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    • Veggies for Breakfast!

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    •  12/29/2010 9:53:28 AM

      Each of has have certain core values or beliefs about food.  We may not even know we have them, but deep within us we have strong feelings, emotions, and beliefs about food.  These can come from events associated with foods, they can come from the way we were raised with food (for example, the demand from our parents that we finish everything on our plates), or they can come from feelings/moods that are altered by what we eat.

      In this country we have strong core values about what we eat for breakfast.  It would generally be absurd to eat a tuna sandwich for breakfast, or a burger and fries for example.  Deep within us we believe that some things are meant for breakfast and some things simply aren't.  Bacon and eggs are accepted for breakfast, but wouldn't ordinarily be a lunch menu.  When families choose to have cereal in the evening, it is usually with the exclamation "We're having breakfast for dinner!"

      My reason in pointing this out is to show that the way we THINK about food is a VERY powerful connection to what and when we eat the foods we do.  When we make a commitment to eat healthier, like so many of us do this time of the season, we really need to re-evaluate the way that we THINK and feel about food.  Let me give you a quick example.  For years in our home a dinner meal was not complete without some sort of meat.  It wouldn't matter how much food was on the plate, if there wasn't some sort of meat on the plate then the meal was incomplete.  This had nothing to do with feeling full, or with the amount of nutrients consumed.  This was simply a strong core belief that 'something was missing'.  It took some time, but when we were able to alter our thinking, we were able to alter our diets.


      So my challenge to you is to try to alter a few of your thoughts or beliefs about food.  A great place to start is the thought of having vegetables for breakfast (I hope you are not gagging just thinking about it!).  Vegetables are a wonderful source of nutrients AND ENERGY for the body.  Because the body can easily digest vegetables, they allow the body to use it's energy for other things (like clarity of thought).


      So here is a great way to have a nutrient-packed breakfast. 


      1 small sweet potato, peeled, chopped and cooked*

      2 large handfuls of fresh spinach

      2 TBS of mango salsa

      salt and pepper


      Saute the sweet potato on a non-stick pan until slightly browned.  Add the spinach and cook until the spinach with wilted.  Top with mango salsa and seasonings and serve immediately.  Enjoy every bite and begin to change the way you think about breakfast!


      *I generally boil up large batches of sweet potatoes and keep them in my fridge for about a week.  This makes this breakfast super quick and easy when all I have to do is open a container in my fridge.  Another easy way is to wrap 3 or 4 of them in tinfoil and cook them in the oven for a little over an hour at 350.  Then just let then cool and keep them in the fridge for your next recipe.  You can easily throw them into just about anything from soups to stir-frys.


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    • Multi-Grain Bread

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    •  12/25/2010 7:31:06 PM

      I have a love for bread.  It's actually a little bit of a problem :)

      I have been messing around with my staple bread recipe found here (which is one of the healthiest recipes you will find).

      I was trying to make a bread that tasted unbelievable, and I think I succeeded.  It is not quite as healthy as the regular whole wheat bread, but people will definitely ask you for the recipe once they taste it.

      So here it is:

      3 1/2 cups of warm water

      1 TBS Yeast

      1 TBS sea salt

      1 TBS dough enhancer

      2 TBS wheat gluten

      1/4 cup honey

      1/4 cup olive oil

      I put all of these in my Kitchen Aid and then add:

      1 cups quick oats
      1 cup 9-grain cereal
      3 cups whole wheat flour
      3-4 cups white flour
      1/3 cup millet
      1/3 cup raw sesame seeds
      1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
      1/3 cup flax seed

      Knead for about 6 minutes in the mixer, adding more flour as needed.
      Remove from mixer. Cut dough into 2 and then shape for the bread pans.
      Press the dough firmly into each  greased bread pan and let rise for about 45 minutes or
      until double in size.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.


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    • Egss - White or Brown - Is there a difference?

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    •  12/15/2010 3:29:24 PM

      On my recent trip to Europe I noticed two things about their eggs:  almost all of them were brown, and they didn't keep them refrigerated (it was odd walking down the bread aisle and seeings EGGS)!


