Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that promote a healthy digestive tract, where 60-80% of your immune system can be found. For good gut health the body needs good bacteria (probiotics).

Some excellent choices for adding probiotics to your daily diet include;

Ginger, Kefir, Kimchee, Miso, Sauerkraut, Greek Yogurt, Dark Chocolate (70+%), Green Beans, Olives, Sour Dough Bread, Cottage Cheese, Tempeh, Soft cheeses (cheddar, gouda, parmesan, swiss), beer and wine.

Here are some ways to enjoy these fantastic probiotics;

Grate Fresh Ginger: I add fresh Ginger to my juice schorle every day.

Kimchee: Pick up some at your local Asian store, I add some of Bragg’s Amino Acid to reduce the spiciness.

Miso: You can buy white or red miso paste at Sprouts. Add it to your soup broth or stirfry.

Beat Summer Heat

Here in Phoenix, when the average temperature runs around 110, we get a little sensitive about HEAT. We are so sensitized we can feel the heat from a light bulb inside the house, so you can imagine what stove top cooking does and we try to never use the oven in the summer.

When the sun sets, we fire up our grills and enjoy our family meals on the patio – ok, but it is still hot.

Grilling up some vegetable favorites one night, can be used for several lunches or dinners the following nights.

If you like a bitter lettuce, try Radicchio. Cut it into quarters, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with S&P. I use a small grill basket with holes in it to control the burning.

  • Remember veggies have a lot of water in them and need extra time to cook, so don’t put your meats on until your veggies are done, they can just hang out on your upper shelf to stay warm while you grill your meats.

Toss the grilled Radicchio with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add crumbled Roquefort or Goat Cheese and toss.

Try grilled Eggplant. Cut into ½ slices and before grilling sprinkle with salt and let sit for a while, this will help draw out the water. Pat Dry and place on a low flame.

  • These will take some time to soften and you will have to stay diligent about flipping them so they don’t get too charred. This goes great with your grilled meats or salad. I take the left over slices and place them in a zip lock and toss them in the fridge.
  • The next day I will prepare a baba ganoush adding chick peas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and some salt and cumin, then hand blend it. This is a great side dish for meats.

Next try Sweet Roasted Mini Peppers, they come in bags at Kroger or Safeway, multi-colored mini sweet peppers.

  • I just throw them in the grill basket like the radicchio and toss them until they go limp, then I transfer them to the upper grill while I grill the meats. These go great with grilled meats or in salad. I toss the leftovers in a zip lock and use for sandwich toppings during the week.

Three easy grilling recipe ideas for helping you stay cool and nutritiously fed during these hot summer months! Enjoy!

Ginger

Used by the Chinese and Indians for about 5000 years, this root has powerful health agents to aide just about all that ills you.

Rich in antioxidants and anti-flammatory  qualities.

1.       Stomach

·         Reduce gas

·         Improve digestion

·         Help with diarrhea

·         Good for nausea

2.       Weight Loss

 *       You can actually burn calories eating ginger

3.       Blood Circulation

–          Increase blood flow

–          Relieves migraines

–          Menstrual cramps

–          Libido

4.       Other Health Benefits;

–          Lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL

–          Common Cold  remedy

–          Create odorless sweat

–          Joint pain and arthritis

Grind some into your AM juice or tea. I add it to my PM juice schorle. Very tasty and almost addictive. Enjoy!

Turmeric

The Indians have been using this medicinal herb for thousands of years. I read a story one time where an Indian recounted of when he broke his arm as a child and his mother would put a little Turmeric in his cocoa everyday to help heal his arm.

 

It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and super antioxidant, which is good for both your brain and body.

Helps block the plaque associated with Alzheimer and its anti-inflammatory agents are beneficial to arthritis sufferers.

 

Turmeric is the color yellow in curry and American mustard.

 

If you are not into Indian food, you can get in a capsule form (fermented Turmeric) or as a tea.

 

I add it to my omelets or smoothies.

No match for Matcha

When I was studying at University in Japan, I would go on holiday to the typical tourist attractions throughout the country.

In Nara, I once went to a traditional green tea ceremony. I remember the girl in Kimono whisking the Matcha powder in hot water. It was served with a hard sweet cookie to offset the Matcha’s bitter after taste. A distinct flavor I have never forgotten.

Now Matcha seems to be very popular in the US as a super-antioxidant.  A powerhouse of ingredients that can aid in your over-all well being.

