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Swiss chard, moms, and home cooked meals

There is nothing like having your mom come to visit! All week I have had an abundance of delicious healthy home cooked meals and a meticulously clean house.

Yesterday while I was working I asked her to get me a few things at the health food store. She stumbled on a food demo where the woman was preparing swiss chard to promote a new sauce. My mom had never seen swiss chard before and being the foodie that she is, was intrigued and bought a few bunches.

She did not know this, but the earthy-tasting Swiss chard is a powerhouse of nutrition, and with its rainbow assortment of stem colors, it’s as pleasing to look at on your plate as it is to your palate. This leafy green has many health benefits. Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.

Still more health benefits of Swiss chard:

One cup of chopped Swiss chard has just 35 calories and provides more than 300% of the daily value for vitamin K.

Needless to say I came home to an incredible meal that was mouth- watering and super healthy and so I wanted to share her creation with you.

What you will need

3 bunches of scallions

2 cans of drained organic lentils (adds protein+fiber)

One organic lemon (limonene-zest in my favorite potent cancer prevention)

Garlic 4 cloves

2 bunches of collards

1 jalapeno or more to taste

Coat pan with extra virgin organic olive oil. Chop the scallions, garlic add to pan and lightly cook. Take your organic lemon and then add its zest and juice. Once the garlic and scallions are almost browned add the finely chopped chard, sauté for maybe 1-2 minutes then add your cans (BPA free of course) of drained and washed organic lentils.  Then add salt, pepper and jalapeno to taste, and voila! An Amazing meal.

Have a fabulous delicious day!

*One caveat for those who have a history of kidney stones is that this veggie contains oxalates, which decrease the body’s absorption of calcium and may increase your risk for producing calcium rich kidney stones

 

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Yogurt; the good, the bad, what you need to know

A few of my friends are truly obsessed with Greek Yogurt and I do get this obsession. Yogurt can be a good food. Most contain good bacteria to promote optimal GI health. Most, especially Greek Yogurt, contain high amounts of protein- so great filling snack or meal replacement on the go. Yogurt can also be quite diverse in that you can buy so many flavors or you can be creative with your own and add super healthy ingredients to it like; chia or flax seeds or even flacker bits or a handful of seedsters for that matter (to add fiber and more nutrient to this already dense nutritious food). And all that is really good….

Having said that I have a few beefs about yogurt that I need to share and I hope that you digest this information well. First of all the most popular brands on the market today are not organic, nor are they necessarily GMO-free. So buyer beware! You may be eating antibiotics, pesticides, hormones and other evil things unless you choose to buy organic, non-gmo yogurt. In addition, I also consider the health of the cows. If the milk is not organic then these cows are likely filled with antibiotics and other chemicals because their living conditions are so bad that they need them to remain free of disease.

The other issue is that a lot of products on the market today have probiotics in them. There is no way to know if these probiotics are alive and active and also if they actually survive the acidity of the stomach and get to the large intestine, where they are needed. Most of us, with good reason, just assume that this must happen but it is not always the case. So if you truly need probiotics for health purposes then you may want to consider a supplement with a known dose of bacteria and one that ensures optimal activity.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A little yoke can go along way…..

eggs berries beans greensI was just in Anaheim for Expo West and it was basically a large sampling food fest. Sadly, even though it is the ‘natural product expo’ many of the food choices were seriously unhealthy, or for me, involved dark chocolate, so I needed to balance things out and I needed it to be easy since we were at a trade show working 12 hours a day. This is why I turned to ol faithful, organic humane eggs.

Eggs are fantastic for your health, filling, complete with protein and contain a wide variety of important vitamin and nutrients. For many years we have been led to believe that eggs are not healthy; that they are fattening, that they can cause heart disease, that they contain bad fats. Misled by diet fads and incorrect nutritional information, we were taught to believe that the protein part of the egg is the best part of the egg, so weight conscious consumers and dieters have switched to eating only the whites of the eggs and a new market opened up selling boxes of the whites only. Restaurants have become accustomed to it too, now on menus you can find ‘egg white omelets’ as well. But in the egg, I mean in the end, nature is way smarter than we are and that’s why I say the ‘yokes on us!’

Egg yokes contain:

1. a good source of choline. One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. Women should take in about 420 micrograms daily for optimal health, men around 500 mcg.

2. They contain the right kind of fat. One egg has just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, strokes and heart attacks.

3. New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. In fact, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it.

4.Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

5.Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair growing faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.

6.Researchers found that people who eat eggs every day lower their risk of developing cataracts, due to the carotenoid content of lutein and also because of the zeaxanthin in eggs.

And finally, one egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids, which mean that it is a great source of protein! So I cured my chocolate imbalance with a few greens mixed into my fabulous eggs and I felt great!

So next time you need a quick snack or meal make an omelet, add some veggies and avoid an all whiter…a little yoke can go along way…..

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Oscar Winning Chili

Nchilibowlothing says easy, healthy, filling, yummy, warming, delicious, inexpensive and hearty like a fantabulous bowl of chili! Chili is like the sound person on a movie set, no one really knows who that person is-they really rarely make into the lime-light, but they are pivotal for the success of every movie. Chili is that underestimated, often undervalued casual fare at parties but it is none the less pack full of incredible nutrients and it is super healthy. Add a bowl of flackers, tortilla chips, guacamole and maybe even some humus and you are all set to celebrate.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cups of beans. I like black beans or mung beans and I actually sprout them first before using. Soak in water for 24 hours, transfer to colander and water twice a day for two-three days or until you can see little sprout shoots. Or use 3 cans beans of your choice or a combination. Drain and rinse well.
  • 3 fresh organic tomatoes or 1 can diced organic tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 can organic tomato sauce
  • Optional; 1 to 2 jalapeño or you can go hotter with other types of chili peppers if you want
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion sauté over medium-low heat until translucent or lightly browned. Add the garlic and sauté until the onion is golden. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender and the flavors have melded.
  2. Season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Add finely chopped parsley for garnish.