      So this spawned the question IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?


      Here's what I found:


      According to the Egg Nutrition Board, "White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. There is no difference in taste or nutrition between white and brown eggs." The people at Crisco go further to say, "They simply come from two different breeds of chickens. Brown eggs, however, are more expensive because the chickens that lay them eat more than those that lay white eggs." 


      I also found hundreds of  websites that say the nutritional factor in both eggs are virtually identical.  They both contain roughly equal fat and protein contents and that applies to their vitamin and mineral content as well. Many have come to the conclusion that brown and white eggs are perfectly equal.  In fact, if you were to google it right now, that's the answer you would find.


      The only problem I have with this conclusion is how people are defining the word "nutrition".  If they simply measure the protein content of both eggs and find them identical, is it fair to then conclude that the eggs themselves are equally nutritious?  I think we need to dig just a little bit deeper (especially considering how many eggs are being consumed  in our protein-rich food fad).


      The question really needs to be "what are the chickens eating".  We do know that what the chicken eats has a direct effect on the nutrients in an egg.  For example, studies, such as those conducted at Penn State University and by Mother Earth News, found that eggs from chickens that ate grass and insects contained higher levels of omega-3 fat, and vitamins E, A, and in some cases D.


      We also need to look at the antibiotics and hormones that are being given to the chickens and how they affect us.  I am not as naive as I once was to think that they the way a chicken is cared for will have NO effect on the egg.  I highly recommend watching the documentary "Food, Inc." for a closer look into that.  Even if you could care less about the treatment of the chicken,  it still leaves the question how does what we inject them with affect us.


      For me, the bottom line is not the color of the egg (apparently brown eggs sell better in Europe because they simply prefer the color and vice versa here).  Rather, it is where did this chicken come from and what was it fed?  And based on those 2 answers, do I want to eat it?


      People ask me all the time whether or not I eat eggs.  So I guess here is the long and short of it.  I do eat eggs; not regularly.  Certainly not the 2 egg whites I had every morning for breakfast for over 5 years.  They are still animal products, and they still have cholesterol and fat.  I also believe that there are far greater sources of protein (like beans). That said, I do still purchase eggs.  I try to buy mine from a local farmer who lets them roam around his back yard.  If those are not available, I am conscious of which eggs I buy.  I do not want my appetite for something to be the cause of improper treatment of chickens.  I am not an animal activist, but after doing a little research, there are limits to the things that I think are acceptable.  I want to be a responsible consumer.  Like all food that we eat, it is my hope that people just take a moment to stop and think and inform themselves of where their food is coming from and what affects it might have on them. Plain and simple - it's up to us to educate ourselves and then to use that education to make informed decisions.


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    • School Lunch Update

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    •  12/8/2010 4:57:21 PM

      I am so torn about the topic of School Nutrition.  There is a part of me that feels like it is the parents responsibility to make sure their children are eating healthy.  There is another part of me that feels like the government needs to be more involved.  This is only because they are already involved (since most public schools offer at least lunch to the students).  In an ideal world each child would bring delicious and nutritious lunches from home, or be offered those same nutritious options at school. 


      Based on the disease rates and the increase in childhood obesity, we are failing our children nutritionally.  So where is the answer?  I suppose that part of our government's role is to protect us.  It's sad to think that we actually need protection from food - or should I say the food-like-substance that is being served to our children.  Anyway, below is an update of a Child Nutrition Bill going through Washington right now:


      Last Thursday the House of Representatives approved a $4.5 billion child nutrition bill which will give schools more money to spend on school lunches as well as set new nutritional standards for all foods sold in schools.

      The school lunch program feeds more than 31 million children per day, many of who are from low-income families and receive the meals for free or for a reduced price. The legislation is the first overhaul in the school lunch program in 30 years and President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

      The bill, called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, will expand access to free and reduced price meals to children in need, as well as improve the nutritional quality of all meals children receive at school. The US Department of agriculture will set nutritional guidelines for all food sold in schools, including food sold in vending machines. Schools must limit foods that offer little or no nutritional value to students like junk food, sugary beverages and even bake sale treats.

