Maize

Photo credit: Bob Yirka , Phys.org

Photo credit: Bob Yirka , Phys.org

Corn. A symbol of summer.  Corn is not a vegetable;  it is a grain, a grain that has been traced back at least 7000 years.  Today there are many varieties in an array of colors.  Despite it's sweetness and being labeled as a starch, locally grown, preferably organic corn and corn that is not grown from Genetically Engineered seeds,  has amazing health benefits and is part of a healthy diet for most. Corn also has less calories than other grains. 

There are many ways to eat corn, however, one study showed that heating corn to 115 degrees for 25 minutes actually increases its health benefits.  Generally it is thought that as you heat food you diminish its nutrients. Corn is a good source of fiber.  Corn helps protect against lung and oral cancers, helps maintain healthy mucus, vision, and skin, and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, and thiamin.  Eating corn, natural and unprocessed,  can reduce your risk of illness. 

Corn can be stored in the refrigerator for around two days by removing the shank (bottom end), husks on, in the refrigerator uncovered.  The longer corn sits off the stalk the more the starches break down and change the flavor of the corn.  Corn can be frozen for up to twelve months: shuck and then boil or steam the corn until tender, cool in cold water, carefully remove from the cob with a knife, and freeze in a freezer bag or airtight container.  Whole cobs can be frozen as well and are best frozen after shucking and tossed raw in a bag, extracting the air.

Preparing corn depends on how you are using it.  Always wash your produce, even if you are cooking your corn in the husk.  Corn can be eaten raw, grilled in the husk, or roasted, boiled, or steamed on the cob.  Corn can be added to almost anything.

Recipes

Please click here for recipes. You can also search for any key term(s) or ingredients that you would like to see in any recipes in the search bar at the top of the page for easy filtering. Thank you for reading my blog and please leave a comment!

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW EATING OR EXERCISE PROGRAM. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.

THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.

Taters

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Potatoes are a controversial vegetable. For starters, although they are a vegetable they are nutritionally classified as a starch, in the category of white bread, pasta, white rice. Like other starches, what you combine a potato with will affect how it is metabolized. The potato is best metabolized when consumed with the skin on, as are most fruits and vegetables. 

Nutrition

Did you know that in addition to potatoes being one of the ultimate comfort foods, they are also packed with more vitamin C than oranges and tomatoes?  In addition to being an incredible source of vitamins and minerals, they also contain over 60 phytochemicals.  Potatoes can be part of a healthy diet, however a variety of fruits and veggies is key, healthy fats, and lean proteins are needed for a healthy balanced meal.  Most of the nutrition in the potato is stored under the skin, so try not to peel them unless absolutely necessary for a recipe.

Potatoes are categorized as "white," as in stay away from anything white such as white rice, white bread, white flour, etc.  They carry a high glycemic load, meaning that the carbohydrate digests rapidly in the body causing a spike in blood sugar similar to soda.  Ugh. Grapes are not a starch, but also have a high glycemic index.  Arguably there are better choices than potatoes and grapes for your baseline way of eating, but eating potatoes seasonally, especially from your CSA, can be a healthy choice as well if you are minding the portion size, leaving the skin on, carefully choosing what you will serve with, and not eating first thing in the morning. 

What we serve on the potato, mix with the potato, how we cook the potato, removing the skin, which meal we eat them with, can make a monster out of the potato.

Storing

Potatoes will keep for up to around ten weeks, however the "newer" the potato, the higher the nutritional value.  Discard soft potatoes, those that have sprouted, and green ones. To help prevent potatoes from spoiling and sprouting, avoid sunlight and store in a cool dark place, do not refrigerate, and do not store in plastic bags.

Preparation

Always wash your produce in a store bought veggie wash or in a white vinegar and water solution.  Do not use hand, body, or dish soap as they will leave chemical residue.  Wash the potatoes even if you plan on peeling them, whole and skin on, with a veggie brush, scrubbing the surface of the skin using a circular motion.   Rinse and ready to use or peel if you desire.

Potatoes can be blanched for green or nicoise salad, boiled for salad or smashed/mashed, baked, broiled, grilled, steamed, fried. 

