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Hydration, hydration, hydration!

This hot weather has got me thinking a lot about hydration. And, of course, there’s that water shortage to consider. So what are the facts about getting adequate fluids? Water is essential and plays a critical role in many bodily functions, including the transport of nutrients, digestion, waste removal, maintaining blood pressure and regulating body temperature. Dehydration can contribute to constipation, fatigue, reduced mental activity (I get headaches) and places a stress on the cardiovascular system. Even inflammation in the body is exacerbated by dehydration, which might increase the risk of damage. How much do you need? Well, it depends on your physical activity level, size, humidity, and even ambient temperatures. So on these hot days, following the National Academy of Science recommendations is an optimal goal. Adequate intake for men is 13 cups per day and for women, 9-10 cups per day (more if lactating or pregnant). But individual differences trump averages, so if you’re thirsty or exercising, drink more and it’s advantageous to set a baseline for yourself. What to drink? Water is the best choice for hydration, along with unsweetened tea or coffee. Milk is also a great thirst quenching beverage. Remember, our sense of thirst is not that sensitive, so develop the habit and set reminders for yourself to drink up!

The Most Wonderful Foods of the Year

We all have our traditions. Whether they are ones we start ourselves or those we inherit, these practiced and well-worn habits add comfortable touchstones to our lives. They serve to anchor us in familiar harbors as we navigate life’s challenges, and root us in ritual and warm remembrance. No time of year serves up heavy portions of tradition like the swath of holidays at the end of it, with the desire for reflection rounding the corner as our planet completes another circle around the sun. Whether they be religious, cultural, familial, or simply an excuse to gather, our end of year traditions may vary in content and location but in context remain strikingly similar. Friends and family gather around meals and warm hearths, share stories and hopes for the coming year. Over the course of this undeniably wild year, we’ve visited cuisines from around the world in our Txoko virtual tastings. Each dish we’ve explored, born out of the unique combinations of environment, history, and culture, has been an expression of that place through the senses. Holiday meals, far from the exception, are that embodiment sent into overdrive, as they combine the rituals and importance of tradition with the culinary expression of culture. Take for example the Sufganiyot, the traditional round jelly doughnut made during the Jewish festival of Channukah. Based on the tradition of eating fried foods during this holiday of oil and light (a tradition considered ancient by scholars even 800 years ago), these sweet pastries made their debut in Europe in the 15th century, and has since became an Israeli and eventually U.S. staple on bakery shelves during the winter months. Or La Bûche de Noël (or Yule Log we may know it), a French medieval tradition based on burning a large wooden log from Christmas Eve to New Years for good luck within the familial hearth, the center place of gathering in the home. As hearths disappeared, the log ritual moved to the dinner table, with the actual wooden log eventually replaced with an edible cake one. In Denmark, the risalamande, a rice pudding topped with a Danish cherry sauce, is found in nearly every household on Christmas Eve. Often these traditional dishes are served up alongside other rituals, whether it be decorating a tree, lighting candles, or perhaps simply gathering together with friends new and old. These time-honored remembrances are almost automatic, an indication that even as we pass into the new year, we remain rooted in our past. There is a time and place for every tradition, and with this special holiday tasting, we hope to share with you some of our favorites. Whether our own or those of others we honor in our menu, we promise you an evening of culinary exploration of the dishes which make the holidays happen around the world. Alongside this, we have exciting news to share about what the coming year will bring, and can’t wait to celebrate with you all. Learn more at TxokoUSA.com

London Calling: Food of Great Britain & Ireland

Let’s be honest – British food does not get a good rep. Many words may come into your head when you think of the cuisine of the United Kingdom, but not too many of them are equivalently laudatory as one might give to say, its rival across south across the channel whose name rhymes with “Prance”. But like any good stereotype or assumption, it deserves a thorough smashing upon the rocks of widening gastronomical perspective. So, let’s get to smashing, shall we? The thought of food of the British Isles (English, Scottish, and Irish food) as at best bland and worst boring, is one that may come from a revolutionary pride within the American psyche. As the American food writer Bill Marsano quipped, “The British empire was created as a by-product of generations of desperate Englishmen roaming the world in search of a decent meal.” But end of empire may allow us a new perspective on mushy peas, fish and chips, and meat pies. This food above all provides, beyond a hefty serving of fried calories, comfort. Comfort from the grey skies and drizzling rain perhaps which the islands are so famously known for. But what is wrong with comfort? Who said food has to be pain or for that matter, complicated? Occam’s Razor is not a myth which requires disproving. The simplest solution is often the best, and the simple balance of starchy, salty, and savory flavors, with a tinge of earthiness that harkens to some indefinable authenticity, is not something to snub your nose at. From the wind-swept plains of the Scottish moors to the white Cliffs of Dover to the south, or the emerald rolling fields spanning from Dublin to Galway, there is something real and uniquely historical about the landscapes of these countries which is translated to its food. Take Shephard’s Pie – the story goes it came about as Irish and northern English housewives struggled to turn leftovers into another meal for their husbands and children at the end of a long day of work. Irish Soda Bread was similarly innovative, as baking soda was supplemented into recipes as a leavening agent due to the lack of well rising yeast locally available. Further down the historical tree, Beef Wellington, another pastry ensconced meat dish, was named in honor of the Duke of Wellington after his defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, a dish made to honor the triumph of the British empire. An empire which, after colonizing over 26% of the world (the largest in history), had at its disposal a dazzling array of spices and ingredients, which it could incorporate into its daily life, as it did with curries from India, a dish now so important the UK celebrates a National Curry Week each October. But it doesn’t stop there; sloshing in a tall glass beside these meals may be a Guinness, the dry stout first produced 262 years ago in a Dublin brewery (which he leased for 9,000 years at an annual rent of £45) as a healthier alternative to whiskey and gin, widely consumed as alcoholic drinks were preferable at the time to water due to lack of municipal sanitation. By 1866 it was the worlds largest brewery, and today still remains one of the most successful alcohol brands worldwide. Of course, the British Isles are known for their dreary skies, harsh landscapes, and ever persistent rain. But rather than seeing the food of these great nations as mirror to those landscapes, we must look at them as a reaction, a natural antidote to the harshness of life which birthed some of the most successful cultures the world has ever known. All told these are hearty meals, made to enjoy inside and away from the harshness of a cold evening, warmed by a crackling fire and the coziness of hearth and home. That is not something to put down – it is something we must hold on to recognize in our deepest hearts is a comfort we cannot and should not deny ourselves. So, as they say, keep calm, carry on, and raise a pint in salute to the glory of the warm and hearty cuisine of Ireland and the UK.

Preventing Dementia

Trying everything you can to set yourself up for a lifetime without dementia? I am. As a fan of Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and Harvard, Jackie always reads studies associated with his work, and this one was another of those! A July 28 study co-authored by Willett found “mounting evidence that flavonoids are powerhouses when it comes to preventing your thinking skills from declining as you get older”. So it’s important to think about ways to incorporate more foods with flavonoids, like apples, blackberries, blueberries, celery, cherries, grapefruit, oranges, pears, peppers and strawberries (along with other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables) into your diet. That’s where NutriFit comes in – we grow them on our farm and put them to delicious use in the meals that we prepare for our clients! Check it out here – your brain will thank you!

Finding Italy

I’m going to write a word, and I want you to say out loud the first thing that comes to your mind: Italy. What was it? Was it “art” or “culture”? Was it “pasta”, “pizza”, “wine”? Or was it more broadly, just “food”? Maybe it was “delicious”. All of these are appropriate, because Italian culture, history, art, religion, and cuisine, has been one of the most successfully celebrated and exported that the world has ever known. And for good reason, as anyone has ever enjoyed a bite of a Napoli pizza can attest to! Endless volumes can be written on the Italian affinity for the combination of beautiful ingredients grown under the Mediterranean sun. But what may be most fascinating is that what we find so uniquely Italian, that distinctive flavor we know so well, comes from a combination of ingredients that were never truly Italian to begin with. Tomatoes, for example, are native to the Americas, and did not arrive in Italy until after Columbus’s journey in 1492. And even after, the first printed recipe to even mention tomatoes in Italian cuisine didn’t occur until 1692, some 200 years later. This was largely due to the widespread belief at the time that they were poisonous, there red color earning them the nickname “the devil’s fruit”. Furthermore, there was even a general distaste for them by those brave enough to try, with authors at the time maligning them to as a mushier, worse version of an eggplant. Basil, another staple of Italian fare, is originally from India, and was thought to be an evil plant in Europe until the 17th century, causing scorpions, yes literal scorpions, to appear in one’s brain if smelled too often. Oddly enough for the longest time, Italians (Tuscans especially) were known not for their hearty consumption of bread or tomatoes, but beans, something we rarely associate with modern Italian cooking. The fagioli, as they were known, were particularly fond of fava beans, which had been cultivated since 6000 BC in the region and were celebrated religiously in medieval Sicily, being tied to mystical Christianity. This is strange however, as exposure to the beans can trigger a fatal reaction (known as favism) in about 20% of people who carry a genetic mutation most prevalent in the Mediterranean, known as G6PD deficiency. How could the beans remain so celebrated then, when a somewhat high percentage of people in the area could die from eating them – wouldn’t it be bred out, or the beans be cursed (like basil or tomatoes)? In a fascinating case of food influencing human evolution, fava bean consumption has been to shown create an internal environment in the body hazardous to the parasites which the deadliest disease humankind has ever known: malaria. Malaria was widespread in the central and southern regions of Italy up until the beginning of the 20th century, infecting nearly 2 million people per year. In fact, immunity to the disease was found to be even greatest in those who carried the G6PD deficiency, but who did not suffer the fatal reaction of favism, about 80% of that population. So, fava beans remained; their usefulness for malarial resistance outweighed their potentially deadly consequences for some. As any chef worth their salt will tell you, it is the ingredients that make the dish (though with some humility they may attest they had something to do with as well). This seems evident when we look back on the history of Italian cuisine – from devilish fruit to gene-altering beans – there is nothing so important as the individual plants, animals, and fungi which are the true DNA of our favorite cuisines. Rich soils, rolling hills, pleasant climates, and abundant sunshine create a happy and productive farm, whether on the central coast of California or the vibrant hills of Tuscany. There is no substitute for a truly magnificent tomato, artichoke, peach, or pomegranate. So, while we may raise a glass to the chef, let us not forget to raise one as well for the farmer, who has brought from seed to plate, and another (why not?) to the ingredients themselves, whose very essence we celebrate tonight and give thanks to with our cheer. Join us at our upcoming virtual guided tasting celebrating Italian cuisine here Buon appetito!’

Bring on the Lignans!

Bring on the lignans! More and more research is being conducted around the connections between diets rich in lignans and coronary artery disease. Lignans are molecules found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, red wine and coffee! Yayyy – my kind of diet – and now, even more justification for including these ingredients in as many meals and snacks as possible! According to a new study by Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, diets rich in lignans (and high in fiber) significantly reduced the risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who ate low amounts of lignans. For more details check the study published online in the August 2021 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology here.

Reaching Your Weight Loss Goals

Reaching your weight loss goal can seem almost impossible sometimes – whether you’re just beginning your weight loss journey or need help losing those last 5 stubborn pounds, here are some tips to help you lose weight and, most importantly, maintain that weight loss. 1 – Get real about your weight Ask yourself the following questions: Do you have a point of reference for when you were at your ideal weight? How do you measure your weight now? Is it the same as before? How do you determine what your weight should be? How recent is your weight gain? These will help you form a realistic point of reference and help you determine a successful path forward. The best weight loss plans are the ones that are sustainable over a long period of time and help you achieve your goals in a healthy way. Avoid fad diets that are difficult to maintain. Diets that quickly take off water weight may help to jump start the process, but it is important to have a long term plan that you can easily adopt to maintain the weight loss you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Consider researching the Mediterranean and DASH diets – both of which have been extensively researched and heralded as the best overall diets you can follow. 2 – Look at your eating plan Ask yourself if you have one. Do you schedule your meals and snacks? Are you willing to follow a regimen on paper? Are you hungry before your meals? Consider keeping a food diary or creating a schedule to follow. It will help you Extra tip – eating fiber with your meals is important for weight management as it helps you feel fuller after your meals 3 – Look at your drinking plan Do you have one? Are you drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water per day? 4 – Look at other factors that affect your weight Stress, alcohol intake and sleep are all important factors 5 – Make a Schedule Our brains loves habits – research has shown that it takes 66 days to form a new habit so take the time to create a schedule to help you form new habits that create a healthy relationship with diet and exercise. Break up your day into mini habits and form a plan to build a foundation for healthy habits Focus on the behavior, not the outcome. Guarantee success by making your first goal easy and build from there. Measure your progress visually – using any marker that is meaningful to you Ask yourself this: When I _________________ then I will ___________________ Feel like you could use a little extra help? Consider jump starting your weight loss with a customized meal plan. Unlike other companies, we do not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to weight loss; our plans are personalized to your goals, schedule and needs. Our founder, Jackie Keller, is not only an expert nutritionist but also board certified health and wellness coach, with years of experience coaching clients and helping them achieve success.

Our Next Tasting Event – America: An Epicurean Odyssey

The term “melting pot” seems inadequate to describe the true nature of the conglomeration that is America. Perhaps (and stick with us here), a salad bowl is a more appropriate metaphor. All parts mixed together, a theme woven between them but the separate pieces retaining their shape, their flavors, their individuality. As unconventionally American (if we’re being completely honest) as a salad bowl may seem, it is a good metaphor for the rugged individuality which defines the American spirit. The richness of flavors in a salad comes not from the ingredients melting together, but in the revelation of their uniqueness tasted in unison, complimenting and contrasting each other to become something greater than any individual part can achieve on its own. The beauty of America is that its landscapes, its people, its cuisines and cultures are inherently different, each holding something beautiful and unique. Whether they were the traditional owners of this land (in the neighborhood where our Txoko event is being held, the Tongva people), or immigrants from all over the world, our ancestors carried with them an individuality that is at its heart the most American thing there is. One can imagine that as they surveyed the possibilities of the landscapes around them, they brought recipes passed down from generations far flung, their thoughts ripe with the possibilities found in a place to begin anew. Cuisine was the gift they brought most often, taking old recipes from their ancestors’ kitchens and combining them with the ingredients and ideas offered in the New World. Eyes ever on the horizon, the spirit of Americans, from coast to coast and throughout time, has always been an ever present “I can”, that belief that we are the masters of our destiny. This belief, ever present, wound its way into the cuisines we know and enjoy today. That unwavering “I can” is what has defined this country, and it is what has defined us, too. At NutriFit, we ask our clients to look within and say, “I can do it”, no matter what the goal. We started NutriFit 34 years ago with that spirit, with the idea that anyone, given the tools, knowledge, and encouragement, can make a difference in their own life for a brighter tomorrow. That has been our own odyssey, our journey of self-discovery and growth, and we have been honored to have you with us on it. Together we say not only, “I can” but now we say, “We can”, by listening, sharing and learning from one another’s journeys. Our Txoko USA dining table is an area open to all, where we can share stories and dreams of our pasts, presents, and futures. So, let’s begin this odyssey, this epicurean journey through this salad bowl country and with our eyes on the horizon, discover the treasures it may hold. We hope you’ll join us on this next adventure. To view our full menu for the event and purchase tickets, click here

Tips for Getting in Your Best Shape for Summer

We’re turning the corner in the COVID-19 pandemic just in time to start getting in shape for summer! As we get back to enjoying our normal activities, some may be worried about how to shed the quarantine 15 for their ideal summer body. Whether you’re hanging out by the pool, going to the beach or just enjoying the great outdoors on vacation, we want to help you look your best. Here are a few of our best, simple diet tips that you can start adopting today: 1. Eat seasonal and introduce more fruits and veggies into your diet! Switching to a more plant based diet is not only good for the planet but beneficial for you in so many ways including lowering your risk for certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and cholesterol. Plus, they’re packed with vitamins and minerals crucial to maintaining a healthy diet. Fruits and veggies in season during the summer: Cherries, Watermelon, Strawberries, Green Beans, Blackberries, Blueberries, Peaches, Eggplant, Plums and Corn 2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! We cannot stress the importance of drinking water – especially during the hot summer months. Drink at least 8 cups of water per day and reap the benefits of good hydration including improved skin appearance, maintaining electrolytes, regulate temperature and blood pressure, help regulate your metabolism, cushion/lubricate joints and much more. 3. Focus on making small, manageable changes to your diet and exercise routine. Many people find it to lose weight with the latest fad diet – usually a variation of a low carb diet – but quickly gain the weight back or hit a roadblock in losing those last few pounds. Our advice – which has helped thousands over the last 33 years lose weight and keep it off – is to adopt a healthy way of eating and exercise routine that works for you. The key to maintaining a healthy diet is one that focuses on whole grains, healthy fats, plant based proteins, limited red meat – balanced and wholesome diets are the main takeaways from this approach. Reducing your stress levels, limiting alcohol intake (especially when you’re first trying to lose weight) and, of course, drinking enough water are all important factors in dieting. Eating every three hours and exercising regularly are also important factors in maintaining blood sugar and improving your metabolism. Feel like you could use a jump start before summer officially begins? Try our SimpliHealth Organic Reboot! More than just a cleanse, our Reboot is designed as a nutritionally balanced way to enjoy the benefits of a short term liquid diet. Each of the three phases features organic, vegan and gluten free meals, smoothies, pressed juices and Mighty Liquid Blends (meal replacements). Our clients have lost an average of 8 lbs over the total 12 day reboot! Learn more and sign up for the reboot here

Experience the Riviera Maya, Ecuador and New Orleans Through Your Tastebuds

Our upcoming virtual tasting aims to transport you on a culinary journey through the Americas. No need for travel FOMO – find inspiration and experience local cuisine from the comfort of your own living room on March 26 by attending our next virutal tasting experience. View our menu and purchase tickets here. In the meantime, read background info on our featured destinations below. The Riviera Maya, a stretch of Caribbean coastline south of Cancun along the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, may be one of the a rare world regions that has it all: white sand beaches, impeccable coral reefs, awe-inspiring archeological sites, verdant green tropical forests and the world’s longest underwater cave systems (known as cenotes). But most of all, this region, once the seat of power for Mayan civilization, is an incredible place to experience Mexican culinary traditions in all their glory. The abundantly-rich land and sea in this area provided local peoples with a dazzling variety of fruit, vegetable and seafood which birthed a deeply rooted tradition of food and place. Pibil, a Mayan-style of cooking in which food is cooked in a pit or underground, birthed amazing Yucatan stews of cochinita (pork) and Tikin Xic, a dry rubbed fish rubbed in achiote paste and wrapped in banana leaves before cooking underground. Ritual and tradition are found in every bite of Maya Riviera cuisine, embodying an intimate meeting of humanity and this vibrant, wonderful land. Ecuador is one of those unique countries whose borders envelope all environments. Packed into a small area are coastal deserts, towering mountains and lush rainforests. This land of geographical diversity is one of spectacular biodiversity as well – and that’s just the mainland. The Galapagos Islands, the rocky volcanic island chain famous for its endemic (only found there) species and its inspiration towards the theory of biological evolution, is also part of Ecuador. Ecuadorian cuisine is as varied as it’s geography – from potatoes and cuy (guinea pig) found the Andes mountains, to bananas and roasted pork in the Amazon basin, to ceviche and plantains along the coast. As an island chain over 500 miles from the coast of South America, it is no surprise that cuisine of the Galapagos is based around seafood, or mariscos. Scallops, or vieiras, are a particular delicacy, as are patacones, quartered and twice-fried plantains often served with a delicious ceviche. Located at the nexus of four ocean currents, the islands are one of the most critical places for marine life on the planet, as each year mass migrations of sharks, whales, turtles and birds traverse its waters. The cold nutrient waters make the eastern Pacific Ocean one of the world’s most fished regions as well, and makes our support of sustainable seafood practices here, as well as a globally, particularly important. New Orleans cuisine is a fusion of fusions, a melting pot of so many cultures that separate culinary traditions born in this area could fill entire segments of cooking history individually. Creole cooking, the most unique to the New Orleans area, was born from the native, slave and colonist populations who made this bustling port home before Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Aristocratic yet homey, it heavily displays the French traditions of rich sauces and complex preparations while incorporating the styles and ingredients of Native American, Spanish, and West African cooking. Cajun cooking was born from French-Canadian colonists who were deported to southern Louisiana after the French-Indian War in the 18th century. At a loss for the ingredients of their homeland, they developed an entirely new culinary tradition, again combining Native American, Spanish, and West African styles with those they knew before. Established around home-cooking and familial gatherings (such as the famous crawfish bowl), the cuisine developed a distinctive aroma and spiciness in the 20th century that today has cemented its place in the distinct culture of New Orleans. Finally, Soul food, now the traditional fare of the Southern United States, arose from the cultures of enslaved Africans who combined their native West African traditions with that of their European captors and Native American neighbors. Combined, these distinct and incredible culinary styles define the flavors of this truly American city, a crossroads of cultures new and old and a definition of what it means to be an American.

Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, Chūn Jié (春節), this year beginning on February 12th, has a history in China dating back almost 4,000 years and every year prompts the largest migration of people on our planet. Beginning on the new moon appearing between January 21st and February 20th, it has been celebrated for thousands of years as the traditional end of winter and beginning of the spring season, heralding the beginning of a new year of luck, love and fortune. Spring Festival celebrations in China last for 40 days and is marked on its eve by the year’s most important meal – the New Year reunion dinner, held in the house of the eldest family member and attended by any and all family members that can make it. During this time, an estimated 3 billion travelers make their way across China and other countries around the world for family reunions and New Year’s celebrations. Celebration of the Lunar New Year often ties in closely to celebrations of the Chinese zodiac, a 12-year cycle of animal signs which serves a similar purpose to the Western astrological cycle. The legend of the Chinese zodiac goes back over 2,000 years to the Qin dynasty, when the legendary Jade Emperor summoned all animals to his palace for a great race across a raging river. The order they arrived determined their place in the zodiac. The rat, and its once great friend, the cat, contrived to beat the rest by jumping on the back of one of the strongest contenders (and this year’s zodiac sign), the ox. However just before they finished the crossing, the rat pushed the cat off the ox’s back, solidifying their eternal enmity, along with the cat’s hatred of water and its omission from the zodiac. The crafty rat proudly hopped into first place, followed by the ox in second. Following the ox were, in order, the tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The ox is considered a symbol of honesty, patience, and conservativeness – symbols we will all be grateful for in the coming year. Before the start of the new year, houses are thoroughly cleaned to remove any bad luck lingering in the corners, and often new decorations are put in place to symbolize the start of new beginnings. The color red is of particular importance in this celebration as well, with small red paper envelopes containing small amounts of money, passed from elder to junior family members. In northern China, dumplings, or jiaozi (餃子), are made and consumed with special frequency during this time, as they are associated with wealth and prosperity due to their shape resembling that of the Chinese gold ingots, sycee, used as currency until the 20th century. The reunion dinner may also heavily feature (depending on region and household), fish (Yú, 鱼), spring rolls (Chūnjuǎn, 春卷), and glutinous rice cakes (Niángāo, 年糕), all of which symbolize the gaining of wealth, good fortune, and prosperity. Auspicious and delicious food aside, the importance of gathering together and taking time to enjoy family and friends are paramount in the celebration of the Lunar New Year. With the arrival of the new moon heralds a fresh start. It signals the chance to let go of the past and embrace a new year filled with luck, love, and hopefully, plenty of delicious food.

Around the World in 80 Bites

Côte D’Azur (the Azure Coast), otherwise known as the French Riviera, is the famous coast of southeastern France whose sea-side specialties perfectly blend the Mediterranean cuisines of Italy, Spain and France. Known for the glamour beach towns of Saint-Tropez and Cannes, the region birthed some of the most eponymous dishes of French cuisine. Ratatouille, Nic oise Salad and Bouillabaisse soup all have their ancestral roots amongst its cobblestone streets and sandy shores. Herbes de Provence, tapenade, and of course, seafood, are the highlights of this Mediterranean home of haute cuisine. And while we may know the region for its jet-setting status, its most famous contributions are of humble origin. Bouillabaisse originated as a soup prepared by the poor fisherman of Marseilles, made from the fish that wasn’t sold during the day. Ratatouille, similarly, was a vegetable stew made for local soldiers. Even the delicate signature cake of St. Tropez, named by Hollywood icon Brigitte Bardot Tarte Tropézienne, was invented by Alexandre Micka, a Polish baker who settled in the village in 1955. Food, after all, is the great equalizer. While the region may be known for its glamourous beaches, yacht-filled harbors, and high-end food and fashion, we remember its humble beginnings through bites of delicious rustic cuisine created by well-worn, sunbaked hands, shared around smiling tables. The Amalfi Coast may be a UNESCO world heritage site, and one of the most famously beautiful coastlines in the world, but few know the history of this glorious Italian region. Stretching between the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno and shadowed by Mount Vesuvius, this coastline is a series of stunning seaside towns nestled between high cliffs. The region is named for the beautiful city of Amalfi, which was founded in the 6th century, soon after became the site of vacation villas for Roman emperors, and later remained an independent republic until 1075, much longer than many of its neighbors. This was due in part to its ability to ward off the regions many pirates, but also its control of the seafaring trade of a much-desired particular resource for fighting scurvy on long sea voyages: lemons. The local climate made a perfect home for this originally Middle Eastern fruit, which local farmers crossed with bitter oranges to create unique regional varieties, the Sfusato d’Amalfi and the Limone di Sorrento. Many family orchards along the coast have lemon trees that are several hundreds of years old and depictions of Amalfi lemons grace the walls of ancient Pompeii. A source of local pride and history, today most Amalfi lemons are still harvested by hand and laboriously carried up and down the steep hillsides of this region. Part of the key to their success is that the lemons are unusually large and sweet – so sweet in fact you can bite straight into it, peel and all. Whether combined with the abundant local seafood in a pasta dish such as Scialatielli al Frutti di Mare, pressed into the famous local lemon liquor limoncello, or drizzled onto the sweet Torta al Limone cakes, it is the humble lemon which most embodies this glorious stretch of the Italian coast.

Small Business Spotlight – Traceland Organics

Our last “Small Business Saturday” highlight this week is featuring our friend Jesse Trace from “Traceland Organics” in Cayucos, California, who have supplied NutriFit customers with not only their signature organic avocados, but a variety of beautiful, certified organic fruits and veggies. Check them out on the web at http://tracelandorganics.com/ to learn more about them and their one-of-a-kind local operation. 1. When did you become a farmer? What influenced your decision to start growing food? We planted our avocados in 2005, but were farmers back “east” in Illinois and lived on a farm there. Growing food has always been the first step of many towards personal sovereignty. We grow food because we love stewarding the land and cultivating the reciprocal relationship between ourselves and nature. 2. What variety of crops do you grow? We mostly have Hass avocados, though we also have several varieties of pollinizer avocados sprinkled throughout the orchard to foster pollinator health and a thorough fruit set. We are ramping up production of other unique subtropicals like white sapote and passionfruit. We also grow a lot of our own food and in total have over 60 varieties of fruit trees. 3. What is your philosophy around growing food? Being close to the land and living within her is crucial to growing food, and as it turns out, important for just about everything else as well. 4. How do you see your role in the community? Energy generation. Food is our primary form of energy as humans. We are an organic power plant at Traceland Organics, producing nutrient dense calories to fuel human lives. 5. What has been your greatest challenge as a small farmer? The long wait for profitability. Tree crops take a very long time to grow, but once they are big they are a resilient food source. Humanity is playing the long game here, it is worth the wait. 6. You grow some amazing varietals of produce; do you have a personal favorite? The Vernon white sapote fruit tastes like what a banana and a pear tree would produce if you could somehow splice them. 7. Do you have any new or upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about? We are very excited about our creek restoration project. We are partnering with a local watershed stewardship NGO to work on balancing our water footprint through careful design and reforestation. 8. If you could share any message with NutriFit clients, what would it be? You are what you eat and you vote with your dollar. I know it isn’t always possible to pay extra for certified organic fruits and vegetables, but your investment will pay dividends towards healthy resilient communities. Real Organic Nutri Fit

Small Business Spotlight – Branch Mill Organic Farm

In today’s installment in our Small Business Spotlight blog series, we’ll be highlighting Jessica Baiza and Rustin Fuss, who manage Branch Mill Organic Farm in Arroyo Grande, California. Learn more about Branch Mill, which also serves as a one-day retreat center and has a wonderful roadside produce stand, at branchmillorganics.com. 1. When did you become a farmer? What influenced your decision to start growing food? Jessica: I became an organic farmer in 2015. Before then I had no idea where my food came from or what the difference was between organic and non-organic. Through this initial hands-on learning, I realized the tremendous value of caring for the environment while growing nutrient dense food for the local community. Rustin: During my travels in 2010 I had heard about work exchange programs on organic farms. I then had some wonderful work exchange experiences at several farms. I officially started farming as a profession in 2016 working at an organic farm in Hawaii. The next farm was in Gilbert, AZ and for over a year now here at Branch Mill Organic Farm in Arroyo Grande, CA. Those earlier transformative experiences inf me n rustin farminluenced my decision to grow food sustainably and to be a steward of the land. 2. What variety of crops do you grow? We grow organic garlic, tomatoes, various winter and summer squash, sweet and spicy peppers, turmeric, various herbs, edible flowers, beets, reddish, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, chard, arugula, lettuce, avocado, apples, figs, loquats, pomegranates, lemons, finger limes, persimmons, olallieberries, pineapple guava, passion fruit, and specialty crops per request! 3. What is your philosophy around growing food? We take so much for granted with all of the comforts of today. By carefully watching and caring for this food grown from seed all the way to harvest grants a reconnection with nature and an appreciation for the miracle that is life. 4. How do you see your role in the community? By providing wholesome organic food for the community, we are increasing their health and connecting them to their local economy. 5. What has been your greatest challenge as small farmers? Nearly all of the small organic farms that [we] have worked on have struggled financially to make ends meet. A fierce adversary in this area are also the armies of hungry gophers. Wildfires and droughts are also very challenging in this region. 6. You grow some amazing varietals of produce; do you have a personal favorite? I have many favorites, persimmons, pineapple guava, lacinato kale, arugula, nectar carrots, and heirloom tomatoes just to name a few. I love being able to experience the rich flavors of freshly harvested organic produce. 7. Do you have any new or upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about? Yes, we are very excited about our plans to adopt more permaculture and regenerative farming practices. We also have plans to start a nursery in the greenhouse which will include some subtropical fruit, like cherimoya, mango, papaya, banana, sapote, and pineapple. 8. If you could share any message with NutriFit clients, what would it be? We all vote with our currency. Be sure to do some research and choose to support the businesses and farmers whose practices and values align with the greatest good for the planet and for all.   me n rustin farmin

Holidays & Happiness – A Virtual Celebration

By Adam Yaney-Keller “Happy Holidays!” Most often, we focus on the later part of this well-worn salutation at this time of year. Our minds drift to images of candles, holiday lights, warm fires and presents to loved ones, or maybe a cookie-cutter film made just for T.V. that we dread (but secretly enjoy). But, let’s shift our attention the first word of that statement – that elusive and all-consuming feeling of happiness. We know what makes up the holidays. But what are the ingredients of happiness? Some researchers look at people nearing the end of their lives, and asks them questions about their biggest regrets. Bronnie Ware, an Australian end-of-life care nurse and author, did exactly this with her patients for years. She found one of the most common themes among her patients’ answers was this: “I wish that I had let myself be happier”. For many of us, this statement may be startling – perhaps because it rings so true. And how much truer is that statement now, in these times when we are asked (for good reason) to sacrifice the holiday get-togethers with friends and family that normally bring us such joy? In times such as these, how do we “let” ourselves be happy? An answer for these times, we hope, is through this month’s virtual “Holiday & Celebrations” tasting. Read on for the explanation… It is interesting we have to allow ourselves be happy, the implication being that maybe when it comes to happiness, we are our own worst enemy. It is the little voice in our head that looks at the happiness ingredient and says, “Oh, better not try that…”. But what if we ignore that voice? Or better yet, create the space for it to say, “Oh, I have got to try that!” What if, in the true spirit of a “Happy Holiday”, we throw caution to the wind, and for an evening, let ourselves be not only happy, but positively indulgent? That is our goal with our virtual holiday celebration get together. If the current situation requires that we sacrifice our normal holiday gatherings, then let us to do it in style, and replace them with something wonderful – delicious food and drink, guided in its tasting by the loving hands who created it and shared with a community all gathered in the same (virtual) room. This is exactly the reason we are sampling four desserts in this tasting, instead of our usual single sweet. If we are asked to sacrifice, then we sacrifice we shall. But we will do it indulging on the likes of Crème Brûlée Tiramisu and Mousse au Chocolat with Chestnut Puree, and we shall never, ever look back. When we reflect on holiday seasons come and gone, we hope that this will not be remembered as a season lost to a lockdown, as happiness that we did not let us ourselves attain. Although we cannot gather as we usually do, that does not mean we cannot gather virtually. With this tasting we aim to bring you all together in virtual hearth and home, around the delight of a meal shared in good company. So, join us in raising a glass and toasting to the “Happy” in “Happy Holidays”. Bon Appetit! To purchase tickets for our upcoming tasting event on Dec. 11, 2020, please click here 

Small Business Spotlight – The Lavra

BOAs we exit one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, we wanted to highlight the importance of supporting small, local businesses, especially during the challenges of this current time. Being a small, family-run operation ourselves, we understand the importance of supporting local companies and especially, local farmers. In a time of unprecedented small business hardship, it is more important than ever to remember the small businesses of the hard-working people who grow our food. Close to our own farm, the Mesa, on California’s central coast, we have partnered with a number of small, organic nonprofit farm operations that share our mission of healthful eating and environmental sustainability to supply our clients with high quality, locally grown, organic produce. In light of “Small Business Saturday”, we thought this would be the perfect time to sit down with them and introduce them to you, so you can get to know the real people and places that grow the produce that delights your NutriFit meals. Today we’ll be highlighting Brandon Hurd and Olympe Rabaté, who manage the farm at the Arroyo Grande, California non-profit and intentional living community, The Lavra. Learn more about them, their farm and their philosophies at their websites TheEcologistCowboy.com, LearningFromLandscapes.com, and TheLavra.org. 1. When did you become a farmer? What influenced your decision to start growing food?
We started farming two years ago. We discovered farming while volunteering on organic farms (through “WWOOF” [World-Wide Opportunities through Organic Farms]) and became attracted by a change in lifestyle. We realized growing your own food can also enhance local biodiversity.
2. What variety of crops do you grow?
We tend to grow a little bit of everything. We just harvested our summer crops with a focus on tomatoes, scarlet runner beans, peppers, Jerusalem artichokes, pomegranates, berries, squash, rainbow chard, kale, and tree collard. Currently, we are planting winter greens, asparagus, rhubarb, new fruit trees, oak trees, and prepping soil for next year. We also have eggs, cheese from the goats, and wine from our small vineyard year-round.
3. What is your philosophy around growing food?
We are always experimenting with the food we grow and have a combination of traditional annuals [plants that live about one growing season] and more unique perennials [plants that live more than two seasons, generally dying back in autumn and blooming in spring]. Ultimately, we’d like to convert much of the farm to perennial crops to mimic a natural ecology. We choose minimal and no-till farming to protect the soil health and sequester carbon.
4. How do you see your role in the community?
Since the farm is connected to the non-profit The Lavra, we offer a place for gathering, hosting events, and educational workshops / lectures.
5. What has been your greatest challenge as small farmers?
After visiting many successful organic farms, we saw people struggle making a living even when selling high-quality produce. So, our approach has been to sell to niche markets and make value-added goods. Our main revenue still does come from hosting workshops, events, and experiences at the farm using the produce we grow.
6. You grow some amazing varietals of produce; do you have a personal favorite?
Although we love what we grow, we are very excited about foraging for wild food as a sustainable way to eat: acorns, prickly pear, seaweed, mushrooms, etc. Native Americans have eaten these foods for over 12,000 years in a way that is harmonious with nature and we hope to learn from those practices.
7. Do you have any new or upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?
Things we are very (very) excited about: our mushrooms that will soon be fruiting from our plugged oak logs; our new aquaponics that will help us save water while creating a closed-loop ecosystem between fish and veggies; and our forest garden that will combine different species to grow a lot of (perennial) food in a small space using layers and synergies found in a natural forest.
8. If you could share any message with NutriFit clients, what would it be?
“Support farmers who care about the nature that supports us by eating perennial and organic food, along with focusing on wild and native resources.” – Brandon “Mindful eating is the key to reconnect with your food, where it comes from, who grows it, and the benefits that it has on you. Slow down and enjoy it.” – Olympe
BO

Managing Weight Loss through COVID and New Year’s

As we approach a holiday season like no other, conversations about health have never been more at the forefront of our minds. Perhaps a silver lining to this challenging reality could be re-framing of our interpretation of health and happiness. Taking care of yourself and those around you is no longer just an important personal mission, but also a global one. And for many, weight loss will be a central goal of that mission. Unfortunately, stay at home orders, while good for reducing risk of exposure to Covid-19, has increased time spent on more sedentary habits that take a toll on health. The closure of many gyms and reduced capacity in outdoor spaces has increasingly meant that more and more of our usual exercise habits are interrupted. The hard-won discipline which may have previously helped us maintain a healthy weight has been tested to the extreme; and eating and drinking to curb the anxiety of an uncertain future became the for many of us. The “Quarantine 15” or “Covid 19” (the number being the number of pounds gained) became a meme online, a collective joke to help with the unfortunate reality. But eventually those gains may have real health consequences. The CDC reports that about 40% of U.S. adults are obese and 32% are overweight [1]. This means that about 75% of Americans may be struggling with an issue involving maintaining a healthy weight. It’s important to remember that these categories are defined by a person’s body mass index or B.M.I., the measurement that compares ratio of height and weight. This measurement does not take account what makes up weight (i.e. muscle v. fat), which can be problematic when analyzing athletes or those with different genetic make-up or body type. However, there is a well-documented connection between obesity and chronic health issues such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and a variety of cancers, a group of some of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Other studies have demonstrated that obesity may also be linked to lower vaccine responses for numerous diseases [2]. Finally, obesity also raises your risk of severe complications from Covid-19, potentially tripling the risk of hospitalization from a Covid-19 infection and the chance of experiencing life-threatening consequences [2]. Thinking of your personal weight goals as they relate to your bodies’ ability to defend itself from disease may make you think of multivitamins, doctor’s offices and dreaded “weigh-ins”, but in reality, the process doesn’t have to be bad at all. Personalized meal plans such as those we offer at NutriFit can take the guess work out of creating a diet that is both effective and enjoyable. With over 2400 recipes, a Michelin-star chef, and over 30 years of experience creating delicious, fresh, portioned meals and delivering them straight to your door, we take the guess work out of any diet. Whether your goal is weight loss, general health, disease management, weight gain or athlete meals, we have the tools to help you get to where you want to go. This holiday season, when so many things seem difficult, let us help you and your loved ones make eating for a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle easier. 1 – https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html 2 – https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/obesity-and-covid-19.html

Foods To Help Boost Immune System

Numerous studies and research have shown that maintaining a healthy diet is a key component to maintaining your overall health. However, when people look to strengthen their immune system (especially during a pandemic), many first turn to nutritional supplements before considering whole foods and alternate diet choices. Boosting your immune system and increasing your intake of vital micronutrients such as vitamin C, calcium, vitamin B, magnesium, zinc and selenium can easily be accomplished by making a few changes to your diet. Per Harvard Health Letter, published by Harvard Medical School, while supplements can provide some benefits to bridge small gaps in nutrient intake or for those with nutrient deficiencies, “nutrients are most potent when they come from food” and have the added benefit of additional minerals and antioxidants not found in a pill. So, what food should you be eating to help boost the immune system? A whole foods diet approach, like the one we take at NutriFit, is a good start. Begin by cutting out highly processed food, refined sugar and limiting red meat in your diet. Your meals should feature plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, legumes and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, soybeans and olives. Make sure to keep hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day as well. Sleep and stress, while not always controllable, are also important factors in regulating immune responses.(4) Be sure to manage your sodium intake as well. A combination Mediterranean and DASH diet have been shown to potentially reduce the risk for multiple disease including colorectal cancer, hypertension, and heart disease. (2) (3) The recommendations outlined above are also important components of an anti-inflammatory diet. Reducing inflammation From our own experience – balance is key in maintaining a healthy diet long term. Make manageable changes over a longer period of time if need be. Begin by cutting out processed food, then swapping unhealthy snacks for fruits, vegetables or nuts. Find healthy foods and recipes that you like and substitute for clear unfavorites. Following a healthy diet not only helps with building a stronger immune system but also reducing your risk for other health problems. Feel like you need some help? At NutriFit, we design our meals to be nutritionally balanced and follow the Mediterranean and DASH diets. Additionally, we regularly prepare meals for immuno-compromised patients and those with specific health conditions including anti-inflammatory plans for those with arthritis, diabetics and renal patients. Sources: (1) https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-get-your-nutrients-from-food-or-from-supplements (2) https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.113.000495#:~:text=The%20aspect%20or%20aspects%20of,sodium%20and%20alcohol%20were%20not. (3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980967/ (4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/ (5) https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/16/health/immune-boosting-foods-wellness/index.html

Chocolate Truffles

Hailing originally from France, these delicate confectioneries are named after the famed fungi due to their physical resemblance. But, like so many delicacies, the history of chocolate truffles is wrapped in a layer of legend and some misunderstanding. The classic chocolate truffle, a ball of ganache, chocolate, and cream rolled in cocoa, was said to have been created in the kitchen of the iconic French chef Auguste Escoffier. A wayward apprentice accidentally poured hot cream into a bowl of chocolate chunks. As the mixture hardened, they were surprised to find the chocolate paste could be rolled into an (albeit lopsided) ball. Rolling the ball in cocoa powder, it bore a striking resemblance to the black subterranean mushrooms that have long been part of cultural lore. Thus, the name and the dessert were born. Over the coming years, the creation evolved as new textures, mixtures, and ingredients to the ganache were explored, from chopped nuts to Champagne. Like any new species, the truffle continued to evolve as it spread into new kitchens across Europe. Migrating into Switzerland, the combination of melted chocolate in boiled dairy cream and butter was set into molds before sprinkling cocoa powder. In Belgium, the truffle was cross-bred with the Praline (a powder of caramelized nuts mixed with chocolate, cream, and butter and covered in a chocolate shell) to form an entirely new Belgian truffle variant. But it was after a chance encounter in 1972 in Paris with a young woman named Alice Medrich, a native Angeleno, that the truffle would be transported to the confectionary new world of America, a continent rife for colonization by this symbol of European decadence. Medrich, touched by her encounter with this chocolate anomaly, returned in 1973 to Berkeley, California, and began selling her truffles, which had a characteristically soft center and larger, lumpier outward appearance than their svelte Parisian ancestors. Eventually known as Californian truffles, Medrich’s creation found a ripe niche in the U.S. chocolate market, coinciding with the rise in chocolate, especially luxury chocolate, consumption in the U.S. in the mid-to-late 1970s. helped her eventually launch the chain of famous Cocolat patisseries, described as “the Tiffany’s of chocolates”. Her book, Cocolat: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts, remains one of the modern bibles of chocolatiers. Over time, the truffle spread across the continent and world, dominating bakery ecosystems and Valentine Day’s gift boxes to this very day lines. Of course, now, the lines are blurred on what is and isn’t a truffle and many modern-day “truffles” bare small resemblance to their forebears. But at their ganache-y, chocolate-y, creamy hearts, they remain like their mycological namesakes, simple and timeless.

Convivial Connections

As we sit together at tables spread far and wide, connected in ways that (not long ago) seem like science fiction, let’s take a few minutes to think about why we gather together to celebrate. For many, the smells and sounds of a busy kitchen are quintessential to the holiday experience. It is because these recipes and traditions are part of our familial history, our ancestry, and our cultural heritage. Indulging in the dishes that evoke our greatest gustatory recollections is bringing to life our fondest past. Sharing these is an act of kindness, an epicurean gift passed down from generation to generation. In the words of the great Craig Claiborne, “Cooking with care is an act of love”. We gather now not only to enjoy a meal, but to share the joy of shared stories and experiences. It is no wonder that across history and cultures, holiday celebrations revolve around spending time over food. Digging deep to our hunter-gatherer roots, the collection and sharing of food (whether it be around the fire or around the dinner table) is an innately human ritual. Collective efforts obtaining and preparing food ensured the survival of all members, and the story-telling from one generation to the next allows knowledge and traditions to survive and thrive. To come together over fork and plate is part of our DNA, as is the power of food to trigger memory and emotion, through taste, smell and touch. These are all ways of reminding us that we are, at heart, one family. This remains truer now more than ever, when we may be spread out and unable to gather physically. But like an old recipe, the key ingredients – good food, good drink, and good company – remain timeless, and engaging with them brings a joy that is as familiar as the smells of our family’s kitchens. If the holidays are for the sharing of collective goodwill, nostalgia and laughter, and the simple pleasure derived from a good meal, then let this tasting be our testament to that experience. With it, we hope to bring you all together around one large, virtual table, to enjoy the simple but enduring Convivial Connection of a festive holiday meal. Bon appétit!

Paleo or Omnitarian? The Myth of the one Ideal “Human” Diet

Many diets purport to be optimally designed for the human body, and the Paleo Diet is no exception. This well-known dietary plan was popularized in Dr. Loren Cordain’s 2002 book of the same name, and is based on the hypothesis that our bodies’ dietary needs are based on our early evolution as hunter-gatherers. It states that humans are evolved to eat the foods available during the Paleolithic era, approximately 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago (before the advent of agriculture). This means an emphasis on lean meats and eggsfruits, vegetables and nuts/seeds, and avoidance of grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, salt, and any highly processed foods. It can generally be thought of as a high protein/low carbohydrate diet and the increase in fiber and protein is meant to keep you full so calorie counting is not necessary. Cutting down salt, refined sugar, and highly processed foods follows most mainstream dietary advice and most sound dietary plans will suggest at least a decrease in the presence of these items in your food. But is the complete removal of grains, legumes and dairy necessary? Recent discoveries in the field of paleo-archeology and genetics potentially point to an answer: no, not really.    The Paleo Diet’s basis for cutting out these staples of modern human diets (grains, beans, and dairy) is rests on its interpretation of our genetic make-up more or less settling into its modern state around 10,000 years ago, and that chronic degenerative diseases in our population are a result of sub-optimal nutrition from this diet, most specifically the addition of refined carbohydrates. This mismatch between Paleolithic genes and modern food intake is called the “evolutionary discordance hypothesis”, which first appeared fully in a 1985 scientific article entitled “Paleolithic Nutrition: A Consideration of Its Nature and Current Implications”. But, fifteen years of scientific discovery, including the sequencing of the human genomehas presented some difficult challenges for this hypothesis to overcome.   The idea that our bodies have not significantly adapted to match our diets post-Paleolithic times (ie10,000 years ago) is largely becoming a difficult pill to swallow. Archeological research has shown starches and grains making a very early appearance in pre-agricultural diets well before the end of the Paleolithic era, and dairy products not long after. Furthermore, all foods available today are widely different than those available to our Paleolithic ancestors, meaning adherence to a Paleolithic lifestyle of eating is not really possible, even if one were to follow the guidelines. 10,000 years of artificial selection for bigger and more calorie dense vegetables and animals, for example, has seen to that. And quite a few genetic changes in our own bodies have arisen since this time as well. Lactose tolerance evolved independently in many localities (e.g. Europe and the Middle East) around the world over the past 7,000 years. Malaria resistance and eye and hair color variations have also evolved over that time period, and continue to evolve today. Perhaps more importantly, the billions of gut bacteria which live in our intestines and are a crucial part of our digestive system (helping break down tough plant matter, for example) evolve extremely rapidly, as our understanding of anti-biotic resistance has shown.   The diet also does not take into account the sheer scope of human being’s variability across the world. Isotopic analysis of early human remains from different global regions has shown some had more meat heavy diets, while others had more plant heavy diets. Human’s being opportunistic nature and problem-solving ability likely meant we took as much calorie dense foods as we could get our hands on, depending on what was available wherever we were. This can be seen in more modern examples as well. Some recent human diets feature far more meat than others – the Inuit people of Greenland for example – because very few edible plants grow in the environments, they live in. Diets in south and east Asia, as evidenced in Hindu and Buddhist practices, have been largely plant-based for several thousand years. The simplicity of the Paleo diet masks these differences which have always made us human. Finally, the lifestyle of paleolithic hunters-and-gatherers means that they were in fact out and about all day, moving and expanding high amounts of energy, meaning their caloric needs are going to be different than are our more modern sedentary lifestyles, regardless of genetic history. The idea of any single ideal human diet negates the depth to which we have and continue to evolve to the challenges of attaining food in nature.   What the paleo (and for that matter plant-based, Mediterranean and many other) diets do get right is a significant decrease in highly processed foods and an emphasis on leaner meats and healthy fats. This has long been shown to be a healthy, long-term dietary rule that will continue to serve as a guide star to all those wandering down any dietary path. A focus on whole foods is also a positive, and many people may find some success with the Paleo diet plan. But it is likely not the only diet humans have been, and continue to, be adapted to.  For those looking to try the paleo diet, we do offer Paleo meal planning, with meals that have been carefully designed by our expert nutritionist and founder, Jackie Keller.  No ideal human diet has every existed, and diets have always been in flux due to changes in the attainability of resources both across different regions, and different time periods. What is certain is that a truly human diet places an emphasis on nutrient-rich, healthy eating tailored to the needs of the individual. The truest human diet, really, is one which recognizes, shifts and changes its components based on what is available and what it needs. This habeen and will always be our species’ greatest strength – the ability to adapt and thrive. It is why we have an omnivore’s dentition, an omnivore’s gut, and omnivore’s tastesAn Omnitarian Diet Plan, designed towards the individual, may in fact be the most healthful way forward.     Sources  https://www.nature.com/articles/nature02734  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/evolution-of-diet/  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/food/the-plate/2014/04/22/prehistoric-dining-the-real-paleo-diet/  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/paleo-diet-debates-evolve-into-something-bigger/2016/03/07/792828ba-d690-11e5-be55-2cc3c1e4b76b_story.html  https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/12/17/1016868108  https://www.nature.com/news/art-of-cheese-making-is-7-500-years-old-1.12020  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603163749.htm  https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/early-meat-eating-human-ancestors-thrived-while-vegetarian-hominin-died-out/

Harvest Moon

Immortalized in poems, books and songs, few celestial events have stirred so deeply in the human mind as the end of summer arrival of the Harvest Moon. This name, “Harvest Moon”, dates back to the farming traditions of ancient Europe, though celebrations of its arrival are found throughout the world. As summer in the northern hemisphere comes to a close with the onset of the autumnal equinox (the biannual crossing of the Sun over the Earth’s equator, this year on September 22nd), the days begin to shorten and nightfall arrives earlier and earlier each day. However, due to changes in the moon’s orbit around the Earth, the full moon (this year appearing on October 1st) at this time rises in the sky just after sunset, bathing the land in its warm glow. The bright light it provided during these early evening hours was said to provide farmers more time for harvesting the last of their summer crops, and was celebrated as a gift and a symbol of the transition to fall. With this month’s theme of Harvest Moon, we aim to honor these old traditions and thoughts of transition and the arrival of the new in our unique culinary way. The end of summer heralds many changes, especially in the world of food. The summer fruits with their citrus-y, sharp flavors leave and the warm and hearty flavors of fall arrive, filling us with thoughts of hearth and home. The last of the summer’s wine grapes are picked in this time as well, and the new wines begin appearing in the markets from previous years harvests. We thought this was an especially auspicious time to premiere our new wine-pairing samples, which we believe will be a fantastic addition to the NutriFit Virtual Guided Tasting Experience. At our local farm, the Mesa, our own summer harvests are coming to a close, with tomatoes bearing the last fruits on their vines and the last lemons of summer appearing on branches. And it’s not just us – our bees are stocking up on honey to prepare for fall and winter and Monarch butterfly caterpillars are munching away on our planted milkweed, preparing to transform themselves and embrace a new, fall world. Like them, we here at NutriFit are embracing these times of change. We warmly invite you to join us in this new guided tasting experience and wish you all a joyful and peaceful transition to fall, under a beautiful Harvest Moon.

Fall Recipe – Pumpkin Bisque

In honor of the beginning of fall, we’re posting our recipe for a fall favorite side dish sure to be a hit at your next (socially distanced) get together. A traditional fall ingredient staple, pumpkin is quite nutrient dense while lower in calories due to its high water content. Rich in antioxidants, other benefits nutritional benefits include high fiber, beta carotene, potassium, plus vitamins A and C. So please enjoy our low-fat recipe for comforting homemade Pumpkin Bisque! Pumpkin Bisque Recipe Servings – 6 Serving Size – 1.5 cups Ingredients 3 cups – canned pumpkin 3 cups – carrots, sliced 12 oz. – fat free evaporated milk 2, 10.75 oz. cans – fat free, reduced sodium vegetable broth 1/4 tsp – ground white pepper 1.5 tsp – NutriFit Certainly Cinnamon Salt Free Spice Blend 1/4 tsp – sea salt 1 tbsp. – sugar 1/4 cup – water Directions 1. Combine carrot and 1 cup broth in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. 2. Transfer carrot and liquid to container of an electric blender; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a 3-quart saucepan; add remaining broth, pumpkin, evaporated milk, water, sugar, pumpkin spice, salt, and ground white pepper. 3. Cook over medium heat until hot, stirring frequently; ladle into bowls. Calories – 123 Protein – 7.8g Carbohydrate – 23.6g Total Fat – 0.4g % Cal. from Fat – 3% Sat. Fat – 0g Cholesterol – 2mg Sodium – 379mg Dietary Fiber – 4g Sugar – 9.9g

August Bloom

NutriFit Executive Sous Chef Oscar Gonzalez has a favorite saying, “First, you eat with your eyes. Then, your nose. Finally, your mouth.” This month’s tasting event, “The August Bloom”, brings to the table your sense of smell in a ground-breaking new way, through the use of ‘aromatic mists’. These mists capture the essence of a smell, for example orange blossoms, lemon thyme, or lavender, and adds them to a dish. This application creates an incredible new flavor profile that we were astonished to discover, transporting the diner out of the range of what they thought flavor could be. But why would these mists be so powerful, and why would a chef choose to highlight or add them to a dish? We all can think of the power of aroma in defining a great meal. Close your eyes and think back to a time you were brought joy by not the taste of food, but the smell. Perhaps it was waking up to the savory scent of a delicious breakfast wafting in from another room, or coming home and the house filled with the aroma of your favorite dinner dish. This is the power of smell in cooking. It overwhelms, it makes us stop in a way the other senses simply do not. And there is a scientific reason for this. The sensation of smell is activated as odor molecules travel through the air and into the nasal cavity, where they come into contact with olfactory receptors which directly transmits, through the olfactory nerve, a message to your brain. That direct brain connection is enough to create a powerful emotional reaction, but it doesn’t stop there. A retro-nasal cavity, packed with olfactory receptors, exists also in the back of your mouth, and odor continues to permeate from food to your brain even as you chew. The visceral ‘punch’ you get from a strong smell, be it good or bad, is due to this direct link between nose and brain. This link was evolutionarily adaptive for our ancestors, as the ability to quickly recognize rotten food can mean the difference between life or death. The strong emotional reaction we get to bad smells evolved for this reason, and the joyful emotional experience from pleasing smells, such as those of a delicious meal or fragrant flowers, came along as part of the package. And this strong link to emotion is why smells can trigger memories so readily, and why food holds such meaning in culture. Flavor, the descriptive quality of food, is as much perceived through these olfactory receptors and a foods’ smell, as it is through your taste buds. It’s been said that 80% of flavor is actually smell, and anyone with a cold who has tried to enjoy their favorite dish and been disappointed can attest to this. So, what happens when we begin to experiment with flavor not simply through taste, but through aroma as well? Chefs have, whether knowingly or not, been doing this since our ancestors first applied fire to meat in caves long ago. Just as you can change the taste of a food by applying heat in different ways to alter chemical reactions in the ingredients, (ie. Baking v. Frying v. Sous-vide), you can change the aroma. Certain aromas can be coaxed out of, or even applied separately, to different dishes which in turn effects the flavor in a way that can surprise and bring joy in ways never thought of before. For example, a lavender aroma, or mist, can be created and captured by pushing hot air over lavender petals at a controlled temperature, pressure and duration. This mist, when applied to our decadent chocolate Organic Beauty Bites, adds an entirely new experience to this dish. Suddenly you are no longer eating this sumptuous chocolate delight in your home, but in a field of blooming lavender in the rolling hills of Provence in springtime, relaxing amongst the petals as a cool breeze surrounds you. By highlighting and challenging your flavor perceptions with aromas, we hope to create an experience that is completely unique, one that transports you and blooms within the mind. Join us on this culinary and perceptual journey at our virtual tasting event this Friday, August 28th, and experience flavor in a way you never thought possible. Full menu, information and tickets may be purchased here.

Notes from the Mesa

Nestled on five oak-studied acres on the Central California coast, our sustainable farm SimpliHealth Growers, affectionately called “the Mesa”, produces some of the delicious organic fruits, veggies and herbs that grace our client’s plates. But the Mesa is more to us at NutriFit than a farm – it is a commitment to building a sustainable future for our planet through locally grown, organic, farm-to-table ingredients. Over 30 years we have continuously innovated how we provide nutritious and delicious meals to our clients, and we continue to do so through our environmentally friendly farming operations. We strive to stay on the cutting edge of sustainable farming techniques. Our farm is 100% solar-powered – all of our electricity is supplied without the use of polluting greenhouse gases, affirming our promise to fighting climate change. We also use minimal water by using drip-irrigation techniques, which saves up to 70% of the water used in traditional sprinkler systems, to grow everything from wholesome kale and asparagus to mouth-watering peaches and black-berries. We take this a step further in our greenhouses by using hydroponics, which use a whopping 80-90% less water than traditional methods, to grow tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and many other delicious veggies. Finally, we only utilize hydrogen, hybrid and high fuel-efficiency vehicles to transport our produce on the short-drive back to our Los Angeles kitchen, furthering our pledge to produce locally and think globally. But its not only our growing techniques that are sustainable. Our farm itself is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, providing food, water and shelter to co-exist with a whole host of native species. Red-shouldered hawks’ nest on our property, while Anna’s hummingbirds buzz between flowers and California quail raise families in the shade of our magnificent oak trees. Native rabbits, gopher snakes and ground squirrels are our frequent guests, and we boast a healthy population of insect-munching little brown bats. The fragrant flowers of rosemary, basil, golden poppies and milkweed (critical for declining Monarch butterflies) dot our land, unveiling beautiful flowers to the California sun. Finally, the addition of our very own bee hive ensures we boost important pollinators, contribute to reversing drastic bee population declines, and that soon we can provide organic, local honey to our loyal clientele. Here at NutriFit, we have committed in mind, body and spirit to the tenants of environmental stewardship and creating a sustainable future. SimpliHealth Growers and the Mesa is a testament to our commitment to sustainable organic farming and to supplying the best ingredients to our clients. And while we can’t supply everything in our meals from our farm (though that won’t stop us from trying), we pledge to use only the best ingredients to fulfill our client’s healthy food needs. Next time you receive a NutriFit meal, keep an eye out for one of our SimpliHealth Growers labels and know that from our farm to your table, you are part of building a better, more sustainable future.

History of Basil

Ah, Basil. From its humble origins in the wilds of India, central Africa and Southeast Asia, Ocimum basilicum is one of the culinary worlds most popular herbs, finding its way into dishes from every corner of the planet. With an incredible amount of variation, (over 150 different types of basil and counting!) from “Holy Basil” to “African Blue Basil” to “Thai Basil”, this strong, fragrant, and often sweet tasting member of the mint family has held some surprisingly important roles in history. In fact its name is rife with meaning, as Basil comes from the Greek word Basileus, meaning “king”. From its birthplace in India, the variety “Holy Basil” (also called tulsi) is considered an essential religious symbol and venerated plant, the earthly incarnation of the god Tulsi/Vrinda. It is the holiest of all plants in Hinduism and no Hindu household is considered complete without a tulsi plant growing in its courtyard, often in a special pot or masonry structure. Offerings of basil leaves are required for worship of the god Vishnu and his avatars and its use in Ayurvedic medicine for all manner of prevention and cure is trumped by no other plant. In ancient Egypt, basil was believed to have been used in embalming and preserving mummies, and has been found in ancient tombs beneath the pyramids. Interestingly enough, it was also thought to ensure safe journey to the afterlife, a belief shared in Ancient Greece, where basil was also associated with poverty and misfortune. On the island of Crete, it was an emblem of the devil, and was paradoxically planted on window ledges to ward away evil. In the modern day Greek Orthodox church, it is sometimes found on alters, and sprigs of it are used to sprinkle holy water. African folklore stated that it helped ease the pain of scorpion stings – perhaps misreading this, a 16th century French doctor believed it cause scorpions to grow in the brain of anyone who smelled or ate it! Basil is sometimes known as “l’herbe royale” (the royal herb) in French and was believed to have grown on the original cross of Christ (perhaps another reason for it “kingly” name-sake) and in Jewish folklore was thought to lend strength while fasting. It was thought by some Medieval doctors to be poisonous, and by others to cure the venom of the infamous Basilisk monster (also from Harry Potter fame), which could kill by simply gazing at its victims. Today in Portugal, it is considered a symbol of love, given to loved ones in a small decorative pot or manjerico on St. Anthony’s and St. John’s days. Uses for basil range from Thai to Italian cuisine. This herb traveled along medieval trade routes and eventually found its way to North America, where it is commonly found on many plates and in gardens today. The colorful history of basil is a testament to its remarkable taste and incredible variety. It’s why we are so excited to highlight it in our first virtual tasting! Remember to pick up your tickets today, while supplies last!  

Celebrating NutriFit’s 33rd Anniversary with Virtual Guided Tasting Experience

In honor of our 33rd business anniversary, we’re holding a very special virtual guided food tasting experience to celebrate with our clients while still appropriately socially distancing. Enjoy a five course menu of epicurean creations designed by our Executive Chef team, Jackie Keller and Oscar Gonzalez. The menu will be delivered FRESH to your door on Friday, July 31, with the guided tasting via Zoom beginning at 6:30 PM that evening and lasting approximately 30 minutes. The tasting also includes a lively presentation and interactive discussion, with recommendations for wine pairing. Affordably priced at $59.95 per participant, purchase 4, and the 5th one is our gift. Invite your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to join in for this unique virtual food tasting event. Simply RSVP (enrollment is limited), and pay through the link below. Free local delivery for current NutriFit members, nominal delivery fee for those not yet part of our NutriFit family. Shipping nationwide available for arrival on 7/31 (cost depends on location). Tickets for this special event may be purchased here Our menu titled “The Basil Flight”, features two options – omnitarian or vegetarian and both are designed to highlight our SimpliHealth Growers organic basil – hand planted and harvested on our own solar-powered farm. Don’t miss this unique culinary experience – the kick off event for our new NutriFit loyalty program, the Connoisseur’s Club. The Basil Flight – Omnitarian Menu 1- Heirloom tomato Farcie with fresh Buffalo burrata cheese 2- Miso-glazed Mary’s chicken confit with pickled beetroot, vichyssoise, Basil pea salad 3- Pinot Noir braised Short Ribs with celeriac mousse. Lamb au Jus with Cipollini onions 4 – Palate Cleanser of Watermelon Bites with Port and basil reduction 5 – Ganache au Chocolat – coated Cake Pop with Cara Cara orange The Basil Flight – Vegetarian Menu 1 – Heirloom tomato Farcie with fresh Buffalo burrata cheese 2 – Forest Fire: Szechuan-roasted cauliflower, and Basil, Lime and Sesame Broccoli 3 – Thai basil marinated Maitake mushroom with tempeh in French choux topped with Green crown 4 – Palate Cleanser of Watermelon Bites with Port and basil reduction 5 – Ganache au Chocolat – coated Cake Pop with Cara Cara orange

Managing Diabetes with Diet

Post by Adam Yaney-Keller As of this year, 34.2 million people, or 10.5% of the total US population, struggle everyday with a diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes [0]. For those with this challenging disease, eating can be a frustrating and difficult routine, because creating a diet that manages blood sugar levels takes time and precision. At NutriFit, we have helped our clients with diabetes not only manage their daily meals, but accomplish their long-term, real health goals of living happier and healthier lives. How do we do it? Well, when building a nutrition program around diabetes, it’s important to keep in mind three things: timing, portions, and content. Timing is crucial for managing diabetes with diet, because you need to regulate your blood sugar levels throughout the day and keeping your meals evenly spaced will help keep those levels steady. For proper control, space your meals out at regular intervals of about 4 – 6 hours apart [1] generally keeping a similar schedule each day, and try not to skip meals. Some people can be more flexible with this than others – for example if you take insulin with your meals [2], so it’s important to create a meal schedule that works for you. Portioning out your meals, not only in terms of overall size but in the amount of carbohydrates per meal, is an adjustment for many people. However, its importance can’t be overstated in managing your diabetes. Your body converts carbohydrates to sugar, so controlling the amount of carbs on your plate will be critical. But this doesn’t have to mean cutting out all carbohydrates – it’s just about balancing out what you eat and when you eat it so your blood sugar levels stay stable. A general rule to follow is to fill about one quarter of your plate with healthy grains or starches – such as potatoes, whole grain rice, bread or pasta, and about one half your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and salad greens. The last one quarter of your plate is designed for a lean meat such as chicken, turkey or fish. Portion controlling for weight loss will be critical to avoid complications from diabetes which include an increased risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke [3]. This is a life-long commitment, so figuring out a diet plan you can stick to and enjoy is critical. Meal content simply means eating foods that will help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This means adding more of certain foods in your diet than maybe you would have had before, and getting rid of others. Limit foods with refined carbohydrates and added sugars, such as white breads, white rice, white flour pastas and especially high sugar drinks and desserts which will cause blood sugar to spike quickly. Add more foods that are high in fiber to your diet, as these not only make you feel full allowing for better weight control, but the fiber helps to minimize rise in blood sugar. This includes foods like oatmeal and beans, carrots, beets, broccoli, and dark-colored greens (think collard, mustard greens and Swiss-chard) and fruits like raspberries, apples (with peels), mangos and bananas. It’s important to remember to drink lots of water to avoid constipation when adding fiber to your diet. There are a few other foods that have some proven benefits specifically for diabetes. Chia seeds have been shown to lower blood sugar and slow the rate at which food is absorbed, which can help control those levels [4] [5] [6]. Flaxseeds have been show to improve blood sugar control [7] and help diabetics with hemoglobin levels [8]. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are great ources of omega-3 fatty acids and can help reduce the increased risk diabetics may face for heart disease [9] [10]. Turmeric packs a strong one-two-punch as it can lower inflammation and blood sugar [11][12], but also improve kidney health, which is also very important for diabetics [13][14]. Finally, Greek yogurt has been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce heart disease risk [4] [5] [6] . At NutriFit, we are prepared to help you build a diet that works for you and your health needs. If you struggle with diabetes, we have the experience and knowledge to help you start managing it with your diet. Eating does not have to be a stressful or long process of counting carbs, managing portions, and adding in foods to help manage diabetes. Get diabetic meals delivered straight to your home from NutriFit, so that you can get back to living your best, healthiest life. [0] https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html [1] https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-eat-control-blood-sugar [2] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity?dkrd=/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity/carbohydrate-counting [3] https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/why-diabetes-matters [4] vhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18287346/ [5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20087375/ [6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17092830/ [7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20003621/ [8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17987126/ [9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24850465/ [10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22682084/ [12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26088351/ [12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22930403/ [13] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23828329/ [14] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25875220/

Going for the Zone? Try Pursuing your Path Instead

Blog Post by Adam Yaney-Keller The Zone Diet, as told by biochemist Dr. Barry Sears in his 1995 book “The Zone”, takes the approach that weight gain, sickness and premature aging are caused by inflammation in the body. The diet proposes a specific macronutrient ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat for each meal (commonly known as the 40/30/30 rule) to reduce this inflammation, and get your body in “The Zone”, a clinical state which can be measured by testing certain biomarkers in your blood, such as blood sugar and cholesterol. According to Sears, if you achieve “the Zone” through the diet’s rules, you’ll reap the benefits, including “performing better”, “thinking faster” and “losing excess body fat at the fastest possible rate”[1]. If these sound like a very broad range of benefits, it’s because it is. And while for many achieving “the Zone” may work, for significantly more people it probably won’t. That’s because, simply put, everyone’s “Zone” is different. An easy way to look at the problems with the Zone Diet is to examine what it does and does not allow you to do. While the Zone does not strictly forbid any foods, it somewhat resembles a Mediterranean diet in what it suggests you avoid and recommends you eat, namely lean proteins (e.g. egg whites, turkey, fish), monounsaturated fats (e.g. avocados, nuts, olive oil) and low glycemic carbs (e.g. oatmeal, spinach, berries). Since the Mediterranean diet is well known to be one of the healthiest globally [2] [3], it works for many people to reduce weight. But, research has shown that the Mediterranean diet doesn’t work for every circumstance[4] . This makes sense because overall health depends on biology, dietary history, environment, and other factors – no one diet is perfect for everyone, since no one person is the same as another. If you have a more complex goal, such as increasing endurance and energy for athletics, the Zone diet may not be ideal [5] . The Zone diet does not allow for shifting your macronutrient consumption to different times of day, such as more carbs before workouts and more proteins after (which has been shown to work well for athletes to build muscle [6] [7]) – it’s 40/30/30, every meal, every day. And if you have allergies to certain foods, or you simply don’t like them, you may find it challenging to meet the restrictions required by the diet. Measuring out macronutrients is a chore, and over time the burden of it adds up, especially when the diet’s benefits may not align with your goals or preferences. But with the Zone diet, your individual activity and desires are not as important as getting into “the Zone”. That means this diet doesn’t work for you – you work for it. And in the long run, that may not work at all. So, what’s the alternative? Well, the good news is that there are many. Making your diet work for you is about tailoring a personalized diet plan to your body and your needs. At NutriFit, our process is to ask questions about your history, goals and preferences. We’ve found that by taking this highly-customized personalized diet plan approach (for over 30 years), the best strategy is one that minimizes your headaches and maximizes your preferences, while keeping the end goal in sight. And that doesn’t mean doing the same thing over and over – your needs may shift from year to year, and day to day, as does your health. We commit to you by working to find a customized solution and staying dynamic in that role by seeing your results and changing with you. It doesn’t mean you still won’t restrict some foods and eat more of others – this is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle. The truth is, the problem with the Zone Diet is that everybody’s “Zone” is different. Each of our bodies has different shapes, make-ups, histories, and needs. Instead of thinking in “Zones” we must achieve, we should rather think of “Paths” we can go down, paths which may lead one way at one stage in life and a different way in another. But each person’s path is different and finding the one you like doesn’t mean committing to the strict Zone Diet ratio every day, for the rest of your life. We can help you find your path, and help you stick to it. Sources [1] https://www.zonediet.com/the-zone-diet/ [2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28710052/ [3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20929998/ [4] https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/46/5/1478/4056503 [5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11834107/ [6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28919842/ [7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17609259/

Five Ways to Beat the Quarantine 15

1. Get real about your weight. Most of us look in the mirror from the neck up. When was the last time you looked at yourself from the neck down? Do you have a point of reference from before the COVID-19 quarantine? How do you measure your weight now? Is it the same way you measured before the stay-at-home period began? How do you determine what your weight should be? How recent is your weight gain (really)? 2. Look at your eating plan. Do you have one? Are your meals and snacks scheduled or random? Are you willing to schedule your regimen formally (on paper)? How hungry are you before your meals (using a 1-10 rating scale – 1 = starved; 10 = stuffed) and after you eat? 3. Look at your drinking plan. Do you have one? Are you eating to quench your thirst instead of drinking water? 4. Take a look at the other factors that can directly affect weight. Rate your stress on a scale of 1-10: 1 is totally relaxed, 10 is completely stressed out. How do you deal with your stress? 5. Make a schedule. Our brains love habits – good and bad (the brain doesn’t distinguish). How long do you think it takes to form a new habit? Surprisingly, it’s not 30 days, like we may have thought – it’s 66 days. Specifically, what new habits would you like to develop around your relationship with food? How can you break them down into Mini Habits that you can weave into your day? What can you do to build a foundation for these habits so you can start eating healthy during quarantine and avoid the “Quarantine 15”? Focus on the behavior, not the outcome. Guarantee success by making the first goal really easy. Measure your progress – visually – using any marker that is meaningful to you. Ask yourself this: When I _______________then I will _____________________. Celebrate weight progress – it builds success!

Mexican Spring Rolls: Cinco De Mayo Recipe

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we’re pleased to share one of our client-favorite Mexican fusion recipes: Mexican Spring Rolls! While the COVID-19 pandemic may have derailed your usual Cinco de Mayo celebration, you can still create a party atmosphere in your kitchen with this festive, Mexican-inspired recipe. Mexican Spring Rolls Recipe Servings – 6 rolls Serving Size – 2 rolls Ingredients cilantro leaves – 12 ea enchilada sauce – 1/2 cup green onion, diced – 2 ea ground turkey – 1 lb NutriFit Calypso Salt Free Spice Blend – 1 tsp onions, chopped – 1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated – 3/4 cup rice paper – 12 ea romaine lettuce, shredded – 2 cups tomatoes, diced – 1 cup Directions For each teaspoon of the Calypso Blend, you may use: 1/2 tsp. ground chilies, 1/4 tsp. ground cumin, 1/8 tsp. each black pepper and garlic powder. To make filling: 1. Sauté ground turkey with enchilada sauce, Calypso blend and onions until cooked through. Pour off any excess fat and cool. To roll the spring rolls: 1. In a bowl of warm water, dip a sheet of rice paper until both sides are moist. Let sit for 1 minute until the rice paper is soft. 2. Place approximately 2 tbsp. of the meat filling on the edge of the rice paper (closest to you) and add a teaspoon of green onion, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Take the rice paper from edge and roll 1/3 of the way; fold in both sides towards the center and then continue to roll the rest of the way (like you would roll a burrito). 3. Repeat for the remaining sheets of rice paper. (You can cover the rolls with a moistened paper towel as you are rolling the other sheets to avoid the rolls drying out.) 4. Serve immediately or cover the rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Social Support while Social Distancing

There are many different types of social support systems that we all need as humans. Now, more than ever, it’s important to figure out who is actually there to support you, and what kind of support he or she provides. Here’s a simple exercise that can help you define your social support system using pen and paper. No drawing skills needed! Start with a small circle, just big enough to contain the people with whom you can be most intimate. Put their initials in that circle. The next circle is for family or close friends – draw a larger circle around the first and insert these folks in that circle. The next outer circle is for friends that you enjoy spending time with but are not people with whom you’d share your inner thoughts. You’re halfway there! Three more circles – professional colleagues are placed in the next circle, or those people whom you think you could count on for help if needed. Then comes a circle of non-professional acquaintances, more distant relations or neighbors. The outermost circle are people who provide informational; support, like your lawyer, banker, therapist or coach. Now that you have a visual of your perceived social support system, you have a more concrete understanding of the people that you can call on. Perhaps the most helpful part of this is seeing where you have “holes” in your social support, and since friendships benefit all parties, reaching out now really can be very helpful to others who may need to fill holes, too. And, you might come away with a new perception and increased gratitude for supportive people in your life right now! Taken from a Podcast with Dr. Shelley Carson, author of Your Creative Brain (Jossey-Bass).

Takeout v. Home Delivery

Are you in the 60% of US consumers that order takeout once a week? Have the number of times you order per week gone up during the current COVID-19 pandemic? Are you worried about quarantine weight gain, or the ‘quarantine fifteen’? We have some healthy takeout meal tips and advice on why it might be better to consider healthy home delivered meals while you’re staying safe at home. Think Beyond A Single Meal It’s easy to order up something on the spur of the moment that’s delivered before you’ve had time to consider the overall nutritional value of the meal, and how it fits into your daily caloric targets, but that’s where you can easily get in trouble. Consider your daily caloric intake , and what that spontaneity might cost, beyond the amount you’ll pay in dollars and cents. The overall calorie, fat, carbohydrate and protein of each meal matters. Consider Portion Sizes While a larger container of any given item may be less a better value, it’s important to consider what the right portion size is for you when you ‘dish up’ for dinner! Leaving some leftovers for the next day is a great way to avoid the dreaded quarantine weight gain. If your delivery doesn’t contain a recommendation for portioning that is appropriate for your individual body and lifestyle (you’re remaining active while staying safer-at-home, right?), finding out the correct portion size can help turn a regular delivery dinner into a more healthy takeout meal! What To Do With Leftovers  Not one for repeating the same meal? Think about buying up some freezer bags and putting some of that delivery away for a couple of weeks. Most cooked food can be successfully frozen if properly packaged for the freezer (ie. ziplock-style bags that allow you to see what’s inside) for up to 3 months. COVID-19 – How to handle containers that you might bring in from outside Do you have confidence in the safety of the food that is being delivered to your door? If you are receiving meals from a source (like NutriFit) that wipes the containers and bags before sending them out, you can rest more easily. However, it’s a good idea to wipe off any boxes that you receive from others with a bleach towel, then throw out the wipes or put the towel back into a bucket of diluted bleach solution and sanitize the surface that you worked on.Wear gloves while you’re doing this, then dispose of the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. Everyone has their favorite guilty pleasure takeout – at NutriFit, we offer healthy, tasty versions many of your favorite Chinese, Mexican, Italian (and more) dishes. Our A La Carte menu features over 100 items including vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, gluten free options – all of which come labeled with full nutritional information.

