In this issue:
- Featured Recipe: Tastes Like Autumn Pumpkin and Apple Soup
- Healthy, Fabulous Flavors: Pomegranate
- A Note from Our Chief Nutrition Advisor: Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
- Hidden Gluten: Finding Gluten Indicators on Food Labels
- Recommended Reading: Easy Meals to Cook with Kids
Featured Recipe: Tastes Like Autumn Pumpkin and Apple Soup
What could possibly remind anyone more of autumn than crisp tart apples and glorious orange pumpkin? Welcome in the season with a warm pot of this delicious pumpkin and apple soup. It is the perfect combination of these delicious, nutritious autumn favorites.
Healthy, Fabulous Flavors: Pomegranate
A plump heavy fruit, with a hard red skin, the pomegranate figured early in art and mythology. They are common in Middle eastern, Italian and Latin American cuisine, but are cultivated in Southern California as well. In Greek mythology, it was the seeds of a pomegranate that Persephone ate and forced her to return yearly to the underworld, thus explaining the origin of the seasons. Whether Persephone should have eaten the fruit is highly debated, the rest of us can benefit from its numerous health benefits. The bright red flesh-covered seeds, call arils, have an abundance of antioxidants - which neutralize damaging free radicals - as well as phytochemicals, making then anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic. Pomegranates have long been used to strengthen the bladder and gums, destroy worms in the intestine, and soothe ulcers in the mouth. They have high amounts of potassium as well as moderate amounts of vitamin C.
The sweet tart fruit is fun to eat, but can be a messy affair. To avoid getting splattered by the arils, try this method: Slice the crown off, then cut off the skin by tracing your knife down the fruit in an arc, trying not to cut into the arils. Immerse the fruit in a bowl of water, break it into sections, and free the arils from the white pith. The white pith floats to the top, where it can be strained out along with the water. Enjoy them sprinkled on a salad, over cooked greens, or dessert. Or simply eat the juicy arils, seeds and all, as a delicious snack.
Choose fresh-looking, firm fruit which peak in the autumn. Store in a cool dark place (think of Persephone in the underworld) for up to a month, or refrigerate for up to two months. The arils can be frozen for several months as well.
Pomegranate juice and the cooked-down concentrated version, called pomegranate molasses, or syrup, is traditionally used in Middle eastern cooking in salad dressings, sauces, and desserts. Try mixing a tablespoon or two into a glass of sparkling water for a refreshing healthful "soft" drink.
A Note from Our Chief Nutrition Advisor: Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
by Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN
Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity were once considered rare, however it is now estimated that millions of people in the United States are affected by these conditions. This means that anyone on this "gluten intolerant spectrum" must be vigilant about avoiding gluten in the diet. Gluten is an umbrella term for a family of proteins, glutenins and gliadins, that can wreak damage in the body and cause a host of symptoms including headaches, fatigue digestive problems, muscle aches, neurological problems, skin rashes, and more.
Researchers are trying to figure out why so many people are intolerant to gluten and suspect it beyond genetic susceptibilities; it may also be due to:
1. Changes in our diet over time to a much higher gluten load
2. Changes in our "microflora" or good gut bacteria
3. Dysfunction in our gut immune system due to widespread use of antibiotics and other medications
4. Genetic modification of foods resulting in more food intolerances
The good news? Transitioning to a gluten free diet can be a delicious adventure in whole foods eating. Here are a few gluten free tips to consider:
- Make a list of your favorite foods that contain gluten such as bread, cereal, pasta, crackers, etc. and find a gluten free option that offers both great taste and nutrition.
- Experiment with gluten-free grain alternatives that favor flavor and nutritional density including: amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rice (all types), wild rice, teff, and corn.
- Load up on starchy vegetables like sweet potato, red potato, peas, and winter squashes such as acorn, butternut, buttercup, and kobucha as nutritious and satisfying food options for a gluten free power plate.
- Uncover pantry items where gluten is in disguise such as condiments, seasonings, snack foods, and baking products, and make a gluten free trade (ex. organic gluten free tamari for soy sauce)
- Be a gluten sleuth by reading food labels. Gluten labeling is still voluntary, but someday soon, this may change. Check out www.gfco.org for brands that are certified gluten free.
- Warm up to some outstanding gluten free, flavorful, MyFoodMyHealth and My Foundation Diet recipes such as Salad with Dates, Figs, Apricots, Grapes, Almonds and Lemon Juice. Download sample recipe
Learn more about Kathie
Learn more about Kathie's My Foundation Diet
Hidden Gluten: Finding Gluten Indicators on Food Labels
Even the smallest amount of gluten in the diet can damage the small intestine if you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant. That is why it is essential to always read food labels.
Some foods with gluten are easy to spot like breads, pastas, and pastries. Others can be harder to identify, so it may take some sleuthing. To help you uncover hidden gluten, here is a list of common indictors on food labels. While it is not comprehensive, it is a good start.
Grains & ingredients derived from grains that contain gluten
Food components that may contain gluten
Other items that may contain gluten
Remember: gluten can pop up in unexpected places. Be smart and check food labels continuously - even if you have bought a product before. Companies change ingredients often and without warning.
Recommended Reading: Easy Meals to Cook with Kids 2010
Developing healthy, life-long eating habits truly begins in the kitchen. For a fun and powerful tool to make cooking fun and healthy for the whole family read Easy Meals to Cook with Kids. This delightful cookbook is filled with easy, nutritious recipes for adults who want to cook with children, ages two and older. It offers guidelines on how to safely cook with children and provides recipes that are sophisticated enough for grown-up palates yet simple enough for young chefs to prepare. It is a must read for anyone who wants to enjoy time in the kitchen and encourage kids to eat healthy.
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