In this issue:
- Featured Recipe: Greek Chicken Salad
- Myra's Kitchen Corner: Savory Salmon Coconut Muffins
- Nutritionist's Notes: In Synch with Health
- School's in Session: Nutrition for Growing Teens
- Eight Things You Can Do to Limit Exposure to BPA
- Recommended Reading: New Whole Foods Encyclopedia
Featured Recipe: Greek Chicken Salad
Traditional Mediterranean favorites such as feta cheese, olives and capers, pair with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and arugula to extend the sunny flavors of summer into the fall. Pack your lunch bag with this Mediterranean favorite or add it to a pita for a healthy, spirited lunch on the go.
Myra's Kitchen Corner
Savory Salmon Coconut Muffins
Breakfast can be a challenge, especially during those hectic mornings when there's limited time. I find it helpful to have on hand ready-made items that require no more time to prepare than it takes to pop a piece of toast in the toaster oven. That kind of healthy instant breakfast does require a bit of planning. Today's video features one of my favorite such breakfasts: savory salmon muffins. Most of the time we associate muffins with a sugary high carbohydrate load, but these muffins are different. They are nutrient-dense little parcels, full of protein and great fat, but low on carbohydrates. They're filling, but they don't weigh you down.
To start, I whisk together Â½ cup of coconut flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and Â¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Half a cup of coconut flour is not very much; but coconut flour-made from the flesh of the mature coconut after all of the liquid has been squeezed out-really absorbs liquid, so a little goes a long way. In another bowl, I whisk together 6 eggs, along with Â½ cup of melted coconut oil. I use the aroma-free variety of coconut oil since I don't want any coconut flavor coming from the oil. Aroma-free coconut oil still has the great nutritional benefits of the virgin variety: the short list is that it's good for the thyroid, good for the digestive tract, and great for the metabolism. It keeps the muffins moist as well. Then I pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk the two together. I stir in a large (7.5 ounce) can of salmon. I favor the kind with bones (these are soft enough to eat), which provide a good dose of calcium along with vitamin D, the omega three fatty acids DHA and EPA, and astaxanthin, the antioxidant that gives wild salmon its red-orange color. I add some walnuts, which, besides adding flavor and texture, have a whole host of great health properties, including the omega three fatty acid ALA. I also add Â¼ cup of chopped fresh herbs. In the video, I use a combination of dill, tarragon, and chives; but other herbs, such as parsley, sorrel or cilantro, are delicious as well.
I'm now ready to add my batter to the muffin tins. Instead of "tins," I favor silicon muffin holders. This way, there's no need to grease the tins, and the coconut muffins pop right out. I bake the muffins at 400˚ for 20 minutes, just until springy and lightly browned. It's best not to over bake these or they run the risk of drying out. This recipe makes 7 large muffins, enough for 7 full breakfasts. They keep refrigerated for up to a week, and you can freeze them (slice in half first) as well. I savor them toasted with a few slices of avocado, which lend more good fat, folic acid, vitamin E, and of course, deliciousness. These muffins are truly convenient for those busy mornings when you need to take breakfast on the run. Most importantly, they will keep you humming along all the way until lunch.
Nutritionist's Notes: In Synch with Health
By Kathie Madonna Swift MS RDN
Over 30 years ago, the first paper I authored for a college nutrition course was on circadian rhythms. It was no easy task to find research on this topic at the time. I had a personal interest in this theme because my dad was a shift worker and I was worried about his health and how his ever-changing weekly schedule might be impacting him.
Now, "chronobiology" or the science of biological rhythms has fast become one of the most studied areas in the field of health and medicine.
Scientists are examining how our daily rhythms influence our susceptibility to disease, response to medications and other therapies, performance on mental tasks and critical physiological processes including digestion and hormone signaling.
A recent study published in Obesity Review found that circadian misalignment affects sleep architecture ultimately disturbing glucose-insulin dynamics and dopaminergic signaling. Simply put, this is a recipe for depression, the moody blues food cravings that are unquenchable and a host of chronic diseases.
So, here's what you can do to get in synch:
Catch your z's...aim for 7-8 hours every night. Restorative sleep is a principal pillar of health and healing. Practice good sleep hygiene habits by getting unplugged at least 1 hour before you snuggle under the covers. Better to sleep with a teddy bear than an iPad.