A Note About Immune Boosting Foods

These days, it’s impossible to miss the constant reminders about the importance of robust health. We all know that, when you eat foods that boost your immune system, you are better able to remain healthy, even under stress. NutriFit is here to help. For the past 32 years, our meals have contained the healthiest, premium-quality ingredients obtainable. Precisely the kinds of foods that boost your immune system. In fact, foods that boost your immune system have always been the cornerstone of our service – free range, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat, poultry and pork; wild-caught fish and seafood; wholesome whole grains; and healthy dairy, nuts and seeds. And of course, largely organic produce, an increasing amount of which is grown on our own small, sustainable farm, by us, personally. It is universally recognized that a well-rounded diet that features abundant variety from plants and proteins of all kinds is the key to better withstanding illnesses of all kinds, including viruses such as COVID 19. To this end, we also provide an unparalleled variety of organic fresh juices and smoothies to enhance your nutritional status and round out your diet. Your health is our paramount concern. We value the trust you place in us, and maintain the strictest standards of sanitation and safety in the purchase, preparation and delivery of your meals. Our entire NutriFit team of employees, from the office, to the kitchen staff and our drivers, all continue to be extraordinarily vigilant in the furtherance of this mission – to help you live a longer, healthier life.

A Word About Food Safety at NutriFit

There is nothing more important to us at NutriFit than food health and safety, and the safety of our clients, employees and community. That’s why we wanted to share the steps we are taking and our sanitation and food health and safety practices with all of you. First, we have always maintained an extraordinarily clean and sanitary facility. We proudly display our A Rating granted by the Department of Public Health since ratings began. All of our kitchen employees have received certified food health and safety training. In fact our founder, Jackie Keller, taught Food Handling and Safety for the Department of Health for many years. Our facility is also cleaned thoroughly each day using environmentally-friendly and highly effective cleaning agents. We use food gloves (non-latex) when plating your meals (and always have)! We wipe the insides of our delivery bags with a bleach solution daily. You many have noticed some of our new containers. As new, durable and truly compostable alternatives become available, we are sourcing and experimenting with them. Our goal is to eliminate any non-recycled containers. In the interim, any meal containers that are returned to us are washed and donated to the local food banks (OPCC/West L.A. Food Bank/Step up on Second). We have done this for over 20 years. We welcome visitors, so if you would like to see our kitchen, we are located in the heart of west L.A. and would love to meet you! Please feel free to call with comments, questions or concerns.

Difference Between Healthy Fats v. Unhealthy Fats

A common question we’re asked is the difference between healthy fats vs unhealthy fats. With high fat fad diets, like the ketogenic diet, it is important to examine what the difference is between healthy fats vs unhealthy fats.   Many years ago, people thought eating low-fat foods would lead to a low-fat body without taking into consideration the difference in fats and which they were consuming. While that myth has been dispelled time and time again, there’s still a lot of confusion among people without a nutrition background about what constitutes healthy fats vs unhealthy fats.  Good fats include monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and omega-3’s – these fats do not increase cholesterol and are very heart-healthy. These fats are an essential part of a healthy diet and help to the body absorb nutrients, assist never transmission and maintain cell membrane health. Unhealthy fats include trans-fats found in hydrogenated oils and some saturated fats. Not all saturated fats are created equal – some may not have either a positive or negative effect on health, such as those found in canola oil – while others, such as those found in butter and ice cream, fall into the “bad” fat category. These “bad” fats result in obesity, heart disease and other devastating health problems. Rather than look for non-fat products, which may be high in calories or sugar, choose foods with healthy fats for weight loss, heart-health, lowered cancer risk, and great taste. Here is a list of six healthy fats that you should start eating today: 
  1. Nuts
    • Many nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to protect your heart by regulating rythms that can cause heart attacks. Several studies have also shown that eating nuts lower your risk of heart disease and type-3 disease.
  2. Seeds
    • Seeds are a great source of healthy fats. For example, flax seeds contain omega-3’s that have been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. Additionally, chia seeeds are loaded with omega-3’s and are also high in protein.
  3. Avocados
    • Avocados can lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good cholesterol) and also reduce the risk of prostate and oral cancer.
  4. Cold water fish
    • Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and growth of plaque on heart arteries.
  5. Eggs
    • Eggs are an excellent source of protein, Vitamin A, B, D, and E as well as favorable minerals such as zinc, phosphorous and selenium.
  6. Olive oil
    1. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that lower total cholesterol, normalize blood clotting and help control insulin and blood sugar levels.
  You might be wondering at this point if you should adopt a low fat or low carb diet for weight loss. A recent 12 month study published in JAMA showed no significant difference in weight loss success with either diet. So what should you eat? Our recommendation is to focus on a diet that you can maintain long term- including wholesome diet high in whole grains, legumes, plant-based protein, nuts and healthy oils, fish, limited red meat and no highly processed foods or refined sugars. This will ultimately set you up for long term success so that you can eat healthfully without worrying about dieting. Want to eat healthfully but need some help in the cooking department? Check out our healthy sample menus menus for great options.

Marathon Running Nutrition Tips While Training

Have a marathon coming up? Here are some marathon nutrition tips for training and race-day to help keep you in top shape.  As the saying goes, “not planning is planning to fail” and this holds especially true for marathon runners. To keep energy levels up and avoid crashing, ensure that you have a marathon diet plan and a race-day hydration plan. Eat a small meal or two four hours before the race – make sure that you do not try any new foods to avoid any unexpected reactions. As a part of your marathon nutrition, make it a habit to bring and eat small snacks that are high on the glycemic index on runs longer than one hour. It is important for your marathon diet plan to not wait until you are hungry to eat, especially during longer runs. Knowing your body and when to refuel before waiting for a rumbling stomach is crucial for healthy marathon nutrition. The body stores a maximum of 2000 kilocalories of glycogen, which it quickly burns after 90 minutes or so.  Research shows that the typical 145 lb male burns 100 calories/mile with 80 of those calories coming from carbohydrates and 20 from fat.  Another way to keep energy up during your marathon diet plan is with caffeine – but only use this if you regularly consume it and have a plan in place to balance caffeine intake with water and carbohydrate intake. Energy gels and sports drinks also contain carbohydrates and, when used properly, are a good supplement to your GI snacks. Incorporate these energy gels in your marathon diet plan and consider using them as a chaser after re-hydrating with water. NutriFit also makes a wonderful Mighty Muscle Mix, which is a great recovery snack for your marathon nutrition. It is also important to take race-day conditions into consideration – high humidity and heat will affect your energy and run. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stop at aid stations along the marathon path. Pay attention to the color of your urine and bladder to identify possible problems and know the affects medications you may be taking might have on your body during the race.  Marathon running nutrition works hand-in-hand with your training so be sure to consult a physician before adopting a new diet. Need some help in planning your meals? Check out our Sports Nutrition Diets for sample menus and information on how we can help you get into optimal shape. 

Lentils with Lemon & Coconut Recipe (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Looking for a vegan and gluten free snack to keep you satisfied between meals? Look no further than today’s featured recipe: Moroccan lentil soup with Lemon & Coconut! This yummy coconut lentil soup recipe is packed with protein and a perfect pre- or post-workout snack. Lentils are a great vegan and gluten free plant-based protein that are high in fiber and a good source of folic acid, magnesium and iron. Additionally, lemons provide a great source of vitamin C; coconuts are high in manganese, which is important for bone health, as well as copper, iron and selenium.   Moroccan Coconut Lentil Soup Recipe with Lemon  Servings – 3 Serving Size – 1/2 cup   Ingredients:   canola (or other) oil – 2 tbsp cilantro leaves – 1 bunch cumin seeds – 1 tsp ginger – 1 (2″) piece fresh red chiles, chopped and seeded – 2 small garlic, minced – 2 cloves lemon juice – 2 tbsp NutriFit Rockin’ Moroccan Spice Blend – 1 tsp onion, finely chopped – 1/2 cup multicolored lentils – 2/3 cup reduced fat coconut milk – 1 cup almonds, silvered and toasted – 1/4 cup water – 1 cup   Directions 1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet, add the ginger, onion, garlic, chiles and cumin and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened but not colored. 2. Stir in the lentils, water and and Rockin’ Moroccan spice blend. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the lentils are just tender, but not broken up. 3. Stir in all but 2 tbsp. Of the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes more, until the mixture is thick and pulpy. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and cilantro leaves. Season to taste. 4. Top with toasted almonds and serve reserved coconut milk   Want to leave the cooking to us? Check out our sample menus here

Surprising Reasons You’re Gaining Weight

Gaining weight can be distressing, especially when you feel you’re doing everything right. Aside from not eating right or exercising enough, there might be several surprising reason’s you’re gaining weight that might not occur to you! Here we examine a number of reasons for weight gain that might affect your health.    In addition to maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly, it is also very important to get enough sleep to keep your metabolism and hormone levels in check. This also helps you avoid late-night snacking Examining stress level is also important. When we are extremely stressed, our bodies secrete a hormone called cortisol that can cause an increase in appetite (resulting in an increased intake in calories). Stress generally takes attention away from diet or healthy eating, causing unnoticed and unwanted weight gain.   Many people who quit smoking also experience weight gain. Although this is not universally true, studies have shown that people who tend to gain weight after quitting smoking do so because the lack of nicotine has decreased their metabolism, made food taste better and has left you feeling hungrier and eating more. Smokers also tend to look for something to eat to substitute a cigarette during withdrawal. Here’s a recent study on the effects of smoking cessation and weight.  Weight gain can also stem from intake of excess alcohol. This is a common area that people skip when analyzing the reasons for their weight gain and lifestyle. There are many empty calories in alcohol that are digested and broken down much slower by the body and therefore cause weight gain or slow down weight loss. At NutriFit, we’re dedicated to helping clients achieve long term success by taking a science-based approach to healthy eating. To learn more about our weight maintenance programs, click here Clients struggling with their weight may also benefit from health and wellness coaching. Our founder, Jackie Keller, holds multiple board certifications in health and wellness coaching and is a practicing Health and Nutrition Coach.

Health & Wellness Coaching Covered By Insurance

Beginning January 1, 2020, doctors will be able to prescribe health and wellness coaching. Under the Category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Codes approved by the American Medical Association (AMA), health and wellness coaching prescribed by a physician may be eligible for medical reimbursement with certain types of insurance.

NutriFit founder Jackie Keller, is one of the elite coaches with the required National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBHWC) certification awarded with the Category III CPT codes.

Mastering health and the confidence to sustain wellness is a journey of personal growth. Health and wellness coaching is founded on coaching psychology, a new and fast-growing field dedicated to the enhancement of well being and generating more meaning, satisfaction and positive emotion in life.

As a certified health and wellness coach, Jackie conducts one-on-one sessions during which clients set achievable goals in six wellness areas: fitness, weight, nutrition, stress, health, and the life issues that impact health.  Along the path of change, you will create solutions to overcome obstacles. This helps you build confidence and energizes you to maintain new behavior patterns.

Jackie guide clients in mindful thinking and building confidence and helps clients define a higher purpose for wellness. By drawing a personal wellness blueprint, Jackie will show clients how to harness the strengths needed to overcome obstacles. Coach and client will build a support team, inspiring and challenging clients to go beyond what they might be able to do alone. By the end of three months, clients typically reach 80% of their first priority goals, and more than 70% of their second priority three-month goals.

Coaching sessions can be conducted in-person, by phone or via video conferencing.

Interested in seeing how coaching can help you? Learn more about personal wellness coaching at NutriFit or visit Jackie’s website To learn more about health and wellness coaching insurance coverage, click here

Benefits of Plant Based Protein v. Animal Protein

A recent study published in JAMA analyzed the connection between mortality and consumption of plant-based protein vs animal protein. The two year study included approximately 131,000 participants and assessed protein intake by percentage of energy, adjusting results for risk factors associated with poor diet or unhealthy lifestyles. The study concluded that higher plant-based protein intake was “associated with lower all-cause mortality” and animal protein intake was “not associated with all-cause mortality…but was associated with higher cardiovascular mortality”. Furthermore, the study recommended substitution of plant protein for animal protein (with an emphasis on processed red meat) – especially for those with low lifestyle risk factor. Excellent sources of plant-based proteins include non-GMO tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, beans and quinoa. NutriFit offers both plant-based meal planning as well as plans that included balanced amounts of animal proteins. All of our plans are also low sodium and are high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats from nuts and seeds. To read more about the benefits of plant-based protein, read the entire study. Source:
 2016 Oct 1;176(10):1453-1463. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182.

New Research on Eating Healthfully During Pregnancy

It is widely accepted that there’s an important need for eating healthfully during pregnancy. However, will all the conflicting information out there – it can be confusing! Most pregnant women are worried about what they should be eating to allow for healthy baby development without unneeded or unhealthy weight gain. While you should discuss what diet is best for you with your doctor, adopting a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy may be beneficial to reducing your risk of gestational diabetes and maintaining healthy weight gain. A study just published in the journal, PLOS Medicine, found that woman who followed the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy had significantly lower risk for gestational diabetes. These women also gained about 2.2 lbs less during pregnancy. Read the entire study here. We fully support the Mediterranean diet platform at NutriFit, which focuses on whole grains, healthy fats from nuts and oils, no processed food, seasoning with herbs and spices and limit, and limited amounts of red meat. At NutriFit, we are committed to the long-term success in health for our clients by taking a science-based approach to nutrition. Eating healthfully during pregnancy is only one small aspect of nutrition for moms and babies – and maintaining a healthy weight is equally important for living longer and healthier lives. Unlike other fad diets, the Mediterranean diet is easy to maintain long term – meaning moms (and dads) can adopt it before and after pregnancy.
In addition to helping moms get back in shape after pregnancy with her book, Body After Baby, NutriFit founder Jackie Keller has also helped many expectant moms with eating healthy before and during pregnancy. Whether expectant mothers need help with how many calories to consume, or more complicated issues like gestational diabetes, Jackie guides moms through all aspects of pregnancy nutrition.
Find out how you can have healthy pregnancy meals delivered to your door with our Body After Baby meal plans.

Roasted Beets with Blue Cheese Recipe

Looking for a bright and unusual side dish for your next summer gathering? Here’s a healthy Beets recipe with Blue Cheese – sure to impress your friends!   Roasted Beets with Blue Cheese & Balsamic Servings: 8 Serving Size: 1/2 cup   Ingredients: 8 beets, medium, whole 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp NutriFit Salt & Sugar Free French Riviera Spice Blend 1/3 cup pecans 4 oz. reduced fat blue cheese   Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400F. 2. Wash the beets and place them on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven until they pierce easily with the tip of a paring knife. 3. Remove the beets from the oven and let cool until cool enough to handle. 4. Trim the ends from the beets and peel. Cut the beets into wedges and place in a serving dish. Season lightly to taste with the French Riviera blend. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 5. Sprinkle with the nuts and blue cheese and serve at room temperature.

Health Benefits of Turmeric

We’re often asked about the health benefits of turmeric by our clients. Turmeric has long been used as a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine. This bright yellow spice from the root of the Curcuma longa plant is one of the most well-studied and powerful anti-inflammatory superfoods. The main compound responsible for turmerics’ power is curcurmin, which is responsible for that famous canary yellow color. It is also a powerful antioxidant, giving it wonderful anti-cancer and age related disease properties as well. Curcurmin has been shown in studies to relieve chronic inflammation, which overtime can lead to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions [1],[2],[3]. On an acute basis, it also leads to the daily aches and pains that can prevent a more active lifestyle. Curcurmin has been shown to improve the symptoms of arthritis, even more so than some anti-inflammatory medications [4]. Curcurmin has also been shown to improve the function of the endothelium (the lining of blood vessels) which can regulate blood pressure and help with circulation [5]Additionally it has shown promise as an antidepressant, boosting serotonin and dopamine, which can help get into the healthy mindset that is crucial for maintaining overall wellness [6]. Because turmeric contains only 3% curcurmin by weight, try combining it with black pepper and fats in order to boost uptake and maximize it’s powerful beneficial properties.   Here are a few of the many terrific NutriFit options that you can order that contain turmeric:
  • Turmeric Matcha Carrot Fruit Juice from our Juice Meal Plans
  • Yellow Lentils with Beet Greens Soup
  • Thai Chicken & Vegetable Curry
  • Vegan Pulled BBQ Sandwich
——————————————————————————————————————————————-   [1] Libby, Peter, Paul M. Ridker, and Attilio Maseri. “Inflammation and atherosclerosis.” Circulation 105.9 (2002): 1135-1143. [2] Coussens, L. M., & Werb, Z. (2002). Inflammation and cancer. Nature, 420(6917), 860. [3] Lumeng, C. N., & Saltiel, A. R. (2011). Inflammatory links between obesity and metabolic disease. The Journal of clinical investigation, 121(6), 2111-2117. [4] Chandran, B., & Goel, A. (2012). A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytotherapy research, 26(11), 1719-1725. [5] Akazawa, N., Choi, Y., Miyaki, A., Tanabe, Y., Sugawara, J., Ajisaka, R., & Maeda, S. (2012). Curcumin ingestion and exercise training improve vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women. Nutrition research, 32(10), 795-799. [6] Kulkarni, S. K., Bhutani, M. K., & Bishnoi, M. (2008). Antidepressant activity of curcumin: involvement of serotonin and dopamine system. Psychopharmacology, 201(3), 435.

Diet-Related Disease is Leading Risk Factor for Deaths Wordwide

A recent study funded by the Gates Foundation and published in the Lancet found that around 11 million global deaths in 2017 could be attributed to diseases caused by poor diet, such as high sodium diets and low fruits and grains consumption. The study was conducted over the span of 27 years (1990 – 2017) and included data from 195 countries. The authors chose 15 well-researched and accepted adverse dietary risk factors to correlate with available data for each population’s morbidity and mortality rates. These risk factors included but were not limited to, diet low in whole grains, fiber, fruits, vegetables, legumes and diets high in red meat, sodium and trans fatty acids. The study concluded that diet-related diseases were “responsible for more deaths than any other risks globally, including tobacco smoking” and that “improvements of diet could potentially prevent one in every five deaths globally…unlike many other risk factors, dietary risks affected people regardless of age, sex, and sociodemographic development of their place of residence. Although the impact of individual dietary factors varied across countries, non-optimal intake of three dietary factors (whole grains, fruits, and sodium) accounted for more than 50% of deaths and 66% of DALYs attributable to diet.” At NutriFit, it has always been our mission to improve the health of our clients through diet. For over 30 years, we have promoted a diet that is low in sodium, high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts and seeds with limited amounts of red meat and no highly processed foods or unhealthy trans fats. The study’s findings are another validation of these diet philosophies we incorporate in each of our client’s meal plans.   Link to full study. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)30041-8/fulltext      

Why try the Mediterranean Diet?

For over 30 years, we have adopted the Mediterranean diet as our default client meal plan and, once again, it was named as the best diet of 2019 by US News and World Report earlier this year. So what is the Mediterranean diet? The diet emphasizes well-rounded plant based eating while still allowing fish, low fat dairy products, eggs and poultry as well as with limited amounts of red meat; healthy fats; whole grains; seasoning with herbs and spices rather than salt, and lots of fruits and vegetables. There are no tricks or complicated rules associated with it – just simple, wholesome eating that excludes refined and processed food. What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet? Several studies have confirmed that the benefits of the Mediterranean diet include reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, cancer and high cholesterol.  The diet is easy to follow and helps adherents not only lose weight, but maintain weight in the long term. Where can I read more about it? We recommend the following studies if you’d like to read more about the benefits of the diet:
Diet Review: Mediterranean Diet
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5625964/ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ana.20854    

Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease accounts for 1 of every 7 deaths in the United States and approximately 92.1 million Americans currently live with some type of cardiovascular disease or after-effects of stroke. Extensive research has confirmed that a heart healthy diet plan and lifestyle lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and certain cancers. To help kick off your heart healthy diet plan, consider switching to a primarily plant based and whole grain diet by limiting red meat, eating fish at least once a week, choosing low fat dairy products, cutting out refined carbs and sugar and limiting unhealthy fats. Additionally, limit sodium intake – the AHA diet plan recommends limiting daily sodium to 1,500 mg for a healthy adult. Switching out salt for herbs and spices is an easy way to add flavor to your food without eating excess salt. If you need guidance, the Mediterranean or DASH diet meal plans are consistently found to be the healthiest diets for overall health and what we recommend at NutriFit. Nutrition is just one part of the equation – regular exercise is also an important factor in preventing heart disease. Check out the following info graphic with recommendations for physical activity from the AHA.   AHA Physical Activity Recommendations Infographic Image

Eat Better, Feel Better, Think Better

Good nutrition is not only the key to a healthy body but also a healthy brain! For example, a well-balanced Mediterranean diet (like we provide at NutriFit) has been shown to decrease the risk of cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease and dementia. A brain-healthy diet can also reduce homocysteine levels, a risk factor for age-associated cognitive decline. Leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale & romaine lettuce) are high in folate and B vitamins which can affect brain function, mood and metabolism. Studies on nutrition and the brain have shown that people who eat a brain-healthy diet of at least one portion of leafy vegetables per day had a slower rate of cognitive decline than those who did not. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, etc) have been shown to decrease risk of stroke by decreasing plaque build up and inflammation in the brain. Polyphenols found in citrus fruits, blueberries, onion, parsley, apples, kiwi (and more) have been associated with promoting memory and learning, reducing brain inflammation and decreasing the risk for dementia. Along with a proper brain-healthy diet, exercise is also an important factor in maximizing your brain health. Studies on nutrition and the brain have also shown that the combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise can decrease the negative effects of a high fat diet. Resistance training improves cognition as well as muscle strength and bone density which are especially important to focus on as you age.  

Blueberry Chutney Recipe

With the start of the school year just around the corner, we thought we’d share our blueberry chutney recipe that can be used as a healthy after school snack served with crackers and cheese or as a relish to go with meats or poultry for dinner. Let us know what you think of this healthy chutney recipe!  Blueberry Chutney Servings: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 cup   Ingredients: blueberries – 3 cups dried cranberries – 1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced – 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon – 1/8 tsp lemon juice – 1 tbsp onion, minced – 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar – 1/2 cup sea salt – 1/4 tsp sugar – 1/2 cup   Directions: 1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, onion, ginger, cinnamon, lemon and salt in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. 2. Add 1 cup of the blueberries, and the cranberries. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently. 3. Add the remaining 2 cups blueberries and simmer another 10 minutes.  

The Ketogenic Diet – Your Questions Answered

You’ve heard it about it all over the news, celebrities tout it, your friends have suggested it. But do you really understand the mechanics of the diet? We’re here with the definition of the keto diet and some answers to common questions. So, what is a ketogenic diet? The definition of the keto diet is an eating regimen based on eating very low carbs, moderate amounts of protein and very high fat. By eating very low amounts of carbohydrates you deprive your body of its main source of energy, glucose. Your body then turns to stored glucose in your muscles and liver until eventually it is depleted and must look to other sources for energy. Your body then enters a state called ketosis, in which it releases an alternate fuel source called ketones, produced by your liver from stored fat during periods of intense exercise. The idea of the diet is to eat enough food during the day to avoid going into starvation mode and all of the negative associated effects while staying in ketosis.  According to an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health, “Proponents of the ketogenic diet state that if the diet is carefully followed, blood levels of ketones should not reach a harmful level (known as “ketoacidosis”) as the brain will use ketones for fuel, and healthy individuals will typically produce enough insulin to prevent excessive ketones from forming. How soon ketosis happens… is variable from person to person and depends on factors such as body fat percentage and resting metabolic rate.” (1) While some studies have shown that the ketogenic diet is beneficial for weight loss in the short term, research results are inconsistent. Furthermore, maintaining a very low carbohydrate/high fat diet is difficult for most in the long term and there can be some negative effects of ketogenic diet on your mood and energy level.  “Available research on the ketogenic diet for weight loss is still limited…A ketogenic diet has been shown to provide short-term benefits in some people including weight loss…However, these effects after one year when compared with the effects of conventional weight loss diets are not significantly different.” (1) So what kind of diet is right for you? There are many factors that go into weight loss and we work with you to find what kind of diet works best for your lifestyle. At NutriFit, we believe in a highly individualized approach to weight loss that allows our client’s to maintain their weight in the long term. While everybody finds success differently, we’d like to offer the following research based tips for improving your diet:
  • Cut out highly processed foods, refined starches and added sugar
  • Focus on a wholesome, plant based diet high in whole grains; fruits & vegetables and healthy proteins (such as beans, nuts, seeds & lentils)
  • Limit red meat and watch your sodium intake – the FDA recommends eating less than 2,400 mg of sodium per day
  • Try to reduce your stress level and get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Adopt a daily exercise routine that works for your schedule and lifestyle
For more information on the keto diet, we recommend the following articles: (1) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/ (2) http://davidkatzmd.com/toasting-2017-goodbye-with-ketogenic-kool-aid/

Strawberry Spring Salad Recipe

Celebrate spring with our fast and simple Strawberry Spring Salad recipe! Ingredients: 2 tsp – extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp – honey 6 cup – Italian blend salad greens 2 tsp – pine nuts, roasted 3 cup – strawberries, quartered 1/8 tsp – salt 3 tbsp – water 3 tbsp – white wine vinegar   Directions: 1. Combine vinegar, water, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir well with a whisk. 2. Combine strawberries and greens. Add vinegar mixture; toss to coat. 3. Sprinkle with pine nuts

Eat Your Veggies!

You’ve probably been told your entire life that you need to be eating veggies, but do you know why? We can’t talk enough about the health benefits of vegetables but here are some of our top reasons to #eatyourveggies:
  1. Leafy vegetables – such as spinach, kale, arugula and collard greens – are important sources of folate and other B vitamins. Studies have also shown that people who had daily intake of leafy vegetables had a slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those who tended to eat little or no greens.
  2. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower can help reduce inflammation and buildup of plaque which increases the risk of stroke.
  3. Vegetables are high in fiber which aids digestion, reduces cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
  4. High potassium vegetables such as sweet potatoes, white beans, tomatoes, lima beans, kidney beans and spinach can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
So the next time you’re thinking about what to eat – think green!

Low Fat v. Low Carb Diet

New research from the Stanford University School of Medicine has declared the the low fat vs. low carb diet debate a draw – with neither diet prevailing in the fight for the best weight loss results. The diet comparison study, published in JAMA and led by Dr. Christopher Gardner, found that not only did either diet yield greater weight loss success than the other but also that participant’s genetics and insulin levels did not predispose them to better results.

A group of 609 participants were split into two groups – low fat and low carb – and had part of their genome sequenced and insulin levels measured to see if there was a genetic component to how much weight they lost on a particular diet. Neither group was instructed with exactly which foods to eat, but instead were given guidelines on making healthy choices and what their general daily carbohydrate and fat intake should be. At the end of the year long analysis, researchers found that participant’s weight loss success did not correlate to either a low fat/low carb approach nor was there a genetic or insulin level component that predicted a better outcome.

Instead, the study found that the best diet consisted of cutting out unhealthy, highly processed foods, added sugar and refined starches while eating a wholesome diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy sources of proteins (beans, lentils, nuts, seeds) and drinking plenty of water. In other words, the key to maintaining weight loss lies in quality of diet, not just quantity of food or eliminating just sources of high carbs or high fat. Furthermore, learning how to eat mindfully was the most important factor in maintaining long term weight loss rather than an emphasis on a low carb or low fat diet.

Beet and Carrot Soup

Need a way to get more veggies in your diet? Try our Beet and Carrot Soup recipe which is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and help promote healthy liver function and heart health. Ingredients: 2 cups – beets 2 cups – carrots 3 cups – reduced fat vegetable broth 1/8 tsp – allspice 1/4 tsp – nutmeg 1 tbsp – lemon juice 1 cup – onion 3 tbsp – fat free, plain yogurt 1/2 cup – unsweetened orange juice     Directions: 1. Combine the beets, carrot, onion and chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil; cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the mixture from the heat, let it cool for 10 minutes. 2. Transfer the vegetables to the container of an electric blender, using a slotted spoon; reserve the broth. Cover and process the vegetable mixture until smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides. Add the pureed mixture, orange juice, lemon juice, nutmeg and allspice to the broth, stirring well with a wire whisk. Cover and chill thoroughly. 3. To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls. Top each serving with 2 tsp. yogurt.  

Benefits of Vitamin B

Vitamin B complex includes the the 8 types of B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 – all of which help the body with essential functions such as breaking down carbohydrates and protecting brain function. One of the benefits of Vitamin B is that it is an important regulators of neurotransmitter function. Studies have also shown that B vitamins may affect central metabolism, brain function and the modulation of mood. Vitamin B6 is an important cofactor for the enzymes that synthesize the neurotransmitters serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Good sources of vitamin B6 include protein, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products, seeds, avocado. Additionally, Folate (B9) found in dark leafy greens, beets, asparagus and root vegetables, may reduce risk for depression and memory loss. Riboflavin (B2) and Cobalamin (B12) both assist with red blood cell production and Niacin (B3) assists in raising HDL (good) cholesterol. Best sources of B12 are fish, dairy, eggs and beef and B2 are almonds, yogurt, eggs, milk, soybean. B3 can be found in beans, milk, eggs and green vegetables. Biotin (B7), found in pork, chicken, potatoes, cauliflower and barley, helps keep skin and hair looking healthy.  

Startling Statistics

Statistics about smoking show that just one cigarette daily is associated with a “much greater than expected” increase in risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, according to research in The BMJ.

In a meta-analysis, the researchers analyzed 141 prospective studies examining the association between smoking and CHD or stroke in millions of generally healthy people. Overall, compared with never-smoking, smoking one cigarette daily conferred significantly increased risks for both outcomes. Here are the findings based on the subset of studies that adjusted for multiple confounders (e.g., cholesterol, blood pressure):

  • Women who smoked 1 cigarette daily had a 119% increased risk for CHD and a 46% increased risk for stroke.
  • Men who smoked 1 cigarette daily had a 74% increased risk for CHD and a 30% increased risk for stroke.
  • The risk from smoking 1 cigarette daily was about half that from smoking 20 cigarettes daily.

Breakfast Recipe – Apple Pancakes

Looking for a healthy weekend breakfast recipe? Try out this recipe for whole grain buttermilk spiced apple pancakes!  Apples are high in fiber and antioxidants, both of which make them great for heart and digestive health. Ingredients: baking powder – 2 tsp baking soda – 2 tsp fat free egg substitue – 0.5 cup apples, finely chopped – 2 cups ground cinnamon – 1 tsp ground nutmeg – 1/8 tsp honey – 1 tbsp lemon juice – 2 tsp molasses – 1 tbsp reduced fat buttermilk – 2 cups trans fat free, lite margarine – 1 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour – 1 cup whole wheat flour – 1 cup   Directions 1. Combine the whole wheat flour, all purpose white flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl; stir well. 2. Combine the buttermilk, honey, molasses, margarine, lemon juice, and egg substitute in a small bowl; stir well. 3. Add the flour mixture to liquid mixture, stirring until smooth. Fold in the chopped apples. Do not overmix. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes. 4. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot nonstick griddle. Turn the pancakes when the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges look cooked.    

Food & Mood

Feeling hungry can make even the best of us grumpy but there may be a larger connection between food and mood beyond feeling hangry! Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise and eating a balanced diet are key to preventing fatigue, stress and lessen your risk for anxiety. Current research at Tufts University is being conducted to study the connection between diet and mental health. Initial results show that highly processed foods and high refined carbohydrates have been linked to increased risk of anxiety and depression. However, diets with foods rich in whole grains, vegetables and omega-3s have been linked to decreased risk of depression (this is one of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet). The Mediterranean diet is also rich in folate, selenium and anti-oxidants, which have all been shown to have positive effects on not only mood but overall health.    

Study confirms another benefit of tea

A recent study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology found yet another health benefit of hot tea: Subjects that consumed at least daily hot tea drink had a 74% decreased chance of developing glaucoma. Tea has also been shown to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is a great healthy alternative to caffeinated soft drinks. Flavanoids found in tea are beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol. So next time you’re thinking about reaching for a soda – think about heating up a glass of tea instead!

Feed Your Face

What you eat can have a big impact on your external health and the largest organ on your body – your skin! Here’s some simple anti-aging diet tips that can help improve your nutrition for healthy skin that’s protected and looks great: Foods high in antioxidants are helpful in anti-aging and can help prevent cellular damage. You might even find some of your favorite foods in this category – including red wine, chocolate, green tea, oranges, kiwi, strawberries. Other high anti-oxidant foods include onion and leafy vegetables, eggs, avocados and whole grains. Additionally, lycopenes found in red fruits & vegetables (tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers, etc) help fight the damaging effects of UV rays and sunburns. Foods high in protein, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C and omega-3’s can promote collagen growth and  improve skin elasticity and fight wrinkles. Additionally, foods in the alpha-linoleic acid family such as tofu, flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, canola & olive oils can prevent dryness and skin irritation. Iron and zinc-rich can help thicken your hair, while foods high in cysteine (red peppers, egg yolks, oats, broccoli, onions and garlic) and silicon (spinach, whole grains, mineral water, coffee, lentils) contribute to stronger hair and nails.

Superfood Recipe – Rockin’ Moroccan Quinoa Salad

This Moroccan quinoa salad with raisins is one of our favorite Superfood Recipes you can try out at home on your next Meatless Monday with our very own NutriFit Salt Free Rockin’ Moroccan Spice Blend! Rockin’ Moroccan Quinoa Salad Recipe Ingredients: 1 tbsp – canola oil 2 ea – celery stalk 6 ea – dried apricots 2 tbsp – golden raisins 2 tbsp – lemon juice 1 tsp – NutriFit Rockin’ Moroccan Salt Free Spice Blend 1 tbsp – orange juice 2 tbsp – pine nuts, toasted 1 cup – quinoa, uncooked 2.5 cup – water Directions 1. Rinse quinoa in colander before cooking. Bring water to a boil, add quinoa and stir. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Drain off excess liquid. 2. Add apricots, raisins and celery. Mix gently. 3. In a separate bowl, whisk together juices and seasoning, then drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Add dressing to quinoa while quinoa is still warm. 4. Garnish salad with pine nuts. Serve hot or cold.
White quinoa seeds on a wooden background

Benefits of Coffee

Read this morning in the New England Journal of Medicine: Drinking coffee daily — in particular, several cups daily — is associated with a wide range of health benefits, according to an umbrella review of meta-analyses in The BMJ. The review included over 200 meta-analyses of observational or interventional research into coffee consumption and health outcomes in adults. Among the benefits: Daily coffee consumption of 3 cups of coffee — regular or decaffeinated — was associated with a 17% lower risk for all-cause mortality, relative to no coffee consumption. Caffeinated coffee was linked to lower risks for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke, with benefits highest at 3–5 cups daily. Caffeinated coffee was associated with lower risks for cancer and liver conditions. Both regular and decaf coffee appeared to lower risk for type 2 diabetes.
Coffee

Monday Moment of Clarity

Took my Clarity downtown this weekend to see the BodyWorlds Pulse exhibit at the California Science Center. With 5 of us in the car, it was a comfortable ride, and the first time I’ve been driving 3 adults in the rear seat. EASY fit, for any size body, and the air conditioning was more than adequate to cool everyone off!  BTW, the exhibit is wonderful, too

Great Grilling Tips for a Healthy Summer BBQ

Summertime means plenty of barbecues and grilling… and to keep our summertime foods as healthy as possible, The American Institute for Cancer Research has some helpful healthy summer grilling tips. Research tells us that grilling foods can increase their level of cancer-causing chemicals. Fish, red meat and poultry are the most potentially harmful when prepared on the grill. Why? When the fat from the meat drips onto the coals or stones in the grill, PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are formed. These chemicals are deposited on the food from the smoke and flare-ups in the form of charring on the outer surfaces of the meat. The meats themselves produce another carcinogen, HCA (heterocyclic amines), which is formed in the animal protein when it is cooked at high temperatures. HCAs have been responsible for increasing cancer risk in the colon, prostrate, stomach and breasts. The following healthy BBQ grilling tips can help keep your foods free of carcinogens.
  • Trim meats to be as lean as possible.
  • Marinate grilled foods in low-fat marinades to reduce the HCAs.
  • Watch your portions- eat small amounts of grilled meats.
  • Lower temperature, and turn the foods often.
  • Pre-cook meats before placing them on the grill. (pre-bake or parboil)
  • Wrap foods in foil; poke small holes in it while cooking. This allows the fat to drip out, but keeps the meat protected from smoke.
  • Never eat charred or burnt pieces.
  • Place meat on skewers, cut in small pieces, so shorter the cooking time.
Try making grilled fruits and vegetables instead; they add volume and variety to your barbecue. Consider preparing grilled meat as a side dish rather than an entrée. Cook pastas, vegetables, salads and fruit dishes to serve with the meat. Also instead of serving thinly sliced grilled steak with a side salad, try making a large salad and topping it with grilled fish or chicken. The healthiest way to enjoy outdoor cooking is to plan ahead and make sure you are balancing the meal with plenty of vegetables and fruits, using moderation and portion control. Check out our website, www.nutrifitonline.com for great grilling recipes and menu ideas.

Healthy Recipes for Summer BBQ

As mentioned in yesterday’s Summer Savvy Tips, Here are 5 of my healthy summer BBQ recipes, including some great recipes for the grill. Please comment and let me know if you try any of them. Avocado-Corn Salsa Serving Size: ¼ cup Servings: 6 Ingredients: 2 ea. avocado, seeded, peeled & diced 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed 3 ea. tomatoes, peeled, seeded & diced 3 tbsp. lime juice 1 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped ½ tsp. green chile pepper, seeded & diced ½ tsp. sea salt ½ tsp. NutriFit Calypso Salt Free Spice Blend* Directions: 1. In a medium bowl, gently combine avocado, corn kernels, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, chile peppers, Calyspo blend and salt. 2. Refrigerate until ready to be served. Nutritional Information: Calories: 182; Fat: 10.5g; Carbohydrate: 23g; Fiber: 6.6g; Protein: 3.7g Chilled Honeydew Soup Servings: 4 Serving Size: 1 cup Ingredients: 4 cups honeydew, cut into cubes ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice 2 tbsp. superfine sugar Directions: 1. Using a food processor, puree the melon, mint, lime juice and sugar. 2. Taste for acidity, add 1 tbsp. Midori (melon liqueur, if available), and reprocess again. 3. Refrigerate until well chilled. Nutrient Information: Calories: 101; Fat: 0.4g; Carbohydrates: 24.5g; Fiber: 2.6g; Protein: 2g Black Bean, Corn and Barley Salad Serving Size: 2 cups Servings: 4 Ingredients: 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 2 cups black beans, cooked 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil 2 tbsp. fat free parmesan cheese, grated 2 tbsp. fat free, reduced sodium vegetable broth 2 tbsp. fresh basil, minced 2 cups frozen corn, thawed 1 cup frozen peas, thawed ¾ cup medium pearled barley 2 ¾ cups water Directions: 1. In a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, bring the water and barley to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low; partially cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender. Drain off any remaining water. Transfer the barley to a large bowl. 2. Add the beans, corn, and peas. 3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, basil, broth, and oil. Pour over the salad; toss to mix well. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Serve warm or chilled. Nutrient information: Calories: 380; Fat: 6g; Carbohydrates: 69g; Fiber: 16g; Protein: 17g Pasta with White Beans & Kale Serving Size: 2 cups Servings: 4 Ingredients: 1 tbsp. olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 10 cups kale, stems removed and chopped ½ cup reduced sodium vegetable broth 1 tsp. NutriFit Mediterranean Salt Free Spice Blend ¼ tsp. black pepper 1 ½ cups pasta, cooked al dente and drained 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 2 cups white beans (cannellini or other) ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled Directions: 1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 2. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. 3. Add kale, broth, spices and pepper, stirring to combine. 4. Cover; reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes or until kale wilts, stirring occasionally. 5. Add pasta, juice and beans to pan, stirring to combine; cook 1 minute or until mixture is thoroughly heated. 6. Divide pasta mixture evenly among 4 plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon cheese. Nutrient Information: Calories: 373; Fat: 8g; Carbohydrate: 58g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Protein: 18g Fresh Fruit Trifle Serving Size: 1 Slice Servings: 8 Ingredients: 8 slices angel Food cake, sliced about 2″ thick 1 cup lite whipped topping 2 cups fat free, vanilla yogurt 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tbsp. Amaretto, or other cordial ½ cup blackberries ½ cup strawberries, hulled and halved ½ cup blueberries ½ cup peaches, peeled and sliced ½ cup raspberries, fresh or frozen ½ cup pear, peeled, cored and thinly sliced Directions: 1. Cut the angel food cake into large chunks, about the same size as the fresh fruit pieces you are using. Put in a large bowl. 2. In a small bowl, combine the whipped topping with the yogurt. Mix very well. Add the vanilla extract and the Amaretto. 3. In a serving bowl, assemble the trifle as follows: put a thin layer of cake cubes on the bottom, top with a thin layer of fruit to cover. Continue layering the cake and fruit until all your ingredients are used up. Pour the topping mixture over the top layer, shaking the bowl gently to allow the mixture to settle down through the layers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Best if served within 2 hours of preparing. Nutrient information: Calories: 193; Fat: 1g; Carbohydrates: 39g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 5g *All recipes by Jackie Keller, Founding Director, NutriFit LLC *NutriFit’s Salt & Sugar Free Spice Blends available at www.nutrifitonline.com or call 310.473.1989.

Jackie Keller Helps Parents Avoid Halloween’s Sugar Rush

The excessive amount of sugar kids consume during and after the Halloween holiday can be spooky. But it doesn’t have to be. Though most trick-or-treaters tend to throw out the apples and raisins put in their pillow sacks, there are yummy treats that offer a nice compromise – great taste without all the sugar. It’s all in the way you present it. Little ones will love these healthy alternatives – and parents, you’ll love the way their children respond to them. Get your kids involved in preparing healthy treats. Letting them decorate their own creations using miniature candies/chips/sprinkles means they’ll have a blast making and eating them! Check back soon for some healthful recipes you can make with your Little ghosts and goblins!

Monday Moment of Clarity

It was nice to see the Honda Clarity at the Alt Car Expo on Saturday, but am even MORE EXCITED to have it HERE AT NUTRIFIT on Wednesday afternoon, 9/21!!
If you want to swing by and see/sit in it, please let me know. Can’t wait for my FCV!!!

Monday moment of Clarity

So excited to drive the new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell – coming to L.A. by the end of this year! Amazed to learn that it will have all of the latest driver safety features (lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, among others) that will help me stay on the road safely on my drives to our farm (The Mesa) – I can’t wait – less than 20 weeks to CLARITY.

International Food Tools – France

International Food Tools – France

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed and our international cooking series. You know, when I was a teenager I wanted desperately to go to France and attend Le Cordon Bleu. I’ve been fortunate during my life to travel the world and of course I got to do it. I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and I studied at the Chef’s school there but while I was there I had a lot of spare time, too to tell you the truth and I did a lot of shopping around and looking for little, unique, interesting food tools and gadgets and little markets and you know it’s amazing what you can find when you go to another country and you really get immersed in what their food culture is like. France is a nation of food lovers and the food culture is enormous. There are over 5,000 restaurants in Paris alone and of course now that I’m a health coach I’m always interested in how people manage their health and how they manage their weight and that French paradox, you know those low rates of chronic heart disease, they’re still a mystery for us. Despite the fact that the French have a high amount of saturated fat in their diet, we still don’t really know how they manage to stay so slender. Some attribute it to the consumption of red wine and the French do love to drink their wine. The French style of eating and the low incidence of obesity kind of don’t mesh. We still don’t get it. The obesity rates are among the lowest in the entire European Union and particularly French men have some of the lowest obesity rates on the continent and France has the second lowest obesity rates among women on the European continent. So there you go. There are three or four main approaches to French food. First is the classical French cooking and that traditionally uses cream-based sauces. That’s the way I learned to cook at Le Cordon Bleu. There was cream and butter, cream and butter and everything was made with either one or the other or both. But there’s also what’s called Haute Cuisine, which is the most sophisticated and extreme end of the French cooking paradigm, with very elaborate and elegant dishes, a strong emphasis on presentation and then there’s Nouvelle Cuisine, which is simpler, lighter, smaller portions, more emphasis on seasonal and simpler ingredients and more what we see today among the younger people. And finally, the Cuisine de Terrior, the rustic, local cuisine, the local food traditions if you will, locally grown produce, locally sourced meats, that’s a big thing right now in France. And joining me today on Food Exposed is Inge Rouge. Inge is a Munich born citizen of the world. She spent the past 34 years living in six different countries with her great husband and her two fabulous sons. Inge, welcome to Food Exposed. Inge Rouge: Thank you very much. Jackie Keller: Thank you for joining me, straight from Paris. Inga: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Well? Ooh-la-la, I thought we’d do a little classic French cuisine today, but Nouvelle style. Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: So emphasis again on those locally sourced ingredients, the simple, fresh herbs, the things that I know you grow at Primrose, your home outside of Paris. So, our beautiful flower arrangement today is fresh rosemary and the rosemary of course, you like to store it like you do flowers, in a vase, right? Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: Did I understand; you put the stems in water and put it in a vase and that preserves it? Inga: Yes, it does. Jackie Keller: Do you have to refrigerate it after you do that or can you leave it out like roses or carnations or something? Inga: For a couple of days you can leave it like that. Jackie Keller: Really? Inga: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Wow. Well, we’re going to use this rosemary to make some interesting chicken as I understand it, right? Using this handy dandy herb stripper tool, it’s called an herb stripper. I’d never seen one of these before. I understand that you find them in Paris fairly frequently. So, show us how it works. Inga: Okay. So this has to go. It had been off, but I put it back on to make it look nicer. Jackie Keller: Okay. So you just take your regular piece of rosemary? Inga: You have a regular piece of rosemary. Here you have different sizes and I think this one will do just fine. And while we pull it through it will also measure. Jackie Keller: Wow. Inga: Sorry, I… Jackie Keller: That was not a good one. Inga: …ripped it off. It was not a good one. Jackie Keller: Let’s try another one. Inga: All right. Jackie Keller: It measures the… Inga: It measures the leaves already. Jackie Keller: Oh, how cool. Well, you know cleaning fresh herbs like this is so tedious. It takes forever to get the needles off of things. So I see you don’t take it all the way off. Inga: No. I think it looks really pretty if a little bit is still present. Jackie Keller: And now what? We have some chicken here. Inga: We have some chicken here and now I just… Jackie Keller: We’re going to make chicken rosemary skewers. Inga: Chicken rosemary skewers, yeah. Jackie Keller: And these are popular in France, where people grow herbs in their own gardens and in window boxes, I understand because not all the French have their own… Inga: Not in Paris, not in Paris. Jackie Keller: …homes outside of the river or on the river like you do, right? Inga: Yeah. Jackie Keller: So how much chicken do you put on the skewer? A couple of pieces? Inga: Maybe one more. A small one. This one. This is perfect. Jackie Keller: And then would you marinate this or would you grill it? Would you pan saute it? What would you do with this? Inga: Every three possibilities are possible. Jackie Keller: Okay. And would this be in France, if we were in France when would we eat this? Inga: You would eat that probably for dinner, because for lunch you are out. Most of French people work and they would go out for lunch so it would be dinner. Jackie Keller: So brown-bagging is not the thing, huh? Inga: Not really. Oh, no. They like going out to restaurants and to have really, they don’t speak of work; they eat their three course meal and have a glass of wine. Jackie Keller: At lunch? Inga: At lunch. Jackie Keller: Oh my goodness. Wow. That sounds like my kind of place. Inga: Think about it. Jackie Keller: I don’t know how you go back to work after having a glass of wine in a two hour lunch. Inga: I know, I know. Jackie Keller: So you set these things up, now I also have some basil. Now this basil is on a very stiff stem. This is some that I grew in our garden. Inga: Ah, that would work nicely. Jackie Keller: Should we try that zip stripper thingy with that? Inga: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Okay. Inga: I’ll use this one here or this one. Jackie Keller: Oh I see, there’s different sized holes. Inga: Yeah. Right. Jackie Keller: That’s so clever, those French. Inga: Very clever. Look, it’s done. Jackie Keller: Wow. Look at that. You know half the time, I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t even cultivate this basil and use it in my food because it’s so much work to get the leaves off. This thing is great. Okay so we made some ahead of time and so this is what they look like when they’re cooked, right? Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: And that is really a very pretty presentation, very unique. And it tastes like rosemary? Inga: It does. Jackie Keller: It does? Shall we taste it? Inga: Mm-hmm. Jackie Keller: All right. Let’s see. I could be very gauche and just eat it off the skewer. Inga: Why don’t you? Jackie Keller: Okay. All right. There you go. Here. Mmm. I love the taste of rosemary. Wow. This is wonderful. Inga: Very nice. Jackie Keller: Very nice. Inga: Fresh. Jackie Keller: And just enough rosemary. Just enough rosemary, because sometimes rosemary can be pretty overwhelming. Inga: It can be overpowering. That’s true, yeah. Jackie Keller: Lovely, lovely. Well thank you for showing us this zip stripper. And then I think you can use the herbs for all kinds of things. Inga: For all kinds of things. Now you can chop them up and put them wherever you want to. Jackie Keller: Okay. Great. Well, I appreciate your joining me today for Food Exposed. Inga: My pleasure, again. Thank you very much. Jackie Keller: And I hope you’ll tune in for another segment of our international cooking series. If you’d like this recipe or any of the others on our show, go to the Food Exposed page on EmpowerMe.TV. And thank you for joining me today. For more Food Exposed check me out on EmpowerMe.TV and until next week remember, make food your best friend and exerciser companion for life.

International Food Tools – Denmark

International Food Tools – Denmark

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed in our international cooking series. You know, I love to travel. I’ve been lucky enough to visit every continent multiple times, and I’ve lived and studied abroad including a short tenure at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. One thing I always do when I travel is visit local markets and shops, and I’m always surprised to find some interesting food tool, something unique, something different to try out. Well, in Danish cuisine there’s many similarities to other damp and cool European continents, Northern European countries I should say. Danish food does have some distinct characteristics including a heavy reliance on butter, cheese, potatoes, pork, bread, pastries, and all kinds of things. The Danes love to eat, and modern Danish cuisine has undergone many changes in recent years due to a heavy influence by France, Spain, and Italy. Lightening up traditional dishes is more common among the younger generation, but family meals are generally pretty hearty, and the breakfast is a pretty hearty meal as well. Joining me today on Food Exposed is Inga Rush [SP],a Munich born citizen of the world. Inga has spent the past 34 years living in six different countries with her great husband and her two fabulous sons. A simple Danish breakfast might be eggs, right? Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: And Danish butter, what else? Inga: What else? Ham, roast beef, marinated herrings. Jackie Keller: Wonderful, first thing in the morning, marinated? Inga: First thing, yes. It actually tastes quite good. Jackie Keller: Does it? Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Well, how about we just do an egg dish? Inga: Okay. Jackie Keller: Alright, so I know Danish butter is worlds renowned as are Danish cheeses, but today we’re going to go healthy, so no butter. Instead, we’ll use a healthy margarine. Inga, why don’t you get ready and we’ll some of this in our skillet? Inga: Okay. Jackie Keller: Shall we? Is that probably more than we need? Inga: Probably. Jackie Keller: Probably, huh? Inga: That’s okay. Jackie Keller: Alright, and I’ll crack an egg. Okay. Now would you leave that butter in there or you would take it out? Inga: I would take it out because it’s enough for . . . Jackie Keller: So we can put it there. Inga: Yes, right. Jackie Keller: And seasoning, what kind of seasoning would you traditionally use? Inga: Traditional salt and pepper. Jackie Keller: Salt and pepper, alright. Inga: They’re pretty straightforward without a lot of chi chi. Jackie Keller: Okay and there it is. That’s probably a lot. Well, so what? Here you go; a pinch of salt? Inga: Yes, thank you. What service. Jackie Keller: Okay, so now to our food tool, right? Our little handy grater, this Eva grater which goes back a long ways, here you go. Inga: Thank you. Jackie Keller: I have some Danish cheese, of course, Danish Havarti cheese. Show us how it works. Inga: Okay. Jackie Keller: Right over the top, wow. You get that egg done. Perfect. Inga: This is pretty much it. Jackie Keller: Then I noticed that the Danes also love their pork, right? Inga: Pork, yes, pork and bacon. Jackie Keller: Pork is a big one. Do they have this all natural kind of no sulfites, no additives, no preservatives? Inga: Now they have it as well, yes. Jackie Keller: Would you typically have that with a Danish breakfast egg like this? Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Yes? Well it’s just about cooked. Let’s turn it over, maybe not. I should have left the butter in, right? Inga: Shall we put it back? Jackie Keller: Alright, it’s going to be a sunny side up egg, I think. Inga: Easy over. Jackie Keller: Easy over? Okay, go easy over the egg. Inga: I like it easy over. Jackie Keller: I’ll add some bacon there to it. Inga: They always have it easy over. Jackie Keller: Do they? I think it’s scrambled to tell you the truth. Well, the cheese is the thing, right? Inga: The cheese it the thing. Jackie Keller: Egge ke? Inga: Kage, cake, kage. Jackie Keller: Okay, alright, alright, shall we taste it? Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Alright aeg kage, here it is. It’s kind of a loose egg. Inga: Where’s this pause thing? Clear, pause. Jackie Keller: There you go. Alright. Inga: Me again? Jackie Keller: You again. Inga: Would you like to try? Jackie Keller: Okay, I’ll try. I like eggs. Inga: Me too. Jackie Keller: I love Havarti cheese. Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Delicious, thank you so much for joining me today. Inga: You’re very welcome, my pleasure. Jackie Keller: If you want this recipe or any other recipes in our international cooking series visit me at empowerme.tv and check out the Food Exposed page. I hope you’ll tune in for another segment of our international cooking series where we explore what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed check me out on empowerme.tv, and until next week remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

International Food Tools – Germany

International Food Tools – Germany

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed and our international cooking series. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have visited many, many different countries, and to travel the world. I’ve studied in different countries on different continents, and I’ve been in a million food stores, cooking stores, and little shops everywhere, and I never get tired looking for unique, different food tools. It’s amazing what you can find. And in Germany, the culture has long been associated with food. Just remember the fairytale Hansel and Gretel and the gingerbread house. But today when you think of German food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind, all right, besides Octoberfest? Now, you got it. The different regions of the country have very different and distinct styles of cooking. And there are many staples of German cuisine that are found throughout the country, everywhere you go, like sausage, and cold cuts, and seasonal vegetables, and white asparagus, which is keen during the season; it’s on every table and every restaurant. But styles of cooking have changed over the past 50 years in Germany. Lighter mid-day meals are more common and more often the heavy meats, the game, the pork, the things that are traditionally associated with German cooking are less dominate. Mustard is always popular, and there is a huge variety of mustards served on every table, and horseradish is also commonly used as a condiment. Joining me today on Food Exposed is Inga Rouse [SP], a Munich-born citizen of the world. Inga has spent the last 34 years living in six different countries with her great husband and her two fabulous sons. She’s here for a short yearly visit from her magnificent 120 year old home on the Rivers end, just outside of Paris, Inga, welcome to Food Exposed. Inga: Thank you for having me. Jackie Keller: Thank you for joining me. Today we are going to make something I think that’s sort of Nouvelle German, so preparing vegetables, I think no matter where you are, it’s one of the hardest parts of cooking. It’s one of the most time consuming, one of the most burdensome, and I was so excited when you introduced me to this German food tool called Spirelli. And it’s a spiral food cutter, that simple. So it’s made by this company, GEFU, that makes these German food tools. And today, we’re going to show our guests what we can do with it. Are you ready? Inga: I’m ready, yeah. Jackie Keller: All right. I’ll let you be the Spirelli master. Inga: The Spirelli master, okay. Jackie Keller: And while you’re doing that I’ll whip up a little dressing for our salad. Inga: All right. Would you mind if I [inaudible 03:11] Jackie Keller: Please. Spirelli away. Inga: So this is how it works, it’s really easy. Jackie Keller: Oh, look at that. That’s so pretty. They look like noodles. Inga: Like spaghetti. Jackie Keller: That’s the whole point, right? Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: Wow. It doesn’t take much, huh? Inga: No. It doesn’t. Jackie Keller: Beautiful. So you’re starting with zucchini. And zucchini, you find that in a German salad? Inga: Yeah, nowadays, yes. Jackie Keller: Tell me about Germans and German home gardens and that whole movement? Inga: Well now, it’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s so colorful. If ever possible, locals would grow their own salads, vegetables, and herbs. My uncle who lives in Eunuch, even drives to a farm to make sure to get well-fed and naturally raised chickens and cattle meat from chickens. While he is out there, he gets his farm eggs; so things have been rediscovered, old things. Jackie Keller: And what about the vegetables? Now you’ve got these beautiful carrots. So we’ve got probably a good amount of that to bring some color to it. What other vegetables might you find in a salad like this? Inga: Well, always of course, the green leafy vegetables like Romaine. But also, long-forgotten treasures like sugar-leaf salad for instance, buttercup; there are many varieties. Asparagus you might find in salads as well. Jackie Keller: But with the Spirelli cutter? Inga: The Spirelli cutter, turnips work nicely. And by the way, there is a typical old, very old forgotten turnip which is [inaudible 05:16] gourmet food that’s called [inaudible 05:20] turnip. And this you can Spirelli away, too. Jackie Keller: Well, you know, I’m going to make a very simple with this, because I would guess that you don’t get too elaborate. And I see we brought along some sun-dried tomatoes, so shall we put that in as well for some color and some rich flavor? Inga: That would be absolutely great. Jackie Keller: And we have some sun-dried tomatoes packed in a little olive oil. And it doesn’t take much to get that flavor. Shall we use some of that olive oil flavor for our dressing as well? Inga: Mm-hmm, and the radish. Jackie Keller: Oh, look at that, it’s so pretty. Now what time of day might Germans be having a salad like this? Inga: Probably for lunch. Jackie Keller: Lunch is the mid-day meal there? Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Yeah. So I’ve got some salt, a little bit of fresh cracked pepper, and we’ve got some white balsamic vinegar here. I’ll put that in, and I brought some fresh basil. That is so pretty. Inga: I think that’s enough for showing. Jackie Keller: Right. Do you want to pair some fresh basil leaves into that? And I’ll whip together this with a little bit of more olive oil, and what about protein? Protein here in the States, everybody is crazy about protein. Everybody has to have protein in everything. We’re eating a lot of protein these days. I brought some Mozzarella cheese. What else might you find in this typically German kitchen? Inga: In the typical German kitchen? Well, chicken for protein. Jackie Keller: I know German cuisine, there is a lot of different sausages. Inga: A lot of, that’s true, yeah. Sausages, however, very often are not so very healthy. Jackie Keller: All right. So we have a little dressing here to go on our salad. And let’s just pour a little bit on. I don’t want to overdress it. Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: Just lightly drizzle, and… Inga: That looks wonderful. Jackie Keller: Here we go. Inga: Thank you. Jackie Keller: There you go. That is so pretty. Inga: It’s pretty. Jackie Keller: It’s very pretty. Now this is noodle salad, but there are no noodles. Inga: No noodles. Jackie Keller: So in German, what would you call this? Inga: [inaudible 08:05]. Jackie Keller: It’s a [inaudible 08:08]. All right, well, let’s taste this [inaudible 08:15] salad, shall we? Inga: Okay. Jackie Keller: All right. So look at that. It’s so nice. Just like spaghetti. Inga: Exactly. Jackie Keller: That’s fun. Are you going to be brave enough to try to taste this thing? Inga: Oh yes. It smells wonderful. Jackie Keller: All right. You’re going to have to get a little cheese in there, a little couple of cubes of mozzarella. All right, let me know. So this could be a light lunch? Inga: A light lunch, but for dinner as well. It’s really so versatile. Jackie Keller: All right. How did we do? Oh, you are so delicate. Inga: It’s delicious. Jackie Keller: Good. Inga: It’s really nice. Jackie Keller: Great. [inaudible 09:05] Inga: [inaudible 09:06] Jackie Keller: Okay. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you’ll join me again for some more international food tools. And for this recipe, you can visit our website. You can come to Food Exposed, and find the recipe and more tips about German cooking and German foods. And of course, we hope you’ll tune into another segment of our international food tools series, where we explore what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv. And until next week, remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

The Dining Duo: Michael Epstein And Scott Schwimer Talk Food, Cars & Art

Episode 116

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take a close look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller, and I’m the founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles leading healthy food company. Let’s talking about eating out and the whole healthy food movement; while they are not always synonymous, these two are becoming increasingly paired in conversation, both written and verbal. So exactly how popular are the healthy restaurant menus these days? And I’m not talking about fast food. Well, my company NutriFit is a member of the California Restaurant Association which is a part of the National Restaurant Association. I was looking at their reports and figured out that about 71 percent of adults are trying to eat healthier at restaurants. In fact the top restaurant culinary theme includes children’s nutrition, gluten-free cuisine, and healthy nutrition. Other menu trends include local sourcing, whole grain items, lower sodium, lower calorie items, and people are even asking for restaurants to offer smaller or half-size portions at a lower price. Today’s consumers seem to be more interested than ever in what they eat, and where their food comes from. And this is reflected in many trends. And that was a quote from the National Restaurant Association’s Vice President. So this is really good news since eating out continues to be on the rise. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, nearly half of every dollar spent on food is spent on food away from home, home away from food. So here are some interesting restaurant statistics. Nine out of ten consumers say that they enjoy going out to a restaurant. Seven out of ten say that restaurants provide taste sensations that aren’t easily duplicated at home. And eight in ten look for their favorite menu items. Nine in ten go out to restaurants for good service and seven in ten go out to restaurants because they have a convenient location. So how do we choose our restaurants? Ease of parking, decor, atmosphere, some place new, and a place that serves food that they haven’t tried before. These are all things that seem to factor into choice. Did you know that six out of ten are looking for eco-friendly practices that restaurants use and locally sourced ingredients? Seven out of ten are interested in having some healthier options on the menu. So it’s really no surprise that I met my guest in a venue dedicated to healthy lifestyles. Michael Epstein and Scott Schwimer have taken on the food and hotel scene around the globe. They are lovers of food, life, and each other, and they know more about luxury hotels and the restaurant scene than any other couple I know. Michael Epstein became the youngest jaguar dealer in the country at the age of 19 following his passion for automobiles, and today, he remains an avid car collector. Michael founded System 800 International in 1986, which went on to become the largest reseller of 800-phone line service in the United States, and pioneered touch-tone technology for credit card processing. After going public in 1988, the company merged with Independent Entertainment Group, and produced pay per view events for cable t.v. A native Angelino, Scott E. Schwimer was appropriately born in the year of the Monkey. He received his BA from Stanford University, and his JD from Loyola Law School. He worked on Capitol Hill before jumping into his career as an Entertainment Attorney for both Television and Motion Pictures. Scott’s passions also include being an artist, photographer, painter, sculptor, writer, producer and world- traveler; and of course, he is passionate about eating and dining. Michael and Scott have been collecting photography for over twenty-two years. And they have one of the largest collections of glamour photography archives in the world. They’re the publisher’s of George Hurrell’s work, as well as Mel Roberts’, Henry Langdon’s and Ian Wright’s photos. The Dining Duo travels the globe and takes on the foodie scene in L.A. and other hot spots. Lovers of food and each other, they know more about the restaurant scene. These two partners who eat out at least 21 meals a week for about 26, 27 years together, they have a world to share with us. Michael and Scott welcome to Food Exposed. I’m so glad you could come today. Michael Epstein: We’re glad to be here. Scott Schwimer: Thank you for that intro. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much. Well it really is true. It is true, you eat out meal? Michael Epstein: We do. Scott Schwimer: Yes. Jackie Keller: Every single meal? Scott Schwimer: It used to be an embarrassment to say something like that, but now we get to gloat about it. Jackie Keller: And we talked about a little bit earlier about how people make choices for restaurants and what they look for. How do you guys decide like where should we go? You’ve probably been to most every place in LA? Scott Schwimer: Well, we have in fact, but it’s not always going out to a fancy restaurant. It’s not always about that. Sometimes we’ll choose something that is, as you just said in your introduction, someplace close to our home. Michael Epstein: Easy to park. Scott Schwimer: Easy to park. Healthy is a big consideration. And then we, of course, do like to treat ourselves and go to really wonderful places, unique restaurants, one of a kind type places. It’s just really how we feel and how we’re doing that day. Jackie Keller: Do restaurants let you know that they, are you on a list to get a little special treatment in there? Michael Epstein: We like to go incognito, although, obviously, people know who we are because of our names. But we choose restaurants that we really enjoy, the food and the quality of food. In fact, one of our favorites is right in this neighborhood, Providence, which is probably the best restaurant in Los Angeles as far as we’re concerned, one of the best anyway. Scott Schwimer: And in fact, we’re all in Los Angeles very lucky, because they open up for lunch on Fridays. Michael Epstein: That’s a good point. Jackie Keller: So how do your passion for art and cars intersect with your love for food? Michael Epstein: Well I think food is an art and Scott has been very adept at photographing food now, and food has really become an art for him. And it’s changed a lot over the last, I’m going to be 60 years old, and I’ve seen so many changes, because I was raised with basically some gourmet food at really fine restaurants. But the food was always prepared beautifully, but now it has to be photographable so that has certainly changed over the years. And as far as the cars go, you know we like restaurants where we can park close and we can keep an eye on our cars when we’re driving something special. Scott Schwimer: And I noticed in the introduction that you had a picture of our dog Triple, our beloved dog. And so oftentimes he will accompany us in the car, Jackie Keller: Oh, does he? Scottt Schwimer: In the car. Jackie Keller: Does he come into the restaurant. Michael Epstein: No, he doesn’t. Scott Schwimer: But we have to be able to keep an eye on him. Michael Epstein: Well, if it’s a restaurant with an outside patio. Scott Schwimer: And there are some restaurants that are quite animal friendly. In fact we also live in the desert, and there are numerous restaurants there that will allow you to bring your pet, and they bring out bowls and all sorts of other things. So restaurants have become quite friendly. Jackie Keller: Interesting. So what do you see as the top trends in restaurant menus, I mean what do you see? Michael Epstein: Some of the things that you mentioned, Jackie. It’s about locally-sourced ingredients more now than ever. Scott and I don’t really get the gluten-free concept unless you have celiac disease. But this is like the hot button as you know in this business, and every restaurant we’re seeing now is popping up with gluten-free menus and gluten-free items on the menu. Scott will tell you about our big button recently which is sodium. Scott Schwimer: Yes, well, we’ve discovered, I know you showed our pictures a little earlier in the introduction, and we don’t quite look like that anymore. But as we’ve been getting older, we realized that when you get that horrible feeling, a lot of restaurants feel like they have to create flavor by adding a high amount of sodium. And when we wake up in the morning, we’re completely swollen; we realize it’s swelling our organs on the inside and not just the outside. So we have been instructing restaurants on low sodium usage. We find that they’re starting to get a trend now. Jackie Keller: That’s interesting. Scott Schwimer: Yeah, so we hope that trend will continue, because we really don’t need salt in order to enjoy the food. Jackie Keller: Interesting. So is there a stigma attached to the word healthy when you go to a restaurant and you ask for a lower sodium option? You ask them to keep it on the healthy side? Michael Epstein: No. I don’t think so at all. I think that is to be expected nowadays. Jackie Keller: Even in the finer restaurants? I know you guys go to some pretty fancy places. Scott Schwimer: I think especially in the finer restaurants. They’re a lot more accustomed to accommodating a menu. We went to a new restaurant that we tried out on this last week, and I asked for something that was low sodium, and they just looked at me like a deer in the headlights, because apparently, everything had high sodium. So I think that as you go up to a more expensive and tailored experience, then they are happy to accommodate you. And hopefully, the trend will go in that direction with the other restaurants. Jackie Keller: I think if consumers demand it, then you’re going to see more of it. Michael Epstein: Yeah, and you, Jackie, being in the food business, I’m sure you noticed that pre-processed foods, I mean, we’re just in amazement, 30, 40 percent sodium in products. It’s scary. Jackie Keller: It is scary. And there’s a lot of learning that has to take place, I think, at the consumer level in order to avoid ending up with a saltier product than needs to happen. So when you’re on the down low and you just want to go slumming, where do you go? Is it Tommy’s? Is it Pings? Scott Schwimer: That’s very funny. I can’t handle any of those. I actually don’t eat red meat, probably for about… Michael Epstein: Beef, you don’t eat beef. Scott Schwimer: Beef, for about years now. I haven’t had a hamburger since my sophomore year in college. Michael has joined suit because… Michael Epstein: My cholesterol was a little high. I’m a big burger lover, but I tend to switch to turkey burgers now. But if I am going to treat myself to a beef burger, I go to Five Guys or to [inaudible 11:25]. Some of my favorites are the [inaudible 11:27] which are grass fed so at least it’s somewhat healthy. Scott Schwimer: And one of our favorite guilty pleasures is Motza, which has the best pizza that we have found really anywhere and the best chopped salad, and fantastic lemonade, and they have a fantastic desert selection. I feel like I’m promoting Motza, but it is a really a good guilty pleasure. Jackie Keller: Well, I asked you, and it’s nice to know that there are places out there that you can go and enjoy that are really good quality food. Scott Schwimer: And not spend a fortune. Jackie Keller: And not spend a fortune. Well, I thought it would be fun if we spend a few minutes creating something healthy and low sodium and fun that you might find in a restaurant if you were looking for it here today. Are you game? Scott Schwimer: Sounds great. Michael Epstein: Let’s do it. Jackie Keller: You know, one of the things that I love most are salads. I’m a big salad person, and it really annoys me when I get to a restaurant and the salad is soggy or I can feel the greasy, and I usually try to ask for everything on the side. But some things are already mixed in, and you’re just stuck with it. And so I thought it would be fun to show how good sesame chicken salad can be without having it being loaded with oil, loaded with fat, and unhealthy. So I got the ingredients together to make a really quick simple, this is sort of, it’s not really Chinese chicken salad. It’s a sesame tahini style, like a Middle Eastern chicken salad. So I thought we’d put it together real quick and… Scott Schwimer: It sounds great. You’re making me hungry. Michael Epstein: Teach us something. Jackie Keller: Who’s going to hold the whisk? You’re going to whisk, and I’m going to make the dressing. Michael Epstein: We eat out every meal… Jackie Keller: So this is a little bit of sesame tahini paste. And this is, of course, ground sesame seed, so it is high in oil, but it’s a very healthy fat. Scott Schwimer: How do you do that though? How do you grind the seeds? Jackie Keller: You can even use a coffee grinder. Scott Schwimer: Seriously? Jackie Keller: And grind it to… Michael Epstein: So what makes it liquidly? Jackie Keller: The seeds eventually, it’s the oil in the seeds, right? So I have some vinegar here. And this, by the way, is the sesame tahini if you wanted to buy it and cheat. You don’t have to grind your own seeds. You can just go to the Middle Eastern store and buy it. Some of the better stock supermarkets will have it, but you can also find it at the Middle Eastern market and get that. Scott Schwimer: Smells wonderful. Jackie Keller: So we’re going to add a little bit more liquid to that to get it to thin out. So I’m adding a little white vinegar to it. Michael Epstein: Are you taking notes? Scott Schwimer: Yes, I’m taking notes. Jackie Keller: And a little cayenne pepper. Now this is… Michael Epstein: I love cayenne pepper. Jackie Keller: I noticed that, Michael. I looked you up in our system from the time that you got a couple of meals from us and I know that you like it spicy. Michael Epstein: I do like it spicy. Scott Schwimer: He certainly does. Jackie Keller: Now here is where we get into trouble in restaurants, with the soy sauce. And so I have low sodium soy sauce. This is not a fancy one, but if we put a little bit of this in, it will add just… Scott Schwimer: Now where do you get low sodium? Jackie Keller: Now that’s the sesame oil. This is the sodium. Scott Schwimer: Okay. Michael Epstein: How low is it, Jackie? Jackie Keller: Well, Michael, you have your glasses on, and you can [inaudible 15:17] I do. Michael Epstein: Okay. Jackie Keller: So yeah, you want to sit that down and keep it away from that pretty shirt. Close that. Michael Epstein: Okay, so it’s got 19 percent, so that’s not too terrible. Jackie Keller: No, because we’re going to spread this out over multiple servings, so that’s another thing to keep in mind, is that you can dilute this by adding in just a little bit of water. And if you want, or a little bit more of the vinegar to cut through the fat a little bit, and to reduce the sodium. So that’s enough dressing for five servings, easily. Scott Schwimer: Jackie, or one serving for him. Michael Epstein: I like dressing. But, Jackie, is this something that if I am on your food program, this is something you serve? Jackie Keller: Yeah, this in the NutriFit menu. We use the base of romaine hearts for this, and then the chicken, which has just been poached. Now, all I did was bring some water up to a boil. I added a little bit of ginger, a little bit of lemon to the water, put the chicken in, turned the heat off, and let the chicken poach for 20 minutes. That’s it, on very, very, very low heat and then we hand shred the chicken, so this goes here. Michael Epstein: Now, do you need to learn how to do that? Scott Schwimer: I think it’s easier to just order it from you. Jackie Keller: Well, first you have to taste it. So let’s put in some green onion and a little bit of cilantro. Michael Epstein: The cilantro, it looks great. Jackie Keller: And now we’re going to get the dressing in, so… Scott Schwimer: By the way, it smells amazing. Michael Epstein: Doesn’t that smell amazing? Jackie Keller: So let’s pour that in. Scott Schwimer: Okay, here we go. Michael Epstein: I think that is really what defines Jackie from other food delivery services is that the food is really so tasty. Jackie Keller: Thank you, Michael. That’s so sweet of you. Scott Schwimmer: Well, we know. We’ve experienced it. Michael Epstein: So we’re putting all of this in? Jackie Keller: Yeah, we’re going to put all of this in because I know this is multiple servings. And, of course, we have more lettuce, and you can always add more lettuce. No. Bad. Have you been hanging out with Triple too much? Scott Schwimer: That’s our doggy. Jackie Keller: All right, Michael. Do you want to just hand me that plate, and we’ll just plate a little of this salad up, and you guys can give it a taste. And remember we didn’t measure anything, so you know, you’ll have to tell me. Scott Schwimer: It looks delicious. Jackie Keller: There you go. Michael Epstein: It does look delicious, yum. Is it good? Scott Schwimer: Sensational. Jackie Keller: Sensational is a great word; you sweetie pie. Oh, thank you. That makes me so happy. Scott Schwimer: Too bad you guys aren’t getting any, because this is amazing. Michael Epstein: This is really tasty. And is it low calorie, Jackie? Jackie Keller: Yes, it is. It’s low calorie. It’s healthy. It’s low in fat. Of course, for you guys, it’s low in sodium. Scott Schwimer: Fantastic, fantastic. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much. Michael Epstein: Will that be enough for all of us? Jackie Keller: We’ll have to take a take home.. Scott Schwimer: And this is really good. Michael Epstein: It’s really tasty. Jackie Keller: Thank you. Scott Schwimer: Thanks so much for having us. Jackie Keller: You’re welcome. Michael Epstein: This was really fun. Jackie Keller: I know that the audience wants to follow the Dining Duo. Your site is so much fun. I know you’re big in Instagram as well, and you post pictures constantly of places you’ve been. Some of them look so fun. It’s fun to look vicariously. So if you could tell us how people can find you. Michael Epstein: Oh, thank you so much. Well, if you go to www.thediningduo, and it’s really important to put in the t-h-e, thediningduo.com, or follow up on face book. We have lots and lots of visitors. We review all sorts of restaurants, all sorts of exclusive hotels. Scott Schwimer: Tell them where we’re off too. Michael Epstein: And we’re off to Mexico City, because there is a huge food scene explosion in Mexico City. Jackie Keller: Oh my goodness. Scott Schwimer: Everybody’s heading to Mexico City over the summer. Michael Epstein: We’re leaving next week. Jackie Keller: I’ve never been. Can I go in the suitcase or something? Michael Epstein: Absolutely. Jackie Keller: Just send me lots of pictures. Michael Epstein: You know if you put a little tequila right in here, it would be perfect. Jackie Keller: Well, I wish you safe travels, healthy travels, and lots of fun, and come back and visit us when you get back. Michael Epstein: It’s been really fun. Thank you for having us. Scott Schwimer: We’ll see you out in the restaurants. Jackie Keller: Yeah, absolutely. One of my favorite parts of coaching involves the use of metaphors. Just as a reminder, a metaphor is the expression of an understanding of one concept by relating it to another similar concept. And artists use metaphors all of the time as do authors. So here is a metaphorical story that you might be able to relate to. It’s called the tree. It was a warm sunny day in the magical forest, and several rabbits frolicked by the side of the forest pond as the gentle breeze rippled through the largest oak overlooking the water making the leaves dance and tingle softly, the unmistakable scent of wild lavender in the air. I can do a lot better than this declared the largest branch on the tree. Soon I’m going to branch out on my own. I’m almost as big as the entire tree now. I take most of the light around here and absorb the food and catch most of the rainfall. On top of that, I provide the best shade for travelers in the summer and the majority of acorns for future growth, food for the squirrels, and rabbit population. I am supreme said the largest branch. The other branches on the tree agreed. They had to accept what the big branch said. He was indeed the most predominant in most ways. His only failings being a lack of modesty in understanding that all parts of the tree were one. The trunk of the tree in his usual manner said nothing. Unnoticed, he just quietly kept on supporting the chattering branches as he had done year in and year out since ancient times. Late one year when the cold nights were drawing in and all of the golden leaves had stumbled sleepily to the ground, a woodcutter appeared and eyed the large branch. That’ll keep us warm for the winter, he said to his apprentice. With no more ado, he sawed off that large branch and dragged it away to his hut. The smaller branches were panic stricken thinking that their turn was next. Your time is yet to come groaned the trunk in a deep grumbling voice for his body ached where the big branch had been chopped off. He felt not only had he lost an arm but a son as well. Everyone’s turn will come, even mine. So be advised that you can survive longer and be happier if you don’t get noticed or too big for your boots like he did. So a tree is just one branch. The same way as a branch without twigs and dancing leaves is barren neither is a trunk alone a tree. I am but nothing without branches and roots, and that’s the metaphor. Thanks for joining me today on Food Exposed. Make sure to tune in next week for another close look at what’s on your plate. And if you have questions or comments, reach out to me at empowerme.tv/foodexposed. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv and until next week, remember, make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

