Food is medicine

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. 

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.  

"Nose Twist" IN DECEMBER!!!!

There are many edible flowers, however this perennial is probably the most popular.  Nasturtium means "nose twist" in latin, probably for it's strong, peppery flavor.  It's flavor, beauty, nutritional pop, and ease of growing, make it very popular.  Although Nasturtium come in many colors (pastels, too), the yellow and orange varieties seem to be planted the most.  

Why am I talking about a perennial in December?  Well, I have the great fortune to be in a fall CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where these delicious flowers are grown year round "to bring color and light to [the] farm during the shortest and darkest days," says Baylee Drown of Upper Pond Farm and New Mercies Farm in Lyme, CT.  If you are one of those people affected by the change of season and lose your energy  and crave lots of carbs this time of year, how and what you light your home and workspace with, how and what you place in those environments, and what you feed your body, really has an impact on energy and cravings.   If you read my blog each week, you've heard me mention Seasonal Affective Disorder in almost every blog since early October.  You don't have to have SAD to be affected by the change in light and temperature.  It is a natural change that occurs with plant, animal, and all of us.  Eating in season, preferably local and organic, will support your body, mind, and spirit.  Making your environment aesthetically pleasing will help year round to support your mind and spirit, but especially this time of year when many of us need it.  Food should be pretty.  Your eyes should see a beautiful presentation of food that registers a WOW with the brain.  This of course begins the digestive process as you salivate and the stomach acids begin to flow.  I could go on and on.  It's all connected!!!  Flowers make a yard, a home, an event, an old discarded porcelain sink turned flower pot, into a thing of beauty.  Decorating our pastas, platters, and other foods with Nasturtium will not only add that perfect aesthetic touch, but will boost the nutrition of that meal as well.

Nutritional Value

Both the Nasturtium flowers and leaves are nutritious. They flowers are high in vitamins A and C and iron.  They flowers also help neutralize the free radicals running around in our bodies trying to grow cancer, etc.   The leaves are high in vitamin C, and have an antibiotic property, best when picked prior to the plant flowering.

Storing

Store unwashed in a glass jar with a glass lid if possible.  Blossoms can last up to a week, but check daily and remove any wilting flowers.

Preparing

Gently hand wash flowers when ready to use;  a salad spinner is not a great idea unless you are washing the leaves.  You can use the flowers whole or pick the petals and discard the stem.  Add them to salads or any of your dishes, or use them as an edible garnish.  They should be the last thing you add to a dish unless the recipe says otherwise, i.e., if you are adding them to a salad, add the dressing, toss, then decorate with flowers.

Please click on the button below for delicious Nasturtium recipes.

Thank you for reading my blog!

-Dawn

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.

References

http://garden.org/ediblelandscaping/?page=august_edible

http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/chow-town/article326554/Not-just-pretty-edible-flowers-pack-nutritional-punch.html

http://yougrowgirl.com/my-best-tip-for-storing-fresh-flowers/

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel 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 many diseases. They are also low in calories.  When you eat Brussel sprouts you may be lowering your cancer risk. Brussel sprouts also help the body with detoxification, which the body performs on a daily basis and needs more support with now more than ever.  Brussel sprouts also support heart health.  The brassica family, i.e. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, is known for reducing major health risks such as cancer and heart disease as well as other illnesses and diseases. Eat Brussel sprouts for Cardiovascular health, healthy vision, and bone health.  Also eat them to reduce your cancer risks..

Storing

Hmmm.  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

If your sprouts are on the stalk you must first decide if you are going to roast the sprouts on the stalk.  

Off Stalk

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.  They say for best results if you are cooking them to cut an X at the bottom for the heat to penetrate.  I have never done this and my sprouts are PERFECT!

You can shave the sprouts and eat them 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 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. 

The Jerusalem Artichoke

jerusalem artichoke.jpeg

The Jerusalem artichoke, also known as a Sunchoke,  is not an artichoke.  It is the tuber of a species of sunflower native to the United States.  Etymologically speaking, the name really has nothing to do with the tuber itself, but a creation of a corruption of names, leading to the name Jerusalem artichoke. 

