June 28, 2010

the skinny on fats pt 2

Certain fats are necessary for vital activities such as brain function, cell structure, joint integrity, reproductive health and the list goes on. Most people are most interested to know that fats are a key to healthy skin and hair. So, what I am telling you is that if you want your skin to get dull and flaky and your hair to fall out, you should go on a diet that seriously restricts fats.

For the sake of simplicity, this is what you should know:

Fish, Olive Oil, Peanut Oil, Canola Oil, Fish Oils, Flaxseeds, Avocado, and Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, etc)
These are: Monounsaturated Fats (MFA's, best) known as Omega-3's (fish & nuts) and Omega-6's (nuts)
What they do: improve brain function and reduce blood pressure by increasing HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering LDL (bad cholesterol)

Vegetable oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, and sesame oil
These are: Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA's), which are a bit different structurally that MFS's
What they do: decrease HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease LDL (bad cholesterol)
Most Americans get more than enough PUFA's, and an overabundance can be dangerous. We should be aware that overheating these oils can actually cause them to have unhealthy properties.

If we must (...and I must)
Animal fats, such as those in meats and dairy, and some tropical plant oils such as coconut, cocoa, and palm oil
These are: Saturated Fats, which are solid at room temperature
What they do: Increase HDL "bad" cholesterol and LDL "good" cholesterol
Try to: Choose lean meats, such as lean cuts of beef or chicken, and low-fat dairy products. Eat full fat as a treat!

Hydrogenated Oils, Partially Hydrogenated Oils, Vegetable Oils solid at room temperature - found in many peanut butters, butter spreads, and processed foods
These are: Trans Fats
What they do: This is a man-made product that decreases HDL "good" cholesterol and increases LDL "bad" cholesterol.
Try to: Read labels! If it says "Hydrogenated Oil" or "Partially Hydrogenated Oil" it has Trans Fats (even if it advertises Zero trans fat on the label). Limit these items as much as possible.

the skinny on fats

Fat is an incredibly important part of a balanced eating plan, yet it gets a totally bad rep.

About 1/3 of your total calories should come from fat calories. But don't dip a spoon into your butter container quite yet- this does not mean that 1/3 of what you eat should be fat! Fats are incredibly energy-rich, providing more calories per serving amount than carbohydrates or proteins. So, a relatively small amount can meet your needs.
Fats help us to feel full longer after a meal. The body's ability to easily store fats was very important for the survival of our ancestors, which may be a reason why we are so drawn to eat them. Thank you fat cells, for being so opportunistic and stowing away in new, mysterious places at any chance.
The type of fats you eat is what's important. Next post: choose the right fats!

June 23, 2010

make this today counting

I spotted this on a building in the International District recently. A mistranslation of the message, "Make this today count!" which brought me so much joy. It made me rethink this common expression and see it in a new way.

What does it mean to you?

June 18, 2010

street style?

Imagine! Me, on Seattle Street Style blog It's My Darlin? Very fun & fancy.

I am a new blogger, inspired to post recipes, nutrition tips, and sweet or funny things I see around Seattle. When it comes to achieving a healthy body people always ask me - "What should I eat?"

Well, you should eat food that you like, preferably focusing on fresh produce, whole grains, lean proteins, and "good" fats (more on that another day). I share recipes for foods like these here, focusing mostly on fruit-and-vegetable focused dishes. Please stop dieting. Eat wholesome food, be active, get healthy!

Visit my website to learn more about achieving a healthy body through a unique combination of life coaching & nutrition.

June 17, 2010

melon panzanella

This salad is too good to be true. Only it is true. It's hearty enough for a meal, but I also like to bring it as a side to parties so I can impress all of my friends.

Melon Panzanella

from eatingwell.com

4 ounces whole-grain bread, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips (about 1/3 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 cups torn arugula leaves

2 cups cubed firm ripe melon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 250 F

2. Spread bread pieces on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat and stir in vinegar, salt and pepper. Sometimes I add extra vinegar and/or olive oil for extra dressing.

4. Place arugula, melon, basil and the toasted bread in a large bowl. Add the prosciutto mixture and toss to combine. Let the salad stand for about 20 minutes before serving so the bread can absorb some of the dressing.

Per serving: 130 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 3 g fiber;

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (16% daily value).

June 12, 2010

can't fit a workout in?

Yesterday I was sitting in traffic in my beautiful city of Seattle, waiting for my exit. I can't help but spy on people in my rear view mirror. You just never know what you are going to see - stressed out folks muttering to themselves while white knuckling the steering wheel, the music lover belting out a song, a nose picker. But this sighting was too good to be true. I had to look twice, three times to be sure my eyes didn't lie.

This man was doing bicep curls while driving. If I were to guess, I'd say they were 10's or 12's. He mostly did his right arm (which did concern me as well- unbalanced!). But most importantly, he was lifting weights while driving! Not that it matters, but this was not a young, beefy guy in a sports car like you might imagine. No sir.

He was driving a car that looked like this

He looked like the Uptight Seattleite, if you can imagine that the Uptight Seattleite smokes a pack a day and has less than ideal hygiene habits.
Now, don't get me wrong, I believe in being physically active and encourage my clients to try light weight lifting. Weight training builds muscle, which can help prevent injuries, shapes your body, and allows you to burn more calories throughout the day.

But please, do not do this while driving!

the joy of beets

Last week I made this salad for dinner, and I was asking myself - why don't I make beets more often? ? So easy, so nutritious, and absolutely delicious. I used to think they tasted like dirt - the result of trying them as a kid in a recipe that didn't quite suit my tastes. Now I love their rich, earthy flavor.