Please click here  for recipes and thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn CHHC, AADP

Tender Green Onions

Are green onions scallions?  I have no idea...some say yes, others say no.  I think I CAN say that green onions fall between scallions and large bulb onions.  Unlike scallions, green onions should have a small, not fully developed white bulb with long green stalks.  Although many use scallion and green onion (spring onion) interchangeably, this slight difference of the green onion having a bulge beginning to appear at the base makes them different.  Green onions are milder tasting than large bulb onions and ARE young shoots of the onion.  

Nutrition

Although green onions are not a mature vegetable, they offer the same health benefits as a large bulb onion.  All onions have been shown to help lower blood sugar, high cholesterol and blood pressure, the risk of colon cancer and other cancers, and inflammation .  Onions are known for the antioxidant quercetin.  Green onions are also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, and copper.  Overfall, eating onions is good for your health: bone, immune system, heart, eye.  They are on the list of foods  to eat to reduce your risk of cancer.

Storing

Store green onions unwashed, removing rubber band if any, wrapped in plastic and in the crisper drawer.  They should keep for up to 5 days, but using them sooner is best as they will begin to wilt.  

Preparation

Green onions are a versatile veggie.  As always, wash your produce prior to using.  Remove the last inch or so from the base.  Now you are ready to add flavor, beauty, and health to your meal.  Chop them raw, sautee, grill or roast whole.    Add them to salads, salsa, dips, soups, eggs, for a few suggestions.  Please click on the button below for recipes.

Thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

 

  

 

Tomato for Beauty and Health

Tomato.jpeg

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, or coconut oil.  

Nutrition

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 light.  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, grilled, braised, sautéed, dehydrated, added to almost any cooked or raw dish.  They can be sliced, diced, quartered....there's so much.  

Recipes

Please click on the button below for recipes. You can also search for any key term(s) or ingredients that you would like to see in any recipes in the search bar at the top of the page for easy filtering. Thank you for reading my blog and please leave a comment!

-Dawn Swope CINHC, AADP

NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW EATING OR EXERCISE PROGRAM. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.

THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.



We've Got the Beet

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Beets are an ancient food and this vegetable comes in a variety of colors. They were originally cultivated for their greens.  It wasn't until much later that the root became as popular as the greens. Beets are a nutritional powerhouse and you should find a way to eat them!!  Like other vegetables,  beets have some pretty amazing health benefits specific only to it (phytonutrients).  

Nutrition

Dr. Mercola states that beets:

1.  Lower Your Blood Pressure- Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours.

2.  Boost Your Stamina- If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable.

3. Fight Inflammation- may protect our bodies from environmental stress.

4. Anti-Cancer Properties- they contain phytonutrients that may help protect against cancer.

5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber- Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium, manganese, and folate.

6. Detoxification Support- beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

Storing

To store beets, leave the tap root in tact but trim the greens about two inches from the top of the beet. It is important to separate the greens from the root or the greens will cause the root to dry out and shrivel up much quicker. Store the greens and the root unwashed, separately, in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator.  The greens will keep for a few days and the beets for about a week.  

Preparation

Thoroughly wash beets and greens. Use a scrub brush to clean the root. Some beets may be fibrous or tough and may need to be peeled. However, please keep in mind that much of a plant’s nutrients are in the peel.

Beets can be eaten raw - sliced, shredded, juiced, blended, fermented. Steam, boil, braise, roast, bake, fry, or grill them.  Add them to soups, salads, or eat them on their own. It is recommended that the skin be left on if you are cooking beets. Gently wash prior to cooking and once cooked the skin will rub right off.  This technique prevents the nutritious juices from cooking out of the beet.  If you are preparing raw beets, they may need to be peeled.  

Recipes

Please click on the button below for recipes. You can also search for any key term(s) or ingredients that you would like to see in any recipes in the search bar at the top of the page for easy filtering. Thank you for reading my blog and please leave a comment!

-Dawn Swope CINHC, AADP

NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW EATING OR EXERCISE PROGRAM. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.

THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.


Napa or Chinese Cabbage

Napa cabbage, also referred to as 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 and kale.

Nutrition

  • Low in calories, fitting in the classification of a zero-calorie food

  • Packed in antioxidants

  • High soluble and insoluble dietary fiber

  • Excellent source of folate, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid

  • Natural source of electrolytes and minerals such as Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Manganese, iron, and magnesium

Without further explanation of the bulleted list above, Chinese Cabbage is a nutrition powerhouse, feeding the body by providing the phytochemicals and phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, to help protect the body against major disease and illness.  Please note that it is advised in some individuals with thyroid dysfunction to limit brassica vegetables in their diet.