Jerusalem Artichokes are in season and this is why you should eat them:

  • They are delicious!
  • They have multiple digestive health benefits
  • High in Potassium, Thiamine, and Iron
  • Good source of Vitamin C and Niacin
  • Is diabetic-friendly and can be used in place of white potatoes 

The Jerusalem artichoke has a reputation of causing intestinal upset and flatulence, caused by inuline, the carbohydrate found in this tuber, which varies depending on the size and number of shoots growing off of it.  Not only is inuline a prebiotic, promoting the growth and proliferation of probiotics in your colon, Inuline is a diabetic-friendly carbohydrate.  Each of us have a different sensitivity to inuline;  if you have never eaten them before, try them in a small portion.  One way to reduce your risk of "major gas" is to not eat them raw or to boil them.

How to eat them?

No need to peel, but wash and scrub skin prior to eating/cooking.

Raw or cooked, but less flatulence cooked                                                                          

Pickled
Raw, shaved thin in a salad
Roasted, chopped like you would potatoes
Boiled for a mash

They are delicious and creamy when cooked, and like a water chestnut when raw.  Try these recipes:

Thank you for reading my blog!

xo, Dawn

And The Beet Goes On....

Beets are an ancient food and this vegetable comes in a variety of hues.  They were originally cultivated for their greens.  It wasn't until much later that the root became as popular as their greens.  I have heard many say that they do not like beets.  If you have never had a fresh beet I challenge you to try eating a fresh beet.  Their is no comparison.  You may even prefer them raw.

If you follow my seasonal blog you may have noticed a trend.  When I blog about CSA food, I usually define the nutritional benefits as, "...one of the healthiest foods to eat."  Well, beets are no different.  They 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).  So as to keep my blog manageable for you, I will be brief by listing the reasons you should eat beets directly quoting Dr. Mercola:

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.

To store beets, leave the tap root in tact but trim the greens about two inches from the top of the beet.  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.  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.

Beets can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, baked, fried, grilled.  Add them to soups, salads, or eat them on their own.  Don't forget about the beet greens!!  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 will need to be peeled of course.  Please click on the recipes button below.

Thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP, BA

 

References

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx

http://iadorefood.com/articles/beets-how-to-pick-and-store-them/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/16/raw-beet-recipes_n_1676238.html

 

 

 

 

 

The Super Sweet Potato

There are hundreds of types of sweet potatoes and a yam is not one of them.  A yam is actually a different tuber all together.   Many of us may not be able to tell the difference between a yam and a sweet potato since our grocery stores  usually label the orange variety of sweet potato a yam.  Sweet potatoes range in color from white, to yellow, to deep orange, to purple.  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.   Generally 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!   Add them cooked to smoothies, salads, soups, etc.  Although they CAN be eaten raw it is  NOT a best practice.  They contain a chemical, which is cooked out,  that prevents the proper digestion of protein which can cause GI issues.

Try these recipes: 

Cancer Fighting Collard Greens

Collards are a staple in the South and have become quite popular in grocery stores and local farms here in Connecticut.  When this cruciferous vegetable is prepared correctly they are not only an outstanding accompaniment to any meal, but are hugely beneficial to your health. Although collards can be braised, boiled, sautéed, the best way to maintain their amazing nutrients is to steam them until they are tender and bright green.

Collard Greens are low in calories and pack a 58% of the vitamin C,  44% of the folate, 41% of the manganese, and 27% of the calcium needed on a daily basis!  They are also high in magnesium, riboflavin, and vitamin B6.  More than any other vegetable, these greens can lower cholesterol.  Medical reports have shown that collard greens contain 4 little-heard-of glucosinolates, supporting the body's ability to fight off inflammatory toxins, helping lower cancer risks.  Collards offer more than most vegetables, but we still need to eat the rainbow. Every vegetable has it's own phytochemical(s) that make it special, but if collards are not in your diet a few times a week, they should be.  Eating collards will help your skin and nails, sleep and mood, digestion, and will help lower your risks of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Storing

Do not wash.  Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, preferably in your vegetable crisper drawer for 3-5 days of so.  If freezing, wash and cut, store in a freezer-safe container.