Eat by the clock...develop a consistent meal pattern that works for you, not against you. Experiment with the age-old wisdom of 3 meals per day and observe how you feel. Tune in and find an eating pattern that is uniquely suited to your work, play, exercise and sleep schedule.
Macro-fit your meals...include a metabolic mix of the energy yielding nutrients: fiber-dense carbs, lean protein and healthy fats at each meal. This will fuel your body and increase your metabolic resiliency.
Stay tuned - next month we'll take a look at specific foods that can help you sleep better naturally!
Reference: Gonnissen HK, Hulshof T, Westertern-Plantenga MS. Chonobiology, endocrinology, and energy and food-reward homeostasis. Obes Rev 2013;14(5):405-16
School's in Session: Nutrition for Growing Teens
We all know the teen years are a time of rapid physical, emotional and intellectual growth. But did you know teens have a special set of nutrition needs to grow, develop and learn? They do. With the start of the school year, it's the perfect time to load your shelves and stock your frig with healthy and delicious foods that will give teens the nutrients they need as they change and grow.
Calories that matter. Teens with their growing bodies need more calories for growth and energy. Many experts say this is around 2200 calories for girls and between 2500 - 2900 for boys a day. However, not all calories are alike. Swap out empty calories from soda, chips, candy and processed foods with powerhouse calories from whole grains, dairy, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables.
Calcium to grow strong bones. Almost half of skeletal growth happens during adolescence. To support this growth, large amounts of calcium are important. Yogurt, cheese, greens, kale and spinach are all great sources of calcium. See your teen reaching for the potato chips or a high calorie "energy drink"? Steer them to some homemade kale chips or a yogurt and fruit smoothie instead. These will help build strong bones.
Protein builds muscle. Skip the protein drinks and supplements and go to whole natural foods for the best sources of protein. Fish and poultry provide lots of protein without the levels of saturated fat as red meat. Eating vegetarian? Try dried beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds, asparagus, greens, spinach, summer squash, coconut and tofu.
Iron for brain development. Iron is essential for brain development, carrying oxygen through the body and creating energy. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue and weakness. Lean meat, poultry and fish are good animal sources of iron. Tofu, soy milk, chickpeas, lentils and white beans are other good sources of iron.
Zinc. Zinc is essential for growth as well as immune and nerve function. A wide variety of foods contain zinc. Some teen favorites include spinach, asparagus, scallops, lamb, beef, maple syrup (yes maple syrup), shrimp, green peas, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and turkey.
B vitamins to give energy a boost. Teens need a lot of energy. To meet their energy requirements they need large amounts of B vitamins. Lean meats, sardines and salmon are all high in B vitamins. Looking for veggies high in vitamin B? Try dark green leafy veggies like spinach and kale.
Eight Things You Can Do to Limit Exposure to BPA
Bisphenol-A (BPA) has long been present in many hard plastic bottles, food storage containers and metal-based food and beverage cans. Some recent studies have raised concerns about the possible effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children. However, research is not conclusive. With the continuing concerns about the potential harmful health effects of BPA, the US Food and Drug Administration is now supporting additional research. In addition, it supports efforts to replace or minimize the levels of BPA in food can linings and is recommending more regulatory oversight of BPA.
While the research on the impact of BPA on human health continues, many consumers are concerned about its potential effects and want to limit their exposure to the chemical. Here are a few things you can do to limit your exposure to BPA, just to be on the safe side.
- Avoid eating canned food. Eat fresh or frozen food instead.
- Buy foods like pasta sauces in glass jars instead of cans. The lid might have a small amount of BPA but the rest of the jar will not.
- If you must buy something in a can, look for cans marked BPA-free. It is generally more expensive, but if you're concerned about BPA it can give you peace of mind.
- Opt for beverages in glass or plastic bottles instead of cans.
- Do you use portable water bottles? Look for stainless steel or plastic water bottles without BPA. Most plastic bottles that contain BPA will have a No. 7 recycling code on the bottom.
- Store foods in glass containers instead of plastic which can contain BPA.
- Microwave foods in glass or ceramic dishes not in plastic containers. BPA in plastic containers can leach into food at high temperatures.
- Wash plastic containers by hand in warm, soapy water. Plastics can break down from the high temperatures in a dishwasher.
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