Enegetics of Cabbage: Harmonious Health Benefits

Isn’t cabbage cute? photo credit: welovepandas via photopin cc

Every St. Patrick’s Day, many people make corned beef and cabbage without realizing the incredible health benefits of this cruciferous vegetable. It is a rich source of vitamin C (having more vitamin C than oranges), and its outer leaves have high concentrations of vitamin E. Cabbage is unique for its rich supply of glucosinolates, which have special detox and anti-cancer properties. Glucosinolates are also found in turnips, watercress, and radishes.

A note on color variations: Diversification of color options is ideal, as red and green cabbage provide different benefits that complement one another.

Cabbage lasts about a week in the refrigerator, and the healthiest way to cook it is to sauté it in water or broth, which will minimize leaching of nutrients. It may be eaten raw (see recipe below) or steamed. However, we strongly warn against boiling, as it will minimize cabbage’s nutritional value.

Click here for nutrition facts, courtesy of The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Energetics: Lowers cholesterol (especially when steamed),; helps prevent cancer; reduces inflammation; supports cardiovascular health; improves digestion; treats constipation, the common cold, and whooping cough; helps rid the digestive system of worms; remedies ulcers; and cleanses and rejuvenates the digestive tract (as sauerkraut).

Crunchy Chinese Coleslaw

Yummy!

This recipe was taught long ago to us by a friend. It is delicious and nutritious. We couldn’t get enough! This is an easy recipe for any get-together and is a great way to incorporate raw cabbage into your diet.

4 c. green cabbage, finely chopped
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. slivered almonds
1/2 pkg. ramen noodles, raw and crushed

(Note: We highly recommend buying organic ingredients, especially ramen noodles. Do NOT use ramen packages available in conventional groceries stores, as they are loaded with potentially-harmful additives. You can find higher quality ramen in Asian markets or health food stores.)

Brown sesame seed, almonds and noodles in cooking oil of your choice or toast in the oven. Each item must be done separately due to fact they all have different browning temperature. Mix above ingredients together, and dress with the following dressing.

Dressing:

3/4 c. sesame oil
1/2 c. cooking oil of your choice
1/4 c. turbinado (or raw) sugar (or your favorite sweetener, to taste)
1/4 c. soy sauce
5 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. black pepper

Mix soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar together in small saucepan. Whisk in 1/2 cup oil and boil 1 minute, whisking all of the time (mixture will foam). Remove from heat and whisk in sesame oil. Cool and pour over above ingredients. Chill until serving time. Depending on the size of the head of cabbage this recipe will fill a large 2 to 4 quart bowl.

Resources
“Cabbage,” The World’s Healthiest Foods. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19
“What Are the Health Benefits of Red Cabbage vs. Green Cabbage?”Livestrong. http://www.livestrong.com/article/410758-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-red-cabbage-vs-green-cabbage/
“Glucosinolates (Goitrogenic Glycosides),” Cornell University Department of Animal Science. http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/glucosin.html

Energetics of Summer Squash: The Season is Upon Us!

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Summer squash is about to be in season! Technically, these squash varieties are available year round. They are delicious raw, but they are more frequently cooked. They are watery and crispy raw, and soft and butter when cooked. They take on all seasoning flavors and have their own unique, delicate taste plain. They are perfect for summer grilling! Throw them on the grill and cook until soft and translucent.  Eat them in a veggie sandwich or as a side to a fish or chicken platter. They are great with eggs and tofu scrambles. Our favorite way to eat them is sautéed with kale and onions.

Summer squash is high in antioxidants. Steaming is the best method of cooking in terms of nutrient retention. Never boil or microwave, as this deactivates the antioxidants. They are great broiled, too. Summer squash is high in manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin A. To retain maximum nutritional value, eat the skin and seeds, as well. When selecting squash, select ones that feel heavy for their size and have soft, smooth rinds.  Handle summer squash with care, as any punctures can lead to decay.