  • Burns calories
  • Natural detoxer
  • Rich in fiber
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers blood sugar

You can add the powder to smoothies or your yogurt or even bake with it.

I buy it in a tea bag from Salada. Brew it and then put in a pitcher and keep it cool in the fridge.

Beans beans good for your heart…

Beans (Legumes) are an excellent source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients.

Their health benefits can be attributed to colon health and helping maintain blood sugar levels.

Once the kidney bean is digested it goes through a fermentation process in your colon that create short-chain fatty acids (butyrate) which have been linked to reducing colon cancer.

This fermentation of the starch in the bean slows down the digestion and absorption of carbs in your colon (digestive tract). These starch blockers have been linked to weight loss.

Here is a tasty simple recipe I have developed to use as a side salad in my weight loss journey;

1 can kidney beans

1 can cannelli beans

1 red, 1 yellow and 1 orange sweet pepper diced into small pieces

1 medium red onion diced into small pieces

Cilantro chopped

2 Tbsp. of olive oil

1 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Meat Loaf-Comfort Food

OK, I know meatloaf doesn’t scream healthy, but it’s not all that bad. Meat, vegetables and herbs baked together. You can use leftovers for sandwiches the next day. I’d stay away from the gravy though.

I always mix a pound of beef with a pound of pork. I add finely chopped celery, fresh parsley, lots of pressed garlic, unseasoned bread crumbs, 1 egg, I will grate a small onion which I know is labor intensive and some basil, a little oregano. Then get down and dirty, mixing it all with your fingers. Form in to a loaf and place in a baking dish.

You could put bacon strips on top, but it creates a lot of fat. Or BBQ, but that has a lot of sugar. I just leave it plain.

Pop in in the oven at 375 F for about an hour. Use a meat thermometer to be safe, should be around 160 degrees.

Just Mayo

Just Mayo from Hampton Creek is a tasty healthy mayo alternative. ‘Just’ as in the adjective meaning fair or reasonable, is behind the name of this product. They have a whole line of sauces and salad dressings that I can’t wait to try, but this post is about the Just Mayo.

I’ve been eating healthy whole wheat wraps lately and I smear about a tablespoon (=100 calories) of the Just Mayo on the wrap before adding my meat, cheese and vegetables. I am no Mayo connoisseur, but it tastes and smells like mayo. They don’t use any artificial stuff to achieve that either.

·         Egg Free

·         Non-GMO

·         Dairy Free

·         Gluten Free

Ingredients: Canola Oil, White Distilled Vinegar, Pea Protein… no chemicals.

You can find this line at Sprouts, Costco, Kroger and Safeway stores.

Did I mention 0% Cholesterol?

Happy eating!

Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla

On this weight-loss journey, I ate a few sandwiches last week with Sourdough bread and I was feeling a little too full after eating and it definitely didn’t not help me burn my 1 pound a week goal.

This week I used Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla and I am feeling satisfied and skinny.

Take some mayo and mustard and spread it on the tortilla, I add  1/2 of a sliced avocado, I ‘salt’ the avocado with Bragg’s Amino Acid sauce, then I add 3 slices of deli meat and 1 slice of cheese, roll it tightly, then cut it down the middle. These tortilla’s are a great bread substitute.

They have Calcium and Iron with only about 80 calories, if you are counting.

Braised Carrots and Cabbage

St. Patrick’s Day, my wife was preparing a cabbage dish for a dinner party when the lid of the sea salt came off and a bunch of salt fell in the pot. Panicked and with only a couple hours until the party we Googled quick cabbage recipes. We looked for the best possible combo of recipes and really delivered a great dish. Everyone was taking seconds and even thirds on this tasty dish.

We served 5 adults and two kids.

Carrots: cut into medallions or anyway you like them  –  set aside

Cabbage: cut it into wedges around the core  –  set aside.

Applewood Uncured Bacon: cut in half and add to a hot skillet (the fattier the better). Remove cooked bacon from skillet and set aside.

Add Carrots to bacon fat and cooked for about 15 minutes, browning them a little. Remove and set aside.

Place cabbage wedges in browning each side for about 15 min.

Add browned carrots to the skillet with the cabbage. Cut bacon into 1 inch pieces and add to the skillet. Toss everything, breaking up the wedges a little. Then add 1 can of low sodium chicken broth, cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Then remove the skillet top and let the liquid reduce to almost nothing.

Try this out at your next holiday party, it is sure to a success.