Storage

Store the whole, unwashed head in a plastic bag or wrap in plastic, in the fridge. Although best eaten within the first few days of purchase, it should keep for a few weeks.If you are not preparing the whole cabbage, separate and wash individual leaves, but try not to cut into the cabbage. Using a ceramic knife is best for cutting as you go.

Preparation

If using the entire head, wash the head of cabbage, prior to cutting it, with a store bought veggie wash solution or with a white vinegar and water solution. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the core. Now you are ready to follow your recipe or simply chop as desired.

Chinese cabbage is so tender and mild. It can be eaten raw or cooked: steamed, sauteed, braised, roasted. Toss it into soups (last few minutes of cooking), use in place of lettuce on sandwiches, use it as a wrap for sandwiches, chop or shred for salads and slaws, ferment for kimchi.  Add to your juice or smoothie. How about using the leaves as a taco shell for raw tacos?  YUM!

Recipes

Please click on the button below for recipes. You can also search for any key term(s) or ingredients that you would like to see in any recipes in the search bar at the top of the page for easy filtering. Thank you for reading my blog and please leave a comment!

-Dawn Swope CINHC, AADP

Kohlrabi!

http://gardenandgun.com/article/whats-season-kohlrabi

http://gardenandgun.com/article/whats-season-kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is a member of the turnip family, a brassica, like cabbage and kale.  It comes in several colors, the purple variety being more spicy than the green.  

Nutrition

Kohlrabi is abundant in Vitamin C, which helps to protect the body against illness and disease. It also helps with gum and tooth health as well as healthy connective tissue.  Kohlrabi is also a good source of the B-complex group of vitamins, which is so important for overall good health.  It contains Vitamin A and several minerals such as calcium.  Kohlrabi may have similar nutritional value as other vegetables you may eat, however it is important to keep in mind that each plant has a phytochemical specific to it.  Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables for a happy and healthy body, mind, and spirit.  

Storing

Kohlrabi can be stored at room temperature for 3-5 days.  Refrigerating them in a sealed bag will extend the freshness a few days further.  Be sure to separate the leaves from the bulb prior to storing to preserve the nutritional value of both.  

Preparation

Wash thoroughly.  I use a vegetable brush and veggie wash and soak the leaves in a salad spinner, rinse, and spin.  The leaves can be eaten raw if young and tender, or sautéed or steamed like mustard greens or spinach.  Peel the tough, outer layer of the bulb with a paring knife or vegetable peeler.  If your kohlrabi is coming from Upper Pond Farm, you will not need to peel! It can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed, roasted, or grilled.  Serve raw cubed and toss with a salad, cut into sticks for a veggie platter, slice thin like a chip.

Recipes

Please click on the button below for recipes. You can also search for any key term(s) or ingredients that you would like to see in any recipes in the search bar at the top of the page for easy filtering. Thank you for reading my blog and please leave a comment!

-Dawn Swope CINHC, AADP

Note: THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.

THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.

Don't Forget Your Radishes!

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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’s included at all.  The radish is usually appreciated for it’s pretty color and ease of cutting it into a pretty flower-shaped decoration. 

The radish offers a peppery flavor with lots of crunch.  They come in many shapes and sizes.  Not only are they used in culinary, but medicinally as well, like all real food.  If you are lucky enough for your radishes to still have their tops, the radish greens are delicious and nutritious as well.,

Nutrition

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:

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 in your body.  Radishes contain many phytonutrients that aid in cancer prevention.

Storing

If your radishes are not topped, remove the greens to keep the radish fresh. This, along with trimming off the stem and root will prevent the radish from going soft. Wash the radish in a white vinegar and water solution or a store-bought vegetable wash and place damp radishes on a paper towel in an airtight plastic bag - if you purchase good quality bags you can reuse them. I generally do not advise using plastic containers or bags.

Store the greens like any other salad greens. Soak in a white vinegar and water solution or in a store-bought vegetable wash and rinse. Spin in a salad spinner to remove much of the water. If you do not have a salad spinner it is a wonderful investment. I wash most of my produced in the spinner. Place greens in a crisper container or single layer between paper towels in a plastic bag.

