Garlic Scapes!

This time of year, if you have been visiting your farmers markets, you may have noticed these tangles of garlic scapes, the flower buds of garlic.  These scapes are what grow from the garlic bulb when the garlic is left unharvested.  Although they look really interesting displayed as a bouquet, you don't want to miss out on how delicious they are.

You can eat them raw or cooked.  More mild than the garlic bulb, add them to anything, whole, chopped into big or small pieces, or processed with or as pesto. 

Nutritional Value: Similar to the bulb, the scapes help reduce your risks of cancer and other major illness, helping to keep our organs and bones healthy.  They also help the body detox, which the body needs MUCH support with even though we are detoxing every second of every day.  Our bodies today are overburdened. 

Storage: They will keep for weeks in the fridge, unwashed, and in a plastic bag.

Prep: simply wash and discard the stingy tip and any part that isn't green. Scapes are versatile; add them to anything and everything, cook any which way.  For ideas, please click on the recipe button below.

Thank you for reading my blog!

To Your Amazing Health,

Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

Lettuce Be Healthy!!!

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There are many types of lettuce. Nutritionally speaking, the more colorful or darker the leaf, the more nutritional value it has. Iceberg does not offer much besides hydration and some fiber. Romaine is an excellent choice, containing double the nutrients (including plant protein) than iceberg, and this time of the year is perfect on the grill. There are so many ways to fix a salad, I am always bewildered when I hear someone comment that they are sick of them.

Did you know lettuce:

  • Heart healthy
  • Low in calories and actually helps weight loss and maintenance 
  • Omega 3's
  • Protein
  • High in fiber
  • Alkaline
  • Low glycemic
  • Hydrating
  • Calming to the body and may help you sleep
  • Living plant

Lettuce is a very healthy part of the diet for most. 

Storing

Store wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag. I like to soak in a veggie wash and spin dry, first. I separate layers of lettuce with a sheet of paper towel and seal in a large ziplock baggie.

Preparation

Thoroughly wash your lettuce and serve, or wilt with a warm dressing, grill, saute, use as a wrap...

Thanks for reading my blog and please click on the button below for recipes.

-Dawn Swope, CHHC

Strawberry!

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This is such a wonderful time of year.  The flowers are blooming, the grass is green, and strawberries are in season.  There is nothing like a local, organic strawberry, recently picked.  The picture above is not from stock, but is a photo of the organic strawberries picked fresh from Upper Pond Farm here in the Lyme-Old Lyme area. Conventional (non-organic) strawberries have been #1 on the Dirty Dozen list since the list was created several years ago, containing some of the highest amounts of pesticide residue.  These pesticides and chemicals are also found systemically (can't be washed off).  Industrial farmed organic strawberries are not much better.  Buy your strawberries local, organic local when available. Click here for information on the Dirty Dozen. 

Strawberries are high in vitamin C.  They also contain large amounts of folate (B9), manganese, potassium, iodine, and fiber.  Strawberries have high amounts of antioxidants and phytonutrients and are considered one of the best foods to eat.  Antioxidants keep the free radicals in check.  Free radicals cause cell damage;  we NEED healthy cells.  Strawberries help lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, and reduce your cancer risks.  This berry is considered a Superfood.

Strawberries are delicate and perishable.  They are best stored uncovered on your countertop and consumed within 24-hours, or stored in your refrigerator in a sealed container, preferably in the fruit drawer, for up to two days.  Store them unwashed with stem on and remove any moldy, wet, or damaged strawberries.  Longer than two days, strawberries begin to lose vitamin C and antioxidants quickly, the reason we are supposed to eat them!  Strawberries should be washed, dried as best you can, and frozen if not consumed within two days.

Preparing strawberries is very simple.  Hull your strawberries with a knife, straw, or strawberry huller.  As with all produce, wash thoroughly.  I soak my produce in a solution of white vinegar and water, or use a store-bought produce wash. Remember to rinse well.

Please click on the button below for recipes.

Thanks for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

MICROGREENS!!!

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Microgreens are a vegetable green. They are smaller than baby greens, bigger than sprouts, and have about 40% more in nutrients than their full grown counterparts. Microgreens pack big flavor from mild to spicy.  You can add them to just about anything and you will instantly improve the nutrition of what you are eating.

Nutrition

Microgreens are considered a "superfood," a real superfood that I am not marketing here for any other gain except that you should try them. Each microgreen plant tastes different, so find the one(s) you like. I LOVE them ALL!

Storing

Wrap unwashed in a damp paper towel, sealed in a plastic bag or glass container. Should keep in the fridge for about a week or more. 

Preparation

Always wash your produce with a store-bought veggie wash or a solution of water and white vinegar. That's it. You are good to go! Best eaten raw, add them to everything. Not only are you increasing the nutritional density of your meal, you are making a work of art. 

microgreens farmbox greens.jpg

Photo Credit: Farmbox Greens

I like them atop my avocado toast, on my grilled panini, sprinkled on my plate as an edible garnish. I like a salad of micros with chopped red onion, artichoke hearts, cucumber, radish, olives, feta, capers.

