Category Archives: Recipes

Brown or White Rice – Which Is Healthier?

 

white_rice

Have you noticed that the only thing that is definitive in nutrition is that nothing is definitive? In other words, we are often told that something is good for us, then it turns out to be bad for us. Or we are told that something is bad for us and then we are told that it is good for us.

The most glaring example of this would be all of the warnings about eating fats. “Fats make you fat” resulted in a boom of high carbohydrate foods and sky-rocketing obesity and diabetes rates. (If this is news to you, see “Are You Making These Nutrition Mistakes?”)

Today, let’s talk about rice. This simple dietary staple is a great example of nutritional science total confusion. As you read on, you will see what I mean…

Brown Rice

You have probably heard that brown rice is healthier than white rice because it is a “whole grain.” This means that its outer hull is intact – where most of the grain’s nutrition resides – fiber, vitamins and minerals. Brown rice is often recommended due to the fact that it has a low glycemic index, meaning that it does not cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. This has led to some evidence that eating brown rice can lower your risk for diabetes.

Sounds good, right? However, there is a whole other health risk to consider – arsenic. All rice contains arsenic, but brown rice contains significantly higher levels than white rice. Processed foods made with brown rice, such as brown rice crackers, also contain increased levels of arsenic. And arsenic is as bad as it sounds – it increases our cancer risk, along with other health problems.

White Rice

When you add arsenic into the equation, white rice does look like the healthier choice. White rice also poses the advantage of being easily digested. Without the bran, white rice can be less irritating to a sensitive gut.

The downside to white rice though is does offer the potential for raising blood sugar levels and causing insulin spikes. Foods that do this are associated with weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

How to Make Sense of It All

Here is the bottom line – whether you choose to eat white rice or brown, you are at least eating real, whole food. In other words, they are a better choice than deep-fried French fries!

Some recommendations:

1. If you choose to eat white rice, make sure that you pair it with some healthy fats and protein. This will help to slow down the rise in blood sugar levels.

2. Whichever rice you choose, you can lower the arsenic levels by thoroughly rinsing the rice before cooking. Another tip for lowering arsenic levels is to cook the rice with lots of extra water, which you will drain off before eating.

3. Skip the rice altogether. (A recommendation you will hear from the Paleo and other grain-free people.) Cauliflower rice makes a very nice substitute as long as you are not reactive to the FODMAP mannitol. It is super easy – just grate the cauliflower or chop it in a food processor until it is the consistency of rice. Heat up a little olive oil in a flat pan and saute the “rice” for approximately five minutes.

What Do I Do?

Bearing in mind that every body is different, I have learned to eat all my rice-favorite meals without the rice. The only exception is if I am out socially and my food options are limited – in other words, when there are not a lot of gluten-free items to be had.  I can tolerate cauliflower, so in the cooler months I will enjoy cauliflower rice. What does my husband do? He runs to the Chinese restaurant and picks himself up some rice!

 

Soup, Squash & Slow Cooker Season

Here are some of my faves!

Soups

Squash

At the time of this writing, the only winter squash that has been tested for FODMAPs is butternut squash. A 1/4 cup serving is considered low in FODMAPs. The following squashes have not yet been tested, so start with a small serving to assess your tolerance.

Slow Cooker

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Healthy Homemade Granola

Healthy Homemade Granola
 
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This recipe is heavily adapted from that of my favorite organic gardener, Dylan Licopoli of Home Organic Gardening Service.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Ingredients
  • 4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1½ cups sliced almonds
  • 1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup organic maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Mix all ingredients.
  3. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Cook for 50 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. *If you are not following the low-FODMAP diet and can tolerate raisins, you may want to add ½ cup to the granola after it has cooled down.

 

 

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
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This recipe is heavily adapted from "Clean Food" by Terry Walters. Omit the garlic and shallot, but add some herbs, e.g. thyme, for a still-delicious, but low-FODMAP version.
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel and mince the garlic cloves and the shallot (or use an immersion blender to do the work for you!)
  2. Squeeze the juice out of the lemon.
  3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk or immersion blender.