JW Najarian On Interviewing Buzz Aldrin

Episode 115

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take a close look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller and I’m the Founding Director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. Today we’re taking a closer look at the second deadliest disease plaguing our modern world – cancer. First, some good news on the cancer front; death rates for all cancers combined and for the leading cancers among men are declining. For women, those rates have stabilized. According to the National Cancer Institute, this is true across the fifteen most common cancers for all races and all ethnicities combined. Still it is estimated that 35% of all cancers are tied to our nutrition habits. We hear a lot about that these days and how much fat is good for you. What kind of fat is good for you? What we should be worried about. Here’s a quote that I want to share with you. “Obesity-related cancer is now an official definition used by both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, but this does not mean that other cancers are not related to obesity; only that there is currently not enough evidence because the cancer is not well-studied or rare. Only lung cancer so far has not been linked to obesity probably because of its strong association with smoking and low air quality status. As recently as April 9th, just a few days ago, a large published study of over 330 thousand women living in ten European countries were followed for over 11 years. That study concluded that high saturated fat and high total fat intake were associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. So it all comes down to basics. What should we be eating to provide the best opportunity to lower our risk of cancer? Eating seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death from cancer at any point in time by 25% compared to eating less than one portion, according to a new study that was published in London in March of this year; eating three to five portions of fruit and vegetables daily decreased death risk by 19%. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who ate a daily serving of nuts were significantly less likely to die from any cause as opposed to those who never ate any nuts at all. The message is clear. Eating healthily, plenty of fruits and vegetables, all of which are rich in antioxidants, moderate amounts of saturated fat, not having too much meat or full-fat dairy and having modest servings of healthy nuts and monounsaturated fats, that will give your body the best ammunition possible to fight cancer. Most of us know someone that has been touched by cancer. My own mom died from cancer and this has driven a lot of my energy and purpose. Every time I think of purpose, I think of OnPurposeMagazine.com. It’s an online publication that I write blog posts for and that I interact with. My next guest is the founder of this wonderful publication. JW Najarian spent the first 35 years of his career as a computer engineer and a project manager before he changed to a career in commercial real estate. He started the Commercial Real Estate Professionals Investors Group in 2006 and then began working actively in philanthropy for Humanities Unites Brilliance and Feed 333. A proud veteran, JW also built a LinkedIn group of over 40 thousand U.S. veterans use the resources of the group to connect and help each other. Since then, On Purpose Magazine has flourished and it’s dedicated to helping people find comfort and hope in today’s complex world; JW, welcome to Food Exposed. JW Najarian: Thank you for having me here. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much for coming. JW Najarian: We’ve talked so many times and it’s really great that we finally get to meet in person. Jackie Keller: I’m delighted. JW Najarian: I’m just delighted to be on your show. Jackie Keller: Well, thank you. Thank you. Do you like to report on nutrition for On Purpose Magazine? Tell us about that? JW Najarian: As we talked about in the interview that I did with you, it has kind of been a hobby of mine over the years. I actually went to Naturopathy School for a very short time because I thought it was my calling to be a Naturopath and talk to people about nutrition and things like that, but I found it was more of a hobby. I got tired of it and got into other things, but I still really am interested in nutrition and I do report on it quite a lot. You were just talking about cancer. I’m a cancer patient right now. Jackie Keller: Wow. JW Najarian: I went from burgers and my new friend is kale. Jackie Keller: Good. Good. You’ve met kale. JW Najarian: I’ve met kale. Jackie Keller: Yes. Kale is a wonderful, wonderful thing. JW Najarian: Yes. I’ve learned I’m a nut eater, I’m a kale eater and I’m learning how to make kale taste good and how to eat vegetables and stay away from sugars and salts. There has been a major change in my diet. So I’m really excited today to talk about it. Jackie Keller: Good. Good. What about the fitness side? Do you report on fitness too in On Purpose or is more nutrition-oriented? Tell us a little bit about that. JW Najarian: First of all, On Purpose Magazine is a magazine that we put together mainly to put out some really… There’s a lot of content on the internet as you know, but we wanted to put out some really good content on the internet. Just really helpful stuff, there’s a lot of garbage out there. So we started by talking to celebrities because celebrities bring eyeballs. They bring people to you. So talk to them about their cause and their foundations and the good things that are going on. I love to talk to authors. They have great stories. I talk to authors, especially the ones that are talk about self-help and personal development and things like that. That’s how I got into talking to authors about nutrition like yourself and fitness and working out. I workout, I go to the Y every day. Jackie Keller: Good. JW Najarian: I’m learning about stretching after as opposed to before. One of the things you learn… I spent this last year pretty much in bed a lot of the time because I had spine surgery from tumors in my spine as I had stage 4 cancer. One of the things you find out is that you lose muscle mass… I’m on Androgen Deprivation Therapy also. That’s taking all of the testosterone out of my body which means I lose muscle mass very, very quickly. I have to go to the gym. I have to be a gym rat in the morning and workout really hard; harder than a lot of people. You’ll notice right now I’m sweating a lot because I’m going through, what women would call, their personal summer of menopause because I don’t have any testosterone left in my body and that’s one of the treatments I have to go through. Working out is really essentially… You’ll notice most people say, “You have cancer. You haven’t lost your hair and you’re overweight.” Jackie Keller: You look great. No, but you look great. JW Najarian: Well, thank you. I haven’t had to do the chemo therapy that makes you lose weight or lose your hair. Not at this point. Jackie Keller: You have to be on a special diet though. JW Najarian: Yes. They don’t make you. Nobody comes to your door. The cancer doesn’t come to your door and give you a hard time, but the numbers that you talked about. They are real. You have to beat the odds. The odds are not good for all cancers. In order to beat those odds, you have to do the right things. That has a lot to do with nutrition, but also mindset. It’s not easy to pass up my favorite burger place. Jackie Keller: Right. JW Najarian: When you’re out with your friends and they’re eating a bunch of fries, it’s not easy to say no. Jackie Keller: When you think about the magazine, do you have a favorite type of article that you like to do? Do you have a favorite type of interview? Is it about causes and things that revolve around those issues? What do you enjoy the most? JW Najarian: We do highlight causes a lot of times. I came up with the name On Purpose because I wanted to do articles with purpose, on purpose, if that makes any sense. That means that the articles I do mean something and teach something. They are hopefully intriguing and educational. They make you think. They teach you something. That’s why I love your articles. They have great recipes that you put in our magazine and also great articles on all kinds of things for wellness and health. Those are the things we look for. My personal favorites are authors because of the stories that they tell. Jackie Keller: You have celebrities that do shout-outs to the vets and to various things. JW Najarian: That’s my favorite thing. Every time I get a vet on, I try to get them to do a U.S. veteran shout-out. One of my favorites was when I was a kid I loved space and the whole Apollo thing so I’ve had Buzz Aldrin to yell out to the vets for me. Jackie Keller: That’s cool. That’s cool. What about authors and up and coming authors? How do you help them out? JW Najarian: The magazine actually makes no money. It’s just out there. It was my outlet to put out good information and good content. I was doing a lot of stuff in commercial real estate where I was putting out content about the economy. I was talking to world economists and things about finances for the commercial real estate industry, which is a little boring. So I moved over to celebrities because it was more fun. Jackie Keller: Right. JW Najarian: The question again was? I’m sorry. Jackie Keller: How do you help up and coming authors? JW Najarian: Oh, authors. Yes. What I’m trying to do is move to a model where I… Because I talk to a lot of best-selling authors and one of the things I do in the last ten or fifteen minutes of the interview is I talk to them about their journey that they’ve taken writing the book. Why they decided to publish a certain way? Who they published with? What is their writing cycle like? All of those kinds of things, this is very interesting to authors. We’re trying to move over now to a monetization phase, where maybe we can help some authors out; up and coming authors who don’t know how to get their books out and how to promote their books. Nobody’s calling them up to promote their books. Maybe if they’ve got any interviews [inaudible 11:19] in Kenosha, Wisconsin it’s not on a site like mine that gets a lot of attention. So we’re working on something now to put something together that will cost a little money, but we’re going to try to make it fair where we can help you promote your book. Jackie Keller: That’s great. Do you ever discuss religion or politics? Do you get into controversy? JW Najarian: No. We really stay away from those kinds of things because they are non-academic subjects to us. We don’t want to really… It’s hard to talk about those. We are going to start something called “Talk Summit”. That’s coming up, watch for TalkSummit.com. That’s going to be a blog/talk radio show with me and a couple of my friends. We’re going to pretty much tear it up. Jackie Keller: That sounds great. JW Najarian: We’re going to let loose. Jackie Keller: Alright. JW Najarian: It should be fun. Jackie Keller: Well, we’ll watch for that. In the meantime, I thought we might spend a couple of minutes in the kitchen together cooking up some great antioxidant-rich cancer protective foods. What do you think? JW Najarian: I think that’s a great idea. Jackie Keller: Alright. Well, let’s cook. JW Najarian: Alright. Jackie Keller: OK, JW we’re ready to cook and I thought it would be good to structure a recipe that anybody can make at home; something very simple, something very nutritious and something very appropriate for guys with cancer, or guys that want to protect their prostate because I know that we have a high incidence of prostate cancer, it’s a very common one. We also know a little bit about how healthy it is for guys to have tomato products. Particularly, cooked tomato products because tomatoes… JW Najarian: The lycopene or something? Jackie Keller: Exactly. Tomatoes have a lot of lycopene and when you cook the tomatoes, the little cells in the tomatoes burst and more lycopene is released, so that is a very cancer protective element and we want to get more of that in our diets. So here’s a great simple vegetable casserole that is designed with guys in mind. JW Najarian: Wonderful. Perfect. Jackie Keller: Are you ready? JW Najarian: Yes. Jackie Keller: Simply, we’re going to take out a warm skillet and I’m going to spray it with just enough oil so that we don’t burn our vegetables. I’ll start with some of the harder vegetables first. I have some zucchini here and we’re just going to get that in so that it has a little bit of time to soften up before we add in some other stuff. You’ll notice that I did start with some healthy oil, but I don’t want to add more to it because we talked a little bit about healthy fat and obesity and the fact that so many cancers are tied to obesity. So we want to let the vegetables kind of get started. Whoops. I confused it. We’re going to let the vegetables get started this way. JW Najarian: When you were talking about fats and cancers, the fats and cancers, were you talking about omega-3 fats too, just as much? Jackie Keller: Omega-3 is… JW Najarian: Or just saturated fats? Jackie Keller: It is really more saturated fats that contribute to a higher incidence of cancer. There have been studies that have shown that the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are very healthy, helpful fats, but a lot of people don’t know when you’re eating out, particularly what kind of fat is the restaurant using? A lot of restaurants use highly saturated fats. You want to make sure that when you’re cooking at home, you’re cooking with either an extra virgin olive oil, or you’re cooking with canola oil that you know is not GMO, which is high in polyunsaturated fat. A little bit of coconut oil is considered very healthy. There are a lot of organic coconut oils out there right now. I started with the zucchini, but now I’ve added the tomatoes because I want to get that tomato base. JW Najarian: It’s starting to smell good already. Jackie Keller: We know those tomato based dishes are so good. Smell is so important. It really has to smell right; otherwise you don’t want to eat it, right? It has to look pretty and smell right. We’re going to add in some color now with some cauliflower and broccoli. These vegetables are very high in [inaudible 15:23] which are a chemical that is contained in vegetables… JW Najarian: Easy for you to say. Jackie Keller: Vegetables from the cruciferous family. They all have this chemical in common and chemical properties in common. These are very cancer protective. They are very high in antioxidants which combat the free radicals that attack our bodies internal systems, disrupt us and become carcinogenic, some green peas. This is a vegetarian dish, so we want to be concerned about protein because do want to have protein in our dish. Of course, peas are part of our legume family and everything in the legume family has protein. So we add the peas in, not just because they’re colorful and they’re pretty, but because they have a protein element; some carrots as well, I just love that panoply of color. JW Najarian: I can’t help it because I’m an interviewer at heart. Jackie Keller: Sure. JW Najarian: I have a couple of questions. Jackie Keller: Ask me. Yes. JW Najarian: First of all, you’ve heard the talk now about antioxidants causing cancer? Have you heard any word on that? Jackie Keller: I have not found anything in my research that substantiates that. JW Najarian: I just heard it on this on the news just recently that too many can cause cancer too. I’ll have to send you that one. Jackie Keller: You send me that one because that I’m not familiar with. JW Najarian: The other thing is, I notice that what I hear all the time is colors. Jackie Keller: Mm-hmm. JW Najarian: All the colors. I see every color in there. Jackie Keller: Every color I can find. The more color, usually the higher the vitamin and mineral content. This isn’t always true because you’ll notice we put in cauliflower. That’s white. It’s not a whole lot of color, but cauliflower is loaded with calcium and loaded with vitamin C, so poor little cauliflower gets left out a lot because it doesn’t have that deep rich color. Yes. Generally speaking, you want to eat from every color of the rainbow and you want to put in your dishes as many colors as possible. That’s always a good indication. Now for seasoning, I’m going to use one of my salt and sugar-free spice blends. This is a Mediterranean blend because this is kind of a Mediterranean style casserole, but you can use basil or oregano or whatever herbs and spices you have in your cabinet that you love the most. I love the Mediterranean seasonings so we’re going to get some of that in there to get some flavor going. Then I’m also going to add in… This will surprise you maybe because it surprises some people, but I’m going to add in some other tomato. Again, we are trying for maximum lycopene here. JW Najarian: Right. Jackie Keller: Ketchup. I know people think of ketchup and think high fructose, corn syrup, bad, bad, bad, bad, condiment, and bad sugar, whatever. You can add find now, very reasonably priced organic ketchup that is not sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. It has natural cane sugar in it, but it’s lower sugar, lower salt and of course it’s pure tomato. JW Najarian: I’m on a low salt, low sugar diet. Jackie Keller: So you want to be sensitive to that. This is a really great product. You could use a little tomato paste instead of a little bit of ketchup if you wanted. I kind of like the idea that there are healthy ketchups out there and that it’s a product, if you know what to look for, you can find it and still enjoy something as kind of old fashioned and homemade as ketchup. If you were using tomato paste, you might want to adjust the seasonings a little bit because ketchup does bring more to it than just tomato paste. JW Najarian: It makes it more exciting because I used to like to put ketchup on everything. Jackie Keller: Were you one of those kids? JW Najarian: Yes. Jackie Keller: Ketchup on everything? JW Najarian: Oh yes. Jackie Keller: Now, who cooks at home for you? JW Najarian: Me. I’m the cook. Jackie Keller: You’re the cook in the house. Well this is an easy, easy, easy dish. This has grown as you’ve seen. You start with a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of what’s in your refrigerator and before you know it, you have a very full sauce pan of absolute pure health here. JW Najarian: I love this idea because one of the biggest problems I have is that I go out to the store and I get all these vegetables and they all look really good. Then I put them in the fridge and I mean well, but about three days later I’m like, “I haven’t cooked any of the carrots. I haven’t cooked any of the peas. What am I going to do?” Jackie Keller: Right. This is what you do. If you get to the end of the week and you have all of these vegetables and you still haven’t made your casserole or used them up in a salad, you make soup. JW Najarian: Oh yeah. Jackie Keller: That’s another you can do which is a very useful, creative way of doing all of this. We’re cooking it in a frying pan as though it was a vegetable casserole, but we could have used a stockpot and made a tomato based soup out of it and we would have called it mock minestrone instead of vegetable casserole. So there you go. It’s that simple. I also brought just a little bit of brown rice because again, we want this to be perceived as a complete meal, so we want a complex carbohydrate with it other than just what’s in our vegetables; so a little bit of cooked brown rice along with the peas. Now follow me on this. When you combine a grain and a legume, a whole grain and a legume in the same dish or same meal, a complete vegetarian protein is formed. All of the amino acids are present so you don’t need meat. By adding the grain of brown rice in with our peas which was our legume, remember, we’ve created a complete vegetarian protein in this dish. JW Najarian: Wow. Jackie Keller: So good to know because saturated fat of course is found in foods of animal origin predominantly. You want more plant-based meals in your diet. You don’t want to sacrifice your protein, so it’s good to know about the rules of combining so that you can make complete vegetarian proteins out of your meals. It is just that easy. JW Najarian: That’s why I love talking to you. When we interviewed you the first time, I had some really wrong information about, if you recall because I listened to the interview again today, I had wrong information about whole grains. Jackie Keller: Right. JW Najarian: How we could take them out of our diet and we would be fine because of the paleo thing. You set me straight and thank goodness because it really has rounded out my diet to add some good whole grains. Jackie Keller: Yes. You should have it. In fact, would you like to try this one? JW Najarian: Yes. It smells amazing. Jackie Keller: OK. Well, let’s grab a plate. JW Najarian: OK. Jackie Keller: I’ll dish up something that’s maybe not too big of a piece so you can actually get to it. It’s a little hot and of course if you have a little bit more time, you can let it cook and it will just get softer. You do it according to your taste. JW Najarian: Another thing on my bucket list. I’ve watched all of the cooking shows and never been able to taste until now. Jackie Keller: Oh. OK. Hot? It’s alright? JW Najarian: Mm. That’s so good. Jackie Keller: Oh. Thank you. JW Najarian: The texture makes a really big difference. Jackie Keller: Yes. It’s just that little bit. Well I hope you’re not too busy to tell people how to follow you. Everybody will want to find On Purpose and want to follow all of the various things you’re doing and that talk radio show that’s coming out. It all sounds so exciting. What’s the best way for them to find you? JW Najarian: Thank you so much, Jackie. What you can do is go to www.OnPurposeMagazine.com. You can find me there. On Facebook at JWNajarian and you can find me on LinkedIn or Twitter all the same address. On Twitter we have OnPurposeMag and my name at twitter. Just go to On Purpose Magazine. You’ll find all of the links there. Watch for Talk Summit coming up. TalkSummit.com. Jackie Keller: Great. Great. Thank you for joining me today. I hope you’ll come back and visit us again. Good luck with your cancer treatment. You look like you’re doing great. JW Najarian: Thank you. Jackie Keller: Keep up the good fight. JW Najarian: Thank you. Thank you. Jackie Keller: What five goals do you believe will lead you to lasting happiness? In her book, “Creating Your Best Life”, Caroline Adams Miller describes research tested happiness boosters and techniques for building self-efficacy. The book collects and integrates studies and research on relationships, passion, self-regulation, positive emotions, flow, strengths, exercise, values, savoring and grit as they relate creating an ideal life. When I did this exercise, my goals were to number one, savor. This means slowing down some which is really hard for me to do. Number two, to strengthen, in my world, that means physically strengthen, which I do daily to emphasize the positive, as in looking at a glass half full instead of half empty and to develop my personal relationships which means taking more time for people. To be more mindful in the moment was my fifth goal and this means being less distracted, but to accomplish these goals and most others it is important to remember that goals need to be smart, specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and timed, but they also have to be value-driven. They have to be intrinsic and they have to be enveloping. They need to be exciting for you. If you can make sure that your goals are approach goals, not avoidance goals, your value- driven goals will compel you. They’ll have a better likelihood of being pursued. Goals that foster independence and empower will help you to create a life that is filled with vitality. If you want to share your goals with me, contact me at empowerme.tv/foodexposed. Thank you for joining me today. I hope you’ll tune in next week for a closer look at what’s on your plate? For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv and until next week remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

John Volturo of Scriball Talks Living With Celiac’s Disease

Episode 114

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take an inside look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller, and I’m the founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. We’ve been hearing a lot about gluten free foods these days, a whole lot. It seems that everyone is trying this new style of eating, for a variety of reasons. Today, I’d like to focus on Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity, which when diagnosed, dictate the need to follow a gluten-free diet. While many people are eating gluten-free for other reasons, like following a fad, thinking that’s it’s going to be a magical weight loss cure, curing bad habits in general by eliminating gluten is another reason people are doing this, the autoimmune disorder that is Celiac is a serious condition. It’s estimated that nearly 1 in 100 may have it. It’s the condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by gluten, and this results in the body’s inability to absorb nutrients. No fat, no protein, no carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, which are all necessary for good health, are not well absorbed. According to the science, anything above 20 parts-per-million of gluten can cause damage to a person with Celiac disease. An additional three to five percent of the population suffers from a condition known as non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, which is not an autoimmune disease like Celiac, but it has similar gastrointestinal symptoms and requires the same gluten free diet. What is gluten, anyway? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. As a result, gluten is widely used in the production of many packaged and processed foods. Gluten-containing flours and starches are also used as thickeners, and they are present in many soups and sauces. In fact, gluten in present in so much of our food supply that following this specific dietary platform is really challenging. For those not afflicted but looking for a way to improve their diet in general, simply eliminating foods with highly processed or refined products and emphasizing a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, wholesome lean proteins, dairy, and fat will help. Common symptoms of Celiac disease are anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps, bloating, and in some individuals, itching and burning rashes. Still others present overt symptoms at all, but none the less, they suffer the intestinal damage. The wide spectrum of potential symptoms has historically made Celiac very difficult to diagnose. It’s frequently misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, lactose intolerance, Crohn’s Disease, or other conditions. About 10% of individuals with Type I Diabetes also have Celiac Disease, and Celiac Disease, especially when untreated is also associated with osteoporosis, liver and thyroid diseases, and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a whole host of things. My guest today knows all about getting diagnosed and living with Celiac Disease. We met under circumstances completely unrelated to this condition, but definitely related to healthy food. John Volturo is best known for his avant-garde marketing tactics and is behind some of the biggest aspirational consumer brands in the marketplace today. As the former Senior Vice President for Marketing for Guthy-Renker, John spearheaded business development and marketing strategies for the the direct marketing conglomerate and it’s world-renown products like Chaz Dean’s Wen, Anthony Robbins, Winsor Pilates, and Sheer Cover. Formerly the CMO of BeachMint, silicon beaches most recognized startup. John was a primary in the company’s genesis and early growth. Last November, in 2013, John founded Scriball, a platform that connects brands and consumers through interactive, immersive social storytelling. Scriball uses multimedia and sequenced content to inspire creativity and build brand-to-consumer or consumer-to- consumer based content and conversations. John received his MBA with a concentration in Marketing, Marketing Management from Drexel University and his Bachelor’s in Communication from Temple University. He’s a strong supporter of the LGBT community here in Los Angeles and PTSD recovery organizations. John and his husband, Adam Christian, live in Los Angeles, California, with their twin daughters. John, welcome to Food Exposed. It’s so nice to have you here. I know it’s hard for you to get away, and I’m so delighted that you could join us. Let’s start with the newest child in your life, your new venture, Scriball. Tell me more about it. John Volturo: As you were saying, the whole idea behind Scriball is really about communities. I started thinking about communities a lot when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease because there wasn’t a lot of information out there back in 2009. Really, my community was you, was Jackie Keller. Jackie, I was lucky enough to have feed me and she delivered my meals and experimented on me and helped me figure out what worked and what didn’t work. I slowly started realizing that food actually was changing the way I felt. Everything from headaches to the rashes that Jackie mentioned earlier, to just no feeling bloated all the time. Suddenly, I felt like a different person. I started seeking out communities, and I realized that across the country there were these micro-communities formed around certain areas. Here on the west coast we were lucky; some places in Florida. When I started talking to these people, I realized that a movement was starting. To Jackie’s point earlier, it really wasn’t about a fad, per se, but there were a lot of people who were actually suffering illnesses. I was lucky enough to find out early for me. Out of that whole idea of community grew this idea that communities are really starting to fragment off Facebook and Twitter. People are starting to have conversations, but the problem with Facebook and Twitter that I saw as somebody who was actually running a social commerce company was that didn’t let people actually have a narrative. The narrative kind of escaped our daily life. For me that was really exciting because as a storyteller at heart, because I worked in television for eight years building out infomercials, 30-minute commercials, the story was the king. You told the story about somebody, a passionate developer like Jackie Keller, and you told this story about how they became who they were, and you convinced the person to buy a product through the passion and the fact that this is authenticity. All those communities started to disappear, and the whole narrative started to disappear. I got this idea, shouldn’t there be a narrative in the story online. I decided to leave my company that I was at, BeachMint, and start Scriball. The idea behind Scriball is that it enables all of these small communities, or large communities, or brands, to have a conversation with each other, but collaboratively so people can build stories together. In the case of what you’re doing with your work, Jackie, the way I see the stories, all these people that you help have stories to tell. Not just testimonials, but stories that they want to tell about the way you’ve impacted their life. The other part of the whole community is that it’s fun, it’s gaming. If you want to have recipe competitions, like who’s made the best gluten-free recipe, or which ingredient causes this bread to rise better. I’ve actually done that and seen the power of the communities when they’re together; they just make it a much more rich experience. That’s what Scriball’s all about. Jackie Keller: I know you mentioned community and you mentioned Adam and the other new children in your life. Your twin daughters, and now they’re about three years old. What’s it like to become an instant parent, John? John Volturo: It was exhausting. Jackie Keller: You didn’t have to breastfeed. John Volturo: No, I didn’t have to breastfeed, thankfully, and I didn’t have to carry them, thankfully. We were really lucky to have a surrogate here in Los Angeles, so we got the whole experience from the beginning to end. All of the sudden you go from being a married couple to having two kids in your house within three days of them being born. Your life gets turned upside-down, and you realize how small the world is. You realize that community, again, going back to that, is so important. In Los Angeles we’re really lucky there are organizations like Parents of Multiples, and we’ve joined a lot of organizations just to get close to communities because you go through a major life change. On top of it, being a Celiac, I don’t like to label things of course, but being a Celiac I started thinking about the impact that the food that my kids were eating and what types of formula. We did have our surrogate actually breastfeed, not breastfeed but pumping milk. She started eating food with gluten in it, and one of my daughters became ill almost immediately. It was really interesting because I was actually introducing this to my doctor. When we brought it to the doctor she was surprised that it happened so early, but we pulled back all of the gluten. It was very hard to do that with someone that was doing us a big favor by pumping milk, but only one of our daughter’s ended up with breast milk; the other one ended up on formula because of the gluten intolerance. Jackie Keller: She’s nearly three now, two-and-a-half, right? John Volturo: They’re both two-and-a-half. Jackie Keller: Does she have Celiac Disease? Can you tell at this point? John Volturo: We can’t tell. It’s interesting that you ask because when she does have a piece of bread or a cracker, I can tell her stomach gets a little distended. That was the way I felt initially when I started to discover that I might have Celiac Disease. I actually didn’t even know Celiac Disease existed until I was diagnosed with it. I think the things that she feels, I can tell physically are similar to what I went through. She gets a bloated looking stomach and then she’ll cry in the middle of the night. I used to wake up in the middle of the night. Her form of expression is crying; mine was ouch, my stomach is hurting, why is that happening. Jackie Keller: Come on, I know you cried. John Volturo: I cried, I cried. I cried at work because I was tired. I think she may have an insensitivity. I hope she doesn’t have the full- blown Celiac disease. We haven’t had her tested. We feel like it’s a little bit too early. We just want to try to see if we can maybe diet her. Jackie Keller: Now, because you have this relatively recent diagnosis, how big of a challenge has it been for you to convert your whole way of eating? I know you’re a pasta guy, you come from a good Italian, pasta thing. That’s just one of the examples I know that you’ve had to eliminate from your diet. John Volturo: I’m glad to asked about that, because I will tell you, back in 2009 when I was first diagnosed the biggest problem I had was figuring out what to eat. Luckily, like I said, we were working together, but I love to go out to dinner; it was part of my job as a matter of fact. Talking to talent, going to speak, having dinners, and cocktail parties, all of the sudden you start realizing that gluten is everywhere. Wheat is in soy. Wheat is everywhere you can possibly imagine, even in oatmeal. There’s certain oatmeal’s that you can’t even have because it’s grown on the same fields that… It became a really difficult thing for me to do. For the first month I lost a lot of weight because I was just afraid to eat. Right after that I started thinking about all of the things that I wanted, and we started experimenting at home. Adam was a baker, so in addition to all of the cookies and desserts that you were making for us, he started baking bread. All of the sudden I gained weight, and I became more heavy than I ever was before because I started thinking about the things I was not able to have, and I started eating them. You get to that balance, where all of the sudden you figure it out. Fast forward to today where it’s 2014 and everybody seems to have a gluten-free recipe, which is great. Even most recently, now I can go to supermarkets that are on every corner and buy gluten-free pasta if I want to eat it. Jackie Keller: How can people who face similar challenges use Scriball to get more information about not only Celiac but I know you’re also dairy-free if I remember correctly. John Volturo: I’m a little difficult. Jackie Keller: You’re a little difficult. I would guess that your community helps with that. John Volturo: We haven’t actually set up a Celiac Scriball, but we should. I was actually thinking what I wanted to do for you was set up a community for you for all of your folks, because I think you’re able to reach a group of folks who have been transformed by all of the different recipes you’ve created for them. I think you’re right, we should set up a Scriball community for Celiac Disease, because people are constantly trying to figure out ways to improve upon what they eat. What I’ve discovered is that recipe searching is the most important thing. When I’m at home on a Sunday, and I want to cook a big Italian dinner for my family because I’m Italian and I grew up that way in New York City, it’s really hard for me to go online and find a really great recipe. If there was a community of people talking about the recipes that work for them, that would be great, and that’s what Scriball is really about, that micro-community of people figuring out what’s best and working together to get things done. Jackie Keller: Let’s do that together. John Volturo: I would love to do that together. Jackie Keller: Should we start with a recipe right now? John Volturo: Yeah, let’s do it. Jackie Keller: Alright, let’s cook. All right, John, time to cook. I thought today we would make something that is gluten-free, dairy free, and for you soy free, and still nutritious, delicious, doable, nothing fancy, nothing foreign or weird, nothing exotic, and just show people how easy it is to put together something without a whole lot of effort that meets all of those criteria, and is nutritious as well. We’re going to make a quinoa-based dish. As you know, quinoa is a gluten- free grain, and it’s loaded with protein so this will take care of the fact… This is actually a vegan protein dish. A little bit of extra- virgin olive oil, and of course some onions and bell peppers, which I know you like. John Volturo: Already smells delicious. Jackie Keller: Maybe you can give that a stir while I get the rest of it going. We’re just going to allow, maybe, 30 seconds for this to take on some color and flavor. I cheated a little bit, because… John Volturo: No cheating. Jackie Keller: I cheat all the time. A little bit of collard greens. I pre-blanched them because collard greens do take a couple of minutes to cook, and I knew we would be a little short on time. You’re going to want to spread those out. If you’re starting with raw collard greens in the recipe, you’re going to want to either blanch them or allow for enough time for the collards to cook. Unlike spinach or chard, which you could use in this recipe, collards are a little stiffer. The good thing about collards is they are so, so high in Vitamin K and in fiber. John Volturo: I love collards. I do love them. Jackie Keller: It’s not a common vegetable for some of us. I didn’t grow up with collard greens. I didn’t know anything about them. John Volturo: We started to grow them in our backyard. Jackie Keller: How nice. John Volturo: Yeah, we do. Jackie Keller: We have a farm now. NutriFit has a farm and we are going collards. John Volturo: Farm-to-table. Jackie Keller: Literally, in our case it’s literal. For our clients, they’re getting things that we grow on the farm and bring in and put in their plates. Collards are one of the easiest things to grow, which is really nice. I’m going to add a little bit of vegetarian vegetable broth. Here would be an instance where we would need to look and see, does this have gluten. I don’t have my glasses on. John Volturo: I don’t have mine on either, but I can tell that this is gluten-free because it doesn’t have any soy in it, and it does not have anything related to wheat or modified starches. That tells me right away that it’s probably gluten-free, even though it doesn’t… It actually says it on the front. Jackie Keller: Shows you what you can see when you can read, but in other times or with other products you may not be able to see that it’s gluten-free on the front. John Volturo: A lot of products still don’t have it on there. Jackie Keller: Right, because it’s not necessarily what people are looking for. Although, I think we are going to see more and more things labeled gluten-free that never have gluten to begin with, but this is a product like a broth, sauce, or something pre-made like this where you would have to read the label carefully. John Volturo: You really do have to be careful because brown gravies, like you were saying before, have a lot of gluten in them. Jackie Keller: We’ve got some vegetable broth in there. Now I’m going to add some black lentils to this. If you didn’t have these black lentils, which aren’t that exotic or hard to find, you could use regular lentils. I kind of like something a little different. They’re smaller; they have a little better texture for this dish because they’re not going to get really mushy on me. Of course, by adding in the lentils, we’re adding in fiber, folate, and a lot of protein. John Volturo: A nice crunch too. Jackie Keller: Yeah, they’re good. I’ll add in some of our salt and sugar-free lemon-garden blend because I know what’s in it. Again, another circumstance where it could be a filler or something added in it that could create a reaction. John Volturo: If you haven’t tried Jackie’s spices, they’re amazing. Jackie Keller: That’s sweet of you, thank you. You just earned yourself a bottle to take home. John Volturo: That’s why I said it. Jackie Keller: Give that a stir here while we get the quinoa in there. This is red quinoa. You don’t have to have red quinoa; you don’t have to have black quinoa; you don’t have to have tri-colored quinoa; you can have just plain old quinoa. This is organic, and I like this product because, again, I want something that looks a little unique. I want something that contrasts with the dish and really creates something interesting. We’re going to add in this pre-cooked quinoa. You know you have to rinse quinoa before you cook it because it has that bitter outer coating. When you just rinse it in a colander that outer coating is rinsed off, then you just put in in a pot with some water, bring it up to a boil. Of course, the recipe for this dish is on empowerme.tv. It’s also on my health blog, so you don’t have to worry about writing it down. John Volturo: It smells delicious. Jackie Keller: We’re going to top it off with a little bit of meyer lemon zest and meyer lemon juice. This is another thing we’re trying to grow up on our farm, meyer lemons. We have a regular lemon tree, which is prolific. The meyer lemons are harder to grow and a little bit more delicate, but they have a much sweeter flavor, so we’re experimenting. We’re not farmers by trade. John Volturo: It’s not Green Acres. Jackie Keller: It’s not Green Acres, no, it’s not Green Acres. Well, part of the acres are green, thank God. If we could just get more rain we’d be in good shape. I love the smell of lemon zest. John Volturo: I can smell it from here; it smells great. Jackie Keller: Then we’ll take some of the juice out as well. You just keep stirring there. Pretty soon we will have our dish. Can you hand me one of those forks. I’m going to spear this guy and take the juice out just like that. Who needs a fancy juicer when you have a good old- fashioned fork? Maybe a little bit more. I think there’s a seed or two in there so I have to be a little bit careful. We’re just about done. It’s really that simple. John Volturo: This was fast, yeah. Jackie Keller: Of course, I pre-cooked a couple of things, but nothing took more than 15 minutes to pre-cook. John Volturo: You could do while you do other things as well. Jackie Keller: A nice salad with this, or something like that would be done for the day. You’ve got protein, fiber, fat, healthy vitamins, minerals, everything you need. John Volturo: I think I’m going to go home and make this for dinner tonight. This smells delicious. You might have to give this to me. Jackie Keller: You might have to taste it first, what do you think, ready to do that? Let’s do this. Let’s turn it down because it’s pretty hot. Why don’t you dish yourself up a little bit, and I’m going to have you take a taste. I think you have a fork right there. Let me know what you think. Hot, I know. Is it good? John Volturo: As good as I thought it would be. I did get that one seed. Jackie Keller: That tiny seed found you. John Volturo: It’s very good. Jackie Keller: This is a base. Obviously, you could modify it. If you didn’t have collards you could use something else; make it your own, but I’m glad we came up with something. If you did want to make this, and it wasn’t for John, and you wanted to add some soy nuts to it, you could for a little additional crunch, some roasted soy nuts on the top. It’s good without it as well. John Volturo: Or you could put pine nuts, if you’re me. Jackie Keller: There you go, and pine nuts would be a lovely addition to that. John, thank you so much for joining me today. John Volturo: Glad to me here. I’ll have to give you a hug. I love this woman. Jackie Keller: I know that everybody wants to stay connected to you personally, and they also will be interested in Scriball, so please tell our audience how they can find you. John Volturo: You can find me at JohnVolturo.com, thank you. Jackie Keller: We’ll stay connected. John Volturo: Yes. Jackie Keller: We’ll stay in touch. John Volturo: I’d love to do that. Jackie Keller: We’ll do this again. John Volturo: Yes, let’s do it again. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much. Think for a minute about the most important relationships in your life. What are the characteristics of the people to whom you feel closest? Happy couples describe their partners as interested and responsive. Besides existing relationships, curious people act in certain ways with strangers that allow relationships to develop more easily. Research shows that curious people ask questions and take an interest in learning about partners and intentionally try to keep interactions interesting and playful. Here are a couple of things we now know about social relationships. In a recent blog in Scientific American magazine, Ingrid Wickelgren writes, “People who are part of a group are also far better equipped to conquer an internal foe, the threat of bad health. In one of the recent studies, the health benefits of social relationships published earlier this year, researchers provided evidence that social ties and increased contact with family and friends are also associated with the lower risk in death in young women with breast cancer. Another study presented a similar conclusion with respect to surviving heart surgery. What’s more, a 2010 meta-analysis of 148 other studies showed that social connection doesn’t just help us survive health problems, but lack of it causes them.” She goes on, “Many languages have expressions such as hurt feelings that compare the pain of social rejection to the pain of physical injury. We now know that those are more than just metaphors. There are two components to physical pain, an unpleasant emotional feeling and a feeling of sensory distress. They’re both associated with different structures in the brain, and social pain is also associated with a particular brain structure. This connection between physical and social pain reflects the tie between social connection and the psychological processes of the body.” The health message is clear. Reach out socially, you’ll engage your curious self, you’ll minimize the pain of social isolation, and live more fully. As John Lennon wrote so poetically, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.” That’s our show today. I hope you’ll join me next week for another episode of Food Exposed, where we’ll take a close look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv, and until next week, remember, make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

Dian Thomas Talks Johnny Carson, Her Dramatic Weight Loss & Best Selling Books

Episode 113

Video Transcription

Jackie: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take a close look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller and I’m the founding Director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading food company. You know during the course of my work I’ve had the privilege of working with people from all walks of life from all over this country and all over the world. I’ve been able to travel to every continent and have traveled through most of the United States as well and during the course of this I’ve heard great stories about getting healthy and staying healthy. There’s a general perception that almost no one succeeds in the maintenance of long term — long term maintenance weight loss. However, research has shown that about 20 percent of overweight individuals are successful at long-term weight loss when defined as losing at least ten percent of initial body weight and maintaining the loss for at least one year. The National Weight Control Registry provides information about the strategies used by successful weight loss maintainers to achieve and maintain long-term weight loss. The National Weight Control Registry members have lost an average of 72 pounds and maintained the loss for more than five years. Many registry members follow these basic strategies. Rule number one they never cheat. They don’t give themselves break not even on holidays, not on weekends. Rule number two they eat breakfast. The National Weight Control Registry shows that one of the most common traits of those who succeed in keeping those pounds off once and for all. And rule number three they get on the scale every day. They don’t let the pounds creep up. Rule number four they put in the equivalent of a four mile walk seven days a week. Number five they watch less than half as much TV as the overall population. Rule six they eat 50 to 300 calories per day less than most people; moreover, weight control gets easier over time and after individuals have successfully maintained their weight loss for two to five years the chance of longer term success greatly increases. Continued adherence to diet and exercise strategies, low levels of depression and disinhibition and medical triggers for weight loss are also associated with long term success. Many registry members say that these behaviors are common traits but not something they necessarily do all the time. Well, my guest today is a woman whose story could be in the National Weight Loss Registry instead it’s in her book “Tipping the Scales in Your Favor”. Dian Thomas, author and self-published the book in 2011 losing amazing 120 pounds. Dian hails from the beautiful mountains of southern Utah where she grew up in the family of boys as the daughter of a forest ranger. She developed wonderful camping skills including a host of activities centered around outdoor cooking and after completing her master’s thesis Dian published her first book “Roughing It Easy” which made The New York Times best seller list and landed her on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from that came contact with the Home Show, Good Morning America, and now you can catch her own Hallmark’s Home and Family Show. I met Dian ten years ago and at that time she weighed 326 pounds, I’ll let her tell the rest of the story to you. Dian, welcome to Food Exposed. Dian: Thank you. Jackie: Thank you so much for coming down from Utah. You know I know people are really captivated by weight loss stories but yours is unique. What motivated you to lose weight? Dian: Well, I was here in Santa Monica speaking because I had been on television for so long. I was speaking about how to do publicity and how to do performances and I was all finished and all gathering up and I remember this wonderful woman came and said you know I went to my car and I decided I should come back and here’s my card and I can help you lose weight and that was you. I have been grateful ever since because it gave me hope. I think one of the big things is and I haven’t done it perfect as you know but one of the best things is you stay on the track and even if you slip a little bit, you keep staying on the track and you stay on the track. Pretty much at whole I’ve conquered it but I still am challenged a little more when I travel and that’s a hard one for me. I’ll still work on that. I’m not going to giving it up but I remember in the beginning I said to myself I’ve got to find an activity that I love and if I don’t, I’m not going to stick with it and so I think that was a huge, huge key and that was riding my bike and that’s opened up the gate. In fact, this year I’m riding my bike down the Rhine River and through the tulips in [inaudible 00:05:38] Jackie: Wow. Dian: . . . and in Paris. So it still is a passion for me. Jackie: That’s great. So what changed in your life because you lost the weight? Dian: Oh, I have a new life. It’s totally new. I love traveling and I was always really active. As you mentioned, I’m from the forest, and my dad was a ranger, we went out camping and all of that. So I had a really active upbringing and also I traveled the country doing promotion, promoting books, but pretty soon when you get so heavy you’re just looking for the next chair to sit down and your life totally changes. And it’s kind of like you go downhill and then coming back up is really difficult. I remember I used to ride my bike. That was really my main exercise. I used to ride it for two hours in the morning at home. I would be so exhausted some days that I couldn’t do much the rest of the day and I still, I did, the highlight for me was when I rode across to Iowa two years ago and rode every mile. So one of the things we do is called RAGBRAI. Some of you may know especially if you are in the middle part of the country but 15,000 bike riders come to Iowa towards the end of July and Iowa is bordered by the Missouri River on the West and the Mississippi on the East and so we start riding our bikes, we back our back tire into the Missouri River and then you ride across the state and each day you ride about 60 to 80 miles. And then in the next day you get another 60 to 80 miles and so there’s about 25,000 people. So some of the towns that you stay in are only 3,000 people so here’s all these bike riders, so I think associating with people who work out and do healthy living things also is a big help for me. Jackie: And you have a new career I think in there as I . . . tell us about it. Dian: Which one? Jackie: Well you mentioned like riding your bike down the Rhine River and tulips in Holland. I think you’ve had a few other trips that are pretty exciting since you’ve lost the weight. Dian: Absolutely. What happened, to be honest with you Jackie, is when I lost the weight I rode my bike so much that everybody knew I was riding my bike. Every day I was on my bike and a friend of mine told the travel agent in Salt Lake about that and they called me when I was in California and said would you come and do a bike tour to China? I go that’s a no brainer. I mean of course I would do a bike trip to China. And so I went in, met with them, and they never got enough people to go to China for the bike ride but all of sudden I found myself in China. He said just go take tours for me, go take tours, so I had been China to 16 times and I also stay in China and I ride my bike which is pretty dangerous. It’s not like riding in LA because they don’t anticipate you. It’s like they have rules in China but nobody follows them so people are coming from all directions. So I decided Europe is where I’m going to go because they have bike lanes and they actually have that in China but so I started doing tours to China and then next one was to Peru to Machu Picchu which I’m going back again in a couple of weeks. And this last I just got home two weeks ago from South Africa where I went to Kruger Park to see the animals and next year I’m going back and take people on a camping trip in South Africa. Jackie: Now would that have been possible at 326 pounds? Dian: No, none of it would have been possible and so it’s really thrilling and that’s one thing that keeps me going. Like I said, one of my challenges is when I travel. But you just keep working on it. I mean a lot of people the thing about weight which you could have told me is it’s a long-term effort and just because you fall off the wagon what I used to do is, “Well I fell off the wagon. I’ll just eat for a week, and then I’ll go back on.” But no you get up the next morning and you start and then your own way again so I think losing weight is a challenge. Our country is as you know we have a challenge with that and that’s why it’s so good to have people like you who lead the way and show us. I have a background in home economics but it’s not just knowing the information. It’s really applying the information. Jackie: So how valuable was it to have a coach through this process? Dian: I don’t think I would have done it. I have told many of my friends I don’t think I would because it’s a long term you have to just keep doing it. And again in my suitcase I brought down some more books to work on tonight to make a plan and I think eventually I’ll get a plan. But one of the things I think plagues is we need fast food. Not fast food in the terms of McDonalds and all of those but when you get ready to eat. You’re tired, you’re back from the office, you need to be able to fix it fast and so that’s been my challenge is learning how to set my kitchen up so that when I go in there I can make something really fast and is healthy. That’s the key. I tell people I can fix . . . this is my kind of mantra. I go shopping on Saturdays, come home, and if I can set it up like even pre-measure all of the stuff. Last night as I’m getting ready to come here I just bought some turkey hamburger and when I buy it I get about four pounds or so. So I measured it all out, made the hamburger patties, and put them in the freezer, and then they are all ready to go. I just take them to the freezer up, put them in a pan, turn it over, and then turn up the heat, go into work, and then when I come back out, I need to steam some vegetables or something like that, and I have a meal. So it’s fast. Jackie: Well about doing some fast cooking with me today? Dian: I would love to. Jackie: So let’s join me in the kitchen. Dian: I always love watching your stuff. It gives me ideas to do so. Jackie: Let’s do it together. All right, Dian. We are ready to cook. Dian: I’m excited. Jackie: I know you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In fact, you do a lot of your cooking at home. You can do that when you are home, but do you do that all of the time? Dian: All of my cooking. Yeah. Jackie: So I thought that I would give you a couple of another ideas to take home. Dian: Yes, I would love that. Jackie: These are really easy and they are very quick and they are down your alley because I know you love vegetables. You tell me all the time you go to the farmer’s market, you pick up what’s special, what’s seasonal, what’s fresh, what just and then you come home and create. Dian: Exactly. Jackie: And that’s sort of the way this recipe evolved. It’s very simple pasta dish so its base of carbohydrate is whole grain pasta, and for protein we are using white beans, and for fiber we are using kale. So vegetarian pasta dish with just a little bit of feta cheese at the end, which of course is optional. You know you don’t have to do it that way but I think that kind of rounds it out. So let me get started with some extra virgin oil. As you know the extra virgin means that it has the best flavor and the highest purity so we need the least amount because every drop is going to contribute just a little bit more flavor benefit so just enough that we don’t burn the bottom of the pan. Dian: Good. Jackie: And of course we love to start all of these dishes with some garlic. Dian: Oh yeah. Jackie: And you know we like to start with something that people are familiar with because when you don’t do a pasta dish that has meat or something like that, sometimes your guests are “okay like well something is missing.” “You know like this more like an appetizer than an entree,” but the truth is that you don’t need the meat. What you need is something that smells good and looks good. Dian: It really smells good. Jackie: Yeah, it’s very fragrant so. Dian: So this is the kale? Jackie: This is some fresh kale. Now we steamed it a little just to get ahead start. Dian: So that’s the big leaf. Jackie: That’s the big leaf kale. You can use baby kale, you can use red kale or blue kale or any kind of kale you can get your hands on but I like the dark rich green color of this. And since I don’t want to add anymore oil and I don’t want to burn the bottom of the pan, I’m going to add in a little organic vegetable broth, and that’s just enough to give it some juice and keep that garlic from burning and the vegetables can continue to cook a little bit and now. Dian: Did you blend the garlic? That’s one thing I noticed right off the top. Jackie: I did not. That is fresh garlic, that we minced, mince, mince, mince. We set it up like you talked about setting up your meals in containers. We set up our ingredients in these little containers, food safe containers designed for food to keep in the refrigerator and that way you don’t have to start completely from scratch. You know you are starting with something, some of the harder stuff already done. The beans, I pre-cooked the beans and these are just white beans. Now you could use cannellini beans, black beans, red beans. Dian: You could freeze this ahead of time, couldn’t you? So I got two great ideas from you today already. Chopped up garlic and you could do that so you can just put more in. Jackie: You can do that at the start of week and have it all week long and the beans… Dian: The beans could be frozen. Jackie: Put them in an eight ounce containers or two cup containers and you are good for the week. Dian: Good. Jackie: And then the same beans can be used in many different ways. Dian: So now I think that’s the key to that because doing it ahead of time is easy. This is fast food, really good fast food. Jackie: This is fast food, yeah. And you mentioned that’s really been one of the challenges, right? Dian: Yeah, that’s the key. Jackie: And then another not so secret secret is of course is to have these salt and sugar free spices available. This is one of ours it’s Mediterranean but you know you don’t have to have ours to make this recipe work you can do your own and this is a brand new bottle so I’m going to do another little trick that I like to do which is to crush the seasoning and really releases all of the flavor in the dried herbs. Dian: That’s nice. Jackie: Now I’ll let you stir for me here while I clean my hands. Dian: Looks nice. Jackie: And I love the smell on my hands of those seasonings but I also appreciate having something to kind clean of my hands and add a little more flavor to it. I’m going to take some lemon and go right into that with some fresh Meijer lemon and I’m going to clean my hands too. So my hands now smell like lemon which I love. Dian: So you could use lemon or lime? Jackie: Lemon or lime either one. And you just want a little bit just to because we are not making a tomato base sauce here. We are making a vegetable based sauce so I’m going to go ahead and add in now some pre-cooked. I pre-cooked a little bit of vegetable penne, whole wheat penne. And again you don’t need much. Dian: Could you freeze this as well, couldn’t you? Jackie: You can, pasta will lose a little bit of texture in the freezer. So when it comes out what you could do with this which would take care of the texture issue we are going to serve it just fresh out of the skillet but let’s say you had frozen the pasta and it had become a little watery when you defrosted it and you were like oh it doesn’t look beautiful anymore. Well you take it, you added some mozzarella cheese, you pour it into a baking dish and you bake it. Now you have a baked pasta bean vegetable casserole as opposed to the way we are doing it here. So you see very easy. Dian: This is fabulous. This is great. Jackie: Look at how easy that is. And now to add just a little bit protein to it because we know we like cheese this is low sodium, low fat feta cheese. Dian: Cool. Jackie: And it’s just going to be enough to again to bring some color to the dish. It adds a little bit of salt flavor because you notice you didn’t add any salt. Dian: But you add the extra. See that’s what I love about watching you because you know those little tricks to put into to make it so it’s gourmet. Jackie: Well, it’s a dressed up version. Dian: That’s right. Jackie: Very rustic Italian dish which as you know pasta with white beans. So it’s a pasta fagioli upscale. Dian: There you go. I’m going to get you a plate. Jackie: No, this is going to be your plate. Dian: Is this my plate? Oh good. Jackie: I need to dish up for you. Dian: I’m ready to try to that. Jackie: Just try that? All right. Dian: That looks beautiful. One thing Jackie told me a couple weeks ago is that my food is a little boring, so I came down here to jazz it up but I can see why. Jackie: Hot, hot, hot. Careful. Dian: That is great. Jackie: Thank you. That’s so sweet but you know Dian I know that viewers are going to want to get in touch with you. They are going to want to not only know how to contact you just to hear your story and hear more of your story and of course tipping the scales in your favor to find the book but they are also going to be interested in following you through your travels so what’s the best way for our viewers to find you? Dian: Just to go my website, it’s www.DianThomas.com and I do have a . . . I spell it different without an E but I also have on with the E so either way DianThomas.com. Jackie: All right. Dian: And if you want to see Johnny Carson, you can go to my website and watch that today. Jackie: Well, great. Well, thank you so much for coming down. Dian: Thank you. Jackie: It is always a pleasure to see you, we are going to keep working together, and keep up the good effort. Dian: You have been a fabulous coach so if you need a good coach. Call Jackie, she’s the best. Jackie: Oh thanks, Dian. Dian: You’re welcome. Jackie: My coaching moment today is about how committing to your goals helps you achieve happiness and is based on the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky in the book “The How of Happiness”. She writes that people who strive something for personally significant whether it’s learning a new craft, changing careers, or raising moral children are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations. Find a happy person and you will find a project. You know I think she’s right we all know people who have goals but lack the motivation to pursue them. What really makes us happy is when we find the drive to chase our dreams. So what is committed goal pursuit do it for us? Well, let’s consider the opposite for a moment when you don’t have that significant goal, it’s hard to feel connected to something. Having a goal gives us something to work for. It also increases our self-esteem. Goals make us feel confident and every time we accomplish a step along the way you get another emotional boost. These lift are not only reinforcing our happiness but they help us stay motivated. And third having goals to pursue give us structure and meaning and we can also have a natural way to connect with others through our goals. Related to this is yet another benefit of being committed. It helps us schedule our time and ourselves and should something derail us from one goal, we are better built to cope with problems and replace that goal with another. Finally, as human beings we have a need to belong and engage with people if only on a goal-related level. Goals can be happiness inducing even in virtue of just connecting us with other people and this contributes to our continued vitality. In the words of Robert Louis Stephenson, an aim in life is the only fortune worth finding. Thank you for joining me today on Food Exposed. I hope you will join me next week as we take another close look of what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on emPOWERme.tv and until next week make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

Rand Corporation’s Dr. Deborah Cohen On The Obesity Epidemic

Episode 112

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where, each week, we take a close look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller, and I’m the founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. Today, we’re taking a close look at why we put stuff on our plates, literally, our eating habits as a country in general. This is serious stuff, because, as you know, two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese, as are one-third of our children. What do hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer have in common? Obesity is an underlying cause of all of these chronic diseases that are killing more than 100,000 Americans every year. We’re going to get to the heart of this problem with our guest, but before we do, I thought that it would be interesting to take a look at where we’ve been with dieting trends over the last few years, and look back even further to see how little has changed since the 1930’s in general. So, here’s a quick tour through the history of dieting trends. In the 1930’s and 40’s, you could blame Lucky Strike. Smoking was the way we got thin back then. The cigarette brand used the line, “Reach for a Lucky, instead of a sweet.” Yuck! Literally, heart disease and lung cancer, that’s what we got, not skinny. That’s not the only thing that debuted back then. The lemonade diet was popular, which is remarkably like, well, wait for it, today’s Master Cleanse. In the 1950’s, we were praying for weight loss. The Christian dieting industry was born, and followed Reverend Charlie Shedd’s book, “Pray Your Weight Away”. This was followed by, “I Prayed Myself Slim,” and, “Help Lord- The Devil Wants Me Fat!” Fast forward to 2002, and Don Colbert publishes, “What Would Jesus Eat” cookbook. I mean, seriously. In the 1960’s, we all shared the love, right? When it came to dieting, we grew support organizations like Overeaters Anonymous and Weight Watchers. We ate the cabbage soup diet to bloat our stomachs up so we’d feel full and lose weight. Well, not. In the 1970’s, the era of miracle pills, from Dexatrim to Fat Blocker. Where have we heard more about this recently? This gets revived again, just a few years later, with Fen-Phen and other miracle diet pills. Oh yeah, the cookie diet. Turns out it’s not so new. It started in the 1970’s. By 1980, the Scarsdale diet came in with hardcore, high-protein, low-carb, low calorie, and you thought starving was new? In the 1990’s, Dr. Atkins took Scarsdale one step beyond, and introduced high-fat to the no-carb picture. So, why does this sound familiar? In 2000, we’ve had an explosion of diets. Since then, you have your choice. There are cleanses. There is Paleo, which is one of the worst diets of 2013, according to the U.S. News and World Reports. The DASH diet, the South Beach diet, the Mediterranean diet, and there’s even a new one called The Ice Cream Cleanse! Yep, it just made the scene, straight from right here in Venice, California. Yet, as a nation, we keep getting fatter. So, what really works, and how can we get a grip on our waistlines? Well, my guest today is an expert in this area. In fact, she’s a senior natural scientist and a leading researcher at Rand Corporation, an M.D. with a Master’s in public health, and the author of a recently published book, “A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Forces Behind The Obesity Epidemic, and How We Can End It.” Dr. Cohen, welcome to Food Exposed. Dr. Cohen: Thank you for inviting me. Jackie Keller: Well, you know, in your book, “A Big Fat Crisis,” you talk about changing the conversation around obesity. Tell me more about that. I hear people talk about diet all day long, and clearly, as a country, we’re awash in food. Everywhere you turn, there’s an opportunity to eat, and we all know you can’t eat constantly. I own a food business, and a lot of industry is driven around food business. How do we reconcile that segment of the economy with having too much food and temptation? Dr. Cohen: Okay. The problem we have now, with the obesity epidemic, is that we generally consider this an individual problem. If we continue to do that, we will never change this issue. We have to think of this as a public health crisis at this point. You mention the statistics. Two out of three adults are overweight or obese and we have this huge increase in chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. It’s making our health care costs soar. So, instead, we have to really look at what’s underlying this epidemic. In my view, the problem is that we have allowed our country to be turned into a food swamp. Jackie Keller: Oh my. Dr. Cohen: So, and you’ve mentioned it! There’s food everywhere you go. Jackie Keller: That’s true. Dr. Cohen: The problem is that when we see food, it makes us feel hungry. If it’s convenient, if it’s in front of us, it encourages impulse buying and impulse eating. Unfortunately, that’s the way human beings are designed. It’s in our DNA to eat when food is available. There are so many studies that show that if you serve people more than they need, they will eat more than they should. So, if we really look at the underlying causes, the problem is our restaurants- they serve way too much food, too much salt, too much sugar, too much fat, too many calories- and it’s our supermarkets, which encourage us to buy foods that increase our risk of chronic diseases. Jackie Keller: Oh. So, there are many people who literally can’t control their urge to eat, and eat the wrong foods? Dr. Cohen: Well, look, that’s most of us. Remember, two out of three people are eating more calories than they burn in physical activity. So, that’s the normal person. Jackie Keller: Wow. Dr. Cohen: As I said, we’ve done studies where you serve people too much food. People automatically eat more than they should. The problem is that we have this misperception of human nature. We tend to think that people are in full control of everything they do. We think that if we choose something and put it in our mouths, it was our deliberate decision. The truth is that most of our behaviors are actually automatic, and they occur without our intention or conscious control. So, just think about eating. If you were watching a movie and had a bowl of popcorn in your lap, as you’re watching the picture, you can take your hands, put them in the popcorn bowl, put the popcorn in your mouth, chew it, and swallow it all without paying attention, without directing that to happen. We can do it automatically. We can keep eating, and we won’t even know that we’re finished until there’s nothing left in the bowl, right? That was an automatic behavior. We can do it unconsciously, without intention, without deliberation, and without any effort. We were designed that way. Eating is an automatic behavior. Jackie Keller: My goodness. You mention in the book- and, by the way, what a great title. Dr. Cohen: Thank you. Jackie Keller: It’s a wonderful book- that we don’t fully control our senses. How does that tie into advertising and personal choice? Dr. Cohen: Okay. So, we don’t control our senses much, at all. You know, if we hear a sound, you know, we’ll automatically turn toward that sound. We don’t think, “Oh, I heard a sound. I better turn my head.” It’s the other way around. You know, if we see a tempting food, we will automatically start salivating. We don’t tell ourselves, “Okay body, start salivating and feel hungry.” No! That happens as a reflexive response to food. That’s the problem. We have food all around us, and it’s causing this reflex, which we cannot control. No one can control that. It makes us feel hungry. What we can partly control is whether we act on those feelings of hunger and desire. Basically, the market has figured out what increases the chances that we will act on those desires. So, they’ve set up restaurants and supermarkets to lead us to buy more and eat more than we really should. Jackie Keller: So, you talk in the book about the food environment being at the root of the problems today. One example might be the supermarket example. Can you give us some others? Dr. Cohen: Yeah. So, I mean, let’s go back to restaurants. Right now, when we go out to eat, we’ll be, 95% of the time, increasing our risk of a chronic disease, just by going to a restaurant. Jackie Keller: Oh, my goodness. Dr. Cohen: Yeah! That’s because restaurants will serve you more food than you need, right? If you get too many calories at one meal, it’s very hard to compensate later, because people also have a very limited ability to track what they eat. You know, they’ve done all kinds of studies. They ask people, “What did you eat in the last 24 hours?” Jackie Keller: Right, a recall. Dr. Cohen: Most people under-report by anywhere from 200 to 1,000 calories. The average person doesn’t remember eating what constitutes a full meal. Jackie Keller: Wow. Dr. Cohen: So, you know, four to five to 600 calories, we won’t even realize. Again, it’s because we’re not paying attention to what we’re eating. You know, we can eat, and I can talk to you , or drive a car, or watch T.V., and that means we’re not tracking what we’re eating. What we’re swallowing, we can’t really keep track of that. Jackie Keller: So, I’ve heard a lot about this, sort of, eat following your intuition, your body will tell you. So, what you’re saying is that’s not so. Dr. Cohen: That is absolutely not so. People were designed to be able to eat more than they need. That’s why we have a pathway where we can convert the extra calories into fat. If we could only eat what we needed, we wouldn’t be storing fat. So, we’re actually designed to eat more than we need. Jackie Keller: So, what would you recommend that we push for? Is this something that should be legislated? How does that work with personal choice? Dr. Cohen: Okay. Well, we legislate a lot of things to protect people who are at risk. So, we legislate the quality of the water that’s in our pipes and comes through the faucet, so people don’t automatically get exposed to toxins and things that will make them sick. Well, we can do something like that when it comes to the food environment, because right now, we’ve allowed businesses to put all of us at risk. We’re at risk every time we dine out. We’re at risk every time we go to the supermarket. One of the things I proposed in restaurants is to have standardized portion sizes. So, when we buy something, when we order something, we should be able to get that in an appropriate portion size, a standard portion size which is appropriate for one person to eat at a single serving. Jackie Keller: Well, that’s pretty controversial, because that takes away the whole value proposition… Dr. Cohen: Well, but right now… Jackie Keller: …from the equation. Dr. Cohen: Okay. But right now, if you go to the restaurant and they serve you more than what’s appropriate for you, you’re going to get sick. You’re going to increase your risk of obesity or chronic disease. If I wanted to go out and eat, and not get sick, I don’t have that option. So, if every restaurant would just have it available in a single, standardized portion, then it would be up to me. It would be up to every consumer to decide, to choose one portion or not. If someone wanted two portions, they could, but right now, we have no way to estimate what we’re getting. I have to tell you, we already have portion standards when it comes to alcohol. If we order a drink, whether it’s a beer, wine, or a shot of liquor, the amount we get only has 0.6 ounces of ethanol. Jackie Keller: Okay. Dr. Cohen: Right, so we can gauge our risk of becoming drunk. You know, if you renew your license at the DMV, you’ll get some information that tells you how many drinks you can have and then it would be safe to drive, right? People can gauge that by counting their drinks. We don’t have that for food, and that’s all I’m proposing. It’s not taking away people’s right to choose to eat as much as they want. It’s just a system that will allow people to track how much they’re getting, and to not be put at risk every time they go out to eat. Jackie Keller: Fascinating. Wow. Well, speaking of personal choice, I thought we’d take a few minutes today, in the kitchen, for putting together some great choices for managing a healthy diet. Dr. Cohen: Okay. Jackie Keller: I know that portion control is a big issue for many, many people, and i think that food labeling in restaurants and fast food operations is a step in the right direction, but I think it’s going to be awhile before we get to the point where the government is going to step in further. I know that there have been some attempts to do that. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. You know, every restaurant already has portion sizes, they’re just different for every single restaurant. Jackie Keller: That’s very true. Dr. Cohen: If they would all get on the same page, then people would have the option to choose. It would give people the power to choose how much they’re eating. Right now, we don’t have that choice. We just get whatever they give us. If it’s too much, tough on us; tough on us! You know, people actually don’t have the capacity to estimate volume just by looking at it. We have a limit when it comes to, you know, figuring out how many jelly beans are in the jar, right? That’s what they’re asking us to do. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Dr. Cohen: Most people can’t do that. In general, we underestimate. The larger something is, the less we think is in it. So, it really puts us at a huge disadvantage. I mentioned about what restaurants can do, but one of the things we need to do with supermarkets is to do something about all the impulse marketing that they have, candy at the cash register, chips and sodas on the end of aisles. It turns out that where they place the food in the supermarket determines what we buy. Jackie Keller: Yeah. I’m not surprised. Dr. Cohen: Who would think that the placement of something would make us buy something or not? But it does. So, when they put that stuff that we need to avoid in front of our faces, it triggers our impulse buying, and again, it’s a risk factor for making us sick. Jackie Keller: Well, I think understanding that association is something that we need to talk more about. Dr. Cohen: Right, absolutely. Jackie Keller: That’s why I’m so glad that you put it in this book. Dr. Cohen: And you know, one of the things that we do, at least for alcohol, is that we don’t allow alcohol to be sold at the cash register. We don’t allow it in vending machines. There are some regulations that don’t allow alcohol within five feet of the register in California. It’s against the law. Or, five feet of the front door when you go to a gas station. So, we could certainly have a regulation on where things could be placed. It wouldn’t prevent people from getting whatever they want, but it would assure that, when we got something, it was deliberate. If we have to go and look for something at the third aisle, on the bottom shelf, then you know you really wanted it. Jackie Keller: Right. Dr. Cohen: But if you’re just grabbing it because it’s there, and it’s an automatic, sort of unconscious thing, that’s something we could protect people from without limiting their free choice. Jackie Keller: Well, very interesting. We’ll have to see how that evolves. Dr. Cohen: Yes! Jackie Keller: Now, let’s go to the kitchen and talk about choosing fruits and vegetables. Dr. Cohen: All right! Jackie Keller: All right. Dr. Cohen: Let’s go. Jackie Keller: So, today I thought we’d spend a few minutes talking about the value proposition for foods that are healthy. I think there’s a perception that healthy foods are expensive and that people don’t buy things that are healthy because they cost too much, and availability is an issue if it’s healthy food. But, you know, as you and I both know, in the world of plants, economy is the byproduct of it being plant based. Also, availability, we’re fortunate. We live her in California, and we have fruits and vegetables in abundance. I wanted to share a recipe for a vegetable curry, which I thought would be quick, easy, and fun to make. I’ve cut up a bunch of vegetables here, that we can put into the pan all at once. It’s one of those one pot wonders, you know. You don’t have to mess with it. The longest part of preparing a dish like this, of course, is cutting everything and chopping. Once you have that down, or you buy frozen, which is another option, it’s really a quick fix as far as healthy meals are concerned. Let’s talk for a minute, if we could, about portion sizes and value. So, I brought along an onion. We talked before the show, and you mentioned that it looked like a really big onion, and it must be at least a pound of onion. In fact, weighing it, we realized, yes it is a pound of onion. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. That’s an extra large onion. Jackie Keller: That’s an extra large onion. Of course, I have some here, chopped and ready to go, but… Dr. Cohen: So, you would probably be able to get three of those in this one onion. Jackie Keller: Exactly. That one onion might cost $0.69, $0.79. In a cheap market, or a less expensive market, it might cost half of that. Dr. Cohen: Maybe 30 or 40 cents, yeah. Jackie Keller: So, that’s three or four servings of onion… Dr. Cohen: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Depending on your recipe. I also prepared a little bit of broccoli, and I brought a broccoli stalk, and this one is just about six ounces, so about one-third of a pound of broccoli. Dr. Cohen: Okay. Jackie Keller: Clearly, you would get at least this much out of it, if not more. This is a 12 ounce cup. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. I think a pound of broccoli is something like 10 servings. Jackie Keller: So, you know, we see, quickly, how inexpensive it is to put all these together. So, let’s start by seasoning our pan with a little bit of the onion that I brought. I’m going to add in a little bit of curry powder, because, you know, I think a vegetable curry is a really easy dish to prepare. Dr. Cohen: How do you know how much to shake out? Do you ever measure it? Jackie Keller: Well, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I no longer measure. Dr. Cohen: Just covering up the onion. Jackie Keller: Exactly, exactly. By toasting the curry, it brings out the flavor in the curry powder. It tastes a little bit of the… Curry can be pretty sharp. Doesn’t that smell wonderful? Dr. Cohen: It smells so good! Jackie Keller: Let’s talk for a minute, while the vegetables are sauteing, about smell and purchase decisions. That’s probably something you’ve researched a bit, too. Dr. Cohen: Not really. Jackie Keller: No; because, I know you talked about the physical appearance of food at the register affecting a purchase decision? Dr. Cohen: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Do you think that the smell, as well, makes a difference? Dr. Cohen: Well, I think most vegetables don’t have much of a smell. Some of the leafy green vegetables might smell, like arugula has a fabulous smell. But I haven’t noticed a smell for broccoli or celery, just when it’s cold. Maybe after it cooks, it has a smell. Jackie Keller: Right. Well, you know, I ask because I know, when you’re selling a house, they bake cookies or do something that has cinnamon to make the house smell good, because it affects people psychologically. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. I think fruits have a wonderful smell. Jackie Keller: Let’s talk for a minute about, I brought a cantaloupe. Dr. Cohen: You brought a cantaloupe. That probably has a great smell. Jackie Keller: Of course, a cantaloupe like that weighs about a pound. Usually, you buy them by the piece. Quite often, a cantaloupe like that will be maybe $2.00 or something like that. Two dollars, two for four, or something like that. Dr. Cohen: Uh-huh. Jackie Keller: Typically, again, servings, I would guess that you would get eight average servings, so, again, about $0.25 per serving. Dr. Cohen: Right. Jackie Keller: So, I’ve put in here, our onion, carrots, bell peppers, and celery. We can add in some broccoli. We’ve got even a little bit of cauliflower here. You see, what’s here, visually, is we’re creating something that has this wonderful pallet of color. Dr. Cohen: Yeah, beautiful. Jackie Keller: Really, we eat first with our nose. So, we want to make it smell right. If it passes the nose test, it goes to the eyes, because after the age of three, you no longer put things in your mouth that look bad or smell bad. Then, if it passes the eyes and the nose, we’ll taste it. Dr. Cohen: The purple is beautiful. Jackie Keller: Isn’t that pretty? Dr. Cohen: Yeah. Jackie Keller: You know, just a little bit of purple cabbage. And again, talk about affordable, this is maybe 10 cents a serving. The other vegetables range in price. Some zucchini here form 15 or 20 cents a serving. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. Jackie Keller: So, we put in, let’s see, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight different kinds of vegetables. All right, and let’s say, on the average, there in a little bit more seasoning, because our volume here has grown. Let’s say 25 cents an average serving size. So, we’ve created a dish here that will easily serve four or five people, maybe with a little brown rice at the bottom. Maybe some potatoes could be added to it to complement the vegetables. But, we’re talking about something that has a price point per serving. Dr. Cohen: Right. It’s affordable, definitely affordable. You know, the USDA has done research on what vegetables do cost, and I don’t think anywhere in the country, vegetables are more than, at the most, 50 cents a serving. You know, the USDA guidelines for Americans say that the average person needs four and one-half cups of fruits and vegetables every single day. Jackie Keller: Wow. Dr. Cohen: Four and one-half cups. That means, if you divide it across three meals, that’s one and one-half cups per meal. Jackie Keller: Right. Dr. Cohen: You know, fruits and vegetables, people forget that they need that every day, and if they don’t get it every meal, then they’re going to somehow have to compensate. Jackie Keller: Right. Dr. Cohen: If you didn’t get it at breakfast or lunch, try getting all four and one-half cups at dinner. Jackie Keller: Yeah, it’s… Both: Not going to happen. Dr. Cohen: Right? Jackie Keller: Right. Dr. Cohen: That’s why it’s really important to spread it out, because it’s pretty hard to eat it all at once. The volume is so great. What’s so nice about it is that it does fill you up. Jackie Keller: Right. All that fiber really makes you feel full. I am wondering, now that we’ve got this colorful, wonderful, beautiful dish… Dr. Cohen: Uh-huh. Jackie Keller: Is your salivary glands, are we feeling it a little bit? Dr. Cohen: Yeah, I’m feeling it. Especially that smell, it’s so lovely. Jackie Keller: How about if I ask you to taste, will you take a bite? Dr. Cohen: Okay. Jackie Keller: All right, let’s dish it up. Just a little bit, because I know it’s hot; again, just realizing that the color is so lovely and so welcoming. Dr. Cohen: All right. Jackie Keller: Here you go. Dr. Cohen: All right. Jackie Keller: Now, obviously, a little bit more time, and we… Dr. Cohen: I’m going for that carrot, uh-huh. Yummy, that is really good. Jackie Keller: Thank you. Thank you so much! Dr. Cohen: I’m going for these carrots. Jackie Keller: That bright orange color really attracts us, right? It’s the color of health. So, Dr. Cohen, Debra, I know that people will want to follow your work. Of course, your book is available on Amazon. Dr. Cohen: Yes. Jackie Keller: That’s where I found it. Dr. Cohen: It is a Kindle book, too. Jackie Keller: A Kindle book, too. It’s an easy read, a great read, but how else can people find you? Dr. Cohen: Well, I’m at the Rand Corporation. You can look at the Rand website and see the work that I’m doing. I do hope that you’ll read the book, and in the book there’s a chapter on what people can do about this obesity epidemic. I think the first thing is really that we have to stop blaming ourselves. You know, nobody wants to be fat. I don’t think anyone is deliberately trying to eat too much and exercise too little. It’s really the environment that’s creating this situation that is undermining our long-term goals. So, we’ve got to do what we’ve done with other issues in public health, you know, have some standards, and have some way to control the environment so that it doesn’t put as at risk every time that we step out the door. We have standards for cars, so we don’t crash, so cars don’t explode, and so cars don’t catch fire. We have regulations that check that out. We have standards for water. We have standards for air. We have standards for housing. Just imagine if we didn’t have railings on stairs. We’d be falling, and would we blame ourselves? No. We realize that, by not having a system that keeps us safe, we’re at risk. That’s what’s happened with the food environment. We have nothing that protects us from being overwhelmed with too much food making us feel hungry when we don’t need to eat. That’s the problem. Just, let’s target where the source is, and then we can all be healthy effortlessly. Jackie Keller: Wouldn’t that be great? Dr. Cohen: Right. That’s what it would be. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Dr. Cohen: If people didn’t serve us too much and make us buy food that would make us sick, we would be healthy. Jackie Keller: Well… Dr. Cohen: That’s the way I look at it. Jackie Keller: It’s a great read. We’ll definitely keep in touch, and see how we’re doing as a society. Dr. Cohen: Okay. Jackie Keller: I hope you’ll come back and visit us again. Dr. Cohen: All right. Thanks for having me. Jackie Keller: Thank you again for coming. Dr. Cohen: All right. My pleasure. Jackie Keller: My coaching moment today is about the experience of choice. In his book, “Why We Do What We Do,” Edward D.C. says, “At the heart of human freedom is the experience of choice.” As a coach, I talk to people in terms of making their own choices and forging their own path all the time. The entire premise of coaching, in fact, is built on the assumption that if you can help people unlock their own intrinsic motivation, they will be empowered to do most anything. So, it’s surprising, then, that we don’t expect our experts to open the doors of decision making for us. We expect to be told what to do, but research shows that, while being told or controlled is the easy answer, it assumes that the promise of reward or the threat of punishment will make the offenders comply. Anyone who’s ever raised a child, or tried to compel somebody to do something, knows just how true that is. However, when we’re controlled or compelled to do something, we act the part, but we don’t necessarily live it. So consider this; compliance and defiance exist in an unstable partnership. We’re often told to do it someone else’s way to survive or succeed, yet fulfillment lies in living the most unique expression of ourselves. A very wise boss of mine once told it to me like this, and I will always remember Neal Salinger for telling me, “We all operate out of our own mutual self-interest. The trick is to find people whose self interest is mutually aligned with yours.” John Steinbeck, in his book , “East of Eden,” says that the Hebrew word, timshel, “thou mayest,” that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says, “The way is open,” and that throws it right back on a man. For, if thou mayest, it is also true, thou mayest not. That’s my show for today. Join me next week on Food Exposed as we take a look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv, and until next week, remember: Make food your best friend, and exercise your companion for life.