Please click the button below for recipe ideas and thanks so much for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC

Don't Worry About Your Onion Breath

onion+Wikipedia.jpg

Onions are amazing. I know; I say this in every blog. Scallions, pearl, vidalia, shallots, ramps, leeks...this blog is about the bulb, although scallions do not have a bulb and are considered an onion. Here is Dictionary.com's definition to further clarify: an edible bulb with a pungent taste and smell, composed of several concentric layers, used in cooking.

Do you deny yourself from indulging in onions because of bad breath? Well don't! The health benefits are worth it.

Nutrition

According to Dr. Mercola, more and more health benefits of onions are still being discovered. Onions have been shown to help lower blood sugar, high cholesterol, blood pressure, reduce the risk of colon cancer and other cancers, and inflammation .  Onions are known for the antioxidant quercetin. They are a good source of vitamin C, folate, fiber, manganese (which provides cold and flu relief) , vitamin B6, and potassium, and calcium. Yes...calcium.  Overfall, eating onions is good for your health: bone, immune system, heart, eye.  Try not to peel much of the outer layers as that is where much of the flavonoids (anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory) are concentrated.

About that breath?

Reducing and possibly eliminating onion breath:

Eat fruit, especially apple
Eat vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, or potatoes
Suck on a lemon wedge or drink a glass of lemon water
Add parsley or basil to your meal
Storing

Dry, fall onions are best kept in a dark, cool but not cold, dry, well ventilated storage area and can keep for months. Not in a plastic bag nor near potatoes. 

Preparing

There are so many ways.  Most, if not all, of us peel the onion.  The skins are actually quite nutritious.  Be sure to use organic onions if you plan on using the skin. Steep the skins in soups, roasts, tea, and then discard them. The onion?  Raw, caramelized, sauteed, boiled, roasted, baked, grilled.

I think you know what to do with them, but please click below for more ideas and thanks for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC

Spaghetti Squash is WAY More than a Replacement

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I am Italian American.  Italian is the diet and lifestyle I grew up with.  Pasta was served at every meal as a side dish or the main dish.  A cold, stuffed shell for breakfast was quite filling.  I had never heard of the spaghetti squash until a decade or so ago.  Prior to my nutrition education, I jumped on the low carb/no pasta craze and purchased this squash to replace my semolina.  Spaghetti squash with marinara was so delicious; it's still amazing!!!  But spaghetti squash is better than a replacement;  it's versatile, yummy, and a nutrition superstar. 

Spaghetti squash, also known as spaghetti or vegetable noodle, is originally from China.  It was introduced into the U.S. in the 1920's and gained popularity in the late 20th century.  This squash boasts 400% of the daily value for Vitamin A, 50% daily value for Vitamin C, contains B Vitamins, Riboflavin, Niacin, Thiamin, Folate, Omegas 3 & 6, and Potassium.  Spaghetti squash is a healthy part of your diet.  Eat the rainbow!

Storage

Store at room temperature for several weeks.  

Preparation

Spaghetti squash can be eaten raw, but I do not recomend it. It is not as flavorful and is chunky instead of stringy. Follow the steps below, minus the baking. There are several ways to prepare this squash and I have personally tried them all.  Wash the outside of the squash.  Cut the squash lengthwise.  Cutting through it can be tricky if you do not have a big, sharp knife.  How's that for technical!!  Scrape out the seeds using a spoon but don't discard! Rinse the seeds and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and any other spice blend you enjoy such as curry, rosemary, etc. Bake in a 350 degree oven until fragrant and toasted.  Bake the squash cut-side down on an ungreased cookie sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven until fork-tender, about 30-40 minutes. Bake time varies depending on the size of the squash and your oven of course.  Using a fork, scrape out the squash and serve with a little butter or your favorite topping. Try crispy sauteed sage and butter or a fresh marinara.  

You can add to salads, soups, wraps, or feature it as the main meal.  For serving suggestions, please click on the recipe button below.

Thanks for reading my blog!

-Dawn Swope AADP, CCHC


References

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/spaghetti-squash.html

http://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/the-easiest-best-way-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-article

Lettuce

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There are many types of lettuce. Nutritionally speaking, the more colorful or darker the leaf, the more nutritional value it has. Iceberg does not offer much besides hydration and some fiber. Romaine is an excellent choice.

Did you know lettuce:

  • Heart healthy
  • Low in calories
  • Omega 3's
  • Protein
  • High in fiber
  • Alkaline
  • Low glycemic
  • Calming to the body and may help you sleep
  • Living plant

Lettuce is a very healthy part of the diet for most. 

Storing

Store wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag. I like to soak in a veggie wash and spin dry, first. I separate layers of lettuce with a sheet of paper towel and seal in a large ziplock baggie.

Preparation

Thoroughly wash your lettuce and serve, or wilt with a warm dressing, grill, saute, use as a wrap...

Thanks for reading my blog and please click on the button below for recipes.

