Saturday, March 27, 2010

Healthcare Reform 101...

Ahhh...finally a topic that has not been beaten like a red-headed stepchild. That was for dramatic effect, by the way...I like red-heads. I could possibly have stepchildren of my own someday...& I have no plans to beat them...unless of course they complain about my cooking ;)

Which brings me back to my original point. Healthcare. Reform.

Health. It is so subjective...not the mere absence of disease, but the optimal functioning of an individual regardless of their actual health status.

Reform. It is an individual taking personal responsibility for changing old & adopting new lifestyles...nutritionally, physically, mentally, choice at a time.

Combined, it is ATTITUDE & bite-sized (pun intended) chunks...that over time will transform you from the inside out...allowing you to be the BEST VERSION of the person you were created to be.

Of course, this is my two cents in a nutshell. Speaking of nuts...I want to show you through one small example how powerful, transforming, & exciting the little individual elements of nutrition can be!

WALNUTS: Health benefits
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids - a special type of protective fat utilized by every cell of the body that cannot be manufactured by the body; 1/4 cup = 90.8% of daily recommended; heart health; brain functioning; anti-inflammatory properties which help with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema & psoriasis; flexibility & permeability of cell walls allowing nutrients to pass through & toxins to be eliminated

Ellagic Acid - antioxidant beneficial to the immune system; anti-cancer properties

Melatonin - hormone that aids in sleep; antioxidant

ALA (alpha linolenic acid) - essential for bone health; converts to EPA which is utilized for cellular energy

Manganese & Copper - minerals which are important cofactors for enzymes that are critical for antioxidant defense

Decreased Risk of Weight Gain - a source of healthy fat which is essential for moving unhealthy fats through & out of the body

Ways to Enjoy Them in the Diet:
Toasted & added to oatmeal, veggies, salads
Add to plain yogurt with honey or pure maple syrup
1/4 cup as a snack (about 4 walnuts/8 walnut halves)

Prepare them for Eating:
Place about 2 cups of walnuts on a baking sheet. Toast in a 170 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. The low heat protects the natural oils from being damaged. Store in an airtight container. Keep in the fridge for up to 6 months/freezer for up to 1 year to avoid rancidity of the oils.

"Armed & Dangerous" Oatmeal
1 Serving

1 cup water
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp agave syrup
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1 tsp toasted pepitas
1 tsp golden raisins
1 tsp dried cherries

Place all ingredients in a saucepan & bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat, cover, & let sit for 7 minutes. Will still have a bit of chew to the oats but be creamy. Enjoy your energetic start to the day!

Note: Quick-cook oats are acceptable. They have, however, been processed & have lost some nutritional value including fiber. They will not leave you filling full for as long. They are a much better option than microwave oatmeal which I never recommend, partly because they are highly processed, have too much added sugar, & recommend radiating your meal which will deplete any nutrional value (also giving you a gummy instead of creamy end product). The optimal version of oats are steel cut which do require longing cooking time but give you a thicker chewier bowl of goodness.
I encourage you to establish & adopt your own definition of Healthcare Reform for your life. And don't forget...never...underestimate the power of a nut!
To Health,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Irish Eyes Are Smilin'...

I've heard it said that the Irish consume all that green beer during the day in order to partake in the corned beef & cabbage at supper time...

March 17 is traditionally a religious holiday on the Emerald Isle in honor of Saint Patrick, born in either Scotland or Wales, the son of Roman parents living in Britain...with all that heritage, it is appropriate that this holiday is celebrated across many cultures! He & his disciples are responsible for the Irish conversion to Christianity. The three leaves of the shamrock were a visual representation of the Christian Trinity.

It was not until the 1970's that the pubs in Ireland were open for business on March 17...part of a campaign to raise tourism & showcase Ireland to the rest of the world...& the rest of the world has been wearing green, chasing leprechauns & raising a pint of green beer to Ireland on St. Patrick's Day ever since.

Even as an Irish girl, I'm not a big fan of corned beef...& because the Great Potato Famine in 1845 fueled the Irish immigration to family is going to have a big bowl of golden potato & leek soup to honor our Irish roots.

Pot O' Gold Potato & Leek Soup
Serves 8

4 leeks, trimmed & cut in 1/2" slices
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
6 medium or 8 small Yukon gold potatoes, quartered & sliced thin
8 cups organic chicken broth (I like to use Imagine)
*2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (optional for a heartier protein rich soup)
3 Tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
3 Tbsp cold water
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Trim the thick green ends & root away from the leeks. Cut in 1/2 lengthwise & then in 1/2" slices. Soak in water to wash away any dirt & then rinse & drain.

In a medium soup pot over medium heat, combine olive oil, bay leaf, salt, pepper, & leaks. Soften leaks for about a minute. Add potato slices & chicken broth. Cover the pot & bring to a boil then remove cover & reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Remove bay leaf. (*For a heartier meal, add about 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken at this stage.)

In a small bowl, combine arrowroot or cornstarch with cold water & mix well. Return the soup to a boil. Add this mixture to the soup pot & stir. Let cook for 5 more minutes. Reduce heat. Add more salt & pepper if necessary. Stir in parsley. Serve & Enjoy!

A toast to you my friends, in good ol' Irish fashion...Here's to cheating, stealing, fighting & drinking. If you should cheat, cheat death. If you steal, steal a woman's heart. If you fight, fight for a brother. And if you drink, drink with me!!