Tomato for Beauty and Health

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Nothing compares to a fresh picked tomato, especially when it's organic and vine ripened.  Very seldom will I purchase tomatoes off season from the grocery store.  There is no comparison in flavor and most are picked green and artificially ripened.   I would like to mention that although green tomatoes are not as nutritious as naturally ripened red, yellow, etc., they are delicious as a side dish.  Fried green tomatoes are fabulous, healthier when fried in grapeseed oil, ghee, coconut oil.  

Tomatoes are well known for their lycopene, which is most present when they are vine ripened.  The best way to get lycopene, which is in the skin and gives red tomatoes their color, and is also present in yellow tomatoes, is by cooking or processing the tomato (sauce, juice, paste).  The antioxidant properties of lycopene may protect our immune cells from destructive free radicals, therefore reducing our risk of illness.   

The tomato offers much more than this;  "It is said that there is no other known pharmacy that can cure as many things as the tomato."  Not only are they therapeutic, but useful for health and beauty.  Tomatoes contain vitamin C, which is concentrated in the jelly-like substance that encases the seeds, so best not to remove the seeds.   Many recipes advise removing the seeds, but to conserve nutrients keep the seeds.  Tomatoes contain vitamin K, which plays a key role in clotting blood and maintaining strong bones.  Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin, hair, mucous membranes, bones and teeth.  They are extremely diuretic, cleanse the body, help reduce cholesterol levels, prevent infections, eliminate uric acid (gout).

Beauty?  It is believed that tomatoes protect the skin against ultraviolet lights.  Tomatoes and tomato products enable your skin to take in oxygen, delaying aging and wrinkling.  According to studies, lycopene contained in the tomatoes and tomato products is protective against the risk of skin cancer.

Storing

DO NOT REFRIGERATE unripened tomatoes.  Refrigerating unripened tomatoes ruins them.  For best results, store them at room temperature, stem-side down, ideally in a single layer, out of direct sunlight.  Flavor development and coloration will not take place in the refrigerator, not to mention, the texture will change.  They say that ripe tomatoes can keep in the refrigerator for around 4 days, and will need a day or two to sit at room temperature to restore flavor and texture, but I would not refrigerate them. If I have to consider "storing" my tomatoes, I wash, chop, and freeze in a freezer bag.

Preparation

The first step is always washing your produce in a store bought solution specifically formulated for produce, or use a mixture of water and white vinegar.  Tomatoes can be roasted, dehydrated, braised, sautéed, added to almost any cooked or raw dish.  They can be sliced, diced, quartered....there's so much.  Please click here for mouth watering recipes.  Thanks for reading my blog.

Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

The Joy of Daikon

 Photo Credit: Johnny's Selected Seeds

Photo Credit: Johnny's Selected Seeds

It seems in my experience that radishes are overlooked much of the time.  Can you remember being told to finish your radishes before you can leave the dinner table?  It seems to be the last thing left on the crudité platter if it is included at all.  The radish is usually appreciated for it’s pretty color and ease of cutting into a pretty flower.  It accompanies, but is seldom, the main event. Today I am featuring the daikon radish.  It IS the main event.   As a member of the cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, radishes have amazing health benefits.  It is time to start paying more attention to the radish.

6 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 vitamins A and 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,
  6. Bolsters your immunity.

The daikon radish offers the health benefits of a radish, but less peppery in flavor with lots of crunch.  Cooked, the daikon tastes much like a turnip. Not only are they used in culinary, but medicinally as well, like all real food.  The radish greens can be eaten as well of course. 

Storage

To keep the radish fresh, remove the greens prior to storing, wash, and wrap in a damp paper towel prior to sealing them in a container or plastic bag. 

Preparation

They can be eaten raw, roasted, broiled, steamed, grilled, shredded, chopped, sliced.  Don’t forget to eat your radishes today.  Please click here for recipes.

Thank you for reading.

Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

Sweet Bell Peppers

 Photo Credit: KitchenProject.com

Photo Credit: KitchenProject.com

Bell peppers come in a rainbow of colors. Do you have a favorite?  I prefer the flavor of orange and yellow, although purple is such a treat. Purple is also difficult to find; your best bet is to look for them at specialty markets or your local farmer's market.

Did you know that yellow, orange, and red peppers all start out as green peppers? The green pepper unripened.  As the pepper begins to ripen it turns yellow, and continues to ripen into orange, until it is finally the sweetest at red. If you have ever wondered why bell peppers differ in price, it's because the darker the pepper ripens, the more time it takes to grow, thus the higher price.

