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Archive for June, 2010

BY MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

An apricot smoothie should be pure apricot, with no other fruits to dilute the intense flavor. This smoothie makes a great drinkable breakfast or mini-meal in the afternoon.

3 medium-size apricots (about 6 ounces), pitted

3/4 cup plain low-fat soy yogurt (try Whole Soy & Co. plain yogurt – available at Whole Foods)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon mild honey, like clover or acacia (you can also use maple syrup to stay 100% animal free)

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1 or 2 ice cubes

1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed until smooth. Serve right away.

Yield: One serving.

Advance preparation: Drink this right after you make it.

Nutritional information per serving: 230 calories; 1 gram fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 44 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 144 milligrams sodium; 13 grams protein

Good luck, healthy girl!

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By Jeff Yeager, The Daily Green

(Photo: Robin Macdougall / Getty Images)

If you are what you eat, then I should weigh-in at under $1 a pound.

That’s because, as a general rule of thumb, I try to only buy foodstuffs that costs under a buck per pound. Under $1 a pound, year-round — that’s my grocery shopping mantra.

It’s not just because I’m a world-class penny-pincher and smart shopper; believe it or not, it’s also about eating healthier. When you look at the USDA’s “food pyramid,” many of the things we should be eating the most of — grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables — happen to cost the least.

It’s often the stuff that’s bad for us (at least in large quantities) like red meat, fatty dairy products, and processed foods high in trans saturated fats, that cost the most, on a per pound basis.

To prove my point, I’ve put together this list of 50 healthy foods that I’ve purchased at least once in the last six months for under $1 a pound.

So rev-up your shopping cart, but be careful: There’s a Green Cheapskate loose on aisle five!

  • Apples – One a day keeps the cheapskate away.
  • Asparagus – HUGE store special at 99 cents a pound during Easter week. I bought 10 pounds, blanched it, and then froze it.
  • Bananas – Potassium for pennies.
  • Barley – A tasty alternative to rice and potatoes.
  • Beans – Canned or dried. Kidney, pinto, navy, black, red, and many more.
  • Bok choy – Steam and serve with a little soy sauce.
  • Broccoli – Yes, a store special. Usually closer to $2 per pound.
  • Bulgar wheat – Try it in pilaf or a tabouleh salad.
  • Cabbage – Green and red. I like mine fried.
  • Cantaloupe – No, sorry, I can’t; I’m already married.
  • Carrots – Raw or steamed. Rich in carotenes, a healthy antioxidant.
  • Celery – Stir-fry it for a change.
  • Chicken – Whole or various parts, on sale.
  • Chickpeas – AKA garbanzo beans — mash ’em up as a healthy sandwich spread.
  • Cornmeal – “Polenta” is all the rage these days, but I loved it 40 years ago when Mom called it “cornmeal mush.”
  • Cucumbers – Try peeling, seeding, and steaming with a little butter and salt.
  • Daikon radish – My new favorite raw veggie.
  • Eggs – Don’t overdo them, but eggs provide high quality protein and still cost about $1 per pound. (Plus, there are many eggscellent things you can do with the shells.)
  • Green beans – Frozen, but fresh are sometimes on sale for under $1 a pound in-season.
  • Greens – Kale, mustard, turnip, and collard greens are rich in vitamins and a good source of fiber. Here’s how I cook ’em.
  • Grapes – Store special at 99 cents a pound.
  • Grapefruit – Bake with a little brown sugar on top for a healthy dessert.
  • Lentils – Perhaps the perfect food — healthy, cheap, and versatile. Think soups, salads, sandwich spreads — and those are only some of the “s” possibilities.
  • Liver – Chicken livers usually cost under $1 a pound, and sometimes beef and pork liver can be found in the DMZ (“Dollar Maximum Zone”).
  • Mangoes – High in fiber and vitamins A, B6, and C.
  • Milk – Yep, on a per-pound basis, milk still costs well under $1 a pound.
  • Napa cabbage – Delicious steamed or raw in a salad.
  • Oatmeal – The good old-fashioned “slow cooking” kind … that takes all of five minutes.
  • Onions – Try baking them whole in a cream sauce.
  • Oranges – Frequent sale price when in-season.
  • Pasta – Store special at 89 cents a pound — I nearly bought them out!
  • Peanut butter – Special sale price, but stock up because it usually has a long shelf life.
  • Pork – Inexpensive cuts of pork frequently go on sale for 99 cents per pound or less; sometimes even ham during the holidays.
  • Potatoes – White and red, Baked, mashed, boiled, broiled, steamed.
  • Pumpkin – Yes, you can eat the same ones you buy as holiday decorations, and they usually cost under 50 cents a pound.
  • Rice – White for under $1 a pound; brown, a little more expensive but better for you.
  • Rutabagas – Hated them as a kid; can’t get enough of them now.
  • Sour cream – 99 cents on sale, but long shelf life, so stock up. My cucumber awaits.
  • Spinach – Frozen (but Popeye doesn’t care).
  • Split peas – Add a hambone and make the ultimate comfort soup. Try it in the crock-pot!
  • Squash – Try baking acorn squash with a little brown sugar.
  • Sweet corn – Canned or fresh on the cob, in-season. (Try this recipe for summer corn fritters.)
  • Tomatoes – Canned are often better than fresh to use in cooking, and occasionally you can find fresh on sale for under a buck, in-season.
  • Turkey – A popular bargain-priced, loss-leader around the holidays — buy an extra bird and freeze it for later.
  • Turnips – Make me think of my grandparents, who always grew them.
  • Watermelon – Whole, in-season melons can sometime cost less than 20 cents a pound if they’re on sale and you find a big one.
  • Wine – Well, at least the stuff I drink — a 5-liter box (approximately 11 pounds) for about 10 bucks, on sale. (BTW, the beer I drink is even less expensive per pound.)
  • Yams/sweet potatoes – One of the healthiest foods you can eat, and usually available year-round for under $1 a pound.
  • Yogurt – 8-ounce containers on sale, two for $1.
  • Zucchini – OK, they’re a type of squash (above). But I love them so much they deserve their own place on the list. Plus they look great in pantyhose.