-Dawn Swope, CHHC

 

 

Easter Egg Radishes

easter egg radish.jpg

Radishes. A sign of spring. Easter Egg radishes. Full of flavor, a burst of color, crunchy, delicious, and yes...nutritious. Radishes are a root vegetable, a member of the brassica (cruciferous) family, like broccoli and cabbage.  

5 Reasons to eat your radishes:

1.     Detoxifying-helps to break down and eliminate toxins,

2.     Digestive Aid- helps to relieve bloating and indigestion and aids in the digestive process,

3.     Low in calories and high in nutrients,

4.     Nourishing and hydrating- high vitamin C, Folate, fiber, riboflavin, and potassium,

5.     Cruciferous- helps to eliminate the cancer-causing free radicals.  Radishes contain many phytonutrients that aid in cancer prevention.

Storing  

The greens should be removed from the root prior to storing, prolonging the life of each. Store the bulbs  covered with a damp paper towel in an airtight container in the refrigerator. covered with a Wrap the bulb wrapped in a damp paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag for around a week or two. The greens will only keep for a few days, wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  

Preparing

Scrub the outside of the bulbs with a veggie wash and scrub gently with a vegetable brush. Add to salads, serve as an appetizer, steamed, sauteed, stir-fried, roasted.  The greens can be washed in a salad spinner with veggie wash and spun.  Add greens to soups, saute, stirfry, eggs, or mixed with your green salad.  

Thank you for reading my blog and please click on the recipe button below.  

-Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP, BA

Beans, Beans, Are A Musical Fruit...

Beans, dried beans that is, actually shouldn't make you "musical" if you are preparing them correctly. Beans are legumes-a dried fruit from a pod. There are other legumes, such as peas and peanuts. Legumes, as nuts, seeds, and grains, contain phytates. Phytates not only cause flatulence, an inflammatory response in the body, but prevent the legume's nutrients from beng utilized by the body. In order to reduce this phytic acid, soak dried beans in cool water for 6-8 hours prior to cooking.  I leave mine on the counter. Be sure to drain the soaking water and rinse the beans thoroughly.  

There are companies that soak their beans prior to canning, but that you will need to research. Canned beans should be stored in a BPA-free lined can/pouch/box, have no added salt, and preferably be organic. Canned beans can be a time saver, but be sure to read the ingredients label. There is nothing like preparing dried beans yourself.

Nutrition

Beans are part of a healthy diet for most. If you are still exhibiting symptoms after soaking, your body may be very reactive to the phytates. We'll save the lectin discussion for another time. You should feel energized and satiated after a meal. If you have bloating, gas, mucus, brain fog, etc., you may want to refrain from feeding your body the inflammation causing food(s) as much as possible. Remember, our aim is to reduce inflammation, the root cause of all major illness.

Beans are a nutritional powerhouse. Each variety packs a different punch, but what they have in common is they have both soluble and insoluble fiber, critical for promoting regularity, reducing risks of colon cancer, and helps regulate cholesterol. They are rich in folate, protein, complex carbohydrates (we need these), vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. They also contain a mineral that help the absorption of iron.  Oh, and they are low in fat. If you must purchase them canned, be sure to choose wisely.

Storage

Store in a glass container with a tight sealing lid, in a cool spot away from direct sunlight.

Preparation

Farm to table, nothing like it. Sort through the beans, removing any broken beans or rocks and give them a good rinse. Soak your beans in water for 6-8 hours. I soak them first thing in the morning and they are ready to cook at the end of the day. If you are concerned about waiting for them to cook, a common complaint, cook them up for the next day and have something else ready for dinner that night. 

Dried beans taste different than canned. The texture is also different. If you have never prepareds dried beans it is simple and VERY delicious. 

Please click on the button below for recipes. Thanks for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

Microgreens: You need to be eating them

How many of you have heard of microgreens prior to Upper Pond sprouting up in Old Lyme? For those of you not from our area, how long have you known/do you know about microgreens? Are you aware that microgreens, and we are referring to the greens that are smaller than baby greens, bigger than sprouts, have about 40% more in nutrients than their full grown counterparts? Replacing microgreens for some of your lettuce, or adding with your lettuce, or adding to anything, will dramatically improve your nutrition.

Nutrition

I can go on to list  the profile, however, let it suffice to say that microgreens are considered a "superfood," a real superfood that I am not marketing here for any gain except that you should try them. Each microgreen plant tastes different, so find the one(s) you like.  Like anything "healthy," for some, microgreens may not be healthy for you. Eating should make us feel energized, focussed, satiated.  You should not need a nap after you eat, nor should you feel bloated, etc.

Storing

Wrap unwashed in a damp paper towel, sealed in a plastic bag or glass container. Should keep in the fridge for about a week or more. 

Preparation

Always wash your produce with a store-bought veggie wash or a solution of water and white vinegar. That's it. You are good to go! Best eaten raw, add them to everything. Not only are you increasing the nutritional density of your meal, you are making a work of art. 

