Think, Eat, Be Healthy http://thinkeatbehealthy.com Happy Taste Buds for a Healthy Body and Mind Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:17:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 54970373 “The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” Review http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/30/the-new-wildcrafted-cuisine/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 22:00:39 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2549 The basics about “The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” “The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” was written by Pascal Baudar. Baudar also did most of the photography for the book. The book was published by Chelsea Green Publishing of White River Junction, VT in…

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The New Wildcrafted Cuisine

“The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” is a fascinating book about local ingredients. Pascal Baudar is obviously passionate about foraging ingredients and creating truly local cuisines.

The basics about “The New Wildcrafted Cuisine”

“The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” was written by Pascal Baudar. Baudar also did most of the photography for the book. The book was published by Chelsea Green Publishing of White River Junction, VT in 2016. The ISBN is 9781603586061. There are 423 pages, including a comprehensive index, printed on partially recycled and chlorine-free paper.

Pascal Baudar is an experienced wild food forager. He teaches classes on the subject. He also supplies local restaurants with ingredients from his foraging expeditions or prepared from those ingredients in his own kitchen. Baudar lives in Los Angeles, CA and forages the surrounding countryside with occasional trips farther afield.

What is “The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” about?

This is a book about creating truly local cuisines. Not just local styles of cooking with ordinary ingredients, but food using wild ingredients only available in specific regions. Baudar advocates for regional cuisines that cannot be duplicated in other parts of the country.

I like this concept as a local food advocate myself. Don’t just use food grown on local farms. Use food growing in the wild that only grows locally. “The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” gives a pretty loose definitions of food, too. If it is not poisonous, Pascal Baudar will probably try to work it into a dish or a drink.

This book is all about adjusting our parameters concerning “food” and “local.” It is about having an adventurous palette and a willingness to try new things and new combinations. Baudar constantly asks “Can I make something delicious using this ingredient?” even when it is a dead stick or a bit of dirt.

The book explores the “why” of wild foraging more than the “what” or the “how.” It is not a book to identify edible plants or mushrooms in the field. This is not a step-by-step guide to foraging technique. It does not give lists of necessary equipment. It is a book intended to open the mind to new culinary possibilities.

Who should read “The New Wildcrafted Cuisine?

“The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” will have a fairly wide curiosity field among foodies, chefs and naturalists. Many people will buy the book just to see what kind of meal can be made with tree bark or unripe wild berries. But this is not the true audience for the book.

Baudar is really speaking to culinary boundary pushers. His book is for those willing to step outside the traditional kitchen, set aside the usual rules about food and create something new. And he wants us to do it using the wild ingredients found all around us.

More than anything, this book is a mind-opener. Whether you are inclined to go foraging for wild ingredients or not, “The New Wildcrafted Cuisine” will change the way you think about food and use ingredients in the kitchen. It will leave every reader with broadened culinary horizons. Which is the whole point!

This book very much fits into the sphere of whole food health. It is the epitome of local food sourcing. I highly recommend giving it a read.

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Don’t Eat This: It Is Not Really Food http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/28/dont-eat-this/ Sun, 28 Aug 2016 22:47:46 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2503 Don’t eat this Don’t eat this. You don’t know what it is. You don’t know why it is in your food. You don’t know if it is safe. So why in the world would you eat it? Ask yourself, “If…

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Don't eat this

Don’t eat this. These are the ingredients for instant stuffing.

Don’t eat this

Don’t eat this. You don’t know what it is. You don’t know why it is in your food. You don’t know if it is safe. So why in the world would you eat it?

Ask yourself, “If I was making stuffing to go with a chicken, would I be adding these ingredients?” Ask yourself if you have ever seen these ingredients for sale on a store shelf. Have you ever seen them listed on a recipe in any cookbook?

Search on-line for who sells these food additives. The answer is companies that manufacture chemicals. Or large food corporations that have their own chemical manufacturing departments.

These additives come from chemical companies because they are not normally found in nature. Or they are found only in tiny amounts under special conditions. Don’t eat this because it is not really food.

Don't eat this

This is the ingredients label for “protein meal bars.” Don’t eat this because it is not really food.

But are they safe?

Nearly all food additives fall under the designation “GRAS,” or “generally regarded as safe.” GRAS doesn’t really mean very much. Maybe the chemical was fed to rats or mice for ninety days without causing obvious major health problems. Or maybe no studies were done at all.

Because a company can simply send a notice to the FDA stating they feel the chemical is safe for food use. And then start adding it to our food. It is all perfectly legal. And the FDA will allow that chemical to be used until people start to die. Headaches, stomach problems, diarrhea, or rashes are not enough to stop its use.

So don’t eat this. Many food additives and sweeteners are closely associated with side effects, just like prescription drugs. Because they are man-made chemicals. They really are not food.

Don't eat this

Ingredients for a packet of meatloaf flavoring – just add meat! Is this food? Don’t eat this; it has sand in it.

Why are they used?

If you read the literature, corporations add these ingredients to make our food “better.” What they really mean is they add these ingredients because it makes us buy more. Or they use these ingredients because it saves them money and increases profits. Or shelf life is greatly extended.