Preparation

Radishes and their greens can be eaten raw, shredded, chopped, sliced, grilled, roasted, broiled, steamed. 

Recipes

Please click on the button below for recipes. You can also search for any key term(s) or ingredients that you would like to see in any recipes in the search bar at the top of the page for easy filtering. Thank you for reading my blog and please leave a comment!

-Dawn Swope CINHC, AADP

Ode to Asparagus

asparagus for blog.jpeg

I am so excited to kick off this healthy and delicious summer 2019 blog! This entry kicks off this season’s CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture), a food production and distribution system that connects farmers and consumers directly through the purchase of "shares". This means fresh picked produce, buying local, supporting my community, saving money, and knowing my farmer as well as where my food comes from. As a cancer survivor, I ultimately eat for prevention and my CSA is a critical part of this. I joined my first CSA while recovering from four months of chemotherapy and beginning my radiation treatments. So this is my ode to asparagus: nutritional importance, how to store, and how to prepare.  I have also included recipes; just click on the recipe button found at the end of my blog!

Nutrition

Asparagus has one of the highest folate (crucial for making new cells) levels compared to all other veggies. That’s not to mention the numerous other vitamins and minerals. Asparagus is a healthy choice in most diets.  Out of the different varieties of this vegetable, green asparagus contains the most nutrients.  Asparagus is low in calories, is a complex carb (what we want and need), is detoxing to the liver (the liver can ALWAYS use the help), and is a natural diuretic (it's worth the pungent odor most of us experience). 

Storing

Storing asparagus correctly will not only keep it fresh, but will prevent the ends from drying out, therefore requiring less to trim and leaving more to eat.  The best way to store asparagus is to trim about an inch off the ends, stand them in an inch of water in a glass jar, and then loosely cover them with a plastic bag.  Your asparagus should stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week or so, but don't forget to change the water if it becomes cloudy.  

Preparation

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.  There are two common methods to trimming asparagus.  The most common is to grab the spear by both ends and bend until the spear snaps.  This will give you the most tender part of the asparagus, but will also waste a tasty portion of it as well.  The second method requires a bit more work, trimming 1/2 inch off the base and peeling a few layers from just below the tip to the base. This will get rid of some of the harder parts but will still be tougher than if you were to use the first method. The method you choose is a personal preference as to whether or not you enjoy your asparagus more fibrous or more tender.

Asparagus can be eaten raw - chopped on a diagonal and added to salads or left long for a veggie platter, brushed with olive oil and grilled, steamed, sautéed, roasted, broiled, blanched.  How long to cook?  It depends on how you like your asparagus - crunch or no crunch.  

Recipes

Please click on the button below for recipes. You can also search for any key term(s) or ingredients that you would like to see in any recipes in the search bar at the top of the page for easy filtering. Thank you for reading my blog and please leave a comment!

-Dawn Swope CINHC

Beans, Beans, Should Not Be A Musical Fruit!

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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 here for recipes. Thanks for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW EATING OR EXERCISE PROGRAM. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.

THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.


Ginger

Photo credit: wiki-fitness

Photo credit: wiki-fitness

Do you ginger? If you don’t, you should. Ginger has many health benefits and is versatile to cook with. Everything from freshly grated ginger tea and fresh expressed ginger shots, to the most used dietary condiment in the world today.

Although ginger has many health benefits it is probably best known for calming a queasy stomach. The health benefits of ginger are largely due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Systemic inflammation is the root cause of most major illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes to name a few. Ginger may not only help reduce these risks, but also help fight the common cold or flu and much more. Please see Dr. Axe’s table below.

Dr. Axe Ginger.jpg

In addition the the health benefits of ginger, it really brightens up a recipe, savory or sweet. Candied ginger is amazing.

Storage

Store fresh, whole ginger in a plastic bag and refrigerate for longer storage. Personally, I leave my ginger on the counter unwrapped and break off knuckles as I go.

Preparation

Break off a knuckle or cut the amount of ginger you will be using. Use a veggie wash and thoroughly clean the ginger. A veggie brush is helpful as well. I don’t peel my ginger if I will be straining it, as in when I make tea or when I am juicing it to make shots. Peel the skin and do what you will! Slice, grate, crush.