Energetics: Regulates blood sugar, protects against type 2 diabetes, supports optimal fiber-intake, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, promotes cardiovascular health, protects against age-related macular degeneration, prevents cataracts, supports prostate health, and provides anti-cancer benefits.

 

Our Favorite Summer Squashes

Sunburst Squash

Zucchini

Crookneck Squash

  • Also known as Pattypan Squash, cibleme (in French Creole cuisine), white squash, scallopini, and yellow squash (in Australia)
  •  Also known as Italian squash and courgette
  • Often used interchangeably with zucchini in recipes
  • Also known as yellow summer squash

Gluten-Free Savory Zucchini Fritters

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins

Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 350-400g)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (about 12g)
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 cage-free eggs
  • Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying (suggested: walnut oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Optional: ¼ cup parmigiana reggiano, freshly-grated (packed down, about 1 ounce or 28g) or grated cheese of your choice
Instructions
  1. Grate zucchini with a medium-sized grater.
  2. Add salt and place shredded zucchini in a clean dishtowel and squeeze to get as much liquid out of it as possible. It doesn’t need to be completely dry, but try to get as much moisture out as you can.
  3. Once squeezed, place back in bowl and add beaten eggs, thinly-sliced green onions, almond flour, parmigiana reggiano (optional), and fresh ground black pepper and mix thoroughly.(this is where you would add the lemon juiceif you choose to use it)
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil over medium heat, and wait for that pan to get super hot.
  5. Once oil is shimmering, add spoonfuls of mixture to hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Place on platter lined with paper towels to soak up any grease that sticks to the fritter and serve with sour cream and extra green onions or dipping sauce of your choice.

Sources
http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=62

Zucchini Fritters (Paleo, Grain Free, Gluten Free)

Denver’s Delcious Gluten-Free Food Fair

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We went to Denver’s gluten-free expo last weekend and discovered a ton of new gluten-free brands emerging with excellent-quality products. At Wellitude, we are huge advocates of buying local and supporting small businesses, so we decided to take some photos of these budding businesses.

Hemp Way Foods

Among our favorites is Hemp Way Foods, started by Carla Boyd. They were sampling their very own hemp burger, which was incredibly savory and delicious. They sampled it alongside an absolutely delicious homemade creamy pesto dip and whole-seed mustard. They are currently available for purchase at Denver Homesteading Market on Santa Fe Drive, but they will be expanding soon. Judging by their taste, they will be growing in no time!

The Honest Stand

The Honest Stand just opened this summer. We thoroughly enjoyed their dairy-free & gluten-free cheese sauces. The spicy version, known as “Spiked,” makes for an excellent queso dip or nacho sauce. “Smoked” is comparable to hickory cheddar. And finally, The Honest Stand’s Original flavor makes for a classic Mac-N-Cheese, but 100% dairy-free. Follow them on Facebook to stay in the loop. If you are local to the Denver area, find The Honest Stand at Highlands Square Farmer’s Market on Sundays from 9am-1pm at 32nd and Lowell.

Pamela’s was giving away samples of their fig bars, Figgies & Jammies, one of our favorite products.

Applegate was also present. Unfortunately, this past year they changed their formula to include carrageenan.

Here are a few of our favorite vendors we’d like to highlight from the event:

Outrageous Baking: our favorite GF flour & delicious sweet breads from Longmont, CO
Etalia Foods: fresh, excellent quality GF bread & more from Boulder, CO
Bolder Beans: flavorful pickled green beans & mushrooms
5 Star Baking: baked goods from Golden, CO
Organilicious: a variety of delicious pestos, tapenade, hummus & more
One Bite Specialty Foods: delicious, kawaii sauces, dips, & marinades
Bowbeas: muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, whoopie pies, & more
Bella Gluten-Free: various baking mixes including foccacia, pizza dough, pie crust & more
Appleooz: crunchy apple chips, excellent for children
Deby’s Gluten Free: DONUTS!
Aime’s Love: GF bakery & cafe in Longmont, CO
Becca’s Gourmet Goodies: unique goodies including cookies, lemon bars, & more
Beyond Better: cheese alternatives from Boulder, CO
New Planet: a variety GF beers
Blossom Fine Foods: GF desserts such as brownies, cheesecakes, & more

Some are local and some you can find in multiple states!