“Dough conditioners” make stronger gluten networks or cause a more uniform texture or make the dough easier to form or rise faster. “Emulsifiers” keep mixtures of fats and liquids from separating and settling. “Anti-caking agents” keeps powders and granular products from clumping. “Hydrogenated oils” become solid and shelf-stable at room temperature and are also known as trans-fats. “Sugar alcohols” taste sweeter than table sugar and can usually not be digested, so they have no calories. Some “preservatives” stop the growth of yeasts, fungi and bacteria, preventing spoilage. Other preservatives are antioxidants, keeping fats from going rancid. Hydrolyzing and autolyzing produce better textures for shelf-stable dry products.

“Flavors” and “flavoring” can be almost anything, whether “natural” or “artificial.” Food corporations do not have to tell us what they are on the label because so little is used. Sand, or silicon dioxide, is used in many processed foods from table salt to meatloaf flavoring packets to prevent lumps. The same dimethyl silicone that keeps hydraulic fluid from frothing helps tame aerosol baking sprays. Propyl gallate prevents oils and fats from going rancid but is also an estrogen antagonist. BHA, BHT, TBHQ and other antioxidant preservatives are also suspected human carcinogens. So don’t eat this; it is not really food.

Don't eat this

Does tomato soup really need a sweetener known to accelerate the onset of diabetes, unknown flavors and plant fertilizer? If it is not really food, don’t eat this.

When do I tell myself “don’t eat this”?

My decisions on eating any ingredients are based on the “home-made” test. If I was making this food at home, would I add this ingredient? If I would not add the ingredient, I say “don’t eat this.”

I do not want sand in my salt or spices and will tolerate a little clumping when the humidity is high. It is not “great” or “amazing” that some pastries last months at room temperature, but weird and scary. It seems bizarre to me to walk into a store and see boxes of bacon at room temperature with a 6-month expiration date. Sometimes these manipulations of our food are so strange I don’t even want to know how they are achieved. I just know it is wrong and it is not going anywhere near my mouth.

If food has an ingredients list, I am much less likely to buy it. Real food does not need a package or an ingredients list. And if there is only one ingredient, there are no additives to worry about.

I believe in whole food health. I believe in eating a healthy whole food diet. The only people I disappoint this way are my doctor and dentist.

Why should I pay a premium for “meal bars” with four different types of added sugars, trans-fats, artificial flavors and artificial preservatives? I will have a bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon, honey, nuts and raisins instead. Same approximate nutrient value with fewer calories at a quarter of the price. Problem solved.

Don't eat this

Ingredients for a leading brand of non-stick baking spray.

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Dal: Easy And Nutritious Indian Food http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/25/dal-easy-and-nutritious-indian-food/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:04:15 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2507 About Dal Dal is a staple of Indian cuisine. It is a simple stew of spiced lentils. There are many variations by region and even from family to family. Dal Fry is what we see most often in a restaurant.…

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Dal

Dal is delicious and fast to make.

About Dal

Dal is a staple of Indian cuisine. It is a simple stew of spiced lentils. There are many variations by region and even from family to family.

Dal Fry is what we see most often in a restaurant. Dal Dhokli is a one pot meal traditional in Gujarati. Dal Bati is a Rajasthani dish. There are countless others, with different seasonings and added ingredients.

This recipe is my favorite version of an Indian staple. It is vegetarian. It is gluten-free. It is a highly anti-inflammatory food, especially because of the turmeric and other spices. Lentils are very nutritious legumes and the added vegetables make it even better for whole food health.

Lentils cook fast and do not need to be soaked. I usually plan for 5-10 minutes to prepare the vegetables. Add 5 minutes to saute them with the butter. Then 45 minutes to finish after adding the water or broth. This last period is when I make a cup of tea and check my e-mail or do other chores.

This dish is traditionally made with red or yellow lentils, which cook even more quickly. I prefer the more substantial green lentils. They still get very soft but don’t disappear into a mush like red lentils.

dal

Cooking the vegetables and spices with the butter releases more flavor.

Dal Ingredients

2 Tablespoons grass-fed butter                                                       1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup diced carrot                                                                           1/4 cup diced green bell pepper

1/4 cup diced celery stalk                                                                  1/4 cup diced red onion

2 Tablespoons minced garlic                                                            2 Tablespoons minced fresh turmeric root

1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger root                                          1 teaspoon Garam Masala spice blend

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper                                    1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds                                    1/2 teaspoon red chile powder or flakes

1/2 teaspoon sea salt                                                                         1 1/4 cup diced red tomato(2 small)

1 1/4 cup green lentils                                                                       2 3/4 cups water or vegetable broth

dal

Any lentil variety can be used for dal.

Preparing the dal

1. Place the butter in a 1-2 quart pan with a heavy bottom over medium heat.

2. Add all of the vegetables and seasonings except the salt and tomato.

3. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until the spices become very aromatic.