University High School Teacher Kerry Eich On Teaching Students About Nutrition

Episode 111

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take an inside look at what’s on your plate. I’m your host Jackie Keller and I’m the Founding Director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. I’m also a firm belief in community participation and education. It is this belief that has taken me in many different directions. One of the more recent examples is my involvement with the Michelle Obama Initiative, and Let’s Move and the Chef’s Move to Schools movement. The Chefs Move to Schools Movement was founded in May 2010 and it’s an integral part of First Lady, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. The goal is to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. When my children were in elementary school, I visited their classrooms and did cooking programs with the kids on a regular basis. Like most parents I found this very gratifying and I had a ball doing it. Young children are so easy to please. As my kids got older and the average weight of school age crept higher and higher, I was determined to continue my involvement. Over the past 20 years, obesity rates among children have more than doubled resulting in one third of the children and adolescents in the United States now classified as overweight or obese. The U.S. Surgeon General estimates 70% of these obese children will grow to become obese adults and will be susceptible to serious health problems. Here are a couple of other surprising statistics about children. These are from the CDC study in school health policies and practices. On the nutrition front only 14.8% of school districts required that students be offered a self-serve salad bar. Just 38% of districts require that schools prohibit advertisements for junk food or fast food restaurants on school property. On the physical education front, 59% of districts require that elementary schools provide students with regularly scheduled recess, but only 10.8% of districts require that middle schools provide physical activity breaks outside of physical education. 2% of districts require that high schools do so. There are a number of issues with physical activities in schools and there are also a number of school garden programs popping up all over the country. We’re especially lucky here in California because our climate is so conducive to outdoor gardening. Why have school gardens? Again, the CDC gives us this startling statistic. The majority of America’s children go without eating one serving of fruits or vegetables every day. Without eating one! So while schools are not the only place that our kids eat, but schools can help with this challenge. My guest today is an expert in school gardens. She’s an expert in school nutrition and how we teach our kids about their health. Kerri Eich is the Director of the School of Environmental and Health Sciences at University High School in West Los Angeles where she has been teaching since 2001. The school converted to LAUSD’s Small Schools Format in 2008 and she led the transition to the school and Academy of Health and Environmental Sciences. Her academy classes include food sciences, physiology and environmental science. She also envisioned and created a large school garden which was built in 2011. It includes a native pollinator garden and she raises crops on a one acre urban campus farm with the help of 90 food science students. Kerri also coaches men’s volleyball and teaches health classes. In addition to the Master’s Degree she currently holds, she’s adding another Masters in Nutrition Science. On top of it all, she is the mother of two young children. Kerri, welcome to Food Exposed. Kerri Eich: Thanks, Jackie. It’s a pleasure to be here. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much for coming. I know you had to get out of school for this, right? Kerri Eich: Yes. I did. I have a sub in my classroom. My kids were excited I got to go and they promised… They wanted me to say hello to you because they are excited that you’re coming next week. Jackie Keller: I am coming next week. Tell me more about your program. Tell the audience more about your program. I know the part that I’m involved with which is the classroom cooking and we’ve been doing that for the better part of a year or two years now. You’ve also converted your classroom into a pretty well-stocked kitchen. What did it take to get that accomplished? Kerri Eich: Back in 2008 we wrote a grant. Four or five other teachers and I wrote a grant for a California Partnership Academy Grant. That gave us funding to transition our newly developed small school into having an academy which focuses on a career- tech pathway. We’re focused on preventative health around community and public health. I saw this need. I was teaching health. I’ve taught P.E. for six years at my high school. I have a P.E. credential, a health credential and an art credential. I saw the need… Even as I was teaching health, the students’ habits weren’t really changing. It wasn’t integrated enough into action-based learning. I presented to the principal… We had an area that we were going to be moving into and there were four or five buildings on it that were taken down because it was on a fault line. So the contractors came in and put in a bunch of plants that didn’t needed very much maintenance. The contractor was walking through with the principal and I tagged along. He was hoping to get another contract to maintain the plants that didn’t need much maintenance. I looked at him and looked at my principal and said, “I kind of want to take over this space over here.” He showed me a plot of land that was about six foot by ten foot. I said, “That’s not really going to work for us. We have a lot of kids here. We want to do something important.” And then I said, “Potentially I kind of want to take over this hillside over here.” My principal is pretty easy going and forward-thinking so he was just like, “All right.” He just kind of shook his head and was like, okay. I measure it by my son’s age because it took a long time to get the contractors to finish what they were doing. They had to install all of the plants and the trees on the hillside by contract before we could even go in there. So the day that my son was born, I got a text from my principal saying, “You’re good to build your garden.” Jackie Keller: Oh my goodness. Kerri Eich: So I had the support from the Environmental Media Association, United Talent Agency and Mud Barron and the L.A. Conservation Corp. What we did is we came together with about $10 thousand of funding from United Talent Agency to build about 900 square feet of raised bed gardens. Jackie Keller: That’s wonderful. Kerri Eich: About four months prior to this, I’d had a neighbor in the community, Don Smith, who is really into gardens and was helping out at the Venice Learning Garden. He said, “I’d like to come and volunteer at your garden.” Little did I know, he was a soil science wiz and an all-around great guy. He designed our garden beds based on some ideas that I gave him and after nine designs we put it in place. We also built little amphitheater seating area so there was a place for the kids to sit so we could come out and learn in the garden. From there we just kind of expanded. I sat in my principal’s office maybe six to nine months after we started our garden and I was in the assistant principal’s office and he was like, “Hey, Kerri. Everything’s going great. When are you going to expand your garden?” So I said, “Pretty soon.” You don’t just get those invitations very often. Then about another two weeks later I was sitting in the principal’s office and we have a tie-in’s program with UCLA. She said that they had 50 volunteers that wanted to do something. I said, “Well, we’re going to expand our garden to create the food forest, maybe we could do this.” The principal was sitting there and was like, “All right. Okay.” From there on out, that was Earth Day 2012, we put in 40 fruit bearing trees, food- bearing trees into the food forest on the second half of the hillside and since then we’ve just expanded and the kids have gone with it. Jackie Keller: What are the biggest challenges that you find dealing…? It sounds like you’ve figured out the administration and how to get what you need out of the administration and maybe out of the community in terms of financial support. But you’re dealing with a tough population. Let’s face it. High school is a difficult age. I wasn’t an easy high schooler. I don’t know what kind of a high schooler you were. My kids are past high school age now. What are the biggest challenges dealing with high school aged kids? Kerri Eich: You’ve got to let them be kids. You have to know where they are coming from. Our kids are coming to school… I counted the zip codes one time. Ninety-three zip codes, over 23 languages spoken in the home and we have about 1,800 kids on campus. Jackie Keller: Wow. Kerri Eich: Of those kids, many of them haven’t had a good breakfast. They all like food. Everybody likes food, especially the kids if they are having to travel quite a distance to get to school, they are all hungry. I found something that they all like to do. They all like to cook. I have kids ask me all over campus, “What are we cooking this week, Miss Eich?” Those are kids that wouldn’t even talk to me before. They are excited about the garden too. They see things. They see change happen. I ask the kids to give me some comments about things that they learned from cooking and from gardening and they’re like, “Miss Eich. Gardens are really like people. Like raising humans.” I feel like my students have become more in touch with their human side because they’ve had the opportunity to create something that’s alive and watch it grow. Jackie Keller: Wow. Kerri Eich: I really think that has shape-shifted how they see food. How they see each other. It’s pretty exciting. Jackie Keller: Yes. It sounds like it is. I know when I come to the classroom, the kids are always very receptive. Whatever it is that I have planned, they’re on the plan and they’ll go along with it. Yes, there’s an element that hangs back and doesn’t get involved. The two cool kids that don’t want to be a part of it, but over the months and now over a year that we’ve been doing this together, I see even more excitement and involvement on the part of the kids and a real interest in fruits and vegetables. I’m excited to see that because my whole thing is that we need a more plant-based diet. Kerri Eich: Right. Jackie Keller: Do you find resistance to the fact that it’s healthy as opposed to junky? Kerri Eich: They come into the classroom with their Lipton Brisk Tea’s and I’m like, “Okay. Put away the sugar water.” We don’t always cook with meat. We mostly cook with plants. They want to bring those things in because that’s what they’re used to. In their reflections that they’ve been writing to me, I’ve been seeing they are like, “Oh. Well, healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad. It actually tastes good.” There’s a lot of things they’ve never been exposed to. I think a new habit takes several experiences to really appreciate that habit and start to have it engrained with anybody. So we’re really trying to show students how they can make positive changes in their life with just a few plants and that plants are pretty cool. That’s definitely fun to see them change. Jackie Keller: Before we go to the kitchen, and I did prepare something today that I thought would be fun to cook with you sort of along the lines of what we do in the classroom. I was wondering if you could share with us the best way that the community can support you in your efforts. Kerri Eich: I think, really, just getting involved. I think any school that’s within your vicinity that is easy accessible for you to go to, I think that if you are interested in gardening and nutrition, if you have something to offer, then you should go get in touch with people in the main office. Figure out who to talk to at that school and say you want volunteer. Schools are dying for volunteers. I feel like since a lot of schools around here have gates up or fences up, that they feel inaccessible. I think that the one thing that has really helped me… I don’t have a great background in plants, but I’ve just been learning as I go, it’s getting the community involved and realizing that it’s okay to ask for help. This is a community that we share. It’s everybody responsibility to bring our human population to raise our awareness and change the way we think about food. It can’t just be one family or one person at a time. Those interactions in the classroom… You’re a one to 30 or 40 ratio with teacher to student in some of these classrooms, so the more volunteers you have, the more conversations you can have and the more positive the influence will be. Jackie Keller: Great. Let’s do some cooking. Kerri Eich: All right. Jackie Keller: Kerri, I thought today what we would do is a little quick stir fry. I know we’ve done some of this kind of stuff in the class and you’re probably working on something that you can bring into the conversation as well with what you’re doing in the classroom right now. Getting kids focused on something that they can eat with their hands and that they can cook in a few minutes that uses some of what they can find inexpensively in the market or in the food forest on campus. I thought this would be a great way to put together a simple lettuce wrap kind of thing. Kerri Eich: Okay. Great. Jackie Keller: This would be the kind of thing that you might make at lunch or for lunch. I’m starting with a little bit of fresh ginger. As you know from our classroom cooking, we usually try to start with something that looks and smells good. I can already smell that ginger . . . Kerri Eich: Yeah, ginger. Jackie Keller: . . . coming. Of course, we know it’s a great digestive aid as well. Kerri Eich: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Always a little onion to accent the flavors. When we cook in your class you have some burners, right? Then you have electrical equipment. Kerri Eich: Yes. We have a makeshift kitchen. We didn’t even have sink until about a year and a half ago when our celebrity garden sponsor, Emily VanCamp came in and we’d made here some Swiss chard wraps and she said, “How do you do this without a sink?” So she helped us get a sink, but we make-shifted our whole kitchen in the back of our classroom. We have some portable burners that we bring in. We have cupboards that we’ve installed all through the help of our CPA grants and other people within the community. It’s exciting to make lettuce wraps today. I’ve got two different students. We’ve got our 6th Annual Health and Fitness Fair coming up April 10th and I have two students trying to make lettuce wraps. So I’m doing a healthy food challenge with the students, so kids are teaming up in groups three to five and they are creating a healthy dish that they have to prepare for the class. Then the top 10 dishes will be chosen to be served at the fair for healthy food tasting. Jackie Keller: Cool. Now who’s deciding which are the top ten? Kerri Eich: The students are choosing. They’re voting on the top ten based on some of the same principles we did in the fall for our food day challenge. The kids are very excited about it and they’ve come up with some very interesting recipes. We’ve got two different lettuce wraps that they are going to try to make. So I’m excited. Jackie Keller: Great. Let me tell you what I’ve done here because while you’ve been talking I’ve been sort of tossing stuff in here. So we started with the ginger and then a little green onion or scallion. Then I added some shitake mushroom that I soaked and stemmed and sliced. I’ve got some chicken breast meat here which I cut into small enough dice that it would cook really, really quickly. I’ve added to that some cut up bok choy. Of course, any of these vegetables can be swapped out for something else. Kerri Eich: Right. Jackie Keller: I put in some water chestnuts because I had them. If I didn’t have them, we’d leave them out. Maybe we would put celery or something else crunchy. I know when we cook together in class we talk about the fact that it’s cooking. It’s science, but it’s not science science. Being constrained by a recipe in a situation like this really doesn’t make a lot of sense. What you’re going to want to do is pick the things you have on hand or are affordable. For seasoning, I know that you have to watch gluten. When I come to cook in your class we are very sensitive to gluten because you have a gluten free… Kerri Eich: I have a couple of students who are celiac. Jackie Keller: Yes. So I’m using tamari here which is a gluten-free naturally brewed sodium. A naturally brewed soy sauce. This is a low sodium variety. Kerri Eich: Great. Jackie Keller: Hoisin sauce. Now, hoisin does have a little gluten in it, but since we’re not in front of your class right now, we’re just cooking for taste you can add in a couple of spoonfuls of that for flavor. Of course, if you needed to be mindful of certain ingredients, you would just leave them out in this circumstance. I’ve also brought something that we’ve been doing at NutriFit. In our garden and our farm we’ve actually started doing some hydroponic farming. Kerri Eich: That’s awesome. Jackie Keller: Yes. So this is one of our hydroponic lettuces. Kerri Eich: Beautiful. Jackie Keller: You can see… Kerri Eich: The roots. Jackie Keller: There’s the little root ball. Kerri Eich: Oh. That’s really neat. Jackie Keller: Isn’t that neat? Kerri Eich: Yeah. Jackie Keller: You grow it in this little net. They’re called nests, but they are really some little things. They just grow so beautifully. So if you want to grab a couple of lettuce leaves there that look good for wrapping, our mixture is already done. That’s how quickly it cooks. Kerri Eich: That’s great. We have lettuce popping up all over the garden that has seeded itself in different places. Jackie Keller: We call them volunteers. Kerri Eich: My dad always says that a recipe is a source of inspiration to help the cook. It can be led in the kitchen, but it always doesn’t have to be followed. I’ve been trying to help the kids understand that. Jackie Keller: Yeah. It’s a tough concept when you feel uncertain of your own knowledge base, but I think… Why don’t you see what you can do as far as getting that one together? Kerri Eich: I always talk to the kids about chemistry. If chemistry is involved like in baking, then we really need to follow the recipe. If there’s no chemistry and it’s just cooking, we can make it… Let’s see. I’m going to fold it over a little bit. There we go. Sorry. Jackie Keller: Let me see if I can… Kerri Eich: See if you can go over that a little better. Jackie Keller: Let’s put this guy aside and we’ll see if we can get this one to behave. Sometimes it does and sometimes you just can’t put too much in there. Which is kind of good from a portion control standpoint. You can use small amounts of the filling and a lot of lettuce leaves. That way you end up getting a lot of… There you go. That one’s more like a little bit more… Kerri Eich: Let me just try to fix this one. Jackie Keller: Now what I want you to do is I want you to taste that one. Kerri Eich: Okay. I’ll taste it. Jackie Keller: All right. Kerri Eich: Yum. Jackie Keller: Tell me how we did. Kerri Eich: Mmm. Jackie Keller: So maybe this will be one idea that your students come up with. Kerri Eich: Yeah. Right. I like the crunch. The crunch from the water chestnuts and the bok choy. It’s really nice. Jackie Keller: Right. Good. Good. Kerri Eich: Thank you. Jackie Keller: As simple as that is as simple as it can be. When it comes to healthy food and healthy cooking it doesn’t have to be complicated and I’m so thrilled that you came to talk to us today a little bit about your exploration in the kitchen and food forestry. I know that our audience will want to stay connected to you in order to follow not only your progress at school, but the other things you’re actively involved with as well. What’s the best way for them to reach you? Kerri Eich: I have a simple e-mail. It’s [email protected] You can e-mail me. Otherwise, I’m at University High School in West L.A. We have UniversityofWildcats.org is the school website. U-N-I-A-H-E-S.com is our academy website. Jackie Keller: Great. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m looking forward to joining you next week in your classroom. I just couldn’t be more thrilled that you came all the way over and spent this time with me this afternoon. Kerri Eich: Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here. Jackie Keller: We’ll see you again soon. Kerri Eich: All right. Sounds good. See you next week. Jackie Keller: My coaching moment today comes to a workshop that I love to present and have many, many times. It’s called Brain Boosters: Improving Your Memory. Let’s face it, we’re all concerned about forgetting what we really want to remember. In this presentation I talk about the value of attaching to memories using our different senses like smell, touch, taste and sight. We all know how powerful some of these memories can be. Like the smell of your favorite food. The touch of a soft object you carried around as a child. We also have auditory memories like remembering the words or melody to your favorite song. And symbolic memories like the V for victory or peace. These memories which are made in the hippocampus area of the brain are formed, organized and stored from sensory memories. It turns out that gardening also helps us with memory formation and retention. How? The sense of touch and smell are all involved in gardening as are spatial relations. These important activities help the brain form memories. Let’s not forget that being outside, gardening means you’re being active and that helps you remember more as well by oxygenating the brain and improving blood flow to the brain. It helps you remember, but it also helps improve your health overall. Associating the activity with a sensory experience using multiple senses, using physical cues like clenching your fist to cement a memory, or repeating something out loud multiple times, all of that will help you remember. You want more memory aids? Contact me through this show at emPOWERme.tv or at NutriFitOnline.com. Thanks for joining me today. Please tune in next week for another look at what’s on your plate with Food Exposed. For more Food Exposed, check me out on emPOWERme.tv and until next week remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

Denim Designer Kearstin Nuckles talks the Right Fit

Episode 110

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take an inside look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller, and I’m the Founding Director of NutriFit. We’re Los Angeles premiere healthy food company, and today we’re talking about a universal subject, people all over the world have in common. We’re talking about denim, how to look good in your jeans is a topic that millions of people worldwide face. We practically live in denims about four hundred fifty million pairs of jeans are sold in the U.S.A alone each year. Did you know that on the average every American owns about seven pairs of jeans? So, if you own them, or like the way they look, listen in, here are some little known denim facts. First of all, it takes about two pounds of cotton to make a single pair of jeans, and denim is currently a twelve billion dollar a year industry. Traditionally denim is made with blue and white thread sort of woven together. The blue fibers are usually more densely packed, which make the material pretty dominantly blue. Then they’re woven together to strengthen the material, and they’re dyed with indigo. In the 1930’s Levi Strauss sewed a small red flag next to one of the pockets on his jeans, and that became the very first label to be placed on an article of clothing. Designer denim was first introduced in the 1980’s. So, let’s face it, just because you can zip them up doesn’t mean they fit you, and there are really two issues when it comes to finding the best pair of jeans for your figure; the first, finding a pair that fits you, and then finding a pair that flatters you. My guest today is an expert in both of those things. In fact she’s a high end denim designer, and an expert in denim fashion, a loyal friend of mine personally, and of NutriFit Kearstin Nuckles; Kearstin, welcome to Food Exposed, thank you for joining me. Kearstin Nuckles: Thank you Jackie. Jackie Keller: You know I know you worked for Page Denim for Earnst Sewn, for Textile Elizabeth and James, and most recently for Hudson, and you’ve been involved in the world of fashion for, it’s hard to believe, twenty years. You’re the mom of two great kids, and you’re an avid triathlete. How do you balance all of that? How do you do it? Kearstin Nuckles: That’s a challenge every day, every day; it’s lots of balls in the air, and just prioritizing. Jackie Keller: Okay. So, where did denim come in? I mean, how did you get involved in the world of fashion? Kearstin Nuckles: Gosh, I was eighteen when I started in the garment industry, and started actually in t-shirts, and sort of evolved, and landed a job doing denim about ten years ago, and it stuck, and there forever more. Jackie Keller: So, so what’s the secret? I mean, how do you find a great pair of denim that actually fit you? Kearstin Nuckles: I think the number one thing is you don’t get hung up on size. I think you…A lot of women get nervous about, “Okay, I need to be a twenty-six, or I need to be a twenty-seven.” Jackie Keller: In my dreams. Kearstin Nuckles: I think the number one thing is you find a pair that looks good on you, that’s the number one thing. You forget the size; find the fit that looks good on you. Some women look good in skinny, some women look good in flares, some women look good in boots. Generally I would say most women though, is though it’s not the most fashionable thing right now, but the most flattering is the boot cut. Jackie Keller: Well, okay. Since we’re all about health and nutrition here on Food Exposed, you know are there certain types of messages that certain kind of jeans convey? I mean, I know you know there are…At one time they were a big social statement. I mean, jeans were sort of how you expressed yourself, are they still that way, like they used to be in the sixties, and the seventies? Kearstin Nuckles: I think now denim is just the staple of our wardrobe. It’s acceptable anywhere, dressed up, dressed down, light, dark, holes, no holes, I think it’s a self-expression of how you feel on any given day, and what pair of jeans you put on that makes you feel good. Jackie Keller: So, what should we know about the different kinds of jeans fabric. Kearstin Nuckles: I would say there’s basically two kinds of jean fabric, there’s rigid, and there is stretch. I’m a true denim girl, so I love my rigid’s, but I would say as far as fit, and flattering, definitely go for stretch, comfort, versatility, wear ability. Jackie Keller: Okay, yeah. So, where did that expression “skinny jeans” come from? Because, you know we all talk about looking great in your skinny jeans, and where did that come from? What’s hot in the world of denim today? Kearstin Nuckles: Well, skinny is still hot, obviously. I don’t think skinny’s ever going away. Jackie Keller: Can a big person wear skinny jeans? Kearstin Nuckles: Yes a big person can wear skinny jeans, as long as you balance out your top with the skinny. If you have more hips, if you’re a little fuller in the thigh, if you wear a top that’s a little looser you can definitely wear your skinny jeans. I would say keep it a dark wash, a clean wash, you want to elongate the lines of your body, but yes I think anybody can wear skinny jeans as long as it’s the right size, and the right fit. Jackie Keller: Now, are certain colors in, certain colors out? What about color, and…? Kearstin Nuckles: I think anything goes right now. I think that across the board in fashion everybody’s just looking for something new. So, I think prints, I think color, I think light washes, dark washes, boyfriend, destructed, everything, and anything goes right now. Jackie Keller: Boy, you’re already using terms I don’t know, like destructed, and boyfriend. What does that mean? Kearstin Nuckles: Boyfriend is generally like a slouchier baggy fit. Jackie Keller: So, you’re wearing your boyfriend’s pants? Kearstin Nuckles: Exactly, your boyfriends denim, and then destructed means holes. Jackie Keller: Okay, alright. So, speaking of color we were talking before about indigo being the main color in denim. I thought it would be fun to cook up some great blue foods, because denim is blue, right? Kearstin Nuckles: Right. Jackie Keller: Right? So, you know, how about joining me cooking up some blue foods that will make us all look great in our skinny jeans. Kearstin Nuckles: Sounds great. Jackie Keller: Are you good? Let’s go. You know, this is one of my favorite recipes Kearstin, because we get to make foods that are blue, and you know blue is not necessarily a color that we as humans associate it with healthy food, but for example, did you know that in the insect world, and in the bird world, foods that are blue are an indication of ripeness? Kearstin Nuckles: Didn’t know that. Jackie Keller: In fact, if you take a blue light, and you pass it over a banana the color that a ripe banana shows under blue light, which birds see, is blue, and that’s how they know which bananas to eat. So, anyway, that’s a little bit of food trivia. I wanted to make a dessert, kind of dessert snack that is healthy, nutritious, and blue. So, I’m going to need your help. Kearstin Nuckles: Sure. Jackie Keller: This is called Apple Blueberry Delight, and it uses fresh apples. So, we’re going to start with some sliced fresh apples, and I’ve heated up our pan here. It’s kind of hot so I’m going to put in a little bit of very healthy margarine. Now, you know that margarine’s are not always considered healthy, but this is a very healthy brand, it’s a Smart Balance brand, and basically what we’re going to do is add our sliced apples to the pan, and I’ll let you stir for me while I season it up with a little bit of sour salt, and sugar free cinnamon spice blend. We know that cinnamon of course has wonderful nutritional properties, very, very healthy. Kearstin Nuckles: Yes it is. Jackie Keller: And I’m going to add a little bit of Agave, which is a sweetener that doesn’t have the sugary side effects of sugar, or maple syrup, but it has some of that same flavor characteristic. It’s like a liquid honey, but without the sugar load. So, you can see your starting to smell that cinnamon, it’s so healthy. You know cinnamon has actually been shown to lower blood pressure. So, just adding a little cinnamon to something like this actually can bring down your blood pressure. So, once you’ve got that going we’re going to add in a little bit of orange juice, and even a little bit of orange zest. So, I’ll go ahead and do that, while you continue to stir, because we want to get that bright orange flavor, and I like to zest the orange, and then rub them on my hands to take…I love the smell of the oranges, and of course that high Vitamin C content is really healthy for skin, and helps us stay fit, and healthy, and well balanced, and all that, and then of course our blue food. Blueberries, one of my favorite, not always available fresh and in season, but when they’re not you can always use frozen blueberries in this dish, so, very simple dish. The apples are soft, you can see their not mushy, they still have nice texture; we left the peel on them so that we get that extra fiber in the dish, and then add in the blueberries. I washed them, and we can bring the heat back up a little bit, because what we want is that sizzling dessert, and you know, this is one of those dishes that you can eat it by itself in the morning, with your cereal, or just as a fruit, as a healthy way to start the day, or you can take it at night, and put it over soft vanilla low-fat ice cream, or vanilla yogurt, or something like that. Kearstin Nuckles: Yum. Jackie Keller: Which would be really good, or mix in some Greek yogurt with it. Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: So, what do you think? Kearstin Nuckles: Sounds good, looks great. Jackie Keller: It smells good too, doesn’t’ it? Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: And of course we want to stop the cooking before the blueberries sort of fall apart on us, and then give it a taste. So, are you ready? Kearstin Nuckles: I’m ready. Jackie Keller: You’re ready? Alright let’s turn this thing down. We’ll bring the heat down, and we can go ahead and dish up a little bit…and you can see nice texture. You can still tell what everything is, but we’re definitely in the blues here, and there you go. Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: I have a fork for you here. It’s kind of hot, but maybe you can give it a quick taste, see what you think. Kearstin Nuckles: See what we’ve got here. Jackie Keller: Careful…Good? Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: Yeah, well it’s good for you. Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: Good for your figure, good for your skinny jeans, right? Kearstin Nuckles: We like that. Jackie Keller: You like that? Kearstin Nuckles: We like that. Jackie Keller: We like that, alright. Well, thank you so much for joining me today Kearstin. I really appreciate your sharing your expertise. I know that I definitely…I’m wearing my jeans today, and I’m thinking there’s so many questions I want to ask her about jeans, and fit, and color, and fashion, and where to buy, and what the price points should be. How can people find you? How can they follow you? Kearstin Nuckles: They can find me at the LALookBook.com, and on Instagram at the LA Look Book on Instagram. Jackie Keller: Great, great. Well, we’ll stay connected, and I know that we’ll all think of you when we go out to buy our next pair of skinny jeans. Thank you, Kearstin. Kearstin Nuckles: Thank you Jackie. Jackie Keller: I really appreciate your time. Kearstin Nuckles: Thank you. Jackie Keller: No matter how much spiritual practice, self-improvement, or therapy we’ve been through there’s one area where many of us still find ourselves challenged every day, and that’s the area of self- acceptance. It seems all too easy to fall into the trap of judging ourselves as inadequate, finding fault with our achievements, or our bodies, and believing our inner critical voices that insist we’ll never measure up. Self-respect it turns out is not narcissism, instead self-respect helps to build the confidence, and capacity, to create the life you want, and since you’re the only person who’s been with you from the day you were born, and is guaranteed to hang in there with you until the day you die, it might be helpful to practice the art of being a good friend to number one. I read an interesting article in psychology the other day. It was about the dysfunctional relationship that so many women have with their bodies, and it referenced some research on marriage done by Dr. John and Julie Gotman. They found that successful marriages generally have a ratio of five to one, positive to negative interactions. So, what would happen if we actually applied that science to our relationships with our bodies? For every negative thought we have about our bodies we have to think about five positive things, and for those ladies who reported and average of negative thirteen body thoughts a day that’s sixty-five positive body comments each day, could you do it? I’ll leave you today with this clever appropriate poem from none other than Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You could steer yourself in any direction that you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. You’re the guy who’ll decide where you go.” And thanks for joining me today on Food Exposed. Join us next week for another look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed check me out on EmpowerMe.tv, and until next week remember make food your best friend, and exercise your companion for life.

What Do Hydrogen Fuel Cells Have To Do With Your Health?

Episode 109

Video Transcription

Jackie: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take a close look at what’s on your plate. I’m your host Jackie Keller the Founding Director of NutriFit Los Angeles leading healthy food company, and I’m so excited about today’s show, because we’re talking about the future. We’re talking about the Honda Fuel Cell Prototype car called the FCX Clarity, but we’re also talking about how that relates to the environment, and our health. So, what exactly is a fuel cell anyway? I mean fuel cells generate electrical power quietly and efficiently without pollution. They’re unlike other power sources in that they don’t use any fossil fuels, and the only byproducts from operating the fuel cell are heat and water. So, with a fuel cell chemicals constantly flow into the cell so it never goes dead, and as long as there’s a flow of chemicals into the cell the electricity flows out of the cell, but what does this have to do with food? Well, carbon dioxide and other air pollution that’s collecting in the atmosphere is like a thickening blanket trapping the suns heat, and causing the planet to warm up. Coal burning plants are the largest U.S. source of carbon dioxide pollution, and the second largest source is, you’ve got it, automobiles. Well, the consequences of global warming, melting glaciers, early snow melts, severe droughts, they’ll all cause more dramatic water shortages in the American West, and rising sea levels are leading to coastal flooding on the eastern seaboard in Florida, and other areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico. Warmer sea surface temperatures will fuel more intense hurricanes in the Southeast Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts, forests, farms, and cities will face troublesome new pests, and mosquito borne diseases, and disruption of habitats, like coral reefs, and alpine meadows could drive many plants and animal species to extinction. In fact the world health organization estimates that over a 150,000 deaths per year can be linked to climate change, and that’s excluding deaths resulting from extreme weather conditions, like hurricanes. Heat waves and drought can cause food insecurity, and as the weather changes the range of disease carrying mosquitoes can increase. So, public health issues resulting from climate change are not insulated to vulnerable developing nations. California’s drought has put communities at risk, running out of drinking water, and the drop off in ground water means that there’s less water to dilute preexisting contaminates, which is going to lead to drinking water contamination that has high levels of pollutants that can cause health problems. More asthma attacks are another thing. But my guest today is a nature lover, an outdoorsman, a marathon runner, an avid dirt bike racer, we met at the Los Angeles Auto Show several years ago when I first saw, and fell in love with, the Honda Clarity. Steve Ellis is the Manager of Fuel Cell Marketing and Sales for Honda at American Honda, and he’s responsible for the Fuel Cell Vehicle Business Planning and the FCX Clarity deployment to retail consumers. In addition to providing guidance for Honda’s natural gas vehicle, and plug in electric vehicle programs, he is so versed in this Steve welcome to Food Exposed. Steve: Thank you, Jackie. Jackie: Tell us about your, how your professional life sort of intersects with your love of the outdoors? Steve: Sure, it was you know years ago I kind of ran my first marathon, and you learn about health effects of bad air, and smog, and things like that, and of course I also really wanted to have a role to play with solving some of those problems, and at Honda I’m really lucky that I am deploying vehicles that run on alternative fuels, and provide great value to the environment, and reduce the emissions. Jackie: Well, today people hear a lot about alternative fuels, and advanced technology in cars. There’s so much talk now about what we’re going to drive in the future. So, like you know the Jetson’s car whatever happened to that? Steve: We all had a dream of the Jetson’s car, but I think you know what you’re driving the F6 Clarity is more akin to the Jetson’s vehicle than let’s say the rest of the people, which really has its roots more like with the Flintstones car. So, we haven’t quite got to the flying ones yet, but the key here is we can run cars on fuels other than gasoline that have a significant impact on reduced smog emissions, certainly reduce dependence on oil, and also cutting CO2 emissions, and that’s what we’re doing today. Jackie: Well, you know when I think of an automaker, I think of cars, and I think of getting around, but also I think about pollution. So, what do cars have to do with healthy eating, and being fit? Steve: Well, you know in my own example, if I’m going to be out running marathons, if I’m going to be out mountain biking, and doing this healthy sports activities, certainly what I want to do is eat, eat healthy, and I think these things are synergistic. You know, if I’m going to exercise and get in shape I want to do it outdoors, it is not fun to do it if you’re constantly you know like coughing, or having trouble breathing just because of smog. So, literally there’s a connection between my role with deploying clean vehicles, and also being kind of a healthy eater, healthy lifestyle living. Jackie: Well, you connected your work with your passion for the outdoors, and with zero emissions cars, what can our viewers do about that? Steve: Well, I think people can make choices. No different than, you know, you make a lifestyle choice about eating healthier, picking healthier foods, including vegetables, and things like that. That’s the fuel for your body, so really what you can do is make a choice of which fuel you use for your car. We have alternatives, such as we have a natural gas powered Civic, the F6 Clarity a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle that only emits water as its only emission, so people can make choices. Today you have choices with battery electric vehicles, even who’s to say you can’t go to that level hybrid vehicles that get great fuel economy, and so today I think we have an array of choices we’ve never had before. Jackie: You know, you talk about the relationship between cars and the environment, what about the relationship between that motorcycles rides you’re doing and you’re diet? Steve: Well, we also have to have recreation and fun. We can’t just kind of burrow in on a single thing. So, my roots were racing motorcycles, and I did mountain bike racing, and that’s really where it all came together. You know, you’re breathing, you’re running your heart rate up to like 175, 180 at peak, you know way above the average I should be at for my age, and you can’t do that if you’re breathing bad air, you can’t do that if you’re eating the wrong foods, and I just learned a lot through my efforts with really exercising, and pushing the bodies limits to extremes that a lot of people don’t. Jackie: So, what’s next for you is motorcycle racing, mountain biking racing, another marathon? What’s next? Steve: You know it’s kind of all of the above. Jackie: Uh-oh. Steve: So, yeah I still have some dirt bike races I’m doing. I won a championship last year on that. I’m not doing LA Marathon that’s just here in a few days this year, but I’ve done a few of those, but I’m going to get that back on the radar screen, and just general recreation with bicycling, and also mountain bike racing. Jackie: Well, I bet you don’t have much time to cook? Steve: I don’t cook very much, but when I do I try to pick, make the right choices to propel it. Jackie: Well, about cooking today a little bit in the kitchen with me? Steve: Well, I’d love to do that. Jackie: I thought we could whip up something very earth friendly, and something that is very nourishing, and maybe a little good fuel for this, for the body. Steve: Well, I’m sure if I’m out running this week my body will perform admirably, because of the meal that we fixed today. Jackie: Well, join me in the kitchen. Steve: Let’s do it. Jackie: Well, Steve today it’s your day to be master chef. Steve: That isn’t likely. Jackie: I know that you don’t do a lot of cooking these days, but you still have to eat, and it’s good to know how to feed yourself the healthy way, the right way, when you want your body to perform, because your body’s a machine, and it needs the right kind of fuel, and so I thought today we would make a chicken dish with a pistachio citrus sauce, and it sounds complicated, and elegant, but it’s really, really very simple. There’s only about eight ingredients in the whole thing, and one of them of course is white meat chicken, and we’re using an organic product today, and it’s a very simple recipe, quick and easy, all right? Steve: Simple is good. Jackie: Simple is good, okay. Simple is good. So, here’s what we’re going to start with, we have a relatively hot skillet, and I can tell that because I put my hand about two inches above the surface of the pan, and I feel the heat rising, and I don’t want to get to the point where “ouch” it’s too hot. I want to get my oil, a little bit of healthy oil in there first, and this is just an organic oil that is high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, so a little tiny bit of oil to coat the bottom, and I have pre- marinated my chicken breast in a little bit of orange juice with a little bit of orange zest, just to do two things. One, that high acid marinade actually tenderizes the chicken while it’s marinating, and flavoring. So, a little bit of orange juice, a little bit of orange zest, put it in the refrigerator, you could even do this part two or three days before you were ready to cook it, because what the citrus acid does is it lowers the pH, it lowers, the pH, which means it makes more acidic, and that helps preserve the chicken. So, under refrigeration it actually lasts even longer than it would otherwise, okay? So, here’s our chicken breast it’s ready to go, and our oil is hot. Step back, because you don’t want to get this on your nice shirt there, but there we go we’ve got it in our skillet, and we’re going to get a little bit of chicken broth in there before it burns. I don’t want to add more oil, but I do want to make sure there’s enough moisture so that it cooks all the way through. So, I’m using an organic low sodium chicken broth, because we don’t need more salt in our diet than, and I like to season things with some of our salt, and sugar free spice blends, so I’m using the NutriFit Rocking’ Moroccan Blend, which has turmeric, and I don’t know if you’ve read at all about turmeric, but turmeric, which is a key ingredient in a lot of curry style spices, has a lot of wonderful, wonderful nutritional properties. So, it’s really good not just for adding color, and flavor, but actually for health. So, again as the skillet gets a little dry just add in a little bit more chicken broth, let it sort of simmer in there, and then make sure it doesn’t stick. You can turn it over and see that we are coating the chicken now with the seasoning. Now, are you an onion kind of guy? Steve: I love onions. Jackie: You love onions. Okay, so I’m going to have you do a little onion cooking here. Steve: Okay. Jackie: These are just green onions, yeah. Just slice a few on that plate for me if you would Steve. Steve: Okay, you trust me. Jackie: I do trust you, and while you’re doing that part I’m going to add some chopped pistachio nuts. Now, we know that nuts are a healthy source of fat. They’re also a healthy source of Vitamin E, and Selenium, and so we want to get these nuts in there, give that chicken broth some flavor, give it a little bit more oil to work with without adding more fat to the dish, and then looks like your… Steve: Is this how you want them? Jackie: Yeah, it’s good enough. Steve: Okay. Jackie: We’re going to cook them down a little bit with the chicken, so we want to get it in there, and get a little flavor going, and it doesn’t matter how perfectly they’re cut because they’re going to disappear in our chicken momentarily as it goes. So, shall we put that in there right now? Steve: So, I should move faster? Jackie: Well, you know what? I think we have enough to get started with, so go ahead, and put those in for me. Steve: Great. Jackie: And I’m going to add in a little bit more, I kind of cheated on you there. Steve: Okay. Jackie: And then we can just, you see let it kind of cook down. Steve: Yeah. Jackie: And together, oops, kind of making a mess in our kitchen here. Steve: That’s like me. Jackie: Yeah. Well, who does the clean up? Steve: I get the cleanup. Jackie: You do, you get to clean everything so. Steve: I clean the mess I make. Jackie: Okay, well this chicken breast because it is a plump one, and it’s going to take a few minutes to cook, I actually prepared one ahead of time. Steve: Okay. Jackie: Knowing that we wouldn’t necessarily have enough time for the chicken breast to cook all the way through, but under normal circumstances if you had fifteen minutes or so you could cover up your pot, you could let it cook to perfection, then let it rest for about three minutes before you went to slice it, it would be done perfect. We have one that’s already finished so why don’t we turn the heat down on this guy, and I’ll have you taste the one that I’ve prepared already. Steve: Awesome. Jackie: Are you ready? Steve: I’m ready to go. Jackie: You’re hungry? Steve: Of course I’m hungry. Jackie: It smells delicious, doesn’t it? Alright, well there’s a fork, and there’s your chicken. Steve: Okay. Jackie: So if you want to give yourself a, there you go, it should be fork tender. Steve: Yeah, now this cuts great. Jackie: Do you feel that, that fuel coursing through your body already? Steve: I feel powerful already. Jackie: Well, great, great. Well, you know Steve… Steve: No, that’s a great flavor. Jackie: Isn’t it nice, and it’s so simple to make? Steve: Yeah. Jackie: Even you could do it Steve. Steve: Thank you. Jackie: Okay. I know that people are excited about the Honda fuel cell technology, but they’re also interested in finding out more about, you know, what’s happening in the world of automotive technology, and what’s going on with you, what is the best way for people to follow you, and to find you? Steve: You know for that car I would say go to our website, which is FCX.honda.com, it’s dedicated to that vehicle. It lets you learn a lot about the technology from there you can branch out to the other vehicles that we have, the battery electric, the [inaudible 00:15:37], the Civic Hybrid, the Accord Hybrid, or Plug-in Hybrid, all of those, but that’s the place to learn more about it, and even kind of sign up for more information. Jackie: Okay, great. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. Steve: This was great, thank you. Jackie: It was fun, I learn something new every time I’m in your company, and I will look forward to seeing your posts on Facebook. I know you’re active on Facebook, and we can follow your dirt bike racing, and your marathon running, and your marathon biking, and look forward to staying in touch. Steve: Well great, I hope that your viewers learned something today too. Jackie: Thank you. Here’s a little story about making a difference. Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore, and as he looked down the beach he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think someone would dance to the day, so he began to walk faster to catch up, and as he got closer he saw that it was a young man, and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore picking up something, and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, “Good morning, what are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.” I guess I should have asked, “Why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?” “The sun is up, the tide is going out, if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.” “But young man, don’t you realize that there are miles, and miles, of beach, and starfish all along it you can’t possibly make a difference.” Well, the young man listened politely. Then he bent down, and he picked up another starfish, and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, and he said, “It will make a difference for that one.” Thanks for joining us today on Food Exposed, join us next week for another look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed check me out on emPOWERme.tv, and until next week remember make food your best friend, and exercise your companion for life.

Chef D. Brandon Walker of St. Joseph’s Center

Episode 108

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take a good look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller and today we’re talking about the whole DYI thing, no not arts and crafts DYI but the art of crafting something wonderful to eat. Making something delicious from whatever you can scrounge up in the kitchen, that’s like play with your food elevated to a whole new level. And you know you don’t have to go far to find cooking shows of all types these days from mild to wild and wacky, but if you struggle with cooking and don’t want to spend all of your money eating out, here are a couple of really simple, quick menu planning tips. Number one, organize your food stuff. Pull the old cans, the jars, the packages, go ahead check for expiration dates, don’t be afraid of what you’re going to find. Be prepared to dispose of anything that isn’t wholesome or a mystery food, like if it doesn’t have a wrapper, you donate or your throw it away. Anything that you can’t use or don’t need or haven’t thought of what to do with. Number two, assess what you’ve got left in terms of the food groups. I like to think of it in terms of fruits and veggies then proteins, grains, and if you can’t tell because there is no label on it, just open it, dump it, and recycle the contents of the can. Number three, go online or look at your recipe files for those major ingredients that you have left. And even if you can’t find something to match exactly, you’ll get inspired by reading other recipes or seeing what other people have done with that ingredient. Remember it’s already bought and paid for if it’s in your pantry or your refrigerator, so you’re really not losing anything by trying and who knows, you just may love what you create. My guest today is an expert at doing just that. He’s an expert at making magic in the kitchen. Chef D. Brandon Walker is the program manager and instructor of the Culinary Training Program at St. Joseph’s Center in Venice, California, and he also serves as the Executive Chef at Bread and Roses Cafe where they feed the homeless with a gourmet meal five days a week. Last summer he won the competition on the hit TV show Chopped and I am so proud to welcome Chef D to Food Exposed. Thank you so much for coming. Chef D: Well thank you, it’s my pleasure. Jackie Keller: I’ve got you out of the kitchen. Chef D: Yeah, that’s right. Jackie Keller: So tell me about St. Joseph’s Center. Let’s start with that because I know that is your main stay, your passion, your focus right now. Chef D: Well, I’ve been working at the St. Joseph’s Center in Venice Beach for seven years now. Jackie Keller: Has it been that long since we worked together? Chef D: Yeah, it’s been seven years and I really found my passion there. It’s about helping the people that are most vulnerable in the community and there’s a great synergy between two programs at the St. Joseph Center which is the Culinary Training Program and the Bread and Roses Cafe. So everything that I’m teaching the under employed and unemployed at the CTP or the Culinary Training Program, we utilize those same techniques down at the Bread and Roses Cafe where we take what really in essence other people would throw away and we create these gourmet meals. So the synergy is, again, wonderful between the two programs and it raises, it elevates the level of food at the cafe and I don’t think that there is anymore appropriate time or reason to give someone a great meal as when they’re at their lowest. And again, we’re serving the homeless men and women and low- income families. Jackie Keller: Wow, so if I understand it correctly, I mean, it’s really . . . And I visited once, and very briefly, so I didn’t see how the whole operation works, but people make reservations and they come, they sit down, they’re waited on. It’s not like a soup kitchen. Chef D: No, it’s not a soup kitchen and that’s a really important aspect of what we do at Bread and Roses is that everyone makes a reservation. So their name appears on a list that is then printed out and then we receive them at the time that they’ve made a reservation for either 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, whenever they’ve made their reservation. What we’re striving for is accountability. We need people to show up and be a part of their own solution. And so basically you go through an orientation at another site which is called the homeless service center, which is about a couple blocks away. And there you go through orientation and you are assigned a case worker. And the case worker sits down and says, “What got you here?” Let’s try to figure out what’s happening whether it be mental illness or some type of addiction. And then one of our core competencies at the agency that we pride ourselves on is our ability to give someone a referral to bring in our, you know, our other agencies that are doing good work in the community and get someone the help that they need. So we’re not just feeding someone and then, you know, having them, you know, shuffle along. Jackie Keller: Go back on the street. Chef D: Right, correct. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: We really want them to be accountable and to check in with us each and every day, so that’s one of the privileges of doing that is being able to eat at the Bread and Roses Cafe which is such a unique place. Jackie Keller: Wow, that is just wonderful work. It must be so gratifying to hear people who literally would otherwise potentially be eating food off the street to be able to serve them something that’s wholesome. Chef D: Well, that’s what brings in that nutrition component. That’s what makes it so vital that we’re giving them something that is wholesome and nutritious because for most of those folks that will be the only meal that they’ll eat that day. Jackie Keller: Wow, and the Bread and Roses Cafe relies on donations or . . . Chef D: It’s a combination. Basically, we have great partners in the community like Whole Foods and Panera Bread, and California Chicken Cafe. And they are great partners and they donate things that they are a day of or no longer able to sell for some reason and so they’ll go ahead and give those to us which we utilize. We also utilize . . . Most of our fruits and vegetables come from the West Side Food Bank which is a great organization that is affiliated with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, so that’s another great partner of ours. Everything else we shop for ourselves because there are certain items that you just can’t get donated or don’t get donated usually like proteins. So I’ll usually go out and buy a protein and then I’ll combine that with whatever we happen to have on hand. So one week we’ll get grapefruits and zucchinis, and bell peppers. And then the next week we’ll get a sack of potatoes and some carrots. So whatever I have and then I think, well, what am I teaching over at Culinary Training? So if we’re making a classical French brown sauce then maybe we’ll go and buy some beef and we can put together something like a beef bourguignon, and use the carrots, and use the potatoes. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: And so that’s basically how I do my menu planning. Jackie Keller: That’s great and I know that you do a lot of menu planning for your own catering business as well. Tell us a little about that. Chef D: I run a successful catering business here in Los Angeles. It’s called Commis which is it just means cook or humbled cook in French. And we do corporate galas. We do dinner parties. We do weddings, a lot of weddings. We do parties for 20 people, for 200, for 500 people in the past. And that certainly keeps me busy because I do work full-time at the St. Joseph Center. But it, again, is a real passion of mine to do this elevated seasonal farm to table really style cooking for really a wide range of clients. And that usually takes up my time on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sundays. I’m usually doing events each and every week pretty much. Jackie Keller: Wow, so where do you have time for family? Chef D: Well, luckily I’ve got these wonderful little girls. I have three girls, ages four, five, and nine, and they love to cook. So I get them down at Bread and Roses. They’re volunteering . . . Jackie Keller: Oh, that’s great. Chef D: . . . which is such a great, you know, and that’s really important to me, being a great example for them. And so they come down and they help out in the kitchen and then when we’re at home they kind of understand, and they help with dinner. And so I have benchmarks in my life like, okay, I’m going to coach my daughter’s basketball team regardless of how busy I get. I’m going to be home for dinner as much as I possibly can and we’re going to sit down and we’re even going to prepare that food together. So things like that, that’s basically how I keep it all in balance. It’s just that certain things I will not compromise. Jackie Keller: And in the middle of all that was Chopped, tell us about that. Chef D: Yes, 2013 was an amazing year both at the Bread and Roses Cafe, for St. Joseph Center, for me personally, the business is doing better than ever. And then along comes the opportunity to be on Chopped which is one of my favorite shows. I think it’s such a successful show on the Food Network because it’s not really about personality, it’s really about the cooking. It’s four chefs, mystery ingredients, a clock, they start it, boom, you got to go, and then you’re judged, and then somebody gets chopped. And I was fortunate enough to come out on top. So yes, I am officially Chopped Champion. Jackie Keller: Hey! Chef D: And the great thing about it is they came down to Bread and Roses. They did all of the back story there and the bio pieces, and the amount of attention and notoriety that it’s brought to the good work that we’re doing out there in Venice, I mean, we’re getting letters from Vermont and New York, and you name it. Jackie Keller: That’s great. Chef D: Yeah, it’s just so wonderful to be able to go and say, look, I may cook at a place that gives the food away and we might utilize things that people have no use for otherwise, but we can still produce food that comes out and is on a tremendously high level of execution. Yeah, so I think what prepared me for the show, I mean, little did they realize is that I am really going through an episode of Chopped each and every day at the Bread and Roses Cafe because, I mean, we’re literally walking in in the morning and someone will walk down the street and one of our neighbors will come in with a basket full of these giant zucchinis or eggplant. And so you really never know what you’re going to get and so I was well prepared fortunately. Jackie Keller: Well, I think you’re going to be well prepared for what we’re going to do because I could not resist doing a little co-cooking with you here. Chef D: Oh, no. Jackie Keller: It maybe seven years since we shared the kitchen when you worked for me and we cooked together, but I thought we’d do a little bit of that today. Chef D: Awesome. Jackie Keller: So I have some mystery ingredients for you. Are you ready for your challenge here on Food Exposed? Chef D: I am. I am ready. Jackie Keller: Well let’s go cook. Chef D: Okay. Jackie Keller: Okay Chef D, so now is the time for you to absorb this challenge because what we’re going to do is throw it together. I just bought some ingredients from the kitchen and I thought you could create something wonderful from it. I know you can. I did pick the ingredients for a reason, so real quick I brought some cooked brown rice. Chef D: Okay. Jackie Keller: Because we know that that’s wholesome, nutritious, high fiber . . . Chef D: Fiber. Jackie Keller: . . . good base. And then kale because you know everything’s kale these days. Chef D: I love kale, personal favorite of mine. Jackie Keller: Good, good, and I steamed it a little bit because kale does better with a little bit of time, so I know time would be of the essence. So I steamed a little fresh kale for you. We chopped some red bell peppers. Chef D: Great. Jackie Keller: And I brought some almonds because this is another one of my favorite nutritionally . . . Chef D: Dense foods, yeah. Jackie Keller: Really great, great nutritional calories there, great Vitamin E, and great Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and then because I love dried fruit, I brought some unsulfured slivered dried apricots. You have some vegetable broth to work with. Chef D: Okay. Jackie Keller: You have some extra virgin olive oil and you have one of our salt and sugar free seasoning blends. This is the Mediterranean blend which you probably remember from when you worked with me. Chef D: Yes, wonderful. I love that stuff. Jackie Keller: So the pan is getting hot and I’m going to turn the cooking over to you. Chef D: Okay. Jackie Keller: And let you just kind of go for it and put something together for us. Chef D: Okay, wonderful. Jackie Keller: All right. Chef D: Yeah. Jackie Keller: So. Chef D: Well, this is really my philosophy . . . Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: . . . that there are just certain recipes that work and then to understanding why those recipes work really will set you free from the necessity of having a recipe. So we will just get started by adding a little bit of fat to the pan and that’s pretty hot there. Jackie Keller: Yeah, I’m going to cool it down a little bit for you. Chef D: That’s warm. Jackie Keller: Yeah, this thing really heats up well. Chef D: And we’ll start with the aromatics. And the aromatics, you know, this could be celery, this could be onion, yeah, these beautiful red bell peppers, this is great, this is great. And so we’ll just kind of, I mean, you can already smell that. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: That’s wonderful. And so this is flavoring the fat that we have in the pan and it’s just going to get a little bit of carmelization on it, and we’ll just have those soften. And again, I mean, I would add some fresh herbs to this. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: Any kind of onion. It’s really about what you have on hand. And now this looks like leftovers from my house. This looks like brown rice that you know . . . Jackie Keller: It’s just plain cooked. Chef D: Rice is just one of those things. Right? You always make a little bit too much and you always end up with some of it leftover. So the next thing that we’ll do is add the nuts. The thing about when you’re cooking with nuts is that they’re very high in fat, good at fat, but they will burn on you. So that’s why we add them halfway through the cooking process. The same way that you would do garlic. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: You know? So I would have the onions or the peppers going first and then I would add the nuts or the garlic about halfway through. Jackie Keller: It smells great already. Chef D: Yeah, because you’re going to start getting the toastiness from the nuts. Jackie Keller: Right, right, and that toasting does bring out all the flavor and fragrance of the nut. Chef D: Basically yeah, I mean, what’s going on is that Maillard reaction where you’ve got proteins and carbohydrates that are browning at temperatures over 120 degrees Celsius and they are forming new flavored molecules. That’s what’s making this so delicious. Jackie Keller: Yeah, yeah. I’m going to give this a little bit since we’ve got some stuff in the pan now. Chef D: A little bit of juice. Yeah, and then go ahead and add the dried apricots. Now again, these are high in sugar. They have quite a bit of fructose, not processed sugar, so this is good sugar. But because they do have that sugar content you kind of have to watch out for these guys as well because they will burn as well. So it’s about proportion and timing. So what am I basing this on? I’m doing about one part aromatic, one part nut, one part fruit. Jackie Keller: Okay. Chef D: Just kind of a one to one ratio. I’m going to add a little bit more fat to the pan. Jackie Keller: And you can also, I know, moisten it with a little bit of vegetable broth if you want to . . . Chef D: So what I’m doing is I’m creating a fond on the bottom of the pan. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: And then I’m going to go ahead and deglaze it because this is just about the time and you can see that it’s starting to brown up there. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: It’s a lot of flavor. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: And I’ll go ahead and add my vegetable stock just enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and then we’ll go ahead and kind of scrap and get all of those tasty bits up off the bottom of the pan. And this is classic French technique here. So just a little technique goes a long way for a lot of different dishes. Jackie Keller: Now do you emphasize this kind of cooking technique at the St. Joseph’s Center in your program? Chef D: I do. This is exactly what I teach because it’s so practical. And no matter what the flavor profiles that a certain chef works with, most of the techniques are very similar. So when I prepare the students with these techniques, they do really well when they eventually get to their jobs. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: We have graduates of the program that are now executive chefs and it’s just absolutely mind blowing. Jackie Keller: That’s wonderful. I know I’ve employed several of your graduates. Chef D: Yes. Jackie Keller: We start them out in our kitchen and I’m always grateful to know that I can rely on the basic training that they’ve had through you. Chef D: Well, that’s the cool thing about being a chef. It’s like a family tree. Your resume speaks volume and it’s all about where you’ve been and who you’ve learned from, so I’m happy to have come from the NutriFit kitchens. And you can see that this is actually starting to like make like kind of a syrup. Jackie Keller: Yeah, it is. It’s thickening. Chef D: Because the apricots are kind of giving off their pectin and their sugar, and it’s getting delicious. Jackie Keller: Yeah, that’s one of those nice things about apricots is they have that high pectin content which really helps too, to make it thick. Chef D: And now we’ll just add some base to it. We’ll add the brown rice. This will make it hearty. We’ll go ahead and stir that in. Jackie Keller: Now I know you’ve mentioned that you like to use a lot of fresh herbs. And as you know now we have our own farm at NutriFit and we’re growing a lot of our own fresh herbs. You’re doing the same. Aren’t you? Chef D: Yes, we have an herb garden at the Bread and Roses Cafe. I was sick of all my like fancy pants chef friends, “Oh, I got to go to the roof and get some silver back thyme. I’ll be right back.” And so I was like, why not. You know? So I had a friend at my church who was a Troop Leader for the Boy Scouts and as an Eagle Scout project one of the Boy Scouts came and built us like a tiered herb garden that we have in the back. Jackie Keller: Right, how cool. Chef D: Yeah. Jackie Keller: That is wonderful. Chef D: Really neat. Jackie Keller: Neat. So you just go out there, pick what you need. Chef D: That’s right. Jackie Keller: So at what point now will we add the kale and wrap this dish? Chef D: Well, yeah, the kale is going to come here at the end because we don’t want to overcook the kale. Jackie Keller: I love the color. Chef D: Yeah and it’s so vibrant, and we don’t want to lose any of that by over cooking it. And we don’t want to lose any of the enzymatic activity by raising the temperature too high. So at the end and it’ll just wilt into your dish nicely. And you can do a little massaging of this beforehand if you want to break it down a little bit. You can just put a little dash of salt which the sodium ions will draw the water out through the semi-permeable cell membranes and make it just a little bit softer, and then voila. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: Look at that. Jackie Keller: That looks wonderful. Chef D: And that’s ready to go and it’s beautiful. It is beautiful. Jackie Keller: It is very, very beautiful. Chef D: Now don’t forget the seasoning. Jackie Keller: Yeah, you might want to pull the whole top off that. I was just adding a little. Now you’re adding in the key ingredients for our Mediterranean blend, the basil, oregano. Chef D: Ooh! And I can smell the dill in there. Jackie Keller: The dill, yeah. Chef D: Oh, my God. That’s so good. Wow. Jackie Keller: That looks absolutely wonderful Chef D. Thank you. Chef D: Yeah, my pleasure. Let’s plate it up. Jackie Keller: All right. Chef D: Take a little bit of this. Jackie Keller: Presentation I know is so important. Chef D: Yes. Jackie Keller: I remember your episode of Chopped, you know, getting it just right. Chef D: Well, we . . . Jackie Keller: And they really grade on that. That’s really real. Right? Chef D: Oh, absolutely. We do eat with our eyes, that is half the battle. You want the plate to look good and look at that. Jackie Keller: That is beautiful. Chef D: That’s wonderful. Jackie Keller: All right, I’ll hold it for you, you taste. Chef D: Yes, absolutely, be my pleasure. See and I know I’m going to get all kinds of texture. Mm, what could be easier? You’ll live forever eating like this. Jackie Keller: Yeah, yeah. Chef D: And we’d be happy to. Jackie Keller: And healthy. Chef D: That’s right. Jackie Keller: That’s so good. Well, thank you so much for sharing that and improvising like that, and giving us a little culinary lesson at the same time. Chef D: It was my pleasure. Jackie Keller: And so much fun. I know that our audience is going to want to follow you. They’re going to want to experience what you’re doing, live through your eyes. What’s the best way for them to find you? Chef D: Well, I have a fabulous website. It’s ChefDBrandonWalker.com and it’s a wonderful site. I have instructional videos. I have recipes. I talk about all the things that we’re doing as far as charity and philanthropic endeavors, and of course it talks about the new book that’s on the way which is all about improvisational cooking. Jackie Keller: Well, I’m going to look that up and I’m going to follow you. Chef D: Please do. Jackie Keller: And I’m going to hope that somewhere in that book there is a shared recipe that you wouldn’t mind me borrowing for our NutriFit clients. Chef D: That would be an honor. Jackie Keller: And I thank you again, so much, for coming to see us today. It was really, really great to have you. Chef D: It was my pleasure. Jackie Keller: Keep up the good work. Chef D: I will. Jackie Keller: We need people like you out there. Chef D: I will. Thank you, Jackie. Jackie Keller: All right, thank you. Here is a little story that illustrates the value of sharing resources and creating something from nothing. There are many versions of it and I’m not really sure where it comes from originally, but here it goes. So many years ago in a time of great hardship and famine, an old soldier wandered into a poverty stricken village and asked for shelter for the night. “There is nothing here to eat!” The villagers told him. “You better just move on.” But, the soldier stopped and he said, “I have enough here in my backpack to make soup for all of us if I could just borrow a large pot.” So the curious villagers, they produced a pot and stood around watching as the soldier filled it with water and built a small fire underneath.” He then took three round stones from his backpack and dropped them into the water. As the water came to a boil, the soldier sniffed it and said, “Mm, I love stone soup, but if I had just a little cabbage it would take even better.” At this point one of the villagers disappeared and came back a few minutes later with a cabbage he had been hiding and he put it into the pot. And awhile later the soldier tasted the soup again and said, “Mm, this is good, but a couple of carrots would make it better still.” And another villager produced a bunch of carrots and so it went on as potatoes, and onions, and mushrooms, a little bit of salt beef were all added to the pot until indeed there was a delicious meal for all. We all have a contribution to make and by sharing our gifts and resources our lives are enriched. That’s my story. Thank you so much for joining me today on Food Exposed. Join us next week for another look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed check me out on emPOWERme.tv and until next week remember, make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

NWF Director Beth Pratt discusses the Challenges of Life on the Road

Episode 107

Video Transcript

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take an inside look at what’s on your plate. I’m your host Jackie Keller. I’m the founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. And today we’re talking about staying healthy under the pressure of life on the road, which can be very challenging, even for the most experience traveler. You know, millions of people fall ill every year and many even die as a result of eating unsafe food. So, what causes this lack of food safety? There’s a combinations of many factors, but here are some simple rules to remember about food safety. Number one, keep hot foods hot; two, keep cold foods cold. And, number three, keep all areas clean. So you really have to plan ahead. Travel with non-controversial foods; things that are easily identified like bars, dried fruit, nuts, and keep the portions small enough to eat in just one serving. Avoid very salty foods because they can help you bloat and retain water and that is often a problem when you’re traveling anyway. So you don’t want to exacerbate that problem by having really salty foods because then you’ll want liquids and you don’t want to risk taking liquids through security. No soups, no smoothies, sometimes even salads dressings are going to be confiscated. So don’t take them with you because you’re probably going to get them taken away anyway. Fresh fruit and turkey jerky are great travel snacks. But if you’re and international traveler, and this has happened to me, I can say it does happen, remember you have to consume any open food before you land and pass through agricultural inspection because if you don’t, not only will they take it away from you, but they will fine you! Because if you’re traveling internationally you cannot take animal proteins across country borders and there’s nothing more depressing then having them take away some expensive turkey jerky that you bought and you didn’t eat. Well, my guest today is a very experienced traveler. She’s spends about 60 percent of her working days on the road and knows all too well what toll a schedule like that can take on your health, your sleep, your stress levels, your eating habits. As the California director the National Wildlife Federation, Beth Pratt has worked in environmental leadership role for over 20 years; included two of the country’s largest national parks, Yosemite and Yellowstone, which are two of my favorite places. She lives outside of Yosemite right now with her four dogs, two cats, three western toads, and she even has a frog pond in her back yard, which is a certified wildlife habitat. Beth Pratt, welcome to Food Exposed! Beth Pratt: Thank you for having me Jackie. Jackie Keller: Well thank you so much for coming. You came all the way from Yellowstone this morning. Beth Pratt: Yosemite. Jackie Keller: Right, Yosemite. Beth Pratt: Yellowstone’s too cold right now. Jackie Keller: But even Yosemite, that’s quite a drive. Beth Pratt: Yeah, it’s about four and a half hours. But for me that’s a walk in the park these days with all the traveling I do. Jackie Keller: Almost literally, right? Beth Pratt: Exactly. Jackie Keller: Well, I know that we’ve met several times both in the course of the National Wildlife Federation, but also in the course of our shared interest in the Climate Reality Leadership Core. How are those two interests connected for you Beth? Beth Pratt: Yeah, obviously for me with the National Wildlife Federation I work to conserve wildlife and to do things to make sure we have wildlife in the future. And climate change of course is one of the overriding impacts for both people and wildlife, so the two are so interrelated. And it was fun spending time with you, training with Al Gore, two summers ago now, to make ourselves more aware and better able to communicate about the climate change. For me it’s the issue, for both wildlife and people. Jackie Keller: You must be seeing a lot of impact of climate change just in Yosemite, right? Beth Pratt: Yeah, you know, I’ve lived up there for 15 years; have been going to Yosemite for 25 years now. And anecdotally I’m noticing stuff. The frogs are coming earlier to my frog pond. They’re singing their mating song earlier. Of course we had one of the worst fire seasons, just in my area, that was terrifying. We had the rim fire in Yosemite, and some people think climate change is fueling that. They’re burning longer, hotter, and bigger. And of course we’re having the worst drought now in some say 500 years. And birds are impacted by that, bears are coming out of hibernation earlier, so, a lot of impacts, yep. Jackie Keller: Tell us more about the work you do on a day in and day out basis, and what takes you on the road so much. Beth Pratt: So, I have the best job in the world, as you know. I get to drive around California and get people inspired to help wildlife. And it’s an amazing job. That’s how we met through the National Wildlife Federation. And so, California is a big state, as we know, and I spend as you said, about 60 to 70 percent of my time on the road, because I have project all over the state. He in LA we’re working on, I think it’s one of the most inspiring wildlife conservation projects I can think of. Jackie Keller: Tell us about it. Beth Pratt: We have P22. Most of you know P22 is living in the middle of Griffith Park, he’s a mountain lion. He had to cross two major freeways to get there. Jackie Keller: That’s more than most of us can do in LA traffic I think. Beth Pratt: I don’t even survive that 405! So he’s in Griffith Park, and an average mountain lion territory is 250 square miles. He’s making do with 8! It’s unbelievable. So, we’re working on building with the National Park Service in the USGS in the Santa Monica Mountains fund a wildlife crossing on the 101 so that it doesn’t happen again. So that animals live P22 have safe space and can disperse to green areas and not be living 2 miles from the Hollywood block. Jackie Keller: Now let me ask you something, will they use the freeway overpass? I mean, honestly? Beth Pratt: Yes, animals do. They build these underpasses and overpasses and animals do use them. I mean, they know these areas are pinch points. And animals use existing underpasses now. So they know where these animals are funneling. And they build it they will come. And really the future of the Santa Monica mountain lion population is dependent on things like this. They are not going to survive if they can’t move. Jackie Keller: So that project brings you to LA a lot? Beth Pratt: I will be here a lot, yes. It’s a big project, it’s a monumental undertaking. So, I’m down here at least once a month, probably twice. Jackie Keller: OK. And I know we’ve talked about some of the challenges that you’ve personally have faced with all of this travel and the impacts on your own personal health. Tell us a little bit about that. Beth Pratt: Yeah, and I can’t thank you enough. We came together through our shred love of the environment, but what’s been helpful is your coaching around, you know, I put a lot into my work, I travel a lot. And what’s suffered has been my fitness and health. When we first started talking I told you I was in the worst shape of my life, because I was driving and I was sitting at the computer all day, and the things you talked about, those challenges, I was eating badly and not exercising. So, I would say that the two biggest challenges for me is, you know, when you’re not working in an office and sitting all the time and doing a routine, and when you go on these trips it’s really hard to make time to exercise. Sometimes you’re working from 7 to 11 at night plus it’s hard to just find time. And then the eating badly, you’re eating quickly, or you’re going out to dinner or lunch. You know, business meetings seem to gel around a meal. And when the other person is having this elaborate beautiful delicious high calorie dinner, it’s hard to sit there with water and a salad. So those have been some of the challenges I know you have been working with me on, I’m making a lot of progress, it’s great. Jackie Keller: Well, we talked about the fact that you are willing, and it’s unusual from my perspective for somebody to be willing to go public about their challenges with weight and health and eating properly. So we talked about a creative way of doing that kind of fits with the dynamic of charity and philanthropy and being public. So, tell us a little but about that. Beth Pratt: This is really fun. So one of the things that Jackie worked with me is, so, we know you’re a person who is very self motivated and especially around my main motivations which I want to save wildlife. And looking at the weight gain and me being out of shape… Let’s look at motivations and what motivates you. And what we came up with jointly is what motivates me is saving wildlife obviously. So, how do you tie that in with weight loss? Brainstorming between the two of us, we came up with: what if you do directly tie that in with weight loss? So, we came up with the idea with Weighing for a Cause. Which I think we’re about to launch; which is, you set a goal weight, and you set up a fundraising campaign, much like you do for a walkathon or something where people give money. But if you don’t get to your goal rate, the nonprofit doesn’t get the money. We thought this was a great motivator because, I mean, if you’re putting money up for the puppies at the SPCA you’re going to make your goal weight. Jackie Keller: That’s right. Beth Pratt: You don’t want to just point them. And what’s fun is getting the non-profit involved too. Obviously they’re going to have some motivation. Jackie Keller: So your non-profit, we’re calling this Weighing In for a Cause, and we’re doing this on Crowdrise, and your non-profit is… Beth Pratt: Yeah, so I work for the National Wildlife Foundation, but we partner with Save the Frogs. In fact, the mountain lion was one of my projects, but another one of my projects is we’re going to be doing this campaign for the Red-Legged Frog around California. So I chose for my Weigh In for a Cause that joint project that we’re doing. So here’s Save the Frogs. And frogs are one of my favorite animals! So we’re excited about this. And the executive director Cary Krieger for Save the Frogs, he has promised to be emailing me daily to make sure that I am not exceeding my calorie count and to take me on hikes. So I think it’s fun to get the non-profit involved too. But also NutriFit’s a very philanthropic organization, you help National Wildlife Foundation by donating your time, your services. But your also going to be putting up some of your money for your clients. Jackie Keller: I am! And in fact, I have a check for you, for the National Wildlife Federation! Beth Pratt: Yay! Jackie Keller: To support the Save the Frogs and the Weighing in for a Cause. And if I understand it correctly, you have to give some of this back if you don’t make your goal, right? Beth Pratt: Exactly. A portion of this is going to go to the Save the Frogs campaign. So Cary and your staff at Save the Frogs, start emailing me to make sure I’m not eating too much! Jackie Keller: Well, you know what in fact, I thought what we would do now is take a minute to cook up something really quick and easy that you can use for your road trips; something nutritious, something clean, something easy, something quick, something that doesn’t require refrigeration. So would you join me for a little cooking? Beth Pratt: That would be wonderful. I’d love some tips. Jackie Keller: Alright, let’s go. Jackie Keller: Alright so, we’re going to make something really simple now. Beth Pratt: Awesome. Jackie Keller: I chose this recipe. We call them Quinoa and Flour Fritters. And I chose the recipe because Quinoa, as you know, is a very wholesome grain. It’s very high in protein, it has no gluten, even though I know you don’t have Celiacs disease or anything but, you want to incorporate more variety in whatever you can. So quinoa is one of the most popular foods right now. It’s very simple to make, you can find it anywhere. You just rinse it, rinse it, rinse it, before you cook it, and then you put it up un water and you let in simmer. That’s it! Fifteen minutes later it’s done! And if you make it plain like I did, then you can season it however you want afterwards and use it however you want to use it. So we start with some cooked quinoa, that’s what I’ve done here, I’ve pre-cooked it to make it a little but faster for us. And into a bowl it goes with a little bit of rice flour, just to get it to stick together. And this is just grocery store plain Japanese rice flour. And then I’m going to add a little bit of egg substitute. And this is just egg white in a carton, but you can crack an egg and beat it and add it in. So, you can see what you’re aiming for is a fairly wet consistency, but we’re going to bind it even further with a little bit of cheese. This is low-fat mozzarella cheese. Just plain mozzarella, a little bit more than you need, but then you go a little less with the other cheese, which is a little bit of parmesan, and finally our fiber, not only from the quinoa, but from cauliflower. Beth Pratt: Oh, OK. That’s a nice combination. Jackie Keller: So, this adds some vegetable into the dish. And cauliflower is just steamed cauliflower chopped up. So, very simple, a little bit of salt and sugar free seasoning to give it some flavor. And this is one of our salt and sugar free seasoning blends, this is our Mediterranean blend. But you can use basil or whatever your favorite sugar free blends are, whatever you like the best. And one thing you don’t want to do is add any salt because the cheese has a lot of salt in it to begin with. So you don’t need any more salt. And remember we talked about… Beth Pratt: I noticed from traveling, even minimally amounts of salt I start feeling it definitely. Jackie Keller: And so, we’re stirring it up here. And I’m going to have you spray the skillet lightly with a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil spray. Beth Pratt: Nobody’s going to believe I’m cooking. Jackie Keller: A little closer, alright. Beth Pratt: There we go, OK. Jackie Keller: And now, and we have a lot of mixture here, far more than we’re going to make, but you see, we need to get something in there before we burn the bottom of that skillet. So, grab a spoon and follow me. You can make them as big as you want to make them they can be little, they can be medium. My thought was that you would be eating them in the car. Beth Pratt: Yes, and it’s a bad habit, but with the amount of driving I do, eating and driving is very efficient. This does look perfect for nibbling while I’m driving. Jackie Keller: We’re going to form them into… there you go, see? Who said you couldn’t cook! Beth Pratt: I’m cooking! Hey mom, I’m cooking! Jackie Keller: Look at that! Beth Pratt: She’d never believe it. Jackie Keller: And then we’ll flatten them a little bit. So we’ll make like a nice little… And obviously you know if you were making these at home, you could use a scoop, like an ice cream scoop or something to get nice uniform sizes and things like that. But you can tell, it’s not that fancy. Beth Pratt: And this is perfect, because it is really hard to buy healthy snacks sometimes. So this is perfect. Jackie Keller: This is probably not the ideal cooking implement because what I really want is the spatula to flip it. But, you kind of get the drift, right? So, they cook pretty quickly because essentially all we’re doing is cooking the egg that bound it together, because the quinoa is already cooked, the cheese doesn’t require cooking. So we just want to cook it until the egg allows it to set up and bind it together. And they get nice and toasty. And then the challenge of course is going to be to flip it. Yeah, but’s it’s not quite there yet. So, one suggestion that I have for this recipe is to make a big batch of them and freeze them, because they really freeze beautifully. And if what you want is something that you have handy that you could just grab and go, this is truly just grab and go food. They’re not greasy, so they’re great for the car because the other thing about them is they’re balanced, you have protein, you have fiber, you have carbohydrate, you have a little bit of healthy fat, so it’s really an ideal meal. Beth Pratt: And I love the cauliflowers in there, because you got to get your vegetables. Jackie Keller: You got to get your vegetable in there. Beth Pratt: Which is the one I always struggle with! I’m from Boston, Irish, we don’t eat vegetables. Jackie Keller: Potatoes are sort of like cauliflower. Beth Pratt: Yeah, exactly. Jackie Keller: Alright, so I think we’re about ready to attempt the flip! Well, no that one failed. You want to give it a try? Beth Pratt: Well, if you’re having trouble, I’m willing. I’ve got to learn to do this because this looks like the perfect snack for… Jackie Keller: Well trust me, because if you have a flat spatula it probably works perfectly. There we go! You see, it’s not bad! One or two more and then maybe you’ll to sample, what do you think? Beth Pratt: I think so. Jackie Keller: Great. Beth Pratt: I’m not going to be able to flip that, I’ll give that to you. Jackie Keller: What I’m going to do is I’m going to turn this guy off. Beth Pratt: Look at that! Aren’t they perfect? Jackie Keller: Wow! Anyway give it a try, tell me what you think. Beth Pratt: Mm. It’s the perfect snack. Jackie Keller: Now, couldn’t you eat that on the road? Beth Pratt: I’m sure this would be perfect. Jackie Keller: And the nice thing about that is that it can go through customs too. It can go through security, they’re not going to take it away from you. While ideally you’d want to eat whatever you brought… Beth Pratt: Well, this is perfect airplane food too, like you said, a lot get confiscated. And airports are traps. You get in there and of course you want the junky food when you’re there. Coming armed with these would be perfect. Jackie Keller: Alright, great. Well, Beth I know that everyone is going to want to follow you, they’re going to want to keep up with what you do, what’s the best way for people to reach you? Beth Pratt: You know, I’d say the two ways, Facebook, BethPratt1, the number one, and I post great photos of wildlife as I travel along. Jackie Keller: That is true, you defiantly do. Beth Pratt: You want to see mountain lions? My twitter handle is BethPratt. Or NWFCalifornia is also a Facebook page that is, again, also a lot of adventures in wildlife photos. And also we’ll be posting on how I do with my goal weight. So, come tune in. Jackie Keller: And we can find that on where? Beth Pratt: I’ll be posting that on my Facebook page and the NWFCalifornia Facebook page as well. Jackie Keller: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for coming! Beth Pratt: That you Jackie, it’s always wonderful to see you! Jackie Keller: Yeah. And I wish you good luck. I know you’re already losing some weight, right? Beth Pratt: Yes, I’m down 8 pounds, and yeah. I feel great. And I can’t thank you enough, because your coaching, your food has been instrumental in that. Jackie Keller: Well, you’re most welcome. Beth Pratt: So you’re helping wildlife by helping me. Jackie Keller: Alright. I’d like to talk a minute with you today about commitment with passion. No, I’m not talking about the romantic kind, as in intimate relationships with others, not that kind of commitment. But I’m talking about the kind of commitment that leads to creating self-fulfilling prophecies. Let’s face it; pursuing your goals even if you’re highly motivated isn’t always a piece of cake. And nearly everything means overcoming some kind of obstacle, personal sacrifice, and risking some failure. So developing skills for this requires some form of patience, practice, labor, and passionate commitment carries many benefits. It reinforces our sense of autonomy, but also helps us feel that we belong to something. When we follow through on our decisions to something it shields us from social pressures. For that reason, when we make a commitment in front of others in particularly potent. You know there was a study that was recently done a the University of Scranton and it found that people who made public New Year’s resolutions were ten times more likely to succeed at their goal. And there are many people who’ve written about commitment and how it relates to achievement. There’s some great quotes from leading business gurus. Here’s one I particularly like; “Unless commitment is made, there are only hopes and promises, but no plans.” And that’s a quote from Peter Drucker*. And here’s one from Stephen Covey “Without involvement there’s no commitment.” Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it. So, what about talking about committing publicly like Beth did? How about doing that? Check out Weigh In For A Cause, as you’re way to cement your goal. And do well by doing good. Thanks for joining us today on Food Exposed. Join us next week for another look at what’s on your plate.