This is a non-comprehensive list of vendors present at the event. For a comprehensive list, visit the event’s website.

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Etalia

Applegate

Bolder Beans

Pamela’s

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Controversial Corn: The Energetics of Blue and Red Corn

When I was a child, I would see red, white, and blue assorted corn chips in one bag. How patriotic, right? My only experience with corn has been in its yellow and white varieties, and growing up in the ’90s eating some of the least-natural food ever marketed to children, I thought that the red and blue chips were just “normal” tortilla chips with—you guessed it—food coloring!

I’m sure I wasn’t alone. When I finally learned that blue corn was a real thing, I began really enjoying it, even preferring blue corn chips to their yellow and white counterparts.  Why? It’s actually the taste that I love! It’s a very subtle difference, but blue corn seems to have a fuller, nuttier taste.

While yellow and white corn is quite healthy, blue corn contains nutrients and amino acids not found it the more common varieties of corn. It contains nearly 20% more protein and has a lower glycemic index for those with diabetes and other conditions. When ground, blue corn releases niacin (vitamin B3).

Blue corn, or blue maize also known as Hopi maize, is an integral part of North American Hopi culture. It has been used in ceremonies and serves as a major part of the Hopi diet. It is a symbol of longevity, sustaining not only the body but the spirit.

We don’t suggest eating tortilla chips, as many of them are fried and oil. However, if you love blue corn tortilla chips, try making your own fresh blue corn tortillas at home!

In fact, here you can find several tradition Hopi recipes using blue corn meal! This recipe collection includes tradition blue corn tortillas, sweet tamales, and even a blue corn breakfast drink! We barely know what to call some of the recipes. We hope you enjoy, and let us know what you think of blue corn!

Controversial Corn: Corn Products

photo credit: Malingering via photopin cc

The corn season is coming to an end, but there are endless corn products in your grocery isle year-round.

We’d like to wind down the corn season with some notes about corn products including puffed corn (such as cereals and products like Pirate’s Booty), popcorn, cornmeal, high fructose corn syrup, and corn oil.

First, no product will have as many nutrients as the fresh, whole grain version of its original state. Below, you’ll find nutrient breakdowns of the aforementioned food products.

Puffed Corn

Puffed corn, such as in cereals and products like Pirate’s Booty, is usually made from corn starch or corn flour, not from whole grain corn, therefore it is not a whole food like corn.

Popcorn

Popcorn can be a healthy snack if additives are avoided or minimized. The healthiest way to eat popcorn is by air-popping it. An more commonplace alternative is to place organic popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag, then fold the bag and microwave. Conventional microwavable popcorn has risks involved. The Teflon-like film inside the microwavable back is known to release carcinogens. There is also debate as to whether the artificial butter flavor is problematic.

Cornmeal

Certain types of cornmeal can yield excellent nutritional value. Steer clear of cornmeal that degermed or enriched. The best type of cornmeal to consume is whole grain cornmeal.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

When people first become health-conscious, high fructose corn syrup-containing foods are the first to go into the garbage. Its nutrient profile doesn’t resemble corn to any degree, and it can negatively impact that way that metabolic hormones function. In addition, it causes the liver to send more fat into the bloodstream. In addition, nearly all high fructose corn syrup comes from genetically-modified corn. At Wellitude, we encourage our readers and patients to eat organic and non-GMO.

Corn Oil

Corn oil is a good source of polyunsaturated omega-6 fats; however, those are already abundant in the average diet, so alternative oils should be sought. Olive oil is an excellent alternative.

