In this issue:
|Featured Recipe: Spinach, Feta Cheese, and Mint Omelet|
|Myra's Kitchen Corner: Sautéed Apples in Ghee|
|The International Year of the Quinoa--Little Quinoa Gets Noticed for Its Big Nutrition Punch|
|Nutritionist's Notes: Kidney Health|
|What's New with MyFoodMyHealth|
|Simple Ways to Cut Your Sodium Intake for Better Heart Health|
|Downloadable Diet Plans from MyFoodMyHealth & Kathie Swift|
Featured Recipe: Spinach, Feta Cheese, and Mint Omelet
Despite getting a bum rap for years, more new research shows that eggs do not pose a greater risk of cardiovascular disease for the average person. In fact, eggs are delicious sources of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and micronutrients. Try this MyFoodMyHealth omelet recipe for your next breakfast or lunch. With ingredients like spinach, feta cheese, and mint it delivers a Greek inspired twist to a classic favorite.
Myra's Kitchen Corner: Sautéed Apples in Ghee
One of my favorite quick morning dishes to make throughout the winter is sautéed apples in ghee. Ghee—clarified butter with the milk solids and water removed—is ideal for high heat cooking since it doesn’t burn as easily as regular butter. It still contains all the good qualities of butter, however, such as fat-soluble vitamins, short- and medium-chain fatty acids, and selenium. To get the most nutrition and best flavor, it’s best to purchase good quality ghee from cows that have been pasture-raised, or you can make your own from your favorite high quality butter.
Sautéed apples are quick and simple enough to make for breakfast. In the video, I show my favorite way to peel and cut an apple. With a Y-shaped peeler—my favorite—I make a ring around the top and one around the bottom as well. I then peel the sides and quarter the apple. I lay the quarters on their sides, and cut out the core in one easy-angled cut. This is the most efficient way to core an apple, and you don’t need any special equipment. Best of all, it’s safe because, after coring the apple, you then have a flat side that rests firmly on the board. I then slice each quarter into 3 or 4 pieces. The next part is simple. I warm some ghee in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the apples and a dash cinnamon powder, and cover the skillet. I check on the apples after about 2 or 3 minutes, give them a toss, and cook them a couple of minutes more. That’s all there is to it. The tender apples smell and taste heavenly. They make a great topping for oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, or yogurt. They can also serve as a succulent side dish with scrambled eggs or other protein.
The International Year of the Quinoa--Little Quinoa Gets Noticed for Its Big Nutrition Punch
Until a few years ago the whole grain quinoa (although it’s really a "pseudocereal" seed) got little attention. Now it’s being called out for its "high nutritive value," impressive biodiversity, and the important role it can play in the achievement of food security worldwide. In fact, The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa."
What’s the all the fuss about this super grain with the funny name? Historically from the Andes region of South America, it's the perfect food with highly concentrated nutrients. It delivers a healthy blend of carbohydrates, protein, unsaturated fat and essential amino acids, as well as anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, calcium, iron, and other important nutrients. Plus, it can adapt to adverse climates and soil conditions and it can be harvested at a low cost. This means it can be grown just about anywhere, including in areas of the world suffering from food insecurity.
Although Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) might be hard to pronounce the first time, it’s not hard to add this super grain to your diet. You can use it as breakfast porridge, as an alternative to rice, and as hearty sides, or vegetarian main dishes. Quinoa flour can also be used as a gluten-free alternative in baked goods like cookies, muffins, and cakes for people suffering from allergies. MyFoodMyHealth offers a variety of recipes with quinoa as an important ingredient. Taste for yourself how delicious quinoa can be with this MyFoodMyHealth recipe for Delicata Squash Boats Stuffed with Quinoa
Nutritionist's Notes: Kidney Health
By Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN
Western medicine reveres the heart, adores the digestive tract and is fascinated with the intricate workings of the brain. But we often pay little attention to our kidneys, the organ that is the cornerstone of health from a Chinese medicine perspective. Our kidneys perform multiple functions including maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance, production of important hormones such as calcitriol (active form of vitamin D) and the excretion of ammonia, urea, and toxic compounds like heavy metals.