Here are a few disclaimers about my list-o-50:

No, I don’t live on another planet or in a part of the country where the cost of living is deflated. In fact, I live and shop in the Washington, D.C., metro area, which has one of the highest costs of living (and groceries) in the country.

No, I’m not saying that all of these items are available in every store, at all times. But if you shop carefully, you can always find at least some variety of these foods around which to plan your meals.

Many of the items on the list (e.g., most root vegetables, bananas, beans, etc.) can usually be purchased for under $1 pound even when not on sale or in-season. Other items on the list were “store specials” and typically would cost more than $1 a pound, and/or they were in-season so cost less.

No, none of the items on my under $1-a-pound list are organically grown. The pros/cons of that debate aside, for most people with a limited budget, the choice isn’t whether or not to buy expensive organic, it’s whether or not to eat highly processed crap like fast food or eat inexpensive healthy foods like those on my list. (See the dirty dozen foods with the most pesticides to maximize organic purchases.)

No, I’m not saying that by eating only these foods you’ll have a complete, healthy diet. But they certainly can be the backbone around which to plan healthy, inexpensive menus for your family.

No, I don’t burn up a lot of time and gas by running around to a lot of different grocery stores, and I rarely use coupons. I shop only once every week or two, and I usually shop at only one or two stores.

I plan my meals around the-best-of-the-best weekly store specials (aka the “loss-leaders”), the sale items that are usually on the front page of the weekly circular most stores publish. If you’re not a creative cook like me, try a website like Delish or Epicurious, where you can enter the ingredients you have to work with and get all kinds of recipes.

Now look at all the money you’ve saved!

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By Liz Coughlin

If you need a hand whipping your body into shape quickly, there are few better people to turn to than Jillian Michaels, one half of the dynamic duo from “The Biggest Loser.”

[Check out the 5 things Jillian Michaels wants us to learn from “Losing It” on Shine.]

