans, are a large kidney-shaped bean. Containing 9 grams of protein they have a strong flavor and soft texture.

* Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are a round, medium size, beige color bean. They have a nut-like flavor and firm texture. They are the main ingredient in the popular Middle Eastern dishes hummus and falafel and also contain 9 grams of protein.

* Navy beans are small, white, and oval-shaped. They have a mild flavor and a powdery texture. Navy beans are most often used in baked bean dishes and have 9 grams of protein.

* Pinto beans are medium-sized oval-shaped beans with a spotty beige and brown color. They have an earthy flavor and powdery texture. After cooking, pinto beans turn from a spotty color to brown.

* Lentils are lens-shaped seeds found in the fruit pods of an annual herb usually grown in southwestern Asia. There are two common varieties of lentils, one is small and brown and the other is larger and yellow and they contain roughly 10 grams of protein. Quicker cooking than other beans and is the main ingredient in Dahl, an Indian dish.

* Soybeans are the highest in protein supply 17 grams and also the lowest in carbohydrates. Soybeans are very versatile and are used in the preparation of many vegetarian protein products (see tempeh, tofu, and miso above).


If you are cooking your own beans make you sure you pre soak them and cook them thoroughly. If you have trouble digesting beans quietly there is a product called beano that you can use help avoid embarrassment. It is much like soy sauce and you just add a few drops to your first few mouthfuls. Some beans are also very tasty sprouted and are a good addition to salads and stir-fry.