Turnip Recipes

Turnips are one of the unsung heros of the vegetable world. Like all veggies it’s low in calories, but the nutrient density of turnips ranks very high! They are loaded! You have almost the entire alphabet! Vitamins A, most of the Bs, C, E, K and minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, magnesium and copper.

What does a turnip taste like? It has it’s own unique flavor but some say it can taste a little like a rutabaga. There is a slight bitter taste but I believe it’s due to the nutrient density. And it’s not just the turnips that are nutrient dense, the greens are also loaded.

So how should I eat this vegetable? You can slice and cook it in water like you would beets, but the latest trend is roasting.

Roasted Turnips:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Cut the greens off the turnips and save. Use a scrubber to wash turnips and cut them into cubes. Toss in a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and garlic and spread them out on a pan. Bake for 15 minutes, shake them around to turn them and then cook them for another 10 minutes, or until they are tender to a fork.

Sauteed Turnip Greens:

For this recipe I prefer butter over olive oil for the flavor. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan. Saute some diced onion and pressed garlic in the pan, adding salt and pepper. When onions turn translucent add the greens, chopped. Continue cooking until the greens have wilted to your liking.

Having them together is a great, light meal!

What is Clean Eating ?


You have probably heard about the Clean Eating Diet but what is it? First, I would like to remove the word Diet and just call it clean eating. It’s really a way of life. You may get a number of different answers on how to eat clean and that’s because there is no single definition, and many people who claim to eat clean have some exceptions. I believe in clean eating because the basic principle of clean eating is relatively the same as the diets prescribed for people with diabetes, heart disease, gastric issues and weight loss.

My goal is to make the concept of clean eating simple for you and unless you are in bad health, allow you to occasionally make exceptions.

Lots of Fruits and Veggies – As with any kind of healthy eating or diet you should be eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. The majority of your vitamins and minerals important to body processes come from this source.

Minimal Fat Meats – This means meats such as fish, seafood, chicken and very lean cuts of pork or beef in their natural state.

Low Processed Carbs – Low processed means things like potatoes beans, peas or grains. The type of grains you may consider is oats, quinoa, brown rice, whole grain cereals and an occasional whole grain bread are ok.

Cook More –  Rather than buy convenience food, cook! The meal in the picture is a simple tiny roast, browned, topped with veggies and thrown in a crock-pot. Making your own salad dressing is simple. A little vinegar and oil mixed with a variety of herbs. I prefer balsamic vinegar as it has a strong, sweet flavor.

No additives, artificial colors, flavorings preservatives, etc.- Read your labels. Try to find items with 5 ingredients or less and nothing that you can’t pronounce.

In essence the idea is to eat food as close to it’s natural form as possible. Any processing increases ingredients that usually include unwanted chemicals, fat, sugar or salt. Processing also degrades the nutrient content of your food. Some people also say that you should eat 6 small meals a day. I prefer to look at it as having a little snack between meals. Nuts, yogurt or a piece of fruit are all acceptable. Those are also on your clean list. Make sure your yogurt does not have an additives as we mentioned earlier.


As you can see it’s fairly easy if you just focus on unprocessed food. I hope this simplifies clean eating for you and that it can guide you to a tasty and nutritious lifestyle.

What are Heirloom Tomatoes?

Have you ever tasted an heirloom tomato? If not, you are in for a real treat! If all you’ve ever eaten was those standard red hydroponic tomatoes you get in the grocery store you are missing out on a tasty, complex mouthful of luxury!

I remember the first time I tasted an heirloom tomato. I was making a romantic dinner for my fiance so went to the fancy health food grocer in the area. The produce department had been thoroughly picked through so the only tomatoes that were left were the organic heirloom tomatoes. They were 2 times the cost of regular tomatoes and were so ugly! They were all different colors, bumps in the wrong places and some of them were scarred from cracking. I was poor at the time so had not been buying organics either. Come to find out organic tomatoes also have a better taste as well. The person working there saw me debating whether or not to buy the tomatoes and assured me I needed to try them. In the end my romantic dinner was a hit because the flavor was amazing!

So, what is the difference between heirloom tomatoes besides appearance and taste? Heirlooms are grown from seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation and grow true to the way they were years ago. Some older than 100 years! Newer tomato seeds have been hybridized, or modified, so that the plants produce more, attractive fruit and are resistant to diseases. It’s the best way to feed a lot of people but the focus was not on taste. So heirloom tomatoes are higher priced for good reason. The plants produce fewer of them for the same amount of work.

Heirloom tomatoes come in an array of colors including red, brown, purplish, orange, yellow and green. Some even come with one color as a base with a starburst of a different color on the top. The darker colored tomatoes in the picture are called Purple Cherokee. They also come in all sizes, including small cherry. Good news for people with heartburn problems…… green and yellow heirlooms are lower in acid.

So if you haven’t tried an heirloom tomato yet, give it a try! It may end up being an addiction!

 

Healthy Pizza

Flatbread Pizza

Don’t let anyone tell you that pizza isn’t healthy. It’s all in how it’s made.

First, you want to make it yourself so you can take out anything unhealthy. You don’t have to spend a lot money or time. It’s very simple!

You can find prepared flat bread pizza crusts at most stores now. They come in all natural and  gluten free versions. All you do is add toppings!

This pizza started with a scoop of minced garlic in a 1/4 cup of olive oil brushed on the top. Basic tomato paste is spread over the oil and dried basil sprinkled on top.

Then add your vegetables:
Tomato slices
Onion
Bell Pepper
Spinach Leaves
Black Olives
Fresh Basil Leaves
Any other vegetable you have lying around

Although I don’t show cheese here, I did add some low fat mozzarella. You can add cheese substitutes or leave it without. It really tastes fine just the way it is.