Controversial Corn: Energetics of Corn

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My parents fed me corn constantly when I was a child. They would boil corn on the cob every time we had a sit-down dinner. Over time, I grew a distaste for it and would only eat it on rare occasions. Then, this summer I hosted a small, casual picnic at Chautauqua Park in Boulder. Some friends decided to bring fresh, raw corn and began munching on it at the picnic! I had never seen such a thing, and I was in awe! It sounded awful. They offered me some, however, and I tried it. As it turns out, I absolutely love it. I eat it every chance I get, especially since in summer when it is at its peak.

Don’t forget to check your farmers market for local, extra fresh corn! Yum! In fact, I recently made a trip to New Jersey where my grandmother picked up some local corn. She made dinner but forgot to cook the corn. I told her that we didn’t need to cook it, and I proceeded to eat it, much to her surprise. She shouted, “What are you doing?” in shock that I was eating it raw.

As many of you already know from previous posts we have made, cooking vegetables often decreases the amount of nutrients. Give fresh corn a try and let us know what you think!

Energetics: Promotes antioxidant protection, lowers risk of colon cancer, promotes lung health, lowers the risk of developing lung cancer, promotes heart health, lowers levels of homocysteines in the blood, promotoes energy production, converts sugar into usable energy, helps reduce cholestrol, builds strong bones.

 

Summer Corn Salad

Ingredients

5 ears corn, boiled or grilled
3 table spoon olive oil
1 tomato, seeded and diced
fresh cilantro, to taste
1 red onion,chopped
1 green bell bell pepper, diced
pepper
1 lime,juiced
salt
pepper

Directions

Remove kernels with paring knife and place in large bowl. Add tomato, onion, and green pepper. Toss to combine. Add lime juice and olive oil. Snip in cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

8 Reasons We Love & Support Local Food Producers

We love local! You’ve heard it but do you know why people are so animate about supporting local? Check out this awesome infographic we found courtesy of Ontario-based Ruralist.ca to learn why! You can support local food producers by shopping at your neighborhood farmers market and exploring non-corporate grocers. Some major health-food corporations like Whole Foods make efforts to carry local produce, too! Local produce is often organic, too. The plants are grown in the same environment you live in everyday, so many types of local foods can boost your immune system when allergy season rolls around! You are supporting your local economy instead of contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and wasting precious non-renewable resources, i.e., gas required to transport produce all over the country and world.

 

Boulder County Farmers Market 2013

We stopped by the Wednesday afternoon Boulder County Farmers Market! Check out our pictures.

We got there around 3pm when trucks were unloading and set up was almost complete! The shade was perfect at this time of day, and there was lush grass to sit on while eating delicious food!

The walkway was getting pretty crowded. Notice the zero-waste stations! Recycling and composting are the only options.

Local Boulderites shopping for farm-fresh produce.

The seating large seating area contains all the alcohol vendors and live music!

We had a great time and ate delicious food! Egg rolls, vegan tamales, and Pressery juice. Yum!

More to come for the rest of Summer 2013!

Energetics of Chia: Superfood, Not Pet

A decade ago chia pets were all the rage. Today, chia seeds are known as a staple superfood in health-conscious households. Chia comes from Mexico’s Mayan and Aztec civilizations, who used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. Evidence suggests that Aztecs used chia seeds dating back to 3,500 B.C.!

These seeds are the best plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds contain greater amounts of antioxidants than blueberries! They are often added to beverages, including kombucha and certain sweet drinks. When mixed with water or water-based drinks, the seeds cause the liquid to form into a gel with a slightly chewy and mildly crunchy texture, not unlike tapioca. They are also often added to cereal, sauces, yogurt, and baked goods. In fact, it is a great whole grain to add to muffins, breads, and more.

Chia seeds can also last almost two years without refrigeration. You can use chia gel as an egg-replacer.ll

Although rumored to aid in weight loss, research has found no such trend. This, however, does not diminish the extraordinary health benefits of chia.

Energetics: Promotes heart health, promotes cardiovascular health, reduces inflammation, reduces cholesterol, enhances cognitive performance, regulates bowel function, prevents hypertension, enhances satiety, regulates blood sugar, and lowers tryglycerides.