4. Add the tomato and stir constantly for another minute.

5. Add the lentils to the pan and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly heated through.

6. Add the water or broth and raise to high heat.

7. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

8. Cook until the lentils are quite soft. Add extra water or broth if needed.

9. Add sea salt to taste and the dal is ready to eat.

 

dal

I prefer fresh tomatoes but using tomato paste gives a more robust flavor.

Notes on this dal recipe

Make this recipe once and then start adjusting the seasonings to your taste. I like a lot of turmeric and chile for the anti-inflammatory kick they give to the dal. I also like this dish on the spicy end of the spectrum. If you prefer a milder version, simply cut back on the turmeric, chile, mustard seed and black pepper until the flavor suits you.

I use extra vegetables in everything to add variety to my healthy whole food diet. This recipe can easily be made with only a little onion and garlic. Other vegetables like potatoes, radishes and squash can also be used. Cut the vegetables to whatever size you like.

Dal can be a smooth soup consistency or a chunkier and thicker stew. Just adjust the amount of liquid and the cooking time. For a smoother dish try using red lentils and cutting the vegetables very small.

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Braised Red Cabbage Recipe http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/24/braised-red-cabbage-recipe/ Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:40:43 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2490 About this braised red cabbage recipe Braised red cabbage will get more cruciferous vegetables onto your plate. Red cabbage is a good anti-inflammatory food. This recipe has flavor to spare with lemon, fresh herbs, ripe tomato and red onion. This…

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Braised red cabbage

Braised red cabbage makes a great vegan entree.

About this braised red cabbage recipe

Braised red cabbage will get more cruciferous vegetables onto your plate. Red cabbage is a good anti-inflammatory food. This recipe has flavor to spare with lemon, fresh herbs, ripe tomato and red onion.

This recipe works just as well and tastes the same with green cabbage. The red cabbage has many more nutrients to offer. Red onion is used for the same reason.

Braised red cabbage is hearty enough to be a vegan entree. It is a good side vegetable, too. During the summer it is also great cold with greens.

braised red cabbage

The ingredients for braised red cabbage recipe.

Ingredients for braised red cabbage recipe

1 small head red cabbage                                                  1 small red onion

2 medium tomatoes                                                           1 medium-large lemon

7-8 whole garlic cloves, peeled                                        whole fresh herbs of choice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt                                                         1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil or oil of choice(optional)          1/2 cup water or vegetable stock

Preparing the braised cabbage

1. Cut the cabbage in half through the stalk. Then cut each half into 3-4 wedges. Cut out the solid center stalk from each wedge.

2. Lay out the red cabbage wedges in a deep baking dish. Spray lightly with a Misto sprayer and your oil of choice. Turn the oiled side of the cabbage down.

3. Place the fresh whole herbs along the faces of the cabbage wedges.

4. Slice the tomatoes 1/2″-3/4″ thick and lay over the herbs.

5. Cut the red onion into 3/4″ pieces and distribute evenly around the pan.

6. Distribute the whole garlic cloves around the pan.

7. Cut the lemon into 8-10 wedges and distribute them around the pan.

8. Spray everything lightly with oil.

9. Sprinkle with the sea salt and black pepper. Substitute red pepper flakes if you prefer. Ground turmeric can be added to make this an even more anti-inflammatory food.

10. Add the water or vegetable stock to the pan and place in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

11. Check the cabbage. Bake until the centers of the wedges are starting to get tender and the edges are browned.

12. Cover with foil and return to the oven for 30 more minutes or until tender throughout.

braised red cabbage

Braised red cabbage recipe ready to go into the oven.

Notes on braised red cabbage

I often add additional vegetables to the pan when making braised red cabbage. Carrot, beet, turnip, rutabaga and other vegetables add flavor and nutrition. It also becomes more of a one pan meal.

Braised red cabbage is a good center-plate dish. Add a little barley or millet pilaf, some beans and a green salad for a complete meal fit for any healthy whole food diet. And it offers all of the benefits of the cruciferous vegetables: anti-inflammatory compounds, boosts the immune system and helps fight some cancers.

I am most often cooking for two at home. Use half the head for braised red cabbage and save the other half for slaw, shaving onto green salads and adding to other vegetable dishes. This is how to get double and triple duty out of larger vegetables, reduce waste and maximize the food budget.

Remember: the brightly colored vegetables like red cabbage are some of the best for whole food health. They have higher concentrations of nutrients than their paler twins. You get more nutrition for the same price and the same amount of food.

braised red cabbage

Braised red cabbage, orzo pasta with baba ganoush sauce, edamame and avocado make a complete whole food meal.

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Health and Diet Studies I Want To See http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/23/health-and-diet-studies-i-want-to-see/ Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:08:04 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2481 Health and diet studies about red meat Current and past health and diet studies of red meat consumption are nearly unanimous. The research shows that eating red meat harms our health in many ways. And more evidence is coming in.…

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health and diet studies

Red meat protein is a hot diet topic. Many questions remain unanswered by health and diet studies.

Health and diet studies about red meat

Current and past health and diet studies of red meat consumption are nearly unanimous. The research shows that eating red meat harms our health in many ways. And more evidence is coming in.

