Month: March 2007

Healthy Tastes Great!

Stir-Fried Chinese Greens with Ginger, Oyster and Soy Sauce

(Nix the sugar and you’ll have one tasty & healthy bok choy stir-fry!)

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You Don’t Have to Try to Like Celery Anymore

Celery doesn’t have a passionate fan base. There are no “core users” of which I am aware. In fact, I’m convinced that even the celery fans among us (myself included…sorta) probably wouldn’t eat it if it weren’t, well, just there all the time.

Celery is great in soups and somehow also got the reputation of “peanut butter’s soul mate” though I for one will dispute that. A world without celery would probably also upset the makers of Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix, so celery does serve a good purpose.

But, there’s a stringless alternative to celery that I love: allow me to present bok choy. Talk about genius calories.

Bok choy isn’t quite as bland as celery, so I don’t recommend forcing it on your almond butter. This is mainly because bok choy actually tastes like something. But bok choy’s noted fresh flavor is mild in a mushroom kind of way – it’s not overpowering and it complements whatever else it’s paired with.

Bok choy is loaded with calcium, Vitamin A, and vitamin C, and even if it weren’t, I’d still love it for the lack of strings. Although it’s technically a cabbagey thing, bok choy bears stalky resemblance to celery and is virtually interchangeable. And again about the strings.

Use bok choy in stir fries, vegetable medleys, casseroles, soups, stews, and even those Bloody Marys. You’ll love it!

Here’s a recipe.

[tag]bok choy[/tag]

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Grilled Shrimp with Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

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A Word on Those Juicing Infomercials

A reader recently asked me if I recommend juicing as a way to increase your intake of vitamins and antioxidants.

Here’s what I think:

1 – Juicing isn’t a good idea because you lose out on one of the principle benefits of fruit: the fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, of course, but it also helps keep your blood sugar from spiking. Drinking pure juice has an effect that is really no different from chowing a candy bar or slamming a soda.

Fiber helps regulate the absorption of fructose into your system. If you’ve heard about the glycemic index, you probably already know about the important role fiber plays in evenly releasing glucose into your bloodstream. (If not, check out the official Glycemic Index.)

2 – When you take out the fiber, you’re left with sugar. My readers know I’m no fan of the sweet stuff, especially from sources like high fructose corn syrup, refined flours and starches, and processed foods. I think for most people anything over 80 grams of carbohydrates a day – roughly three servings – is a terrible idea, yet Americans routinely eat three or four or even five times that. (By the way, I’m talking about carbohydrates from flours and starches, not nuts, fruits and vegetables! Eat those recklessly!)

There’s no reason any child or adult – excluding athletes – needs to ever drink a “sports beverage” or an “energy drink”. These things are basically a pancreatic panic attack waiting to happen. Juice gets a bill of health because we all know fruit is healthy, but juice is not fruit. The truth is that juice is virtually no different from these other sugary drinks.

3 – Juice is dirty. If you caught Wise Bread’s discussion of food manufacturing secrets the other day, you’ll remember the particularly disgusting news that orange juice is typically made from oranges that are coated in all sorts of pesticides and chemicals. And it all goes right into the juice.

When you “juice” at home, this is still a problem. Wash an orange, peel and eat it – you’ve avoided the chemicals because, perhaps even more important than washing, you removed the skin. Wash that orange and throw it into the juicer, however, and you’ve just ingested whatever chemicals were hanging out in the peel that didn’t get washed off. Juicing infomercials typically brag about how wonderfully potent juice is because it offers several servings of fruit in one glass. Think about that now with pesticides. (Also, a glass of juice is not several servings of fruit, anymore than a mug of chicken broth is several servings of chicken breast. You can get around pesticides by going organic, but you’ve still got that pesky sugar problem.)