      The act will increase the reimbursement rate by 6 cents and require cafeteria's to incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products into their meal options. The usual hamburger or pizza might still be offered, but it might come with a whole wheat bun or crust, low fat cheese and a side of veggies. The bill also requires that school lunch workers receive nutritional training to help students make healthier choices.

      The legislation provides $40 million in funding for farm-to-school programs so kids can eat fresh produce from local farms. Schools can also establish their own gardens to grow food to be served at the school.

      Advocates have hailed the bill, which passed Senate by unanimous consent, as historic as the reform will lead to healthier, better quality food in cafeterias at a time when one in four American children are at risk of hunger and one in three kids are overweight or obese. First Lady Michelle Obama is said to have lobbied hard for the bill’s passage, and will make it a centerpiece for her “Let’s Move!” campaign to fight childhood obesity.

      The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), while supportive of the legislation, had hoped the bill had gone further in promoting more vegetarian options as well as meat and dairy alternatives.

      “One in three kids is now overweight, but many schools are still struggling to serve healthy lunches,” says Neal Barnard, M.D., PCRM’s president. “Schools should offer low-fat vegetarian options every day, and Congress and the president should take additional steps to give schools the resources to make that feasible.”

      The bill received opposition from some House Republicans who claimed it was too expensive and would place a burden on schools. Opponents of the bill also thought it was an example of government overreach, and questioned whether the federal government should be setting standards on what should be served in schools.

      Found here

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    • Raw Food Lunch Experience -Mmmmmm

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    •  5/7/2012 12:17:06 PM

      I go back and forth with my zeal towards raw food.  It seems that in the winter I am wanting warmer foods which generally means they are cooked and not raw. Last week I had a friend invite me to try out a local Raw Food Cafe here in Salt Lake City.  The place is called Omar's Rawtopia and although it was a little tricky to find, it was well worth the 30 minute drive!

      Here is a blurb from their website describing their food:


      Rawtopia has been open since July 2005. Instead of baking, frying, and boiling, we preserve the enzymes by bringing nuts and seeds back to life through sprouting. Doctor Bernard Jenson research shows that after sprouting nuts and seeds, the nutrition increases by over 600%. We then process our food using juicers, blenders, food processors, and dehydrators at maximum temperature of 105ºF/40.56ºC. Our ingredients come from fresh all organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Cold pressed, unrefined, stone-crushed Bariani olive oil and cold pressed coconut oil. Food is sweetened with dates, figs, agave nectar (agave is derived from the agave cactus plant) and yacon syrup (from the yacon root). The food here takes more than 4 days to be prepared. Lots of patience, peace, and love go into every Rawtopia recipe.



      I had no idea raw food could taste this good!  It was seriously like a party for my mouth.  The mixture of different flavors was perfectly precise, and it made the price of my lunch a little easier to swallow ($16 for the plate pictured below).

      My friend ordered the sweet basil salad with a "bean burrito" (see picture above).  This is the description: 



      Bean burrito - Beans consist of a purée of Tahini and sunflower seeds mixed with Mexican herbs, and spices. Topped with macadamia nut sour cream, sprouts, and served wrapped in collard greens, or with crackers, lettuce, cabbage, and love.



      Sweet Basil Salad - A sweet garlic basil mixture poured over a bed of mixed greens, topped with avocados, tomatoes, zucchini, olives, onions, celery, hemp seeds, parsley, and love!


      I ordered the Seaweed Hummus Roll which came on a bed of greens and was topped with a curry dressing and falafel flakes.


      Seaweed Hummus Roll - Hummus wrapped with Nori roll piled with bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, avocados, sprouts,
      and love.

      The picture does not do justice to the incredible taste of this dish!  It was heaven, especially knowing how good it was for my body.

      It gave me a whole new appreciation for raw food and made me want to step it up in the kitchen.  I thought I would add this link to their menu.  Not to make you salivate on your keyboard, but to inspire the creative cook inside of you!


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