Category: Health and Wellness (page 3 of 5)

Food Trends: Black Garlic, Fusion Delight

by Chef Larry Canepa

When chefs rediscovered the joy of roasted garlic, we explored all kinds of new combinations. We roasted garlic with olive oil and found the bitter taste and lingering acid was gone. Now, with black garlic we discover a new ingredient with an intense, savory sweetness, faintly reminiscent of truffles. These dark, rather ugly but super tasty bulbs with a syrupy, melt-in-your-mouth consistency are the latest “it” ingredient in chef’s kitchens.

Black garlic is produced through an arguably ancient technique that is entirely natural. There is a lot of myth surrounding its origin going back to ancient Taoism, but the modern process stems from Korea in 2004. Put simply, it is aged approximately 45 days in a controlled environment of constant temperature and humidity. When garlic undergoes this fermentation it develops a unique color, a concentrated flavor, and a jelly-like texture.

The essence of unami, black garlic provides that amazing “fifth” taste, following sweet, salty, bitter and sour. It is sweet meets savory; a perfect mix of molasses-like richness and tangy garlic undertones; a simple food with a wonderfully complex flavor. Like a beautiful aged Pinot Noir from Burgundy or Old Vines Zinfandel from Central Coast, there is a so much flavor in every bite of black garlic, the time spent is definitely worth the wait.

Garlic is considered quite healthy because it is full of antioxidants, and black garlic even healthier. Apparently, the fermentation process enhances the production S-Allylcysteine, which is said to inhibit cancer cell proliferation, and increases polyphenol content, which could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. These benefits may explain the legends that consuming black garlic leads to immortality (though the manufacturers do not promise that). Still, it is all but odorless, so it may not keep the vampires away.

Black garlic is extremely versatile. Used in a rich risotto, it raises the intensity of the dish. It is a natural for beef and lamb and for savory foods with mushrooms.  With black garlic, everything takes on an intense, earthy and mysterious flavor.

Pairing black garlic with wine is easy. It can stand up to light, crisp whites or deep, intense reds. But for me, it calls for a bright, soft, fruity and refreshing Dolcetto from Piedmonte or a crisp, aromatic Torrentes from Argentine. Try an upscale grilled cheese sandwich with smoked Gouda and a little smear of black garlic and a glass of Gewürztraminer. Pure fusion delight!

 

About Larry

Chef Larry Canepa brings  30 years of Food and Wine experience to today’s adult culinary learners. He has worked in the Food & Wine business as Chef, caterer, sommelier and Food and Wine educator. He has taught culinary and restaurant operation classes at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Phoenix and Le Cordon Bleu, Scottsdale. His experiences include management and operation of free-standing restaurants, hotels and resorts. Chef Larry Canepa owned and operated the full service catering business, Dinner at Eight for 10 years in the Valley, specializing in intimate private dining and wine seminars. Larry Canepa has conducted seminars and lectures on coffee, tea, wine, etiquette, cooking and service for students, adults, continuing education classes and charitable organizations.

The ABC’s of Cooking with Fat

by Katie Haarala

Welcome to Food Science 101! The class where we will unveil the mystery that is fat, specifically in the form of oils. Gear up those super smart brains, locate your nearest writing utensil, prepare for fun, and how about consuming a teaspoon of olive oil, just for good health’s sake. It is, we will find, a fantastic source of monounsaturated fat!

Fats play a medley of roles in the preparation of our food along with our overall nutrition status. Not only do fats provide a great deal of flavor and palatability through their moist texture, they also provide essential components that our bodies are not able to make on their own; so we must obtain these components through the diet. 

For instance, we have heard much of the discussion of omega-3 fatty acids and how they are necessary for heart and brain health; however, these omega-3 fatty acids are not ones that can be synthesized in our bodies and must, yes MUST, be consumed in our diet. 

Yet another reason that fat is an imperative component of our diet is the fact that it allows our fat-soluble vitamins (specifically vitamins A, D, E, and K) to be better absorbed into our bodies’. That’s right, you are currently receiving the “go-ahead” to enjoy fat, in moderation, of course.    