Cautions: If you have allergies to sesame or mustard seeds, there is a higher risk of you having a chia allergy. Consult your physician or refrain from consuming chia seeds if you are on high blood pressure medication or blood thinners.

Chia Chipotle Bean Burger

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Bean burgers make a fast, casual and tasty meal that is high in protein and fiber and low in fat. Go ahead and make this recipe your own: Play around with the veggies and seasonings and experiment with other types of beans — you can use kidney and cannellini beans, chickpeas, or even lentils.

1 15-ounce can black beans
1/4 cup chia gel (see recipe below)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup corn kernels or sautéed or cooked vegetables (alternatively, use frozen corn kernels, defrosted, or vegetables leftover from another meal)
1 teaspoon canned chipotle in adobo, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced cilantro or parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

1. In the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix or Blendtec), pulse the ingredients until blended. Do not over-process; you do not want to liquefy!

2. Form the mixture into patties.

3. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

4. Cook the patties until golden, about five minutes. Flip and repeat.

5. Alternate cooking method: Preheat oven to 325F. Place the patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook until golden, 12 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

6. Serve on hamburger rolls with the condiments of your choice.

Chia Gel

Makes 1 1/4 cups

1 cup cool water
1 3/4 tablespoons chia seeds

1. Pour the water into a sealable plastic or glass container. Slowly pour chia seeds into water while briskly mixing with wire whisk.

2. Wait 3 or 4 minutes and then whisk again

3. Let the mixture stand about 10 minutes before whisking again. Seal the container and store mixture in the refrigerator for up to two weeks to use as needed. Whisk before using. Note: Soaking in water will soften the chia seeds, but they will still be slightly crunchy.

Resources
Coates, Wayne. Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood.
NPR Staff. “Chewing Chia Packs A Superfood Punch.” NPR Books. http://www.npr.org/2012/07/15/156551074/chewing-chia-packs-a-superfood-punch
“Seeds, chia seeds, dried.” Self Nutrition Data. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2
“Top 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.” SFGate. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html
Zelman, Kathleen M. “The Truth About Chia: Can chia seeds really help you lose weight?” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia

Friendly Fish: How dangerous is mercury in fish?

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Excessive amount of mercury have entered our waters from medical and municipal wastes, power plants, and landfills containing fluorescent light bulbs and thermometers. Once it enters the air and soil, it travels to water ways, contaminating fish. Aside from pollution, fish from specific geographical locations can be contaminated. For example, there are natural ore deposits in the Mediterranean sea that are responsible for mercury contamination in fish from that region.

Mercury toxicity can cause birth defects, damage to the nervous system, premature aging, vision loss, and the onset of disease. Pregnant or lactating women and young children in particular must take extra precautions to avoid mercury-contaminated fish. Please refer to our Introduction to our Friendly Fish Series! article for information on what fish are the safest to consume.

Heavy metals such as mercury can impair growth and development or cause birth defects, causing physical and mental impairment, incomplete maturation, inadequate brain function, weak legs and bones, impotence and other reproductive issues, and early senility. Anyone who has a family history of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s should limit their fish intake to only those in the low mercury range as a health precaution.

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Everyone has some level of mercury in their body. Infants, too, are passed trace amount of heavy metals from their mothers. The human body can tolerate this natural, low level. It is when mercury levels get too high that they begin to have an unhealthy impact on the body. The best way to limit intake of heavy metals is to regulate your fish consumption, where most mercury exposure comes from. 39% of mercury exposure in the U.S. is due to light Skipjack tuna. Though Skipjack contains 1/3 the amount of mercury as Albacore, Americans consume greater amounts of Skipjack because it is lower in cost.

A word on sushi: The types of fish and other seafood used in sushi often contain higher mercury levels. Eating sushi containing these fish is not recommended, especially because many sushi eaters have it regularly. On a side note, raw fish contains bacteria, making infection a possiblity.

Resources
Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods: Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating. George Mateljan Foundation: Seattle, 2007. Print.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, 1993. Print.