Nature’s Sports Drink

Coconut water is the new “it” drink.  It’s on billboards, in the hands of celebrities, sold whole to hipsters with a straw, and in practically every grocery store across America. In just a few years, this little blue box has become a staple everywhere from yoga studios to marathon finish lines.  Why all the attention? Coconut water provides 15 times the potassium and electrolytes than one sports drink without any of the added sugar.

Benefits of Coconut Water: Hydration is the key to recovery after an intense workout and the key to a healthy body.  Electrolytes, namely potassium, chloride and sodium, are essential for hydration and muscle repair.  Sports drinks, while hydrating, are loaded with Continue reading

Recipe: You Are What You Don’t Eat

The healthiest way to get your skin glowing is from the inside out: eating a nutrient-rich diet, drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest.  Second best to that is indulging your skin with relaxing and nourishing treatments.  In a ridiculous yet perfect world, I would have the luxury of daily spa treatments.  Considering there’s a fat chance of that ever happening, here are some great “recipes” for creating natural do-it-yourself beauty treatments.  They’re fast, simple and, best of all, considerably cheaper than the spa.  So get the most of the summer season’s bounty using fresh fruits and vegetables that are as good for your skin as they are for your health.

FACE:

Lemon Toner

Lemons reduce oil and prevent shine on your face. Before bed, apply fresh lemon juice to your face with a cloth or clean makeup brush. Leave the juice on your skin for five minutes. Rinse. Temporary redness, caused by the citric acid, is normal.  For a morning toner, combine 10 drops of lemon juice with one half cup of water. Saturate a cotton ball with mixture and dab over clean skin. Do not rinse.

Vitamin C Exfoliating Scrub

Exfoliate your face with pineapple, papaya or grapefruit.  All you have to do is mash up the fruit, apply to face, leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off.

Blueberry Mask

Blueberries, known for their antioxidant power, will repair damaged cells and add hydration to skin.  Add ¼ cup blueberries, 1 tbsp raw honey,
and 1 tbsp olive oil to a blender and blend well.  Evenly apply all over the face, leaving room around the eyes and mouth.  Leave the mask on for 5 minutes allowing it to fully sink in hydrating and nourishing the skin.  To get rid of dead skin add about a teaspoon of sugar to the ingredients for extra exfoliation qualities.  Remove with a damp cloth. Continue reading

The Latest Major U.S. Food Recalls

According to Time Magazine, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council recently reported food-borne illnesses in the U.S. cause more than 5,000 deaths each year.  The recalls listed here are voluntary on behalf of the manufacturers, for the surprising reason that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have the power to recall food.  Until we have mandatory FDA food inspections, we are at our own risk.  So the best you can do until the Senate decides to change this is remain mindful of what you buy, wash your food and hands well, prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meats separate from produce, and if possible, buy organic (especially the dirty dozen).

Here are the latest major U.S. Food Recalls: Continue reading

The Fruits and Vegetables of Summer

At the start of the spring season I posted a few benefits of purchasing/eating locally grown and freshly harvested produce.  In the heat and activity of the summer months, the ideal diet is one that is cooling, balancing, nourishing and refreshing.  Given that yesterday was the official first day of summer, here are the fruits and vegetables currently in season, at peak ripeness and tasting their finest.

Summer Vegetables:

Artichokes Arugula Avocado Beets Bell Peppers
Collard Greens Corn Cucumber Eggplant Fava Beans
Fennel Green Beans Hot Peppers Mushrooms Okra
Onions Potatoes Radicchio Radishes Spinach
Sugar Snap Peas Shallots Tomatoes Yellow Squash Zucchini


Summer Fruits:

Apricots Blackberries Blueberries Cantaloupes
Cherries Figs Grapes Limes
Mangoes Nectarines Peaches Plums
Raspberries Rhubarb Strawberries Watermelon