Photo by Maya Green of Honest Cooking

I like them atop my avocado toast, on my grilled panini, sprinkled on my plate as an edible garnish. I like a salad of micros with chopped red onion, artichoke hearts, cucumber, radish, olives, feta, capers.

Please click the button below for recipe ideas and thanks so much for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC

Don't Worry About Your Onion Breath...

onion Wikipedia.jpg

Onions are amazing. I know; I say this in every blog. Scallions, pearl, vidalia, shallots, ramps, leeks...this blog is about the bulb. Here is Dictionary.com's definition to further clarify: an edible bulb with a pungent taste and smell, composed of several concentric layers, used in cooking.

Do you deny yourself from indulging in onions because of bad breath? Well don't! The health benefits are worth it.

Nutrition

According to Dr. Mercola, more and more health benefits of onions are still being discovered. Onions have been shown to help lower blood sugar, high cholesterol, blood pressure, reduce the risk of colon cancer and other cancers, and inflammation .  Onions are known for the antioxidant quercetin. They are a good source of vitamin C, folate, fiber, manganese (which provides cold and flu relief) , vitamin B6, and potassium, and calcium. Yes...calcium.  Overfall, eating onions is good for your health: bone, immune system, heart, eye.  Try not to peel much of the outer layers as that is where much of the flavonoids (anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory) are concentrated.

About that breath?

Reducing and possibly eliminating onion breath:

  • Eat fruit, especially apple
  • Eat vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, or potatoes
  • Suck on a lemon wedge or drink a glass of lemon water
  • Add parsley or basil to your meal

Storing

Dry, fall onions are best kept in a dark, cool but not cold, dry, well ventilated storage area and can keep for months. Not in a plastic bag nor near potatoes. 

Preparing

There are so many ways.  Most, if not all, of us peel the onion.  The skins are actually quite nutritious.  Be sure to use organic onions if you plan on using the skin. Steep the skins in soups, roasts, tea, and then discard them. The onion?  Raw, caramelized, sauteed, boiled, roasted, baked, grilled. I think you know what to do with them, but click below for more ideas. And thanks for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts may or may not be from Brussels.  A member of the brassica family, they are a nutritional powerhouse and reduce systemic inflammation, the root cause of most disease. They are also low in calories.  When you eat Brussels sprouts you may be lowering your cancer risk. Brussels sprouts also help the body with detoxification, which the body performs on a daily basis and needs more support now more than ever.  Brussels sprouts also support heart health. The brassica family, i.e. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, is known for reducing major health risks. Eat Brussels sprouts for Cardiovascular health, healthy vision, and bone health.  

Storing

Some advise to store unwashed in a sealed plastic bag, others say in a bowl, uncovered, peeling off the shriveled outer layer when ready to prepare.  I personally have stored both ways and have not noticed one way more successful than another.   Purchasing them and storing on the stalk seems to last longer for me.   Refrigerate either way and they should store for a few months from what I have read, but why would you store them that long!!!  

Preparation

Roast your sprouts on or off the stalk. But always wash thoroughly, first. Remove the sprouts by snapping off the stalk.  Trim the sprouts by peeling the yellowed or wilted outer leaves. Wash with a veggie wash solution and rinse.  Spin or pat dry if not steaming.  

Shave them and eat raw in a salad, steam them for 5-7 minutes depending on their size and how many, roast, sauté, blanch,  chop and add to a stir-fry, add to kabobs, toss them in a soup.

The Stalk

The stalk is edible and tastes very much like the sprout, but takes longer to cook.  Wash stalk thoroughly, chop, and prepare as you would the sprout.

On Stalk

Wash stalk and sprouts with veggie wash and vegetable brush.  Brush with Grapeseed or olive oil and roast or barbecue on medium heat, turning often, until caramel colored.

Whatever you do, don't overcook them.  

If your thinking "stinky" when you think of Brussel sprouts, you have eaten them/smelled them overcooked.  Brussels emit that sulfur odor when they are overcooked.  Overcooking most fruits and vegetables will of course reduce the nutritional value

Thank you for reading my blog and please click on the button below for recipes.

-Dawn

The reader understands that the role of the Health Coach is not to prescribe or assess micro- and macronutrient levels; provide health care, medical or nutrition therapy services; or to diagnose, treat or cure any disease, condition or other physical or mental ailment of the human body.  Rather, the Coach is a mentor and guide who has been trained in holistic health coaching to help clients reach their own health goals by helping clients devise and implement positive, sustainable lifestyle changes. The reader understands that the Coach is not acting in the capacity of a doctor, licensed dietician-nutritionist, psychologist or other licensed or registered professional, and that any advice given by the Coach is not meant to take the place of advice by these professionals.  If the reader is under the care of a health care professional or currently uses prescription medications, the reader should discuss any dietary changes or potential dietary supplements use with his or her doctor, and should not discontinue any prescription medications without first consulting his or her doctor.  
The reader understands that the information received should not be seen as medical or nursing advice and is not meant to take the place of seeing licensed health professionals. 