Next sub-point on the terrific topic of flavorful fat: what makes one fat better than another?

First things first, all fat molecules are triglycerides. This means that all fats are composed of one section of glycerol and three fatty acids. Now, each one of these fatty acids is comprised of a different number of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. This carbon-hydrogen bonding pattern is one that deciphers whether or not the fatty acid is deemed a saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fatty acid. 

Alright, stick with me, start tapping those pencils and firing up those brainy brains, so we can discuss how these different fatty acids not only play a role in your health, but also determine the quality of your salad dressings, sautéed veggies, or any other dish that contains fat.  First, let us unveil exactly what these different fats we’ve heard rattled off in health articles and belabored by health professionals really are, and of course, where they can be found.

Saturated fatty acid: This means that all the available carbon-bonding positions have a hydrogen atom attached.  These types of fats can be found in animal products, processed foods such as pies, cookies, and pastries, along with vegetables oils such as coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil.  For health purposes, saturated fat is to be consumed in moderation meaning no more than 7-10 % of our daily calories should be stemming from saturated fats. In excess, saturated fat can have an artery clogging effect on our vascular systems and can put us at risk for a variety of diseases so, again, consume this type of fat in moderation.

Monounsaturated fatty acid: This means that one spot on the carbon chain is not occupied by hydrogen and is available for further bonding.  Monounsaturated fats are found in almonds, walnuts, avocados, olives, and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.  This, along with omega-3 fatty acids, is one of the best forms of fat for us to consume as it assists with a healthy heart and brain, and strengthens our cell membranes. 

Polyunsaturated fatty acid: This means there are multiple spots on the carbon chain that are not occupied by hydrogen and are available for further bonding.  Specific types of polyunsaturated oils include sunflower oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, and corn oil.  These types of fats are not the worst kind of fat, but they are not the best either; choose these types of fats in moderation.  Generally, these types of fats stem from healthy sources, but it has been found that by the time they reach the consumer, they have been over-processed and may have an inflammatory type effect that can may be associated with heart disease, arthritis, and cancer, if consumed in excess

Hydrogenated oil/ Trans fatty acid: These are processed vegetable oils that were once unsaturated and are now artificially saturated with hydrogen so they would become solid at room temperatures.  This process changes the chemical structure of the fat and becomes an enemy to our bodies by lowering our HDL (good) cholesterol and raising LDL (bad) cholesterol.  This is a form of fat that is dangerous to our bodies and can be present in margarine, shortening, pastries, rolls (etc.) Make sure to not only read the food label, but check the ingredients list for any “hydrogenated vegetable oils” as this is a sure sign that trans fatty acids are present.  This type of fat should not be consumed at all.  Step away from the pastry, sir!

Now that we have a basic understanding about different structures of fat and oils, which to choose more of, and which to choose less of, let us incorporate the knowledge into the art of cooking and creating!

When we cook with oil, heat can damage the nutrients found within in the oil and form free radicals (side note: free radicals are an undesirable byproduct of heating oils to too high of temperatures and can wreak havoc on our bodies’ cells). The more saturated a fat is, the more stable the molecule is when it comes into contact with heat. 

For instance, scientifically (not nutritionally) speaking, butter, palm oil and coconut oils are saturated and, therefore, are more stable and have a higher smoke point than a monounsaturated oil such as olive oil or a polyunsaturated oil such as safflower oil.  Basically, this means that the more saturated fats are not damaged quite as quickly and will most often lead to a higher quality product at the end of the cooking process.  Since we want to be consuming a higher amount of monounsaturated and even polyunsaturated fatty acids in comparison to saturated fats, I’m urging us to try cooking without heated oils. 

Use methods such as steaming, grilling, or broiling, to cook the meal and add the healthy fat, such as olive oil, to the finished product.  If you are looking to sauté your dish, try using vegetable or chicken broth in place of the heated oils.  You will find that your vegetables are tender and flavorful even without that added heated oils. Delicious, indeed!