Red meat increases inflammation. It causes more cardiovascular disease. More red meat in the diet equals higher cancer rates. Overall mortality increases with added meat in the diet.

The evidence against processed meats is particularly damning. Even occasional small amounts of processed red meats boost cancer incidence. There are strong suggestions to label these product carcinogenic. That would be hot dogs, bacon, salami, bologna, etc…

The case against red meat seems airtight. You can’t argue with good evidence, right? And these are good studies.

It has me thinking of eliminating all red meat from my diet. Not that I eat a lot. Beef or pork make it to the plate once per week or less. That is much healthier than daily servings but still decreases longevity.

health and diet studies

Is pasture-raised pork really healthier for us than commercial factory-farmed pork? We just don’t know.

What current red meat studies are missing

None of the current health and diet studies look at how the animals were raised. They all study people eating standard commercial meat. Meat from animals fed exclusively grain(often GMO grain). Meat from animals confined on feedlots with minimal exercise. Meat from animals medicated often to keep them alive long enough to slaughter. In other words, the vast majority of people in these studies eat meat from unhealthy animals eating an unnatural diet in a confined space.

But I now eat only 100% grass-fed beef and mostly pasture-raised pork(it is much harder to find). Studies show this meat has much healthier omega-3/omega-6 fatty acid balance. It has more vitamins. It comes from healthy animals and doesn’t include a hidden dose of antibiotics or other medications. It is leaner and tastier because the animals get daily exercise and graze instead of gorging on grain.

So the first health and diet study I would like to see would replicate the current studies with one difference. My study would compare the health and longevity of people eating moderate amounts of grass-fed beef versus vegans. Repeat for pasture raised pork. I have tried to find this information. The work has not been done yet.

health and diet studies

Grass fed sour cream

What about dairy?

Health and diet studies for dairy follow the same pattern as for red meat. And the results are similar to the meat studies. Dairy products, even low-fat dairy, seems to harm health and shorten lifespan.

None of the studies discern between factory-farmed dairy products and grass-fed, pasture-raised dairy. The same nutritional differences are seen as for meat: grass-fed dairy is healthier by every measure. But is it enough to actually make grass-fed dairy good for us?

We don’t know. The health and diet studies have not been done yet. And that is the second study I would like to see: does eating grass-fed, pasture-raised dairy products have the same negative health effects as eating commercial factory-farmed dairy products?

health and diet studies

Eggs from chickens allowed to freely forage for their food are much healthier for humans than eggs from grain-fed birds.

Health and diet studies show that poultry and eggs are even more harmful than red meat

Chickens are without doubt the most mistreated food animals. They are barely given enough room to stand. Most live their entire life without ever seeing the sky. The only food is grain. Their beaks are clipped so they can’t bite each other. They are intentionally bred to be too heavy to stand up before they are a year old.

These conditions invite disease. Though it is no longer allowed to routinely feed poultry antibiotics for faster growth, antibiotics are allowed when the birds are ill. Antibiotic use for poultry has increased since this change was made. This is because the birds are always sick. Crowded, breathing dusty air and eating an unnatural diet is not a healthy way to live.

The real reasons why poultry and eggs are so bad for us to eat are not known. I think there are several reasons. Eating nothing but grain causes an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids. The combination of a high protein and relatively high fat diet along with sedentary lifestyle causes birds with very high fat levels. The constant antibiotics and other medications pervade the meat and get stored in the fat. Then we eat it.

The third health and diet study I want to see would compare eating organic, pasture-raised poultry and eggs to commercial factory-farmed poultry and a vegan diet. This is unknown territory. No studies have been done that I could find.

health and diet studies

Can we eat meat and also be healthy?

What should we be eating?

Until we learn more, I am eating less meat and dairy of all kinds. I have been trending in that direction for years. We do not have claws, we do not have fangs and we do not have powerful crushing jaws. There is no reason to think we evolved as predators eating large amounts of meat.

Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. Opportunists. Animal protein was probably part of the diet only when it was easily gotten. Plants can’t run away and are more abundant than animals. So plants surely made up the vast majority of the diet.

I will continue to eat occasional meat, dairy and eggs. But it will be grass fed and pasture raised. It will come from healthy animals not full of antibiotics and other medications. It seems like the only wise course of action until more health and diet studies are completed.

health and diet studies

Finding pasture raised chickens fed a natural diet without medication is difficult and expensive.

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Carrot Blackberry Streusel Bread Recipe http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/22/carrot-blackberry-streusel-bread/ Mon, 22 Aug 2016 14:52:17 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2465 About carrot blackberry streusel bread Carrot blackberry streusel bread is a great way to start the morning. It is more nutritious and has less sugar than any coffee cake. The carrot and blackberries add a full load of anti-inflammatory compounds…

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Carrot blackberry streusel bread

Carrot blackberry streusel bread is delicious and gluten-free.

About carrot blackberry streusel bread

Carrot blackberry streusel bread is a great way to start the morning. It is more nutritious and has less sugar than any coffee cake. The carrot and blackberries add a full load of anti-inflammatory compounds to this sweet bread recipe.