As a child, my grandmother, a practicing health food nut who lived well into her 90’s, claimed she preserved her health and “one” kidney with her daily vegetable juice concoctions. Years ago, as a renal dietitian, I worked primarily with patients on dialysis whose kidneys had been ravaged by an onslaught of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. And in the past decade, I have observed a significant surge of individuals suffering from kidney stones and impaired renal function as a result of the typical Western diet.
What you eat does matter to your kidneys! A number of dietary factors can make a difference in preventing damage to this multitasking organ:
Total Acid Load. The kidneys are the “renalstat” for ensuring proper acid/base balance, which is essential for health. A diet that contains an excessive amount of animal protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs) and too few plant foods (vegetables and fruits) to counterbalance the acid load results in an unfavorable acidic environment. Shift your plate to include a high Plant:Animal ratio at every meal.
Mineral Balance. There is a dynamic and complex relationship among some of the major minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium) that influence renal integrity. The tsunami of sodium from the glut of processed foods in the average American diet has skewed the optimal sodium:potassium balance important for renal health. In addition, excess sodium disrupts calcium balance, contributing to progressive loss of bone mineral content and further compromising renal health. A diet focused on plant sources of calcium (greens, beans, nuts, seeds) and containment of animal protein and salt can reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Fluids. Optimal hydration is an indispensable factor in caring for your kidneys. Each person’s fluid needs are unique and influenced by health status, physical activity, and environmental factors. A simple rule of thumb for healthy individuals is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces (ex. 140 lbs =70 ounces fluid) in addition to the water provided by those recommended 8-10 servings of vegetable and fruits.
These simple dietary principles are food as preventive medicine for your kidneys. If however, you have a renal disease, I highly recommend you work with a Registered Dietitian/Board Specialist in Renal Nutrition as personalized nutritional guidelines are a must.
Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN is the founder of SwiftNutrition (www.swiftnutrition.com), and author with Dr. Gerard Mullin of The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health (Rodale, 2011).
What's New with MyFoodMyHealth
New Low Glycemic Diet Option Coming Soon
MyFoodMyHealth is pleased to announce the upcoming availability of the latest in our family of special diet options, the low glycemic diet. A low glycemic diet helps you keep your blood sugar balanced by focusing on foods with low glycemic index rankings. This type of diet option is especially helpful for people with health concerns such as metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), insulin resistance and even for people interested in losing some extra pounds. With the MyFoodMyHealth Low Glycemic diet in particular, MyFoodMyHealth has developed recipes and meal plans with the glycemic load of the entire recipe in mind. To use the new diet, MyFoodMyHealth subscribers will simply check off the “I Prefer a Low Glycemic Diet” in their profile set up.
Welcome Chef Ellen Emerson
We’d like to give a warm welcome to our newest contributing chef, Ellen Emerson. A former member of the Navy and graduate of the renowned Chefs Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute, Ellen delights in serving up fresh, healthy food as a private chef for people facing serious illness. She also cooks and teaches with several New York City non-profit organizations.
Learn more about the Natural Gourmet Institute
Simple Ways to Cut Your Sodium Intake for Better Heart Health
Chances are you are getting more salt in your diet than you realize. Salt is the primary source of sodium which contributes to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Currently the average American consumes about 3,500 mg of salt per day. According to recent studies, if people reduced their salt consumption to the upper limit of the U.S. government guideline of 2,300 milligrams a day it would save between 500,000 and 850,000 lives over the next 10 years. That’s a striking number of deaths due to heart attacks and strokes that could be prevented.
February is national heart health month, so there’s no better time to better care of your heart by reducing your sodium intake. It doesn’t take a lot of work to reduce your sodium intake and the health rewards are well worth it.