Peer Health Exchange L.A. Executive Director Amita Swadhin

Episode 105

Video Transcript

Jackie: Welcome to Food Exposed where each we talk about the story behind what’s on your plate. I’m your host, Jackie Keller. And today we’re talking about teenagers. You know, whether you have one, you are one, or you know one, listen up. Thirteen to seventeen can be a really confusing age. It can be confusing for lots of reasons, but particularly with respect to body image and self-awareness. Here are some interesting statistics from the World Health Organization. Forty-three percent of the world is currently under 25; about 16 million girls age 15 to 19 give birth every year. An estimated 150 million young people use tobacco. Alcohol use starts at a young age; 14% of adolescent girls and 18% of adolescent boys age 13 to 15 use alcohol. In any given year about 20% of the adolescents will experience a mental health problem. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people. And despite our cultural obsession with diets and being thin, obesity is increasing among young people in both low and high income countries. Nearly two-thirds of premature deaths and about one- third of the total disease burden that we experience as adults is related to health practices that start in our youth years. So clearly establishing good health practices at a very young age is especially important just for the health of our population as a whole, and for us as we age. And for that reason I am very, very privileged to welcome today our guest. Amita Swadhin is the Los Angeles Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange, and she has dedicated her practice and her business model to helping students and young people learn more about their bodies and deal with these issues. Amita, welcome to Food Exposed, and thank you for coming today. Amita: Thank you so much for having me, Jackie. Jackie: Tell us about Peer Health Exchange. You know, we don’t hear about it very much; just tell us. Amita: I like to think that we’re the best-kept nonprofit secret in the world. We are a national organization. We have been in existence for ten years. We’ve been here in Los Angeles for five years, and our model is basically empowering teenagers to make healthy decisions. We do that by training college student volunteers to teach a comprehensive health curriculum in high schools that lack health education and in which a majority of students come from low-income households. Jackie: So you recruit college kids to volunteer to go into high schools, to go back, and relate to ninth graders? Amita: Yes, that’s right; we’re specifically in the ninth grade. We know that so much changes for a teenager in that ninth grade year. They are often facing going to parties for the first time with much older kids. They are actually making decisions around whether to have sex, around whether to use drugs, or alcohol. And in general facing a lot of the self-esteem challenges that you talked about. So it’s a pivotal year and that’s why we target the ninth grade. Jackie: So what are the biggest challenges that you face with this group and with the model that you’ve established? Amita: I think that there are a lot of good things about the model. Teenagers listen to their peers much more than adults. You could have the best teacher in the world, but I’m 35 now and I’ve been in the classroom since I was about 19 as a Peer Educator. Jackie: Wow! Amita: And so I really believe in the model, because I’ve seen a shift. When I walk into a classroom now to observe our college volunteers there is this hush, and people are like, well, who’s this lady? Why is she here? Whereas our college students, you know, they are in hoodie sweatshirts, they’re in some jeans. They are 18 to 21 and able to captivate the classroom right away. And it’s really compelling; we have a lot of data on our impact on the teenagers and how they actually grow in their knowledge and skills from the workshops that the college students are presenting. Jackie: That is just wonderful. And what about the bureaucracy, I mean. L.A. is a big place. I know you’re a national organization. But your area of responsibility is this big monolith that we call Los Angeles. Tell me about bureaucracy and how does that affect your work? Amita: You know, I’d like to answer that on two different levels. So first, we are a county; I think it’s taken some time for our national organization to really wrap their heads around, you know, we are not just Los Angeles City. There are 81 school districts here. Jackie: Oh my God. I’m a native and I didn’t realize there were that many school districts in L.A. Amita: Yes, and we’re the largest county in the United States. So just thinking through which teens are we going to serve here, and why it is a challenge in and of itself. This is our fifth year in Los Angeles, and we’ve started with LAUSD. And I think LAUSD has its own challenges and I think also that the need is not as obvious as in some of the smaller districts within L.A. County. So a lot of people don’t realize that LAUSD actually has a high school graduation requirement around health education. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a certified health teacher at every LAUSD high school. Jackie: I can speak to that, because my kids are LAUSD kids, and it hasn’t been that long since they’ve been out of high school. And they both had health education in their classroom, but neither one was taught by a health ed teacher. Amita: Yes, and so you know exactly what I’m talking about. So I think part of our challenge is that we sometimes get high school principals reaching out to us directly within LAUSD, saying, “Hey, you’re a free program. We need this program here. Come and serve our students.” And we don’t always have the permission of the district to do that. So that can be frustrating at times. I think on the flip side, because L.A. is huge, even within LAUSD a lot of people don’t realize that we actually have the largest number of charter school students in the country. Jackie: Wow! Amita: There are a lot of exciting and innovative things happening in education nationwide and L.A. is kind of a hot bed for that. So these are Title I public schools, low income public schools that are not able to afford a health education teacher; so that’s largely who we partner with now. We have 25 high school partners this year within LAUSD’s geographic districts. Jackie: That’s a lot of schools. How many students do you serve? Amita: We’re reaching over 3,000 ninth graders this year with 300 college student volunteers from U.S.C., U.C.L.A., Occidental, and Cal State Northridge. Jackie: Now are you looking for more students, more schools, or more volunteers? How can the community support what you do? Amita: Yes to all of the above. We get calls from district administrators and teachers and even this summer there was a ninth grade high school student in Long Beach Unified, and health education recently got cut there about two years ago from what I understand, who heard about our program in some summer research project she was doing and said, “Can you come and serve our school?” Jackie: Wow! Amita: Obviously that’s compelling; you don’t want to ever say no to a teenager who is saying come and help me, and that’s what our program was founded to do. I think some of our constraints are around having the network of supporters and revenue that will let us grow at a rapid enough pace to meet the need that’s there. We’ve had a waiting list every single year that we’ve operated, and we are trying to broker relationships with districts beyond LAUSD now since there are 80 other ones. But we are looking for board members; we’re looking for adult mentors for our college volunteers. We are building a talent pipeline as a secondary impact in addition to empowering the teenagers themselves to have the knowledge and skills to make healthy decisions. We have this cadre of 2,000 volunteers throughout the country this year; about 7,000 throughout the ten years that we’ve existed, who are now interested in public health and public education as a career. So we are looking for mentors for them. And we’re looking for relationships within community partnerships and school districts that can help us grow and serve even more teenagers in L.A. County. Jackie: You have such a full plate. What’s the biggest challenge for you personally with all of that? Amita: That’s a great question, you know. I got into this work for some very personal reasons. I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse and domestic violence. Jackie: Wow! Amita: And I’m very public about that, because I think in order to really be a good role model for teenagers we have to de- stigmatize the reality that a lot of young people are facing at home. And so for me a challenge is a lot of our supporters like to pull our curriculum apart. There are 11 health topics that we teach; nutrition and physical activity is one. Jackie: Right. Amita: But they say, “I’m really interested in this one topic and I’m going to support you in that one topic area.” And I think the reason that I was drawn to Peer Health Exchange is that we’re such a holistic model. We teach about rape and sexual assault prevention and treatment. We teach about mental health. We teach about safer sex for a lot of the reasons that you listed in the statistics that you went over. You know, a teenager can’t pull apart the effects of body dysmorphia and poor self-esteem. Just being about the food and the drinks that they put into their body every day, of course, that’s a big part of it. But I think you also have to help young people really care about themselves. And so what’s challenging for me is knowing how much access to healing that I’ve had and really wanting to find a way to provide that in as holistic a manner as possible for the teens that we’re serving. Jackie: Well you great work and what a wonderful, wonderful opportunity it is for the community to get to know a little bit more about you; and realizing that that is a free resource for a body of people that don’t have access under normal circumstances to the kind of information and the quality delivery method. I know that there is a lot of research that goes into your curriculum. Amita: Yes, there is. Jackie: And one of the things that I was hoping to share today is just some fun, easy, quick ideas for school lunches. Even though it’s not everything, we do know that nutrition and healthy nutritional practices are the base of a lot of learning that can happen. So I thought today we would take a quick look at some easy, fast, nutritious, delicious, school lunches and see what we can throw together. Amita: I’m excited about this, especially because the teens that we serve are often living in neighborhoods that, you know, we talk about food deserts and access to good produce, and so I’m really excited for you to show us something that any teenager in any community in Los Angeles can make. Jackie: This is pretty simple. Amita: Okay, great. Jackie: Well, let’s go cook. Amita: Great. Jackie: Well, it’s time to cook, Amita, and what I thought we would do today is prepare a really, really simple dish that basically anybody can make, any age. Now we’re talking not just high schoolers; I’m thinking of starting even younger with this one. And the other nice thing I liked about this dish is that it’s inexpensive, and let’s face it, we need affordable food. It can’t be about what the wealthiest can afford; it has to be about what anyone can afford. So that’s why I chose this dish. And also it has some great nutritional properties, because it’s a balanced meal and so what we’re creating is something that’s high in fiber, high in protein, low in fat, so it’s going to be good for heart health. It’s going to be good for brain functioning. It’s going to have a high satiety value, so this is something that will stick with students of any age, and adults as well, and really kind of fuel you for the day. Amita: Great. I’m excited. I think I’m going to learn something, and I’m not the best cook, so if I can do it I think any teenager can do it. Jackie: Well, this is simple, trust me. You know, there are a couple of key ingredients here; one of them is enchilada sauce. Now we don’t make our own, I mean we make our own, but we don’t advocate that everybody has to make their own. What you do need to know, though, when you’re choosing enchilada sauce is that it’s a combination recipe of whatever the manufacturer chose to put in it. So even though a brand may be expensive, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily more healthful than the next brand. And one of the key things with enchilada sauce is the sodium content. And so, what you want to do is always as you’re shopping for it pick up the can, look at the nutrition facts label and check to see that you’re selecting one that has as close to 140 milligrams per serving as you can get, or less; because that is the legal limit for a low-sodium product. And what we’re looking for, particularly with the under-served populations, is a way to minimize the risk of high blood pressure and the resulting illnesses that can complicate heart health. So low sodium enchilada sauce, and then the other key thing, of course, is having whole wheat. When we want grains and we want whole grains in the diet, so whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas, which are also whole grain, would work in this recipe, because there is a lot of different ways we can make it. But if you are going to go with the flour product you want to make sure that it’s based in whole grains. Amita: I love that you’re bringing this up; this is exactly how our nutrition and physical activity workshop is structured, just simple every day choices that a teenager can make, knowing how to look for whole grains, low sodium count. Jackie: Yes, look at this one, not that one. That’s very simple. And then of course, depending on how hot you like your food, whether you put in chilies or you don’t put in chilies; this is a jalapeno chili and it’s fairly mild. If you take the seeds and the veins out, the heat is not in the flesh, it’s in the seeds and the veins. So you want to make sure that you seed and de- vein those. So it’s really simple; I’m going to spray our skillet with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil spray. And you can find this in every grocery store. And let’s get some meat in there, before we burn this thing. Actually, I think I’ll put a few chilies in there. Amita: Great. Jackie: And do you like it spicy? Amita: I’m Indian American, so I do like spicy foods. Jackie: All right. So just to take a little bit of the heat off, there we go. Amita: We’ll be getting the smoke alarms going in here. Jackie: Yes. It’s this induction cooking, so we’re just going to get something in here so we don’t burn the stuff. I have precooked ground turkey with some enchilada sauce, so that’s as simple as it gets. You brown the ground turkey, add a little enchilada sauce to it, and the rest is just in the seasoning. I have some fresh tomatoes . . . Amita: Just chopped up. Jackie . . . just chopped up. And these can come out of a can, but I would suggest that–and let’s turn this down–that fresh is better. And once we have this going here, and the meat by the way, when you start with raw meat it does cook very quickly. So what I like to do is make a big batch of the meat, and then I freeze some of it. And these are really inexpensive little food safe containers. You can buy them in a sleeve of 25 from Smart & Final. They cost almost nothing. And what I like about them is they’re designed for food, you know, they’re not like a margarine tub that you have left over that you put leftovers in. It’s really designed for food and they freeze beautifully; they stack up. They are really inexpensive. And we’re also going to add in a little bit of a salt and sugar free spice blend. This is one of my blends, but it’s like a chili powder. And I like it because I thought of it. Amita: I would imagine you’d like it. Jackie: But you can use any kind of chili powder. So again, depending on whether you’ve added chilies into the mixture or you like your hot and spicy, what I’m really trying to emphasize here is don’t add salt. We’ve got a little bit of sodium in the enchilada sauce; we chose a low-sodium one. We made a good decision there, so why would you then turn around and add more salt to it? If you want flavor add spices, but don’t add the salt. Amita: And I heard you say stay away from sugar, too, right? Jackie: Absolutely. And you know, one of the things that you don’t realize is that these spice blends are again a combination of whatever the manufacturer chose to put into them. So a lot of times you’re not even aware that the first ingredient might be salt. Amita: You have to read the label. Jackie: You’ve got to read the label. Now we’re ready to make the burrito. Amita: Great. Jackie: So this is where you come in. Amita: Okay, I’m ready. I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Jackie: Okay. So you’re going to take a tortilla, a flour tortilla, and we can just grab one, a nice soft one. And then we’re going to put in it some of our meat. Amita: Okay. Jackie: And we can add a little bit of low-fat cheese to that. Amita: And the low fat part is important I’m guessing. Jackie: Because the fat that’s found in cheese is highly saturated milk fat, and you don’t need that milk fat. I mean, the fact of the matter is that it’s like having whole milk, drinking whole milk as adults we know that’s not good fat for us. We don’t need that fat. So reduced fat cheese is like drinking reduced fat milk. And the lower the fat content the better. What we’re looking for is good melting properties, and good flavoring properties, and this cheese has both without that highly saturated fat. Amita: Great. Jackie: You can add a little bit of lettuce to that if you want, but you have to go easy; because once it gets too full–I’m kind of setting you up here. Amita: Oh, great. Jackie: Don’t take it personally. All right, so now the burrito wrap. Start with the sides, fold in both sides, okay. Add a little bit more space, because what you’re going to want to do is now fold the bottom up, and roll it the rest of the way. Amita: I’ve got it. Jackie: All right, so you see what happens when you over fill it? Amita: Yes, I over filled it. Jackie: Now turn it upside down real quick and squash it. Amita: Squash it? Okay. Great. Jackie: So kind of what you’re doing here is you’re sealing it so that the cheese will melt and kind of seal the burrito. Amita: Got it. Jackie: And then it is a little messy to eat. Amita: You are totally setting me up; this is going to be fun. Jackie: But the other thing I wanted to point out is that this is the burrito and not everybody can have cheese; not everybody can have wheat. But let’s say you loved the idea and you just wanted to nix that. You could just make a taco salad out of it the same way by taking a little bit of your lettuce and then you could add a little bit of your meat on top, and some tomatoes to your taste. Amita: Great. Jackie: And if you wanted to, because as you said, you like it spicy. Amita: I do like it spicy, that’s true. And so these are just fresh chopped jalapenos? Jackie: Fresh chopped up jalapenos, and there you go. And it’s just a simple little taco salad, and now of course the proof is in the tasting. Amita: Oh gosh. I’m going to try the taco salad so I don’t spill burrito all over myself. Jackie: I did set you up. Amita: It’s good. Jackie: Is it spicy enough for you? Amita: If I get the jalapeno right in there, yeah. Jackie: Yes. Amita: Okay, great. Jackie: Again, an example of a very inexpensive meal. This can be made for pennies, literally and can be made ahead, put in the refrigerator; you grab it when you’re ready to go to school, and it’s there for you. Amita: I love that there are simple choices in each of the ingredients that teenagers can make to be healthier; even if they’re preparing the simple meal it doesn’t have to be fast and unhealthy. Jackie: Absolutely, and you know what, if you didn’t have the money for the meat or you chose to not have animal, you could just do black beans with this, and the whole recipe would work just as well. Amita: Just checking for the sodium, right? Jackie: There you go. So, Amita, I know that the audience wants to be able to find you, they want to be able to follow Peer Health Exchange, and they want to stay connected to you. What’s the best way for them to do that? Amita: Well we have a website www.peerhealthexchange.org, and we also have a Facebook page that anyone can click like and I encourage you to do that to keep up with our posts about our volunteers and our teenagers; just Peer Health Exchange. And then if you want to follow me on Twitter I’m at @ASwadhin. Jackie: Well, thank you so much for coming today. It was really a pleasure and I look forward to staying connected to Peer Health Exchange myself, and staying current with what you’re doing. It’s great work. Thank you, thank you, thank you for dedicating yourself to the community the way you have. We really appreciate it and God knows we need it, right? So have a great afternoon and continue the good fight. Amita: Thank you so much, Jackie. It was great to be here with you today. Jackie: My pleasure. Research shows us that our self-talk really influences how we behave. Basically, we have our own inner dialogue and it drives our behavior. And this is truly any age whether you’re an adolescent, whether you’re an adult, whether you’re a child, we talk to ourselves and that makes us do what we do. So what’s the best way to get yourself to do something? Well, research shows us that giving yourself permission to do something as opposed to dictating behavior is really what’s going to make a difference in how the outcome is read. For example, if you say to yourself, “I will go do this,” it’s like you’re forcing yourself, like you’re compelling yourself, as opposed to saying, “I’m thinking that I might go do this,” or “I am considering going and do this,” and giving yourself permission to make that decision. That’s really what’s going to influence your behavior, that’s what’s going to make you want to go do something, and as a parent and as an educator, as a coach, I see this all the time. If you tell people, “The decision is yours, you’re in control, you’re in the driver’s seat,” either you want to do it for yourself or you don’t, you’re going to make that decision based on you own inner motivation. We do better when we’re motivated internally than when we’re motivated externally or compelled externally. So the message is: your self-talk drives you, give yourself permission, give yourself autonomy, give it to the people around you, give it to the people you love, and everybody will be happier, and behaviors and outcomes will be much more positive. That’s my talk today. That’s my coaching moment. I hope you’ll watch the show, I hope you’ll share with friends and family, I hope that it helps you, and I hope you’ll tune in next week for another episode of Food Exposed. For more Food Exposed, check me out on emPOWERme.tv and until next week remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

World’s Fittest Mom Nita Marquez shares her secrets to stay fit at 40

Episode 104

Video Transcript

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we look at the story behind what’s on your plate. I’m your host, Jackie Keller and welcome to Food Exposed. Today we’re going to talk about how to look fit and fabulous at 40, 50 or beyond. Let’s face it. We all get there and it’s a fact of life. So, you don’t need to let your body give away your age. In fact, according to Dr. Oz, your lifestyle and what you eat and how you live controls somewhere between 70% and 80% of how well you age and how you look, at any age. That’s great news for people who are proactive. So, what are the best foods to control that aging process? Well to start off with, you want foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. These are foods that slow the aging of your blood vessels like salmon, walnuts, flax seed, other healthful nuts like almonds and these are things that will reduce your memory loss, will reduce the constriction of your blood vessels. You also want foods that enhance your immune system, that slow the deterioration of your immune system and some of those foods are berries, orange juice, lentils, tomatoes and kale. There’s a whole host of foods that have very high antioxidant properties that help with that. And finally, you want foods that counteract environmental factors that influence aging. So, foods that are organic, foods that are non-GMO, foods that are sustainable or locally grown that don’t use any herbicides, pesticides, fungicides; our own farm at NutriFit, which is on the central coast of California is a sustainably grown farm and we use organic farming methods. Those are the kind of things you want to look for in your food supply. Remember, if you eat smart you can have your best body at 40, 50, maybe even 60 or 70. My guest today is IFPB fitness professional and mother of three, Nita Marquez. Her passion for fitness is expressed in her branded motivational mantra “Be Phenomenal! You are worth the work!” After a 10 year career as a top five national fitness competitor with the NPC, Nita won the fitness nationals to earn her professional status in 2008, which led to the release of her book Fit for Combat. Nita Marquez, welcome to Food Exposed. Nita Marquez: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to see you again. Jackie: It’s nice to see you and you look not only fit but fabulous. Nita: Thank you so much. Jackie: I know you have some tips for all of our listeners. They’re very interested in knowing how to get to look their best. I mean, we can’t all look like Nita but we would all like to look fabulous. Nita: Well, thank you. First of all let me just preface the conversation with a thank you for all the kind accolades but honestly I grew up with a weight problem. They called me Low Fat when I was growing up because I’m only four-eleven, just under five feet and I was overweight and because I was short and chubby, kids made fun of me and kids are cruel. Jackie: Aw. You were bullied. Nita: Yeah, I was. Jackie: Oh my goodness. Nita: Yes, I was. And as I got older, when I met my husband we had our first baby and I had distinctly remembered Charlene Tilton on the cover of Sports Illustrated when I was 15 years old and she was talking about how she had just had her baby and she had the best body ever, after her birth and I thought if I ever have kids I’m going to remember this. So I really started investigating, at that point in my life, what it would take not only to stay in shape not only for myself but also to have a really healthy pregnancy. I was really fortunate that I gained a lot of weight but I was able to drop it relatively quickly and as I’ve aged and as I’ve had more children-I’ve had three, as you’ve mentioned-I’ve just been very fortunate that conditioning my body over the years just with-pardon the pun-baby steps toward healthy eating, toward working out and then getting into competitive fitness, it’s been really helpful for the aging process for me. I’ve enjoyed aging. I mean honestly, when I was in my mid-thirties I couldn’t wait to reach 40 because… Jackie: Oh my goodness. Nita: I was excited about that number. Jackie: Bless you, my dear. Nita: Thank you. Thank you. I have just loved every second of it. 40 is such a wonderful age because you really, as you know, it’s just like this age of self-commanding and you discover so much of who you are and you’re so much more aware, so much more in control of your own behavior patterns because you’re more aware of them and you can stifle certain things that are maybe not good for you. That goes along with craving certain foods. I don’t have the same cravings I used to and not only do I not have the same cravings but when I do have a craving for something I know when to stop. I know that it’s okay once in awhile to cheat as we call it but it’s really important to just be free spirited and understand that nutrition is not something that’s just good for your body, it’s good for your soul and to listen to your body and honor your soul and say “Hey, I’ve had plenty, I feel good” and stay energetic and stay smiling. I have a number of tips that would help you physically stay in great shape with these physical choices but the number one thing beyond the five tips that you asked for me to share today, the number one thing I say is just staying in joy. If you have peace of mind that is the number one way to anti-age. It really, really is. Jackie: That’s important. Nita: You have to smile a lot. Jackie: You know I work with a lot of women who really have sort of a love/hate relationship with food. They really battle their bodies. You talk about loving yourself and having a mature, sort of sophisticated relationship on a higher level with your body and respecting it and understanding where you fit into the universe with your body but there are a lot of women out there and men too who struggle with making peace with their body. So I wanted to ask you, how do you keep your body the way it is and not fall into that “Well, I’m over 40 now,” or “I just hit 40, now all of a sudden things are starting to fall apart.” Is it really inevitable or can you find a way to sort of make peace with it and still look so fabulous? Nita: Well, personally I subscribe to the theory that you really have to love your own league because we’re all in a league of our own, every one of us. Not one person is like everybody else or any other person in their “category,” even physically. You know we all have different DNA, we have different bone structures and where we might be parallel to one person we’re still different in another area. So it’s about accepting your body and saying “Hey, I’m in a league of my own,” and just that self-acceptance has really helped me. Because for as tiny as I am, under five feet, at four-eleven my height, being tiny it’s always been really a struggle to keep my weight down and when I would gain five pounds it would look like 15 on me. I think a lot of it comes with that self-acceptance of “Hey, I’m in a league of my own.” It’s really perspective. It’s not about, oh there’s nobody else like me, nothing fits. I’m in a league of my own and that’s what I’ve come to grips of my body type with is that there’s nobody else like me. I’ve got to do what’s going to work for me specifically. Jackie: Okay. Nita: Of course there are rules of thumb that you could follow, but yeah. Jackie: Well, share some of those with us. Nita: Well, first of all I think it’s really, really important to do something that’s going to help you practice proper breathing because what happens is you get this great chemical activity going on in your brain that helps you relax, which is great for your cells. It helps anti-age the cells, so any discipline that teaches you proper form and technique in breathing alone, like yoga or pilates is fantastic. Meditating is fantastic but in addition to that it also helps you posture your body. You learn how to use your core to reinforce your back. A lot of people started experiencing back problems, so you’ll reinforce your back muscles by using your core more and putting more impact there and strengthening those muscles, which helps keeps your bones in order and in the right lines. When you’re doing that, that leads me into my second tip, that will help you have proper form and technique with weight training. Now if you haven’t by the age of 40 been weight training, I highly recommend that anybody go and really do intense research on a physical trainer who does weight training who matches not only a great experience level, not somebody that just got their internet certification in two hours, but a real, qualified expert in weight training… Jackie: That makes sense. Nita: …who can help you learn to use your muscles effectively for developing and sculpting your body. I think that that’s been really helpful for me. The weight training, it gives me a sense of power and strength and there’s like some kind of mental control that goes in that space and it really helps me feel good about myself. When I walk out of the gym and I’ve been consistent and I’ve really burned those muscles, it feels great and you get that endorphin rush just like you do with cardio or with yoga or pilates. The third thing that I really recommend to people is really starting to investigate the idea that your body is not producing what it once did. As we age, inevitably we… Jackie: That’s so true. Nita: …yeah, we… Jackie: We change. Nita: Yeah, we change our cellular activity. Our hormones change. Our cellular activity drops somewhat. In certain areas of your body you’re just not able to do as much so the only way to really start regenerating some of that is through supplementation. I really recommend doing your research. Your company is great with educating people on proper nutrition. In addition to that, where people find that they are lacking on what they’re taking in on a daily basis in terms of nutrients and minerals, it’s really important to look into supplements that are going to help-like you said-with vitamin C is great for your cells. All the major vitamins and minerals that you would get from all your greens and your proper foods; if you’re not taking those and in terms of your nutrition, get the proper supplementation, also glutamine which is an amino acid that your body produces for recovery. Your body can’t possibly keep up with the manufacturing of that as you age and then on top of it, if you’re working out, in addition, you need probably an additional five to 10 grams a day of glutamine, minimum just to keep yourself in recovery mode so that you’re helping your muscles not to stay sore for quite as long, they’re recovering properly. So your amino acids, your vitamins and minerals, so supplementation, I think is very important. Jackie: You know, that’s one thing that I wanted to ask you about, with respect to body building in general. And I know in your sport there is a lot of controversy about supplementation. There’s a lot of men in your sport, we usually hear about men in the sport really heavily relying on supplements and artificial muscle enhancement techniques. What did you find as a woman in that sport and is it prevalent? Nita: It is. It’s very prevalent in my industry to use not just over-the- counter supplements but of course-like you said-you’re talking about steroids. There are a number of fat burners. Ephedra has been now deemed… Jackie: Unsafe. Nita: Unsafe, right. I have very, I guess you would say positive reviews on any of that. I think that if you’re using supplements like that; a., you should be going to a doctor, and there are a number of anti-aging clinics all over the country, especially here in southern California. There are anti-aging clinics that recommend different supplements that are consider anabolic. There’s HGH. There are things that can help your body speed up its metabolism. You know ironically as you age, some of those things are actually really quite healthy for you but I don’t recommend going the street route and getting drugs from your local steroid dealer at the gym. These anti-aging clinics, they’re there to help you keep your body healthy, not morphed into some big, crazy, out of order freak of nature. You know what I mean? Jackie: Of course; and you know we know with good nutrition and with the work I do at NutriFit with helping people just through being natural and available to everybody foods and beverages that we can all find and drink it’s possible to have an extremely healthy, longevity promoting, anti-aging diet. Nita: I agree. Jackie: So, I thought that’s what I thought we would do in terms of showing our audience today some of the healthiest and easiest ways to put together some simple, great, delicious foods that they can make at home. Nita: I think that’s absolutely the number one method. If you have access to proper nutrition and you can get, like I said, the supplements that provide you with the minerals and vitamins that you need, that’s the number one way to keep your body healthy for, like you said, for the purposes of longevity. Within my industry there are a number of vain reasons to do all of those other things. I only recommend that you ever evaluate any of those things in the appropriate circumstances and with doctor support. I really think that’s important. Jackie: Well, let’s make some deliciously healthy, nutritious food and join me at the table. Nita: Ah. Jackie: Well I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share a very, very easy recipe that features some of nature’s best, healthiest, most nutritious foods and it’s so easy, so simple that I know that you can make, anybody can make this at home. And Nita, I know lentils are a particular favorite of yours so I think you’re going to love this little lentil vegetable salad that we’re going to make here today. It’s very simple and there are just a few key ingredients that I want to point out. One is of course extra virgin olive oil. Nita: Yes. Jackie: We know that these highly monounsaturated, healthy fats are some of the best fats for you. They’re very anti-aging and we want a lot of these fats in our diet. So whenever we make a dressing, we try to feature extra virgin olive oil if the flavor lends itself to it. And in this particular case, we’re going to just pour a little bit of this extra virgin olive oil into a bowl. Nita: Now, is that about two tablespoons for one serving? Jackie: More or less. It’s going to be a little less than that for one serving, but I think for the volume we’re preparing today it’s about right, which is going to be about two servings of this salad, depending on whether you’re having it as a snack, which would work or an entree, which would make life a lot easier. Nita: Well I don’t like cooking so this is right up my alley. Jackie: Well, watch how easy this is. A little bit of vinegar to balance out the olive oil; now traditionally, and this is a fig-infused vinegar, it’s just one of those kind of unique flavors that adds a little bit of sweetness, naturally of course, no sugar. It’s a vinegar, but it will balance out the olive oil and also a little bit of Dijon mustard, which just adds a kick to the dressing. So, whisking all those three things together very quickly… Nita: I like a little kick in my meals. Jackie: Yeah. Well, you’re Latin, right? Nita: Yeah, so we like it spicy. Jackie: You like it spicy. Nita: I like my food like I like my men. Jackie: Okay, well this is going to work in your world, then. And then some of our salt and sugar free seasoning, this is our lemon garden blend, which we think goes really nicely with this dish as well. So, once you have your dressing done, and that’s all it is, just those four ingredients; seasoning, oil, vinegar and mustard, we’re going to make the salad. And basically these are cooked brown lentils. They’re the easiest ones to cook. Twenty minutes and they’re done. Nita: Yeah, but it literally takes like 30 seconds to prepare. You stick it in a pan and you put the water and it’s easy. And speaking of the spice, is that the NutriFit brand? Jackie: It is. It is. Nita: Okay. Because your spices, I’m telling you, I’ve been ordering a lot of them off the site. They’re so good. Jackie: Oh. Well, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed them. I think they’re great too, but you know I would because I thought of them. Some carrots and we know carrots are very high in vitamin C. You talked about vitamin C, how important it is for anti-aging. Nita: Yes, it is. Jackie: And muscle repair too, right? Nita: Yes. Jackie: That’s really important. Some celery for crunch and also to add volume and fiber to the recipe; we like to put in just vegetables that have good texture and good color. So we have some brown, some orange, some green and some purple onions. Nita: And the other thing with celery is that it’s actually a natural diuretic; so when we’re having that time, women, when there’s a little extra water the celery is good. Jackie: It is, it is. It’s good. It helps squeeze a little moisture out and then with those onions I always like to make sure there’s plenty of parsley because that helps to clean the breath, it helps to digest, and of course parsley is very high in vitamin C, right? Nita: Yes. Jackie: So some people think it’s just for decoration but you and I know it’s good. Nita: It’s good stuff. Jackie: It’s good stuff. So, once you have your salad ingredients you just pour the dressing over it and then we can toss it together. And the other thing I like about this salad is that you can make it ahead of time. And I know you have three kids, right? Nita: Yes. Jackie: That must put a tremendous… Nita: We have to prepare food. Jackie: Pressure on your time, right? Nita: Yes. Jackie: Now do they, are they lunchbox age? Do they take school lunches? What do you do with that? Nita: We have always done lunches ironically because my son had his pancreas removed at birth. He is diabetic. Jackie: Oh my goodness. Nita: And so our meals are really scaled to fit lower carbohydrates, lower glycemic carbs, higher fiber, higher protein and also he’s lactose intolerant and so is my middle daughter. And so we stay away from very much dairy. If we do any dairy it’s generally goat’s milk or goat’s cheese and then we just do as much vegetables as possible. And my son loves vegetables and he loves lentils Jackie: This is right down your alley. Nita: Yes, it is. It is. Jackie: Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen these before, but I found these amazing leaves. These are actually Brussels sprouts leaves. Nita: What? Jackie: Yeah. I know. Isn’t that outrageous? They’re just gorgeous and they’re actually a new vegetable product that my guy found for me. Nita: For NutriFit. That’s great. Jackie: And they’re called Brussels sprouts leaves and I just think they’re gorgeous and make such a pretty thing. And you know the other thing I discovered about them is that they’re sweet as opposed to the Brussels sprout which is kind of an astringent taste. It’s not for everybody. Some people are very, it can be pretty polarizing. But these are more in the cabbage family-well Brussels sprouts are in the cabbage family, but these are milder, sweeter and I just love the awesome color. Nita: It kind of like is with the bell peppers. The green ones have a little kick but the red, yellow and orange are really sweet so this would be along the same line. Jackie: I think so. I think so, but there you go. It’s just that simple and… Nita: That’s easy. Jackie: of course that’s a large single portion or maybe enough for two small lunches. And, you want to give it a quick taste? Nita: Yeah. I was wondering if I was going to get to do that. I want to chew on camera. I don’t want to make anybody have camera envy here. Jackie: What do you think? Nita: Hmm. I can’t talk. I want to go eat. Jackie: Great. Well thank you so much for joining me and for sharing the recipe. You know, I know that my audience would love to know how to find out more about you, how to stay current with what’s new in Nita’s world. Tell us how to find you. Nita: Well, speaking of Nita’s world, that’s my website. It’s www.nitasworld.com minus the parsley that’s in my mouth. That’s my website. You can find out more about nutrition and my recommendations regarding that on my blog. I do actually endorse Nitrify. I love their products, I love their foods; the spices, if you like really tasty food, which I do, but you don’t like cooking, those spices will give anything life and just a wonderfully savory flavor. Jackie: Oh, thank you. And what’s next for you, Nita? What’s on the horizon? Nita: Well, I have a few things. I’m still at this point just waiting to launch my next two books, which are catered to women specifically. Jackie: That’s fabulous. Nita: And one of them is for novice workout enthusiasts and maybe stay-at- home moms or new moms and the second book is for intermediate fitness enthusiasts who are really avid with the gym but maybe need some new steps to really step it up. Jackie: Fantastic. Nita: So I’ve got that coming out soon and then on top of that I’m going to be competing in fitness again this year after three years. Jackie: Wow. That’s wonderful. What an inspiration. Nita: Yeah, I haven’t done it in a while so I’m excited. Jackie: Well, thank you so much for joining me. Good luck on everything. Nita: Thank you. Jackie: We’ll stay connected and I appreciate your being here today. Nita: Thank you. Thank you so much. Jackie: Welcome to the last bite. This is the moment in the show when I share with you a little helpful tip about how to make your life more positive, happier and healthier. And today I’d like to share a little tip with you about being mindful. And mindfulness is difficult in today’s society. It really means being present in the moment, being aware of your body, being aware of where you are emotionally, really being in tune with yourself and living in the moment. So how do we do that with all of the distractions that are out there, with all the things that can sort of pull us in so many different directions and send us so many different signals? We’re constantly bombarded by stimulus. How do we just quiet the mind and bring it all to a sane place? Well, there’s a simple system. It’s not mine originally. I’m not sure who designed it, but I’ve customized the simple system that I like to call HALTS. And it stands for H-A-L-T-S. H is for Hungry. Now sometimes we don’t realize that we’re as hungry as we are and we mistake other things for hunger or we mistake hunger for other things so the first tip is to really sit with you and say “Am I really hungry? Am I just eating out of anger; sometimes we’re frustrated, we’re angry, we don’t realize it, but we reach for food. So it’s either hunger or anger. The L, lonely; you know in today’s world we are again, a lot of electronic communication, a lot of lack of human connectedness, L is for lonely. Am I lonely? Is that what’s really going on here, and if I’m lonely, what should I be doing? Should I really be eating? Should I maybe reach out and call somebody, touch a friend, hug a dog, cuddle with your kids, pick up the phone and call somebody that you haven’t talked to in a long time. Sometimes it’s just that we’re lonely. And other times it’s just that we’re T, which is tired. In the end it isn’t that we’re hungry, it isn’t that we’re lonely, it’s that we’re just so darn tired. So instead of reaching for food, instead of reaching for wine, instead of reaching for coffee, maybe what we really need to do is just allow our body to relax, take a quick nap. There’s a lot of research that shows that power napping is really good for you. It really energizes you. It helps you sharpen the saw just like exercise does. It kind of cleans out the cobwebs and refreshes you. So if it is that you are tired, that’s another thing to do instead of eating. And finally, S for stress; you know, sometimes it’s nothing but the over, kind of low level of anxiety that we feel that we recognize in our body as stress and we are biologically designed to deal with our stress by doing something physical, not by eating, not by sleeping, not by hibernating but by getting out and being physical. Our physiology is geared to it, so if it is Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Fatigue or Stress, being tired or being stressed, think about that HALTS system and the next time you’re feeling really agitated, calm yourself down, take a step back and ask yourself: what is going on with my body, and become mindful. Be present in the moment. That’s a great way to increase your happiness, to make your life a little smoother, a little healthier, a little happier, and to help yourself look and feel as fabulous as you are. That’s my tip for today. Thank you so much for joining me on Food Exposed. Share this show with your friends, your family, your associates, and don’t forget to tune in next week. For more Food Exposed, check me out on EmpowerMe.TV and until next week remember, make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

New Balanced Sponsored NCAA All American Maggie Vessey Shares What Makes Her Run

Episode 103

Video Transcript

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we look at the story behind what’s on your plate. I’m your host, Jackie Keller, and today we’re talking about sports. You know, over the past 26 years heading Los Angeles leading healthy company NutriFit, I’ve had the privilege of working with professional athletes, both men and women, in all kinds of sports. Athletes like Ryan Miller, the ice hockey player; Brian Goodell, the Olympic swimmer; horse racing jockey Aaron Gryder; boxing heavyweight former champion Fernando Vargas; baseball star Kevin Tolan; and Olympic speed skater Michael Hubbs. Each of their needs has varied greatly as their sports do. It’s a complicated situation, and everybody’s needs are slightly different. So, today I’d like to talk about some of the leading tips that sports nutritionists like Nancy Clark tell us that are really the key to how to train effectively and fuel yourself for sports. One of Nancy’s first tips is to make sure that you have a carbohydrate rich breakfast, adequate protein, adequate carbohydrates, enough to fuel your sport. She also suggests that you keep your pre- and post- workout snacks wholesome and balanced. Athletes generally need carbohydrates at each meal, but you also have to make sure you get enough rest and enough sleep – which is oftentimes a problem. Spread your calories throughout the day. Make sure that all food groups are adequately represented in each of your meals. And, drink water constantly. Hydration is a major issue with all of us but particularly for professional athletes who lose so much water through evaporative sweat. Following these guidelines will help you get the most out of your workout and speed you towards your performance goals. My guest today is Maggie Vessey. Maggie is a NCAA all time All American runner. She’s competed twice in the world championships, winning the women’s 800 meter event in a time of under two minutes – 1 minute 57 seconds for 800 meters. She is one of the fastest women in the world quite literally and is sponsored by Team New Balance. She’s ranked among the top 20 fastest women in the world and among the top 5 fastest United States runners. Maggie, welcome to Food Exposed. Maggie Vessey: Thank you so much for having me. Jackie Keller: Well, thank you so much for joining me. I know everybody is so curious about understanding basically what makes Maggie run. Tell us about it. Maggie Vessey: Well, I’ve always been very naturally athletic. It was obvious from a very young age that that was one of the gifts that I had been given. I tried many different sports. I tried Little League and soccer. Just the underlying factor in all of those was that I was a really fast runner. So, while I wasn’t necessarily like the best with ball handling skills in soccer or the best at hitting a baseball in baseball… Jackie Keller: I’m sure you’re probably downplaying those skills, too. Maggie Vessey: Well, I could get to the ball faster than anybody, or if I got on base I could steal bases. But, you know, the key skills that you need to have in those sports were not very… I wasn’t naturally inclined to those. So, my mom had me go out for track and field. I wasn’t really interested in it at first, which is kind of funny because now I do it professionally. But, I just started winning races and I really liked winning. So, I kept up with it. Jackie Keller: Well, I guess… Now, how many years have you been running professionally? Maggie Vessey: I’ve been running professionally since about 2009. Jackie Keller: Okay, okay. I’m curious, because I know there’s a lot of myth about whether exercise makes you hungrier or less hungry. Are you hungrier after you train? Maggie Vessey: I would say definitely I do feel hunger pangs after training. Some of the sessions are particularly grueling. I think one of the most important things is to not let yourself get hungry, though. I feel like anybody in my family or any of my peers would tell you that if I get hungry it’s a little bit nasty. I think while I do feel like I’m hungrier after training, one of the most important things to do is to immediately start recovering all the things that you’ve depleted during a session. That’s one of the things that I try to focus on. Jackie Keller: Do you find that Nancy Clark’s tips, the ones about pre- and post-snacks and the ones about maintaining your calories throughout the day, have helped you at all? Maggie Vessey: Definitely. You know, before I work out… I would never go into work out without putting something in my stomach first. I always have a really hard time with the thought of your body eating itself, that idea of, like, inner cannibalism. So, I always try to have something with a little bit of carb, a little bit of protein, and definitely I’m hydrating before I go into work out. There’s something with athletes that’s important. It’s timing. I would never have something like that and then wait, like, five minutes and then go out, because it might end up on the track again in a different form. I just try to give myself maybe 45 minutes before I start training. Definitely afterwards you’ve depleted so much energy stored, depending on the climate that you’re in… I did a lot of training in Texas, and at that point we’d actually salt our water and things like that. Jackie Keller: Wow. Maggie Vessey: Because you sweat so much. Jackie Keller: Wow. Maggie Vessey: You do have to be really in tune with what you’re asking your body to do and then replacing it with the necessary ingredients afterwards. Jackie Keller: Do you have to watch your weight? Maggie Vessey: Unfortunately. Jackie Keller: Do you have to be careful? Is it hard to maintain your weight even with all that energy expenditure? Maggie Vessey: I think one of the hardest things to face was it’s not just all about exercising. I’m somebody that definitely would like to have it just all be about exercising, then I can eat whatever I want. But, I definitely came to the realization that you actually can control your weight a lot more through diet than you can with exercise… Jackie Keller: Sure. Maggie Vessey: If you had to choose… Jackie Keller: That’s so very true. Maggie Vessey: …between one you would probably… I mean you want your body to be very balanced and harmonious, and you want to exercise and be mindful of your diet. But, if it came down to it and you had to make a choice in weight control I think it would be diet first. Jackie Keller: Okay. Maggie Vessey: So, yeah, I definitely have to worry about that. Jackie Keller: But what about when you’re not training? What do you like to eat when you’re not training? Do you just go out and splurge? Do you have fun? Do you toss down a glass of wine or two? Maggie Vessey: Right. I definitely will allow myself some of those no-no foods that I think we’re all very familiar with. I am particularly partial to pizza. Jackie Keller: Oh my. Maggie Vessey: But, I think one of the things that you start learning about your body is that even eating those unhealthy foods, while they might taste good, the way that you feel afterwards it’s not really worth it. I might after a season allow myself some of those no-no foods, but then it’s pretty apparent quite quickly that I just don’t like the way that it makes me feel. Jackie Keller: Okay. So, you end up sort of self-regulating as a result. Maggie Vessey: Right. But I will, I mean I definitely am a girl that likes a glass of red wine every now and again. It’s just with anything, moderation. Jackie Keller: Right. Maggie Vessey: Keeping yourself in check. Jackie Keller: Right, right. What tips do you have for people? You’re a professional athlete. You’ve kind of won the battle essentially. I mean you’re still out there winning every race. But, you’ve won the battle of trying to find that balance for yourself and trying to find harmony between exercise and eating. What tips do you have for people like me who are trying to lean out, maintain their weight, but still maintain muscle mass? Maggie Vessey: Right. I think you kind of have to play a little part with science and then a little part with just how you are in your life. I’m somebody who… If you have this at your availability to be able to go do some blood testing and just kind of see where your body is at, see what’s going on in there, and see if any needs are addressed… Because sometimes if you are having trouble fighting a little bit of a weight issue it can be something that’s going on with your body that’s not facilitating that. I think knowing what’s going on in your body first is really important. Then, after that I just think striking a balance is very important. You’re not going to do anything that you don’t like doing. You’re not going to want it. For a while you might be able to get away with eating things that you don’t like if you’re seeing results in your body. But, if you’re not liking the way that you’re feeling I think you’re probably going to stop doing that. So, my advice would be just to listen to your body and definitely have a very vegetable rich diet. That’s something that I’ve incorporated into mine. You definitely see just your body taking on like a healthier cycle in things. It definitely helps you lose weight as well, just being in tune with yourself and allowing yourself to be happy and healthy. I think that once you start seeing results and feeling better you’re going to be naturally inclined… Jackie Keller: Right. Maggie Vessey: To keep up with it. Jackie Keller: Yeah, success breeds success, right. Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: Well, I know that post-recovery meals are extremely important in an athlete’s diet, and making sure that you refuel quickly after you’ve had a training session with the proper nutrition so that, as you say, your body doesn’t eat itself, you’re not cannibalizing all that lean muscle tissue that you’re building, is extremely important. I thought today we might share one I know was one of your favorite meals when you were with us as a client, the pasta with turkey meatballs. Maggie Vessey: I do love that one. Jackie Keller: All right, let’s go make it. Maggie Vessey: All right. Jackie Keller: You know, today we’re making one of my favorite post- recovery meals. It’s actually one of my favorite meals of all time. Maggie Vessey: It’s a good one. Jackie Keller: Who doesn’t love pasta, right? Maggie Vessey: I couldn’t find anybody that didn’t like it. Jackie Keller: There are so many varieties of pasta out there. For those of you who are trying to follow a gluten free diet right now or looking for alternatives to wheat, please know that this recipe is quick. It’s easy. It can be made with virtually any type of pasta. But, instead of going into the meat realm with respect to ground beef, what we’re using today is ground turkey. Because it’s a leaner meat, it has less cholesterol, less fat naturally – although you have to watch the level of fat even in your ground turkey. Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: Because there are fattier ones than others. What I really like best about it is that it’s simple and quick. I know from our work together… Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: That getting food in quickly that is easy to digest, not heavy, not hard on the stomach, not hard on the body, is really important, right? Maggie Vessey: Very important. Jackie Keller: So, I thought we would show people sort of the key ingredients of what’s in this pasta with turkey meatballs dish. First of all, 100% whole wheat pasta; again, you could use rice pasta. You could use something made from corn. It doesn’t have to be wheat. If you’re looking for gluten free pasta there are shelves and shelves of them now that you can find. But, today we’re doing a whole wheat pasta. We’re using a homemade marinara sauce. You can buy marinara sauces. There are dozens of them out on the market. But, make sure if you’re buying something that you haven’t made yourself that it’s low in sodium. Because although you mentioned sodium being an issue for athletes because of your sweat loss… Maggie Vessey: Right, depending on where you’re training. Jackie Keller: Right. You still have to be mindful of not having too much, I would guess. Maggie Vessey: Right, right. Jackie Keller: Yeah, because too much salt, you hold in your water. Maggie Vessey: The water retention. Jackie Keller: That must be hard on an athlete not to be able to sweat and pour it off. Maggie Vessey: Right. It’s all such a delicate balance. Jackie Keller: It is. Well, I’ve made the meatballs ahead of time. Maggie Vessey: Tasty. Jackie Keller: You can make these ahead of time just like I did and freeze them beautifully so that if, for example, you had a mind to have barbecued meatballs instead of marinara meatballs you could do that. Or, you could have meatballs with any kind of sauce that you had a fancy for – sweet and sour, barbecue, there’s all kinds of ways you can do that. Let’s heat up this pasta with turkey meatball dish. A little bit of extra virgin olive oil into the skillet. Then, we’ll put in our meatballs and let them get brown. Step back, because we don’t want to… There we go. Again, the beauty of having pre-made the meatballs is that if you get back from a run or a training session… Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: And you really just want to get some protein and good quality carbs into your system… And, I think the rule is within about two hours… Maggie Vessey: A half an hour I would say. Jackie Keller: A half an hour. Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: Yeah. So, you want to have the stuff ready to go. Maggie Vessey: You really do. Jackie Keller: Then, add some of your sauce. In this case we’re doing this marinara which is just a lovely… Maggie Vessey: Yum. Jackie Keller: …low sodium marinara. And, I even pre-cooked my pasta. I like to do this ahead of time, because when I get home I’m not training like you. Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: But, I don’t want to wait for the water to boil. Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: I mean isn’t that the most frustrating thing? Maggie Vessey: Right. Then, you find yourself eating between when you’re going to eat just to stave off some hunger. That’s really smart. Jackie Keller: So, if we pre-cook the pasta and then wash it really well the starch on the outside of the pasta is washed off and the pasta can sit in a food safe container in your refrigerator for a day or two. Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: Do you ever snack on pasta at all? Maggie Vessey: I don’t usually. I have tried to do vegetables and fruit. Jackie Keller: Good girl. Maggie Vessey: If it was around handy I probably would eat some of it though. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Then, we’re just going to heat this up. Literally, that’s all it takes. I mean if you have some fresh basil to put in there that would be great and add a little bit more flavor to it. These meatballs were made with one of my salt- and sugar-free spices, one of the blends that I’ve designed that help make food taste tasty without adding salt, without adding sugar, without adding any fillers. It does give a lot of flavor. Just like that. Now, obviously, what’s missing here? Maggie Vessey: Garlic? Jackie Keller: The vegetable. Maggie Vessey: Oh. I cook with so much garlic. Jackie Keller: You know, garlic is great for you, too. Maggie Vessey: It really is. I kind of overdo it, though. You can overdo garlic. Jackie Keller: And what happens when you overdo it? Maggie Vessey: You get a little bit of a funky tummy… Jackie Keller: Yeah, yeah. Maggie Vessey: But I really like it. Jackie Keller: You know what cures that funky tummy? Maggie Vessey: What? Please tell me. Jackie Keller: Something else that would make this dish green, which I don’t have here today. But, I would add a lot of parsley to your… Maggie Vessey: Oh, I have a lot of parsley. Jackie Keller: …very garlicky things. Maggie Vessey: Okay. Jackie Keller: Because parsley is not only great for your breath, which is a natural breath freshener… Maggie Vessey: Oh, good, that’ll fight my garlic breath. Jackie Keller: Which is always good to know. Yeah, it will. Really, truly, I mean after a heavy garlic meal just eat a plate of parsley. Maggie Vessey: Okay. Jackie Keller: The other reason is that it is a good digestive aid. Maggie Vessey: Oh, perfect. Jackie Keller: You could easily kind of kill two birds with one stone – take care of the garlic breath, take care of the funky tummy. Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: And, still have your garlic and enjoy it, too. It is that… Maggie Vessey: But you are going to add a vegetable in there. Jackie Keller: Yeah. You would want to add a vegetable in here. You’d want to have some broccoli maybe. Or, what are some of your favorites, Maggie? Maggie Vessey: Some of my favorite vegetables… I always do bell peppers, a ton of bell peppers. I really like asparagus. I really like broccoli. Broccoli, I think, would probably go best with this, though. Jackie Keller: Right, right. Maggie Vessey: Yeah, definitely. Jackie Keller: And the bell peppers, too. Maggie Vessey: Right. Jackie Keller: A lot of Italian dishes have bell peppers. Maggie Vessey: I’d probably throw some cayenne flakes in there, too. I like a little spicy. Jackie Keller: Yeah, hot and spicy. Maggie Vessey: I know. Jackie Keller: She’s fast, hot, and spicy. Okay, guys, that’s it. All right, are you ready to taste? Do you remember? Maggie Vessey: Yes, I am so ready. Jackie Keller: When was the last time you trained? Maggie Vessey: I trained this morning. Jackie Keller: This morning, all right. I knew that. Maggie Vessey: This morning, right. Jackie Keller: I knew that answer. And, you probably had already a little post-recovery meal. Maggie Vessey: Of course I did. Jackie Keller: Good girl, good girl. Well, there you go, Maggie. Maggie Vessey: Thank you so much. All right. Jackie Keller: Right. Maggie Vessey: Let’s get some meatball. Jackie Keller: Just a little meatball and… Maggie Vessey: A little bit of pasta. Jackie Keller: A tiny bit of pasta. I know you’re careful. Maggie Vessey: How hot is this going to be? Jackie Keller: Good? Maggie Vessey: It’s so good. Jackie Keller: Oh, good, good. Maggie Vessey: It’s so good. Thank you. Jackie Keller: You’re welcome, and thank you so much for coming today. Maggie Vessey: Thank you so much for having me. Jackie Keller: You know, I know everybody wants to know when is your next race. Maggie Vessey: Okay. Jackie Keller: And how can they find you. Maggie Vessey: My next race is February 1 in North Carolina. And, I have a website, maggievessey.com. I also can be found at newbalance.com. And, of course, I am participating in all of the social media outlets. You can follow me #maggievessey, maggievessey on Instagram, all that good stuff. Jackie Keller: Great. Well, thank you again for being with us. It’s been a delight. Maggie Vessey: Thank you. Jackie Keller: Good luck at your next race. Maggie Vessey: Thank you so much. Jackie Keller: Again, February 1, right? Maggie Vessey: February 1, coming up. Jackie Keller: All right. We’ll be watching you run. Maggie Vessey: Thank you. Jackie Keller: And, I couldn’t be more delighted to have had you with me today. Maggie Vessey: I am really happy that I could be here. Thank you for having me. Jackie Keller: I have a little story to share with you here to conclude our show today. It’s an old parable which I still find very relevant, and I think you will, too. It goes something like this. One evening an old Cherokee was speaking to his grandson about the battle that goes on inside of people. He talked about an evil wolf and a good wolf. They both live inside us. The evil wolf is filled with anger, filled with envy, filled with jealousy, filled with sorrow, filled with resentment, with lies, with false pride, with superiority and ego. The other wolf, the good wolf, is filled with humility, with love, with peace, with joy, with benevolence, with kindness, with truth, compassion, and faith. As the grandfather was speaking to the grandson the little boy sat back and he absorbed it. He said to his grandfather well, grandfather, which wolf wins the battle. The old Cherokee looked at his grandson, smiled, and said very simply the wolf that wins is the wolf that you feed. The moral of the story, of course, is to be sure to feed the positivity in your life. By feeding the good rather than the evil, by feeding the truth rather than the lies, by feeding the joy rather than the sorrow, you unleash the possibilities for positivity in your life and allow more of that to happen. If you don’t feed the evil, it doesn’t flourish within you. Thanks for coming today. Thanks for joining me on Food Exposed. I hope you’ll share this with your friends, with your families, with your associates. And, I hope you’ll follow me on jackiekeller.com.Tune in next week to empowerme.tv and join me for Food Exposed. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv. Until next week, remember, make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

The Truth About Superfoods & Fad Diets

Episode 102

Video Transcript

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed. I’m your host, Jackie Keller, and I’m here today to share some exciting information with you about super foods. But before we get to that topic, let’s spread some news. There’s a lot of great stories out there. The first one I want to share with you is from JAMA. It’s a study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and it has to do with pregnant moms and peanuts. Turns out that there’s no reason to fear having peanuts while you’re pregnant. So if you’ve been avoiding those peanuts which you know you love and you know are great for you because you were concerned that you would pass an allergy onto your child, research has now shown that by eating peanuts while you’re pregnant, you actually help to insulate your baby against a peanut allergy. So have that. Enjoy. They’re great for you, a super snack and good for your baby as well. Another good for you story coming out of Massachusetts. This one is based on a study that was done at the Massachusetts General Hospital. They designed a diet called the Traffic Light Diet. And that’s relatively simple and straightforward. We all know what a traffic signal looks like. It’s red, yellow, green . . . you know, green is go, red, stop, yellow, slow . . . Well, what they did was, they took the foods in the cafeteria and they color-coded them with either a red, a yellow or a green. And for two years, they studied the buying and eating habits of the employees in the hospital. Turns out that we are really geared to those colors, because after two years, people made better choices, eating more of the green foods, which are the go foods: the fruits, the vegetables, the healthiest choices, less of the yellow foods, the slow foods, things that you should really think twice about eating before you do, and even less of the red “stop, don’t eat me” foods, the highly-processed sugary, fatty, unhealthy foods. So good news is, if you color-code your kitchen, you will make better choices about the foods that you eat, great study and interesting, simple approach. And speaking of simple, the 2014 list of super foods is out, and guess what’s at the top? One of my favorites, kale, and I know that it’s something that we’ve been hearing a lot about this year, last year . . . Kale is not a new food. It’s a member of the cruciferous family, it’s one of the healthiest vegetables we know, and today, I am going to share for you a nourishing recipe from the NutriFit kitchen that features that wonderful super food , kale. Here’s your nourishing recipe from the NutriFit kitchen featuring our super food today, kale. And as we know, kale is just one of many vegetables that have some fabulous health properties. But this is a real superstar. First of all, kale is easy to grow. And I’m for everything that’s easy to grow, because even house plants are not easy for me. But you can grow kale in a little earth friendly pot. You can grow kale in the ground. There’s lots of different varieties, but it just needs good sun, lots of water, good soil and you can produce your own kale. But if you’re going to buy it, this is what you’re looking for. These dark, curly leaves . . . and kale comes in different colors. It comes in dark green, it comes in red, it comes in red, there’s blue kale now, a Tuscan blue kale . . . Basically, they all have these very curly leaves, and yes, this is what they put on the hamburger plates underneath the slice of tomato and onion. If it looks like a garnish, it’s because it’s often used that way. But it is so edible and so good for you, and the best thing about it? Inexpensive and easy to make. So what do you look for when you’re buying kale in the market? First, this good texture. The leaves should have a little crunch to them. They shouldn’t be wilted. They shouldn’t be yellow. That’s not one of the colors of kale that nature made. That’s an old bunch of kale. So you’re going to look for kale that is crisp and brightly colored. And be aware that as it is with all of the dark, leafy greens, when you’re cooking with kale, it’s going to shrink quite a bit. So you’re going to start with what you think is more than you need to end up with just the right amount. You chop the kale pretty finely. Kale does take a little while to cook, so the smaller you make the leaves, the faster it’s going to cook. And wash it really, really, really well, because there is soil that gets in those little crinkly parts of the leaves and you want to make sure you get everything out that doesn’t look like kale, because trust me, if it looks like dirt, it is dirt. So wash it, rinse it, and when you’re ready to go, you’re going to heat a pan over medium to high heat. When the pan is hot and you can feel the heat coming off of it, you’re going to add in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Now it doesn’t matter whose brand of extra virgin olive oil you use. We know that as long as it’s called “extra virgin”, it’s going to be superior quality because the Italian classification system for olive oil was based on “extras” and “virgins”. Who knew that the Italians would put more “extras” and “virgins” in the title to indicate a purer product? Makes sense? Yes. So extra is more pure that just regular olive oil, and virgin is better than light olive oil. And by the way, speaking of light olive oil, it’s not light in fat. It’s not light in calories, it’s not light in flavor, and it’s certainly not light in price. So if you’re going to invest in an olive oil, invest in one that says “extra virgin.” Put a drop of it in your pan. You don’t need much. And then immediately, your washed kale, right into that pot pan. Wow. That is great. Give it a quick saute. You may want to add a little bit of water to it. You don’t want to have to use too much oil. And now it’s time for the seasoning. We’re going to add into our kale, turmeric. This salt-and-sugar-free spice blend, which is one of NutriFit’s signature blends, one that I designed myself, has some of the best, healthiest seasonings in the world, in the bottle, all mixed up for you, ready to go. It’s called Rockin’ Moroccan. It’s got cinnamon, which we know lowers blood pressure, it’s got turmeric, which is an anti-septic, anti-bacterial powerhouse spice, and about tell other herbs and spices, no salt, no sugar, lots and lots of flavor and it’s based on the North African part of the world, so it has a little clove, a little cumin, some of that going on in there . . . So we put the seasoning in, and then it’s just a matter of letting that kale cook until it is as wilted as you like it. Now, I like my kale pretty tough. I mean, I like to get my teeth into it, you know? I’m not looking for soft, wilted vegetable. If you like better cooked, you just leave it in a little bit longer. You might even add a little more water to it. That way, the pan doesn’t burn. But you let that kale cook, season it, and when it’s ready to go . . . Here’s another thing you want to remember about kale. That is that kale is high in iron, as are many dark, leafy greens. Now, how do you deal with the body not loving the iron that comes from plant foods? Because we know the body loves meat iron, heme iron, and the iron that’s found in kale is plant iron, so non-heme iron. Well, we’re going to trick the body into absorbing all the iron in that kale by adding in one food that is very high in vitamin C. And there’s nothing that makes me happier than adding tomatoes into anything, because I love tomatoes. So add in some tomatoes, and what happens? Magic. The vitamin C in the tomatoes unlocks the iron in the plant food and allows the body to take up three times more of the iron than it would otherwise absorb, just by adding in that high-vitamin-C ingredient. Now, if you’re one of those people for whom tomatoes are like, ew, no thank you, she was until she went to the tomatoes, then she kind of lost me, you can add strawberries, you can put a lot of lemon juice in, you can add in oranges . . . There’s a lot of ways to get vitamin C into this dish. Red bell peppers would be another good choice, maybe some carrots . . . But you want to unlock the iron in that plant food by adding in that high-vitamin-C ingredient. And it’s a good tip to remember for all of your high-iron foods. So that’s it for our kale. It’s a super-great ingredient, it’s part of a whole family of dark, leafy greens that have wonderful fiber, that have good vitamin A, vitamin C, good isoflavonoids and other phytochemicals that help protect our bodies against certain of cancer, it’s very helpful for heart disease . . . Truly, having a high-fiber diet helps to regulate blood sugar, so it’s good for diabetes management as well. You just can’t go wrong with kale. If you enjoy that, just wait, because my next guest, Patricia Greenberg, is going to be here with a whole tableful of super foods. To help us really understand how super foods impact our health and can be incorporated into our diets, I’ve brought a friend to help us out today, Patricia Greenburg, the fitness gourmet. Patricia is the author of two books; one, the whole soy cookbooks, and soy desserts. But she has a breadth of experience in all aspects of food and health, she’s a certified culinarian, she is a chef, a nutritionist and an avid marathon runner, my friend, Patricia Greenburg. Welcome, Patricia. Patricia Greenburg: Thank you, Jackie. Great to be here. Jackie Keller: So glad you could join us. So tell me about these wonderful super foods. I see we’ve got a whole tableful of health. Patricia Greenburg: Super foods are the new catch-all term for foods that are good for you, and essentially what is means is, foods that are whole. It gets back to eating foods in nature, foods that are healthy for you, without being tampered with. So we usually group them more by categories. We say foods that do certain functions rather than the food itself. But I narrowed it down to a handful that are really fantastic, really easy to get. Jackie Keller: So there really isn’t such a thing as a “super food “? There’s a food that has super properties? Patricia Greenburg: That’s exactly right. It’s the nutrients and the chemicals that work together in foods. It’s not so much that just eating walnuts is going to make you healthy. Jackie Keller: Oh, darn. Because I know so many people who are looking for that . . . “Okay, if it’s walnuts, and I don’t want the calories from walnuts, I can just take a pill that’s a walnut pill, and I’m going to get it. But that’s not what we’re talking about. Patricia Greenburg: So what we’re trying to do here now is to group them by the properties that have. So we look at certain fruits and vegetables, say blueberries, for example. This is my best guideline. Anything that’s purple or red is good for you in nature’s kingdom. Jackie Keller: My favorite colors. Patricia Greenburg: Mine too. So blueberries, black beans, even beets, those that have that rich dark purple and red color, have compound that, we’re finding now, reduce the risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and one of the big things we’re looking at now is the inflammatory response. Inflammatory response is often in response to eating processed foods: foods that have a lot of artificial ingredients and a lot of refined sugars and carbohydrates. So again, getting back to those items that are in nature, starting with what I call the purple category, the blueberries, anything that has that rich color, is considered one of the best super foods right now. Jackie Keller: Now, let me ask, what about something like eggplant? Eggplant has a purple skin, but you don’t always eat the skin. Patricia Greenburg: That’s my favorite vegetable. I can do anything with an eggplant. I love the skin. Leave the skin on, bake it, saute it, throw it in soup, it is fantastic. Remember when we were little, people would say, “Take the skin off. It has no nutritional value”? Now we know differently. Jackie Keller: And that must be the same thing with those apples and the other red things. Patricia Greenburg: Exactly. The second category now, really big, is the omega-3 fatty acids. We find that in fatty fish. People hear the term “fatty fish” and they don’t want to eat it, but salmon, mackerel, herring these are really good for you. Also, whole eggs. We’re back to square one with the eggs. We want to have eggs that include the yolk. It doesn’t seem to be too difficult in managing your cholesterol if you eggs, because there’s other dietary and exercise techniques we can do to keep the cholesterol down. Jackie Keller: So all those fattier things that we though we shouldn’t have, they’re all good for you. Patricia Greenburg: They’re good fats. Again, it gets down to the fattier fishes, and the wild-caught is preferable to farm-raised. Jackie Keller: Now what about for salmon and mackerel and sardines, do they have to be fresh, or is a can okay? Patricia Greenburg: I will have canned sardines and herring in the house because you get the whole fish. So you’re getting the benefit of the entire fish. And salmon, I buy cured salmon. Low sodium, no nitrates added to it and freshly prepared, caught in the while, and of course, any which way you want to cook it, it’s fantastic. The other thing I’m finding to be prevalent in the news now . . . And I find it confusing for the consumer and that’s what I want to clarify, is again this idea of one nutrient. So I like to take the super foods, which are fruit and nuts and even some chocolate after dinner. Chocolate is very high in antioxidants. Jackie Keller: Yum. I love chocolate. It’s my favorite food. Patricia Greenburg: For most people, it is. Jackie Keller: I was so happy to know that it’s good for you. Patricia Greenburg: Squash, pumpkins . . . I picked items today that are easy to get. You can go to the supermarket and get them. Jackie Keller: That’s very important. They need to be available anywhere. Patricia Greenburg: Exactly. Mixed bag with certain foods: yogurt and cheese are high in calcium, calcium has been shown to help reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease, but too much can cause an accumulation, so moderation on these . . . Jackie Keller: And what about the fat in the yogurt and the cheese? I thought that was really bad for you. Patricia Greenburg: There’s a tendency towards lower fat. You don’t have to get non-fat, you don’t have to get full-fat, I’m a mid-ranger when it comes to that. This, I was so thrilled to find. It’s called a bag of super food. Jackie Keller: Oh. Well that takes all the mystery out of it. I don’t have to think about what’s in it. Patricia Greenburg: This is what I want to say for the consumer. It is so easy to get these super foods. Cabbage, red cabbage, green cabbage, cruciferous vegetable, broccoli, cauliflower, all mixed up, throw it in a salad, throw it in your soup saute it with chicken, you’re all set to go, really easy. Jackie Keller: That’s great. So it’s got kale . . . Patricia Greenburg: It’s got kale, cabbage . . . Jackie Keller: Kale, cabbage . . . Patricia Greenburg: Shredded Brussels sprouts . . . Jackie Keller: Some radicchio . . . That’s that purple stuff, right? Patricia Greenburg: And last, but not least, is the tea. Now, green tea seems to have the highest level of cancer-fighting compounds. Nobody really knows why, we just know that it does. How is this? The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and all these institutes of health have done studies on all these populations that live the longest and seem to be the healthiest. And these foods all fall in the categories of what they eat. Jackie Keller: Well, I know the Chinese have great longevity and they have very low incidence of heart disease and cancer, and they drink a lot of green tea. Patricia Greenburg: They drink a lot of tea. Jackie Keller: Does it matter where it’s from? Patricia Greenburg: Again, in the interest of our bodies and paying attention, organic is always the best way to go, and if you can’t find it then just stick with the pure single item and you should be OK. Jackie Keller: OK. Now, how often do I have to have to have these foods? Do I have to digest, have super foods or can I have, you know..? Patricia Greenburg: I’m on the super foods bandwagon, I think we should just eat super foods. There’s a few things floating out there that are controversial, as you know, soy products have a mixed blessing. They’re very, very good for you, they reduce the risk of heart disease; the problem is if you have some problems with your estrogen levels you know, you ‘re not supposed to eat too much of them. My recommendation is a constant rotation. Jackie Keller: OK. Patricia Greenburg: Salad, green, leafy, every single day. Jackie Keller: Got it. Patricia Greenburg: Fatty fish, three times a week. Jackie Keller: Got it. Patricia Greenburg: Tea every day. Fruits and vegetables… Jackie Keller: Every day. Patricia Greenburg: Every day. Any kind of fresh fruit, grab an apple, grab an orange, oranges are loaded with vitamin C. The fiber alone is so beneficial for your digestive tract. Jackie Keller: True, that’s very true. Well, thank you so much for joining me. Patricia Greenburg: You’re welcome. Jackie Keller: And bringing all these wonderful foods, I can’t wait to go home and look and see if I really have them in my pantry like I think I do. And I know that our guests want to find you and ask more questions. How can they do that? Patricia Greenburg: They can get me at www.thefitnessgourmet.com. Jackie Keller: OK, great. Well, thank you Patricia for being here. Patricia Greenburg: Thank you Jackie. Jackie Keller: I can’t wait to share some of these ideas with our viewers.. Patricia Greenburg: Yes. Jackie Keller: And I thank you so much. Patricia Greenburg: Thank you, thank you. Jackie Keller: And now it’s time for the last bite. I want to share with you some insights from the coaching world, and todays coaching moment is about curiosity. I know it sounds strange because in today’s world we think about happiness, happiness, happiness, happiness; but really, one of the key components of happiness that we have discovered; and this is based on the book by Todd Kashdan called “Curious”; is that curiosity is what really moves us, as opposed to just the endless pursuit of happiness. So, what does it mean by being curious? Well, think of it as being a curious explorer in life and some of the key elements, some of the key characteristics of being a curious explorer mean having a deep interest in others around you. And not just other people, but other things; really become immersed in the process, get into the flow of it so that you actually forget yourself and you’re so engrossed in what you’re curious about. It feeds itself, that’s one of the key elements of being a curious explorer in life. The object is to relish the unknown, don’t fear it; race toward it, not from it, to deepen your experience by immersing yourself in the moment, and by reaching out for things that excite and challenge you. The risk is worth the reward, enjoy yourself. Go out there, experience the world, find something that you’re curious about and don’t forget, join me next week for another episode of Food Exposed. For more Food Exposed check me out on empowerme.tv, and until next week remember; make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

Eating for Better Skin! – Jackie chats with Skin Expert Sara Turbeville

Episode 101

Video Transcript

Jackie Keller: Hi welcome to Food Exposed on empowerme.tv. My name is Jackie Keller, and my company is called NutriFit. I’ve been running this company for 26 years, we’re Los Angeles leading healthy food company, and in the course of that time we’ve helped thousands of people live longer, healthier lives through better nutrition. Thanks for joining us, let’s get started. So what’s in the news? Well U.S. news and World Report has given us a summary of the 2013’s best and worst diets, and I love this, because I’m always curious about whether or not what the nutrition and health experts say about what’s good for you and what isn’t. Surprisingly enough at the bottom of the list of healthy diets was Google’s most frequently searched diet term the Paleo Diet. Yep, down at the bottom tied for last place with the Dukan Diet, and we’ll talk more about that in another episode, but what’s at the top of the list? The Dash Diet, Dash Diet very simple diet plan designed by the FDA to help us lower our blood pressure, and improve our heart health. It’s a very general diet, fruits and vegetables, lots of lean meats, lots of grains, whole grains, not very processed, and most importantly minimizing the amount of salt we put in our foods. So the Dash Diet at the top, the Paleo Diet at the bottom, and speaking about things that are at the bottom let’s talk about the bottom of the ocean for just a minute. Fukushima, radiation waters are spreading, and unfortunately their coming closer, and closer to the coast of the United States. So what do we need to know about how to protect ourselves from the effects of radiation potentially contaminating our waters? Well there’s some diet tips for you. One, eat greens, chlorophyll apparently has very protective benefits, so do organic apples, so you want to eat the skin with those apples, and with chlorophyll foods you want to make sure you emphasize alfalfa sprouts, water crests, and parsley. And finally, let’s talk a little bit about the cold weather. You know we’ve been suffering with the Polar Vortex, and what brings that polar air, it brings skin problems, dry, chapped, irritated skin. That’s skin that you need to nourish, because it’s your largest organ, it covers your entire body, so our next segment is going to teach you some wonderful nourishment from the inside out. Stay tuned for nourishing recipes from NutriFit. Welcome to our nourishing NutriFit Recipe Segment, and I’m so excited, because this pairs two of my most favorite, favorite, favorite foods, chocolate-avocado, chocolate-avocado. How could it be bad? It’s not, and not only does it taste great, but it’s really good for you. The recipe is a simple mousse or pudding, and it features fresh avocados which are really high in healthy fats. We know that avocado helps, it’s about 83% of the calories in avocado come from fat, but it’s the kind of fat that we need in our bodies. Not only from the standpoint of you know, helping our biological processes absorbing fat soluble vitamins, and minerals, but also avocados have wonderful anti-aging properties. So you’ll want to have these wonderful jewels, and it doesn’t matter what kind of avocado it is, this is a Hass avocado, it can be a Fuerte avocado, there’s a lot of different varieties, but avocado key to this ingredient, this recipe. Another key ingredient coconut milk; now, we hear a lot today about coconut milk. Coconut milk comes in a lot of different varieties; this is coconut milk, not coconut water. There is a difference between the two. This is light coconut milk, so there’s a little less fat than its traditional full fat counterpart, but even the light coconut milk has great antioxidant capabilities, it’s also an antibacterial, and it helps to provide more skin elasticity. And you know as we get older our skin becomes less elastic. And finally, I told you chocolate is my favorite, unsweetened cocoa. Now we know that unsweetened dark chocolate is the best chocolate for us, and this cocoa in this recipe not only creates a luscious texture, and a yummy taste, but chocolate has polyphenols, and flavanols that help protect our skin against radiation damage. They also help to repair our skin, so you’ll want to have chocolate on hand for this recipe. And it’s so simple, all we do is we cut open an avocado, and then we’re going to take the meat from the avocado and put it in a food processor. And so real simple, just scoop out the flesh and into the food processor it goes. And if you get in a little bit of the skin, make sure you get it back out again. And then with the avocado you’re going to add in the coconut milk, and your unsweetened cocoa. Now, the next ingredient is really a question of taste. I’m all for avoiding processed sugars, and we know that processed food is not good for our skin at all, but this recipe uses Agave which is a plant sweetener, it’s all natural, and it doesn’t raise our insulin level like regular sugar does. So you’re going to put in some Agave to taste, and I’m using about two tablespoons here for this quantity, but we’ll taste it, and see what we think, and finally to balance it out just a pinch of all natural sea salt. Sea salt is a little less processed then our normal table salt, and once you have all of those ingredients in there, the recipe is quite simple, just want to put it in your food processor, and let it do the work. This is my kind of recipe, one bowl, one spatula, one spoon, one measuring cup. And when the pudding is done, or the mousse is done as it is right now, we’ll just go another quick minute, because you do want to get it completely smooth. This recipe despite the fact that it has avocado in it will refrigerate very well for several days. Now I know usually when things have avocado we worry that it’s going to turn brown, but guess what? This is already brown, so we don’t have to worry about that, isn’t that great? And here we go, we have a bowl here, we can dish up our avocado mousse, looks wonderful doesn’t it? It’s so good, and so good for you. This simple recipe makes three servings of avocado mousse, you won’t want much more than that, because it’s kind of rich, and if you don’t love the taste, well let me tell you something all of these ingredients are good for you to put on the outside of your skin too. It would be a terrible waste, but you could use it as an avocado mask, because a lot of cosmetics now actually have chocolate in them, so there you go. Choco-Avo Mousse, a nourishing recipe from NutriFit. Stayed tuned while we talk next with a leading skincare expert who’s going to tell us how to make our skin beautiful on the outside while we’re eating foods that make our skin beautiful on the inside? I’m happy to introduce my guest today Sara Turbeville. Sara is the founder of SKIN Santa Monica; she is one of Los Angeles leading skin care specialist, so without further ado welcome Sara to Food Exposed. Sara Turbeville: Thank you Jackie, I appreciate you having me on. Jackie Keller: Well thank you for coming to share with us. You know, I know a lot of people have resolutions that they have made about their skin care, kind of goes hand in hand with your healthcare, and I’ve heard you say many times that your skin is your largest organ, so you do have to take care of it like the rest of your body. Sara Turbeville: Absolutely you do, and I’ve thought of five resolutions that you can make for your skin to look its best in 2014. Jackie Keller: Oh I need to know what I’m supposed to do. Sara Turbeville: Yes, I will share my secrets with you. Jackie Keller: Great. Sara Turbeville: Are you ready? Jackie Keller: I am. Sara Turbeville: Okay, the number one is so simple, but it’s wash your face twice a day. It seems so simple, but a beautiful complexion begins with a clean canvas. Jackie Keller: Well what do we wash with? Sara Turbeville: We wash with a gentle liquid cleanser. You don’t want a bar soap as the waxes that hold in a compressed form don’t allow it to really rinse off of your skin, and so dirt… Jackie Keller: That’s interesting. Sara Turbeville: And oil and makeup kind of get trapped underneath there. Jackie Keller: I didn’t realize that, I thought those little beauty bars were the right thing to do. Sara Turbeville: No not necessarily, there are some exceptions, but generally you want to look for a lotion based, or a liquid cleanser that rinses completely clean off of your skin. Jackie Keller: Okay, so I’m going to wash my skin twice a day? Sara Turbeville: Yes. Jackie Keller: Do I dry it with a towel? Sara Turbeville: You can pat dry, just don’t rub it, and if you come in late at night and you just tend to not wash your face, because you’re tired, wash it as soon as you get home from work, even if it’s 5:00 or 6:00. Jackie Keller: Are you in my place? You know I do that? Sara Turbeville: Oh yes, I do, I do. Those makeup wipes come in handy too. Jackie Keller: Okay. Sara Turbeville: But you know, you can wash it at 5:00 or 6:00, you’re done for the day, get the face cleansing done. Jackie Keller: Okay, so what’s number two? Sara Turbeville: Easy number two. Number two is use one product everyday that’s specifically chosen just for your skin. There are so many skin care products out there, it’s so confusing, even to me it’s overwhelming. But if you can get a skin care professional to recommend one product for you, and just use it as close to everyday as you can, you’ll see a substantial difference in your skin throughout the year. Jackie Keller: All right so, my problem is that I’m getting older, and… Sara Turbeville: Aren’t we all? Jackie Keller: So I need a skin care product that’s good for you know mature skin. Sara Turbeville: Yes, ladies of a certain something. Jackie Keller: A fine wine skin. Sara Turbeville: Yes, I understand, I’m of that age myself, so kind of one size fits all product is Retinol which is topical Vitamin A, and it works for both zits, and for wrinkles, and both, so it’s kind of great. And you can get a prescription Retin-A from a physician. It’s a little stronger, and sometimes it can lead to irritated skin, so a Retinol is just an over the counter strength of Vitamin A. Jackie Keller: Okay. Sara Turbeville: And using that is kind of a great one size fits all product. Jackie Keller: All right, and what’s the third thing? Sara Turbeville: This is something else that you’ve heard before a lot, use a sunscreen every single day of your life. It’s the best anti-aging product ever, and although we do need some natural sun exposure for Vitamin D. Jackie Keller: Right. Sara Turbeville: 20 minutes, generally speaking, of unprotected sun exposure, but most of us get that without even really trying, especially in California. Jackie Keller: Absolutely. Sara Turbeville: But the best anti-aging product. 80% get this, of visible aging on your skin is due to incidental sun exposure, 80%. So you can easily combat that just by daily sunscreen. Jackie Keller: I know you’ve said this to me before, but it doesn’t matter what age you are, you still need sunscreen, even if you’re like young, and 20, and you like to live on the beach? Sara Turbeville: Heck yes, that’s the most important time, because so much of your sun damage accrues before the time you’re 18 or 20 years old. Jackie Keller: Oh my goodness. Sara Turbeville: And what’s really interesting to me is that sun damage, your body stores like a clock. It’s not when you go to the Bahamas’s and you lay out every day for a week that you get most of your sun damage. Most of it is 20 minutes walking the dog one day, driving to work the next day, your body literally adds up all those minutes, and then eventually it just shows on your face. Jackie Keller: How cruel is that? Sara Turbeville: It’s cruel. Jackie Keller: That doesn’t seem right. Sara Turbeville: I know, it’s a cruel world. Jackie Keller: Oh well, there you go. At least there’s something that you can do, you put sunscreen on, it helps to protect your skin. And what else do we need to do? Sara Turbeville: The fourth tip that I got for you is wash those makeup brushes. I know it’s a boring task to do, but put on some good tunes, maybe have a glass of wine, and just wash those things. Jackie Keller: What do you wash them with? Sara Turbeville: A liquid cleanser, even maybe some dish soap, liquid dish soap. But those germs just accrue, and then you’re putting those germs back on your face, and then they sit until the next day, and the germs just keep growing. And what gets me especially grossed out is, if you use like a compact makeup and those sponges, and you reapply that makeup on with the sponge, and then putting it back, and then back on, and the germs just keep breeding. So, a quick and easy way, I mean once a week is ideal to wash those brushes. Jackie Keller: Okay. Sara Turbeville: But if that’s just too much for you, take a paper towel, sprinkle a little rubbing alcohol on it, and then take the brushes, and just swoosh the bristles over the rubbing alcohol. Jackie Keller: Okay. Sara Turbeville: And that’s a quick and easy way to do it between actual washings. Jackie Keller: And is that all of our brushes? I mean our blush brush, our eye brush, you know all of those things? Sara Turbeville: Yes, yes it is absolutely all. You cannot skip. Jackie Keller: Once a week, twice month? Sara Turbeville: Ideally, but, you know, at the very least once a month. Jackie Keller: Okay, all right. Sara Turbeville: But just do what you can. Jackie Keller: I’ll do my, I’ll try. Sara Turbeville: Please, I’m going to check in with you on that. Jackie Keller: Okay. And what’s the last thing? Sara Turbeville: Okay, the last one is, I want you to wash those pillow cases at least once a week, especially if you are prone to breakouts. All that bacteria once again, just kind of breeds and then gets transferred onto your face. And another tip is try to avoid using dryer sheets and fabric softeners in towels that touch your skin, and pillow cases. Jackie Keller: Okay. Sara Turbeville: Because those are full of chemicals, and artificial fragrance that just gets pressed next to your skin. It can cause dermatitis, irritation. Jackie Keller: You never think about those things. Sara Turbeville: No, I know. Jackie Keller: You think, oh make sure.. Sara Turbeville: It smells so good. Jackie Keller: It smells so good, but it’s bad for your skin. Sara Turbeville: It’s the chemicals. What’s not good are the chemicals in it, and then you’re just pressing it next to your skin. Jackie Keller: Okay, so wash with hypoallergenic detergent? Sara Turbeville: Yeah, fragrance free. Jackie Keller: They have those fragrance free; they’re not that much more expensive than the regular stuff. Sara Turbeville: Exactly. Jackie Keller: Okay. Sara Turbeville: And then just skip all that artificial dryer sheet stuff. And then.. Jackie Keller: Those are great tips. Sara Turbeville: Thank you. Jackie Keller: And they’re so easy. Sara Turbeville: I think so, they’re doable, they’re manageable. Jackie Keller: Yeah, and on that same note. Sara Turbeville: Yes. Jackie Keller: There are things that you can do from the inside out that are also are good for your skin. So, I want to share with you my top five favorite foods for skin care, and let me run this by you Sara, and see what you think. Sara Turbeville: Okay. Jackie Keller: I think that some of the healthiest foods for your skin include avocado, almonds, and other nuts, almonds and walnuts for their Omega three fatty acids. Sara Turbeville: Yes. Jackie Keller: They’re really good for the skin, right? Sara Turbeville: Yes, those are awesome. They hydrate the skin from the inside out, and they help you retain some of the water that you’re drinking hopefully every day. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Sara Turbeville: So essential fatty acids, bingo, very important. Jackie Keller: And along with that there’s that new darling food that everybody’s putting you know, on muffins and on cereals, and in smoothies, the Chia seeds for Omega three fatty acids. Sara Turbeville: Yes. Jackie Keller: I think they go along with the Flax seeds, they sort of the new food when it comes to Omega threes. Sara Turbeville: That and hemp seeds right? Jackie Keller: Yeah. Sara Turbeville: I’ve heard that those are cool too. Jackie Keller: I’m not that familiar with hemp. Sara Turbeville: Okay. Jackie Keller: But it could be, you know, there’s, every year there’s a new seed. Sara Turbeville: Right, the new cool, the new cool seed. Jackie Keller: Right, and then dark chocolate. Isn’t that surprising? Sara Turbeville: Yay, I’m so happy. Jackie Keller: Good news for chocolate lovers. Sara Turbeville: I know. Jackie Keller: And those flavonols are protective for the skin. And finally green tea for it’s wonderful antioxidant properties. Sara Turbeville: Yes. It is a wonderful; green tea is awesome, white tea. Jackie Keller: So but we do your five tips, and we eat my five foods. Sara Turbeville: Gorgeous. Jackie Keller: We’ll be gorgeous. Sara Turbeville: Gorgeous, it’s settled. Jackie Keller: I love it, I love it. Well thank you Sara so much for joining me. Sara Turbeville: My pleasure. Jackie Keller: I know our viewers will want to found you, so where do they go? Sara Turbeville: I will tell you. You can go to www skin Santa Monica dot com, and you will find all the information about how to get a hold of me. You can email me, or call me, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions, or give you a great skin care treatment. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much for being here. Sara Turbeville: You’re welcome. Jackie Keller: It was great. Sara Turbeville: Thank you for having me. Jackie Keller: I can’t wait to see how good my skin can look. It’s time for the last bite. It’s at this moment in the show that I share with you one of my cooking tips, something to help you understand, and absorb the information that we’ve presented here today. So I’d like to talk a little bit about goals, because this is the time of year when we not only make resolutions, but we set goals for ourselves, and we have some specific things that we look for when we’re setting those goals. So how do you know if your goal is a good one? Here’s five ways to structure your goal to make it smart, S-M-A-R-T, that’s an acronym. So the S stands for specific, you want your goal to be really; really specific to what it is that you’re going to do. So for example if my goal was to add more avocados in my diet, a specific example of that would be I’m going to have third of an avocado which by the way is a full serving of avocado, a third, I’m going to have a third of an avocado twice a week beginning next Monday. That’s an example of a specific goal. M stands for measurable. Make your goal something you can measure, not just I’m going to have more avocado, but I’m going to have a third of an avocado. That is very specific, very measurable. That’s S-M, A, action oriented. I’m going to eat a third of an avocado twice a week starting next Monday. I’ve committed to an action that I can measure myself against, so specific, measurable, action oriented. The R in smart stands for realistic. So let’s face it, if I were to say I’m going to have a whole avocado every day for the rest of my life, not going to happen. Instead make the goal something realistic, why? Because if it’s realistic you can achieve it, and if you can achieve it, you can celebrate, and if you can celebrate you feel successful, and if you feel successful you’re going to keep making more goals. So specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and the fifth element of a good goal is that it’s timed, commit. Set a time and a day, a place, whatever it is, make it something timed, so that you can really hold yourself accountable. So again remember goals are good, they give us something to achieve, something to strive for, something to aim for. Give yourself some rewards every time you achieve one of your goals, and if you break those goals down into little baby steps that are smart, specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and timed you will be successful. And thank you so much for joining me, my name is Jackie Keller. I hope to see you next week on Food Exposed. For more Food Exposed check me out on empowerme.tv, and until next week remember make food your best friend, and exercise your companion for life.