Another easy way to incorporate healthy fats into your daily dish is through the use of a homemade salad dressing, say, vinaigrette. Just follow the following format, toss in flavors as you please, and enjoy a dressing that doesn’t come with a side of guilt!

  • 2 parts extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil (as the olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid and the healthiest choice)
  • 1 part balsamic vinegar
  • Wisk to combine

To that flavor combination, add a variety of herbs and spices to accompany the dish you are preparing.  For instance, to create Italian style vinaigrette, toss black pepper, dried oregano, basil, and thyme, salt, and fresh pressed garlic to the mix.

This is what I mean when I say, “eat intelligently”, for knowledge is surely power; power to help you make the most nutritious choices, power to help you live a long and healthy life.  Here’s to you and yours:

Eat Intelligently!

Katie

Get more Health & Wellness advice by Clicking Here.

 

About Katie Paige Haarala

Kate Paige Haarala is a registered dietitian (R.D.) from Minnesota who has an undying passion for nutrition education and helping others incorporate healthy dishes into their daily menu.  She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Food, Nutrition & Dietetics along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science. You can catch more of Katie on her blog by clicking here.

5 Tips to Health Through Food with Kami Pastis: July

Humans are 75% water. As a result, waters is an essential element to maintaining good health.  Here in Arizona summer is upon us so we think a lot about hydration but these tips are good for you no matter where you live.

   

  1. Drinking water at the correct time maximizes its effectiveness on the human body. 2 glasses of water after waking up helps activate internal organs. Especially eliminative organs.
  2. Drinking water 30 minutes before a meal helps break down the food in your stomach and keep your digestive system on track. Water is a key enabler for our digestive organs.
  3. Latest awesome hydration elixir I concocted for when water seems so boring: 64 oz purified water, 1 whole lemon sliced, 1 whole orange sliced, 2 sprigs of fresh mint, 3 packets of Stevia. Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher, stir & enjoy throughout the day.
  4. Zucchini (room temp.) cut with a mandolin long ways or spiralized is a very quick & hydrating pasta substitute. Just slice, pour on your favorite pasta sauce and food is ready!
  5. Watermelon is super hydrating and a great source of iron along with vitamins A, C, betacarotene and a whole host of other micronutrients our bodies so desperately crave. Have a half of an entire watermelon for breakfast, your body will thank you!

 

For more tips on Health & Wellness click here

 

About Kami

Kamara Pastis is a certified personal trainer, life style educator, group fitness instructor and licensed massage therapist in the Phoenix area. Clinical, therapeutic massage has been her mainstay for seven years where she has experienced the lasting therapeutic changes massage can make in cases with debilitating pain and disfunction. The traditional Thai and Yogi tradition of metta (literally “loving kindness”) is Kami’s healing philosophy. When not healing her patients, Kami is more than blissfully occupied with her husband and three kids.

To contact Kami and learn more about her services Click Here: www.kamaralmt.com or call (602) 622-1046. Tell her you saw her on intotheSoup.com

 

5 Tricks to Healthy Restaurant Dining

by Katie Haarala

As you are sitting at the stoplight on your way home from work, you notice a new Italian restaurant to your right, wafting all of it’s basil, fresh tomato, and olive oil scents into your car window. Further down the road, the American style joint to your left stimulates your drool glands as you envision yourself diving into a meal of burger, french fries, and a strawberry shake.  Up ahead, a gauntlet of fast food chains line the road, each one beckoning you to stop for 44 oz. of a slurry frozen beverage (and hey, it’s only $0.89!), or a warm apple pie for $1.

Our society is bombarded with the idea of food continuously. If were are caught unaware, and our hunger hormones are begging us, no, demanding us to eat; chances are we are going to take the Golden Arches up on its Dollar Menu delicacies. 

When we do decide to enter a restaurant for a bit to eat, it is important to remember to reduce the calorie content and increase the health content of our meals. Being proactive helps make our meals as healthy as possible. The following tips can make a big difference.