 

My New Favorite Warm Breakfast – Amaranth!

2013-12-20 07.06.30It is amazing what one will eat when one becomes a “happy health nut“. My latest discovery is amaranth and I am hooked! Therefore, amaranth is going to serve as January’s entry for your New Food of the Month Challenge. I encourage you to try amaranth in a creamy porridge that smells amazing and will make your belly feel so happy and satisfied.

Below you will find the link to the recipe I used. Don’t be put off by the long cooking time. The recipe requires no prep time and will fill your kitchen with a warm, homey aroma (which will make you understand why porridge figured so prominently in all of those fairy tales). You do need to keep stirring, so it is best to have it bubbling away on your stove while you are cooking something else.  This recipe can also be made in a rice cooker, freeing you up to do anything you want as it cooks itself.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is low in FODMAPs, which means that it is perfect for anyone who digestive issues. In other words, you can eat this and not worry about it causing gas or setting off a sensitive system.  Amaranth is also a great grain to eat if you are avoiding gluten.

Experiment with your favorite toppings. I tend to be a habitual eater, so my breakfasts usually include some warmed up frozen organic blueberries, some hemp seed and some flaxseed. I also added chopped walnuts which seems to pair nicely with the sweet and earthy flavor of the porridge.

Also remember, bio-individuality! What tastes delicious to me might not work for you. My husband tried it and declared, “it tastes like dirt.” He is obviously not yet a “health nut”!

Here is the recipe:

  • Creamy Amaranth Porridge

Enjoy!

You will find more healthy breakfast ideas here:

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Root Vegetable Season!

2013-11-28 09.48.25Full confession – I didn’t eat a vegetable until I was 22 years old. Now, it’s all about the vegetables for me. Therefore I am thrilled that we now find ourselves smack dab in the middle of root vegetable season.

Root vegetables are a late-season crop as they need the growing season to fill out. And in a perfect grand design, they store well, offering us humans sustenance throughout the cold winter.

There is a wonderful theory about the energetics of food. The theory states that we get more than just physical nutrients from food – we also take in the “energy” of a food. In this theory, root vegetables help us to feel grounded. Therefore, if you are feeling shaky or uncertain, turn to some root vegetables to help to regain a sense of stability.

Even if you are more scientifically- minded, you can still appreciate the beauty of these dirt-covered vegetables. It is the job of the roots of a plant to pull minerals, vitamins and other nutrients from the soil to nourish the plant. When we eat root vegetables, we are bringing all of those healthy nutrients into our bodies for nourishment.

Click below to find my two favorite root vegetable recipes. Although they are intended to be side dishes, for me they make a great lunch. Both of these can be adapted for a low FODMAPs diet, if you skip the garlic and leeks.

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables
 
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This makes an easy, delicious weeknight side dish.
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 bag carrots, washed, peeled, sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 bag parsnips, washed, peeled, sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place all vegetables on two baking sheets.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

 

Roasted Carrots, Parnsips & Leeks

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips & Leeks
 
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This recipe will result in one very large tray of roasted vegetables, perfect for a holiday or to be stored in your freezer for future meals. Although intended as a side dish, I think it makes a delicious, satisfying lunch.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 3 bags of carrots
  • 2 bags parsnips
  • 4 leeks
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp dried tarragon
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash and peel carrots and parsnips.
  3. Cut carrots and parsnips into 1 inch chunks.
  4. Over high heat, cover the bottom of two heavy bottomed pots with olive oil.
  5. Working in batches, begin to saute the carrots and parsnips, stirring occasionally until they begin to brown.
  6. As the carrots/parsnips are browning, cut off the roots and dark greens of the leeks. Wash the leeks thoroughly. Cut in half lengthwise and then horizontally.
  7. Continue working in batches with the carrots and parsnips. When they are browned, sprinkle them with tarragon, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet.
  8. When all of your carrots and parsnips have been placed on baking sheets, place them in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes.
  9. Add more olive oil to your pan and saute the leeks until they are wilted.
  10. When your timer goes off, add the leeks to the carrot/parsnip trays and place back in oven for another 15 minutes.
  11. Check with a fork to make sure that the carrots have cooked through.
Notes
Skip the leeks for a dish that will be appropriate for a low-FODMAP diet. This recipe was adapted by a recipe by Sylvia Carter, published in Newsday.