This is a gluten-free recipe. Eliminate dairy from carrot blackberry streusel bread by substituting coconut, almond or soy milk. Use goat milk if you just don’t want the cow dairy.

The recipe can be made vegan. Use 2 teaspoons of chia seeds and 2 teaspoons of ground flax seeds to replace the eggs. Olive, walnut, almond or avocado oil can be used instead of melted butter.

carrot blackberry streusel bread

Almost any combination of nuts will work for the streusel. For this recipe I used raw cashews, almonds and walnuts. The nuts can be hand chopped or pulsed in a food processor.

Ingredients for carrot blackberry streusel bread recipe

Struesel topping ingredients

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup(1/2 stick) grass-fed butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice

carrot blackberry streusel bread

The streusel topping ingredients are combined by hand until a fairly uniform crumble is formed.

Batter ingredients

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups shredded carrot(about 2 medium carrots)

1 1/4 cups blackberries, halved

2 large eggs

1/2 cup(1 stick) grass-fed butter, melted

1/2 cup whole grass-fed milk

carrot blackberry streusel bread

The dry batter ingredients are whisked together well before adding to the wet ingredients.

Making the carrot blackberry streusel bread

1. Place the full stick of butter in an oven-proof container. Put in the oven while it is pre-heating to 350-degrees.

2. Place all of the dry streusel ingredients into a mixing bowl. Cut the 1/4-cup butter into thin pats and add to the dry ingredients. Combine by hand to form a fairly uniform crumble that barely sticks together. Set aside.

3. Place the shredded carrot, eggs and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix at low speed with the paddle attachment.

4. Place the dry batter ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together well.

5. Add the melted butter to the wet ingredients and mix well at low speed.

6. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix at low speed until just combined. Add more milk if necessary to make a very soft but not pourable batter.

7. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently mix in the halved blackberries with a rubber spatula.

8. Place the batter into a 5″x9″ loaf pan.

9. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the batter. I usually get enough streusel for two loaves and refrigerate the rest.

10. Bake for 30 minutes at 350-degrees. Turn the loaf and bake another 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

11. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

carrot blackberry streusel bread

Carrot blackberry streusel bread batter ready to put into a loaf pan for baking.

Notes on this recipe

Carrot blackberry streusel bread is an easy recipe to just mix by hand with a wooden spoon. A double recipe will fit in a standard KitchenAid mixing bowl. This recipe freezes well for later use.

Honey or maple syrup can be used instead of sugar. Add them to the wet ingredients. Less milk will be needed. A little molasses will make a darker loaf and add extra flavor.

Other flavors and combinations work well with carrot blackberry streusel bread. Vanilla extract, nutmeg, fresh or ground ginger, clove and cardamon are all good choices. Orange juice or lemon juice can be used instead of the milk for a citrus flavored loaf.

Try using a combination of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Chop extra nuts and add them to the batter for extra texture and flavor.

Carrot blackberry streusel bread makes a good treat for whole food health. Serve it in the morning or as a dessert with additional fresh fruit.

carrot blackberry streusel bread

Fresh blackberries are chock full of anti-inflammatory compounds and healthy fiber.

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Summer Salad For A Lite Refreshing Lunch http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/20/summer-salad-for-a-light-lunch/ Sat, 20 Aug 2016 20:05:56 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2452 About this summer salad recipe I call this my summer salad recipe because it uses all the vegetables I like fresh from the garden during the summer. There is a pleasing combination of textures from crisp and crunchy to soft…

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Summer salad

Summer salad brings together the best of summer’s garden fresh vegetables.

About this summer salad recipe

I call this my summer salad recipe because it uses all the vegetables I like fresh from the garden during the summer. There is a pleasing combination of textures from crisp and crunchy to soft and creamy. It is perky on the palette with fresh squeezed lemon juice and cucumber and sweet/tart tomato. Summer salad is the perfect light lunch for a hot summer’s day.

It is important to use fresh herbs for this recipe. Dried herbs really don’t do justice to the fresh vegetables. I love summer salad with just basil but parsley, cilantro, rosemary or other fresh herbs are also delicious. Or use a medley of whatever is available when you make it.

I like to use the lemon zest in addition to the juice. Leave the peel on the cucumber for extra crunch, flavor and nutrition. Use ripe tomatoes for the best flavor; tomatoes are not supposed to be crunchy.

Summer salad

The vegetables for summer salad should be as freshly picked and as ripe as possible.

Ingredients for the summer salad recipe

1 small-medium cucumber, 1/2-inch chopped      2 medium-large tomatoes, 1/2-inch chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, 1/2-inch chopped                    1/2 yellow bell pepper, 1/2-inch chopped

1 1/2-inch slice red onion, small chopped               1 large stalk celery, 1/4-inch sliced

1 large avocado, 1/2-inch chopped                            1 small lemon, zest and juice

10-15 large fresh basil leaves, coarse chopped        2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to taste                                                               freshly ground black pepper to taste

Summer salad

Summer salad recipe ingredients are chopped and ready to toss together.