1. Beware of saucy sauces: Tips to avoid the higher calorie dishes

Whenever we scour a menu, we can pick out words that are noting the menu item is higher in calories, meaning we should try to choose a more waist and heart friendly option. Words such as fried, au gratin, crispy, pan-fried, sautéed, creamy, or stuffed are terms used to describe high fat, high calorie dishes.  Describing words such as steamed, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted are terms used for lower calories dishes. If it comes down to it, and you would like to try the “grilled chicken and pasta tossed in creamy, velvety, melt in your mouth, Alfredo sauce; ask the server (let’s call him Charles) to, “Bring the sassy-saucy-sauce on the side, please, so I do not disrupt my figure!”

2. Welcome the water (with lemon! Voila!)

Often we can find a large portion of the caloric content of an overall restaurant meal stemming from those found in our beverages.  In a 16 oz. portion of Coca-Cola ®, you find about 11.5 teaspoons of sugar and 200 calories. In a 16 oz. of Mountain Dew, you will consume over 14 teaspoons of sugar and 220 calories.  If you are a typical consumer, when Charles offers you that refill, you will  gladly accept not understanding the amount of sugar and calories consumed from this small beverage alone! Therefore, it is best to choose plain water and add a lemon for a burst of flavor. Adding lemon to your water is also believed to aid in digestive processes.

3. Become the best of friends with the “doggie bag”

The portions at many restaurants are nothing less that gargantuan, providing us with another reason to rely on our willpower to not eat the entire portion in one sitting.  If you find yourself lingering, chatting, and taking in the ambience of the restaurant, you will find the last bites that you were going to save for lunch tomorrow, even more tempting. Your best bet it to ask Charles to bring out a box right when you receive your meal to ensure you actually do have lunch tomorrow.

4. Sensible Side Salads

Most menu items boast that they come with a side of fries, sour cream and cheese topped mashed potatoes, or butter laden biscuits.  As tempting as those high carbohydrate and high fat options may be when you sit down in the restaurant and are starving, your best bet is to ask Charles if they have side salads instead. Ask for the dressing to be placed on the side so that you can dip the lettuce leaves or lightly spread it atop the greens. 

5. Enjoy yourself!

The last tip is for you to remind you to enjoy yourself! Going out to a restaurant for a meal should be fun as it allows casual conversation and great food! The trick is just to keep these tips in the back of your mind so you do not end up leaving the restaurant with the belt unbuckled and your button undone. The point it to leaving feeling nourished, satisfied, and socially satiated. 

Food is delicious, can make for entertaining times, and should always be used as a tool for nourishment.  Keep these tips in mind next time you venture out to a restaurant with your friends or family so that you can eat deliciously and intelligently!

Katie

Get more Health & Wellness advice by Clicking Here.

About Katie

Kate Paige Haarala is a registered dietitian (R.D.) from Minnesota who has an undying passion for nutrition education and helping others incorporate healthy dishes into their daily menu.  She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Food, Nutrition & Dietetics along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science. You can catch more of Katie on her blog by clicking here.

Be Excellent

by Katie Haarala

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.  – Aristotle

Be excellent. 

Now, generally I write about specific foods that have health benefits, but this time, I have decided to delve into the idea of simply eating for health, for happiness, and for excellence. 

I enjoy good food like the rest and happen to find myself tasting a treat from time to time, but when asked if I could stay perfectly healthy off of pizza and chocolate chip ice cream, would I choose it over fruits, vegetables, and whole grains?  The answer is simply “no”. 

Sure, staying fit and trim off of cheese and chocolate may sound nice, but think of all the delectable flavors your taste buds would be missing out on!  The diverse flavors that can stem from whole grain pasta topped with sautéed green beans, with side notes of black pepper, garlic, and olive oil are prodigious! And have you ever actually paid attention to the how you feel after you eat an entire devil’s food cake versus a light nutritious dish such as the one mentioned above? The difference is quite vast!