Optional Variations:

  • Add kale or spinach towards the end for extra nutrition
  • Add cooked corn kernels toward the end for more sweetness
  • Add extra “hot stuff” like minced fresh chili peppers, dried hot red pepper flakes
 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Love, Health and Chocolate

darkchocolateNothing says I love you better than sweet, velvety, creamy chocolate melting you into the world of cocoa and its heart loving antioxidants and healing polyphenols. In fact, raw cocoa powder and dark chocolate (greater than 60%) have the same polyphenol content and greater antioxidant and flavanol content of many popular super fruits. 

Aside from its physical health benefits, dark chocolate is also known as a mind altering ‘feel-good food’. Studies have shown that eating a few ounces of dark chocolate per day improved people’s moods. Add to that the combination of the emotional response when eating chocolate -the smooth creamy texture, sweet aroma, and good memories it produces, along with its dash of caffeine and wow, chocolate becomes the most fabulous happy food.

So this Valentine’s day, indulge and enjoy.

And for your optimal health, pair your gift with a box of flackers; crunchy, savory, high in protein, fiber and  omega-3 -these snacks are the perfect balance to chocolate. And we all know that love and health are all about balance!

So this Valentine’s Day declare your love to yourself or to that special person with two of my favorite healthy things flackers and chocolate!

Much love, much health!

Dr in The Kitchen…Alison Levitt, MD

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Last Chance to Get an Olympic Body!

Aside from training ten hours a day for most of your life, an olympic looking body, firm, svelte, full of energy and flexible is not as out of reach as you may think! Here are some tips on getting there the Dr in The KItchen way!

1. Make sure that you are free of food sensitivities or allergies which can cause joint pain, bloating, fatigue and unnecessary weight gain.

2. drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. Dehydration often presents as fatigue, so before you reach for the sugar, have a glass of H2o the reassess.

3. make sure that you get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids found in flax, hemp and chia seeds, walnuts and all cold water fish. This will ensure that your joints and tissue stay well lubricated and oiled up so that you are flexible and able to do those twists, turns and back bends

4. Fuel up on healthy carbohydrates and protein, not sugar!

5 and finally add a little fun to your workout, sing along to your music, add in a few skips or jump rope and stir things up with activities that make you feel light fun and youthful!

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Mooooove over meat!

So as usual protein is in the news again! We do love our protein in this country and I find that most of my clients fall into one of two categories, protein neurotic (yes, that includes me too) and/or carbohydrate phobic (and yes, that also includes me).

We do in fact need protein to live, to build tissue, muscle, hair, nails. And yes protein does help with concentration and yes, it does help to keep us full. My only beef about this protein craze is that I feel so sorry for all of the animals who need to be sacrificed so that we can feel satiated! It is just not necessary. In fact, there are many fabulous alternatives where you can get all of your protein needs met and no animal cruelty at all!!!

here are some ideas:

Spinach: 1 cup 5 grams of protein

Broccoli; 1 cup 5 grams of protein

Quinoa:  11g Protein / Cup

Lentils:  18g  Protein / Cup

Black, Kidney, Mung,& Pinto Beans:  15g Protein / Cup

Almonds: ¼ cup – 8 grams protein

Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams of protein

Tempeh:  24g Protein / 4 Ounces

Spirulina:  6g Protein / 10 grams

Hemp Seeds/Flax seeds: 10-16g Protein / 3 tbsp

So mooooove over meat and say hello to live sources, healthy plant-based sources of protein that are cruelty free, environmentally friendly and yummy. And to top it all off these other sources of plant-based protein also contain many other vitamins and minerals essential for healthy living as well. So you get your protein fix and way more! Just as the doctor ordered….

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Feeling sluggish? Fresh ideas to energize…

When most people feel fatigued, sugar or coffee is usually the go to stimulant. Since it is summer and I will hopefully soon to be in bathing suit swimming by the lake, I am doing everything I can right now to avoid the Michelin belly tire effect.That means less sugar, less processed empty carbohydrate caloric foods. So, when I want more energy, I now turn to protein!

Research published in the journal Neuronin November 2011 suggests that it is protein, not sugar or a caloric infusion, that stimulates the cells we rely on to help us fend off fatigue.The study looked at the effect of a variety of nutrients on orexin cells, which secrete stimulants in the brain that cause us to expend energy and stay awake. Scientists found that the number of nerve impulses generated by orexin cells were increased by the intake of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Glucose, a simple sugar found in the usual go to pick me up snacks that we choose when we are tired actually blocked these impulses.

The research clearly suggests that the type of nutrients we ingest can have a big impact not just on our health and weight, but also on our day-to-day energy levels, alertness and ability to focus and concentrate.

So where do I get this fabulous protein filled pick me up? Lately I have been experimenting with bean muffins that I also make with flax seeds or psyllium to give me that extra fiber bonus of satiety, feeling fuller for longer. Yesterday at work I had one of those, a big glass of H2O and then a few almonds and I felt regenerated within 20 minutes-  and no coffee was involved!

Protein can be found in all meats of course, but I prefer vegetarian choices like, seeds, nuts, flackers with humus, yogurt and of course you can make a protein shake with whey, hemp, greens and even berries.

So the next time you need a boost, move away from the candy jar and try this alternative, a protein-rich nutritious energizing food instead. let me know what happens to your energy and your waistline!

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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