Jackie Keller’s White and Dark Chocolate Delights!

Holiday Special

Video Transcript

Welcome to Food Exposed on empowerme.tv. My name is Jackie Keller, and for the last 26 years, I’ve spent my time dedicated to helping people live longer, healthier lives through better nutrition, and healthy cooking. Speaking of healthy cooking, today, we’re making deliciously healthy white and dark chocolate delights. They’re easy, quick and they make a great gift from the heart; let’s get cooking. There are three key ingredients that make this recipe very special. First, chocolate and who doesn’t love chocolate. You know, chocolate is one of those universally favorite foods. It is good for the heart, it’s good for the soul, makes you happy and it comes in lots of different flavors. This one is a mint and chocolate blend. You can also use white chocolate for these. In fact, we call them white and dark chocolate delights. White chocolate has some of the same flavonols and heart healthy benefits as dark chocolate but it comes only in this white color. So make sure, when you pick your brand, you pick a brand that you know will melt. The other key ingredient that makes this recipe special, is cereal nuggets. Now these are high fiber, crunchy little bites of cereal. You can find them in every grocery store, on every grocery store aisle. They’re high in fiber, they’re low in sodium and fat and they provide so much nutritional benefit. You want to make sure you have these on hand. And finally, speaking of nutritional benefits, here’s our powerhouse ingredient, chopped almonds. Almonds, as you know, are very high in omega three fatty acids. They’re really healthful, they protect your heart, they are good for your skin, for your eyes, for your hair, for your whole body and of course, they taste wonderful and they’re available all year round. Now that we know what ingredients you’ll need on hand and that is the entire set of ingredients for this simple recipe, let me show you how easy it is to make. All you need to do is set up a little double boiler system in your own kitchen. Now, that can be done without any fancy equipment, a stainless steel pot, a non-reactive bowl, preferably glass that will withstand the heat, and also allow you to set it inside of your pot; over simmering water, not rapidly boiling. So the water should be sufficient to come to a boil and stay at a simmer while the chocolate is melting. I’ve set this one up so the chocolate is nearly melted. It just takes a few minutes; and once it’s melted, you’re going to stir it, so that your chocolate is ready to accept the other key ingredients. Watch your hands, the bowl can get hot. Into your chocolate goes some of your nutty cereal. Your cereal, you need about for one 12 ounce package of chocolate, you’re going to need about a cup of cereal. The exact recipe can be found on empowerme.tv. And, you stir it in, and then, add in your almonds. And again, stirring, just to get the ingredients melted it helps to have a pan that has a cool handle. Once you have everything mixed together, you’re ready to scoop it out. And what you’ll need to that, is a simple cookie scoop. You can find them in all different kinds of sizes at your favorite food store. This one came from, I don’t even know. It’s just a little cookie scoop. And that’s all you need to form your balls of nutty delights. Once you have them formed, they’re going to go onto a plate, where you’re going to want to refrigerate them until they are hard; now that can take a few minutes, depending on your refrigerator, or an hour or so. So all you do is set up your balls, set up all your mixture. And if you’re making one recipe of this, it’s going to produce about 22 balls. They’re about a half an ounce each. And once you’re done with that, into the refrigerator to cool down. If you want you can use your fingers to make them form into nice perfect little balls. And the recipe is ready now to package. It’s that easy. You have your choice of how you package these things as gifts. I like coffee, so I take a coffee mug and a food bag and I fill my bag with our nuggets. Both colors, I think, make it look really festive and nice. Fill them up. And then, go ahead and splurge on a colorful twisty tie; little gold one, just to make the packaging pretty. And you’re going to insert that right into your coffee cup, so that you have a nice gift that’s ready to go. If you don’t like the top showing, no problem, turn it upside down and you have a beautiful gift, just like that. Or, you might want to think about buying one of these little decorative heart baskets or different shapes. They come in all kinds of shapes. And arrange your nuggets or your delights, if you will, into the basket, mounded as high as you like, because everyone’s going to enjoy them and they’re not going to last for long. Even though, you should know, that these nuggets do not require refrigeration once they’re made, so they make the ideal gift to ship anywhere in the country, if they last that long. Or you could take a decorative jar, fill them with your nuggets and put it out on the corner of your desk for your friends and your family to enjoy. Packaging is one of those things that is a very individual choice. I like the natural bows but they’re not as colorful as say, you know the frilly, pretty Christmas-y things that you can find. So it’s up to you what you put on it. But quite simply, everything comes back to how it tastes once you enjoy these little pieces of paradise. So, simply assemble your gift. And thanks for joining us. For this recipe and more like it, visit us at empowerme.tv and don’t forget to tune in, in January for more Food Exposed. Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the NEJM TODAY

Researchers examined diet and mortality among some 125,000 male and female health professionals who were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes at baseline. During roughly 30 years’ follow-up, over 33,000 participants died. High intake of saturated fat — when replacing carbohydrates — was associated with an 8% increase in total mortality. Similarly, high trans fat intake conferred a 13% mortality increase. In contrast, high intakes of polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids were associated with 19% and 11% reductions in mortality, respectively. In addition, replacing 5% of calories from saturated fat with calories from polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids was associated with mortality reductions of 27% and 13%, respectively. The authors conclude: “Replacement of saturated fats with unsaturated fats … should continue to be a key message in dietary recommendations. These findings also support the elimination of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, the primary source of trans-fatty acids.” At NutriFit, we minimize saturated fats because we care about your health. Science proves it, and we believe it.

Celebrating World Chocolate Day

The Aztecs and Mayans were the first to recognize the potency of chocolate – they’d celebrate the harvest of the cacao bean with festivals of wild orgies. Montezuma believed that drinking 50 cups of chocolate each day enabled him to better serve his harem of 600 women. For my NutriFit meal delivery service clients, I believe that it puts us in “the zone”. The zone of health, that is! Science gives us another reason to enjoy this heady delight. Dark chocolate contains naturally occurring plant compounds called Flavonoids. These natural powerhouses are part of the polyhenol group. Some of the key heart health benefits of chocolate include:
  • Decreases LDL oxidation (Low-density lipoproteins, which are the unhealthy kind).
  • Reduces stickiness of platelets in the blood, which reduces risk of blood clots
  • May lower blood pressure
  • Increases blood flow in the arteries- (Increased blood flow can lead to brain health benefits, including boosting memory, attention span, reaction time and problem solving skills).
Some psychological benefits of chocolate include improved mood and pleasure, by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Finally, flavonoids absorb UV light, and so have a beauty benefit of keeping women’s skin more moist, smoother and less scaly. After all, better blood flow in general also means increased blood flow to the skin! For all these reasons, and because I love chocolate, I’ve designed hundreds of delivered, healthy diets that include daily doses of the best quality, most delicious, guiltless decadent desserts. mint-chip-brownies

SimpliHealth Growers Harvest Highlights

Highlights from our day of harvesting yesterday include:
81 lbs. of zucchini
17 lbs. of rainbow Swiss chard
14 lbs. of cucumbers
9 lbs. of tomatoes
4 lbs. of kale
5 lbs. of fresh herbs (mint, pineapple sage, thyme, oregano, basil, chives)
edible flowers, lettuce, purple and fingerling potatoes, bok choi…
PLUS MORE
Awesome Country Berry Tart featuring our own Mesa grown organic blackberries  (handpicked yesterday by yours truly), strawberries blueberries and raspberries !!!

Great news for us coffee lovers!

This coffee health news is from the Tufts Health and Nutrition Update this morning: In a recent report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee for the first time addressed safety concerns about coffee, concluding that drinking three to five cups a day (up to about 400 milligrams of caffeine) was associated with minimal health risks. The experts also noted observational studies indicating that the benefits of coffee consumption also include a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Are you ready to get Fit in Five?

fitin5banner Summer is right around the corner and we want to make sure you are in the best shape for bikini season. Whether you are trying to lose weight, or just tone your body up, the Fit in Five program will work for you. Combined with your custom-built 5-week diet plan and our expert knowledge of nutrition, we will make sure that that you reach your goals safely, efficiently, and in great condition.

Take The Stress Out Of Getting Healthy

icon3With our Fit in Five package, all the hard work is gone from your diet. We custom-build a 5-week “Get Fit” diet plan based on your goals, then ship it straight to your door for every week. We don’t draw on some template that was designed for someone else – every meal is carefully thought out and put together with your needs, goals, and tastes in mind.       icon2All-in, including delivery anywhere in the continental U.S, it’s only $399* per week for five weeks. That’s less than $5 per meal. Try getting dinner that’s tailored to your fitness goals anywhere for $5.

Great News for us Coffee Drinkers!

More scientific evidence affirming health values associated with drinking coffee: “A large new Korean study reports that people drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 41% less likely to show signs of coronary artery calcium than non-coffee drinkers. This calcification is an early indicator of the artery-clogging plaques (atherosclerosis) that cause coronary artery disease, which afflicts nearly 16 million Americans.The findings should in any case perk up coffee drinkers, many of whom grew up hearing that their favorite beverage was bad for you. The recent report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee for the first time addressed safety concerns about coffee, concluding that drinking three to five cups a day (up to about 400 milligrams of caffeine) was associated with minimal health risks. The experts also noted observational studies indicating that coffee intake is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

5 tips to help you through the Super Bowl

Planning on super sizing your Super Bowl Sunday snacks? Whoa – slow down – you may be surprised at some of the calories you can consume in one (long) sitting. Here are 5 nutritious Super Bowl snack ideas and healthy tips for making it through the game without eating yourself silly:
  1. Have a substantial, balanced breakfast on Sunday morning (seriously) – I’m thinking whole grain hot cereal with berries, maybe a poached egg or two, half a grapefruit or orange and even a piece of whole grain toast. Wash it down with a good cup of coffee or green tea, and at least 1 (8 oz) glass of water. That ought to hold you for awhile.
  2. Go for a FAST walk for an hour, about an hour after you eat.
  3. Make a platter full of raw vegetables and fresh fruit – and put it front and center on the table in front of the TV
  4. Put all the rest of the goodies on a table far away from the TV
  5. Lose the full fat cheese, full fat dairy dips (think low fat only), full fat chips, cookies or crackers- Try white meat chicken skewers, shrimp cocktail, vegetable kabobs, and air-popped popcorn for starters.
Need more ideas? Leave me a comment. If you’re a “Monday morning quarterback” and need some remedial coaching, I’ll be here…. www.nutrifitonline.com

Cancer prevention benefits from Spices

Herbs and spices are an important part of the human diet. Not only do they enhance the taste and flavor of foods, they also increase their shelf life by being both antimicrobial and anti-oxidant. The health benefits of herbs and spices also include a wide range of physiological and pharmacological properties. Dietary factors play an important role in human health and in the development of certain diseases, especially cancer. In particular, many Phenolic compounds are attracting the attention of food and medicinal scientists because of their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties and their capacity to modulate some key cellular enzyme functions. Several commonly used herbs have been identified by the US National Cancer Institute as possessing cancer-preventive properties. These cancer-preventing herbs include members of the Allium sp. (e.g. garlic); members of the Labiatae family (e.g. oregano, rosemary, and thyme); members of the Zingiberaceae family (e.g. turmeric and ginger); and members of the Umbelliferae family (e.g. cumin) The health benefits of herbs and spices, such as cumin, garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric, include having remarkably effective anti-oxidant activities. These anti-cancer foods and herbs are among the safest natural antioxidants available. It is expected that natural antioxidants will lead to chemo-prevention of inflammation, cancer and aging. (Source: http://www.gaiaresearch.co.za/nutrispice.html) Garlic & Onion – Many of us know about garlic and onions, each of which contains allyl sulfides, powerful and helpful antioxidants, and substances shown to lower cholesterol and thin the blood. The same group of compounds has anticancer properties. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and immune system enhancer, a free radical attacker, and it increases the enzymes that break down carcinogens in the body. Ample research has shown garlic to be one of the best cancer preventative foods, linking its consumption with slowing or stopping the growth of tumors in prostate, bladder, and stomach tissue, and preventing cancers of the skin and lung. The evidence is particularly compelling for garlic as a cancer preventative food to help against prostate and stomach cancers. The Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women who regularly ate garlic had a lower risk for colon cancer. Eat as much of this mighty food as you can stand! * NutriFit Spice Blend: Mediterranean Spice Blend, Lemon Garden Spice Blend, Calypso Spice Blend Thyme – Thyme contains an essential oil that is rich in thymol, a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and a strong antioxidant. The oil of thyme is used in mouthwashes to treat inflammations of the mouth, and throat infections. It is a common component of cough drops. Because of its essential oil, thyme possesses expectorant and bronchial antispasmodic properties, making it useful in the treatment of acute and chronic bronchitis, whooping cough, and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Thyme enhances the action of the cilia in the bronchi and directly acts on the bronchial mucosa. The terpenoids are responsible for the expectorant activity of thyme while a variety of flavonoids are responsible for the spasmolytic effect of thyme on the bronchioles. All the members of the mint family, including thyme, possess terpenoids, which are recognized as cancer preventive foods. Rosmarinic and ursolic acids are major terpenoids in thyme that possess anti-cancer properties. * NutriFit Spice Blend: Mediterranean Spice Blend Ginger – Ginger works wonders in the treatment of everything from cancer to migraines. Ginger is a rhizome that is related to turmeric. Gingerol, the main component of ginger and responsible for its distinctive taste. Have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor powers. In some studies, gingerol inhibited tumor angiogenesis (formation of blood vessels leading to the tumor), and seemed to reduce metastasis of cancer cells. Gingerol also acts as an antioxidant, scavenging free radicals that might otherwise cause cell damage. * NutriFit Spice Blend: Certainly Cinnamon Spice Blend Turmeric – The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric is the spice most often used in curry powder. It has an active ingredient called curcumin that may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer. * NutriFit Spice Blend: Rockin’ Moroccan Spice Blend Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Parsley – The parsley family (parsley family of herbs and spices, the same family that contains anise, caraway, coriander, dill, fennel, and parsley) contains some unique phytochemicals, such as phthalides and polyacetylenes which show cancer-protective activity and anti-inflammatory properties. Cumin has been seen to effectively decrease the incidence of chemically-induced tumors of the stomach, colon, and cervix. Its cancer-preventive activity can be explained by its significant antioxidant activity and the ability of cumin to modulate the metabolism of carcinogens. Cumin seeds are known to induce the activity of glutathione-S-transferase, a protective enzyme that helps eliminate cancer causing substances. Cumin has a significant level of caffeic, chlorogenic, ferulic and other phenolics acids that have anti-inflammatory activity, as well as the phytoestrogen, genistein. The activation of nuclear transcription factor kappa B has now been linked with a variety of inflammatory diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, allergies, asthma, arthritis, and psoriasis. The pathway that activates this transcription factor can be interrupted by phytochemicals derived from spices such as cumin, turmeric, and garlic. *NutriFit Spice Blend: Mediterranean Spice Blend, Lemon Garden Spice Blend, Calypso Spice Blend, Rockin’ Moroccan Spice Blend, & French Riviera Spice Blend Basil- One of the several herbs known to have anti-carcinogenic effects has been shown in studies to help in prevention of early stages of cancer development. *NutriFit Spice Blend: Mediterranean Spice Blend, Lemon Garden Spice Blend, & French Riviera Spice Blend Cayenne pepper – Capsaicin is the main ingredient of cayenne pepper and is used topically to treat everything from osteoarthritis to cancer.  Capsaicin promotes the natural cycle of programmed cell death, called apoptosis. Cancerous cells attempt to resist apoptosis and, if successful, eventually overtake the body with cancer. When cancer cells were treated with capsaicin, the chili pepper compound attacked the tumor cells’ mitochondria — which generate ATP, the chemical that creates energy within the body. Capsaicin also bound to certain proteins within the cancer cells and triggered apoptosis — natural cell death. *NutriFit Spice Blend: Rockin’ Moroccan Spice Blend Spices *NutriFit Spice Blends available at www.nutrifitonline.com or by calling (800) 341- 4190

Super Simple Superbowl Snacks

Planning to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday? Just in time, here are some simple, healthy Super Bowl snack recipes that you’ll surely enjoy! Avocado-Corn Salsa Servings:  6 Serving Size:  ¼ cup Ingredients: 2 ea. avocado, seeded, peeled & diced 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed 3 ea. tomatoes, peeled, seeded & diced 3 tbsp. lime juice 1 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped ½ tsp. green chile pepper, seeded & diced ½ tsp. sea salt ½ tsp. NutriFit Calypso Salt Free Spice Blend Directions: 1. In a medium bowl, gently combine avocado, corn kernels, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, chile peppers, Calyspo blend and salt. 2. Refrigerate until ready to be served. Nutrient information: Calories: 182; Protein: 3.73g; Carbohydrates: 22.99g; Fat: 10.56g; Fiber: 6.68g Gluten Free Vegetable Samosas Servings:  4 Serving Size:  3 each Ingredients: 1 ½ cups zucchini, coarsely shredded 1 medium russet potato ½ medium onion, finely chopped 1 cup spinach leaves, thinly sliced 6 tbsp. rice flour ¼ cup peas, fresh or frozen ¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped 1 tbsp. safflower oil 1 ea. egg, beaten well 1 tbsp. NutriFit Lemon Garden Salt Free Spice Blend Directions: 1. Grate the potato into a bowl of cold water. Prepare all of the other vegetables. Squeeze the water out of the potato and mix them all together in a large bowl. Season with Lemon Garden blend. Stir in egg. 2. Form 3 tbsp. of mixture into 4″ diameter patty. Place on large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. 3. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add grapeseed oil and cook vegetable patties in batches until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Nutrient information: Calories: 171; Protein: 5.38g; Carbohydrates: 26.18g; Fat: 5.36g; Fiber: 2.88g Lavosh with Peanut Butter & Dried Fruit Snack Servings:  12 Serving Size:  3″ piece Ingredients: 12 oz. extra firm lite tofu 2 pieces lavosh 1 1/8 cups reduced fat peanut butter 2 oz. dried cranberries & raisins 1 oz. dates, chopped Directions: 1. Combine the tofu and peanut butter in the carafe of a food processor and mix well. 2. Spread each piece of lavosh lightly with peanut butter mixture. 3. Arrange the mixed fruit evenly over the top. 4. Roll and cut each lavosh roll into 6 even pieces. 5. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to eat. Nutrient information: Calories: 205; Protein: 9.32g; Carbohydrates: 22.04g; Fat: 9.81g; Fiber: 2.45g Chocolate Chip Fondue Servings:  12 Serving Size: 3 tbsp. Ingredients 1 cup chocolate chips (you may used reduced-fat variety) ¾ cup fat-free evaporated milk 1 (2.5-oz) jar baby food prunes Fresh fruit for dipping Directions 1. In a heavy saucepan, combine chocolate chips and milk over low heat. Stir until smooth, making certain mixture does not burn. 2. Add prunes slowly, stirring constantly. If using as a fondue, keep warm in fondue pot. 3. Fondue is great with all fruits, especially bananas, oranges, and pineapple, and is also good with small pieces of cake or graham crackers. Nutrient information: Calories: 125; Protein: 2.3g; Carbohydrates: 23.4g; Fat: 4.9g; Fiber: 1.6g Fruit, Nut & Raisin Spread Servings:  12 Serving Size:  2 oz. Ingredients: 2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese 4 oz. fat free cottage cheese 1 tbsp. pecans, finely chopped and toasted 3 tbsp. golden raisins 2 tbsp. each dried figs & pitted prunes Directions: 1. Process the cottage cheese in the food processor until smooth. 2. Add the cream cheese and continue to process to form a smooth base. 3. Coarsely chop the figs or raisins (you may use either – remove the stems), and blend into the creamy base with the raisins and pecans. 4. Chill until ready to serve. Nutrient information: Calories: 108; Protein: 1.6g; Carbohydrates: 25.11g; Fat: 0.4g; Fiber: 2.3g Power Snack Mix Servings:  8 Serving Size:  ½ cup Ingredients: 1 cup small pretzels 1 cup shredded wheat cereal ¾ cup roasted soy nuts 1 cup raisins 1 cup chex mix Directions: 1.Combine all ingredients together and serve Nutrient information: Calories: 171; Protein: 7.051g; Carbohydrates: 29.68g; Fat: 3.523g; Fiber: 2.714g Looking for specific healthy recipe? Leave me a comment and let me know. Or check out the recipe section for more deliciously healthy NutriFit recipes! www.nutrifitonline.com

Heart Health

February is heart health month, and it is the perfect time to get to know the most important muscle in your body, and improve your relationship with it. Your heart is a powerful machine, pumping oxygen rich blood to your brain and other organs and transporting waste and carbon dioxide out. Taking care of your heart is one of the most important things you can do, and one of the most beneficial to your overall health and happiness. More than 1 million Americans suffer from heart attacks each year, approximately half of them dying. Increased risk of heart failure and heart disease are influenced by a number of factors, not all of which we can control, such as age and race. However you can lower your risk through healthy eating and exercise habits. When plaque, a build up of cholesterol and other material, grows in your arteries, it can lead to blockages in blood flow and a loss of flexibility in the heart muscles, which can be potentially fatal. To manage this, try a few heart-healthy diet tips, including limiting your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol by choosing lean meats, such as poultry and fish. Fish are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower your risk as well. Whole-grain and high-fiber foods can also help lower your blood cholesterol levels. Maintaining a balanced heart-healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is essential to all aspects of health, supplying your body with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber it needs without the calories it doesn’t. Regular exercise is also extremely important for maintaining cardio-vascular health, and the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity five days a week. This includes running, biking, swimming and any other physical activity that gets you out of the chair and your blood pumping. The heart is a muscle after all, and you can make it stronger through exercise. Women have just as much if not more risk of heart disease, despite common belief, with 1 in 3 U.S. women living with heart disease today. Removing habits such as smoking and binge drinking from your life, as well as maintaining a healthy weight are incredibly important for a fit and healthy heart. But what about a happy heart? We often look at the heart and the mind as two opposing components of our body, two equal but opposite forces that combine to give us life and conscience. But in reality they are two sides of the same coin, and in fact are more inter-connected than we may know. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that clinically depressed women had more than twice the risk of other women to suffer sudden cardiac death. Another study found that men who were aggressive and angry in their day-to-day lives (as opposed to professionally aggressive) had a 19% greater risk of coronary heart disease than those with a lighter demeanor. The idea of the connection between stress and heart health is certainly not new, but the clear associations between chronic stress and strain on the heart is becoming to clear, and potentially life-threatening to ignore. A 2007 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients who had a heart attack and then returned to a stressful job were twice as likely to have a second attack than those who viewed their jobs as more stress-free. And while you may not be able to quit your job, you may be able to change how you cope with it. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and taking short walks outside when you are in stressful situations are important to building the awareness you need to realize when you are stressed, and taking the first steps to removing the stress from your life. Regular exercise will also reduce your stress, and help reduce your risk of cardiac diseases as discussed earlier. Getting enough sleep is also extremely important for not just regulating stress, but avoiding heart risk in general, especially for women. A 2008 study from Duke University showed a consistent correlation between poor sleeping habits and higher levels of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes in women. While we all have stress, how we manage it defines our ability to stay fit and productive in our daily lives. That’s why this month you should examine your choices carefully, and choose ones that will build upon and reinforce a healthy and active lifestyle. Take the time out of your day to exercise, sleep, and eat right. Those choices will directly affect your capacity to have a strong and healthy heart, and therefore will lead to a longer and happier life.

Leftover Turkey Recipe!

Use that leftover Thanksgiving turkey with this easy Homemade Harvest Turkey Wrap recipe! Leftover Thanksgiving Harvest Turkey Wrap Recipe Servings – 5 Serving Size – one 3″ piece Ingredients 1 lb turkey breast 1/4 cup celery 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 lb lavosh 1 tsp NutriFit Lemon Garden Salt & Sugar Free Spice Blend 1/2 cup reduced fat blue cheese, crumbled 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped and pan toasted until golden 1 cup watercress sprigs Directions 1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, turkey breast and seasoning and cook, stirring, until browned (no longer pink) and cooked through. Set aside. 2. In a bowl, mix together blue cheese, turkey, dried cranberries and celery. Moisten with a little fat free blue cheese salad dressing, if available. 3. Just before serving, mix in the walnuts. Spread the mixture over the lavosh in a thin layer, sprinkle with watercress sprigs and roll up, leaving the ends open. Cut into serving lengths. 4. If using as a lunch, roll as a burrito or wrap.

Mighty Liquid Nutrition Blends

Announcing the launch of the NutriFit signature Mighty Liquid Blends, a juice and smoothie meal plan based on the NutriFit philosophy of wholesome and balanced eating, combined with the rejuvenating effects of a short-term, healthy liquid diet meal plan. Unlike others, the Mighty Liquid Blends line is designed to allow for optimal macronutrient consumption while remaining a low calorie, liquid plan. With six offerings of distinctly unique taste profiles, nutrient content and texture, you’ll feel satisfied and invigorated at the end of the day, instead of hungry and tired. The Mighty Liquids Blends healthy liquid diet meals use specific combinations of extensively researched, low calorie, high nutrient, predominantly organic foods to offer a balanced, deliciously healthy approach to liquid nutrition. I am excited to offer this new product line, and encourage you to give it a taste. Call (310) 473-1989 to order!  Nationwide shipping available. Blends2-copy

The Magnificent Romanesco Broccoli/Cauliflower

We are often inspired by wonders of nature – and in your meals today you might find the source of the newest, most amazing addition to our cornucopia! The magnificent Romanesco Broccoli/Cauliflower or BroccoFlower has arrived in our kitchen. This natural fractal (a shape or object that exhibits some level of structural self-similarity at all scales), is a broccoli cauliflower hybrid. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do – we’re starting to grow it on our own farm at the Mesa! Romanesco-broccoli-1 Romanesco-broccoli

Reduce Your Risk of Disease

Eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and helps manage body weight when consumed instead of more energy-dense foods. Are you eating the right amount? Adults who engage in <30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily should consume 1.5–2.0 cup equivalents of fruit and 2–3 cups of vegetables daily. However, during 2007–2010, half of the total U.S. population consumed <1 cup of fruit and <1.5 cups of vegetables daily; 76% did not meet fruit intake recommendations, and 87% did not meet vegetable intake recommendations.

Meatless Monday Recipe – Tofu Hoisin with Vegetables and Walnuts

This delicious Meatless Monday recipe is vegan, high in protein, low in calories and an excellent meal for lunch or dinner! Tofu Stir Fry with Hoisin Sauce, Vegetables and Walnuts 4 Servings Serving Size – 1 cup Ingredients: broccoli florets 3 cups canola oil 1 tsp. extra firm lite tofu 1 (12.3 oz.) pkg. garlic, minced 6 cloves hoisin sauce 1/3 cup red bell pepper, cut into strips 2 medium red pepper flakes (optional) 1/8 tsp. reduced sodium tamari 1 tbsp. sake 2 tbsp. sesame oil 1 tsp. walnuts, chopped 4 tbsp. water 1/3 cup Directions: 1. Cut the tofu into 1″ cubes. Season with 1/2 tsp. Sesame oil and 1 tbsp tamari. Combine the hoisin sauce, sake, remaining sesame oil and tamari and set aside. 2. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until hot, but not smoking. Make sure the tofu is patted very dry to prevent sticking. Add the tofu to the wok and stir-fry until lightly golden. Transfer the tofu to a platter and reduce the heat to medium-high. 3. Saute the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes (optional) and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the red bell pepper, broccoli and walnuts and toss to coat with the garlic. Pour in the water, toss the vegetables, then cover the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender but crunchy. 4. Stir in the tofu, then pour in the sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until the sauce coats everything and is thickened. May be served with steamed brown rice.

Just added new recipe- File of Sole with Meyer Lemondaise

Filet of Sole with Homemade Meyer Lemondaise (Lemon Mayonnaise) Recipe  Servings: 3 Serving Size: 5 oz. Ingredients 1 lb. fillet of sole, rinsed ¾ cup white wine 2 tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour 1 tsp. NutriFit Lemon Garden Salt Free Spice Blend 2 tbsp. shallots, minced ½ tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp. water ½ tsp. sea salt 5 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1 tbsp. Zest of 1 lemon, grated 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil ¼ tsp. turmeric 1 cup fat free half and half Directions
  1. To make lemondaise: In a medium size saucepan, reduce wine, turmeric, shallots and lemon zest until volume is reduced by 2/3. Add cornstarch slurry bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in half and half, but do not boil (if using fat free half and half). Add lemon zest and juice and puree sauce. Set aside.
  2. To make fish: Wash fish and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly dust with flour, mixed with Lemon Garden seasoning.
  3. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and fish fillets in a single layer, shaking pan gently to prevent sticking. Cook until lightly browned (about 4 minutes, depending on thickness of fish), then turn and cook on opposite side until lightly browned.
  4. To serve, top each filet with a tablespoonful of the sauce across the middle of the fillet, top with fresh chopped thyme or Italian parsley.

Treat your Valentine with this Sweet Recipe

Homemade Valentine’s Day Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries Edit016 Servings: 2 Serving Size: 3 berries
Ingredients
1 oz. semisweet/ dark chocolate
6 ea. strawberries, whole
Directions
1. In a double-boiler, melt chocolate, do not boil. 2. Gently wash strawberries and pat dry with paper towel. 3. Dip berries into chocolate (halfway up the berry) and place on wax paper to cool and harden. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Jumbo Prawns with Lemon Coulis Recipe

Grilled Shrimp (Prawns) with Lemon Coulis Servings: 9 Serving Size: 5 oz Ingredients 2 ea. garlic cloves, peeled 3 lb. shrimp ¼ tsp. black pepper ¼ tsp. sea salt 5 tbsp. fresh lemon juice ¼ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup vegetable broth 3 ea. lemons Directions  1. Snip through shells of shrimp along middle of back using kitchen shears, exposing vein and leaving tail and adjoining segment of shell intact. Devein shrimp, leaving shells in place. 2. Mince and mash garlic to a paste with salt using a large heavy knife or a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a blender along with lemon juice, broth and pepper and blend until smooth. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream, blending until emulsified. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in chopped oregano. 3. Prepare grill for cooking over direct heat with medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas). 4. Toss shrimp with 1/4 cup dressing in a large bowl and marinate no more than 15 minutes. (Texture of shrimp will change if marinated too long.) Lightly brush lemon wedges with some of remaining dressing and grill, turning over once, until grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large platter. Grill shrimp on lightly oiled grill rack (covered only if using a gas grill), turning over once, until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to platter with lemons as grilled. Serve with remaining dressing.

Meatless Monday Recipe – Cajun Bean n’ TVP Casserole

For all you Meatless Monday lovers – here’s a quick, easy and healthy vegetarian recipe to try out featuring an ingredient you may not have heard of – Textured Vegetable Protein! Cajun Vegetarian Bean Casserole & Textured Vegetable Protein Recipe Ingredients: dried black-eyed peas 1 cup onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup garlic, minced and pressed 2 cloves boiling water 1 quart brown rice, uncooked 1/2 cup TVP 1 cup NutriFit Calypso Salt Free Spice Blend 1 1/2 tbsp. sea salt 1/4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp.1 Directions: Note – For each teaspoon of the Calypso Blend, you may use: 1/2 tsp. ground chiles, 1/4 tsp. ground cumin, 1/8 tsp. each black pepper and garlic powder. 1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and cook the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the black eyed peas and seasonings and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Add the TVP and continue cooking another 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

BMI-Cancer Link?

More bad news for those with high BMI’s – a measure of body weight relative to height (not always the best marker of body fat percentage, but still relevant as a measuring tool). A study published in Lancet Oncology finds that “globally, nearly 500,000 new cancer cases were attributable to high BMI, with the BMI-cancer link higher among women than men. Highly developed nations had the most high-BMI-related cancers: North America accounted for about a quarter of all such cases. Postmenopausal breast, colon, and uterine cancers made up over 60% of all malignancies attributable to high BMI in women.”.
Also of note, other important causes of cancer, such as tobacco use and infections, are associated with an even larger proportion of cases of cancer.
So, there are 3 words that come to mind immediately: Lifestyle, lifestyle and lifestyle…

Post Thanksgiving check-list: 5 Simple Ideas for the Maintain, Don’t Gain time of year

After the party’s over, it’s time to get down to getting through the rest of the holidays without doing yourself in. I like to call this the “Maintain, Don’t Gain” time of year. 1. If you’ve made the traditional version of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy and pumpkin pie – think about who in your family needs that food more than you. Drawing a blank? You can put the food in food-safe containers (like the sandwich containers that are designed to be semi-disposable) and drive them to your local food pantry or street corner where homeless people beg for food. While healthy versions of these dishes can be created, it’s too late to do so now (if you already have unhealthy leftovers), so rather than eat them yourself, either give them to a grateful neighbor or family member, or toss them out. Full fat cheese or dips and fiber-free crackers and chips belong in the same category, 2. Leftovers that you can repurpose into healthy versions include turkey and vegetables (unless they were cooked in butter). There are endless salads and stir fry dishes that can be created with bits of both, or even a turkey pot pie (using brown rice and egg white as a crust). Make a meal plan for whatever you can use up healthfully. If you have a menu thought out that actually incorporates these items, they’re much more likely to get used up in a rational manner. 3. Drinking your calories is just as bad as overeating. Start this period off right by committing to drinking at least 2 glasses of water for every glass of wine or alcoholic beverage that you drink at dinner or a party. That’s in addition to the 8 glasses that you should be drinking daily. Let’s face it, there’s only so much liquid you can hold, so if you make that bargain with yourself before the start of an evening or event, you’ll be far less likely to consume excess beverage calories. 4. Eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast daily. This is especially important at the holiday time of year, as it’s much more unlikely that you’ll overeat during the day if you’ve started it right with a good, satisfying breakfast. 5. Make a point to incorporate vigorous activity daily – structured or functional exercise – don’t let the day end without some form of activity. Even if it’s 15 or 20 minute intervals (walking, taking the stairs). Add that up and you’ve got over an hour a week of exercise, which wakes up your body, your brain and helps keep your stress at bay. This can greatly help “curb the insanity” that starts just after Thanksgiving!

Wishing all of our NutriFit fans a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

1108_bethankful Thanksgiving is here and I am reminded of a friend of mine, born and raised abroad, telling me years ago why he had fully embraced this great American holiday. “Food, Family and Football!” “But in all seriousness, Thanksgiving is the perfect American holiday” he continued. “Non-denominational, embraced by every creed and celebrated by every wave of immigrant to have graced these shores. Thanksgiving transcends class, religion, money and everything else to be about, simply, Gratitude.” Well sure, what better reason for a holiday than that? And it turns out, being thankful is also good for your health. Noted below are some fascinating facts I found recently at the Body Works exhibition. People who are grateful in their daily lives have healthier levels of key body chemicals than those who say they are not. These individuals have been found to have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone linked to type two diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. They also have lower counts of fibrinogen, an essential blood clotting protein that in high doses is an indicator of future heart disease. People who are grateful respond differently to their environment and cut their risk of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Grateful people also report higher levels of optimism and, those who think of the glass as half full are less likely to die of heart disease than pessimists. To believe that the worst will happen is more significant than age, weight or heart condition in increasing your risk of dying from heart disease. So, enjoy the Holidays with your family, try to eat healthily and mindfully, and remember the gratitude you feel is good for you too! happy-thanksgiving-snoopy1

Last Minute Thanksgiving Substitutes

All ready to cook for Thanksgiving but realize you’re missing a few ingredients? Or your recipe needs a little extra help? There are several dilemmas I and clients of mine have come across, around Thanksgiving: What to do if there’s no buttermilk in the house? Pour 1 cup of nonfat or 1% milk into a measuring glass. Remove 1 tbsp. and add in 1 tbsp. of plain white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir, wait 15 minutes and use in place of buttermilk. Need to thicken gravy but have no cornstarch or trying to avoid the gluten in flour? Try arrowroot or potato starch instead! They’re all natural thickeners that work very much the same way. Still stumped? Puree a potato (well cooked) in with the gravy until desired consistency is reached. Sick of traditional, canned, jellied cranberry sauce? Try a pineapple-cranberry relish or salsa instead. It’ll be a sparkling, refreshing change of pace that’s still reminiscent of cranberry without the gloppy stuff.

Delicious Thanksgiving Sides Part 3

Here’s the last Thanksgiving recipe I have for you: Sweet Potato Soufflé. It’s golden brown, light and delicious! Let me know what you think… Sweet Potato Soufflé Recipe Preparation Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 6 Ingredients: ½ Cup Brown Sugar 2 Tbsp. trans-fat free, lite margarine ¼ Cup Grape Nuts cereal ¼ Cup Chopped Pecans ¼ Cup Sugar 4 Cups Cooked, Cubed Sweet Potato 2 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract ½ Cup Fat Free Egg Substitute Directions: 1. Preheat the oven 350° F. Spray a 1 1/4-quart casserole and set the casserole aside. 2. Toast the pecans by placing them on a baking sheet and toasting them in the oven until they are fragrant and a golden brown color. 3. Using a food processor, process the sweet potatoes, egg substitute, sugar, vanilla, and 2 tbsp. of the flour until the mixture is mostly smooth, leaving some small chunks of sweet potato for texture. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole. 4. In a small bowl, use your fingers to rub together the brown sugar, the remaining 3 tbsp. flour, and the margarine until crumbly. Stir in the pecans and the cereal. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the casserole. 5. Bake the soufflé for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately. But if cooking is too much for you this holiday season, NutriFit is here to help serve up delicious healthy sides that come straight to your door! Call us at (310) 473-1989 or order online

Delicious Thanksgiving Sides Part 2

Here are two more delicious Thanksgiving sides to wow family and friends (especially the calories!); Pumpkin and Squash Risotto, and Spicy Sautéed Yams with Kale. Enjoy! Pumpkin and Squash Risotto Recipe Preparation Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes Servings: 6 Ingredients: 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1″ cubes 2 cups pumpkin, peeled and cubed 1 tsp. NutriFit Mediterranean Salt Free Spice Blend 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 3 cups fat free, reduced sodium vegetable broth 2 cups onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 cup short grain brown rice ¼ cup dry white wine 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced ¼ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. white pepper Directions:  Note: For each teaspoon of the Mediterranean Spice Blend, you may substitute: 1/4 tsp. basil, 1/4 tsp. oregano, 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. 1. Sprinkle pumpkin and squash with the Mediterranean Spice Blend. Steam, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender; set aside. 2. Bring broth to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat. 3. Heat a large saucepan with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add rice; saute 1 minute. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. 4. Add warm broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 18 minutes total). 5. Stir in squashes; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately. Nutrient Information: (serving size: 1 cup) Calories: 142; %Calories from fat: 12.85%; Total fat: 2.028g; Protein: 5.736g Carbohydrate: 25.4g; Dietary Fiber: 4.306g; Cholesterol: 1g; Sodium: 203mg ### Spicy Sautéed Yams with Kale Recipe Preparation Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 6 Ingredients: 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper ½ tsp. curry powder 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/8 tsp. ground cloves 1 fresh jalapeno chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into fine strips 1 3/4 lbs. kale, washed, stems removed, and torn 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 3/4 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth 1 lb. yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice Directions:  1. Combine the vegetables, broth, and ground spices in a large nonstick casserole and toss to mix. 2. Place over moderately high heat and bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat slightly, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has nearly evaporated (15 to 20 minutes) and the root vegetables are fork-tender. 3. Toss well and transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with lime juice and olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with jalapeno chile. Nutrient Information: (serving size: 1 cup) Calories: 168; %Calories from fat: 14.25%; Total fat: 2.66g; Protein: 5.344g Carbohydrate: 31.33g; Dietary Fiber: 3.261g; Cholesterol: 0g; Sodium: 105mg Again, if cooking is too much for you this holiday season, NutriFit is here to help serve up delicious healthy sides that come straight to your door! Call us at (310) 473-1989 or order online.

Delicious Thanksgiving Sides

Stuck for delicious wholesome sides for Thanksgiving the whole family will enjoy, that are unique? Try my recipes for Apple Stuffing Casserole and Couscous Salad with Chicken & Cranberries. Apple Stuffing Casserole Preparation Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes Servings: 12 Ingredients: 2 cup (about 3 cups) McIntosh apples, pared and chopped 3 tbsp. canola oil ¼ cup celery leaves ½ cup celery, chopped 1 cup Mocha Mix lite spray non stick cooking spray 1 medium onion, chopped 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped ¼ tsp. pepper ¼ cup raisins ¼ tsp. salt 1 cup water 16 slices whole wheat bread, dried, cut into 1/2″ cubes ½ cup fat free egg substitute Directions:  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 2. Spray a 6-cup baking dish with cooking spray. Mix all the ingredients together, including raisins (if using), and bake for about 45 minutes. Nutrient Information: (serving size: ¾ cup) Calories: 144; %Calories from fat: 31.94%; Total fat: 5.11g; Protein: 4.27g Carbohydrate: 22.59g; Dietary Fiber: 3.276g; Cholesterol: 0g; Sodium: 243mg ### Couscous Salad with Chicken & Cranberries Preparation Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Servings: 20 Ingredients: 1 (10 oz.) whole wheat couscous 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed 2 tbsp. canola oil ¾ cup dried cranberries 10 oz. chicken breast, cooked and diced 2 cups fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth 5 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped 5 ea. green onions, chopped 2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. ground cumin 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar Directions:  1. Heat the canola oil, cinnamon, and cumin in a small saucepan, stirring the mixture constantly. Then pour the mixture into a small bowl to cool. 2. Bring the broth to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Mix in the couscous, chicken and cranberries. Cover and remove from the heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then transfer the couscous to a bowl; fluff the couscous with a fork. Cool. Whisk the vinegar into oil mixture. Pour over the couscous. Mix in the green onions, beans and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Serve cold or at room temperature. Nutrient Information: (serving size: ¼ cup) Calories: 112; %Calories from fat: 15.77%; Total fat: 1.962g; Protein: 6.442g Carbohydrate: 17.85g; Dietary Fiber: 2.433g; Cholesterol: 8g; Sodium: 65mg But if cooking is too much for you this holiday season, NutriFit is here to help serve up delicious healthy sides that come straight to your door! Call us at (310) 473-1989 or order online.

Turkey for all this Thanksgiving!

Looking for creative recipes to get turkey onto all plates this holiday season? Here are some good ideas for incorporating leftover Thanksgiving turkey for the most finicky of all eaters! 1. Incorporate turkey into a filled pasta dish, like manicotti or shells or mince and mix with ricotta cheese, which “disguises” it well! 2. Mince and bind turkey in a mixture with egg whites, whole wheat bread crumbs, diced onions and seasonings – it makes a great croquette. 3. Cut turkey into small cubes and mix with chopped apples, grapes, celery, and jicama, and dress with a reduced fat or fat free mayonnaise – it makes a delicious pita pocket sandwich. www.nutrifitonline.com

It’s National Stuffing Day!

How about a deliciously healthy recipe to celebrate National Stuffing Day? Sweet Potato Stuffing Recipe *recipe by Jackie Keller, NutriFit Ingredients: 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped 3 large sweet potatoes 2 tbsp. grated rind and juice of 1 large orange dash paprika, pepper, and garlic powder 1 large yellow onion, chopped spray nonstick cooking spray 1/2 cup parsnips, peeled and chopped 1 medium celery stalk, chopped 1/4 tsp. salt 1 tbsp. trans-fat free, lite margarine 1 tsp. dried sage, crumbled Directions: 1. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with boiling water; add the salt and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Drain well and mash. Stir in the grated orange rind. 2. Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a 10″ skillet over moderate heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and parsnip, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sage. Blend the mixture into the mashed sweet potatoes. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then spoon it into the cavities of a turkey breast or serve as a side dish. Enjoy! www.nutrifitonline.com

It’s National Peanut Butter Fudge Day!

How about a deliciously healthy recipe to celebrate! Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Dip *recipe by Jackie Keller, NutriFit Ingredients: 1 cup fat free milk 1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk 3/4 cup sugar 2 tsp. vanilla extract 3 tbsp. reduced fat peanut butter 1/2 unsweetened cocoa Directions: 1. Place the cocoa and sugar, in a 1 1/2-quart pan, and mix well. 2. Slowly whisk in the two types of milk. 3. Place the pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or just until the mixture comes to a boil. 4. Reduce the heat to low, add the peanut butter, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until the mixture the peanut butter has melted. 5. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. 6. Serve the dip warm, with cake or graham cracker squares, fresh strawberries, and/or chunks of bananas, pineapples, apples, or pears. Enjoy! www.nutrifitonline.com

It’s National Vanilla Cupcake Day!

Celebrate NutriFit’s deliciously healthy Homemade Vanilla Walnut Cupcake Recipe Vanilla-Walnut-Cupcakes Servings: 12 Serving Size: 1 cupcake Ingredients: 1 ¼ tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. cinnamon 2 tbsp. trans-fat free, lite margarine ¼ cup fat free egg substitute 1 cup fat free evaporated milk ¾ cup sugar 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour 2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 tbsp. walnuts, finely chopped 1 tbsp. low fat sweetened condensed milk Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a jumbo muffin pan with cooking spray. 2. Toast walnuts until fragrant. 3. Mix the flour and baking powder together. 4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg substitute with the sugar and margarine. 5. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. 6. Stir in the flour mixture just until the dry ingredients are moistened. 7. The mixture will be lumpy; do not overmix. 8. Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan, filling the cup about 2/3 full. 9. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 10. In a separate bowl, combine the walnuts and cinnamon; stir to mix. 11. Drizzle condensed milk on top of muffin, and sprinkle the walnut mixture on top of each muffin. www.nutrifitonline.com

Spicy Candied Apple Bake

Homemade Spicy Baked Apples Recipe Ingredients: 1/3 Cup Apple Juice 4 Medium Apples 1/3 Cup dry white wine ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon 2 Tbsp. Finely Grated Orange Peel 1 Tbsp. Raisins 1 Tbsp. Chopped Walnuts 1/3 Cup Water Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Toast the walnuts until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside. 2. In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer the apple juice, wine, and water for 10 minutes. Add the orange zest and set aside. 3. Core and peel the apples halfway down from stem end. Place in a small nonreactive baking pan just large enough for the apples and reserved apple liquid.  Generously sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon. Fill each apple center with raisins. 4. Bake, basting with pan juices every 10 minutes, until apples are tender but still hold their shape, about 25 to 30 minutes. 5. Serve the apples warm with 1 tablespoon of the pan juices spooned into the cored center. Top each serving with chopped walnuts.

Jackie Keller Helps Parents Avoid Halloween’s Sugar Rush

The excessive amount of sugar kids consume during and after the Halloween holiday can be spooky. But it doesn’t have to be. Though most trick-or-treaters tend to throw out the apples and raisins put in their pillow sacks, there are yummy treats that offer a nice compromise – great taste without all the sugar. It’s all in the way you present it. Little ones will love these healthy trick-or-treat alternatives – and parents, you’ll love the way their children respond to them. Get your kids involved in preparing healthy treats. Letting them decorate their own creations using miniature candies/chips/sprinkles means they’ll have a blast making and eating them!

Rocky Road Popcorn Balls

Homemade Rocky Road Popcorn Balls Recipe Servings: 20 Serving Size: 1 rocky road popcorn ball Ingredients: 8 cups air-popped popcorn ¼ Cup toasted chopped almonds 2 tsp. cider vinegar 2 Tbsp. trans-fat free, lite margarine ¼ Cup fat free evaporated milk ½ Cup Hershey’s Cocoa ¾ Cup light corn syrup 1 Cup miniature marshmallows 1/8 tsp. Salt 1 ¼ Cups Sugar Directions: 1. In a heavy saucepan, mix together the sugar, cocoa, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt. 2. Add the margarine and cook slowly, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. 3. Bring the mixture to a boil; add the evaporated milk slowly so it does not stop boiling. 4. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 265°F when measured with a candy thermometer. 5. Add the nuts and marshmallows to the chocolate mixture. Mix into the fresh popcorn. 6. Dip out large spoonfuls and make into balls, wetting your hands first in cold water or rubbing them lightly with margarine. 7. Assemble into balls quickly before the mixture hardens. 8. Place the balls on wax paper and cool. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Hummus

Here’s the first of a few deliciously healthy recipes we’re sharing this week in the spirit of Halloween week! Simple Homemade Pumpkin Hummus Recipe (Vegan) Servings: 12 Serving Size: 2 tbsp. Ingredients: 2 tbsp. sesame tahini 2 tbsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. NutriFit Rockin’ Moroccan Salt Free Spice Blend 1 tbsp. vegetable broth 1 ea. garlic, minced and pressed 2 tbsp. Italian parsley, finely chopped 2 cups canned pumpkin puree ½ tsp. sea salt Directions: 1. Place tahini, lemon juice, spice belnd, broth, garlic, pumpkin and salt in a food processor, and process until smooth. 2. Add parsley, pulse until blended. Taste for seasoning. 3. Garnish with pumpkin seed kernels, if desired. Be sure to check back regularly for more great Halloween recipes, and let us know if you try them!

Let NutriFit help you with your holiday parties this season.

Was so thrilled to read these lovely comments from NutriFit client, Margo Milman. “I have been using NutriFit for the past 3 months and have lost l0 pounds; but that is not what I want to talk about.  My husband and I were hosting a Caribbean themed party and were debating who to use to cater the event. So we tested a couple of Puerto Rican restaurants, considered our standard Cuban go to restaurant Portos, and then we spoke to Jackie Keller at NutriFit to see if they were able to cater such an event. She was happy to help us to arrange a menu in conjunction with her Chef, Chef Antonio. We worked with Jackie and Chef Antonio to produce a healthy, tasty Caribbean menu. The food so far exceeded our expectations-we and our guests were just blown away. Moreover Chef Antonio stayed to make sure that everything was just perfect. He served our 25 guests, was engaging, professional, and delightful. He explained the preparations for people who inquired (and most did), and stayed all the way through desert which came several hours after the initial appetizers were served. This was a cornerstone to an extremely successful party. I’d append all the lovely comments from our guests, but there are just to many to include.” Let us help you with your holiday parties this season. Call us today! 310.473.1989

Monday Moment of Clarity

I was relieved to read the article in the L.A. Times about the advent of hydrogen fuel cell technology! While I do see other cars at my hydrogen fill-up station (at Federal & Santa Monica Blvds. in west L.A.), people usually parked there because they think that the pump is unused! Gotta say that while I relish standing out from the crowd by driving my Honda FCX Fuel Cell Clarity, I’d just as soon see tons of these fantastic cars on the road. I’m so excited at the prospect of a new model coming out in a year or two, and having 40 stations around to use for fueling up.
Read this article  and get excited too! Advancing fuel cell and alternative technologies are not only good for the environment, they’re good for the economy. It’s time to get off gas for good!

Paleo O Paleo, Wherefore and What for, O Paleo?

If you’re like most people, trying to figure out the best eating regimen for your lifestyle can be far more perplexing than it seemingly should be. Simple answers to complex questions are rarely adequate, and when it comes to optimal diets, this is certainly true. It’s a subject so widely debated you don’t have to go far to find warring expert opinions on vegan diets vs. carnivore diets vs. fasting diets – and the list goes on. What’s the answer? I turned to internationally recognized experts for opinions, people that I admire and consider leaders in the field. Peruse the quotes below! Sports Nutritionist and Author of four books, Nancy Clark, RD, CSSD, says: “When people rave about the Paleo Diet, I ask what they were eating pre-Paleo. The answer tends to be “Junk.” So of course they feel better when they eat cleaner. There is nothing magic about Paleo. It is limiting, and a challenge to eat a balanced Paleo Diet that includes enough carbs and calcium. I vote for a modified Paleo — eating cleaner, closer to the earth (less processed foods), more whole grains, lots of fruit and veggies, lean proteins and low fat dairy or alternate sources of calcium. Just be sure you create an eating plan that you will enjoy maintaining for the rest of your life. Balanced and moderate diets tend to be sustainable in the long run. If you are doing Paleo, do you really never want to eat Thanksgiving stuffing or birthday cake ever again? That doesn’t sound very healthy to me.”  Reading this carefully, what Nancy Clark is recommending, as confirmed in her recent blog post, is eating a wholesome variety of foods from all food groups. She consistently refrains from demonizing any particular food, which I find very refreshing. Clearly, some foods are not good for us, but setting up a meal plan that forbids foods simply sets the stage for people cheat or fall off the wagon.  Most of my clients who follow regimens that remove whole categories of foods, without a medical need to do so, do report that they “break their diet”, and then binge. Then there’s this article, a special feature printed in the prestigious Nutrition Action Newsletter, a publication of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Written by Marlene Zuk, professor of ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota and author of the book, Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells us about Sex, Diet and How We Live.  In this question and answer format article, the Paleo premise is explored in some detail. Here are some questions and answers: In answer to the question, Q: Is the Paleo diet our natural diet? The problem is that it’s really a fantasy to try to construct what early humans were eating. First of all, what do you mean by early humans? The word “Paleo” doesn’t mean much from a scientific perspective. Are you talking about the ancestors of the genus Homo, such as Australopithecus? Are you talking about other members of the genus Homo, like Homo erectus? Or do you mean humans in Africa before they migrated out of that continent? Or is it after they left Africa? Or are we talk­ing about people who were living the way that contemporary hunter-gatherers do—people who forage and hunt but don’t use agriculture? Q: What difference would that make? A: Because so far as we can understand, the diets of all these different early hu­mans were really different. What people were eating 10,000 years ago at the dawn of agriculture, for instance, was doubt­less not what people were eating 100,000 years before that. Q: Didn’t their diets also depend on where they were living? A: Yes. Picking a specific place or time to say, “Oh yes, we should be eating like those people,” doesn’t make sense. Is seafood okay on a Paleo diet? I suppose it depends on whether you think Paleo people were living on the northwest coast of North America, or whether you think they were in central Africa, in which case I don’t think there were a lot of shrimp available there. Take the ancestors of the Inuit First Americans living in the Arctic. They get a lot of attention from Paleo enthusiasts because they relied on meat and seafood for food since so few edible plants grow up there. But the fact that nothing grows there just means that people can adapt to living without a lot of plant food. It doesn’t mean that they should live that way if they have a choice.
Q: The Paleo diet shuns grains. Did early humans ever eat them? A: The absence of starchy foods on a Paleo diet is really interesting because it’s based on a fantasy of what our an­cestors ate. Over the last 10 years, after Paleo diets started to become popular, scientists have discovered traces of seeds and grains on the teeth of fossilized early humans. They’ve also found remnants of grains on stone cooking tools. It’s looking like some early humans not only ate grain, but they also were grind­ing it into a crude flour and cooking that into a primitive form of pita bread. There’s also good evidence now for a continued evolution in amylase genes. Amylase is an enzyme in our saliva and our small intestine that breaks down starches so we can absorb them. If you look at populations today that eat a lot of starch, they’ve evolved more cop­ies of amylase genes than populations that don’t eat much starch. Extra copies make the digestion of starchy foods even easier. The moral is that you’re really on shaky ground every time you try to set up a “this is how it was and that’s how we should be” standard. We’re always revising our ideas of what early humans were like, and that is a worthwhile endeavor. But we shouldn’t do it to find what we’re supposed to emulate. Q: Does Paleo food exist today? A: Not really. Even if you wanted to try to eat what people were eating a long time ago, the majority of those foods are simply not available. Early humans were not eat­ing plants or animals that resembled very closely the plants or animals that we eat today. Human beings have been influencing the foods they eat ever since there were people. For example, the ancestors of apples were nasty, horrible, little tiny bitter things that, really, why would one eat them? The ancestor of corn that was used by peoples in the Americas for quite a long time was called teosinte. It looked like the head of a grass seed, which it basically was, and nothing like what people eat now. The meat in the supermarket, even grass-fed beef, has also been modified from its ancestors by breeding. People un­derestimate the degree to which human beings have affected everything in their environment. And finally, another of my go-to gurus, David Katz, MD, MPH, globally recognized expert in nutrition, weight management and chronic disease prevention. He is the President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine; Director, Yale Prevention Research Center; and Editor-In-Chief of Childhood Obesity journal. Since many people who exercise using the CrossFit model are following the Paleo diet protocol, I share this from his article on the Eating Practices of the Best Endurance Athletes in the World: Kenyan runners tend to eat a limited variety of foods, and that was certainly the case with these elite athletes. Most of their nutrients came from vegetable sources, and the “staple” edibles were bread, boiled rice, poached potatoes, boiled porridge, cabbage, kidney beans and ugali (a well-cooked, corn-meal paste that’s molded into balls and dipped into other foods for flavoring). Meat (primarily beef) was eaten just four times a week in fairly small amounts (about 100 grams — 3.5 ounces a day). A fair amount of tea with milk and sugar was imbibed on a daily basis (more on this in a moment). If you’re thinking about heading to a nutritional-supplement store to purchase some performance-enhancing supplements (or you already purchase on a regular basis), bear in mind that the Kenyan runners were not taking supplements of any kind. There were no vitamins, no minerals, no special formulations or miracle compounds, nada. The gold-medal-winning Kenyans adhered to the odd philosophy that regular foods could fuel their efforts quite nicely. And there’s this quote, from his Huffington Post article, “I have long emphasized the relevance of adaptation to the dietary requirements of every species, and thus, presumably our own. This lends support to approximations of our native diet, popularized under the “Paleo” rubric. But I have also noted that mammoth is hard to find these days, that our Paleolithic ancestors got lots of exercise and consumed an estimated 100 grams of fiber daily, and that even they ate “mostly plants”. And he concludes, “whether about wheat or meat, sugar or starch, calories or carbohydrates, this fat or that fat, we seem to have an insatiable appetite for mere grains of truth about diet and health, rather than the complete recipe. Planting such seeds, we are reaping just what we are sowing: more heat than light, unending opportunities for food industry abuses, stunning lack of public health progress and the very kind of trees that make the forest impossible to see. Back again, then, to Shakespeare, “Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?” I am merely collecting information, assembling facts and piecing together the puzzle. So far, the image is clear – all foods have their place in a healthy diet today. There is no one solution to the best diet dilemma, rather a collection of elements, that when taken together and as a whole, improve our chances for avoiding obesity and the diseases associated with it.

It’s National Coffee Day!

For coffee lovers like me, what could possible make this day better? How about chocolate cookies! Even better still… why not put some coffee IN your chocolate cookies. That’s right, coffee is one of the key secret ingredients in my Smiley’s Chocolate Cookies. This is a secret too deliciously healthy and tasty to keep. So in honor of National Coffee Day, here’s my recipe for Smiley’s Chocolate Cookies. Smiley’s Chocolate Coffee Cookie Recipe *Recipe by Jackie Keller Serving Size: 1 cookie Servings: 48 Ingredients: ½ cup mini chocolate chips ½ cup baby food prunes or prune puree ½ cup reduced fat, plain yogurt ½ tsp. baking soda 1 ½ cups sugar 1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour ¼ cup canola oil 1 spray Canola oil cooking spray ½ cup unsweetened cocoa ½ tsp. instant coffee granules ¼ tsp. salt ¼ cup fat free egg substitute Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, prune puree, yogurt, oil, and egg substitute. In a separate bowl or extra large measuring cup, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and coffee, making sure it is well mixed. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just blended. 3. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2″ apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched lightly. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Freeze if not eaten on the same day as they are baked.

Celebrate Family Day- A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children

Making the Most of Family Meals… Feeling guilty about not finding time to have dinner together as a family? Wondering if you’re ever going to be able get everyone to sit down at the same time? There are some significant benefits! In addition to the nutritional advantages, there are social and academic benefits. The dinner table can be a place where children can learn vocabulary-building words that help them read well, conversational skills, and problem-solving skills by listening to parents talk about work and world events. Here are five family dinner tips to help you celebrate Family Day: 1. Start with whatever meals are possible for you now. If it’s breakfast together on the weekends, fine. Don’t worry about what you can’t do, plan for what you can. 2. Mealtime conversations can begin while you’re getting food ready, getting the table ready, and  cleaning  up. Involve the family in the whole process, and everyone will benefit not only from the conversation, but from the life skills that are learned as well. 3. Turn off the television and the radio. Unplug the phone or put on the answering machine. Don’t let interruptions disrupt this special time. 4. Try changing the location of the family meal once in awhile. How about an afternoon picnic, dinner on the patio or breakfast on the biggest bed? Laughter is the best mealtime music – keep the conversation light and avoid undue criticism. 5. Make the menu work for everyone- including family members in meal planning. Ask kids to help choose the meals you eat, include them in weekly meal & school lunch planning. They’ll enjoy the food that much more! What’s in your child’s lunch box? Research from the University of Michigan Health System shows that more than one in three middle school students who regularly eat school lunches are obese or overweight! They’re also more likely to have high LDL “bad” cholesterol levels than kids who bring lunch from home. Each day, over 30 million children are provided with reduced-cost or free lunches as part of the National School Lunch Program. The NSLP requires that lunches meet nutritional guidelines established by the USDA, however, these lunches often contain processed foods full of sugar, carbohydrates and sodium (which there is no maximum amount mandated by the USDA). Instead of highly processed snacks, whole fat dairy, and sugary desserts, send your children with the best nutritional start in life by letting NutriFit Family Fare  fill their lunch box! Lunch box items are now available on our Family Fare menu.

Click here for more info.           

National Pancake Day!

We love Pancakes! And to celebrate National Pancake Day, we’re sharing two of our favorite deliciously healthy Pancake Recipes! Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pancakes *recipe by Jackie Keller Servings: 5 Serving Size: 3 pancakes Ingredients: 1/2 tsp. ground ginger 3/4 cup fat free milk 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. baking powder 3 tbsp. brown sugar 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour 1 tbsp. canola oil 1/4 tsp. ground cloves 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 cup fat free egg substitute Directions: 1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium bowl: make a well in the center of the mixture 2. Combine the pumpkin puree, milk, egg substitute, and oil: add the mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. 3. Preheat a nonstick griddle to 325 F. For each pancake, spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter onto a hot griddle, spread to a 5″ circle. Cook the pancakes until the tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked; flip the pancakes and cook the other side. Serve with applesauce or apple butter, if desired. Zucchini Pancakes *recipe by Jackie Keller Servings: 6 Serving Size: 4 pancakes Ingredients: 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour spray Canola oil cooking spray 1/4 cup onion, minced 1 tsp. NutriFit Lemon Garden Salt & Sugar Free Spice Blend 1/2 cup fat free egg substitute 2 cups zucchini, coarsely shredded Directions: 1. Place zucchini in a colander and press out as much moisture as possible 2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix egg substitute, onion, and zucchini. Add dry ingredients and mix. Heat cooking spray on the griddle or skillet over medium heat. 3. Drop a scant tablespoon of a batter onto the hot griddle. Flatten, if desired, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until brown and crisp. Please share with your friends, and let us know if you try them out for yourself!

Tomorrow is National Better Breakfast Day!

Start each day with a good breakfast. Study after study confirms that we eat less over the course of the day if we start with a good breakfast. A balanced approach is generally best – meaning some lean protein (low or fat free dairy or eggs), with a reasonable portion of high fiber, complex carbohydrate (whole grain toast or cereal), and a serving of fruit or vegetable. And DRINK A GLASS of WATER with breakfast, even if you have coffee or tea. Your body is in a state of dehydration from the night of sleep. Here’s some simple deliciously healthy breakfast recipe you can make tonight for a Better Breakfast tomorrow :) Lavosh with Peanut Butter & Dried Fruit Recipe Servings: 12 Serving Size: 3″ piece Ingredients: 12 oz. extra firm lite tofu 2 pieces lavosh 1 1/8 cups reduced fat peanut butter 1 oz. dried cranberries 1 oz. raisins 1 oz. dates, chopped Directions: 1. Combine the tofu and peanut butter in the carafe of a food processor and mix well. 2. Spread each piece of lavosh lightly with peanut butter mixture. 3. Arrange the mixed fruit evenly over the top. 4. Roll and cut each lavosh roll into 6 even pieces. 5. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to eat. Recipe by Jackie Keller, NutriFit www.nutrifitonline.com

Monday Moment of Clarity, on Tuesday

Monday Moment of Clarity, on Tuesday

Visited the AltCar Expo on Saturday in Santa Monica. Excited to see the map of all the new hydrogen stations popping up! I definitely see more Clarity in my future ????

It’s National Cheeseburger Day!

In honor of National Cheeseburger Day, here’s my recipe for a deliciously healthy Texas Beef Burger NF_TexasBeefBurger2 NutriFit’s Texas Beef Burger Serving Size: 1 Patty Servings: 4 Ingredients 1 pound extra lean ground beef 1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, toasted 1/4 cup fat free, cholesterol free egg substitute 3 oz. reduced fat cheddar cheese 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped Extra virgin olive oil spray 1 teaspoon NutriFit Calypso Salt & Sugar Free Spice blend, or salt free chili powder Directions 1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with extra virgin olive oil spray. Add the onions, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Let cool. 2. In a medium-size bowl, mix the egg substitute, bread crumbs, spices and onions; then lightly mix in the ground beef. Shape the ground beef mixture into 4 patties, each about 1/2 inch thick. 3. Spray a wide nonstick frying pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray. Place over medium-high heat; add the hamburger patties. Cook, turning once, until patties are lightly browned on both sides and juices run clear when knife is inserted in center (8 to 10 minutes). Top each burger with 1 slice of cheese and cook until cheese melts. Serve on sprouted wheat buns. Please share with your friends, and let me know if you try the recipe!

Win at Weight Loss

Want to win at weight loss? Good news or bad news first? In this case, they’re the same! In a study published today in JAMA, a meta-analysis of over 48 unique randomized trials (that included over 7,000 individuals) showed that both low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets produced nearly the same results at 6 months. Weight loss differences between individual diets were minimal. The conclusion of the researchers: the practice of recommending any diet that a patient can adhere to can produce weight loss results.

Healthy Ever After?

Healthy Ever After? Maybe your marriage IS working! According to the conclusions of the largest study of its kind, married people are less likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke and circulatory issues. In an analysis of data of health screenings done by a private company on more than 3.5 million Americans, average age 64, married people were 5% less likely to have cardiovascular problems than singles.

Do Calories Affect our Choices in Food?

Will knowledge change behavior? Apparently not, when it comes to what we order when we eat out! New research published in the Journal of Community Health concluded (after a review of 31 studies) calorie levels don’t affect our choices when it comes to reducing the number of calories we order. Interestingly, women, those dieting and upper-income diners pay the most attention to what restaurants tell us about calorie counts on their menus, but overall – not a change-maker when it comes to impact! Maybe we just need to go back to red, yellow and green signal indicators???

Get up and Go!

This article from the L.A. Times today tells us that we truly need to get up and GO, if we want those to lose any weight! And while it suggests that we’re not necessarily overeating – many do. Read it and let me know what you think! Read the entire article here: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-lack-of-exercise-linked-to-rise-in-obesity-20140707-story.html

Top 5 Nutrition Tips for New Moms

A question I’m frequently asked by my Body After Baby clients is what are your top nutrition tips for new moms so I thought I would share my top 5. For more nutrition and exercise tips, as well as recipes and full meal plans – check out my book, Body After Baby – available on Amazon.com! 1). Be mindful when you eat. It’s important to eat regularly, adequately and healthfully, and easy to slip into the habit of eating without thinking. 2). Keep fruit and vegetables handy and eat them often. It’s nearly impossible to eat too much of either one. 3). Eat a good breakfast daily. No matter what, it’s important to anchor the day with a healthful meal. It sets you up for success the whole day. 4). Keep a journal. It’s important to maintain some perspective on your overall eating, drinking, and sleeping habits. Share it with someone if you like, but record it for yourself. 5). Set realistic goals each week. Break down big goals into smaller steps and set 3 specific activities each week that you think you really can accomplish. Identifying obstacles to reaching your nutritional goals is half of the problem – it’s usually what trips us up.

Green Bean, Corn & Roasted Chile Salad Recipe

Green Bean & Corn Salad Recipe with Roasted Anaheim Peppers Servings: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup Ingredients: 1 large anaheim chile pepper, seeded and diced 2 cups green beans, trimmed, cut crosswise into thirds 2 cups corn kernels 2 cups fresh spinach, well washed and ribs removed 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 3 tbsp. green onions, thinly sliced 2 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped Directions: 1. Place chile on a foil-lined baking sheet, broil 10 minutes or until blackened, turning occasionally. Place in a zip-top plastic bag, seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes, chop. 2. Steam green beans, covered, 5 minutes or until crisp-tender, grain. Rinse with cold water, drain well. 3. Combine chopped chile, beans, corn, chopped spinach and tomatoes. Toss with Lime vinaigrette-style dressing, green onions and fresh cilantro.