Nutrition

Bell peppers are mostly made up of water. They are abundant in vitamin C, more than a medium size orange, and lots of other vitamins, minerals, protein, and several antioxidants. The more colorful the pepper, the more antioxidants, but any color bell pepper is a good bell pepper. Peppers are on the Dirty Dozen list, meaning that the residue persists even after the pepper is washed and peeled even, so it's best to buy them locally and/or organic.  Pesticides are chemicals and chemicals accumulate in the body. I'll save this topic for another blog.   Bell peppers are a member of the nightshade family. If you do not have an inflammatory reaction to peppers they are a food that will help reduce your health risks.

Storing

Since peppers are mostly water, store them unwashed and whole in your crisper drawer where they can keep for 1-2 weeks depending on your fridge.  It is said that storing on the counter will begin to shrivel the pepper, that it begins losing moisture. If you are storing a partial pepper, leave the seeds in and seal in a plastic bag with a paper towel. 

Preparation

Thoroughly wash your bell pepper. Cut the stem by cutting around it in a circle. This should remove most of the seeds. Cut in half lengthwise or widthwise, remove any remaining seeds and if you prefer, the white "ribs."

Eat raw, roasted, grilled, sauteed, stir-fried, baked, steamed. Add to salads, blend with hummus, stuff them, puree them. 

Please click here for recipes.

Thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

Zucchini, Italian Squash, Courgette: It's all Summer Squash

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I have blogged on zucchini and other summer squash and I thought I knew what they are.  As I reviewed a couple of my past blogs to create this one, I began to research for any additional information to add, remove, or correct.  In this case I did all three!

What is the difference between zucchini, Italian squash, and courgette? Well, I believe they are the same plant and are of course considered summer squash because of the time of year they are harvested and because of their thin skin. The standard?  We call the green ones zucchini and the yellow, yellow squash.  I would like you to consider, if you haven't already, or maybe you know and I don't, that the green and yellow colored squash are zucchini, even if they are yellow crookneck and straightneck.  And that this zucchini is called something else as well: Italian squash, courgette. And that there are more varieties of this such as golden zucchini, tatume, costata romanesco. For the purposes of this blog, I will refer to them as zucchini, because that is what I was raised knowing in an Italian family.

Nutrition

The small to medium size zucchini are more flavorful and have less seeds. Zucchini are very low calorie, contain no fat, and are loaded with flavonoid antioxidants which greatly reduce our risk of illness and slow down the aging process, and are contained mostly in the skin. Zucchini is rich in potassium, more than a banana, which will aid in many things including blood pressure. Zucchini also contains iron, zinc, magnesium and B complex vitamins.

Mangia!  

GMO

Best to purchase local-organic, local, or organic as most zucchini varieties are genetically modified.

Storage

 Zucchini is best stored in the refrigerator, unwashed, in a plastic bag that has had a few holes poked in it for airflow, and then placed in the vegetable crisper drawer. It should last approximately 1 week.  If you house is cool, you can usually store countertop for about the same time and in my experience maybe even longer.

Overflowing in zucchini? Wash, cut into the shape/pieces you prefer, freeze in a freezer bag. 

Preparation

Always wash your produce in a store bought veggie wash or in a white vinegar and water solution. A scrub brush should not be necessary with summer squash and will compromise the skin.

Zucchini varieties can be used interchangeably in recipes. Each can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, grilled, sauteed, etc.  They can be cut in half, hollowed out and stuffed.  They can be sliced, you choose the thickness, into raw "crackers." So it is virtually impossible to tire of Summer Squash. 

Eaten raw, they can be added to smoothies, giving texture, fiber, vitamins and minerals, a nutritional boost for only about 46 calories/cup, and you won't even taste it!  Do you spriralize? You can make delicious, fun, "noodles" and serve raw or lightly sauteed. Serve as a "pasta" dish, add to salads, it can BE the salad, or as a raw side-dish.  Zucchini can be cut into chunks or julienne for a veggie platter or a snack.  You can add these squashes to just about anything, including dessert breads, savory breads, cakes, muffins, soups... 

Please click here for recipes.

Thanks for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

Kale

 Photo Credit: Cary Neff

Photo Credit: Cary Neff

Are you in the Kale Camp?