 

From Farm or Foreign?

Barn

In this day and age where everyone is demanding better food to table options, or buying their produce from local farms, there are those who find a way to profit from it.

I read a disturbing story about a large food company overseas that is using fake farm names to increase sales of imported meat, dairy and produce. They’ve bought up names like Willow Farms and the like to mislead customers into thinking they are buying from a local farm. In reality the products have been imported from other countries. There is nothing illegal about this practice because the product is still labeled correctly.

Word to the wise, if you are concerned where your food come from, read your labels. Better yet, investigate your local farms and farmers markets to be sure you are getting what you expect.

Health from Food in its Natural Form

 

farm veges

For those of you have been following me, you know many of my posts come back to the same thing. There is no magic pill to a healthy diet. It’s all about eating food in its most natural form.  This New Year’s when you are deciding what resolution to make for your health consider the one that will be healthy no matter what you are trying to fight. Eating food in its natural form boosts your immune system and fights weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and all of the most concerning diseases.

Eat less processed foods and add more fresh fruits and vegetables. You don’t need that much meat to meet your daily protein requirements so eat a small amount of plain, non-processed meat.

I watched a tremendous show on PBS that you should see. It will make it clear for you. You can watch it online: http://www.pbs.org/show/in-defense-of-food/

Are Cleansing Regimens Safe?

Vegetables

This is the time of year when people talk about how they ate too much over the holiday and now it’s time to detox the body through cleansing.  I personally have never done a cleansing and many of the regimens don’t sound enjoyable.  From a nutritional standpoint some don’t make sense at all.

Fasting or eliminating certain foods from the diet results in a lack of basic nutrition. This stops the body from working properly and may delay the detoxification. This method will also sabotage any planned weight loss. When a person begins to eat again after a fast, the body is in survival mode and quickly puts the weight back on causing a yoyo diet.  Adding high amounts of fiber through juicing, tonics or using laxatives can be harsh to the system which may also stop it from working effectively.

The best way to cleanse the body is through drinking a minimum of 10-12 cups of water a day, increasing your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes, and decreasing heavy and processed meats. This method will increase the nutrient content of the body giving it the tools it needs to digest properly and flush out toxins. You will also feel an increase of energy which won’t usually occur during a fast. Exercising also increases the body’s detox efficiency.

The best thing about this simple way of cleansing the body is you don’t have to pay for special cleansing aids, it won’t take any extra time out of your day, you have plenty of great foods you can eat and finally…..you aren’t suffering!

Spinach Salad with Salmon Recipe

Spinach Salad w SalmonAfter eating a ton on Thanksgiving Day I find myself looking for something lighter for my next meal. This salad is one of my favorites and loaded with minerals and Omega 3s!

Fresh Spinach
1 Chopped Carrot
1/4 cup Chopped Celery
1/8 cup Chopped Red Onion
1 small Tomato Chopped
3 oz Cooked, Flaked Salmon

Dressing:
1/3 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbs Soy Sauce

The fish will wake up your brain and increase your energy, the veggies with help you efficiently burn up the calories you took in, and since it’s low fat, it will kick start your weight loss that you promised yourself while you were suffering from a food coma.

 

 

 

Open-Faced Avocado Sandwich Recipe

Avocado Sandwich

I saw a mayonnaise commercial today where they made the most incredible looking avocado sandwich and I wondered…..can I make that healthier? While avocados are rich in nutrients they are quite fatty. Since the fat is not saturated I think this is worth having as a treat.

1 piece of Toast
½ sliced Avocado
2-3 tablespoons Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (instead of mayo)
1 tablespoon crumbled Bacon
A few shavings of Red Onion

Toast one piece of bread and line up avocado slices across it. Spread yogurt across the top and sprinkle with bacon and onion.

So simple yet so delicious!

The Meat/Cancer Debate

meat

Does meat cause cancer? The media, over the last two weeks, has been creating a flurry of stories on this topic. They’ve been referencing research and governmental organizations from not only the U.S., but also other countries. Let’s stop, breath, and take a closer look at meat and your health.

People have eaten meat since the dawn of time. Meat contains essential nutrients that are difficult to get in the proper amount from plant sources. Only a very dedicated vegetarian or vegan can have optimal nutrition without eating meat. If you talk to a 100 years old person you’ll find many people ate a lot of meat and had bacon as a staple breakfast food.  So what’s changed after this many years to cause some governments to put meats on lists of carcinogens due to the latest research?

In the last 100 years many things have changed, especially in the world of food:

  • Fewer families raise their own livestock for meat
  • Technology to pack meat into cans was created
  • Technology increased to preserve meat to keep it from going bad
  • Some meats are processed by breaking it down and mixing in fillers
  • Food travels longer distances before you have it on your plate
  • People today do not work on farms where the food is fresh
  • Antibiotics were discovered
  • Vaccines became main stream
  • Growth hormones were created
  • Increase in foodborne illnesses
  • Some pastures that feed livestock may have chemical residues from fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides

These changes result in meats containing items that are not there by nature and were not there for previous generations. Research continues to validate the safety of meat but there are still some concerns.  Perhaps more targeted studies are in order.  In an ideal world, I’d like to see a study showing cancer level differences between organic, free range meat and from a standard commercial operation. That would be telling.

In the meantime, if you have concerns about your meat and how it may affect your health, look for a local source and ask how they process their meat. Purchase fresh, low fat meat choices and cook until it’s just cooked, not charred, and at the proper temperature. A good portion size is 3-6 ounces. In the end, the less the meat is processed, the more assured you should be that it can be a healthy part of your everyday life.