While 50 million people a day in this country scarf down on fast food, a swelling industry with yearly revenues ka-chinging to the tune of $110 billion a year, it’s time to clean up our acts in honor of March’s National Nutrition Month. Here are a few more snippets of gustatory advice to ease into a lifestyle of healthy habits.
The Main Squeeze
While a cup of green tea au naturel packs a punch of antioxidants known as catechins, a Purdue University Study has shown that a squirt of lemon or other citrus juice added to the tea ups the ante to not only reduce cancer risks, but boost heart and brain functions.
Studies have shown a strong correlation between Vitamin D deficiencies and such conditions as types 1 and 2 Diabetes, stroke, heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, periodontal disease, and assorted cancers from breast and prostate to colon and pancreas.
So amp up hose D’s with 15 minutes of rays a day and fatty fish three times a week, especially wild caught salmon, Atlantic herring, sardines and mackerel, along with organic eggs, tempeh and tofu, fortified dairy and cereals.
From the Peanut Gallery
Statistics have shown peanut farmers to have disproportionately high rates of cancers, probably because the crop is heavily laced with pesticides and subject to a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin. Where possible, buy organic or choose alternative nut butters like heart-healthy almond, walnut or sunflower seed.
Gone to Seed
Pumpkin seeds aka pepitas are a mother lode of heart-healthy fatty acids, protein, iron, magnesium and zinc, being a good friend to prostate, bones and joints, while bolstering the immune system. Since pepitas are low in allergens, they have a wide range of appeal, especially for the peanut allergic and sensitive. But always buy raw over roasted as the processing damages the fats in the seeds, which can lead to a build up of arterial plaque.
When fruits are commercially dried, most of the time they lose precious nutrients, including Vitamins B and C. In addition, they shrivel into a high concentration of fruit sugar or fructose. So pick fresh over dried.
What’s Bugging You?
In this country, it is estimated that the average adult unwittingly consumes about a pound of insects a year from such sources as poorly washed produce (in restaurants and at home), along with allowable USDA levels of insect fragments in an assortment of commercially prepared foods. The presence of ladybugs on various fruits and veggies, however, is a good sign of natural, organic farming.
Lebanese Turmeric Cake (Sfouf)
• 1 cup unbleached flour
• 2 cups fine cornmeal
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/4 cups honey
• 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter, or grapeseed or safflower oil for the cholesterol-conscious
• 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
• 1 1/4 cups Greek-style yoghurt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 tablespoon ground anise seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
• 3 tablespoons tahini paste
• 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
• 1/4 cup chopped almonds
• 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Method: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat 9x11 inch baking pan with tahini paste. In a mixing bowl combine flour, cornmeal, turmeric, anise, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl whisk honey, yogurt, oil or butter, eggs, blossom water and extract until smooth. Incorporate flour mixture and blend well. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle nuts and seeds on top. Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Simply divine with yogurt, orange segments and a drizzle of honey. —Courtesy Chef Bernard Guillas from The Marine Room, La Jolla
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