 

 

Fast & Easy Homemade Breakfasts

2013-11-11 07.36.59As a person who is out the door bright and early in the morning, I thought my only breakfast option was packaged cereal. I would choose “healthy” cereals from the “natural products” aisle in the supermarket. The problem was that even these so-called healthy cereals had too much added sugar. Now, I love sugar as much as the next person, usually in the form of chocolate, but not in the morning. I just would not feel so great afterward.

In my training to become a health coach, I have been inspired (or should I say shamed) to come up with healthy breakfasts that are easy enough to prepare so that they fit into my early out schedule. Below are my three favorite options. Each one passes the “How do I feel after” test as they leave my belly feeling warm and satisfied without that sickly too much sugar feeling.

Each of these recipes should be fine for those of you who have digestive issues, as with the exception of raisins, all of the ingredients would be allowed on a low FODMAPs diet.

Warm Gingery Oatmeal

This recipe comes straight from IIN, my health coaching school.   The first time I made it, I felt like I had just had some Prozac in a bowl – I felt that great after eating it!  I typically double the recipe so that I have a week’s worth of oatmeal. To cut the sweetness a bit, I skip the raisins and use maple syrup instead of agave nectar.  I also stir in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and a sprinkling of shelled hemp seed to each bowl.  This is a good recipe for trying goji berries for the first time.

Click here for the recipe.

Leftover Quinoa Breakfast Recipe

This recipe cannot be easier.  It is so good that it inspires me to cook quinoa as a dinner side dish, just to have some leftover for breakfast!

Click here for the recipe.

Healthy Homemade Granola

This recipe whips up in minutes (no chopping!) – but does require some time in the oven.  You can cook up a big batch on the weekend and then enjoy it all week.  As the granola is cooking, your house will smell wonderful!

Click here for the recipe.

No-Cook Breakfast Muesli

The great thing about this recipe is that you can make up a big jar of the muesli mix and then store it in the cupboard.  Great for travel!

Click here for the recipe.

Warm Amaranth Breakfast

Your belly will feel as happy as Goldilocks!  For those of you with digestive issues, amaranth is low in FODMAPs and gluten-free.  Although the amaranth can take a while to cook, making it not so fast and easy, this is a perfect recipe for a rice cooker.

Click here for the recipe.

Bonus tip: The easiest breakfast ever is to heat up some brown rice with a little water, cinnamon and frozen blueberries. This is a great way to use up leftover rice or in a pinch, you can quick pick up a quart from your local Chinese takeout restaurant.

Like what you read? Maybe it is time for you to take a step toward creating vibrant health for yourself. I will work side by side with you to achieve your health goals, whether that be having a trouble-free digestive system, reducing pain, losing weight, having more energy or getting better sleep. Get started today! Click here to sign up for your health breakthrough session.

Leftover Quinoa Breakfast Recipe

Leftover Quinoa Breakfast
 
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Next time you make a quinoa side dish for dinner, cook a little extra for an easy breakfast.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ⅛ cup frozen blueberries
  • ⅛ cup goji berries
  • ½ cup leftover cooked quinoa
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 4 or 5 walnuts broken up into small pieces
  • maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed (optional)
Instructions
  1. Warm up the blueberries and goji berries until the blueberries let off some juice.
  2. Stir in the quinoa and cinnamon and warm to desired temp.
  3. Stir in the walnuts, maple syrup and flaxseed.