Are you tired of hearing about kale?  I am giggling as I write this.  I have been involved in many kale discussions and arguments.  People usually love it or hate it, and most have an opinion.  Why so much ado about kale?  Well, aside from ornamental kale decorating gardens, it is a member of, as Dr. Axe would say, "the illustrious group of cancer fighting cruciferous vegetables."  There are many types of kale, classified by leaf type.  All have the nutrition and health benefits of the brassica (Cruciferous) family, and of course it's own phytonutrient that makes IT special.  Kale is a natural detoxifier, a nutritional powerhouse, and anti-inflammatory. Basically kale may help reduce MANY health risks and can improve your health.  

Don't love kale?  Maybe, or maybe you have not prepared it in a way that is palatable for you. Give some of my recipes a try.

Storing: Store unwashed kale in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Kale tends to get more bitter the longer it is left at room temperature. Tightly wrap in a paper towel and then place it in an airtight bag.  If you will use it the same day, place it in a water, like a bouquet of flowers, on the counter.

Washing: Always wash your produce with a white vinegar and water solution or a store bought veggie liquid or spray.  I use a salad spinner and soak my leaves.

Preparing:  I do not do this all the time, but it is recommended to tear the leaves from the middle vein.  It makes for a more tender dish.  Kale can be cooked any which way and added to anything, even cupcakes!  For salads and side dishes, it's nice to tenderize the kale by massaging it with your hands and letting the kale marinate if you are using it in a raw salad. So chop, rip, blend, juice, roll, or leave as is.

References: https://draxe.com/health-benefits-of-kale/

Carrots

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Where do carrots fall on your list of healthy foods to eat?  I for one, was ready to un-include them from my veggie platter long before I became a Health Coach....

I am the designated Veggie Platter Master in my family. I can't recall the first time I was actually assigned this dish. I come from an Italian background, following the typical Italian Holiday traditions.  In addition to the calendar Holidays in which I am required to create a platter, we find any excuse to gather together and celebrate: birthdays, change of season, life. There was a time when I was insulted that ALL I was assigned was this "boring" platter. Did the family elders think I did not know how to cook?  Did they not like my cooking?  Did nobody else want the tedious tasks of washing, scrubbing, peeling, blanching, creating, arranging?  And the dip... creating a dip that would appeal to most and of course did not contain any artificial anything including dyes, emulsifiers, flavor enhancers, etc.? OK, so I am getting to the discussion of carrots, but let me just answer....No....they did not want the tedious tasks, nor did anybody approach their veggie platter quite as thoroughly as I do. My family has given me the VPM (Veggie Platter Master) title because my vegetables are extra clean, either fresh from my organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) when available, or from the store, organic when we are referring to the Dirty Dozen (which is more like the dirty 14 or so). At some point I became bored with carrots, but their beautiful orange color (there are also purple and yellow varieties) redeemed them.  Can you list 5 orange vegetables?  

There are many reasons why you should be eating carrots and why you should NEVER give them up because a "diet"  tells you they are too sweet or will add to your sugar cravings;  give up the diet if that's the case!  Quite simply, carrots  are amazing.  They are a delicious addition and you can add them to practically anything such as smoothies, soups, salads, juices, or simply on their own: raw or cooked, whole, sticks, shredded, spiraled, ribboned, chopped, rounds. Carrots come in a variety of colors such as purple, red, white, and yellow, and most often orange, They are quite nutritious.  Do you eat the rainbow?  The color of  fruits and vegetables is indicative of their phytochemicals-  the substances occurring naturally and only in plants, providing health benefits beyond essential nutrients- different ones for different colors.  These phytochemicals are what fight disease.  Each color represents a different phytochemical.  What gives a carrot it's orange color?  Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, and alpha-carotene.  These are called carotenoids and can be converted in the body to vitamin A, a nutrient that is integral for vision and immune function, as well as skin and bone health.  As if this is not a good enough explanation as to the goodness of the carrot, how about these:

  • Digestion:  Eating carrots regularly may prevent  gastric ulcers and other digestive disorders.
  • Potassium:  Helps reduce blood pressure and lower your risks for heart disease.  It is one of the bodies most important electrolytes.  Potassium deficiency can cause muscle cramps.
  • Dental Health:  Help prevent tooth decay and kill germs.
  • Phytonutrient:  Contains falcarinol, which may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Fiber:  High in soluble fiber which may reduce cholesterol.

    If you are tired of carrot sticks and hummus, click here for recipes.

Thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

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. 

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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

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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

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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.