Preparing the summer salad recipe

1. Chop all of the vegetables and herbs. Place them in a mixing bowl.

2. Add the lemon zest and juice.

3. Add the olive oil.

4. Add a small amount of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Toss all of the ingredients together well. Let sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.

6. Toss again and taste. Adjust the salt and pepper if needed.

Summer salad

Summer salad has all the delicious flavors of fresh summer vegetables in one dish.

Notes on this recipe

Summer salad is one variation of a fresh, local, raw vegetable salad. This dish fits into any healthy whole food diet and is packed full of anti-inflammatory compounds. There is plenty of fiber and healthy fats.

I like to serve this salad on a bed of mixed greens or bitter greens. Edamame on the side or hemp hearts sprinkles on top add a nice protein boost while keeping things raw and vegan. Whole raw sunflower or sesame seeds also work well with these flavors. Nuts are another good option.

This should be a seasonal salad. For the best flavor, only local, ripe and recently picked tomatoes should be used. Room temperature or only slightly chilled is the best way to serve this dish.

My favorite way to enjoy summer salad is as a small entree portion. Then add some hummus and baba ganoush with carrot and zucchini sticks on the side. A filling and refreshing lunch for whole food health.

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Fresh Soy: Is It Healthy Or Not? http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/19/fresh-soy-healthy-or-not/ Fri, 19 Aug 2016 16:17:14 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2440 Fresh soy is clearly a healthy food The health benefits of eating fresh soy should no longer be debated. The evidence is clear. Many large population and laboratory studies show soy reducing cancer rates, increasing overall health and increasing longevity.…

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Fresh soy

Fresh soy beans are called edamame.

Fresh soy is clearly a healthy food

The health benefits of eating fresh soy should no longer be debated. The evidence is clear. Many large population and laboratory studies show soy reducing cancer rates, increasing overall health and increasing longevity.

Soy is a legume. All legumes supply a wide variety of minerals, vitamins and other necessary nutrients. Legumes are also a great source of both kinds of dietary fiber.

Soy has other advantages over most legumes. Both fresh and dried beans are high in easily digestible protein. Soy is unique in supplying all of the amino acids we need to make complete protein. It is widely available in many different forms even in large chain supermarkets. And each type of soy product has its own flavor, texture and nutritional properties to offer every healthy whole food diet.

fresh soy

My favorite way to eat fresh soy beans is to squeeze the beans out of the pods. The pods are lightly steamed or blanched first. Frozen pods are usually ready to eat as soon as they are thawed.

The different ways to eat fresh soy

Fermented soy products probably come to mind first. Everyone has heard of miso and soy sauce. Less familiar are tempeh, tamari, shoyu and natto. Except for natto and shoyu, these are all readily available in most areas. The advantages of fermented soy are vitamin B12 and probiotic activity. Live probiotics are only in unpasteurized products and difficult to find because of government regulations. Vitamin B12 is a by-product of the fermentation process and content is usually negligible.

Fresh soy is steadily gaining popularity. Fresh whole beans, dried soy beans and tofu are all widely sold. Adding fresh soy increases variety and boosts whole food health.

Fresh beans are called edamame. They can be still in the pod like green peas, either in the freezer section or more rarely fresh in the produce department. Edamame are usually shelled and ready to eat. These firm but tender green beans make a great snack.

Soy milk is in every dairy department. It is a more highly processed product still containing most of the nutrient of whole soy. Read the label carefully before buying soy milk. Many ingredients are added to make it “better”. There are almost always guar gum, carrageenan or other conditioners to make it smoother and keep it from separating. It is often flavored. Soy milk without sweeteners can be hard to find. And it has most of the fiber left.

Tofu is the most popular fresh soy food. It is produced by coagulating soy milk and compressing the curds that form. The process is similar to making dairy cheese. The usual coagulant is a salt, either calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride.

Whole dried soy beans are prepared like any other legume. Soak for several hours or overnight in water. Drain and rinse them. Then boil them in fresh water until tender. The last step is to drain off the cooking water.

fresh soy

Dried soy beans are prepared like any other legume. They have the advantage of containing complete protein.

Why do many people think fresh soy is unhealthy?

All of the arguments used against soy have been debunked. Like every whole food, soy is not perfect. But every legitimate study shows many health benefits for those eating the most soy.

Some think we should not eat soy because it contains the same “anti-nutrients” as other beans. Phytates in legumes interfere with our ability to absorb some nutrients. This action of phytates applies particularly to iron and a few other minerals. But soy is so high in minerals that we still get a good dose even in the presence of phytates. Proper preparation of dried soy beans removes nearly all the the phytates. Phytates can also help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

Complex sugars in soy cannot be digested in the stomach or small intestine. These sugars are digested by the bacteria in the large intestine. This can lead to gas and bloating in some people. It is also very good for a healthy gut biome. These complex sugars are probably responsible for soy’s ability to lower colon and prostate cancer rates. Again, proper preparation of dried soy beans removes or breaks down most of these sugars.