D'Avignon Radish: French Breakfast Radish

 Each week during the CSA season, I blog about a featured fruit or vegetable.  In my seasonal blog I celebrate each food, sharing my research and opinion on why you should be eating it and how to store, prepare, and cook with it.  In the past, prior to becoming a Certified Health Coach, I read articles and advertisements that steered me towards certain fruits and vegetables in order to be "healthy."  Each fruit and vegetable has it's own unique reason for eating it; when you hear the phrase, "eat the rainbow," this is what they are referring to.  The body needs each phytonutrient that each and every plant has to offer.  There is a caveat to this, of course;  all fruits and vegetables are not good for everyone, for instance if you have diverticulitis, blueberries would not be a healthy option.  To make my point, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and oh man,  D'Avignon   radishes are delicious and nutritious!    Radishes are a nutritious root vegetable, a member of the brassica (cruciferous) family, like broccoli and cabbage.     5 Reasons to eat your radishes:   1.     Detoxifying-helps to break down and eliminate toxins,  2.     Digestive Aid- helps to relieve bloating and indigestion and aids in the digestive process,  3.     Low in calories and high in nutrients,  4.     Nourishing and hydrating- high vitamin C, Folate, fiber, riboflavin, and potassium,  5.     Cruciferous- helps to eliminate the cancer-causing free radicals.  Radishes contain many phytonutrients that aid in cancer prevention.   Storing     The greens should be removed from the root prior to storing, prolonging the life of each. Store the bulbs  covered with a damp paper towel in an airtight container in the refrigerator. covered with a Wrap the bulb wrapped in a damp paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag for around a week or two. The greens will only keep for a few days, wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.     Preparing   Scrub the outside of the bulbs with a veggie wash and scrub gently with a vegetable brush.  Add to salads, serve as an appetizer, steamed, sauteed, stir-fried roasted.  The greens can be washed in a salad spinner with veggie wash and spun.  Add greens to soups, stir-fries, eggs, or mixed with your green salad.    Thank you for reading my blog and please click on the recipe button below.    -Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP, BA

Each week during the CSA season, I blog about a featured fruit or vegetable.  In my seasonal blog I celebrate each food, sharing my research and opinion on why you should be eating it and how to store, prepare, and cook with it.  In the past, prior to becoming a Certified Health Coach, I read articles and advertisements that steered me towards certain fruits and vegetables in order to be "healthy."  Each fruit and vegetable has it's own unique reason for eating it; when you hear the phrase, "eat the rainbow," this is what they are referring to.  The body needs each phytonutrient that each and every plant has to offer.  There is a caveat to this, of course;  all fruits and vegetables are not good for everyone, for instance if you have diverticulitis, blueberries would not be a healthy option.  To make my point, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and oh man, D'Avignon  radishes are delicious and nutritious!  

Radishes are a nutritious root vegetable, a member of the brassica (cruciferous) family, like broccoli and cabbage.  

5 Reasons to eat your radishes:

1.     Detoxifying-helps to break down and eliminate toxins,

2.     Digestive Aid- helps to relieve bloating and indigestion and aids in the digestive process,

3.     Low in calories and high in nutrients,

4.     Nourishing and hydrating- high vitamin C, Folate, fiber, riboflavin, and potassium,

5.     Cruciferous- helps to eliminate the cancer-causing free radicals.  Radishes contain many phytonutrients that aid in cancer prevention.

Storing  

The greens should be removed from the root prior to storing, prolonging the life of each. Store the bulbs  covered with a damp paper towel in an airtight container in the refrigerator. covered with a Wrap the bulb wrapped in a damp paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag for around a week or two. The greens will only keep for a few days, wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  

Preparing

Scrub the outside of the bulbs with a veggie wash and scrub gently with a vegetable brush.  Add to salads, serve as an appetizer, steamed, sauteed, stir-fried roasted.  The greens can be washed in a salad spinner with veggie wash and spun.  Add greens to soups, stir-fries, eggs, or mixed with your green salad.  

Thank you for reading my blog and please click on the recipe button below.  

-Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP, BA

Napa or Chinese Cabbage

Napa  or Chinese Cabbage

Chinese Cabbage is not bok choy.  It is, however,  referred to as Napa (or nappa) Cabbage, and several other names not used here in America.  Chinese cabbage is more mild in flavor and more delicate in texture than other cabbage varieties.  The leaves are perfect for using as sandwich wraps and for rolling with clever mixtures.  The tender leaves are perfect for eating raw, but are delicious lightly sautéed or braised as well.  Botanically, this cabbage belongs to the brassica family which also includes Brussel sprouts, kale, etc.  

The Great Pumpkin

 Photo Credit: Livestrong.com

Photo Credit: Livestrong.com

Pumpkins, like apples, are the signature Fall food, Fall's hallmark.  We use pumpkins in our decor, wardrobe, and cooking.  We display them in our yard, on our doorstep.  The pumpkin, the great symbol used to celebrate the change of season and our health and vitality.