DK

Recipe: Whole Grain Tagliatelle with Kale, Walnuts and Black Truffle Oil

I was inspired to make this dish after I saw the homemade Emmer wheat tagliatelle in the Union Square Farmer’s Market this morning.  Cayuga Farms has a stand in the market with fresh pasta, breads, grains and flours.  Emmer wheat, a whole grain known more commonly as Faro, has a nutty and hearty flavor (you could make this dish with any whole-wheat spaghetti, linguini or fettuccini as well).  A few feet down the Queens County farmstand had 2 varieties of kale, Red Russian (flat leaved, thin and tender) and Traditional (curly and tougher).  I cooked with both kales, but using only the traditional is just fine.  I added the walnuts and black truffle oil to compliment the nuttiness of the pasta and balance out the bitterness of the kale.  Truffles are expensive, as are most truffle oils, but Whole Foods has a 2 bottle set (1oz. each black and white) for $7.99.  Truffle oil is potent and when cooking with it you only need a sparse amount, so this set is perfect to have on hand.  The fresh pasta was $6.50 per pound, kale was $2 a bunch – add in the truffle oil, shallots and walnuts and you can have a fresh, seasonal, healthy and decadent meal for about 5 bucks a person.

Whole Grain Tagliatelle with Kale, Walnuts and Black Truffle Oil

Serves 4 Continue reading

The Government, Dietary Guidelines and a Potential Positive Shift

I know it’s easy to be cynical about governmental guidelines, so I don’t want to jump the gun here, but it seems as if we are on the brink of a positive shift in the way government assesses diet, food quality, availability, and education.  On Tuesday morning, the latest federal report for how Americans should eat was issued.  A 13-member board of scientists and nutritionists were appointed by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to revise the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans (where’s Michael Pollan when you need him).  The guidelines are reassessed every five years and are meant to Continue reading

Deepak Chopra: Quantum Physics and Global Health

Dr. Deepak Chopra is an established endocrinologist, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, universal scholar of quantum physics, best-selling author, and aficionado of the mind-body connection.  I had the utmost pleasure of seeing him speak this past weekend.  The topic: Reinventing The Body – Reinventing The Soul.  Chopra believes the human body is a process of our own consciousness; that our mind is not in our brain, but in every cell of our body.  In other words, the immune system and nervous system are intertwined because all over our body’s cell walls are receptors for neuropeptides (our molecules of emotion).  Basically what Chopra is saying is that we have complete control over our thoughts, emotions, health and wellbeing.  Now I realize most people don’t geek out over quantum physics the way I do so here is the area of his lecture most pertinent to health and wellness.   Continue reading

Chocolate Flavored Toddler Formula?

This is the newest product from Enfagrow: Chocolate Flavored Toddler Formula.  The formula is aimed at picky 12–36 month olds who don’t prefer/can’t tolerate regular tasting formula.  The product does include essential nutrients and omega 3’s on the ingredient list…right next to the sugar (19 grams per 7-ounce serving), chocolate and artificial flavors.

It is no secret that Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are becoming major childhood epidemics.  The latest statistics from the CDC reveal that Continue reading

Healthy Cooking Tips Part IV: Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are the foods most missing in modern diets.  Adding just one serving of greens a day to your diet can create and maintain health.  The most poplar green vegetable in America is lettuce.  As lovely as lettuce is, there are dozens of other beneficial, nutrient packed green vegetables to choose from.  Bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collard greens, watercress, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, escarole, and broccoli rabe are great leafy green choices with limitless cooking possibilities.  Arugula, endive, chicory, mesclun and wild greens are generally eaten raw and in salads, but can be fantastic slightly wilted.  Asparagus, snap peas, snow peas, and artichokes are an easy way to integrate mild green vegetables into the diet.  Brussel sprouts when shredded raw in a slaw or cooked with the leaves separated are surprisingly sweet and delicious.

Benefits:

Nutritionally, green vegetables are very high in Continue reading

Recipe: Faro Risotto with Asparagus, Snap Peas and Meyer Lemon

Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish cooked with broth and flavored with parmigiano cheese, often including vegetables or seafood.  The name literally means “little rice” and it is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.  It is fairly easy to make, minus the extreme concentration and labor intensive 30 straight minutes of stirring (I just keep switching hands and think of it as an arm workout).  The outcome is well worth it.

Risotto is typically made with Arborio rice, a white simple carbohydrate.  I prefer to prepare a healthier version using Continue reading