Quick Ways to Burn 250 Calories

Some quick and easy tips on how to cut 250 calories a day! For example, cutting 250 Calories A Day (About 4 Cookies) & burn 250 Calories A Day (1 1/2 Hr. Moderate Walking/ 5 Km/Hr) already gives you 500 less calories! Here are a few more ways to burn 250 Calories… 11 exercises that burn 250 cal/ hr. for an average 150 lb. person Exercises: 1) Aerobics: water- 272.7 cal. 2) Bicycling, Stationary: very light, 50 watts- 215 cal. 3) Rowing, Stationary: light, 50 watts- 251 cal. 4) Bowling- 204.5 cal. 5) Dancing: disco, ballroom, square, line, Irish step, polka- 306.8 cal. 6) Golf: a) using cart 238.6 cal.; b) walking and pulling clubs- 293.1 cal. 7) Horseback Riding: general- 272.7 cal. 8) Surfing: body or board- 204.5 cal. 9) Table Tennis / Ping Pong- 272.7 cal. 10) Walk: 3 mph (20 min/mi)- 225 cal. 11) Tai Chi- 272.7 cal. Other household activities: 1) Raking Lawn- 293.1 cal. 2) Gardening: general- 272.7 cal. 3) Sweeping: garage, sidewalks, outside of house- 272.7 cal. 4) Vacuuming- 238.6 cal. 5) Bakery: general, moderate effort- 272.7 cal. ** Source: Activity Calorie Counter: http://www.primusweb.com/fitnesspartner/jumpsite/calculat.htm 14 foods which contain 250 cal. Per serving that can be easily cut out of one’s diet 1) 1 cup ice cream a).light (5%) fat -250 cal. b) regular (11%) fat- 290 cal. 2) 4 Chocolate Chip Cookies = 225 cal. 3) 1 piece of cheesecake- 280 cal. 4) 1 medium (3 ¾” diameter) Glazed Doughnut = 240 cal. 5) 1 Danish fruit pastry = 235 cal. 6) Croissant 1 med. (2 oz.)- 230 cal. 7) Chicken fried rice (1 cup)- 270 cal. 8) Cheese pizza-thin crust (1 slice from medium pizza)- 215 cal. 9) Macaroni and cheese (1 cup, made from packaged mix)- 260 cal. 10) 1 small order of fries- 250 cal. 11) 1 order of onion rings (8 to 9 rings)- 275 cal. 12) 1 – 20 ounce bottle of regular soda = 260 cal. 13) 21 Potato Chips = 280 cal. 14) Chef salad (3 cups—no dressing)- 230 cal. ** Source: United States Department of Agriculture- www.usda.gov

International Food Tools – France

International Food Tools – France Zipstrip Herb Stripper – FRANCE – Food Exposed… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed and our international cooking series. You know, when I was a teenager I wanted desperately to go to France and attend Le Cordon Bleu. I’ve been fortunate during my life to travel the world and of course I got to do it. I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and I studied at the Chef’s school there but while I was there I had a lot of spare time, too to tell you the truth and I did a lot of shopping around and looking for little, unique, interesting food tools and gadgets and little markets and you know it’s amazing what you can find when you go to another country and you really get immersed in what their food culture is like. France is a nation of food lovers and the food culture is enormous. There are over 5,000 restaurants in Paris alone and of course now that I’m a health coach I’m always interested in how people manage their health and how they manage their weight and that French paradox, you know those low rates of chronic heart disease, they’re still a mystery for us. Despite the fact that the French have a high amount of saturated fat in their diet, we still don’t really know how they manage to stay so slender. Some attribute it to the consumption of red wine and the French do love to drink their wine. The French style of eating and the low incidence of obesity kind of don’t mesh. We still don’t get it. The obesity rates are among the lowest in the entire European Union and particularly French men have some of the lowest obesity rates on the continent and France has the second lowest obesity rates among women on the European continent. So there you go. There are three or four main approaches to French food. First is the classical French cooking and that traditionally uses cream-based sauces. That’s the way I learned to cook at Le Cordon Bleu. There was cream and butter, cream and butter and everything was made with either one or the other or both. But there’s also what’s called Haute Cuisine, which is the most sophisticated and extreme end of the French cooking paradigm, with very elaborate and elegant dishes, a strong emphasis on presentation and then there’s Nouvelle Cuisine, which is simpler, lighter, smaller portions, more emphasis on seasonal and simpler ingredients and more what we see today among the younger people. And finally, the Cuisine de Terrior, the rustic, local cuisine, the local food traditions if you will, locally grown produce, locally sourced meats, that’s a big thing right now in France. And joining me today on Food Exposed is Inge Rouge. Inge is a Munich born citizen of the world. She spent the past 34 years living in six different countries with her great husband and her two fabulous sons. Inge, welcome to Food Exposed. Inge Rouge: Thank you very much. Jackie Keller: Thank you for joining me, straight from Paris. Inga: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Well? Ooh-la-la, I thought we’d do a little classic French cuisine today, but Nouvelle style. Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: So emphasis again on those locally sourced ingredients, the simple, fresh herbs, the things that I know you grow at Primrose, your home outside of Paris. So, our beautiful flower arrangement today is fresh rosemary and the rosemary of course, you like to store it like you do flowers, in a vase, right? Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: Did I understand; you put the stems in water and put it in a vase and that preserves it? Inga: Yes, it does. Jackie Keller: Do you have to refrigerate it after you do that or can you leave it out like roses or carnations or something? Inga: For a couple of days you can leave it like that. Jackie Keller: Really? Inga: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Wow. Well, we’re going to use this rosemary to make some interesting chicken as I understand it, right? Using this handy dandy herb stripper tool, it’s called an herb stripper. I’d never seen one of these before. I understand that you find them in Paris fairly frequently. So, show us how it works. Inga: Okay. So this has to go. It had been off, but I put it back on to make it look nicer. Jackie Keller: Okay. So you just take your regular piece of rosemary? Inga: You have a regular piece of rosemary. Here you have different sizes and I think this one will do just fine. And while we pull it through it will also measure. Jackie Keller: Wow. Inga: Sorry, I… Jackie Keller: That was not a good one. Inga: …ripped it off. It was not a good one. Jackie Keller: Let’s try another one. Inga: All right. Jackie Keller: It measures the… Inga: It measures the leaves already. Jackie Keller: Oh, how cool. Well, you know cleaning fresh herbs like this is so tedious. It takes forever to get the needles off of things. So I see you don’t take it all the way off. Inga: No. I think it looks really pretty if a little bit is still present. Jackie Keller: And now what? We have some chicken here. Inga: We have some chicken here and now I just… Jackie Keller: We’re going to make chicken rosemary skewers. Inga: Chicken rosemary skewers, yeah. Jackie Keller: And these are popular in France, where people grow herbs in their own gardens and in window boxes, I understand because not all the French have their own… Inga: Not in Paris, not in Paris. Jackie Keller: …homes outside of the river or on the river like you do, right? Inga: Yeah. Jackie Keller: So how much chicken do you put on the skewer? A couple of pieces? Inga: Maybe one more. A small one. This one. This is perfect. Jackie Keller: And then would you marinate this or would you grill it? Would you pan saute it? What would you do with this? Inga: Every three possibilities are possible. Jackie Keller: Okay. And would this be in France, if we were in France when would we eat this? Inga: You would eat that probably for dinner, because for lunch you are out. Most of French people work and they would go out for lunch so it would be dinner. Jackie Keller: So brown-bagging is not the thing, huh? Inga: Not really. Oh, no. They like going out to restaurants and to have really, they don’t speak of work; they eat their three course meal and have a glass of wine. Jackie Keller: At lunch? Inga: At lunch. Jackie Keller: Oh my goodness. Wow. That sounds like my kind of place. Inga: Think about it. Jackie Keller: I don’t know how you go back to work after having a glass of wine in a two hour lunch. Inga: I know, I know. Jackie Keller: So you set these things up, now I also have some basil. Now this basil is on a very stiff stem. This is some that I grew in our garden. Inga: Ah, that would work nicely. Jackie Keller: Should we try that zip stripper thingy with that? Inga: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Okay. Inga: I’ll use this one here or this one. Jackie Keller: Oh I see, there’s different sized holes. Inga: Yeah. Right. Jackie Keller: That’s so clever, those French. Inga: Very clever. Look, it’s done. Jackie Keller: Wow. Look at that. You know half the time, I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t even cultivate this basil and use it in my food because it’s so much work to get the leaves off. This thing is great. Okay so we made some ahead of time and so this is what they look like when they’re cooked, right? Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: And that is really a very pretty presentation, very unique. And it tastes like rosemary? Inga: It does. Jackie Keller: It does? Shall we taste it? Inga: Mm-hmm. Jackie Keller: All right. Let’s see. I could be very gauche and just eat it off the skewer. Inga: Why don’t you? Jackie Keller: Okay. All right. There you go. Here. Mmm. I love the taste of rosemary. Wow. This is wonderful. Inga: Very nice. Jackie Keller: Very nice. Inga: Fresh. Jackie Keller: And just enough rosemary. Just enough rosemary, because sometimes rosemary can be pretty overwhelming. Inga: It can be overpowering. That’s true, yeah. Jackie Keller: Lovely, lovely. Well thank you for showing us this zip stripper. And then I think you can use the herbs for all kinds of things. Inga: For all kinds of things. Now you can chop them up and put them wherever you want to. Jackie Keller: Okay. Great. Well, I appreciate your joining me today for Food Exposed. Inga: My pleasure, again. Thank you very much. Jackie Keller: And I hope you’ll tune in for another segment of our international cooking series. If you’d like this recipe or any of the others on our show, go to the Food Exposed page on EmpowerMe.TV. And thank you for joining me today. For more Food Exposed check me out on EmpowerMe.TV and until next week remember, make food your best friend and exerciser companion for life.

International Food Tools – Denmark

International Food Tools – Denmark Eva Multi-Grater – DENMARK – Food Exposed… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed in our international cooking series. You know, I love to travel. I’ve been lucky enough to visit every continent multiple times, and I’ve lived and studied abroad including a short tenure at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. One thing I always do when I travel is visit local markets and shops, and I’m always surprised to find some interesting food tool, something unique, something different to try out. Well, in Danish cuisine there’s many similarities to other damp and cool European continents, Northern European countries I should say. Danish food does have some distinct characteristics including a heavy reliance on butter, cheese, potatoes, pork, bread, pastries, and all kinds of things. The Danes love to eat, and modern Danish cuisine has undergone many changes in recent years due to a heavy influence by France, Spain, and Italy. Lightening up traditional dishes is more common among the younger generation, but family meals are generally pretty hearty, and the breakfast is a pretty hearty meal as well. Joining me today on Food Exposed is Inga Rush [SP],a Munich born citizen of the world. Inga has spent the past 34 years living in six different countries with her great husband and her two fabulous sons. A simple Danish breakfast might be eggs, right? Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: And Danish butter, what else? Inga: What else? Ham, roast beef, marinated herrings. Jackie Keller: Wonderful, first thing in the morning, marinated? Inga: First thing, yes. It actually tastes quite good. Jackie Keller: Does it? Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Well, how about we just do an egg dish? Inga: Okay. Jackie Keller: Alright, so I know Danish butter is worlds renowned as are Danish cheeses, but today we’re going to go healthy, so no butter. Instead, we’ll use a healthy margarine. Inga, why don’t you get ready and we’ll some of this in our skillet? Inga: Okay. Jackie Keller: Shall we? Is that probably more than we need? Inga: Probably. Jackie Keller: Probably, huh? Inga: That’s okay. Jackie Keller: Alright, and I’ll crack an egg. Okay. Now would you leave that butter in there or you would take it out? Inga: I would take it out because it’s enough for . . . Jackie Keller: So we can put it there. Inga: Yes, right. Jackie Keller: And seasoning, what kind of seasoning would you traditionally use? Inga: Traditional salt and pepper. Jackie Keller: Salt and pepper, alright. Inga: They’re pretty straightforward without a lot of chi chi. Jackie Keller: Okay and there it is. That’s probably a lot. Well, so what? Here you go; a pinch of salt? Inga: Yes, thank you. What service. Jackie Keller: Okay, so now to our food tool, right? Our little handy grater, this Eva grater which goes back a long ways, here you go. Inga: Thank you. Jackie Keller: I have some Danish cheese, of course, Danish Havarti cheese. Show us how it works. Inga: Okay. Jackie Keller: Right over the top, wow. You get that egg done. Perfect. Inga: This is pretty much it. Jackie Keller: Then I noticed that the Danes also love their pork, right? Inga: Pork, yes, pork and bacon. Jackie Keller: Pork is a big one. Do they have this all natural kind of no sulfites, no additives, no preservatives? Inga: Now they have it as well, yes. Jackie Keller: Would you typically have that with a Danish breakfast egg like this? Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Yes? Well it’s just about cooked. Let’s turn it over, maybe not. I should have left the butter in, right? Inga: Shall we put it back? Jackie Keller: Alright, it’s going to be a sunny side up egg, I think. Inga: Easy over. Jackie Keller: Easy over? Okay, go easy over the egg. Inga: I like it easy over. Jackie Keller: I’ll add some bacon there to it. Inga: They always have it easy over. Jackie Keller: Do they? I think it’s scrambled to tell you the truth. Well, the cheese is the thing, right? Inga: The cheese it the thing. Jackie Keller: Egge ke? Inga: Kage, cake, kage. Jackie Keller: Okay, alright, alright, shall we taste it? Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Alright aeg kage, here it is. It’s kind of a loose egg. Inga: Where’s this pause thing? Clear, pause. Jackie Keller: There you go. Alright. Inga: Me again? Jackie Keller: You again. Inga: Would you like to try? Jackie Keller: Okay, I’ll try. I like eggs. Inga: Me too. Jackie Keller: I love Havarti cheese. Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Delicious, thank you so much for joining me today. Inga: You’re very welcome, my pleasure. Jackie Keller: If you want this recipe or any other recipes in our international cooking series visit me at empowerme.tv and check out the Food Exposed page. I hope you’ll tune in for another segment of our international cooking series where we explore what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed check me out on empowerme.tv, and until next week remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

International Food Tools – Germany

International Food Tools – Germany Spirelli Spiral Slicer by GEFU – Food Exposed… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed and our international cooking series. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have visited many, many different countries, and to travel the world. I’ve studied in different countries on different continents, and I’ve been in a million food stores, cooking stores, and little shops everywhere, and I never get tired looking for unique, different food tools. It’s amazing what you can find. And in Germany, the culture has long been associated with food. Just remember the fairytale Hansel and Gretel and the gingerbread house. But today when you think of German food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind, all right, besides Octoberfest? Now, you got it. The different regions of the country have very different and distinct styles of cooking. And there are many staples of German cuisine that are found throughout the country, everywhere you go, like sausage, and cold cuts, and seasonal vegetables, and white asparagus, which is keen during the season; it’s on every table and every restaurant. But styles of cooking have changed over the past 50 years in Germany. Lighter mid-day meals are more common and more often the heavy meats, the game, the pork, the things that are traditionally associated with German cooking are less dominate. Mustard is always popular, and there is a huge variety of mustards served on every table, and horseradish is also commonly used as a condiment. Joining me today on Food Exposed is Inga Rouse [SP], a Munich-born citizen of the world. Inga has spent the last 34 years living in six different countries with her great husband and her two fabulous sons. She’s here for a short yearly visit from her magnificent 120 year old home on the Rivers end, just outside of Paris, Inga, welcome to Food Exposed. Inga: Thank you for having me. Jackie Keller: Thank you for joining me. Today we are going to make something I think that’s sort of Nouvelle German, so preparing vegetables, I think no matter where you are, it’s one of the hardest parts of cooking. It’s one of the most time consuming, one of the most burdensome, and I was so excited when you introduced me to this German food tool called Spirelli. And it’s a spiral food cutter, that simple. So it’s made by this company, GEFU, that makes these German food tools. And today, we’re going to show our guests what we can do with it. Are you ready? Inga: I’m ready, yeah. Jackie Keller: All right. I’ll let you be the Spirelli master. Inga: The Spirelli master, okay. Jackie Keller: And while you’re doing that I’ll whip up a little dressing for our salad. Inga: All right. Would you mind if I [inaudible 03:11] Jackie Keller: Please. Spirelli away. Inga: So this is how it works, it’s really easy. Jackie Keller: Oh, look at that. That’s so pretty. They look like noodles. Inga: Like spaghetti. Jackie Keller: That’s the whole point, right? Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: Wow. It doesn’t take much, huh? Inga: No. It doesn’t. Jackie Keller: Beautiful. So you’re starting with zucchini. And zucchini, you find that in a German salad? Inga: Yeah, nowadays, yes. Jackie Keller: Tell me about Germans and German home gardens and that whole movement? Inga: Well now, it’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s so colorful. If ever possible, locals would grow their own salads, vegetables, and herbs. My uncle who lives in Eunuch, even drives to a farm to make sure to get well-fed and naturally raised chickens and cattle meat from chickens. While he is out there, he gets his farm eggs; so things have been rediscovered, old things. Jackie Keller: And what about the vegetables? Now you’ve got these beautiful carrots. So we’ve got probably a good amount of that to bring some color to it. What other vegetables might you find in a salad like this? Inga: Well, always of course, the green leafy vegetables like Romaine. But also, long-forgotten treasures like sugar-leaf salad for instance, buttercup; there are many varieties. Asparagus you might find in salads as well. Jackie Keller: But with the Spirelli cutter? Inga: The Spirelli cutter, turnips work nicely. And by the way, there is a typical old, very old forgotten turnip which is [inaudible 05:16] gourmet food that’s called [inaudible 05:20] turnip. And this you can Spirelli away, too. Jackie Keller: Well, you know, I’m going to make a very simple with this, because I would guess that you don’t get too elaborate. And I see we brought along some sun-dried tomatoes, so shall we put that in as well for some color and some rich flavor? Inga: That would be absolutely great. Jackie Keller: And we have some sun-dried tomatoes packed in a little olive oil. And it doesn’t take much to get that flavor. Shall we use some of that olive oil flavor for our dressing as well? Inga: Mm-hmm, and the radish. Jackie Keller: Oh, look at that, it’s so pretty. Now what time of day might Germans be having a salad like this? Inga: Probably for lunch. Jackie Keller: Lunch is the mid-day meal there? Inga: Yes. Jackie Keller: Yeah. So I’ve got some salt, a little bit of fresh cracked pepper, and we’ve got some white balsamic vinegar here. I’ll put that in, and I brought some fresh basil. That is so pretty. Inga: I think that’s enough for showing. Jackie Keller: Right. Do you want to pair some fresh basil leaves into that? And I’ll whip together this with a little bit of more olive oil, and what about protein? Protein here in the States, everybody is crazy about protein. Everybody has to have protein in everything. We’re eating a lot of protein these days. I brought some Mozzarella cheese. What else might you find in this typically German kitchen? Inga: In the typical German kitchen? Well, chicken for protein. Jackie Keller: I know German cuisine, there is a lot of different sausages. Inga: A lot of, that’s true, yeah. Sausages, however, very often are not so very healthy. Jackie Keller: All right. So we have a little dressing here to go on our salad. And let’s just pour a little bit on. I don’t want to overdress it. Inga: Right. Jackie Keller: Just lightly drizzle, and… Inga: That looks wonderful. Jackie Keller: Here we go. Inga: Thank you. Jackie Keller: There you go. That is so pretty. Inga: It’s pretty. Jackie Keller: It’s very pretty. Now this is noodle salad, but there are no noodles. Inga: No noodles. Jackie Keller: So in German, what would you call this? Inga: [inaudible 08:05]. Jackie Keller: It’s a [inaudible 08:08]. All right, well, let’s taste this [inaudible 08:15] salad, shall we? Inga: Okay. Jackie Keller: All right. So look at that. It’s so nice. Just like spaghetti. Inga: Exactly. Jackie Keller: That’s fun. Are you going to be brave enough to try to taste this thing? Inga: Oh yes. It smells wonderful. Jackie Keller: All right. You’re going to have to get a little cheese in there, a little couple of cubes of mozzarella. All right, let me know. So this could be a light lunch? Inga: A light lunch, but for dinner as well. It’s really so versatile. Jackie Keller: All right. How did we do? Oh, you are so delicate. Inga: It’s delicious. Jackie Keller: Good. Inga: It’s really nice. Jackie Keller: Great. [inaudible 09:05] Inga: [inaudible 09:06] Jackie Keller: Okay. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you’ll join me again for some more international food tools. And for this recipe, you can visit our website. You can come to Food Exposed, and find the recipe and more tips about German cooking and German foods. And of course, we hope you’ll tune into another segment of our international food tools series, where we explore what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv. And until next week, remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

The Dining Duo: Michael Epstein And Scott Schwimer Talk Food, Cars & Art

Episode 116 The Dining Duo – Michael Epstein and Scott… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take a close look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller, and I’m the founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles leading healthy food company. Let’s talking about eating out and the whole healthy food movement; while they are not always synonymous, these two are becoming increasingly paired in conversation, both written and verbal. So exactly how popular are the healthy restaurant menus these days? And I’m not talking about fast food. Well, my company NutriFit is a member of the California Restaurant Association which is a part of the National Restaurant Association. I was looking at their reports and figured out that about 71 percent of adults are trying to eat healthier at restaurants. In fact the top restaurant culinary theme includes children’s nutrition, gluten-free cuisine, and healthy nutrition. Other menu trends include local sourcing, whole grain items, lower sodium, lower calorie items, and people are even asking for restaurants to offer smaller or half-size portions at a lower price. Today’s consumers seem to be more interested than ever in what they eat, and where their food comes from. And this is reflected in many trends. And that was a quote from the National Restaurant Association’s Vice President. So this is really good news since eating out continues to be on the rise. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, nearly half of every dollar spent on food is spent on food away from home, home away from food. So here are some interesting restaurant statistics. Nine out of ten consumers say that they enjoy going out to a restaurant. Seven out of ten say that restaurants provide taste sensations that aren’t easily duplicated at home. And eight in ten look for their favorite menu items. Nine in ten go out to restaurants for good service and seven in ten go out to restaurants because they have a convenient location. So how do we choose our restaurants? Ease of parking, decor, atmosphere, some place new, and a place that serves food that they haven’t tried before. These are all things that seem to factor into choice. Did you know that six out of ten are looking for eco-friendly practices that restaurants use and locally sourced ingredients? Seven out of ten are interested in having some healthier options on the menu. So it’s really no surprise that I met my guest in a venue dedicated to healthy lifestyles. Michael Epstein and Scott Schwimer have taken on the food and hotel scene around the globe. They are lovers of food, life, and each other, and they know more about luxury hotels and the restaurant scene than any other couple I know. Michael Epstein became the youngest jaguar dealer in the country at the age of 19 following his passion for automobiles, and today, he remains an avid car collector. Michael founded System 800 International in 1986, which went on to become the largest reseller of 800-phone line service in the United States, and pioneered touch-tone technology for credit card processing. After going public in 1988, the company merged with Independent Entertainment Group, and produced pay per view events for cable t.v. A native Angelino, Scott E. Schwimer was appropriately born in the year of the Monkey. He received his BA from Stanford University, and his JD from Loyola Law School. He worked on Capitol Hill before jumping into his career as an Entertainment Attorney for both Television and Motion Pictures. Scott’s passions also include being an artist, photographer, painter, sculptor, writer, producer and world- traveler; and of course, he is passionate about eating and dining. Michael and Scott have been collecting photography for over twenty-two years. And they have one of the largest collections of glamour photography archives in the world. They’re the publisher’s of George Hurrell’s work, as well as Mel Roberts’, Henry Langdon’s and Ian Wright’s photos. The Dining Duo travels the globe and takes on the foodie scene in L.A. and other hot spots. Lovers of food and each other, they know more about the restaurant scene. These two partners who eat out at least 21 meals a week for about 26, 27 years together, they have a world to share with us. Michael and Scott welcome to Food Exposed. I’m so glad you could come today. Michael Epstein: We’re glad to be here. Scott Schwimer: Thank you for that intro. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much. Well it really is true. It is true, you eat out meal? Michael Epstein: We do. Scott Schwimer: Yes. Jackie Keller: Every single meal? Scott Schwimer: It used to be an embarrassment to say something like that, but now we get to gloat about it. Jackie Keller: And we talked about a little bit earlier about how people make choices for restaurants and what they look for. How do you guys decide like where should we go? You’ve probably been to most every place in LA? Scott Schwimer: Well, we have in fact, but it’s not always going out to a fancy restaurant. It’s not always about that. Sometimes we’ll choose something that is, as you just said in your introduction, someplace close to our home. Michael Epstein: Easy to park. Scott Schwimer: Easy to park. Healthy is a big consideration. And then we, of course, do like to treat ourselves and go to really wonderful places, unique restaurants, one of a kind type places. It’s just really how we feel and how we’re doing that day. Jackie Keller: Do restaurants let you know that they, are you on a list to get a little special treatment in there? Michael Epstein: We like to go incognito, although, obviously, people know who we are because of our names. But we choose restaurants that we really enjoy, the food and the quality of food. In fact, one of our favorites is right in this neighborhood, Providence, which is probably the best restaurant in Los Angeles as far as we’re concerned, one of the best anyway. Scott Schwimer: And in fact, we’re all in Los Angeles very lucky, because they open up for lunch on Fridays. Michael Epstein: That’s a good point. Jackie Keller: So how do your passion for art and cars intersect with your love for food? Michael Epstein: Well I think food is an art and Scott has been very adept at photographing food now, and food has really become an art for him. And it’s changed a lot over the last, I’m going to be 60 years old, and I’ve seen so many changes, because I was raised with basically some gourmet food at really fine restaurants. But the food was always prepared beautifully, but now it has to be photographable so that has certainly changed over the years. And as far as the cars go, you know we like restaurants where we can park close and we can keep an eye on our cars when we’re driving something special. Scott Schwimer: And I noticed in the introduction that you had a picture of our dog Triple, our beloved dog. And so oftentimes he will accompany us in the car, Jackie Keller: Oh, does he? Scottt Schwimer: In the car. Jackie Keller: Does he come into the restaurant. Michael Epstein: No, he doesn’t. Scott Schwimer: But we have to be able to keep an eye on him. Michael Epstein: Well, if it’s a restaurant with an outside patio. Scott Schwimer: And there are some restaurants that are quite animal friendly. In fact we also live in the desert, and there are numerous restaurants there that will allow you to bring your pet, and they bring out bowls and all sorts of other things. So restaurants have become quite friendly. Jackie Keller: Interesting. So what do you see as the top trends in restaurant menus, I mean what do you see? Michael Epstein: Some of the things that you mentioned, Jackie. It’s about locally-sourced ingredients more now than ever. Scott and I don’t really get the gluten-free concept unless you have celiac disease. But this is like the hot button as you know in this business, and every restaurant we’re seeing now is popping up with gluten-free menus and gluten-free items on the menu. Scott will tell you about our big button recently which is sodium. Scott Schwimer: Yes, well, we’ve discovered, I know you showed our pictures a little earlier in the introduction, and we don’t quite look like that anymore. But as we’ve been getting older, we realized that when you get that horrible feeling, a lot of restaurants feel like they have to create flavor by adding a high amount of sodium. And when we wake up in the morning, we’re completely swollen; we realize it’s swelling our organs on the inside and not just the outside. So we have been instructing restaurants on low sodium usage. We find that they’re starting to get a trend now. Jackie Keller: That’s interesting. Scott Schwimer: Yeah, so we hope that trend will continue, because we really don’t need salt in order to enjoy the food. Jackie Keller: Interesting. So is there a stigma attached to the word healthy when you go to a restaurant and you ask for a lower sodium option? You ask them to keep it on the healthy side? Michael Epstein: No. I don’t think so at all. I think that is to be expected nowadays. Jackie Keller: Even in the finer restaurants? I know you guys go to some pretty fancy places. Scott Schwimer: I think especially in the finer restaurants. They’re a lot more accustomed to accommodating a menu. We went to a new restaurant that we tried out on this last week, and I asked for something that was low sodium, and they just looked at me like a deer in the headlights, because apparently, everything had high sodium. So I think that as you go up to a more expensive and tailored experience, then they are happy to accommodate you. And hopefully, the trend will go in that direction with the other restaurants. Jackie Keller: I think if consumers demand it, then you’re going to see more of it. Michael Epstein: Yeah, and you, Jackie, being in the food business, I’m sure you noticed that pre-processed foods, I mean, we’re just in amazement, 30, 40 percent sodium in products. It’s scary. Jackie Keller: It is scary. And there’s a lot of learning that has to take place, I think, at the consumer level in order to avoid ending up with a saltier product than needs to happen. So when you’re on the down low and you just want to go slumming, where do you go? Is it Tommy’s? Is it Pings? Scott Schwimer: That’s very funny. I can’t handle any of those. I actually don’t eat red meat, probably for about… Michael Epstein: Beef, you don’t eat beef. Scott Schwimer: Beef, for about years now. I haven’t had a hamburger since my sophomore year in college. Michael has joined suit because… Michael Epstein: My cholesterol was a little high. I’m a big burger lover, but I tend to switch to turkey burgers now. But if I am going to treat myself to a beef burger, I go to Five Guys or to [inaudible 11:25]. Some of my favorites are the [inaudible 11:27] which are grass fed so at least it’s somewhat healthy. Scott Schwimer: And one of our favorite guilty pleasures is Motza, which has the best pizza that we have found really anywhere and the best chopped salad, and fantastic lemonade, and they have a fantastic desert selection. I feel like I’m promoting Motza, but it is a really a good guilty pleasure. Jackie Keller: Well, I asked you, and it’s nice to know that there are places out there that you can go and enjoy that are really good quality food. Scott Schwimer: And not spend a fortune. Jackie Keller: And not spend a fortune. Well, I thought it would be fun if we spend a few minutes creating something healthy and low sodium and fun that you might find in a restaurant if you were looking for it here today. Are you game? Scott Schwimer: Sounds great. Michael Epstein: Let’s do it. Jackie Keller: You know, one of the things that I love most are salads. I’m a big salad person, and it really annoys me when I get to a restaurant and the salad is soggy or I can feel the greasy, and I usually try to ask for everything on the side. But some things are already mixed in, and you’re just stuck with it. And so I thought it would be fun to show how good sesame chicken salad can be without having it being loaded with oil, loaded with fat, and unhealthy. So I got the ingredients together to make a really quick simple, this is sort of, it’s not really Chinese chicken salad. It’s a sesame tahini style, like a Middle Eastern chicken salad. So I thought we’d put it together real quick and… Scott Schwimer: It sounds great. You’re making me hungry. Michael Epstein: Teach us something. Jackie Keller: Who’s going to hold the whisk? You’re going to whisk, and I’m going to make the dressing. Michael Epstein: We eat out every meal… Jackie Keller: So this is a little bit of sesame tahini paste. And this is, of course, ground sesame seed, so it is high in oil, but it’s a very healthy fat. Scott Schwimer: How do you do that though? How do you grind the seeds? Jackie Keller: You can even use a coffee grinder. Scott Schwimer: Seriously? Jackie Keller: And grind it to… Michael Epstein: So what makes it liquidly? Jackie Keller: The seeds eventually, it’s the oil in the seeds, right? So I have some vinegar here. And this, by the way, is the sesame tahini if you wanted to buy it and cheat. You don’t have to grind your own seeds. You can just go to the Middle Eastern store and buy it. Some of the better stock supermarkets will have it, but you can also find it at the Middle Eastern market and get that. Scott Schwimer: Smells wonderful. Jackie Keller: So we’re going to add a little bit more liquid to that to get it to thin out. So I’m adding a little white vinegar to it. Michael Epstein: Are you taking notes? Scott Schwimer: Yes, I’m taking notes. Jackie Keller: And a little cayenne pepper. Now this is… Michael Epstein: I love cayenne pepper. Jackie Keller: I noticed that, Michael. I looked you up in our system from the time that you got a couple of meals from us and I know that you like it spicy. Michael Epstein: I do like it spicy. Scott Schwimer: He certainly does. Jackie Keller: Now here is where we get into trouble in restaurants, with the soy sauce. And so I have low sodium soy sauce. This is not a fancy one, but if we put a little bit of this in, it will add just… Scott Schwimer: Now where do you get low sodium? Jackie Keller: Now that’s the sesame oil. This is the sodium. Scott Schwimer: Okay. Michael Epstein: How low is it, Jackie? Jackie Keller: Well, Michael, you have your glasses on, and you can [inaudible 15:17] I do. Michael Epstein: Okay. Jackie Keller: So yeah, you want to sit that down and keep it away from that pretty shirt. Close that. Michael Epstein: Okay, so it’s got 19 percent, so that’s not too terrible. Jackie Keller: No, because we’re going to spread this out over multiple servings, so that’s another thing to keep in mind, is that you can dilute this by adding in just a little bit of water. And if you want, or a little bit more of the vinegar to cut through the fat a little bit, and to reduce the sodium. So that’s enough dressing for five servings, easily. Scott Schwimer: Jackie, or one serving for him. Michael Epstein: I like dressing. But, Jackie, is this something that if I am on your food program, this is something you serve? Jackie Keller: Yeah, this in the NutriFit menu. We use the base of romaine hearts for this, and then the chicken, which has just been poached. Now, all I did was bring some water up to a boil. I added a little bit of ginger, a little bit of lemon to the water, put the chicken in, turned the heat off, and let the chicken poach for 20 minutes. That’s it, on very, very, very low heat and then we hand shred the chicken, so this goes here. Michael Epstein: Now, do you need to learn how to do that? Scott Schwimer: I think it’s easier to just order it from you. Jackie Keller: Well, first you have to taste it. So let’s put in some green onion and a little bit of cilantro. Michael Epstein: The cilantro, it looks great. Jackie Keller: And now we’re going to get the dressing in, so… Scott Schwimer: By the way, it smells amazing. Michael Epstein: Doesn’t that smell amazing? Jackie Keller: So let’s pour that in. Scott Schwimer: Okay, here we go. Michael Epstein: I think that is really what defines Jackie from other food delivery services is that the food is really so tasty. Jackie Keller: Thank you, Michael. That’s so sweet of you. Scott Schwimmer: Well, we know. We’ve experienced it. Michael Epstein: So we’re putting all of this in? Jackie Keller: Yeah, we’re going to put all of this in because I know this is multiple servings. And, of course, we have more lettuce, and you can always add more lettuce. No. Bad. Have you been hanging out with Triple too much? Scott Schwimer: That’s our doggy. Jackie Keller: All right, Michael. Do you want to just hand me that plate, and we’ll just plate a little of this salad up, and you guys can give it a taste. And remember we didn’t measure anything, so you know, you’ll have to tell me. Scott Schwimer: It looks delicious. Jackie Keller: There you go. Michael Epstein: It does look delicious, yum. Is it good? Scott Schwimer: Sensational. Jackie Keller: Sensational is a great word; you sweetie pie. Oh, thank you. That makes me so happy. Scott Schwimer: Too bad you guys aren’t getting any, because this is amazing. Michael Epstein: This is really tasty. And is it low calorie, Jackie? Jackie Keller: Yes, it is. It’s low calorie. It’s healthy. It’s low in fat. Of course, for you guys, it’s low in sodium. Scott Schwimer: Fantastic, fantastic. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much. Michael Epstein: Will that be enough for all of us? Jackie Keller: We’ll have to take a take home.. Scott Schwimer: And this is really good. Michael Epstein: It’s really tasty. Jackie Keller: Thank you. Scott Schwimer: Thanks so much for having us. Jackie Keller: You’re welcome. Michael Epstein: This was really fun. Jackie Keller: I know that the audience wants to follow the Dining Duo. Your site is so much fun. I know you’re big in Instagram as well, and you post pictures constantly of places you’ve been. Some of them look so fun. It’s fun to look vicariously. So if you could tell us how people can find you. Michael Epstein: Oh, thank you so much. Well, if you go to www.thediningduo, and it’s really important to put in the t-h-e, thediningduo.com, or follow up on face book. We have lots and lots of visitors. We review all sorts of restaurants, all sorts of exclusive hotels. Scott Schwimer: Tell them where we’re off too. Michael Epstein: And we’re off to Mexico City, because there is a huge food scene explosion in Mexico City. Jackie Keller: Oh my goodness. Scott Schwimer: Everybody’s heading to Mexico City over the summer. Michael Epstein: We’re leaving next week. Jackie Keller: I’ve never been. Can I go in the suitcase or something? Michael Epstein: Absolutely. Jackie Keller: Just send me lots of pictures. Michael Epstein: You know if you put a little tequila right in here, it would be perfect. Jackie Keller: Well, I wish you safe travels, healthy travels, and lots of fun, and come back and visit us when you get back. Michael Epstein: It’s been really fun. Thank you for having us. Scott Schwimer: We’ll see you out in the restaurants. Jackie Keller: Yeah, absolutely. One of my favorite parts of coaching involves the use of metaphors. Just as a reminder, a metaphor is the expression of an understanding of one concept by relating it to another similar concept. And artists use metaphors all of the time as do authors. So here is a metaphorical story that you might be able to relate to. It’s called the tree. It was a warm sunny day in the magical forest, and several rabbits frolicked by the side of the forest pond as the gentle breeze rippled through the largest oak overlooking the water making the leaves dance and tingle softly, the unmistakable scent of wild lavender in the air. I can do a lot better than this declared the largest branch on the tree. Soon I’m going to branch out on my own. I’m almost as big as the entire tree now. I take most of the light around here and absorb the food and catch most of the rainfall. On top of that, I provide the best shade for travelers in the summer and the majority of acorns for future growth, food for the squirrels, and rabbit population. I am supreme said the largest branch. The other branches on the tree agreed. They had to accept what the big branch said. He was indeed the most predominant in most ways. His only failings being a lack of modesty in understanding that all parts of the tree were one. The trunk of the tree in his usual manner said nothing. Unnoticed, he just quietly kept on supporting the chattering branches as he had done year in and year out since ancient times. Late one year when the cold nights were drawing in and all of the golden leaves had stumbled sleepily to the ground, a woodcutter appeared and eyed the large branch. That’ll keep us warm for the winter, he said to his apprentice. With no more ado, he sawed off that large branch and dragged it away to his hut. The smaller branches were panic stricken thinking that their turn was next. Your time is yet to come groaned the trunk in a deep grumbling voice for his body ached where the big branch had been chopped off. He felt not only had he lost an arm but a son as well. Everyone’s turn will come, even mine. So be advised that you can survive longer and be happier if you don’t get noticed or too big for your boots like he did. So a tree is just one branch. The same way as a branch without twigs and dancing leaves is barren neither is a trunk alone a tree. I am but nothing without branches and roots, and that’s the metaphor. Thanks for joining me today on Food Exposed. Make sure to tune in next week for another close look at what’s on your plate. And if you have questions or comments, reach out to me at empowerme.tv/foodexposed. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv and until next week, remember, make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

JW Najarian On Interviewing Buzz Aldrin

Episode 115 JW Najarian on Interviewing Buzz Aldrin, Cancer… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take a close look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller and I’m the Founding Director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. Today we’re taking a closer look at the second deadliest disease plaguing our modern world – cancer. First, some good news on the cancer front; death rates for all cancers combined and for the leading cancers among men are declining. For women, those rates have stabilized. According to the National Cancer Institute, this is true across the fifteen most common cancers for all races and all ethnicities combined. Still it is estimated that 35% of all cancers are tied to our nutrition habits. We hear a lot about that these days and how much fat is good for you. What kind of fat is good for you? What we should be worried about. Here’s a quote that I want to share with you. “Obesity-related cancer is now an official definition used by both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, but this does not mean that other cancers are not related to obesity; only that there is currently not enough evidence because the cancer is not well-studied or rare. Only lung cancer so far has not been linked to obesity probably because of its strong association with smoking and low air quality status. As recently as April 9th, just a few days ago, a large published study of over 330 thousand women living in ten European countries were followed for over 11 years. That study concluded that high saturated fat and high total fat intake were associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. So it all comes down to basics. What should we be eating to provide the best opportunity to lower our risk of cancer? Eating seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death from cancer at any point in time by 25% compared to eating less than one portion, according to a new study that was published in London in March of this year; eating three to five portions of fruit and vegetables daily decreased death risk by 19%. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who ate a daily serving of nuts were significantly less likely to die from any cause as opposed to those who never ate any nuts at all. The message is clear. Eating healthily, plenty of fruits and vegetables, all of which are rich in antioxidants, moderate amounts of saturated fat, not having too much meat or full-fat dairy and having modest servings of healthy nuts and monounsaturated fats, that will give your body the best ammunition possible to fight cancer. Most of us know someone that has been touched by cancer. My own mom died from cancer and this has driven a lot of my energy and purpose. Every time I think of purpose, I think of OnPurposeMagazine.com. It’s an online publication that I write blog posts for and that I interact with. My next guest is the founder of this wonderful publication. JW Najarian spent the first 35 years of his career as a computer engineer and a project manager before he changed to a career in commercial real estate. He started the Commercial Real Estate Professionals Investors Group in 2006 and then began working actively in philanthropy for Humanities Unites Brilliance and Feed 333. A proud veteran, JW also built a LinkedIn group of over 40 thousand U.S. veterans use the resources of the group to connect and help each other. Since then, On Purpose Magazine has flourished and it’s dedicated to helping people find comfort and hope in today’s complex world; JW, welcome to Food Exposed. JW Najarian: Thank you for having me here. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much for coming. JW Najarian: We’ve talked so many times and it’s really great that we finally get to meet in person. Jackie Keller: I’m delighted. JW Najarian: I’m just delighted to be on your show. Jackie Keller: Well, thank you. Thank you. Do you like to report on nutrition for On Purpose Magazine? Tell us about that? JW Najarian: As we talked about in the interview that I did with you, it has kind of been a hobby of mine over the years. I actually went to Naturopathy School for a very short time because I thought it was my calling to be a Naturopath and talk to people about nutrition and things like that, but I found it was more of a hobby. I got tired of it and got into other things, but I still really am interested in nutrition and I do report on it quite a lot. You were just talking about cancer. I’m a cancer patient right now. Jackie Keller: Wow. JW Najarian: I went from burgers and my new friend is kale. Jackie Keller: Good. Good. You’ve met kale. JW Najarian: I’ve met kale. Jackie Keller: Yes. Kale is a wonderful, wonderful thing. JW Najarian: Yes. I’ve learned I’m a nut eater, I’m a kale eater and I’m learning how to make kale taste good and how to eat vegetables and stay away from sugars and salts. There has been a major change in my diet. So I’m really excited today to talk about it. Jackie Keller: Good. Good. What about the fitness side? Do you report on fitness too in On Purpose or is more nutrition-oriented? Tell us a little bit about that. JW Najarian: First of all, On Purpose Magazine is a magazine that we put together mainly to put out some really… There’s a lot of content on the internet as you know, but we wanted to put out some really good content on the internet. Just really helpful stuff, there’s a lot of garbage out there. So we started by talking to celebrities because celebrities bring eyeballs. They bring people to you. So talk to them about their cause and their foundations and the good things that are going on. I love to talk to authors. They have great stories. I talk to authors, especially the ones that are talk about self-help and personal development and things like that. That’s how I got into talking to authors about nutrition like yourself and fitness and working out. I workout, I go to the Y every day. Jackie Keller: Good. JW Najarian: I’m learning about stretching after as opposed to before. One of the things you learn… I spent this last year pretty much in bed a lot of the time because I had spine surgery from tumors in my spine as I had stage 4 cancer. One of the things you find out is that you lose muscle mass… I’m on Androgen Deprivation Therapy also. That’s taking all of the testosterone out of my body which means I lose muscle mass very, very quickly. I have to go to the gym. I have to be a gym rat in the morning and workout really hard; harder than a lot of people. You’ll notice right now I’m sweating a lot because I’m going through, what women would call, their personal summer of menopause because I don’t have any testosterone left in my body and that’s one of the treatments I have to go through. Working out is really essentially… You’ll notice most people say, “You have cancer. You haven’t lost your hair and you’re overweight.” Jackie Keller: You look great. No, but you look great. JW Najarian: Well, thank you. I haven’t had to do the chemo therapy that makes you lose weight or lose your hair. Not at this point. Jackie Keller: You have to be on a special diet though. JW Najarian: Yes. They don’t make you. Nobody comes to your door. The cancer doesn’t come to your door and give you a hard time, but the numbers that you talked about. They are real. You have to beat the odds. The odds are not good for all cancers. In order to beat those odds, you have to do the right things. That has a lot to do with nutrition, but also mindset. It’s not easy to pass up my favorite burger place. Jackie Keller: Right. JW Najarian: When you’re out with your friends and they’re eating a bunch of fries, it’s not easy to say no. Jackie Keller: When you think about the magazine, do you have a favorite type of article that you like to do? Do you have a favorite type of interview? Is it about causes and things that revolve around those issues? What do you enjoy the most? JW Najarian: We do highlight causes a lot of times. I came up with the name On Purpose because I wanted to do articles with purpose, on purpose, if that makes any sense. That means that the articles I do mean something and teach something. They are hopefully intriguing and educational. They make you think. They teach you something. That’s why I love your articles. They have great recipes that you put in our magazine and also great articles on all kinds of things for wellness and health. Those are the things we look for. My personal favorites are authors because of the stories that they tell. Jackie Keller: You have celebrities that do shout-outs to the vets and to various things. JW Najarian: That’s my favorite thing. Every time I get a vet on, I try to get them to do a U.S. veteran shout-out. One of my favorites was when I was a kid I loved space and the whole Apollo thing so I’ve had Buzz Aldrin to yell out to the vets for me. Jackie Keller: That’s cool. That’s cool. What about authors and up and coming authors? How do you help them out? JW Najarian: The magazine actually makes no money. It’s just out there. It was my outlet to put out good information and good content. I was doing a lot of stuff in commercial real estate where I was putting out content about the economy. I was talking to world economists and things about finances for the commercial real estate industry, which is a little boring. So I moved over to celebrities because it was more fun. Jackie Keller: Right. JW Najarian: The question again was? I’m sorry. Jackie Keller: How do you help up and coming authors? JW Najarian: Oh, authors. Yes. What I’m trying to do is move to a model where I… Because I talk to a lot of best-selling authors and one of the things I do in the last ten or fifteen minutes of the interview is I talk to them about their journey that they’ve taken writing the book. Why they decided to publish a certain way? Who they published with? What is their writing cycle like? All of those kinds of things, this is very interesting to authors. We’re trying to move over now to a monetization phase, where maybe we can help some authors out; up and coming authors who don’t know how to get their books out and how to promote their books. Nobody’s calling them up to promote their books. Maybe if they’ve got any interviews [inaudible 11:19] in Kenosha, Wisconsin it’s not on a site like mine that gets a lot of attention. So we’re working on something now to put something together that will cost a little money, but we’re going to try to make it fair where we can help you promote your book. Jackie Keller: That’s great. Do you ever discuss religion or politics? Do you get into controversy? JW Najarian: No. We really stay away from those kinds of things because they are non-academic subjects to us. We don’t want to really… It’s hard to talk about those. We are going to start something called “Talk Summit”. That’s coming up, watch for TalkSummit.com. That’s going to be a blog/talk radio show with me and a couple of my friends. We’re going to pretty much tear it up. Jackie Keller: That sounds great. JW Najarian: We’re going to let loose. Jackie Keller: Alright. JW Najarian: It should be fun. Jackie Keller: Well, we’ll watch for that. In the meantime, I thought we might spend a couple of minutes in the kitchen together cooking up some great antioxidant-rich cancer protective foods. What do you think? JW Najarian: I think that’s a great idea. Jackie Keller: Alright. Well, let’s cook. JW Najarian: Alright. Jackie Keller: OK, JW we’re ready to cook and I thought it would be good to structure a recipe that anybody can make at home; something very simple, something very nutritious and something very appropriate for guys with cancer, or guys that want to protect their prostate because I know that we have a high incidence of prostate cancer, it’s a very common one. We also know a little bit about how healthy it is for guys to have tomato products. Particularly, cooked tomato products because tomatoes… JW Najarian: The lycopene or something? Jackie Keller: Exactly. Tomatoes have a lot of lycopene and when you cook the tomatoes, the little cells in the tomatoes burst and more lycopene is released, so that is a very cancer protective element and we want to get more of that in our diets. So here’s a great simple vegetable casserole that is designed with guys in mind. JW Najarian: Wonderful. Perfect. Jackie Keller: Are you ready? JW Najarian: Yes. Jackie Keller: Simply, we’re going to take out a warm skillet and I’m going to spray it with just enough oil so that we don’t burn our vegetables. I’ll start with some of the harder vegetables first. I have some zucchini here and we’re just going to get that in so that it has a little bit of time to soften up before we add in some other stuff. You’ll notice that I did start with some healthy oil, but I don’t want to add more to it because we talked a little bit about healthy fat and obesity and the fact that so many cancers are tied to obesity. So we want to let the vegetables kind of get started. Whoops. I confused it. We’re going to let the vegetables get started this way. JW Najarian: When you were talking about fats and cancers, the fats and cancers, were you talking about omega-3 fats too, just as much? Jackie Keller: Omega-3 is… JW Najarian: Or just saturated fats? Jackie Keller: It is really more saturated fats that contribute to a higher incidence of cancer. There have been studies that have shown that the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are very healthy, helpful fats, but a lot of people don’t know when you’re eating out, particularly what kind of fat is the restaurant using? A lot of restaurants use highly saturated fats. You want to make sure that when you’re cooking at home, you’re cooking with either an extra virgin olive oil, or you’re cooking with canola oil that you know is not GMO, which is high in polyunsaturated fat. A little bit of coconut oil is considered very healthy. There are a lot of organic coconut oils out there right now. I started with the zucchini, but now I’ve added the tomatoes because I want to get that tomato base. JW Najarian: It’s starting to smell good already. Jackie Keller: We know those tomato based dishes are so good. Smell is so important. It really has to smell right; otherwise you don’t want to eat it, right? It has to look pretty and smell right. We’re going to add in some color now with some cauliflower and broccoli. These vegetables are very high in [inaudible 15:23] which are a chemical that is contained in vegetables… JW Najarian: Easy for you to say. Jackie Keller: Vegetables from the cruciferous family. They all have this chemical in common and chemical properties in common. These are very cancer protective. They are very high in antioxidants which combat the free radicals that attack our bodies internal systems, disrupt us and become carcinogenic, some green peas. This is a vegetarian dish, so we want to be concerned about protein because do want to have protein in our dish. Of course, peas are part of our legume family and everything in the legume family has protein. So we add the peas in, not just because they’re colorful and they’re pretty, but because they have a protein element; some carrots as well, I just love that panoply of color. JW Najarian: I can’t help it because I’m an interviewer at heart. Jackie Keller: Sure. JW Najarian: I have a couple of questions. Jackie Keller: Ask me. Yes. JW Najarian: First of all, you’ve heard the talk now about antioxidants causing cancer? Have you heard any word on that? Jackie Keller: I have not found anything in my research that substantiates that. JW Najarian: I just heard it on this on the news just recently that too many can cause cancer too. I’ll have to send you that one. Jackie Keller: You send me that one because that I’m not familiar with. JW Najarian: The other thing is, I notice that what I hear all the time is colors. Jackie Keller: Mm-hmm. JW Najarian: All the colors. I see every color in there. Jackie Keller: Every color I can find. The more color, usually the higher the vitamin and mineral content. This isn’t always true because you’ll notice we put in cauliflower. That’s white. It’s not a whole lot of color, but cauliflower is loaded with calcium and loaded with vitamin C, so poor little cauliflower gets left out a lot because it doesn’t have that deep rich color. Yes. Generally speaking, you want to eat from every color of the rainbow and you want to put in your dishes as many colors as possible. That’s always a good indication. Now for seasoning, I’m going to use one of my salt and sugar-free spice blends. This is a Mediterranean blend because this is kind of a Mediterranean style casserole, but you can use basil or oregano or whatever herbs and spices you have in your cabinet that you love the most. I love the Mediterranean seasonings so we’re going to get some of that in there to get some flavor going. Then I’m also going to add in… This will surprise you maybe because it surprises some people, but I’m going to add in some other tomato. Again, we are trying for maximum lycopene here. JW Najarian: Right. Jackie Keller: Ketchup. I know people think of ketchup and think high fructose, corn syrup, bad, bad, bad, bad, condiment, and bad sugar, whatever. You can add find now, very reasonably priced organic ketchup that is not sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. It has natural cane sugar in it, but it’s lower sugar, lower salt and of course it’s pure tomato. JW Najarian: I’m on a low salt, low sugar diet. Jackie Keller: So you want to be sensitive to that. This is a really great product. You could use a little tomato paste instead of a little bit of ketchup if you wanted. I kind of like the idea that there are healthy ketchups out there and that it’s a product, if you know what to look for, you can find it and still enjoy something as kind of old fashioned and homemade as ketchup. If you were using tomato paste, you might want to adjust the seasonings a little bit because ketchup does bring more to it than just tomato paste. JW Najarian: It makes it more exciting because I used to like to put ketchup on everything. Jackie Keller: Were you one of those kids? JW Najarian: Yes. Jackie Keller: Ketchup on everything? JW Najarian: Oh yes. Jackie Keller: Now, who cooks at home for you? JW Najarian: Me. I’m the cook. Jackie Keller: You’re the cook in the house. Well this is an easy, easy, easy dish. This has grown as you’ve seen. You start with a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of what’s in your refrigerator and before you know it, you have a very full sauce pan of absolute pure health here. JW Najarian: I love this idea because one of the biggest problems I have is that I go out to the store and I get all these vegetables and they all look really good. Then I put them in the fridge and I mean well, but about three days later I’m like, “I haven’t cooked any of the carrots. I haven’t cooked any of the peas. What am I going to do?” Jackie Keller: Right. This is what you do. If you get to the end of the week and you have all of these vegetables and you still haven’t made your casserole or used them up in a salad, you make soup. JW Najarian: Oh yeah. Jackie Keller: That’s another you can do which is a very useful, creative way of doing all of this. We’re cooking it in a frying pan as though it was a vegetable casserole, but we could have used a stockpot and made a tomato based soup out of it and we would have called it mock minestrone instead of vegetable casserole. So there you go. It’s that simple. I also brought just a little bit of brown rice because again, we want this to be perceived as a complete meal, so we want a complex carbohydrate with it other than just what’s in our vegetables; so a little bit of cooked brown rice along with the peas. Now follow me on this. When you combine a grain and a legume, a whole grain and a legume in the same dish or same meal, a complete vegetarian protein is formed. All of the amino acids are present so you don’t need meat. By adding the grain of brown rice in with our peas which was our legume, remember, we’ve created a complete vegetarian protein in this dish. JW Najarian: Wow. Jackie Keller: So good to know because saturated fat of course is found in foods of animal origin predominantly. You want more plant-based meals in your diet. You don’t want to sacrifice your protein, so it’s good to know about the rules of combining so that you can make complete vegetarian proteins out of your meals. It is just that easy. JW Najarian: That’s why I love talking to you. When we interviewed you the first time, I had some really wrong information about, if you recall because I listened to the interview again today, I had wrong information about whole grains. Jackie Keller: Right. JW Najarian: How we could take them out of our diet and we would be fine because of the paleo thing. You set me straight and thank goodness because it really has rounded out my diet to add some good whole grains. Jackie Keller: Yes. You should have it. In fact, would you like to try this one? JW Najarian: Yes. It smells amazing. Jackie Keller: OK. Well, let’s grab a plate. JW Najarian: OK. Jackie Keller: I’ll dish up something that’s maybe not too big of a piece so you can actually get to it. It’s a little hot and of course if you have a little bit more time, you can let it cook and it will just get softer. You do it according to your taste. JW Najarian: Another thing on my bucket list. I’ve watched all of the cooking shows and never been able to taste until now. Jackie Keller: Oh. OK. Hot? It’s alright? JW Najarian: Mm. That’s so good. Jackie Keller: Oh. Thank you. JW Najarian: The texture makes a really big difference. Jackie Keller: Yes. It’s just that little bit. Well I hope you’re not too busy to tell people how to follow you. Everybody will want to find On Purpose and want to follow all of the various things you’re doing and that talk radio show that’s coming out. It all sounds so exciting. What’s the best way for them to find you? JW Najarian: Thank you so much, Jackie. What you can do is go to www.OnPurposeMagazine.com. You can find me there. On Facebook at JWNajarian and you can find me on LinkedIn or Twitter all the same address. On Twitter we have OnPurposeMag and my name at twitter. Just go to On Purpose Magazine. You’ll find all of the links there. Watch for Talk Summit coming up. TalkSummit.com. Jackie Keller: Great. Great. Thank you for joining me today. I hope you’ll come back and visit us again. Good luck with your cancer treatment. You look like you’re doing great. JW Najarian: Thank you. Jackie Keller: Keep up the good fight. JW Najarian: Thank you. Thank you. Jackie Keller: What five goals do you believe will lead you to lasting happiness? In her book, “Creating Your Best Life”, Caroline Adams Miller describes research tested happiness boosters and techniques for building self-efficacy. The book collects and integrates studies and research on relationships, passion, self-regulation, positive emotions, flow, strengths, exercise, values, savoring and grit as they relate creating an ideal life. When I did this exercise, my goals were to number one, savor. This means slowing down some which is really hard for me to do. Number two, to strengthen, in my world, that means physically strengthen, which I do daily to emphasize the positive, as in looking at a glass half full instead of half empty and to develop my personal relationships which means taking more time for people. To be more mindful in the moment was my fifth goal and this means being less distracted, but to accomplish these goals and most others it is important to remember that goals need to be smart, specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and timed, but they also have to be value-driven. They have to be intrinsic and they have to be enveloping. They need to be exciting for you. If you can make sure that your goals are approach goals, not avoidance goals, your value- driven goals will compel you. They’ll have a better likelihood of being pursued. Goals that foster independence and empower will help you to create a life that is filled with vitality. If you want to share your goals with me, contact me at empowerme.tv/foodexposed. Thank you for joining me today. I hope you’ll tune in next week for a closer look at what’s on your plate? For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv and until next week remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

John Volturo of Scriball Talks Living With Celiac’s Disease

Episode 114 John Volturo of Scriball talks living with… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take an inside look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller, and I’m the founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. We’ve been hearing a lot about gluten free foods these days, a whole lot. It seems that everyone is trying this new style of eating, for a variety of reasons. Today, I’d like to focus on Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity, which when diagnosed, dictate the need to follow a gluten-free diet. While many people are eating gluten-free for other reasons, like following a fad, thinking that’s it’s going to be a magical weight loss cure, curing bad habits in general by eliminating gluten is another reason people are doing this, the autoimmune disorder that is Celiac is a serious condition. It’s estimated that nearly 1 in 100 may have it. It’s the condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by gluten, and this results in the body’s inability to absorb nutrients. No fat, no protein, no carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, which are all necessary for good health, are not well absorbed. According to the science, anything above 20 parts-per-million of gluten can cause damage to a person with Celiac disease. An additional three to five percent of the population suffers from a condition known as non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, which is not an autoimmune disease like Celiac, but it has similar gastrointestinal symptoms and requires the same gluten free diet. What is gluten, anyway? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. As a result, gluten is widely used in the production of many packaged and processed foods. Gluten-containing flours and starches are also used as thickeners, and they are present in many soups and sauces. In fact, gluten in present in so much of our food supply that following this specific dietary platform is really challenging. For those not afflicted but looking for a way to improve their diet in general, simply eliminating foods with highly processed or refined products and emphasizing a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, wholesome lean proteins, dairy, and fat will help. Common symptoms of Celiac disease are anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps, bloating, and in some individuals, itching and burning rashes. Still others present overt symptoms at all, but none the less, they suffer the intestinal damage. The wide spectrum of potential symptoms has historically made Celiac very difficult to diagnose. It’s frequently misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, lactose intolerance, Crohn’s Disease, or other conditions. About 10% of individuals with Type I Diabetes also have Celiac Disease, and Celiac Disease, especially when untreated is also associated with osteoporosis, liver and thyroid diseases, and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a whole host of things. My guest today knows all about getting diagnosed and living with Celiac Disease. We met under circumstances completely unrelated to this condition, but definitely related to healthy food. John Volturo is best known for his avant-garde marketing tactics and is behind some of the biggest aspirational consumer brands in the marketplace today. As the former Senior Vice President for Marketing for Guthy-Renker, John spearheaded business development and marketing strategies for the the direct marketing conglomerate and it’s world-renown products like Chaz Dean’s Wen, Anthony Robbins, Winsor Pilates, and Sheer Cover. Formerly the CMO of BeachMint, silicon beaches most recognized startup. John was a primary in the company’s genesis and early growth. Last November, in 2013, John founded Scriball, a platform that connects brands and consumers through interactive, immersive social storytelling. Scriball uses multimedia and sequenced content to inspire creativity and build brand-to-consumer or consumer-to- consumer based content and conversations. John received his MBA with a concentration in Marketing, Marketing Management from Drexel University and his Bachelor’s in Communication from Temple University. He’s a strong supporter of the LGBT community here in Los Angeles and PTSD recovery organizations. John and his husband, Adam Christian, live in Los Angeles, California, with their twin daughters. John, welcome to Food Exposed. It’s so nice to have you here. I know it’s hard for you to get away, and I’m so delighted that you could join us. Let’s start with the newest child in your life, your new venture, Scriball. Tell me more about it. John Volturo: As you were saying, the whole idea behind Scriball is really about communities. I started thinking about communities a lot when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease because there wasn’t a lot of information out there back in 2009. Really, my community was you, was Jackie Keller. Jackie, I was lucky enough to have feed me and she delivered my meals and experimented on me and helped me figure out what worked and what didn’t work. I slowly started realizing that food actually was changing the way I felt. Everything from headaches to the rashes that Jackie mentioned earlier, to just no feeling bloated all the time. Suddenly, I felt like a different person. I started seeking out communities, and I realized that across the country there were these micro-communities formed around certain areas. Here on the west coast we were lucky; some places in Florida. When I started talking to these people, I realized that a movement was starting. To Jackie’s point earlier, it really wasn’t about a fad, per se, but there were a lot of people who were actually suffering illnesses. I was lucky enough to find out early for me. Out of that whole idea of community grew this idea that communities are really starting to fragment off Facebook and Twitter. People are starting to have conversations, but the problem with Facebook and Twitter that I saw as somebody who was actually running a social commerce company was that didn’t let people actually have a narrative. The narrative kind of escaped our daily life. For me that was really exciting because as a storyteller at heart, because I worked in television for eight years building out infomercials, 30-minute commercials, the story was the king. You told the story about somebody, a passionate developer like Jackie Keller, and you told this story about how they became who they were, and you convinced the person to buy a product through the passion and the fact that this is authenticity. All those communities started to disappear, and the whole narrative started to disappear. I got this idea, shouldn’t there be a narrative in the story online. I decided to leave my company that I was at, BeachMint, and start Scriball. The idea behind Scriball is that it enables all of these small communities, or large communities, or brands, to have a conversation with each other, but collaboratively so people can build stories together. In the case of what you’re doing with your work, Jackie, the way I see the stories, all these people that you help have stories to tell. Not just testimonials, but stories that they want to tell about the way you’ve impacted their life. The other part of the whole community is that it’s fun, it’s gaming. If you want to have recipe competitions, like who’s made the best gluten-free recipe, or which ingredient causes this bread to rise better. I’ve actually done that and seen the power of the communities when they’re together; they just make it a much more rich experience. That’s what Scriball’s all about. Jackie Keller: I know you mentioned community and you mentioned Adam and the other new children in your life. Your twin daughters, and now they’re about three years old. What’s it like to become an instant parent, John? John Volturo: It was exhausting. Jackie Keller: You didn’t have to breastfeed. John Volturo: No, I didn’t have to breastfeed, thankfully, and I didn’t have to carry them, thankfully. We were really lucky to have a surrogate here in Los Angeles, so we got the whole experience from the beginning to end. All of the sudden you go from being a married couple to having two kids in your house within three days of them being born. Your life gets turned upside-down, and you realize how small the world is. You realize that community, again, going back to that, is so important. In Los Angeles we’re really lucky there are organizations like Parents of Multiples, and we’ve joined a lot of organizations just to get close to communities because you go through a major life change. On top of it, being a Celiac, I don’t like to label things of course, but being a Celiac I started thinking about the impact that the food that my kids were eating and what types of formula. We did have our surrogate actually breastfeed, not breastfeed but pumping milk. She started eating food with gluten in it, and one of my daughters became ill almost immediately. It was really interesting because I was actually introducing this to my doctor. When we brought it to the doctor she was surprised that it happened so early, but we pulled back all of the gluten. It was very hard to do that with someone that was doing us a big favor by pumping milk, but only one of our daughter’s ended up with breast milk; the other one ended up on formula because of the gluten intolerance. Jackie Keller: She’s nearly three now, two-and-a-half, right? John Volturo: They’re both two-and-a-half. Jackie Keller: Does she have Celiac Disease? Can you tell at this point? John Volturo: We can’t tell. It’s interesting that you ask because when she does have a piece of bread or a cracker, I can tell her stomach gets a little distended. That was the way I felt initially when I started to discover that I might have Celiac Disease. I actually didn’t even know Celiac Disease existed until I was diagnosed with it. I think the things that she feels, I can tell physically are similar to what I went through. She gets a bloated looking stomach and then she’ll cry in the middle of the night. I used to wake up in the middle of the night. Her form of expression is crying; mine was ouch, my stomach is hurting, why is that happening. Jackie Keller: Come on, I know you cried. John Volturo: I cried, I cried. I cried at work because I was tired. I think she may have an insensitivity. I hope she doesn’t have the full- blown Celiac disease. We haven’t had her tested. We feel like it’s a little bit too early. We just want to try to see if we can maybe diet her. Jackie Keller: Now, because you have this relatively recent diagnosis, how big of a challenge has it been for you to convert your whole way of eating? I know you’re a pasta guy, you come from a good Italian, pasta thing. That’s just one of the examples I know that you’ve had to eliminate from your diet. John Volturo: I’m glad to asked about that, because I will tell you, back in 2009 when I was first diagnosed the biggest problem I had was figuring out what to eat. Luckily, like I said, we were working together, but I love to go out to dinner; it was part of my job as a matter of fact. Talking to talent, going to speak, having dinners, and cocktail parties, all of the sudden you start realizing that gluten is everywhere. Wheat is in soy. Wheat is everywhere you can possibly imagine, even in oatmeal. There’s certain oatmeal’s that you can’t even have because it’s grown on the same fields that… It became a really difficult thing for me to do. For the first month I lost a lot of weight because I was just afraid to eat. Right after that I started thinking about all of the things that I wanted, and we started experimenting at home. Adam was a baker, so in addition to all of the cookies and desserts that you were making for us, he started baking bread. All of the sudden I gained weight, and I became more heavy than I ever was before because I started thinking about the things I was not able to have, and I started eating them. You get to that balance, where all of the sudden you figure it out. Fast forward to today where it’s 2014 and everybody seems to have a gluten-free recipe, which is great. Even most recently, now I can go to supermarkets that are on every corner and buy gluten-free pasta if I want to eat it. Jackie Keller: How can people who face similar challenges use Scriball to get more information about not only Celiac but I know you’re also dairy-free if I remember correctly. John Volturo: I’m a little difficult. Jackie Keller: You’re a little difficult. I would guess that your community helps with that. John Volturo: We haven’t actually set up a Celiac Scriball, but we should. I was actually thinking what I wanted to do for you was set up a community for you for all of your folks, because I think you’re able to reach a group of folks who have been transformed by all of the different recipes you’ve created for them. I think you’re right, we should set up a Scriball community for Celiac Disease, because people are constantly trying to figure out ways to improve upon what they eat. What I’ve discovered is that recipe searching is the most important thing. When I’m at home on a Sunday, and I want to cook a big Italian dinner for my family because I’m Italian and I grew up that way in New York City, it’s really hard for me to go online and find a really great recipe. If there was a community of people talking about the recipes that work for them, that would be great, and that’s what Scriball is really about, that micro-community of people figuring out what’s best and working together to get things done. Jackie Keller: Let’s do that together. John Volturo: I would love to do that together. Jackie Keller: Should we start with a recipe right now? John Volturo: Yeah, let’s do it. Jackie Keller: Alright, let’s cook. All right, John, time to cook. I thought today we would make something that is gluten-free, dairy free, and for you soy free, and still nutritious, delicious, doable, nothing fancy, nothing foreign or weird, nothing exotic, and just show people how easy it is to put together something without a whole lot of effort that meets all of those criteria, and is nutritious as well. We’re going to make a quinoa-based dish. As you know, quinoa is a gluten- free grain, and it’s loaded with protein so this will take care of the fact… This is actually a vegan protein dish. A little bit of extra- virgin olive oil, and of course some onions and bell peppers, which I know you like. John Volturo: Already smells delicious. Jackie Keller: Maybe you can give that a stir while I get the rest of it going. We’re just going to allow, maybe, 30 seconds for this to take on some color and flavor. I cheated a little bit, because… John Volturo: No cheating. Jackie Keller: I cheat all the time. A little bit of collard greens. I pre-blanched them because collard greens do take a couple of minutes to cook, and I knew we would be a little short on time. You’re going to want to spread those out. If you’re starting with raw collard greens in the recipe, you’re going to want to either blanch them or allow for enough time for the collards to cook. Unlike spinach or chard, which you could use in this recipe, collards are a little stiffer. The good thing about collards is they are so, so high in Vitamin K and in fiber. John Volturo: I love collards. I do love them. Jackie Keller: It’s not a common vegetable for some of us. I didn’t grow up with collard greens. I didn’t know anything about them. John Volturo: We started to grow them in our backyard. Jackie Keller: How nice. John Volturo: Yeah, we do. Jackie Keller: We have a farm now. NutriFit has a farm and we are going collards. John Volturo: Farm-to-table. Jackie Keller: Literally, in our case it’s literal. For our clients, they’re getting things that we grow on the farm and bring in and put in their plates. Collards are one of the easiest things to grow, which is really nice. I’m going to add a little bit of vegetarian vegetable broth. Here would be an instance where we would need to look and see, does this have gluten. I don’t have my glasses on. John Volturo: I don’t have mine on either, but I can tell that this is gluten-free because it doesn’t have any soy in it, and it does not have anything related to wheat or modified starches. That tells me right away that it’s probably gluten-free, even though it doesn’t… It actually says it on the front. Jackie Keller: Shows you what you can see when you can read, but in other times or with other products you may not be able to see that it’s gluten-free on the front. John Volturo: A lot of products still don’t have it on there. Jackie Keller: Right, because it’s not necessarily what people are looking for. Although, I think we are going to see more and more things labeled gluten-free that never have gluten to begin with, but this is a product like a broth, sauce, or something pre-made like this where you would have to read the label carefully. John Volturo: You really do have to be careful because brown gravies, like you were saying before, have a lot of gluten in them. Jackie Keller: We’ve got some vegetable broth in there. Now I’m going to add some black lentils to this. If you didn’t have these black lentils, which aren’t that exotic or hard to find, you could use regular lentils. I kind of like something a little different. They’re smaller; they have a little better texture for this dish because they’re not going to get really mushy on me. Of course, by adding in the lentils, we’re adding in fiber, folate, and a lot of protein. John Volturo: A nice crunch too. Jackie Keller: Yeah, they’re good. I’ll add in some of our salt and sugar-free lemon-garden blend because I know what’s in it. Again, another circumstance where it could be a filler or something added in it that could create a reaction. John Volturo: If you haven’t tried Jackie’s spices, they’re amazing. Jackie Keller: That’s sweet of you, thank you. You just earned yourself a bottle to take home. John Volturo: That’s why I said it. Jackie Keller: Give that a stir here while we get the quinoa in there. This is red quinoa. You don’t have to have red quinoa; you don’t have to have black quinoa; you don’t have to have tri-colored quinoa; you can have just plain old quinoa. This is organic, and I like this product because, again, I want something that looks a little unique. I want something that contrasts with the dish and really creates something interesting. We’re going to add in this pre-cooked quinoa. You know you have to rinse quinoa before you cook it because it has that bitter outer coating. When you just rinse it in a colander that outer coating is rinsed off, then you just put in in a pot with some water, bring it up to a boil. Of course, the recipe for this dish is on empowerme.tv. It’s also on my health blog, so you don’t have to worry about writing it down. John Volturo: It smells delicious. Jackie Keller: We’re going to top it off with a little bit of meyer lemon zest and meyer lemon juice. This is another thing we’re trying to grow up on our farm, meyer lemons. We have a regular lemon tree, which is prolific. The meyer lemons are harder to grow and a little bit more delicate, but they have a much sweeter flavor, so we’re experimenting. We’re not farmers by trade. John Volturo: It’s not Green Acres. Jackie Keller: It’s not Green Acres, no, it’s not Green Acres. Well, part of the acres are green, thank God. If we could just get more rain we’d be in good shape. I love the smell of lemon zest. John Volturo: I can smell it from here; it smells great. Jackie Keller: Then we’ll take some of the juice out as well. You just keep stirring there. Pretty soon we will have our dish. Can you hand me one of those forks. I’m going to spear this guy and take the juice out just like that. Who needs a fancy juicer when you have a good old- fashioned fork? Maybe a little bit more. I think there’s a seed or two in there so I have to be a little bit careful. We’re just about done. It’s really that simple. John Volturo: This was fast, yeah. Jackie Keller: Of course, I pre-cooked a couple of things, but nothing took more than 15 minutes to pre-cook. John Volturo: You could do while you do other things as well. Jackie Keller: A nice salad with this, or something like that would be done for the day. You’ve got protein, fiber, fat, healthy vitamins, minerals, everything you need. John Volturo: I think I’m going to go home and make this for dinner tonight. This smells delicious. You might have to give this to me. Jackie Keller: You might have to taste it first, what do you think, ready to do that? Let’s do this. Let’s turn it down because it’s pretty hot. Why don’t you dish yourself up a little bit, and I’m going to have you take a taste. I think you have a fork right there. Let me know what you think. Hot, I know. Is it good? John Volturo: As good as I thought it would be. I did get that one seed. Jackie Keller: That tiny seed found you. John Volturo: It’s very good. Jackie Keller: This is a base. Obviously, you could modify it. If you didn’t have collards you could use something else; make it your own, but I’m glad we came up with something. If you did want to make this, and it wasn’t for John, and you wanted to add some soy nuts to it, you could for a little additional crunch, some roasted soy nuts on the top. It’s good without it as well. John Volturo: Or you could put pine nuts, if you’re me. Jackie Keller: There you go, and pine nuts would be a lovely addition to that. John, thank you so much for joining me today. John Volturo: Glad to me here. I’ll have to give you a hug. I love this woman. Jackie Keller: I know that everybody wants to stay connected to you personally, and they also will be interested in Scriball, so please tell our audience how they can find you. John Volturo: You can find me at JohnVolturo.com, thank you. Jackie Keller: We’ll stay connected. John Volturo: Yes. Jackie Keller: We’ll stay in touch. John Volturo: I’d love to do that. Jackie Keller: We’ll do this again. John Volturo: Yes, let’s do it again. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much. Think for a minute about the most important relationships in your life. What are the characteristics of the people to whom you feel closest? Happy couples describe their partners as interested and responsive. Besides existing relationships, curious people act in certain ways with strangers that allow relationships to develop more easily. Research shows that curious people ask questions and take an interest in learning about partners and intentionally try to keep interactions interesting and playful. Here are a couple of things we now know about social relationships. In a recent blog in Scientific American magazine, Ingrid Wickelgren writes, “People who are part of a group are also far better equipped to conquer an internal foe, the threat of bad health. In one of the recent studies, the health benefits of social relationships published earlier this year, researchers provided evidence that social ties and increased contact with family and friends are also associated with the lower risk in death in young women with breast cancer. Another study presented a similar conclusion with respect to surviving heart surgery. What’s more, a 2010 meta-analysis of 148 other studies showed that social connection doesn’t just help us survive health problems, but lack of it causes them.” She goes on, “Many languages have expressions such as hurt feelings that compare the pain of social rejection to the pain of physical injury. We now know that those are more than just metaphors. There are two components to physical pain, an unpleasant emotional feeling and a feeling of sensory distress. They’re both associated with different structures in the brain, and social pain is also associated with a particular brain structure. This connection between physical and social pain reflects the tie between social connection and the psychological processes of the body.” The health message is clear. Reach out socially, you’ll engage your curious self, you’ll minimize the pain of social isolation, and live more fully. As John Lennon wrote so poetically, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.” That’s our show today. I hope you’ll join me next week for another episode of Food Exposed, where we’ll take a close look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv, and until next week, remember, make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