Some simple ways to cut your sodium intake:
Get fresh. Stick with fresh vegetables, lean meat, fish, and poultry when possible. When they are fresh they are at their most flavorful and do not include added salt. If you need to use canned or processed foods look for those with no salt added or low sodium varieties.
Avoid processed and packaged foods. 80 percent of the salt consumed in America comes from processed foods. Packaged and frozen dinners, sauce mixes, canned soups, and snack foods can be very high in hidden sodium and other ingredients that are not very heart-healthy. If you can’t avoid processed or packaged foods, stick with low- or reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions when they are available.
Flavor with herbs. Instead of reaching for the salt, spice up your foods with delicious herbs. Dill, fenugreek, garlic, nutmeg, parsley, and rosemary are all delicious choices with heart-healthy benefits.
Use MyFoodMyHealth. The High Blood Pressure Diet from MyFoodMyHealth offers hundreds of delicious low sodium recipes. They are so flavorful you’ll never need to say, “pass the salt.”
New SPE "Health through Food" Restaurant Designations May Soon Let Diners Know Dishes Are Healthy
When trying to eat more healthfully, it is often difficult to dine out in a restaurant with confidence. If Emmanuel Verstraeten has anything to say about it this may change soon. The owner of Rouge Tomate in New York City, Verstraeten wants to make it easy for you to identify healthy dishes. On his menu you will notice certain dishes have a squiggly red insignia next to them with the letters SPE. The three letters stand for Sanitas Per Escam, which is Latin for “health through food.” This certification lets diners know each dish is dense with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and low in salt and “bad fats.” To ensure the strict criteria for healthy, delicious food at Rouge Tomateis maintained, the chef works with an in-house nutritionist and registered dietitian who ensures recipes meet SPE standards. Verstraeten and team are working hard to make SPE certification a standard across the restaurant industry. And they’re gaining healthy ground, with deals with health conscious universities, cruise lines, restaurants, and hotels. Soon you may find the SPE certification on restaurant menu items that meet the SPE standards for healthy ingredients, preparation, sourcing, and environmental impact. Wouldn’t that make your life easier when dining out?
The Clean Plates Cookbook!
By Jared Koch
If you are interested in sustainable and healthful home cooking then The Clean Plates Cookbook by Jared Koch is for you. The never-boring and sensible cookbook provides an easy guide for how to shop for the best ingredients for any diet, enabling omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans to all “eat clean.” It also provides simple advice for how to prepare food that’s simple and delicious and includes tips and inspiration from top chefs and nutrition experts throughout the book.
With The Clean Plates Cookbook as your guide you can journey down a flavor-rich path to clean eating and a healthier lifestyle with delicious recipes for beverages, breakfasts, snacks, entrées and desserts like Quinoa Carrot Muffins, Cracked Wheat Sushi, Wild Mushroom Gratin, Lamb Tikka Masala, and Cocoa Cherry Brownies.
Downloadable Diet Plans from MyFoodMyHealth & Kathie Swift
The MyFoodMyHealth FODMAPs Diet Third Edition
We've recently released the third edition of our popular MyFoodMyHealth FODMAPs Diet. It includes updated information on the latest scientific research related to FODMAPs, the therapeutic eating plan that is gaining ground as an effective protocol to help individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.
Created by MyFoodMyHealth and our Chief Nutritionist Kathie Madonna Swift, the MyFoodMyHealth FODMAPs Dietprovides easy and helpful guidelines for following a FODMAPs eating plan, plus delicious recipes from MyFoodMyHealth chefs. If you suffer from IBS or other digestive disorders, it may be just what you need to help alleviate your IBS symptoms.
My Foundation Diet Expanded Second Edition
Now with flexitarian and vegetarian recipes & meal plans
The My Foundation Diet created by Kathie in conjunction with MyFoodMyHealth is a seasonal, delicious, whole foods approach to optimizing your health and genetic potential.
Learn more about the My Foundation Diet at www.myfoundationdiet.com
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