We recently spoke with the fitness trainer about a common struggle: managing belly fat (it is summer, after all). Here are her top five tips, in her own words:

  1. A big part of ab definition is managing water weight. This means that you should reduce your sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day and up your water intake to 80 ounces a day. The more water you drink, the less water you will hold.
  2. Eat foods that are high in potassium (like watermelon). This will help you reduce bloat, giving definition to your abs. Other things to try: cranberry juice mixed with water, dandelion tea, asparagus, and try taking a couple teaspoons a day of apple cider vinegar. This vinegar helps to maintain healthy levels of potassium in your body.
  3. You can spot-reduce belly fat, but you have to engage in a regimen that burns body fat. This means counting calories so that you are burning excess body fat.
  4. When you hit the gym, go hard. Work at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for optimal fat-shedding results. Try workouts that are core-based and use multiple muscle groups, like mixed martial arts or Yoga flow.
  5. Avoid processed foods, alcohol, and lack of sleep. Those three things increase cortisol levels, which is one of the hormones believed responsible for storing belly fat.

    Jillian’s on her own this summer, starring in a new show, “Losing It With Jillian.” The premise is simple: Jillian travels across the United States, helping families who are desperately in need of health and wellness improvement. Sure, she is dominant and occasionally yells (it’s her signature method for motivation), but she is also kind, encouraging, and very insightful. Just like its sister show, this one is sure to inspire America.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    UPDATE: June 18, 2010
    Palo Alto, CA

    kaeng raeng

    Founder and CEO Lindsay Reinsmith at a WF demo

    Kaeng Raeng LLC, a nutraceutical company based in Silicon Valley, recently became authorized in Whole Foods Market, starting with the Stevens Creek Boulevard store in Cupertino, CA, and the downtown Palo Alto store in Palo Alto, CA. Kaeng Raeng is available in the Whole Body section.

    Whole Foods Cupertino and Whole Foods Palo Alto currently carry Kaeng Raeng’s best-seller, the 3-day Beginner detox program, as well as the beginner trial packets in all three flavors: “joyful,” “daybreak,” and “into the blue.”

    Kaeng Raeng is also authorized in their national system. For those consumers living outside of the bay area who would like to purchase Kaeng Raeng at their local Whole Foods, they can request the product in the Whole Body section of the store.

    “Whole Foods is focused on consumer demand,” said Lindsay Reinsmith, founder and CEO of Kaeng Raeng. “They want to carry what consumers want to buy. If you request Kaeng Raeng at your local Whole Foods, the Whole Body staff will listen.”

    Kaeng Raeng is a young, small business, but a fast-growing one. Located in Palo Alto, CA, Kaeng Raeng is available in bay area nutrition and health food stores, as well as online at Kaengraeng.com and other drop-ship sites.

    “We got the product to shelves in January of this year,” Reinsmith said. “It’s been a crazy, busy experience placing KR into Whole Foods Market within 6 months. Nutraceuticals is a competitive, difficult industry that I can only describe as sink or swim!”

    Whole Foods Market is the world’s largest retailer of natural and organic foods, with stores throughout North America and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods is focused on providing consumers with high quality products and strives to stay local, sustainable, and in line with their own core values.

    “I believe Kaeng Raeng is a great fit for Whole Foods,” Reinsmith said. “Our product is 100% vegan and gluten free with all of our ingredients from the USA. KR contains no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. We too strive to be a socially responsible business with a sustainable product and a portion of every sale benefiting the Humane Society.”

    Kaeng Raeng is co-packaged by Multivitamin Direct and headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. Samples and CEO interviews available upon request. Contact press@kaengraeng.com or visit www.kaengraeng.com.

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    BY MARK HYMAN, MD

    Imagine eating 12 pounds of food a day — and still staying thin and healthy. That may sound crazy, but it’s exactly what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate for millennia! And they didn’t have any obesity or chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or dementia.

    Of course, I wouldn’t advise anyone today to eat 12 pounds of food, because the food in our society lacks one major secret ingredient that our ancestors ate in nearly all their food — fiber!

    Fiber has so many health benefits that I want to focus on it in this week’s blog. I’ll explain some of its benefits and give you nine tips you can begin using today to get more fiber in your diet. I’ll also tell you about my favorite “super-fiber” that can help you increase your total fiber intake overnight.

    But before I tell you about what fiber can do for you, let’s a look a little more at the history of fiber.

    Why Bushmen are Healthier than the Average Westerner

    Dr. Dennis Burkitt, a famous English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and their “civilized” western counterparts. The bushmen seemed to be free of the scourges of modern life — including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

    Dr. Burkitt found that the average bushman had a stool weight of two pounds and the “civilized” men had a stool weight of only four ounces – that’s 87.5 percent smaller! The difference was in the amount of fiber they ate.