Now, not to say devil’s food is not an option, but remembering it’s all about the portion control and making sure you’ve had a lot of the good stuff already.

So what is the bit about excellence?

As a society, we seem, unfortunately, unconcerned with our health.  First, remembering that the reason we eat is to provide our bodies with energy to chase the kids around or to take the bad beagles for a walk, and then recalling that we perform better when we are energized with nutritious dishes versus, oh say, a bag of laboratory created cheese-like powdered snack chips or highly fluorescent gummy candies. 

The point being is that we do our best work when we are nourished properly.  Overindulging on greasy burgers and fries will leave you feeling lethargic and inevitably leading you to become one with the couch for the remainder of your day.  You don’t feel motivated to get in some exercise, tend to the garden, or to partake in any other hobbies you enjoy, but rather, you feel tired and not wanting to move until your next birthday. 

Moral of the story, feed yourself properly so you can feel energetic and nourished to do the things you love, to be excellent in the way only you know how to be.  Our society is in need of all that you can offer, so it’s quite imperative you are feeling well and motivated to share with us your passions. 

Perhaps you believe the relationship between food choice, motivation and energy is rather obscure, but I beg to differ.  I urge you to pay attention to how you feel after you eat a nutrient packed meal.  I’m sure it is a feeling you will want to duplicate by making those healthy choices once again!

Let’s heed Aristotle’s wise words and make our meal choices habitually healthy. 

Eat on, friends, and enjoy all that is associated with healthy and delicious dishes! 

Katie

Get more Health & Wellness advice by Clicking Here.

 

About Katie Paige Haarala

Kate Paige Haarala is a registered dietitian (R.D.) from Minnesota who has an undying passion for nutrition education and helping others incorporate healthy dishes into their daily menu.  She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Food, Nutrition & Dietetics along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science. You can catch more of Katie on her blog by clicking here.

5 Tips to Health Through Food with Kami Pastis: June

Kami Pastis is a certified personal trainer, life style educator, group fitness instructor and registered chiropractic assistant in the Phoenix area. From time to time, she enjoys sharing tips with you on eating well for life.

 

5-Tips

  1. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan is a superb book if you really want to know where (and where not) to source the best food in the country. I’m almost finished with the book and have been enlightened and encouraged to make new food source choices based on my awareness. More home grown veggies & fruits is # 1 on my list as well as supporting my local farmer through CSA (community sponsored agriculture).
  2. The heat is coming so be prepared to drink up on non-caffeinated & non-alcoholic beverages to keep your body working optimally. Herbal iced tea, water with lemon & cucumber (or any fruits) are nice ways to up your hydration.
  3. Eating foods that are mostly water is another way to keep hydrated without having to chug water all day long. Think bell peppers, apples, grapes, watermelon, cucumbers, celery, etc.
  4. Speaking of celery… it has an organic form of sodium that helps your body to adapt to the heat easily. Enjoy it with peanut butter, alone or juice it with some other “juicies” like cucumber and apple for a enzyme rich, deeply hydrating cocktail.
  5. Half your body weight in ounces is the minimum amount of water per day you require. If you spend time outdoors or working out and sweating, your needs increase. Drink accordingly. Also, for every cup of a caffeinated or alcoholic beverage ingested you need 2 cups of water to compensate for their dehydrating effect.

Click here to revisit Kami’s Thai Bliss Soup contribution

Get more Health & Wellness advice by Clicking Here.

 

About Kami

Kamara Pastis is a certified personal trainer, life style educator, group fitness instructor and licensed massage therapist in the Phoenix area. Clinical, therapeutic massage has been her mainstay for seven years where she has experienced the lasting therapeutic changes massage can make in cases with debilitating pain and disfunction. The traditional Thai and Yogi tradition of metta (literally “loving kindness”) is Kami’s healing philosophy. When not healing her patients, Kami is more than blissfully occupied with her husband and three kids.

To contact Kami and learn more about her services Click Here: www.kamaralmt.com or call (602) 622-1046. Tell her you saw her on intotheSoup.com

 

 

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