Preparation 

Separate the leaves from the bunch and wash them in a store bought produce wash or in a mixture of one part white vinegar to two parts water.  You will have to hand wash each leaf individually, dipping each leaf in the mixture or spraying each leaf, and rubbing the surface of each leaf.  Rinse thoroughly.  Collard greens can have tough stems; cut away the tough part. You can choose whether or not you want to remove the thick center vein;  I do not.  To remove the vein, simply fold each leaf in half lengthwise and tear or cut out the vein.  Stack several leaves on top of each other, roll the leaves together and slice into 1" pieces.  Now you are ready for cooking!  

Serving Suggestions copied directly from http://featherstonefarm.com/collards.html :
Boiled or pan-steamed greens are tasty seasoned with onion, garlic, and chopped fresh herbs such as mint, dill, and basil.
• Sauté collards with tofu, garlic, and red pepper flecks for a quick, nutritious, vegetarian meal.
• Serve collards with beans -- especailly black-eyed peas. An avant-garde approach to spring rolls and sushi: cooked collard greens with black-eyed peas and brown rice.
• Add chopped collards to soups and stews.
• Greens go especially well with ham, bacon, and pork fatback. Sauté chopped greens with a little bacon fat or a hunk of salt pork, sugar, and pepper. Splash liberally with hot pepper vinegar just before serving.
• The liquid left after slow-cooking collards with pork is extremely nutritious and delicious, the famed "pot liquor." Drink this broth on its own as a savory soup, or use it as you would vegetable stock.
• Try a vegetarian stew of collard greens, cabbage, sweet bell peppers, garlic, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and hot red peppers, seasoned with molasses, vinegar, and seasoned salt.

Please click on the recipe button below.

Thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn Swope CHHC, AADP

References

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/collard-greens.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277957.php

http://www.soulfoodandsoutherncooking.com/southerngreens.html

   

Hooray for Hubbards!!!!

The size of this winter squash can be intimidating, some growing to 50 pounds, and are not hubba hubba.  But oh my, they are nutritious, versatile, and worth the effort since they yield much flesh.  Hubbard squash is also called "buttercup" and "green pumpkin."  Hubbards are sold in most major supermarkets, but most often sold already cut since they are so big.  They keep for up to six months if stored correctly: remove stem, store in 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, 70 degrees relative humidity and not with apples.  The easiest way to prepare hubbards:

  • Wash
  • Cut in half, end to end
  • Remove seeds
  • Bake cut flesh-side down on a cookie sheet, or peel and steam or boil (much more work)

The original origins of the hubbard squash are not exactly known, however, it is said to possibly be named after Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, who lived in the 1840's, and gave seeds to her friends, thus making this squash popular. There is a newer hubbard variety called the golden hubbard which does not taste anything like what we would expect from a hubbard, so if you had a bitter hubbard, try a different variety.  The flesh is orange and sweet-tasting.  It is usually substituted for any and all other winter squashes, like pumpkin for pie, and therefore making it ideal for baking and cooking.  

Why you should eat hubbard squash:

  • High in Vitamins A: beta-carotene, vision, immune system, normal organ function
  • High in Vitamin C: Best known as an antioxidant
  • Potassium: can control blood pressure
  • Low in calories

Essentially, as a winter squash, hubbards will help reduce the risks of cancer, cataracts, high blood pressure, and is quite nutritious.  Use hubbard in place of any other winter squash or eat is on it's own, sweet and delicious.  Please click on the button below for recipes.


 

Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) Are Not Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) Are Not Artichokes

Sunchokes,  also known as Jerusalem artichokes, have nothing to do with an artichoke.   Sunchokes are the tubers of a species of sunflower native to the United States, although seem to be more popular, now, in France and other European countries, although sunchoke flour is used in many processed products such as pastas.  Etymologically speaking, the name really has nothing to do with the tuber itself, but a creation of a corruption of names, leading to Jerusalem artichoke, now mostly referred to as sunchoke.  This food does have a nickname...FARTICHOKE....

Don't Be Afraid Of Napa Cabbage

Don't Be Afraid Of Napa 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.