Please click here for my ginger tea and other beverage and food recipes.

Thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW EATING OR EXERCISE PROGRAM. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.

THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.




Melons

Photo Credit: © Rocky Coast Family Acupuncture | Liz Kirby Creative Consulting 2018

Photo Credit: © Rocky Coast Family Acupuncture | Liz Kirby Creative Consulting 2018

There are hundreds of varieties of melons. Cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew are the most popular, but your local farmer may offer other varieties. There is nothing more hydrating than a ripe, sweet, fresh melon, which contain 90% water,

Nutritional Information

Melons are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. They are high in vitamin C, helping to provide immune support, reducing cancer and other health risks. Some melon, such as watermelon, are high in lycopene, reducing the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Some melon, such as cantaloup, are high in potassium, an important mineral for heart health. Cantaloup may help lower blood pressure. The melon has other health benefits as well. Eat the melon rainbow.

Storing

Ripe Melon is one of those foods that should be eaten right away. Store uncut melon on the countertop for a few days or keep refrigerated in a plastic bag for around five days. When storing a half melon, do not remove seeds and cover tightly with plastic.

Preparation

Wash thoroughly, half lengthwise, remove seeds, slice, remove rind, serve.

Please click here for recipes and thanks for reading my blog.

Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP

NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW EATING OR EXERCISE PROGRAM. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.

THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.

Yam and 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 sweet potato, such as food combining, how you are preparing your potato, are eating the skin, portion size, how they are consumed , 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. They have two different nutritional profiles, however both should be part of a healthy diet for most.

 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.

Please click here for recipes and thanks for reading my blog.

NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW EATING OR EXERCISE PROGRAM. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.

THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.

Spuds

potato.jpeg

Potatoes are a controversial vegetable. For starters, although they are a vegetable they are nutritionally classified as a starch, in the category of white bread, pasta, white rice. Like other starches, what you combine a potato with will affect how it is metabolized. The potato is best metabolized when consumed with the skin on, as are most fruits and vegetables. 

Did you know that in addition to potatoes being one of the ultimate comfort foods, they are also packed with more vitamin C than oranges and tomatoes?  In addition to being an incredible source of vitamins and minerals, they also contain over 60 phytochemicals.  Potatoes can be part of a healthy diet, however a variety of fruits and veggies is key, healthy fats, and lean proteins are needed for a healthy balanced meal.  Most of the nutrition in the potato is stored under the skin, so try not to peel them unless absolutely necessary for a recipe.

Potatoes are categorized as "white," as in stay away from anything white such as white rice, white bread, white flour, etc.  They carry a high glycemic load, meaning that the carbohydrate digests rapidly in the body causing a spike in blood sugar similar to soda.  Ugh. Grapes are not a starch, but also have a high glycemic index.  Arguably there are better choices than potatoes and grapes for your baseline way of eating, but eating potatoes seasonally, especially from your CSA, can be a healthy choice as well if you are minding the portion size, leaving the skin on, carefully choosing what you will serve with, and not eating first thing in the morning. 

What we serve on the potato, mix with the potato, how we cook the potato, removing the skin, which meal we eat them with, can make a monster out of the potato.

Storing

Potatoes will keep for up to around ten weeks, however the "newer" the potato, the higher the nutritional value.  Discard soft potatoes, those with spuds, and remove any green areas.  To help prevent potatoes from spoiling and sprouting, avoid sunlight and store in a cool dark place , do not refrigerate, and do not store in plastic bags.

Preparing

Always wash your produce in a store bought veggie wash or in a white vinegar and water solution.  Do not use hand, body, or dish soap as they will leave chemical residue.  Wash the potatoes even if you plan on peeling them, whole and skin on, with a veggie brush, scrubbing the surface of the skin using a circular motion.   Rinse and ready to use or peel if you desire.

Potatoes can be blanched for green or nicoise salad, boiled for salad or smashed/mashed, baked, broiled, grilled, steamed, fried. 

Please click here recipes and thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn CHHC, AADP

The Actual Peeling Back the Onion

onion+Wikipedia.jpg

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 here for more ideas and thanks for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

Tomato for Beauty and Health

Tomato.jpeg

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/