Fresh soy contains phytoestrogens. They bind to the same cell receptors as human estrogen hormone. Their effect is not the same as the human hormone. Estrogen spurs cell growth and division. High estrogen levels are linked to increased risk of breast and other cancers. Increased soy consumption is linked to reduced cancer incidence. There is no proof that eating soy causes breast cancer and the opposite effect is well documented.

fresh soy

Tofu is made from fresh soy beans. Some tofu is fermented but most is not.

How to get more fresh soy into a healthy whole food diet?

My favorite way to eat fresh soy is to squeeze edamame beans out of the pods. This makes a great snack. Edamame are tender but firm, slightly nutty and just slightly sweet.

Tofu is a good substitute for animal protein in recipes. It has almost no flavor of its own. Tofu will readily absorb the flavors and aromas of whatever it is cooked with. Marinating tofu with your favorite flavors and then sauteing or baking it makes it more suitable for an entree item. Cooking also makes tofu firmer. Marinated cooked tofu can be added to other recipes and used to top salads.

Dried soy beans can be used like any other legume. Puree them with vegetables, herbs and spices to make a delicious dip. Add them to soups. Make dried soy beans part of a ragout. The puree also works well as a thickener for sauces.

Soy milk is a direct replacement for dairy milk in baking recipes. It can be used to make vegan bisques and other creamy soups and sauces. Use soy milk instead of other creamers in coffee.

fresh soy

This tofu is marinating in tamari, ginger, red chile pepper and lemon juice before baking. Marinating adds flavor and baking makes it firmer.

Fresh soy reference links

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1503071

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tofu

http://drbenkim.com/soy-health.htm

http://www.med.umich.edu/umim/food-pyramid/soy.html

Is Soy Good for You? Bad for You? What Does Science Say?

 

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A Healthy Meal For A Whole Food Diet http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/17/a-healthy-meal-whole-food-diet/ Wed, 17 Aug 2016 23:45:44 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2430 A healthy meal has a variety of whole foods A healthy meal is based on whole foods. The foundation is a variety of fresh vegetables. Best is a mix of both raw and cooked vegetables. Most  should be complex carbohydrates…

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A healthy meal

A healthy meal with a variety of whole foods. This plate has greens, cooked and raw vegetables, whole grain and legumes.

A healthy meal has a variety of whole foods

A healthy meal is based on whole foods. The foundation is a variety of fresh vegetables. Best is a mix of both raw and cooked vegetables. Most  should be complex carbohydrates rather than starches. This will give the highest nutrient density to any meal.

Leafy greens supply many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They are a fantastic anti-inflammatory food. Raw salad is a good source of leafy greens. Cooked greens, such as beet greens, kale, collards and Swiss chard add their own flavors and textures to a meal.

Legumes have a place on every plate. These can be cooked dry beans like lentils or fresh beans like edamame or green beans or snap peas. It is even better to feature both. Legumes are a great source of protein that is easier on the kidneys than animal protein.

Whole grains contribute to whole food health. A serving of whole grain on every plate adds many nutrients to a meal. Many fast and delicious whole grain options are available.

a healthy meal

Green peas, garlic, red and yellow bell pepper and red onion are cooked in a little avocado oil before adding the whole grain millet for the pilaf. Extra vegetables add nutrition and fiber to a healthy meal.

Adding more nutrition to a healthy meal

There are easy ways to add even more nutritional value and variety to a healthy meal. Including other food groups adds their unique nutrients to a solid foundation. It all contributes to a healthy whole food diet.

Nuts promote health and longevity. They can sprinkled onto a salad. Nuts can be added to a whole grain pilaf. Having a bowl of nuts on the dining table invites nibbling on a few during each meal. My favorite nuts include Brazil nuts(especially high in selenium), walnuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts. I like to slip in some pistachios, hazel nuts, pecans and macadamias occasionally. Nuts are also a great addition to many desserts.

Seeds supply all of the nutrients to get a whole new plant off to a good start in life. Eating them does the same for us. Hemp hearts, chia seeds and sesame seeds can be sprinkled on most any dish for a nutritional boost and added texture and flavor. Whole celery, cumin, caraway, coriander and mustard seeds do the same for legumes and whole grains when added to the cooking pot.

Mushrooms belong to an entirely different category of plants than vegetables. They contribute nutrients unique to the fungi family. Eating more mushrooms can particularly strengthen the immune system. Mushrooms are also a good source of phosphorous. Include mushrooms when cooking greens, vegetable stir-fries, legumes and whole grains.

Fats are a must for a healthy meal. Many vitamins and some minerals and other nutrients are only absorbed properly when eaten with fats. Getting enough fat is easy. Use a little avocado or coconut oil to stir-fry or saute the veggies. Top the salad with fresh avocado or just have it on the side. Lightly drizzle the salad with avocado, almond or extra virgin olive oil for flavor. Add good fats by adding a few nuts. Flavor the whole grain pilaf with truffle oil or herb-infused olive oil.