[tag] nutrition, fruit, juice, food, health, juicing [/tag]

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Top 10 Top 10 Health Lists

Everyone loves a useful, pithy top ten – you MDA frequent flyers know that Mark delivers a piping hot set every Tuesday. But with so many blogs, and so little time (darn work keeps gettin’ in the way), it’s hard to know which top tens are really…top. Never fear, Apples. I have spent the week scouring the blogosphere for the most helpful, enjoyable top ten lists to get you healthy, lean, fit, rested, and stress-free. A list of lists: presenting the Top Ten Top Ten 10. Good Foods Gone Bad I would add that in addition to fried fish sticks, popcorn shrimp and white-meat chicken nuggets are also lean protein sources gone very, very bad. The Doc makes an excellent point that we make these bad foods even worse by masking their bland flavor in unhealthy sauces. 9. Weight Loss Myths Wow – this is a list you cannot miss! A sample: Fat isn’t bad. Sit-ups won’t give you a six-pack. And endless wailing at the cardio machine is not necessarily healthy. 8. Most Popular Trans Fat Foods Some of them are sneaky! 7. Why We Have an Obesity Epidemic An unusual list of reasons you may not have considered. I think too much in = not enough out is the obvious major culprit for obesity, but this list serves to show us that it’s really our entire lifestyle contributing to the obesity epidemic. In fact, if you think about it, it would be weird if we didn’t have an obesity epidemic – and isn’t that sad? 6. If This Doesn’t Make You Stop Smoking… A refreshing take on why quitting smoking is so important. 5. Wake Up Feeling Great! Careful on #5: remember to breathe and relax for best balance. 4. Exercise Myths Absolutely one of the best round-ups of fitness myths I’ve seen. Each one is commonly believed by many of us, and this handy guide expertly debunks them all. 3. Speed Up a Sluggish Metabolism This isn’t just a problem for overweight people. (In fact, part of the reason overweight people have extra pounds is because they have really good metabolisms! Possibly thanks to gut bugs, their bodies have become a little too efficient – great in prehistoric times, not so great now.) This list offers some great tips, though I wouldn’t recommend a) high-intensity cardio more than once or twice a week, or b) drinking ice water for caloric burn. Too much cardio actually stimulates cortisol and adrenaline, because the body thinks it’s in “fight or flight” panic mode. (Now, now, don’t be too sad about cutting back on the cardio machines.) As far as drinking ice water goes, this is one of those “relative nutrition” things Mark always talks about. It might help, it probably won’t hurt, but it’s such a marginal influence either way, don’t expect big results. 2. Hilarious Health Myths The bread crust myth was new to me. Anyone else heard this one before? Apples? 1. Ten Reasons to Take a Walk … Continue reading “Top 10 Top 10 Health Lists”

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It Beats a Whole-Wheat Donut

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s the clickativity!

Asthmatic

The world’s top three asthma experts are presenting a shocking new finding: that asthma you’ve been treating may be a different health problem altogether.

Stent Stunt

And another potential case of seriously misguided therapies: stents versus … everything else. Turns out that natural therapies (weight loss, exercise, reducing bad cholesterol) are still your best bet.

Helpful information: Wondering about the advice to take an aspirin a day? Many doctors advise it, and the FDA recommends it, but given the side effects and differing studies, we encourage you to think twice before following that recommendation. In fact, here is a refreshingly brief, balanced analysis of the news that women in particular should take a daily aspirin. It’s worth reading in its entirety to learn about the critical differences in types of studies – and how this has an impact on your health!

A safe, natural alternative to aspirin: white willow.

When aspirin is O.K.: For those who have suffered from a heart attack, aspirin does help. And in the event of a heart attack, taking an aspirin immediately can make all the difference.

(Psst: mixing aspirin with other drugs is a recipe for trouble).

This is Big Kung Fu Master’s Photo

Super Pizza Saves the Day

The effort to create a healthy pizza rivaling the powers of the X-men is admirable and better than, say, whole wheat donuts.

But, you could just eat the healthy ingredients and leave the dough and processed meats out of the equation. The campaign to make pizza, donuts and other hand-held foods healthy is just begging for a sociology grad student’s analysis. What is it about the need to hold one’s food? Burritos, pizza slices and bagels enjoy success not seen since the aluminum can was given its complementary can opener (it only took 40 years).

Web it out:

Why it’s healthy for kids to eavesdrop

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