What are pumpkins good for? Well, both the flesh and the seeds provide a tremendous amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals.  The seeds also provide protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids and tryptophan; they are a great snack for providing mind and body nourishment. The flesh contains a phytonutrient, carotene, that helps reduce the risks of heart disease and many cancers as well as the effects of aging. The flesh also contains flavonoids that destroy free radicals.  Pumpkin is a low calorie food.

Preparation

Always wash your produce with a store bought veggie wash or white vinegar and water. Pumpkin can be eaten raw or steamed, boiled, roasted, sauteed. Chunk it, shred it, puree it.  Add it to soups, mashed potatoes, smoothies, chia pudding. It can be the soup, the mash the smoothie or the pudding! Cakes, breads, pancakes, pastas, coffee...pumpkin everything. Don't forget to save the seeds.

Small pumpkins are best for cutting, larger ones for carving, unless you are experienced at cutting a pumpkin. The easiest way to cut and peel a pumpkin is to lop off the top of the pumpkin, then cut in half, top to bottom, scoop out the seeds and peel.  Cut or chop according to your recipe. If using raw, simply chop into smaller cubes to be consumed as is or pulsed in a food processor. If you are roasting a pumpkin the easiest way to prep is to cut in half, remove the seeds, then cut the halves in half and roast skin-side down.  Simply roast until the flesh is soft.  The flesh can be removed from the skin when cool enough to handle.

Thanks so much for reading my blog and please click on the button below for recipes.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash, although seasonally is harvested with the winter squash, actually belongs to the same species as summer squash.  Acorn squash is native to North America. Squash is technically a fruit and has amazing health benefits.  Acorn squash is high in fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and is a vitamin A powerhouse.   The seeds are also nutritious being high in protein, healthy fats, and zinc.  Here's what Dr. Axe has to say; you know I love Dr. Axe:

Dr. Axe acorn squash.jpg

Storing

Acorn squash if stored in a cool, dry spot will keep for around 4 weeks or so.  It is a bit more perishable than Butternut squash and other winter squash.

Prepping

 Always use a veggie wash, homemade or store bought, and thoroughly wash the outside of your squash.  The easiest way to prepare acorn squash and most squash is to cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds using a metal spoon (save for roasting)  and roast face down on an un-greased cookie sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven until tender when poked with a fork.  Cool and scoop out meat using a spoon.  What to do with the meat?  Add brown sugar and cinnamon and/or turmeric, or serve drizzled with a teaspoon of olive oil and dust with salt and pepper.  The most delicious way to serve acorn is to cut in half lengthwise, stuff, and bake.  You can also cut into rings; when the squash is baked until soft the skin is delicious. Acorn squash, like other squash, can also be eaten raw. Please click on the button below for recipes and thanks for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

References

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/acorn-squash.html

Dr. Axe

"Smooth As Butter And Sweet As A Nut"

Charles Leggett developed the squash known as Butternut.  It is a cross between gooseneck squash and other varieties.  Leggett wanted something smaller than a Hubbard squash and flesh that was easier to prepare. Those who tasted this new squash described it as, "smooth as butter and sweet as a nut," thus the name butternut.  Winter and summer squash are very different.  Winter squash is allowed to mature on the vine and stored for winter use.  The skin is tough and inedible.  Winter squashes are gourds and are one of the oldest known crops, originally used as containers or utensils because of their hard shell.  "Squash" comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutashquash, which means eaten raw or uncooked."

Squash is technically a fruit and has amazing health benefits.  By now, if you have been reading my seasonal blog, you know that 1.  The foods I blog about have amazing health benefits; 2. Eating the rainbow is required in order for one to be healthy;  3.  Eating seasonally (and locally) will prepare our bodies for seasonal change.  Butternut squash is high in fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and is a vitamin A powerhouse.   The seeds are also nutritious, high in protein, healthy fats, and zinc.  

Storing

Butternut squash if stored in a cool, dry spot will keep for up to six months.

Preparing

Ready to use your squash?  Always use a veggie wash, homemade or store bought, and thoroughly wash the outside of your squash.  Slice the stem and bottom end off so that both ends are flat and discard.  The easiest way to prepare butternut squash and most squash is to cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds using a metal spoon (save for roasting)  and roast face down on an ungreased cookie sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven until tender when poked with a fork.  Cool and scoop out meat using a spoon.  What to do with the meat?  Add brown sugar and cinnamon and/or turmeric, or serve drizzled with a teaspoon of olive oil and dust with salt and pepper.  I like to add butternut to smoothies.   

Butternut can also be eaten raw, best grated or shredded.  Most spiralizers are not powerful enough to cut through butternut, but never give up!

Butternut can also be peeled.  Slice the stem and bottom end off.  Cut in half widthwise, stand on flat end and peel until the peel no longer has green lines running through it.  Simply cut the squash into the size chunks required.  Add to soups, sauté, steam, boil, roast, bake.  Please click on the button below for recipes.