Plus, beets are packed with lycopene and anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. According to the ADA, "Red" fruits and vegetables such as beets help maintain a healthy heart, vision, and strong immune system and may reduce cancer risks. Beware while cooking beets though, because they can stain your clothes!

beet salad with oregano, pecans, and goat cheese
fine cooking magazine

serves 3 to 4
4 or 5 medium beets (red, golden, or a combination)
1 1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbs chopped, lightly toasted pecans

If the beets have leaves and stems, trim off the leaves and all but 1/4 inch of the stems. Wash the beets. In a pot with a steamer basket, steam beets until a knife enters them easily (25-40 minutes, depending on size). Set aside until cool enough to handle, but still warm.

Peel the beets; the skin will rub right off. Trim and discard the tops and tails and cut the beets into thick wedges. Transfer the beets to a large serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the goat cheese, oregano, and pecans over the beets and serve. Serve at about room temperature.

June 9, 2010

rosemary lemonade

Lately I've gotten in the habit of making homemade lemon- and lime-ades. Sometimes I juice them myself, and other times I buy the lemon or lime juice. I mix them with simple syrup, water, and sometimes a little something extra.

homemade rosemary lemonade

1 c lemon juice (or lime)
4 c cold water
1 c simple syrup (to make: heat 1/3 c sugar and 2/3 c water, stirring until dissolved. let cool)
fresh rosemary (2 sprigs, 4-6 inch each)
2-4 slices lemon, for garnish

Mix lemon juice, water, and simple syrup. Add sprigs of rosemary, let rest for 30 minutes. Serve immediately after, garnishing with slices of lemons.

enjoy the sunshine!

June 6, 2010

spice it up

Getting in a flavor rut can really bum a girl out.

I'm actually not that creative when it comes to reaching into my cabinet, mixing spices, and coming up with amazing combinations of flavors. I was introduced to Penzey's Spices of Pittsburgh, PA a couple of years ago, and life hasn't been the same since. Seriously, these spice blends can bring life to any dish.

I love:
Sandwich Sprinkle
Northwest Fire
Chinese Five Spice

Check out their website and try some yourself! www.penzeys.com
(no, this is not an ad...I really love their stuff that much)

June 4, 2010

spinach salad with strawberries & goat cheese

Makes: 4 servings, about 1 1/2 c. each
I also like to split the whole amount, top with chicken or salmon, and make it a meal for two.

1 Tbs pure maple syrup (or brown sugar)
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp packed, chopped fresh basil (about 2-4 leaves)

Whisk above ingredients together in small bowl or measuring cup with spout for dressing.

3 cups baby spinach
2 1/2 c sliced fresh strawberries (12 oz-ish)
1/3 c fresh chives, chopped
1/2 c toasted pecans, chopped (if you don't know how to toast nuts, I can help! let me know...)
1/4 c crumbled goat cheese

Add spinach, strawberries, and chives to a salad bowl. Toss with dressing. Divide among plates and top with pecans and goat cheese. Sometimes I put a bit of the goat cheese in before tossing the salad with the dressing, because it makes the dressing a bit creamy. Yum! Goat cheese...

Nutrition: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate, Magnesium

Did you know...I planted chives in my herb garden outdoors 3 years ago, and it is still alive? That is a testament to its resilience, considering I really don't care for it from about September - February. It starts going crazy around April, and by the time strawberries are ripe for this recipe, I've got more than I could possibly use. I heart Seattle.

June 2, 2010

argentine black bean flatbread with chimichurri drizzle

I found this recipe ages ago and love the unique, fresh flavor of the chimichurri. It's a nice substitute for the ol' pizza standby. The original recipe included home made crust, but I cheat and buy dough from Trader Joe's (whole wheat if you can take it!) If you don't live near a Trader Joe's check your local grocery store or pizzeria for fresh dough, or try making your own!

Argentine Black Bean Flatbread with Chimichurri Drizzle
Cooking Light Magazine

Black Bean Spread
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 (15-ounce) can 50%-less-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained (such as Muir Glen)

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. Set aside.

Pizza dough for 1 crust, pressed into a pizza pan or baking sheet until thin
1 red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups Black Bean Spread (above)
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic

Preheat broiler.
Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 12 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes (this step allows the skin to peel off more easily). Peel and cut into thin strips. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 450°. Drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil over the crust (which you have already pressed in a pan), then top with 1 1/2 cups Black Bean Spread . Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450° for 13 minutes or until crust browns and cheese is bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes.

Combine parsley, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, and minced garlic in a small bowl. I usually add a pinch of salt and fresh pepper too, to taste. Drizzle parsley mixture over cheese. Top with bell pepper strips. Slice and enjoy!

June 1, 2010

what would a sumo wrestler do?

To maximize weight gain, sumo wrestlers follow a regimen designed to slow metabolism.

a few tips from a sumo...

Don't eat breakfast. Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism! Skipping this important meal tells your body that you may be in a famine state, and prompts it to burn fewer calories throughout the day.

Exercise on an empty stomach. Our bodies are uniquely designed to conserve energy when fuel (food) is not available. This feature allowed our ancestors to survive when they didn't have access to enough food yet still needed to be active for hunting - or running from predators.

Eat before bed. Sleeping on a full stomach can allow your body to store the nutrients absorbed more easily (in the form of fat). Most importantly, when we eat late we tend to overeat. This can be because we are late-night snacking, are over-tired, or we waited so long to eat we have a hard time stopping once we get started.

Eat large portions. Eating until you are stuffed at each meal, rather than only until you are satisfied, can pack hundreds of extra calories each day. 3,500 calories consumed above the amount you burn is equivalent to 1 pound, so eating 350 extra calories each day (1 donut, 2 pints of beer...) can add up to 1 pound of excess weight in only 10 days - or 37 lbs in a year!