    Today, the average American eats about 8 grams of fiber a day. But the average hunter and gatherer ate 100 grams from all manner of roots, berries, leaves and plant foods. And the fiber is what helped those ancestors of ours stay healthy. Just take a look at all the good things that fiber can do for your body.

    You need fiber to keep you healthy from top to bottom, as well as to provide food for the healthy bacteria that work within you to promote health.

    In fact, fiber can actually prevent obesity(i) and all the chronic disease of aging. This is because fiber slows the rate at which food enters your bloodstream and increases the speed at which food exits your body through the digestive tract. (ii) That keeps your blood sugar and cholesterol in ideal balance — and quickly eliminates toxins from your gut and reduces your appetite,

    There’s good science to back this up. Research shows that fiber can lower blood sugar as much as some diabetes medications,(iii) lower cholesterol(iv), and promote weight loss.(v)

    It’s clear, fiber is a great ally in the battle of the bulge.

    But it’s also a hero in more serious battles.

    For example, one recent study showed how butyrate made by gut bacteria from certain types of fiber acts as a switching molecule that turns on an anticancer gene — and turns OFF colon cancer. In fact, fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as a third and breast cancer by almost 40 percent.

    It also lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent.(vi) And if you have diabetes, adding fiber to your diet may even help you use less insulin. Plus, it’s a great natural cure for constipation and irregularity.(vii)

    Now that you know how beneficial it is, let’s look at how you can begin taking advantage of fiber’s health benefits.

    Getting Enough Daily Fiber

    You should shoot to get 30 to 50 grams of fiber into your diet every day.(viii) The type of fiber you choose is important, too.

    Most people think that bran is the best type of fiber to eat. But bran (wheat fiber) is mostly insoluble and doesn’t get digested. Think of it as more of a scouring pad for your intestines. That’s good for getting you regular, but it just can’t help your health the way that soluble fiber can.

    You’ll find soluble fiber in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and most whole grains. The bacteria in your gut metabolizes the soluble fiber in these foods, and that’s when the benefits start.

    Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin, prevent cancer, balance hormone levels, remove excess estrogen and reduce the risk of breast cancer, make vitamins and minerals, provide food for the colon cells, and more. So it’s easy to see just how crucial soluble fiber is to good heath!

    In just a minute, I’m going to tell you how to increase your fiber intake. But first, I want to tell you about some recent discoveries regarding an ancient fiber source that can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, reduce your appetite and lower your blood sugar more effectively than ANY other fiber. It’s called glucomannan, but I call it super fiber!

    Glucomannan: The Benefits of Super Fiber

    Glucomannan (GM) is a soluble, fermentable, and highly viscous dietary fiber that comes from the root of the elephant yam, also known as konjac (Amorphophallus konjac or Amorphophallus rivieri), native to Asia. The konjac tuber has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy and to make traditional foods such as konjac jelly, tofu, and noodles. More recently, purified konjac flour, or GM, has been used as a food stabilizer, gelling agent, and supplement.

    What makes this fiber so super is the fact that it can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water — making it one of the most viscous dietary fibers known.

    That means that GM can help you shed pounds. In many studies, doses of two to four grams of GM per day were well-tolerated.(ix),(x) This amount also resulted in significant weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.(xi)

    GM works by promoting a sense of fullness.(xii),(xiii) Plus, it pushes more calories out through your colon, rather than letting them be absorbed.(xiv) It also lowers the energy density of the food you eat. In other words, it bulks up food in your gut — creating a lower calorie content per weight of food you eat.(xv)

    And since fiber has almost no calories but a lot of weight, adding it to your diet lowers the energy-to-weight ratio of the food that you eat. Studies show that the weight of food controls your appetite, so the fiber increases the food’s weight WITHOUT increasing calories — a critical factor in weight control.

    This powerful fiber may also control your appetite in other key ways.

    For example, it sends signals to your brain that there is a lot of food in your gut and tells it to slow down on stuffing food in there.

    GM also leaves your stomach and small bowel slowly because it is so viscous. By slowing the rate of food absorption from the gut to the bloodstream, GM reduces the amount of insulin produced after a meal, which also controls your appetite.

    It may also increase the level of hormones in the gut (such as cholecystokinin), which is another way to control your appetite.(xvi)

    And finally, you lose more calories through stool because GM soaks up all those extra calories!