 

Thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope BA, CHHC, AADP

References

http://www.livestrong.com/article/433699-is-butternut-squash-good-for-you/

http://www.applecountryliving.com/blog/2009/01/squash.html

https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/squash.html

http://www.organicauthority.com/8-incredible-nutrition-and-health-benefits-of-butternut-squash/

http://toriavey.com/how-to/2012/10/all-about-butternut-squash-how-to-peel-seed-slice-and-prepare/

An Apple A Day...

RFFD16 Baked Apples.jpg

What's the first sign of fall for you? Well, the shorter days for me, and apples. Apples, apples, apples. Right?!?! There are so many different kinds of apples, varying in texture, sweetness, density, color, size, shape, and flavor. There's a good chance that the saying, "an apple a day [helps] keeps the doctor away," is true.  I find that many do not realize the health benefits of an apple.  What do you think of when you are considering a healthy fruit to eat? Are apples the top of your list?  As long as you do not have a food allergy, intolerance, sensitivity, they should be, along with berries. And depending on an allergy or level of reaction, have you tried peeling the skin and rinsing, or cooking the apple?

Oral Health

Apples actually help remove plaque from your teeth. The flesh scrubs and the acid helps dissolve.

Nutrition

Dr. Axe considers the apple "the ultimate gut and heart-friendly food. They are high in fiber, loaded with antioxidants, and help reduce the risks for many diseases and illnesses like cancer and diabetes, even asthma. Some apples, such as the red delicious and the granny smith, have a greater phytonutrient concentration, but any apple is a great apple!

 Photo Credit: https://draxe.com/apple-nutrition/

Photo Credit: https://draxe.com/apple-nutrition/

Eat an apple to help reduce health risks, lose or manage weight, prepare and/or recover from exercise. Eat an apple; they are delicious!

Storing

The main reason for an apple spoiling is bruising or coming into contact with another apples rotten spot. If  you are going to use them quickly, the countertop is perfect. Tart and thick skin apples will keep longer, but most apples, when stored properly, will keep for three of four months.

Wrap each apple in a sheet of newspaper (not color newspaper) and place in a basket or box. Place the box in a cool, dark spot, where it won't freeze.

You can also keep them in a plastic bag with a few holes in it and place in your crisper drawer. Careful not to store vegetables with your apples as apples give off ethylene gas, which will cause the vegetables to decay more quickly.

Preparation

Always wash your produce in a veggie wash or white vinegar and water. Skin on is the most nutritious way to eat an apple, so I would never ask you to peel an apple unless you absolutely have to. Eat an apple raw: spiralize, chop, cut, shred, slice, dice. Dehydrate your apple slices for dried apples. Baked-stuffed, apple sauce, apple everything. Toss apple into squash soups, into green salads or any other salad. Add apples to your veggie juice extractions. Dip your apple slices into nut butters, tahini, homemade or melted, all natural caramels. Bake, grill, sautee, dehydrate. An apple on it's own is awesome.

Thanks for reading my blog and please click on the button below for recipes.

-Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

Antioxidant-Rich Basil

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Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils. Do you cook with herbs?  If you answered "no," what prevents you from adding dried or fresh herbs to your meals? Our standard American diet consists of mostly processed foods.  These foods are not nutritious and are mostly causing our epidemic of poor health, which is subsequently increasing our major and minor health risks.  In the evolution of this diet, balancing meals has become confusing and making nutritionally dense meals has become more challenging.  As a Health Coach I find that most are not eating nutritionally dense meals.  Nutritional density provides energy,  a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more that not only arm our immune system, but are essential components of the body's biological processes.  These processes are crucial or health declines.  Adding herbs, and any green, to a meal is an easy way to give a meal a healthy boost. Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history.  Herbal medicine is becoming more mainstream.  Slowing Americans are returning to eating real food, balancing meals, and combining foods for nutritional density.  

Basil is so fragrant and versatile.  Add raw basil to everything: water, salads, sandwiches, soups (end of cooking), cocktails, desserts, smoothies, fresh pressed juices.  Sprinkle basil on any meal. Basil is considered one of the healthiest herbs, boasting an impressive list of nutrients such as vitamins K, A, C, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.  Basil also contains antibacterial properties.  Basil will help reduce your health risks.  

Dr. Axe's 12 Benefits of Basil:

  Storage   Basil is stored best at room temperature for 2-4 days.  Trim the stems and place in a glass of water, careful to not submerge the leaves.  Cover loosely with a plastic bag and place out of sunlight.  Basil can also be dried and stored with your spices.   Preparation   Preparing basil is easy.  Remove the leaves from the stem, spray with a vegetable wash, gently rub the leaves, rinse in cool water and pat gently dry.  Enjoy!  Please click on the button below for recipes.  Thank you for reading my blog,  -Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

Storage

Basil is stored best at room temperature for 2-4 days.  Trim the stems and place in a glass of water, careful to not submerge the leaves.  Cover loosely with a plastic bag and place out of sunlight.  Basil can also be dried and stored with your spices.

