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.