Recipe: Shrimp and Black Bean Tacos with a Mango, Avocado and Cilantro Salad

This recipe is healthy, delicious and great in the Spring and Summer months.  If that’s not enough, Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner.  These tacos are easy enough to make as a quick dinner during the week or for a large group of friends.  I made them last summer at the beach for about 10 people and they were a huge hit.  You can serve with a side of brown rice seasoned with onions, jalapenos and cilantro or a simple green salad in a citrus vinaigrette.   Continue reading

Why Mom Always Said to “Chew Your Food”

When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat.  Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and the digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food.  In these modern times, many people rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what’s going in their mouth.  Eating while distracted—working, reading, on iPhones and watching television—has become commonplace.  On average, food is chewed only a few times; conceivably leading to the many digestive problems people are facing.

Here are a few important reasons to slow down and chew your food well. Continue reading

Dr. Mark Hyman and The Natural Antidepressant

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for men and women ages 15-44.   Depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults age 18 and older in a given year.  Surprisingly, even more Americans are taking antidepressants, 27 million or 10% of the population, as of 2005. Today on the Huffington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman (see post on metabolic burnout for more of his work) wrote about the inadequacies of antidepressants and their failure to work.  He has provided 7 imbalances that trigger the body to malfunction (resulting in depression) and the coinciding ways to heal them without drugs.

Dr. Mark Hyman’s 7 steps to Treat Depression without Drugs

  1. Try an anti-inflammatory elimination diet: Have your body checked for common Continue reading

Recipe: Soy Sesame Scallops with Wasabi Mash and Sautéed Bok Choy

I usually decide what’s for dinner each evening by what looks best at the grocery store (I am extremely fortunate to have a practically organic grocery store on my block).  Last night the sea scallops looked amazing.  So, I went from there.  The first thing that came to mind was preparing them with a soy sesame glaze.  Keeping with the theme, I thought sautéed bok choy (also known as Asian white cabbage) and wasabi mashed cauliflower would be a nice accompaniment.  Unfortunately both grocery stores in my neighborhood were out of cauliflower so I decided on good ol’ mashed potatoes with a wasabi kick.  I don’t often cook with white potatoes (they have a high glycemic index), but really it’s how we prepare potatoes that give them a bad rap.  They are in fact full of essential vitamins and minerals.  By not using butter (or milk) and using greek yogurt instead, I gave them my own healthy spin.  You would have never known the difference.

Soy Sesame Scallops with Wasabi Mash and Sautéed Bok Choy

Serves 4 Continue reading

Healthy Cooking Tips Part III: Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs are one of the greatest ways to add flavor to a dish while cutting back on fat, sugar and salt.  Besides helping flavor foods, herbs offer additional benefits of their own. Researchers are finding many culinary herbs (both fresh and dried) are high in vitamins, act as anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, treat indigestion, appetite loss, joint pain, headaches and memory loss.  New research is also showing that herbs have Continue reading

The “Organic” Lowdown

“Organic” seems to be the catchword of the year.  Organic fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, cereals, coffees, wines, beers, and pet foods are appearing on market shelves well beyond the likes of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  According to Business Week, organic foods are becoming big business everywhere from Wal-Mart to Costco.  What does this all mean?  When standing with a piece of conventional produce in one hand and in the other, a more expensive organic version, how do you decide which is better?  Does organic mean it’s safer, worth the extra money, healthier and more nutritious?  Several differences between organic and non-organic foods exist and making sense of it all can be overwhelming.  Here is some information that might shed light on the “organic” movement. Continue reading

Recipe: Skillet Eggs with Smoked Mozzarella & Spinach and Grilled Rosemary Millet Toast

My little sister was in town last weekend.  We didn’t do much other than cook, drink red wine, and check out the Tim Burton MOMA exhibit.  It was fantastic.  On Saturday morning I cooked brunch for the family.  My sister has a gluten intolerance so for the first time I tried Food For Life’s gluten-free millet bread.  It’s a little sweet and a bit dense, but overall really good.  Given the texture, I thought it would be nice to give it some crunch by grilling it.  Usually I like to grill bread (rustic whole grain loafs are my favorite) with rosemary, sea salt and olive oil; a great accompaniment to eggs, salad or pasta.

This skillet egg dish is the perfect weekend brunch indulgence (at least for me, as I limit my cheese intake to weekends only).  The combination of spinach, red peppers and smoked mozzarella give it wonderful color and incredible taste.  Full of protein, whole grains, omega 3’s, fresh green vegetables and herbs; this dish is truly decadent in the healthiest way. Continue reading

Cooking for Health

All too often men and women leave a doctor or nutritionists office with a laundry list of dietary restrictions due to illness, disease, heart attack, or ailment.  It can be confusing, overwhelming and knowing where to start can be a daunting and challenging task.  This is where I come in.  It is my goal to help people in said situations make sense of it all.  Whether I prepare a custom list of recipes for the individual or I cook for them myself.  Recently I started working with a woman who has hypothyroidism and was just diagnosed as pre-type 2 diabetic.  She has seen nutritionists, doctors, and holistic specialists. What has been deemed best for her is a vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs), gluten-free (no wheat), sugar-free, and soy-free (small amounts of miso and soy sauce are ok) diet.  In addition, there are certain oils, nuts and condiments to avoid or highlight.  For example, coconut oil, garlic and almonds are fine; flax oil, cashews and pickles are not.  It is a challenge indeed; pick up one vegan cookbook and try to find a handful of recipes without soy (especially tofu) or gluten (seitan).  The same goes for the vegetarian low glycemic-index cookbooks and soy products are central in most vegetarian gluten-free cookbooks.  Tofu and seitan are the 2 most prevalent ingredients to add substance to most vegan dishes. Continue reading

Dr. Annemarie Colbin: The Natural Gourmet Institute and Healing with Food

The Natural Gourmet Institute is an innovative NYC culinary school centered on all natural, health-supportive cuisine.  Last month I attended a lecture at the school on quantum physics and food with my husband.  The schools owner and founder, Dr. Annemarie Colbin, was giving the lecture and I was excited to meet her.  Having opened the school over 30 years ago, she is a true visionary of present day food concerns. I consider her a role model and an exceptional woman in the field of culinary health.

*Humorous side note: After the lecture, I introduced myself to Dr. Colbin and my husband lovingly proceeded to tell her what an amazing Continue reading

Recipe: Salmon Nicoise Salad with Quinoa

Cold fish dishes have never appealed to me.  I stay away from salad/fish combinations, and I especially dislike smoked salmon and cold plain canned tuna.  Nonetheless, I do love fish and regularly eat it grilled, baked, broiled (and hot).  Here I have created my  version of a nicoise salad using a piece of broiled salmon that does not involve consuming the traditional cold tuna and is incredibly tasty. Full of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy Omega 3 fats, this salad is a nutritious powerhouse.

Continue reading