Herbs and spices are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds. That is why they are so aromatic and full of flavor. Use as many as possible in every dish to enhance nutrition and health. I love having fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, parsley and cilantro available from the backyard garden or windowsill pots. Fresh or ground turmeric and ginger root is a daily part of my diet. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and black pepper all enhance flavor and health.

Tea, especially green tea, is also a proven health and longevity enhancer. Adding a few slices of fresh ginger root and lemon to the brewing water makes it even better. Hot and cold teas are a healthier alternative to soda or fruit juices. Why drink something that makes you sick when you can drink something that makes you healthy instead?

a healthy meal

Fresh and dried herbs and spices are highly anti-inflammatory foods. They should be part of a healthy meal.

Use healthy diet tips to make every meal a healthy meal:

*Add vegetables to everything. Five or six different vegetables added to a whole grain pilaf, potato or pasta salad, meatloaf or other recipe increases nutrients and fiber.

*Use fermented vegetables as a condiment or accent. A small portion of raw(unpasteurized) sauerkraut or kimchi on the plate packs in a lot of immune-boosting good bacteria. These bacteria also produce small amounts of vitamin B12 as a fermentation by-product.

*Use fermented dairy to make sauces, dips and dressings with a probiotic punch. Tzatziki and variations use yogurt and can be served as a cold soup, as a sauce or as a dip. Kefir works well as the base for probiotic salad dressings and sauces. Either can replace sour cream in recipes like Stroganof or bisque or tetrazini.

*Spices and herbs are important sources of vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory compounds. Use turmeric, ginger, black pepper, dried red chiles, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and others as much as possible. The same goes for fresh and dried herbs.

*Seeds are packed with nutrients and are easy to add to many recipes. Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and as many more as you can find add nutritional value to hot porridges, pilafs, casseroles, baked goods and other items. Seeds are also great sprinkled on salads and tossed into stir-fries.

a healthy meal

Chile peppers, dried or fresh, are loaded with vitamin C and other nutrients. Use them liberally to perk up a recipe and make a healthy meal better.

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Choose Your Vegetables Carefully http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/2016/08/15/choose-your-vegetables-carefully/ Mon, 15 Aug 2016 16:35:34 +0000 http://thinkeatbehealthy.com/?p=2417 Choose your vegetables with care The most important thing you do each day is choose your vegetables at every meal. This decision is critical because vegetables should make up the largest part of our diet. If they don’t, we are…

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Choose your vegetables

Choose your vegetables carefully to get the most nutrition from every meal.

Choose your vegetables with care

The most important thing you do each day is choose your vegetables at every meal. This decision is critical because vegetables should make up the largest part of our diet. If they don’t, we are just not going to be as healthy as possible. This is not a matter of opinion. It is a fact backed up by many studies on diet and health. When people eat more vegetables they are healthier, happier and live longer. They have fewer chronic diseases in their old age.

Any vegetables are better than readily available alternatives like candy, white bread and other highly processed foods. But some vegetables provide a lot more nutrition than others. And some are more potent anti-inflammatory foods than others. We can only eat so much food and so many vegetables each day. We should choose the best whenever there is a choice.

Choose your vegetables

Onions are part of the allium family and are full of health-promoting nutrients. Red onion are a more potent anti-inflammatory food.

How to choose your vegetables

There are some loose guidelines to help choose your vegetables every day. It is up to each of us to learn these guidelines. It is up to us to put them into practice. Our health is our responsibility, not our doctor’s or our government’s. Choose your vegetables carefully to stay healthier. Stay healthier to stay out of the doctor’s office, out of the hospital and away from the pharmacy.

*Guideline #1. Choose fresh over canned or frozen. Fresh vegetables are unprocessed vegetables. Fresh vegetables do not have added excess salt, preservatives, colors or other unnecessary ingredients. They have not been exposed to chemicals leached from plastic can linings. They still have at least most of their nutrients. And they are much more likely to be grown locally.

*Guideline #2. Choose more brightly colored vegetables. Purple potatoes have more antioxidants than white potatoes. Red onions give us more anti-inflammatory compounds than yellow onions. Red cabbage is better for us than green cabbage. Dark green vegetables supply more nutrients than paler choices.

*Guideline #3. Variety is important when you choose your vegetables. It is better to eat several smaller portions of different vegetables than to eat large amounts of only a few. Nutrients are synergistic in our bodies. The more variety, the bigger the health boost.

red cabbage

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable along with broccoli, kale and many others. Red cabbage has all the same good stuff as green cabbage plus more antioxidants.

Eat the right vegetables for whole food health

Vegetables are the foundation of a healthy whole food diet. Choose your vegetables wisely to make this foundation even stronger. Remember: a stronger foundation makes a stronger house.

Other foods are needed for health. Fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds are all important pieces of the total health puzzle. These whole foods supply fiber, healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and a host of other nutrients. They should be eaten every day, too. But they will always play supporting roles to vegetables’ lead.

Resource links:

Vegetables and Fruits

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/19/health/benefits-of-vegetables/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-lisa-young/healthy-food_b_1665279.html

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