Preparation

Preparing basil is easy.  Remove the leaves from the stem, spray with a vegetable wash, gently rub the leaves, rinse in cool water and pat gently dry.  Enjoy!  Please click on the button below for recipes.

Thank you for reading my blog,

-Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

 

Storage

Basil is stored best at room temperature for 2-4 days.  Trim the stems and place in a glass of water, careful to not submerge the leaves.  Cover loosely with a plastic bag and place out of sunlight.  Basil can also be dried and stored with your spices.

Preparation

Preparing basil is easy.  Remove the leaves from the stem, spray with a vegetable wash, gently rub the leaves, rinse in cool water and pat gently dry.  Enjoy!  Please click on the button below for recipes.

Thank you for reading my blog,

-Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

A Yam IS NOT A Sweet Potato...

"White" potatoes get a bad rap. They pack a nutritional punch, but much needs to be taken into account when discussing the health benefits, including a sweet potato, such as food combining, how you are cooking your potato, if you are eating the skin, portion size, how often you are consuming them, bio-individuality, health issues, etc. But when you compare a white potato to a sweet, according to the Cleveland Clinic, the sweet wins. Sweet pots have less calories, 400% vitamin A, more vitamin C, more fiber, and less carbs even though they have more sugar than white pots. The challenge?  Knowing the difference between a yam and a sweet potato.

 The flesh of a sweet potato, depending on the variety, can vary from white to orange and even purple. A yam is actually a different tuber all together.   Epicurious distinguishes them apart as, "A sweet potato has tapered ends and thin, smooth skin and flesh that can range from light beige to burnished orange to purplish, even. A yam is cylindrical, typically white-fleshed—there is a purple variety, too—and has rough, dark, almost hairy skin. They taste very different, too. Yams are starchy and dry. Sweet potatoes are, well, sweet and moist, some more than others. "

The first time I blogged on sweet potatoes my mind was blown.  How about yours? This is my third year blogging on this delicious tuber and I am still researching and editing.

What caused this confusion? The FDA, which regulates food labeling, doesn't have a so-called standard of identity for either sweet potatoes or yams, so either term works. Grocery stores  usually label the orange variety of sweet potato a yam.  Your local farmer would never do that.

 Photo Credit:   11/26/2013 08:47 am ET  Updated  Nov 19, 2014, Renee Jacques, Huffington Post

Photo Credit: 

11/26/2013 08:47 am ET Updated Nov 19, 2014, Renee Jacques, Huffington Post

Nutrition

Afraid to eat them 'cause of their sweetness?  Don't be!!!  The sweet potato is one of those nutritionally dense foods that should be eaten despite their sweetness.   In addition to the health benefits discussed in my first paragraph, sweet potatoes have Manganese, Folate, Copper and Iron.  The darker varieties tend to have more mineral content like beta-carotene, which is best absorbed when eaten with a healthy fat.  They also have Vitamins C, B2, B6, E, and biotin.   

Here are the top 5 reasons to eat more sweet potatoes, whatever their color:

  1. Reduce Inflammation- they contain antioxidants which lower inflammation in our body.  Inflammation is the root cause for most illnesses like Asthma, Heart Disease, Gout, etc.
  2. Fiber-healthy for the digestive tract and lowering risk of certain cancers.
  3. Potassium- maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body which is crucial for  stabilizing blood pressure and regulating heart function Also reduces  muscle cramps.
  4. Nutritious- a rich source of dietary fiber, natural sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, carotenoids, Vitamin C, Folate, Iron, and Calcium. They have a low glycemic index.
  5. Delicious!-they taste so good!   

Storage:

Store sweet potatoes in a dry and cool spot such as the basement or garage in the cooler months, for longer storage. This will prevent rot and sprouting.  Some find much success in storing in a paper bag. A cool spot does not mean your refrigerator. The ideal temperature range would be between 65-55 degrees. Your sweet potatoes will keep nicely on your counter for a week or two, maybe more.  The precise answer to how long you can store a sweet potato mostly depends upon storage conditions. We all have different humidity in our homes, different temperatures, etc. Also, do not store sweet potatoes near other vegetables as the sweet potatoes can cause the others to ripen more quickly than preferred. This is true for many fruits and vegetables. So your counter and tabletop displays should take this into account.

Preparation:

Scrub the potato using a vegetable brush and a veggie wash solution and rinse thoroughly. Peel if you must, but the skin contains many vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Steam them whole or cut. Roast, bake, spiralize, slice, chop, shred. Add them cooked to smoothies, salads, soups, etc.  Although they CAN be eaten raw it is  NOT a best practice.  When raw, they contain a chemical, which is cooked out,  that prevents the proper digestion of protein which can cause GI issues, such as gas and bloating.  However, raw spiralized sweet potato "noodles" are amazing! But you can cook them, too! French Fried sweet pots are delicious, but please use a healthy oil, such as coconut oil, to not eliminate the health benefits.  A fry is still a fry... unless you take extra care at the preparation and ingredients.

Try these recipes: