Category Archives: Whole Food Nutrition

Winter Squash Mash-Up

Winter squash is so easy and hearty just prefect for cold wintery days.  One of my favorite winter squash is the Delicata.  These handsome squash are perfect in size for one or two people and have a delicate flavor to pair with simply everything.  Plus they are packed with ample beta carotenes, vitamin C, iron and calcium ta-boot.  What’s not to like right?  This is a great side-dish or super yummy for breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 6 strips of nitrate/nitrite-free bacon (my favorite is US Wellness Meats sugar-free bacon!)
  • 1 C Kale – hand shredded with steams removed
  • 2 Delicata squash (small to med sized ones) – Pre-cook day or so before if making for breakfast.
  • ¼ t Allspice
  • 4 T Butter (pasture butter or organic butter is best)
  • Sea Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Steps:

  • Cook bacon to desired doneness – I like mine just before crispy.  Take out and set aside for moment.
  • Add kale to bacon grease, turn heat down to low-medium.  Toss around pan until just starting to wilt (approx. 2 mins).
  • Add pre-cooked and mashed delicata squash, allspice and salt and pepper to taste
  • Cut or crumble bacon, stir together, cover and check to see if warm in 2-3 mins

Serves 2 people for breakfast or 3-4 for a side dish

Jicama Stacks!

What?  That funny brown rock look’n veggie is soooo tasty and can bring sooooo many fun options to your table.  Packed full of potassium, vitamin C and choline Jicama is a great way to add some extra nutrients while enjoying a crunchy treat.  Try dipping small pieces into salsa or guacamole, try some shredded on top of a salad or try:

Ingredients:

  • Two to Three ¼” thick slice of Jicama with outside edge peeled per person
  • 1 Avocado smash
  • Salsa
  • 2-3 slices ¼” thick of chicken or turkey breast or beef or bison brisket
  • 1-3 pinches of microgreens or broccoli sprouts

Now comes the fun part:

  • Spread some smash avocado on the jicama
  • Then add a spoonful of salsa
  • Now add one slice of meat of choice
  • Top with a small pinch of microgreens or sprouts.

Eat and Enjoy!

1-2 Servings

Eggy Bacony Muffins

These little carry with you egg bacon muffins are sooo yummy and nutritious everyone will love them.  The bonus- you can make up a batch on Sunday and have a ready to eat, take with you out the door breakfast for several days after.  Feel free to mix-up the ingredients to your tastes…

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ pound (about ½ a chicken breast) cooked and diced into ¼” cubes
  • 10-12 free-range (local if you can) eggs
  • ½ cup kale or spinach
  • 6 green onions diced
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 10-12 strips nitrate-free bacon (I use a sugar-free free-range side pork from www.uswellnessmeats.com)

Cooking Steps

  • Heat oven to 350° then grease 12-muffin tins with coconut oil (or virgin olive).
  • In medium sauce pan, cook chicken about ¾ of the way.  As chicken cooks, dice vegetables. Set aside.
  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix it up!
  • Wrap 12-muffin tin with a strip of bacon.
  • After mixing everything together, pour equal amounts directly into bacon wrapped muffin tins.
  • Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes. Enjoy!
    5-6 (or 12 little people) Servings

Simple Spinach! (or…

Simple Spinach! (or Quick Kale, Minute Mustard…)

Heat overcooked, limp greens?  Me too, but how do you keep that spinach just right? A trick I learned a few years back, only cook spinach to the point that it just wilts. The trick, drain and dry the spinach leaves as well as possible.  Use a salad spinner if need be, before cooking them. This works with all braising greens like kale, mustard greens, swiss chard.  Give it a try!

Ingredients:

2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb

2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil,

3 cloves garlic, sliced

Salt to taste

Optional: ¼ tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

 

First cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean spinach by filling up the sink with water.  Soak the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt for just a minute or two. Drain the spinach. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture or pat dry with a towel or whatever method you like to get the green as dry as possible.

Next heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.  Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Turn the spinach over in the pan (use two big spatulas if necessary) so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and steam for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and stream for an additional minute.

The spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat immediately and drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a dash little more olive oil and optional Apple cider vinegar, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.  Do you feel like Popeye yet?

 

Recipes for this weeks CSA package (Kale)

Fresh Kale Salad with a Lemon Zest

1 Tbsp lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

6-8 c coarsely chopped kale, ribs removed

1/3 c toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil until well combined. Add kale and toss to coat. Add hazelnuts; season with salt and pepper. Toss before serving.

Warm Kale & Tomatoes on the side please

1 Tbsp + two tsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 c cherry tomatoes – Quartered (or other fresh sweet tomatoes in season)

1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 lbs blanched, chopped kale leaves

Celtic sea salt and ground pepper

Optional 1-2 Tbsp Pine Nuts

Directions

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs olive oil over medium. Add garlic cloves, thinly sliced, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add quartered cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme leaves. Cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 2 minutes. Add kale and cook until heated through, 2 minutes. Season with sea salt, pepper and toss in pine nuts. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and serve.

Dressing Recipes

Salad Dressings with Easy Variations!
These two bases can be used alone, are very nice and clean tasting that will let the greens of your salad shine. Of course, you can mix it up with some simple additions!
Homemade is easy!

BASIC DRESSINGS
#1 Base
1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. wine, apple or balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. E.V. Olive oil

#2 Base
3/4 c. E.V. Olive Oil
¼ c. + 1Tbspc wine, apple or balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. Celtic Sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Combine ingredients, whisk/blending together well. Store in the Refrigerator if you have some left over or plan to use in day or two.

VARIATIONS
Mustard Honey Dressing – Best with #1 base
1 tsp. French Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. raw honey

Herbed Mustard French Dressing – Best with #1 base
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh minced basil
1 tsp. marjoram, chives or tarragon
Add to Mustard Honey French Dressing.

Italian mild– This is best with #2 base
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
Dash of minced garlic
Great for marinating too.

Herbed Italian with zing– Best with #2 base
1/4 c. chopped parsley
5 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh minced basil, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes.

Avocado Dressing
1 Ripe Avocado in place of ½ of the amount of Olive Oil. Puree Avocado and blend in remaining ingredients. Think about Infused Olive Oils and/or Vinegars! Talk with Debbie at the Gourmet Cellar – Ask her about the Lemon Olive Oil – It’s fantastic!

Just about any herb can be added to salad dressings. The ratio of oil to vinegar may be varied to taste.
A basic French dressing has a ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Italian styles have a bit more vinegar.
Dried herbs need extra time to rehydrate and release their flavorings. Make dressings with dry herbs 2-3 hours ahead of use. Fresh herbs are preferred when you can use them.

Lovage. An herb and a CRAZY straw!

Yesterday’s CSA contained Lovage, an herb that we don’t use very often. So, here’s a few recipes and general information:

The leaves can be used in salads, or to make soup, and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated for use in salads. Lovage tea can be applied to wounds as an antiseptic, or drunk to stimulate digestion. The seeds can be used as a spice, similar to fennel seeds. In the UK, lovage cordial was traditionally mixed with brandy in the ratio of 2:1 as a winter drink. Lovage is second only to capers in its quercetin content. Quercetin is a bioflavinoid noted for its anti-inflammatory action.

Lovage Butter
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons of minced lovage
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Lightly heat the butter to melt, stir in the remaining ingredients. Serve over steamed veggies, fish or poultry. Can be cooled and refrigerated to use later.

Lovage & Green Garlic Sauce:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper
1/2 cup lovage, chopped
1/4 cup green garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Season with salt and pepper. When the oil is shimmering (but not smoking), add the lovage, green garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Remember, you can use the stalk of the plant as a drinking straw. We tried it last night with some mineral water and it embued a subtle celery/licorice flavor.

Dem Bones….Understanding your DEXA scan results. Part 1

Frequently patients present to me with their DEXA scan asking me what they can do to prevent osteoporosis.  Recently I had one such patient who presented with a peculiar situation.  For several years she had been attending a local health fair that included a ‘wellness’ blood testing screen as well as a cursory DEXA scanning to determine her bone density.  She was concerned because her most recent bone scan (DEXA) showed that she was modestly osteopenic in her wrist and osteoporotic in her hip.  This isn’t unusual, but in her case it was.  You see she was only 40 years old!  She had had a major joint replacement surgery within the last year and was just beginning to deal with a thyroid problem.  Now, this news of osteoporosis had her scared and confused.  Was she really aging that rapidly?  Would she be dealing with the debility and pain of broken bones and compressed vertebra  before her kids finished high school?  She needed information, so we talked.  Here’s what we talked about.

DEXA scans have two numbers that they give you.  A Z-score and a T-score.  A T-score is where they compare your bone density against the bone density of a sex and ethnicity matched (in this case white female)30 year olds (someone at their highest bone density potential).  Or to restate, they compare it against a baseline perfect score.  The T-score is given as a numeral that compares you to that given optimal score (which is given as Zero).  So in this case her hips T-score was -2.6 (that’s negative 2.6).  So what that means is that her bone density is a little over two and one half points deviated from the norm.  If your T-score is more than 2.5 points under the norm of 0 (zero), then you will be officially designated as osteoporotic.  If you have a history of recent bone fracture(and a T-score below -2.5) or are more than 3 points below the norm of zero you are officially SEVERELY osteoporotic.

Now, she also had a T-score of -2.0 in her wrist.  A T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 is what is medically termed osteopenic.  Osteopenia means hungry for bone or wanting for more bone.  So parts of her skeleton were officially problem areas and others were awfully close.  That was concerning for her to say the least, and me because I’m the doctor that takes care of those bones and nerves manually.  You certainly don’t want overly aggressive chiropractic technic on brittle bones….OUCH!

But before we get too far we should discuss the z-score.  Z-score compares you against people your age (and sex and ethnicity).   So as expected her numbers were again below zero.  What does this mean?  Well, loss of bone density is something that occurs naturally over the course of time, just like wrinkles and well you get the picture.   So its pretty much expected that by the time you reach ninety years of age that your T-score would be under -2.  But if you compared a 90 year old against average 90 year olds they should be pretty similar right?  Exactly!  So if your t-score is below normal (lets just say -2 or under) your bones are aged compared to a 30 year olds.  But if your Z-score is below -2 then you have a problem that is more than just normal aging! 

What would happen if you went to space for 3 months?  Well, you would do TONS OF EXERCISE! Why?  Because if you didn’t put you skeleton under some stress it would deteriorate!   Remember, there’s less gravity in space!  Therefore there’s less stressing your bones.  Bones under less stress do not remodel and remain strong!  Most long mission astronauts become osteopenic or porotic in a matter of weeks simply from the reduction of gravitational stress.  Have you ever wondered why they show images of astronauts being helped out of their space capsule upon their return?  They’ve lost bone density and muscle strength while they were gone.   So, if you’ve ever wondered why astronauts are always riding a stationary bicycle in space, its to prevent sarcopenia (muscle wasting) and osteopenia (bone wasting). 

Anyway, back to the story…

I spoke with my patient about her treatment options and some inconsistencies that I had seen in her scans.  Her previous years scan had scanned her left wrist and then the following year her right wrist and then the next year back to her left.   I found that quite confusing?   You see, bone scans should ALWAYS be consistent.  Measure the same thing the same way EVERY time.  In fact, use the exact same machine as you used previously if you can.

Not all DEXA scanning machines are equal, just like some camera’s are inherently better than another some scanners are too.  Good quality bone scans will measure the hip and spine primarily.  Other machines will only test the wrist or heel and make educated assumptions from that.   I was beginning to think that the machine being used for this health fair (or the technician running it) wasn’t that great.  So I suggested she receive another scan from a reliable machine at a consistent location that she could follow up with in the future as needed.  We decided on the local hospital’s machine and her results were interesting.   END PART 1!