    GM can also help your health in other ways. In addition to weight reduction, GM has been studied for its effects on constipation, serum cholesterol,(xvii) blood glucose,(xviii) blood pressure,(xix) and insulin resistance syndrome.(xx)

    With all those benefits, there’s no doubt you should eat more fiber. No, you probably won’t be eating 12 pounds of food like your ancestors did! But you can increase your fiber intake, just by being smart about what you eat. Here are some simple suggestions for increasing fiber in your diet.

    9 Tips for Increasing the Fiber in Your Diet

    1. Get the flax. Get a coffee grinder just for flax seeds, grind 1/2 cup at a time, and keep it in a tightly sealed glass jar in the fridge or freezer. Eat 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds a day. Sprinkle it on salads, grains, or vegetable dishes or mix it in a little unsweetened applesauce.

    2. Load up on legumes. Beans beat out everything else for fiber content!

    3. Bulk up on vegetables. With low levels of calories and high levels of antioxidants and protective phytochemicals, these excellent fiber sources should be heaped on your plate daily.

    4. Go with the grain. Whole grains like brown rice or quinoa are rich in fiber, too.

    5. Eat more fruit. Include a few servings of low-sugar fruits to your diet daily (berries are the highest in fiber and other protective phytochemicals).

    6. Go nuts. Include a few handfuls of almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts to your diet every day.

    7. Start slowly. Switching abruptly to a high-fiber diet can cause gas and bloating. Increase your fiber intake slowly till you get up to 50 grams a day.

    8. Consider a good fiber supplement. If you’re have trouble getting your fill of fiber, choose a supplement that contains both soluble and insoluble fiber and no sweeteners or additives.

    9. Choose GM. By now, you know that my favorite kind is glucomannan (GM), or konjac. Many companies sell it in capsule form. Although I don’t normally recommend specific brands, I like the one produced by Natural Factors called WellBetX. You can take 2 to 4 capsules with a glass of water, 30 to 60 minutes before eating. Don’t take any medications within 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking it because the fiber may absorb the medication.

    As you can see, fiber has big benefits for your health — from encouraging weight loss wto preventing chronic diseases. I hope you’ll start adding more of this important compound into your diet today!

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    By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

    Cook up a batch of rice on a Sunday and you can make fried rice dinners throughout the week. For a vegetarian version of this dish, leave out the chicken and substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce. If you do eat meat, this is a great way to make it stretch. Have all of your ingredients prepared and at arm’s length before you begin, as the cooking goes very quickly.

    2 heaped cups broccoli florets

    2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

    3/4 pound chicken breast, sliced thin across the grain

    Salt and ground black pepper to taste

    1 bunch scallions, both white and green parts, chopped

    4 garlic cloves, minced

    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

    1 or 2 serrano chiles, minced (seeded for a milder dish)

    1 large carrot, peeled and diced small or cut in 2-inch matchsticks

    2 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper

    6 cups cooked basmati brown rice (1 1/2 cups uncooked)

    1 to 2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (to taste)

    1/4 cup chopped cilantro

    Lime wedges and sliced cucumber for serving (optional)

    Soy sauce or fish sauce for serving

    1. Steam the broccoli florets for two to three minutes. Rinse with cold water, and set aside.

    2. Season the sliced chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat a large wok or a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water evaporates upon contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, swirl in the skillet and add the sliced chicken breast. Stir-fry until cooked through, three to four minutes. Add the carrot and broccoli. Stir-fry for two minutes. Add another tablespoon of the oil and the scallions, garlic, ginger and chiles. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the beaten eggs, stir for a few seconds until scrambled, and add the rice. Cook the rice: scoop it up, press it into the pan and then scoop it up again, repeating for about two minutes. Add the fish sauce, stir together for about a half minute and sprinkle the cilantro over the top. Serve, garnishing each plate with cucumbers and lime wedges if desired. Diners can squeeze lime juice onto their rice as they eat.

    Yield: Serves four to six.

    Advance preparation: Cooked rice will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator. The dish is a last-minute stir-fry, so have all of your ingredients prepared and within reach.

    Nutritional information per serving (based on four main dish servings): 477 calories; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 155 milligrams cholesterol; 61 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 481 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 30 grams protein

    Good luck, healthy girl!

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