Dian Thomas Talks Johnny Carson, Her Dramatic Weight Loss & Best Selling Books

Episode 113 Dian Thomas talks Johnny Carson, her dramatic… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take a close look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller and I’m the founding Director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading food company. You know during the course of my work I’ve had the privilege of working with people from all walks of life from all over this country and all over the world. I’ve been able to travel to every continent and have traveled through most of the United States as well and during the course of this I’ve heard great stories about getting healthy and staying healthy. There’s a general perception that almost no one succeeds in the maintenance of long term — long term maintenance weight loss. However, research has shown that about 20 percent of overweight individuals are successful at long-term weight loss when defined as losing at least ten percent of initial body weight and maintaining the loss for at least one year. The National Weight Control Registry provides information about the strategies used by successful weight loss maintainers to achieve and maintain long-term weight loss. The National Weight Control Registry members have lost an average of 72 pounds and maintained the loss for more than five years. Many registry members follow these basic strategies. Rule number one they never cheat. They don’t give themselves break not even on holidays, not on weekends. Rule number two they eat breakfast. The National Weight Control Registry shows that one of the most common traits of those who succeed in keeping those pounds off once and for all. And rule number three they get on the scale every day. They don’t let the pounds creep up. Rule number four they put in the equivalent of a four mile walk seven days a week. Number five they watch less than half as much TV as the overall population. Rule six they eat 50 to 300 calories per day less than most people; moreover, weight control gets easier over time and after individuals have successfully maintained their weight loss for two to five years the chance of longer term success greatly increases. Continued adherence to diet and exercise strategies, low levels of depression and disinhibition and medical triggers for weight loss are also associated with long term success. Many registry members say that these behaviors are common traits but not something they necessarily do all the time. Well, my guest today is a woman whose story could be in the National Weight Loss Registry instead it’s in her book “Tipping the Scales in Your Favor”. Dian Thomas, author and self-published the book in 2011 losing amazing 120 pounds. Dian hails from the beautiful mountains of southern Utah where she grew up in the family of boys as the daughter of a forest ranger. She developed wonderful camping skills including a host of activities centered around outdoor cooking and after completing her master’s thesis Dian published her first book “Roughing It Easy” which made The New York Times best seller list and landed her on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from that came contact with the Home Show, Good Morning America, and now you can catch her own Hallmark’s Home and Family Show. I met Dian ten years ago and at that time she weighed 326 pounds, I’ll let her tell the rest of the story to you. Dian, welcome to Food Exposed. Dian: Thank you. Jackie: Thank you so much for coming down from Utah. You know I know people are really captivated by weight loss stories but yours is unique. What motivated you to lose weight? Dian: Well, I was here in Santa Monica speaking because I had been on television for so long. I was speaking about how to do publicity and how to do performances and I was all finished and all gathering up and I remember this wonderful woman came and said you know I went to my car and I decided I should come back and here’s my card and I can help you lose weight and that was you. I have been grateful ever since because it gave me hope. I think one of the big things is and I haven’t done it perfect as you know but one of the best things is you stay on the track and even if you slip a little bit, you keep staying on the track and you stay on the track. Pretty much at whole I’ve conquered it but I still am challenged a little more when I travel and that’s a hard one for me. I’ll still work on that. I’m not going to giving it up but I remember in the beginning I said to myself I’ve got to find an activity that I love and if I don’t, I’m not going to stick with it and so I think that was a huge, huge key and that was riding my bike and that’s opened up the gate. In fact, this year I’m riding my bike down the Rhine River and through the tulips in [inaudible 00:05:38] Jackie: Wow. Dian: . . . and in Paris. So it still is a passion for me. Jackie: That’s great. So what changed in your life because you lost the weight? Dian: Oh, I have a new life. It’s totally new. I love traveling and I was always really active. As you mentioned, I’m from the forest, and my dad was a ranger, we went out camping and all of that. So I had a really active upbringing and also I traveled the country doing promotion, promoting books, but pretty soon when you get so heavy you’re just looking for the next chair to sit down and your life totally changes. And it’s kind of like you go downhill and then coming back up is really difficult. I remember I used to ride my bike. That was really my main exercise. I used to ride it for two hours in the morning at home. I would be so exhausted some days that I couldn’t do much the rest of the day and I still, I did, the highlight for me was when I rode across to Iowa two years ago and rode every mile. So one of the things we do is called RAGBRAI. Some of you may know especially if you are in the middle part of the country but 15,000 bike riders come to Iowa towards the end of July and Iowa is bordered by the Missouri River on the West and the Mississippi on the East and so we start riding our bikes, we back our back tire into the Missouri River and then you ride across the state and each day you ride about 60 to 80 miles. And then in the next day you get another 60 to 80 miles and so there’s about 25,000 people. So some of the towns that you stay in are only 3,000 people so here’s all these bike riders, so I think associating with people who work out and do healthy living things also is a big help for me. Jackie: And you have a new career I think in there as I . . . tell us about it. Dian: Which one? Jackie: Well you mentioned like riding your bike down the Rhine River and tulips in Holland. I think you’ve had a few other trips that are pretty exciting since you’ve lost the weight. Dian: Absolutely. What happened, to be honest with you Jackie, is when I lost the weight I rode my bike so much that everybody knew I was riding my bike. Every day I was on my bike and a friend of mine told the travel agent in Salt Lake about that and they called me when I was in California and said would you come and do a bike tour to China? I go that’s a no brainer. I mean of course I would do a bike trip to China. And so I went in, met with them, and they never got enough people to go to China for the bike ride but all of sudden I found myself in China. He said just go take tours for me, go take tours, so I had been China to 16 times and I also stay in China and I ride my bike which is pretty dangerous. It’s not like riding in LA because they don’t anticipate you. It’s like they have rules in China but nobody follows them so people are coming from all directions. So I decided Europe is where I’m going to go because they have bike lanes and they actually have that in China but so I started doing tours to China and then next one was to Peru to Machu Picchu which I’m going back again in a couple of weeks. And this last I just got home two weeks ago from South Africa where I went to Kruger Park to see the animals and next year I’m going back and take people on a camping trip in South Africa. Jackie: Now would that have been possible at 326 pounds? Dian: No, none of it would have been possible and so it’s really thrilling and that’s one thing that keeps me going. Like I said, one of my challenges is when I travel. But you just keep working on it. I mean a lot of people the thing about weight which you could have told me is it’s a long-term effort and just because you fall off the wagon what I used to do is, “Well I fell off the wagon. I’ll just eat for a week, and then I’ll go back on.” But no you get up the next morning and you start and then your own way again so I think losing weight is a challenge. Our country is as you know we have a challenge with that and that’s why it’s so good to have people like you who lead the way and show us. I have a background in home economics but it’s not just knowing the information. It’s really applying the information. Jackie: So how valuable was it to have a coach through this process? Dian: I don’t think I would have done it. I have told many of my friends I don’t think I would because it’s a long term you have to just keep doing it. And again in my suitcase I brought down some more books to work on tonight to make a plan and I think eventually I’ll get a plan. But one of the things I think plagues is we need fast food. Not fast food in the terms of McDonalds and all of those but when you get ready to eat. You’re tired, you’re back from the office, you need to be able to fix it fast and so that’s been my challenge is learning how to set my kitchen up so that when I go in there I can make something really fast and is healthy. That’s the key. I tell people I can fix . . . this is my kind of mantra. I go shopping on Saturdays, come home, and if I can set it up like even pre-measure all of the stuff. Last night as I’m getting ready to come here I just bought some turkey hamburger and when I buy it I get about four pounds or so. So I measured it all out, made the hamburger patties, and put them in the freezer, and then they are all ready to go. I just take them to the freezer up, put them in a pan, turn it over, and then turn up the heat, go into work, and then when I come back out, I need to steam some vegetables or something like that, and I have a meal. So it’s fast. Jackie: Well about doing some fast cooking with me today? Dian: I would love to. Jackie: So let’s join me in the kitchen. Dian: I always love watching your stuff. It gives me ideas to do so. Jackie: Let’s do it together. All right, Dian. We are ready to cook. Dian: I’m excited. Jackie: I know you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In fact, you do a lot of your cooking at home. You can do that when you are home, but do you do that all of the time? Dian: All of my cooking. Yeah. Jackie: So I thought that I would give you a couple of another ideas to take home. Dian: Yes, I would love that. Jackie: These are really easy and they are very quick and they are down your alley because I know you love vegetables. You tell me all the time you go to the farmer’s market, you pick up what’s special, what’s seasonal, what’s fresh, what just and then you come home and create. Dian: Exactly. Jackie: And that’s sort of the way this recipe evolved. It’s very simple pasta dish so its base of carbohydrate is whole grain pasta, and for protein we are using white beans, and for fiber we are using kale. So vegetarian pasta dish with just a little bit of feta cheese at the end, which of course is optional. You know you don’t have to do it that way but I think that kind of rounds it out. So let me get started with some extra virgin oil. As you know the extra virgin means that it has the best flavor and the highest purity so we need the least amount because every drop is going to contribute just a little bit more flavor benefit so just enough that we don’t burn the bottom of the pan. Dian: Good. Jackie: And of course we love to start all of these dishes with some garlic. Dian: Oh yeah. Jackie: And you know we like to start with something that people are familiar with because when you don’t do a pasta dish that has meat or something like that, sometimes your guests are “okay like well something is missing.” “You know like this more like an appetizer than an entree,” but the truth is that you don’t need the meat. What you need is something that smells good and looks good. Dian: It really smells good. Jackie: Yeah, it’s very fragrant so. Dian: So this is the kale? Jackie: This is some fresh kale. Now we steamed it a little just to get ahead start. Dian: So that’s the big leaf. Jackie: That’s the big leaf kale. You can use baby kale, you can use red kale or blue kale or any kind of kale you can get your hands on but I like the dark rich green color of this. And since I don’t want to add anymore oil and I don’t want to burn the bottom of the pan, I’m going to add in a little organic vegetable broth, and that’s just enough to give it some juice and keep that garlic from burning and the vegetables can continue to cook a little bit and now. Dian: Did you blend the garlic? That’s one thing I noticed right off the top. Jackie: I did not. That is fresh garlic, that we minced, mince, mince, mince. We set it up like you talked about setting up your meals in containers. We set up our ingredients in these little containers, food safe containers designed for food to keep in the refrigerator and that way you don’t have to start completely from scratch. You know you are starting with something, some of the harder stuff already done. The beans, I pre-cooked the beans and these are just white beans. Now you could use cannellini beans, black beans, red beans. Dian: You could freeze this ahead of time, couldn’t you? So I got two great ideas from you today already. Chopped up garlic and you could do that so you can just put more in. Jackie: You can do that at the start of week and have it all week long and the beans… Dian: The beans could be frozen. Jackie: Put them in an eight ounce containers or two cup containers and you are good for the week. Dian: Good. Jackie: And then the same beans can be used in many different ways. Dian: So now I think that’s the key to that because doing it ahead of time is easy. This is fast food, really good fast food. Jackie: This is fast food, yeah. And you mentioned that’s really been one of the challenges, right? Dian: Yeah, that’s the key. Jackie: And then another not so secret secret is of course is to have these salt and sugar free spices available. This is one of ours it’s Mediterranean but you know you don’t have to have ours to make this recipe work you can do your own and this is a brand new bottle so I’m going to do another little trick that I like to do which is to crush the seasoning and really releases all of the flavor in the dried herbs. Dian: That’s nice. Jackie: Now I’ll let you stir for me here while I clean my hands. Dian: Looks nice. Jackie: And I love the smell on my hands of those seasonings but I also appreciate having something to kind clean of my hands and add a little more flavor to it. I’m going to take some lemon and go right into that with some fresh Meijer lemon and I’m going to clean my hands too. So my hands now smell like lemon which I love. Dian: So you could use lemon or lime? Jackie: Lemon or lime either one. And you just want a little bit just to because we are not making a tomato base sauce here. We are making a vegetable based sauce so I’m going to go ahead and add in now some pre-cooked. I pre-cooked a little bit of vegetable penne, whole wheat penne. And again you don’t need much. Dian: Could you freeze this as well, couldn’t you? Jackie: You can, pasta will lose a little bit of texture in the freezer. So when it comes out what you could do with this which would take care of the texture issue we are going to serve it just fresh out of the skillet but let’s say you had frozen the pasta and it had become a little watery when you defrosted it and you were like oh it doesn’t look beautiful anymore. Well you take it, you added some mozzarella cheese, you pour it into a baking dish and you bake it. Now you have a baked pasta bean vegetable casserole as opposed to the way we are doing it here. So you see very easy. Dian: This is fabulous. This is great. Jackie: Look at how easy that is. And now to add just a little bit protein to it because we know we like cheese this is low sodium, low fat feta cheese. Dian: Cool. Jackie: And it’s just going to be enough to again to bring some color to the dish. It adds a little bit of salt flavor because you notice you didn’t add any salt. Dian: But you add the extra. See that’s what I love about watching you because you know those little tricks to put into to make it so it’s gourmet. Jackie: Well, it’s a dressed up version. Dian: That’s right. Jackie: Very rustic Italian dish which as you know pasta with white beans. So it’s a pasta fagioli upscale. Dian: There you go. I’m going to get you a plate. Jackie: No, this is going to be your plate. Dian: Is this my plate? Oh good. Jackie: I need to dish up for you. Dian: I’m ready to try to that. Jackie: Just try that? All right. Dian: That looks beautiful. One thing Jackie told me a couple weeks ago is that my food is a little boring, so I came down here to jazz it up but I can see why. Jackie: Hot, hot, hot. Careful. Dian: That is great. Jackie: Thank you. That’s so sweet but you know Dian I know that viewers are going to want to get in touch with you. They are going to want to not only know how to contact you just to hear your story and hear more of your story and of course tipping the scales in your favor to find the book but they are also going to be interested in following you through your travels so what’s the best way for our viewers to find you? Dian: Just to go my website, it’s www.DianThomas.com and I do have a . . . I spell it different without an E but I also have on with the E so either way DianThomas.com. Jackie: All right. Dian: And if you want to see Johnny Carson, you can go to my website and watch that today. Jackie: Well, great. Well, thank you so much for coming down. Dian: Thank you. Jackie: It is always a pleasure to see you, we are going to keep working together, and keep up the good effort. Dian: You have been a fabulous coach so if you need a good coach. Call Jackie, she’s the best. Jackie: Oh thanks, Dian. Dian: You’re welcome. Jackie: My coaching moment today is about how committing to your goals helps you achieve happiness and is based on the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky in the book “The How of Happiness”. She writes that people who strive something for personally significant whether it’s learning a new craft, changing careers, or raising moral children are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations. Find a happy person and you will find a project. You know I think she’s right we all know people who have goals but lack the motivation to pursue them. What really makes us happy is when we find the drive to chase our dreams. So what is committed goal pursuit do it for us? Well, let’s consider the opposite for a moment when you don’t have that significant goal, it’s hard to feel connected to something. Having a goal gives us something to work for. It also increases our self-esteem. Goals make us feel confident and every time we accomplish a step along the way you get another emotional boost. These lift are not only reinforcing our happiness but they help us stay motivated. And third having goals to pursue give us structure and meaning and we can also have a natural way to connect with others through our goals. Related to this is yet another benefit of being committed. It helps us schedule our time and ourselves and should something derail us from one goal, we are better built to cope with problems and replace that goal with another. Finally, as human beings we have a need to belong and engage with people if only on a goal-related level. Goals can be happiness inducing even in virtue of just connecting us with other people and this contributes to our continued vitality. In the words of Robert Louis Stephenson, an aim in life is the only fortune worth finding. Thank you for joining me today on Food Exposed. I hope you will join me next week as we take another close look of what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on emPOWERme.tv and until next week make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

Rand Corporation’s Dr. Deborah Cohen On The Obesity Epidemic

Episode 112 Rand Corporation’s Dr. Deborah Cohen on the… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where, each week, we take a close look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller, and I’m the founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. Today, we’re taking a close look at why we put stuff on our plates, literally, our eating habits as a country in general. This is serious stuff, because, as you know, two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese, as are one-third of our children. What do hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer have in common? Obesity is an underlying cause of all of these chronic diseases that are killing more than 100,000 Americans every year. We’re going to get to the heart of this problem with our guest, but before we do, I thought that it would be interesting to take a look at where we’ve been with dieting trends over the last few years, and look back even further to see how little has changed since the 1930’s in general. So, here’s a quick tour through the history of dieting trends. In the 1930’s and 40’s, you could blame Lucky Strike. Smoking was the way we got thin back then. The cigarette brand used the line, “Reach for a Lucky, instead of a sweet.” Yuck! Literally, heart disease and lung cancer, that’s what we got, not skinny. That’s not the only thing that debuted back then. The lemonade diet was popular, which is remarkably like, well, wait for it, today’s Master Cleanse. In the 1950’s, we were praying for weight loss. The Christian dieting industry was born, and followed Reverend Charlie Shedd’s book, “Pray Your Weight Away”. This was followed by, “I Prayed Myself Slim,” and, “Help Lord- The Devil Wants Me Fat!” Fast forward to 2002, and Don Colbert publishes, “What Would Jesus Eat” cookbook. I mean, seriously. In the 1960’s, we all shared the love, right? When it came to dieting, we grew support organizations like Overeaters Anonymous and Weight Watchers. We ate the cabbage soup diet to bloat our stomachs up so we’d feel full and lose weight. Well, not. In the 1970’s, the era of miracle pills, from Dexatrim to Fat Blocker. Where have we heard more about this recently? This gets revived again, just a few years later, with Fen-Phen and other miracle diet pills. Oh yeah, the cookie diet. Turns out it’s not so new. It started in the 1970’s. By 1980, the Scarsdale diet came in with hardcore, high-protein, low-carb, low calorie, and you thought starving was new? In the 1990’s, Dr. Atkins took Scarsdale one step beyond, and introduced high-fat to the no-carb picture. So, why does this sound familiar? In 2000, we’ve had an explosion of diets. Since then, you have your choice. There are cleanses. There is Paleo, which is one of the worst diets of 2013, according to the U.S. News and World Reports. The DASH diet, the South Beach diet, the Mediterranean diet, and there’s even a new one called The Ice Cream Cleanse! Yep, it just made the scene, straight from right here in Venice, California. Yet, as a nation, we keep getting fatter. So, what really works, and how can we get a grip on our waistlines? Well, my guest today is an expert in this area. In fact, she’s a senior natural scientist and a leading researcher at Rand Corporation, an M.D. with a Master’s in public health, and the author of a recently published book, “A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Forces Behind The Obesity Epidemic, and How We Can End It.” Dr. Cohen, welcome to Food Exposed. Dr. Cohen: Thank you for inviting me. Jackie Keller: Well, you know, in your book, “A Big Fat Crisis,” you talk about changing the conversation around obesity. Tell me more about that. I hear people talk about diet all day long, and clearly, as a country, we’re awash in food. Everywhere you turn, there’s an opportunity to eat, and we all know you can’t eat constantly. I own a food business, and a lot of industry is driven around food business. How do we reconcile that segment of the economy with having too much food and temptation? Dr. Cohen: Okay. The problem we have now, with the obesity epidemic, is that we generally consider this an individual problem. If we continue to do that, we will never change this issue. We have to think of this as a public health crisis at this point. You mention the statistics. Two out of three adults are overweight or obese and we have this huge increase in chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. It’s making our health care costs soar. So, instead, we have to really look at what’s underlying this epidemic. In my view, the problem is that we have allowed our country to be turned into a food swamp. Jackie Keller: Oh my. Dr. Cohen: So, and you’ve mentioned it! There’s food everywhere you go. Jackie Keller: That’s true. Dr. Cohen: The problem is that when we see food, it makes us feel hungry. If it’s convenient, if it’s in front of us, it encourages impulse buying and impulse eating. Unfortunately, that’s the way human beings are designed. It’s in our DNA to eat when food is available. There are so many studies that show that if you serve people more than they need, they will eat more than they should. So, if we really look at the underlying causes, the problem is our restaurants- they serve way too much food, too much salt, too much sugar, too much fat, too many calories- and it’s our supermarkets, which encourage us to buy foods that increase our risk of chronic diseases. Jackie Keller: Oh. So, there are many people who literally can’t control their urge to eat, and eat the wrong foods? Dr. Cohen: Well, look, that’s most of us. Remember, two out of three people are eating more calories than they burn in physical activity. So, that’s the normal person. Jackie Keller: Wow. Dr. Cohen: As I said, we’ve done studies where you serve people too much food. People automatically eat more than they should. The problem is that we have this misperception of human nature. We tend to think that people are in full control of everything they do. We think that if we choose something and put it in our mouths, it was our deliberate decision. The truth is that most of our behaviors are actually automatic, and they occur without our intention or conscious control. So, just think about eating. If you were watching a movie and had a bowl of popcorn in your lap, as you’re watching the picture, you can take your hands, put them in the popcorn bowl, put the popcorn in your mouth, chew it, and swallow it all without paying attention, without directing that to happen. We can do it automatically. We can keep eating, and we won’t even know that we’re finished until there’s nothing left in the bowl, right? That was an automatic behavior. We can do it unconsciously, without intention, without deliberation, and without any effort. We were designed that way. Eating is an automatic behavior. Jackie Keller: My goodness. You mention in the book- and, by the way, what a great title. Dr. Cohen: Thank you. Jackie Keller: It’s a wonderful book- that we don’t fully control our senses. How does that tie into advertising and personal choice? Dr. Cohen: Okay. So, we don’t control our senses much, at all. You know, if we hear a sound, you know, we’ll automatically turn toward that sound. We don’t think, “Oh, I heard a sound. I better turn my head.” It’s the other way around. You know, if we see a tempting food, we will automatically start salivating. We don’t tell ourselves, “Okay body, start salivating and feel hungry.” No! That happens as a reflexive response to food. That’s the problem. We have food all around us, and it’s causing this reflex, which we cannot control. No one can control that. It makes us feel hungry. What we can partly control is whether we act on those feelings of hunger and desire. Basically, the market has figured out what increases the chances that we will act on those desires. So, they’ve set up restaurants and supermarkets to lead us to buy more and eat more than we really should. Jackie Keller: So, you talk in the book about the food environment being at the root of the problems today. One example might be the supermarket example. Can you give us some others? Dr. Cohen: Yeah. So, I mean, let’s go back to restaurants. Right now, when we go out to eat, we’ll be, 95% of the time, increasing our risk of a chronic disease, just by going to a restaurant. Jackie Keller: Oh, my goodness. Dr. Cohen: Yeah! That’s because restaurants will serve you more food than you need, right? If you get too many calories at one meal, it’s very hard to compensate later, because people also have a very limited ability to track what they eat. You know, they’ve done all kinds of studies. They ask people, “What did you eat in the last 24 hours?” Jackie Keller: Right, a recall. Dr. Cohen: Most people under-report by anywhere from 200 to 1,000 calories. The average person doesn’t remember eating what constitutes a full meal. Jackie Keller: Wow. Dr. Cohen: So, you know, four to five to 600 calories, we won’t even realize. Again, it’s because we’re not paying attention to what we’re eating. You know, we can eat, and I can talk to you , or drive a car, or watch T.V., and that means we’re not tracking what we’re eating. What we’re swallowing, we can’t really keep track of that. Jackie Keller: So, I’ve heard a lot about this, sort of, eat following your intuition, your body will tell you. So, what you’re saying is that’s not so. Dr. Cohen: That is absolutely not so. People were designed to be able to eat more than they need. That’s why we have a pathway where we can convert the extra calories into fat. If we could only eat what we needed, we wouldn’t be storing fat. So, we’re actually designed to eat more than we need. Jackie Keller: So, what would you recommend that we push for? Is this something that should be legislated? How does that work with personal choice? Dr. Cohen: Okay. Well, we legislate a lot of things to protect people who are at risk. So, we legislate the quality of the water that’s in our pipes and comes through the faucet, so people don’t automatically get exposed to toxins and things that will make them sick. Well, we can do something like that when it comes to the food environment, because right now, we’ve allowed businesses to put all of us at risk. We’re at risk every time we dine out. We’re at risk every time we go to the supermarket. One of the things I proposed in restaurants is to have standardized portion sizes. So, when we buy something, when we order something, we should be able to get that in an appropriate portion size, a standard portion size which is appropriate for one person to eat at a single serving. Jackie Keller: Well, that’s pretty controversial, because that takes away the whole value proposition… Dr. Cohen: Well, but right now… Jackie Keller: …from the equation. Dr. Cohen: Okay. But right now, if you go to the restaurant and they serve you more than what’s appropriate for you, you’re going to get sick. You’re going to increase your risk of obesity or chronic disease. If I wanted to go out and eat, and not get sick, I don’t have that option. So, if every restaurant would just have it available in a single, standardized portion, then it would be up to me. It would be up to every consumer to decide, to choose one portion or not. If someone wanted two portions, they could, but right now, we have no way to estimate what we’re getting. I have to tell you, we already have portion standards when it comes to alcohol. If we order a drink, whether it’s a beer, wine, or a shot of liquor, the amount we get only has 0.6 ounces of ethanol. Jackie Keller: Okay. Dr. Cohen: Right, so we can gauge our risk of becoming drunk. You know, if you renew your license at the DMV, you’ll get some information that tells you how many drinks you can have and then it would be safe to drive, right? People can gauge that by counting their drinks. We don’t have that for food, and that’s all I’m proposing. It’s not taking away people’s right to choose to eat as much as they want. It’s just a system that will allow people to track how much they’re getting, and to not be put at risk every time they go out to eat. Jackie Keller: Fascinating. Wow. Well, speaking of personal choice, I thought we’d take a few minutes today, in the kitchen, for putting together some great choices for managing a healthy diet. Dr. Cohen: Okay. Jackie Keller: I know that portion control is a big issue for many, many people, and i think that food labeling in restaurants and fast food operations is a step in the right direction, but I think it’s going to be awhile before we get to the point where the government is going to step in further. I know that there have been some attempts to do that. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. You know, every restaurant already has portion sizes, they’re just different for every single restaurant. Jackie Keller: That’s very true. Dr. Cohen: If they would all get on the same page, then people would have the option to choose. It would give people the power to choose how much they’re eating. Right now, we don’t have that choice. We just get whatever they give us. If it’s too much, tough on us; tough on us! You know, people actually don’t have the capacity to estimate volume just by looking at it. We have a limit when it comes to, you know, figuring out how many jelly beans are in the jar, right? That’s what they’re asking us to do. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Dr. Cohen: Most people can’t do that. In general, we underestimate. The larger something is, the less we think is in it. So, it really puts us at a huge disadvantage. I mentioned about what restaurants can do, but one of the things we need to do with supermarkets is to do something about all the impulse marketing that they have, candy at the cash register, chips and sodas on the end of aisles. It turns out that where they place the food in the supermarket determines what we buy. Jackie Keller: Yeah. I’m not surprised. Dr. Cohen: Who would think that the placement of something would make us buy something or not? But it does. So, when they put that stuff that we need to avoid in front of our faces, it triggers our impulse buying, and again, it’s a risk factor for making us sick. Jackie Keller: Well, I think understanding that association is something that we need to talk more about. Dr. Cohen: Right, absolutely. Jackie Keller: That’s why I’m so glad that you put it in this book. Dr. Cohen: And you know, one of the things that we do, at least for alcohol, is that we don’t allow alcohol to be sold at the cash register. We don’t allow it in vending machines. There are some regulations that don’t allow alcohol within five feet of the register in California. It’s against the law. Or, five feet of the front door when you go to a gas station. So, we could certainly have a regulation on where things could be placed. It wouldn’t prevent people from getting whatever they want, but it would assure that, when we got something, it was deliberate. If we have to go and look for something at the third aisle, on the bottom shelf, then you know you really wanted it. Jackie Keller: Right. Dr. Cohen: But if you’re just grabbing it because it’s there, and it’s an automatic, sort of unconscious thing, that’s something we could protect people from without limiting their free choice. Jackie Keller: Well, very interesting. We’ll have to see how that evolves. Dr. Cohen: Yes! Jackie Keller: Now, let’s go to the kitchen and talk about choosing fruits and vegetables. Dr. Cohen: All right! Jackie Keller: All right. Dr. Cohen: Let’s go. Jackie Keller: So, today I thought we’d spend a few minutes talking about the value proposition for foods that are healthy. I think there’s a perception that healthy foods are expensive and that people don’t buy things that are healthy because they cost too much, and availability is an issue if it’s healthy food. But, you know, as you and I both know, in the world of plants, economy is the byproduct of it being plant based. Also, availability, we’re fortunate. We live her in California, and we have fruits and vegetables in abundance. I wanted to share a recipe for a vegetable curry, which I thought would be quick, easy, and fun to make. I’ve cut up a bunch of vegetables here, that we can put into the pan all at once. It’s one of those one pot wonders, you know. You don’t have to mess with it. The longest part of preparing a dish like this, of course, is cutting everything and chopping. Once you have that down, or you buy frozen, which is another option, it’s really a quick fix as far as healthy meals are concerned. Let’s talk for a minute, if we could, about portion sizes and value. So, I brought along an onion. We talked before the show, and you mentioned that it looked like a really big onion, and it must be at least a pound of onion. In fact, weighing it, we realized, yes it is a pound of onion. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. That’s an extra large onion. Jackie Keller: That’s an extra large onion. Of course, I have some here, chopped and ready to go, but… Dr. Cohen: So, you would probably be able to get three of those in this one onion. Jackie Keller: Exactly. That one onion might cost $0.69, $0.79. In a cheap market, or a less expensive market, it might cost half of that. Dr. Cohen: Maybe 30 or 40 cents, yeah. Jackie Keller: So, that’s three or four servings of onion… Dr. Cohen: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Depending on your recipe. I also prepared a little bit of broccoli, and I brought a broccoli stalk, and this one is just about six ounces, so about one-third of a pound of broccoli. Dr. Cohen: Okay. Jackie Keller: Clearly, you would get at least this much out of it, if not more. This is a 12 ounce cup. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. I think a pound of broccoli is something like 10 servings. Jackie Keller: So, you know, we see, quickly, how inexpensive it is to put all these together. So, let’s start by seasoning our pan with a little bit of the onion that I brought. I’m going to add in a little bit of curry powder, because, you know, I think a vegetable curry is a really easy dish to prepare. Dr. Cohen: How do you know how much to shake out? Do you ever measure it? Jackie Keller: Well, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I no longer measure. Dr. Cohen: Just covering up the onion. Jackie Keller: Exactly, exactly. By toasting the curry, it brings out the flavor in the curry powder. It tastes a little bit of the… Curry can be pretty sharp. Doesn’t that smell wonderful? Dr. Cohen: It smells so good! Jackie Keller: Let’s talk for a minute, while the vegetables are sauteing, about smell and purchase decisions. That’s probably something you’ve researched a bit, too. Dr. Cohen: Not really. Jackie Keller: No; because, I know you talked about the physical appearance of food at the register affecting a purchase decision? Dr. Cohen: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Do you think that the smell, as well, makes a difference? Dr. Cohen: Well, I think most vegetables don’t have much of a smell. Some of the leafy green vegetables might smell, like arugula has a fabulous smell. But I haven’t noticed a smell for broccoli or celery, just when it’s cold. Maybe after it cooks, it has a smell. Jackie Keller: Right. Well, you know, I ask because I know, when you’re selling a house, they bake cookies or do something that has cinnamon to make the house smell good, because it affects people psychologically. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. I think fruits have a wonderful smell. Jackie Keller: Let’s talk for a minute about, I brought a cantaloupe. Dr. Cohen: You brought a cantaloupe. That probably has a great smell. Jackie Keller: Of course, a cantaloupe like that weighs about a pound. Usually, you buy them by the piece. Quite often, a cantaloupe like that will be maybe $2.00 or something like that. Two dollars, two for four, or something like that. Dr. Cohen: Uh-huh. Jackie Keller: Typically, again, servings, I would guess that you would get eight average servings, so, again, about $0.25 per serving. Dr. Cohen: Right. Jackie Keller: So, I’ve put in here, our onion, carrots, bell peppers, and celery. We can add in some broccoli. We’ve got even a little bit of cauliflower here. You see, what’s here, visually, is we’re creating something that has this wonderful pallet of color. Dr. Cohen: Yeah, beautiful. Jackie Keller: Really, we eat first with our nose. So, we want to make it smell right. If it passes the nose test, it goes to the eyes, because after the age of three, you no longer put things in your mouth that look bad or smell bad. Then, if it passes the eyes and the nose, we’ll taste it. Dr. Cohen: The purple is beautiful. Jackie Keller: Isn’t that pretty? Dr. Cohen: Yeah. Jackie Keller: You know, just a little bit of purple cabbage. And again, talk about affordable, this is maybe 10 cents a serving. The other vegetables range in price. Some zucchini here form 15 or 20 cents a serving. Dr. Cohen: Yeah. Jackie Keller: So, we put in, let’s see, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight different kinds of vegetables. All right, and let’s say, on the average, there in a little bit more seasoning, because our volume here has grown. Let’s say 25 cents an average serving size. So, we’ve created a dish here that will easily serve four or five people, maybe with a little brown rice at the bottom. Maybe some potatoes could be added to it to complement the vegetables. But, we’re talking about something that has a price point per serving. Dr. Cohen: Right. It’s affordable, definitely affordable. You know, the USDA has done research on what vegetables do cost, and I don’t think anywhere in the country, vegetables are more than, at the most, 50 cents a serving. You know, the USDA guidelines for Americans say that the average person needs four and one-half cups of fruits and vegetables every single day. Jackie Keller: Wow. Dr. Cohen: Four and one-half cups. That means, if you divide it across three meals, that’s one and one-half cups per meal. Jackie Keller: Right. Dr. Cohen: You know, fruits and vegetables, people forget that they need that every day, and if they don’t get it every meal, then they’re going to somehow have to compensate. Jackie Keller: Right. Dr. Cohen: If you didn’t get it at breakfast or lunch, try getting all four and one-half cups at dinner. Jackie Keller: Yeah, it’s… Both: Not going to happen. Dr. Cohen: Right? Jackie Keller: Right. Dr. Cohen: That’s why it’s really important to spread it out, because it’s pretty hard to eat it all at once. The volume is so great. What’s so nice about it is that it does fill you up. Jackie Keller: Right. All that fiber really makes you feel full. I am wondering, now that we’ve got this colorful, wonderful, beautiful dish… Dr. Cohen: Uh-huh. Jackie Keller: Is your salivary glands, are we feeling it a little bit? Dr. Cohen: Yeah, I’m feeling it. Especially that smell, it’s so lovely. Jackie Keller: How about if I ask you to taste, will you take a bite? Dr. Cohen: Okay. Jackie Keller: All right, let’s dish it up. Just a little bit, because I know it’s hot; again, just realizing that the color is so lovely and so welcoming. Dr. Cohen: All right. Jackie Keller: Here you go. Dr. Cohen: All right. Jackie Keller: Now, obviously, a little bit more time, and we… Dr. Cohen: I’m going for that carrot, uh-huh. Yummy, that is really good. Jackie Keller: Thank you. Thank you so much! Dr. Cohen: I’m going for these carrots. Jackie Keller: That bright orange color really attracts us, right? It’s the color of health. So, Dr. Cohen, Debra, I know that people will want to follow your work. Of course, your book is available on Amazon. Dr. Cohen: Yes. Jackie Keller: That’s where I found it. Dr. Cohen: It is a Kindle book, too. Jackie Keller: A Kindle book, too. It’s an easy read, a great read, but how else can people find you? Dr. Cohen: Well, I’m at the Rand Corporation. You can look at the Rand website and see the work that I’m doing. I do hope that you’ll read the book, and in the book there’s a chapter on what people can do about this obesity epidemic. I think the first thing is really that we have to stop blaming ourselves. You know, nobody wants to be fat. I don’t think anyone is deliberately trying to eat too much and exercise too little. It’s really the environment that’s creating this situation that is undermining our long-term goals. So, we’ve got to do what we’ve done with other issues in public health, you know, have some standards, and have some way to control the environment so that it doesn’t put as at risk every time that we step out the door. We have standards for cars, so we don’t crash, so cars don’t explode, and so cars don’t catch fire. We have regulations that check that out. We have standards for water. We have standards for air. We have standards for housing. Just imagine if we didn’t have railings on stairs. We’d be falling, and would we blame ourselves? No. We realize that, by not having a system that keeps us safe, we’re at risk. That’s what’s happened with the food environment. We have nothing that protects us from being overwhelmed with too much food making us feel hungry when we don’t need to eat. That’s the problem. Just, let’s target where the source is, and then we can all be healthy effortlessly. Jackie Keller: Wouldn’t that be great? Dr. Cohen: Right. That’s what it would be. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Dr. Cohen: If people didn’t serve us too much and make us buy food that would make us sick, we would be healthy. Jackie Keller: Well… Dr. Cohen: That’s the way I look at it. Jackie Keller: It’s a great read. We’ll definitely keep in touch, and see how we’re doing as a society. Dr. Cohen: Okay. Jackie Keller: I hope you’ll come back and visit us again. Dr. Cohen: All right. Thanks for having me. Jackie Keller: Thank you again for coming. Dr. Cohen: All right. My pleasure. Jackie Keller: My coaching moment today is about the experience of choice. In his book, “Why We Do What We Do,” Edward D.C. says, “At the heart of human freedom is the experience of choice.” As a coach, I talk to people in terms of making their own choices and forging their own path all the time. The entire premise of coaching, in fact, is built on the assumption that if you can help people unlock their own intrinsic motivation, they will be empowered to do most anything. So, it’s surprising, then, that we don’t expect our experts to open the doors of decision making for us. We expect to be told what to do, but research shows that, while being told or controlled is the easy answer, it assumes that the promise of reward or the threat of punishment will make the offenders comply. Anyone who’s ever raised a child, or tried to compel somebody to do something, knows just how true that is. However, when we’re controlled or compelled to do something, we act the part, but we don’t necessarily live it. So consider this; compliance and defiance exist in an unstable partnership. We’re often told to do it someone else’s way to survive or succeed, yet fulfillment lies in living the most unique expression of ourselves. A very wise boss of mine once told it to me like this, and I will always remember Neal Salinger for telling me, “We all operate out of our own mutual self-interest. The trick is to find people whose self interest is mutually aligned with yours.” John Steinbeck, in his book , “East of Eden,” says that the Hebrew word, timshel, “thou mayest,” that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says, “The way is open,” and that throws it right back on a man. For, if thou mayest, it is also true, thou mayest not. That’s my show for today. Join me next week on Food Exposed as we take a look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed, check me out on empowerme.tv, and until next week, remember: Make food your best friend, and exercise your companion for life.

University High School Teacher Kerry Eich On Teaching Students About Nutrition

Episode 111 University High School Teacher Kerri Eich on… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take an inside look at what’s on your plate. I’m your host Jackie Keller and I’m the Founding Director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. I’m also a firm belief in community participation and education. It is this belief that has taken me in many different directions. One of the more recent examples is my involvement with the Michelle Obama Initiative, and Let’s Move and the Chef’s Move to Schools movement. The Chefs Move to Schools Movement was founded in May 2010 and it’s an integral part of First Lady, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. The goal is to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. When my children were in elementary school, I visited their classrooms and did cooking programs with the kids on a regular basis. Like most parents I found this very gratifying and I had a ball doing it. Young children are so easy to please. As my kids got older and the average weight of school age crept higher and higher, I was determined to continue my involvement. Over the past 20 years, obesity rates among children have more than doubled resulting in one third of the children and adolescents in the United States now classified as overweight or obese. The U.S. Surgeon General estimates 70% of these obese children will grow to become obese adults and will be susceptible to serious health problems. Here are a couple of other surprising statistics about children. These are from the CDC study in school health policies and practices. On the nutrition front only 14.8% of school districts required that students be offered a self-serve salad bar. Just 38% of districts require that schools prohibit advertisements for junk food or fast food restaurants on school property. On the physical education front, 59% of districts require that elementary schools provide students with regularly scheduled recess, but only 10.8% of districts require that middle schools provide physical activity breaks outside of physical education. 2% of districts require that high schools do so. There are a number of issues with physical activities in schools and there are also a number of school garden programs popping up all over the country. We’re especially lucky here in California because our climate is so conducive to outdoor gardening. Why have school gardens? Again, the CDC gives us this startling statistic. The majority of America’s children go without eating one serving of fruits or vegetables every day. Without eating one! So while schools are not the only place that our kids eat, but schools can help with this challenge. My guest today is an expert in school gardens. She’s an expert in school nutrition and how we teach our kids about their health. Kerri Eich is the Director of the School of Environmental and Health Sciences at University High School in West Los Angeles where she has been teaching since 2001. The school converted to LAUSD’s Small Schools Format in 2008 and she led the transition to the school and Academy of Health and Environmental Sciences. Her academy classes include food sciences, physiology and environmental science. She also envisioned and created a large school garden which was built in 2011. It includes a native pollinator garden and she raises crops on a one acre urban campus farm with the help of 90 food science students. Kerri also coaches men’s volleyball and teaches health classes. In addition to the Master’s Degree she currently holds, she’s adding another Masters in Nutrition Science. On top of it all, she is the mother of two young children. Kerri, welcome to Food Exposed. Kerri Eich: Thanks, Jackie. It’s a pleasure to be here. Jackie Keller: Thank you so much for coming. I know you had to get out of school for this, right? Kerri Eich: Yes. I did. I have a sub in my classroom. My kids were excited I got to go and they promised… They wanted me to say hello to you because they are excited that you’re coming next week. Jackie Keller: I am coming next week. Tell me more about your program. Tell the audience more about your program. I know the part that I’m involved with which is the classroom cooking and we’ve been doing that for the better part of a year or two years now. You’ve also converted your classroom into a pretty well-stocked kitchen. What did it take to get that accomplished? Kerri Eich: Back in 2008 we wrote a grant. Four or five other teachers and I wrote a grant for a California Partnership Academy Grant. That gave us funding to transition our newly developed small school into having an academy which focuses on a career- tech pathway. We’re focused on preventative health around community and public health. I saw this need. I was teaching health. I’ve taught P.E. for six years at my high school. I have a P.E. credential, a health credential and an art credential. I saw the need… Even as I was teaching health, the students’ habits weren’t really changing. It wasn’t integrated enough into action-based learning. I presented to the principal… We had an area that we were going to be moving into and there were four or five buildings on it that were taken down because it was on a fault line. So the contractors came in and put in a bunch of plants that didn’t needed very much maintenance. The contractor was walking through with the principal and I tagged along. He was hoping to get another contract to maintain the plants that didn’t need much maintenance. I looked at him and looked at my principal and said, “I kind of want to take over this space over here.” He showed me a plot of land that was about six foot by ten foot. I said, “That’s not really going to work for us. We have a lot of kids here. We want to do something important.” And then I said, “Potentially I kind of want to take over this hillside over here.” My principal is pretty easy going and forward-thinking so he was just like, “All right.” He just kind of shook his head and was like, okay. I measure it by my son’s age because it took a long time to get the contractors to finish what they were doing. They had to install all of the plants and the trees on the hillside by contract before we could even go in there. So the day that my son was born, I got a text from my principal saying, “You’re good to build your garden.” Jackie Keller: Oh my goodness. Kerri Eich: So I had the support from the Environmental Media Association, United Talent Agency and Mud Barron and the L.A. Conservation Corp. What we did is we came together with about $10 thousand of funding from United Talent Agency to build about 900 square feet of raised bed gardens. Jackie Keller: That’s wonderful. Kerri Eich: About four months prior to this, I’d had a neighbor in the community, Don Smith, who is really into gardens and was helping out at the Venice Learning Garden. He said, “I’d like to come and volunteer at your garden.” Little did I know, he was a soil science wiz and an all-around great guy. He designed our garden beds based on some ideas that I gave him and after nine designs we put it in place. We also built little amphitheater seating area so there was a place for the kids to sit so we could come out and learn in the garden. From there we just kind of expanded. I sat in my principal’s office maybe six to nine months after we started our garden and I was in the assistant principal’s office and he was like, “Hey, Kerri. Everything’s going great. When are you going to expand your garden?” So I said, “Pretty soon.” You don’t just get those invitations very often. Then about another two weeks later I was sitting in the principal’s office and we have a tie-in’s program with UCLA. She said that they had 50 volunteers that wanted to do something. I said, “Well, we’re going to expand our garden to create the food forest, maybe we could do this.” The principal was sitting there and was like, “All right. Okay.” From there on out, that was Earth Day 2012, we put in 40 fruit bearing trees, food- bearing trees into the food forest on the second half of the hillside and since then we’ve just expanded and the kids have gone with it. Jackie Keller: What are the biggest challenges that you find dealing…? It sounds like you’ve figured out the administration and how to get what you need out of the administration and maybe out of the community in terms of financial support. But you’re dealing with a tough population. Let’s face it. High school is a difficult age. I wasn’t an easy high schooler. I don’t know what kind of a high schooler you were. My kids are past high school age now. What are the biggest challenges dealing with high school aged kids? Kerri Eich: You’ve got to let them be kids. You have to know where they are coming from. Our kids are coming to school… I counted the zip codes one time. Ninety-three zip codes, over 23 languages spoken in the home and we have about 1,800 kids on campus. Jackie Keller: Wow. Kerri Eich: Of those kids, many of them haven’t had a good breakfast. They all like food. Everybody likes food, especially the kids if they are having to travel quite a distance to get to school, they are all hungry. I found something that they all like to do. They all like to cook. I have kids ask me all over campus, “What are we cooking this week, Miss Eich?” Those are kids that wouldn’t even talk to me before. They are excited about the garden too. They see things. They see change happen. I ask the kids to give me some comments about things that they learned from cooking and from gardening and they’re like, “Miss Eich. Gardens are really like people. Like raising humans.” I feel like my students have become more in touch with their human side because they’ve had the opportunity to create something that’s alive and watch it grow. Jackie Keller: Wow. Kerri Eich: I really think that has shape-shifted how they see food. How they see each other. It’s pretty exciting. Jackie Keller: Yes. It sounds like it is. I know when I come to the classroom, the kids are always very receptive. Whatever it is that I have planned, they’re on the plan and they’ll go along with it. Yes, there’s an element that hangs back and doesn’t get involved. The two cool kids that don’t want to be a part of it, but over the months and now over a year that we’ve been doing this together, I see even more excitement and involvement on the part of the kids and a real interest in fruits and vegetables. I’m excited to see that because my whole thing is that we need a more plant-based diet. Kerri Eich: Right. Jackie Keller: Do you find resistance to the fact that it’s healthy as opposed to junky? Kerri Eich: They come into the classroom with their Lipton Brisk Tea’s and I’m like, “Okay. Put away the sugar water.” We don’t always cook with meat. We mostly cook with plants. They want to bring those things in because that’s what they’re used to. In their reflections that they’ve been writing to me, I’ve been seeing they are like, “Oh. Well, healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad. It actually tastes good.” There’s a lot of things they’ve never been exposed to. I think a new habit takes several experiences to really appreciate that habit and start to have it engrained with anybody. So we’re really trying to show students how they can make positive changes in their life with just a few plants and that plants are pretty cool. That’s definitely fun to see them change. Jackie Keller: Before we go to the kitchen, and I did prepare something today that I thought would be fun to cook with you sort of along the lines of what we do in the classroom. I was wondering if you could share with us the best way that the community can support you in your efforts. Kerri Eich: I think, really, just getting involved. I think any school that’s within your vicinity that is easy accessible for you to go to, I think that if you are interested in gardening and nutrition, if you have something to offer, then you should go get in touch with people in the main office. Figure out who to talk to at that school and say you want volunteer. Schools are dying for volunteers. I feel like since a lot of schools around here have gates up or fences up, that they feel inaccessible. I think that the one thing that has really helped me… I don’t have a great background in plants, but I’ve just been learning as I go, it’s getting the community involved and realizing that it’s okay to ask for help. This is a community that we share. It’s everybody responsibility to bring our human population to raise our awareness and change the way we think about food. It can’t just be one family or one person at a time. Those interactions in the classroom… You’re a one to 30 or 40 ratio with teacher to student in some of these classrooms, so the more volunteers you have, the more conversations you can have and the more positive the influence will be. Jackie Keller: Great. Let’s do some cooking. Kerri Eich: All right. Jackie Keller: Kerri, I thought today what we would do is a little quick stir fry. I know we’ve done some of this kind of stuff in the class and you’re probably working on something that you can bring into the conversation as well with what you’re doing in the classroom right now. Getting kids focused on something that they can eat with their hands and that they can cook in a few minutes that uses some of what they can find inexpensively in the market or in the food forest on campus. I thought this would be a great way to put together a simple lettuce wrap kind of thing. Kerri Eich: Okay. Great. Jackie Keller: This would be the kind of thing that you might make at lunch or for lunch. I’m starting with a little bit of fresh ginger. As you know from our classroom cooking, we usually try to start with something that looks and smells good. I can already smell that ginger . . . Kerri Eich: Yeah, ginger. Jackie Keller: . . . coming. Of course, we know it’s a great digestive aid as well. Kerri Eich: Yeah. Jackie Keller: Always a little onion to accent the flavors. When we cook in your class you have some burners, right? Then you have electrical equipment. Kerri Eich: Yes. We have a makeshift kitchen. We didn’t even have sink until about a year and a half ago when our celebrity garden sponsor, Emily VanCamp came in and we’d made here some Swiss chard wraps and she said, “How do you do this without a sink?” So she helped us get a sink, but we make-shifted our whole kitchen in the back of our classroom. We have some portable burners that we bring in. We have cupboards that we’ve installed all through the help of our CPA grants and other people within the community. It’s exciting to make lettuce wraps today. I’ve got two different students. We’ve got our 6th Annual Health and Fitness Fair coming up April 10th and I have two students trying to make lettuce wraps. So I’m doing a healthy food challenge with the students, so kids are teaming up in groups three to five and they are creating a healthy dish that they have to prepare for the class. Then the top 10 dishes will be chosen to be served at the fair for healthy food tasting. Jackie Keller: Cool. Now who’s deciding which are the top ten? Kerri Eich: The students are choosing. They’re voting on the top ten based on some of the same principles we did in the fall for our food day challenge. The kids are very excited about it and they’ve come up with some very interesting recipes. We’ve got two different lettuce wraps that they are going to try to make. So I’m excited. Jackie Keller: Great. Let me tell you what I’ve done here because while you’ve been talking I’ve been sort of tossing stuff in here. So we started with the ginger and then a little green onion or scallion. Then I added some shitake mushroom that I soaked and stemmed and sliced. I’ve got some chicken breast meat here which I cut into small enough dice that it would cook really, really quickly. I’ve added to that some cut up bok choy. Of course, any of these vegetables can be swapped out for something else. Kerri Eich: Right. Jackie Keller: I put in some water chestnuts because I had them. If I didn’t have them, we’d leave them out. Maybe we would put celery or something else crunchy. I know when we cook together in class we talk about the fact that it’s cooking. It’s science, but it’s not science science. Being constrained by a recipe in a situation like this really doesn’t make a lot of sense. What you’re going to want to do is pick the things you have on hand or are affordable. For seasoning, I know that you have to watch gluten. When I come to cook in your class we are very sensitive to gluten because you have a gluten free… Kerri Eich: I have a couple of students who are celiac. Jackie Keller: Yes. So I’m using tamari here which is a gluten-free naturally brewed sodium. A naturally brewed soy sauce. This is a low sodium variety. Kerri Eich: Great. Jackie Keller: Hoisin sauce. Now, hoisin does have a little gluten in it, but since we’re not in front of your class right now, we’re just cooking for taste you can add in a couple of spoonfuls of that for flavor. Of course, if you needed to be mindful of certain ingredients, you would just leave them out in this circumstance. I’ve also brought something that we’ve been doing at NutriFit. In our garden and our farm we’ve actually started doing some hydroponic farming. Kerri Eich: That’s awesome. Jackie Keller: Yes. So this is one of our hydroponic lettuces. Kerri Eich: Beautiful. Jackie Keller: You can see… Kerri Eich: The roots. Jackie Keller: There’s the little root ball. Kerri Eich: Oh. That’s really neat. Jackie Keller: Isn’t that neat? Kerri Eich: Yeah. Jackie Keller: You grow it in this little net. They’re called nests, but they are really some little things. They just grow so beautifully. So if you want to grab a couple of lettuce leaves there that look good for wrapping, our mixture is already done. That’s how quickly it cooks. Kerri Eich: That’s great. We have lettuce popping up all over the garden that has seeded itself in different places. Jackie Keller: We call them volunteers. Kerri Eich: My dad always says that a recipe is a source of inspiration to help the cook. It can be led in the kitchen, but it always doesn’t have to be followed. I’ve been trying to help the kids understand that. Jackie Keller: Yeah. It’s a tough concept when you feel uncertain of your own knowledge base, but I think… Why don’t you see what you can do as far as getting that one together? Kerri Eich: I always talk to the kids about chemistry. If chemistry is involved like in baking, then we really need to follow the recipe. If there’s no chemistry and it’s just cooking, we can make it… Let’s see. I’m going to fold it over a little bit. There we go. Sorry. Jackie Keller: Let me see if I can… Kerri Eich: See if you can go over that a little better. Jackie Keller: Let’s put this guy aside and we’ll see if we can get this one to behave. Sometimes it does and sometimes you just can’t put too much in there. Which is kind of good from a portion control standpoint. You can use small amounts of the filling and a lot of lettuce leaves. That way you end up getting a lot of… There you go. That one’s more like a little bit more… Kerri Eich: Let me just try to fix this one. Jackie Keller: Now what I want you to do is I want you to taste that one. Kerri Eich: Okay. I’ll taste it. Jackie Keller: All right. Kerri Eich: Yum. Jackie Keller: Tell me how we did. Kerri Eich: Mmm. Jackie Keller: So maybe this will be one idea that your students come up with. Kerri Eich: Yeah. Right. I like the crunch. The crunch from the water chestnuts and the bok choy. It’s really nice. Jackie Keller: Right. Good. Good. Kerri Eich: Thank you. Jackie Keller: As simple as that is as simple as it can be. When it comes to healthy food and healthy cooking it doesn’t have to be complicated and I’m so thrilled that you came to talk to us today a little bit about your exploration in the kitchen and food forestry. I know that our audience will want to stay connected to you in order to follow not only your progress at school, but the other things you’re actively involved with as well. What’s the best way for them to reach you? Kerri Eich: I have a simple e-mail. It’s [email protected] You can e-mail me. Otherwise, I’m at University High School in West L.A. We have UniversityofWildcats.org is the school website. U-N-I-A-H-E-S.com is our academy website. Jackie Keller: Great. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m looking forward to joining you next week in your classroom. I just couldn’t be more thrilled that you came all the way over and spent this time with me this afternoon. Kerri Eich: Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here. Jackie Keller: We’ll see you again soon. Kerri Eich: All right. Sounds good. See you next week. Jackie Keller: My coaching moment today comes to a workshop that I love to present and have many, many times. It’s called Brain Boosters: Improving Your Memory. Let’s face it, we’re all concerned about forgetting what we really want to remember. In this presentation I talk about the value of attaching to memories using our different senses like smell, touch, taste and sight. We all know how powerful some of these memories can be. Like the smell of your favorite food. The touch of a soft object you carried around as a child. We also have auditory memories like remembering the words or melody to your favorite song. And symbolic memories like the V for victory or peace. These memories which are made in the hippocampus area of the brain are formed, organized and stored from sensory memories. It turns out that gardening also helps us with memory formation and retention. How? The sense of touch and smell are all involved in gardening as are spatial relations. These important activities help the brain form memories. Let’s not forget that being outside, gardening means you’re being active and that helps you remember more as well by oxygenating the brain and improving blood flow to the brain. It helps you remember, but it also helps improve your health overall. Associating the activity with a sensory experience using multiple senses, using physical cues like clenching your fist to cement a memory, or repeating something out loud multiple times, all of that will help you remember. You want more memory aids? Contact me through this show at emPOWERme.tv or at NutriFitOnline.com. Thanks for joining me today. Please tune in next week for another look at what’s on your plate with Food Exposed. For more Food Exposed, check me out on emPOWERme.tv and until next week remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

Denim Designer Kearstin Nuckles talks the Right Fit

Episode 110 Denim Designer Kearstin Nuckles talks the Right… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take an inside look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller, and I’m the Founding Director of NutriFit. We’re Los Angeles premiere healthy food company, and today we’re talking about a universal subject, people all over the world have in common. We’re talking about denim, how to look good in your jeans is a topic that millions of people worldwide face. We practically live in denims about four hundred fifty million pairs of jeans are sold in the U.S.A alone each year. Did you know that on the average every American owns about seven pairs of jeans? So, if you own them, or like the way they look, listen in, here are some little known denim facts. First of all, it takes about two pounds of cotton to make a single pair of jeans, and denim is currently a twelve billion dollar a year industry. Traditionally denim is made with blue and white thread sort of woven together. The blue fibers are usually more densely packed, which make the material pretty dominantly blue. Then they’re woven together to strengthen the material, and they’re dyed with indigo. In the 1930’s Levi Strauss sewed a small red flag next to one of the pockets on his jeans, and that became the very first label to be placed on an article of clothing. Designer denim was first introduced in the 1980’s. So, let’s face it, just because you can zip them up doesn’t mean they fit you, and there are really two issues when it comes to finding the best pair of jeans for your figure; the first, finding a pair that fits you, and then finding a pair that flatters you. My guest today is an expert in both of those things. In fact she’s a high end denim designer, and an expert in denim fashion, a loyal friend of mine personally, and of NutriFit Kearstin Nuckles; Kearstin, welcome to Food Exposed, thank you for joining me. Kearstin Nuckles: Thank you Jackie. Jackie Keller: You know I know you worked for Page Denim for Earnst Sewn, for Textile Elizabeth and James, and most recently for Hudson, and you’ve been involved in the world of fashion for, it’s hard to believe, twenty years. You’re the mom of two great kids, and you’re an avid triathlete. How do you balance all of that? How do you do it? Kearstin Nuckles: That’s a challenge every day, every day; it’s lots of balls in the air, and just prioritizing. Jackie Keller: Okay. So, where did denim come in? I mean, how did you get involved in the world of fashion? Kearstin Nuckles: Gosh, I was eighteen when I started in the garment industry, and started actually in t-shirts, and sort of evolved, and landed a job doing denim about ten years ago, and it stuck, and there forever more. Jackie Keller: So, so what’s the secret? I mean, how do you find a great pair of denim that actually fit you? Kearstin Nuckles: I think the number one thing is you don’t get hung up on size. I think you…A lot of women get nervous about, “Okay, I need to be a twenty-six, or I need to be a twenty-seven.” Jackie Keller: In my dreams. Kearstin Nuckles: I think the number one thing is you find a pair that looks good on you, that’s the number one thing. You forget the size; find the fit that looks good on you. Some women look good in skinny, some women look good in flares, some women look good in boots. Generally I would say most women though, is though it’s not the most fashionable thing right now, but the most flattering is the boot cut. Jackie Keller: Well, okay. Since we’re all about health and nutrition here on Food Exposed, you know are there certain types of messages that certain kind of jeans convey? I mean, I know you know there are…At one time they were a big social statement. I mean, jeans were sort of how you expressed yourself, are they still that way, like they used to be in the sixties, and the seventies? Kearstin Nuckles: I think now denim is just the staple of our wardrobe. It’s acceptable anywhere, dressed up, dressed down, light, dark, holes, no holes, I think it’s a self-expression of how you feel on any given day, and what pair of jeans you put on that makes you feel good. Jackie Keller: So, what should we know about the different kinds of jeans fabric. Kearstin Nuckles: I would say there’s basically two kinds of jean fabric, there’s rigid, and there is stretch. I’m a true denim girl, so I love my rigid’s, but I would say as far as fit, and flattering, definitely go for stretch, comfort, versatility, wear ability. Jackie Keller: Okay, yeah. So, where did that expression “skinny jeans” come from? Because, you know we all talk about looking great in your skinny jeans, and where did that come from? What’s hot in the world of denim today? Kearstin Nuckles: Well, skinny is still hot, obviously. I don’t think skinny’s ever going away. Jackie Keller: Can a big person wear skinny jeans? Kearstin Nuckles: Yes a big person can wear skinny jeans, as long as you balance out your top with the skinny. If you have more hips, if you’re a little fuller in the thigh, if you wear a top that’s a little looser you can definitely wear your skinny jeans. I would say keep it a dark wash, a clean wash, you want to elongate the lines of your body, but yes I think anybody can wear skinny jeans as long as it’s the right size, and the right fit. Jackie Keller: Now, are certain colors in, certain colors out? What about color, and…? Kearstin Nuckles: I think anything goes right now. I think that across the board in fashion everybody’s just looking for something new. So, I think prints, I think color, I think light washes, dark washes, boyfriend, destructed, everything, and anything goes right now. Jackie Keller: Boy, you’re already using terms I don’t know, like destructed, and boyfriend. What does that mean? Kearstin Nuckles: Boyfriend is generally like a slouchier baggy fit. Jackie Keller: So, you’re wearing your boyfriend’s pants? Kearstin Nuckles: Exactly, your boyfriends denim, and then destructed means holes. Jackie Keller: Okay, alright. So, speaking of color we were talking before about indigo being the main color in denim. I thought it would be fun to cook up some great blue foods, because denim is blue, right? Kearstin Nuckles: Right. Jackie Keller: Right? So, you know, how about joining me cooking up some blue foods that will make us all look great in our skinny jeans. Kearstin Nuckles: Sounds great. Jackie Keller: Are you good? Let’s go. You know, this is one of my favorite recipes Kearstin, because we get to make foods that are blue, and you know blue is not necessarily a color that we as humans associate it with healthy food, but for example, did you know that in the insect world, and in the bird world, foods that are blue are an indication of ripeness? Kearstin Nuckles: Didn’t know that. Jackie Keller: In fact, if you take a blue light, and you pass it over a banana the color that a ripe banana shows under blue light, which birds see, is blue, and that’s how they know which bananas to eat. So, anyway, that’s a little bit of food trivia. I wanted to make a dessert, kind of dessert snack that is healthy, nutritious, and blue. So, I’m going to need your help. Kearstin Nuckles: Sure. Jackie Keller: This is called Apple Blueberry Delight, and it uses fresh apples. So, we’re going to start with some sliced fresh apples, and I’ve heated up our pan here. It’s kind of hot so I’m going to put in a little bit of very healthy margarine. Now, you know that margarine’s are not always considered healthy, but this is a very healthy brand, it’s a Smart Balance brand, and basically what we’re going to do is add our sliced apples to the pan, and I’ll let you stir for me while I season it up with a little bit of sour salt, and sugar free cinnamon spice blend. We know that cinnamon of course has wonderful nutritional properties, very, very healthy. Kearstin Nuckles: Yes it is. Jackie Keller: And I’m going to add a little bit of Agave, which is a sweetener that doesn’t have the sugary side effects of sugar, or maple syrup, but it has some of that same flavor characteristic. It’s like a liquid honey, but without the sugar load. So, you can see your starting to smell that cinnamon, it’s so healthy. You know cinnamon has actually been shown to lower blood pressure. So, just adding a little cinnamon to something like this actually can bring down your blood pressure. So, once you’ve got that going we’re going to add in a little bit of orange juice, and even a little bit of orange zest. So, I’ll go ahead and do that, while you continue to stir, because we want to get that bright orange flavor, and I like to zest the orange, and then rub them on my hands to take…I love the smell of the oranges, and of course that high Vitamin C content is really healthy for skin, and helps us stay fit, and healthy, and well balanced, and all that, and then of course our blue food. Blueberries, one of my favorite, not always available fresh and in season, but when they’re not you can always use frozen blueberries in this dish, so, very simple dish. The apples are soft, you can see their not mushy, they still have nice texture; we left the peel on them so that we get that extra fiber in the dish, and then add in the blueberries. I washed them, and we can bring the heat back up a little bit, because what we want is that sizzling dessert, and you know, this is one of those dishes that you can eat it by itself in the morning, with your cereal, or just as a fruit, as a healthy way to start the day, or you can take it at night, and put it over soft vanilla low-fat ice cream, or vanilla yogurt, or something like that. Kearstin Nuckles: Yum. Jackie Keller: Which would be really good, or mix in some Greek yogurt with it. Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: So, what do you think? Kearstin Nuckles: Sounds good, looks great. Jackie Keller: It smells good too, doesn’t’ it? Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: And of course we want to stop the cooking before the blueberries sort of fall apart on us, and then give it a taste. So, are you ready? Kearstin Nuckles: I’m ready. Jackie Keller: You’re ready? Alright let’s turn this thing down. We’ll bring the heat down, and we can go ahead and dish up a little bit…and you can see nice texture. You can still tell what everything is, but we’re definitely in the blues here, and there you go. Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: I have a fork for you here. It’s kind of hot, but maybe you can give it a quick taste, see what you think. Kearstin Nuckles: See what we’ve got here. Jackie Keller: Careful…Good? Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: Yeah, well it’s good for you. Kearstin Nuckles: Delicious. Jackie Keller: Good for your figure, good for your skinny jeans, right? Kearstin Nuckles: We like that. Jackie Keller: You like that? Kearstin Nuckles: We like that. Jackie Keller: We like that, alright. Well, thank you so much for joining me today Kearstin. I really appreciate your sharing your expertise. I know that I definitely…I’m wearing my jeans today, and I’m thinking there’s so many questions I want to ask her about jeans, and fit, and color, and fashion, and where to buy, and what the price points should be. How can people find you? How can they follow you? Kearstin Nuckles: They can find me at the LALookBook.com, and on Instagram at the LA Look Book on Instagram. Jackie Keller: Great, great. Well, we’ll stay connected, and I know that we’ll all think of you when we go out to buy our next pair of skinny jeans. Thank you, Kearstin. Kearstin Nuckles: Thank you Jackie. Jackie Keller: I really appreciate your time. Kearstin Nuckles: Thank you. Jackie Keller: No matter how much spiritual practice, self-improvement, or therapy we’ve been through there’s one area where many of us still find ourselves challenged every day, and that’s the area of self- acceptance. It seems all too easy to fall into the trap of judging ourselves as inadequate, finding fault with our achievements, or our bodies, and believing our inner critical voices that insist we’ll never measure up. Self-respect it turns out is not narcissism, instead self-respect helps to build the confidence, and capacity, to create the life you want, and since you’re the only person who’s been with you from the day you were born, and is guaranteed to hang in there with you until the day you die, it might be helpful to practice the art of being a good friend to number one. I read an interesting article in psychology the other day. It was about the dysfunctional relationship that so many women have with their bodies, and it referenced some research on marriage done by Dr. John and Julie Gotman. They found that successful marriages generally have a ratio of five to one, positive to negative interactions. So, what would happen if we actually applied that science to our relationships with our bodies? For every negative thought we have about our bodies we have to think about five positive things, and for those ladies who reported and average of negative thirteen body thoughts a day that’s sixty-five positive body comments each day, could you do it? I’ll leave you today with this clever appropriate poem from none other than Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You could steer yourself in any direction that you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. You’re the guy who’ll decide where you go.” And thanks for joining me today on Food Exposed. Join us next week for another look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed check me out on EmpowerMe.tv, and until next week remember make food your best friend, and exercise your companion for life.

What Do Hydrogen Fuel Cells Have To Do With Your Health?

Episode 109 What do Hydrogen Fuel Cells have to do with… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take a close look at what’s on your plate. I’m your host Jackie Keller the Founding Director of NutriFit Los Angeles leading healthy food company, and I’m so excited about today’s show, because we’re talking about the future. We’re talking about the Honda Fuel Cell Prototype car called the FCX Clarity, but we’re also talking about how that relates to the environment, and our health. So, what exactly is a fuel cell anyway? I mean fuel cells generate electrical power quietly and efficiently without pollution. They’re unlike other power sources in that they don’t use any fossil fuels, and the only byproducts from operating the fuel cell are heat and water. So, with a fuel cell chemicals constantly flow into the cell so it never goes dead, and as long as there’s a flow of chemicals into the cell the electricity flows out of the cell, but what does this have to do with food? Well, carbon dioxide and other air pollution that’s collecting in the atmosphere is like a thickening blanket trapping the suns heat, and causing the planet to warm up. Coal burning plants are the largest U.S. source of carbon dioxide pollution, and the second largest source is, you’ve got it, automobiles. Well, the consequences of global warming, melting glaciers, early snow melts, severe droughts, they’ll all cause more dramatic water shortages in the American West, and rising sea levels are leading to coastal flooding on the eastern seaboard in Florida, and other areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico. Warmer sea surface temperatures will fuel more intense hurricanes in the Southeast Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts, forests, farms, and cities will face troublesome new pests, and mosquito borne diseases, and disruption of habitats, like coral reefs, and alpine meadows could drive many plants and animal species to extinction. In fact the world health organization estimates that over a 150,000 deaths per year can be linked to climate change, and that’s excluding deaths resulting from extreme weather conditions, like hurricanes. Heat waves and drought can cause food insecurity, and as the weather changes the range of disease carrying mosquitoes can increase. So, public health issues resulting from climate change are not insulated to vulnerable developing nations. California’s drought has put communities at risk, running out of drinking water, and the drop off in ground water means that there’s less water to dilute preexisting contaminates, which is going to lead to drinking water contamination that has high levels of pollutants that can cause health problems. More asthma attacks are another thing. But my guest today is a nature lover, an outdoorsman, a marathon runner, an avid dirt bike racer, we met at the Los Angeles Auto Show several years ago when I first saw, and fell in love with, the Honda Clarity. Steve Ellis is the Manager of Fuel Cell Marketing and Sales for Honda at American Honda, and he’s responsible for the Fuel Cell Vehicle Business Planning and the FCX Clarity deployment to retail consumers. In addition to providing guidance for Honda’s natural gas vehicle, and plug in electric vehicle programs, he is so versed in this Steve welcome to Food Exposed. Steve: Thank you, Jackie. Jackie: Tell us about your, how your professional life sort of intersects with your love of the outdoors? Steve: Sure, it was you know years ago I kind of ran my first marathon, and you learn about health effects of bad air, and smog, and things like that, and of course I also really wanted to have a role to play with solving some of those problems, and at Honda I’m really lucky that I am deploying vehicles that run on alternative fuels, and provide great value to the environment, and reduce the emissions. Jackie: Well, today people hear a lot about alternative fuels, and advanced technology in cars. There’s so much talk now about what we’re going to drive in the future. So, like you know the Jetson’s car whatever happened to that? Steve: We all had a dream of the Jetson’s car, but I think you know what you’re driving the F6 Clarity is more akin to the Jetson’s vehicle than let’s say the rest of the people, which really has its roots more like with the Flintstones car. So, we haven’t quite got to the flying ones yet, but the key here is we can run cars on fuels other than gasoline that have a significant impact on reduced smog emissions, certainly reduce dependence on oil, and also cutting CO2 emissions, and that’s what we’re doing today. Jackie: Well, you know when I think of an automaker, I think of cars, and I think of getting around, but also I think about pollution. So, what do cars have to do with healthy eating, and being fit? Steve: Well, you know in my own example, if I’m going to be out running marathons, if I’m going to be out mountain biking, and doing this healthy sports activities, certainly what I want to do is eat, eat healthy, and I think these things are synergistic. You know, if I’m going to exercise and get in shape I want to do it outdoors, it is not fun to do it if you’re constantly you know like coughing, or having trouble breathing just because of smog. So, literally there’s a connection between my role with deploying clean vehicles, and also being kind of a healthy eater, healthy lifestyle living. Jackie: Well, you connected your work with your passion for the outdoors, and with zero emissions cars, what can our viewers do about that? Steve: Well, I think people can make choices. No different than, you know, you make a lifestyle choice about eating healthier, picking healthier foods, including vegetables, and things like that. That’s the fuel for your body, so really what you can do is make a choice of which fuel you use for your car. We have alternatives, such as we have a natural gas powered Civic, the F6 Clarity a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle that only emits water as its only emission, so people can make choices. Today you have choices with battery electric vehicles, even who’s to say you can’t go to that level hybrid vehicles that get great fuel economy, and so today I think we have an array of choices we’ve never had before. Jackie: You know, you talk about the relationship between cars and the environment, what about the relationship between that motorcycles rides you’re doing and you’re diet? Steve: Well, we also have to have recreation and fun. We can’t just kind of burrow in on a single thing. So, my roots were racing motorcycles, and I did mountain bike racing, and that’s really where it all came together. You know, you’re breathing, you’re running your heart rate up to like 175, 180 at peak, you know way above the average I should be at for my age, and you can’t do that if you’re breathing bad air, you can’t do that if you’re eating the wrong foods, and I just learned a lot through my efforts with really exercising, and pushing the bodies limits to extremes that a lot of people don’t. Jackie: So, what’s next for you is motorcycle racing, mountain biking racing, another marathon? What’s next? Steve: You know it’s kind of all of the above. Jackie: Uh-oh. Steve: So, yeah I still have some dirt bike races I’m doing. I won a championship last year on that. I’m not doing LA Marathon that’s just here in a few days this year, but I’ve done a few of those, but I’m going to get that back on the radar screen, and just general recreation with bicycling, and also mountain bike racing. Jackie: Well, I bet you don’t have much time to cook? Steve: I don’t cook very much, but when I do I try to pick, make the right choices to propel it. Jackie: Well, about cooking today a little bit in the kitchen with me? Steve: Well, I’d love to do that. Jackie: I thought we could whip up something very earth friendly, and something that is very nourishing, and maybe a little good fuel for this, for the body. Steve: Well, I’m sure if I’m out running this week my body will perform admirably, because of the meal that we fixed today. Jackie: Well, join me in the kitchen. Steve: Let’s do it. Jackie: Well, Steve today it’s your day to be master chef. Steve: That isn’t likely. Jackie: I know that you don’t do a lot of cooking these days, but you still have to eat, and it’s good to know how to feed yourself the healthy way, the right way, when you want your body to perform, because your body’s a machine, and it needs the right kind of fuel, and so I thought today we would make a chicken dish with a pistachio citrus sauce, and it sounds complicated, and elegant, but it’s really, really very simple. There’s only about eight ingredients in the whole thing, and one of them of course is white meat chicken, and we’re using an organic product today, and it’s a very simple recipe, quick and easy, all right? Steve: Simple is good. Jackie: Simple is good, okay. Simple is good. So, here’s what we’re going to start with, we have a relatively hot skillet, and I can tell that because I put my hand about two inches above the surface of the pan, and I feel the heat rising, and I don’t want to get to the point where “ouch” it’s too hot. I want to get my oil, a little bit of healthy oil in there first, and this is just an organic oil that is high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, so a little tiny bit of oil to coat the bottom, and I have pre- marinated my chicken breast in a little bit of orange juice with a little bit of orange zest, just to do two things. One, that high acid marinade actually tenderizes the chicken while it’s marinating, and flavoring. So, a little bit of orange juice, a little bit of orange zest, put it in the refrigerator, you could even do this part two or three days before you were ready to cook it, because what the citrus acid does is it lowers the pH, it lowers, the pH, which means it makes more acidic, and that helps preserve the chicken. So, under refrigeration it actually lasts even longer than it would otherwise, okay? So, here’s our chicken breast it’s ready to go, and our oil is hot. Step back, because you don’t want to get this on your nice shirt there, but there we go we’ve got it in our skillet, and we’re going to get a little bit of chicken broth in there before it burns. I don’t want to add more oil, but I do want to make sure there’s enough moisture so that it cooks all the way through. So, I’m using an organic low sodium chicken broth, because we don’t need more salt in our diet than, and I like to season things with some of our salt, and sugar free spice blends, so I’m using the NutriFit Rocking’ Moroccan Blend, which has turmeric, and I don’t know if you’ve read at all about turmeric, but turmeric, which is a key ingredient in a lot of curry style spices, has a lot of wonderful, wonderful nutritional properties. So, it’s really good not just for adding color, and flavor, but actually for health. So, again as the skillet gets a little dry just add in a little bit more chicken broth, let it sort of simmer in there, and then make sure it doesn’t stick. You can turn it over and see that we are coating the chicken now with the seasoning. Now, are you an onion kind of guy? Steve: I love onions. Jackie: You love onions. Okay, so I’m going to have you do a little onion cooking here. Steve: Okay. Jackie: These are just green onions, yeah. Just slice a few on that plate for me if you would Steve. Steve: Okay, you trust me. Jackie: I do trust you, and while you’re doing that part I’m going to add some chopped pistachio nuts. Now, we know that nuts are a healthy source of fat. They’re also a healthy source of Vitamin E, and Selenium, and so we want to get these nuts in there, give that chicken broth some flavor, give it a little bit more oil to work with without adding more fat to the dish, and then looks like your… Steve: Is this how you want them? Jackie: Yeah, it’s good enough. Steve: Okay. Jackie: We’re going to cook them down a little bit with the chicken, so we want to get it in there, and get a little flavor going, and it doesn’t matter how perfectly they’re cut because they’re going to disappear in our chicken momentarily as it goes. So, shall we put that in there right now? Steve: So, I should move faster? Jackie: Well, you know what? I think we have enough to get started with, so go ahead, and put those in for me. Steve: Great. Jackie: And I’m going to add in a little bit more, I kind of cheated on you there. Steve: Okay. Jackie: And then we can just, you see let it kind of cook down. Steve: Yeah. Jackie: And together, oops, kind of making a mess in our kitchen here. Steve: That’s like me. Jackie: Yeah. Well, who does the clean up? Steve: I get the cleanup. Jackie: You do, you get to clean everything so. Steve: I clean the mess I make. Jackie: Okay, well this chicken breast because it is a plump one, and it’s going to take a few minutes to cook, I actually prepared one ahead of time. Steve: Okay. Jackie: Knowing that we wouldn’t necessarily have enough time for the chicken breast to cook all the way through, but under normal circumstances if you had fifteen minutes or so you could cover up your pot, you could let it cook to perfection, then let it rest for about three minutes before you went to slice it, it would be done perfect. We have one that’s already finished so why don’t we turn the heat down on this guy, and I’ll have you taste the one that I’ve prepared already. Steve: Awesome. Jackie: Are you ready? Steve: I’m ready to go. Jackie: You’re hungry? Steve: Of course I’m hungry. Jackie: It smells delicious, doesn’t it? Alright, well there’s a fork, and there’s your chicken. Steve: Okay. Jackie: So if you want to give yourself a, there you go, it should be fork tender. Steve: Yeah, now this cuts great. Jackie: Do you feel that, that fuel coursing through your body already? Steve: I feel powerful already. Jackie: Well, great, great. Well, you know Steve… Steve: No, that’s a great flavor. Jackie: Isn’t it nice, and it’s so simple to make? Steve: Yeah. Jackie: Even you could do it Steve. Steve: Thank you. Jackie: Okay. I know that people are excited about the Honda fuel cell technology, but they’re also interested in finding out more about, you know, what’s happening in the world of automotive technology, and what’s going on with you, what is the best way for people to follow you, and to find you? Steve: You know for that car I would say go to our website, which is FCX.honda.com, it’s dedicated to that vehicle. It lets you learn a lot about the technology from there you can branch out to the other vehicles that we have, the battery electric, the [inaudible 00:15:37], the Civic Hybrid, the Accord Hybrid, or Plug-in Hybrid, all of those, but that’s the place to learn more about it, and even kind of sign up for more information. Jackie: Okay, great. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. Steve: This was great, thank you. Jackie: It was fun, I learn something new every time I’m in your company, and I will look forward to seeing your posts on Facebook. I know you’re active on Facebook, and we can follow your dirt bike racing, and your marathon running, and your marathon biking, and look forward to staying in touch. Steve: Well great, I hope that your viewers learned something today too. Jackie: Thank you. Here’s a little story about making a difference. Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore, and as he looked down the beach he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think someone would dance to the day, so he began to walk faster to catch up, and as he got closer he saw that it was a young man, and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore picking up something, and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, “Good morning, what are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.” I guess I should have asked, “Why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?” “The sun is up, the tide is going out, if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.” “But young man, don’t you realize that there are miles, and miles, of beach, and starfish all along it you can’t possibly make a difference.” Well, the young man listened politely. Then he bent down, and he picked up another starfish, and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, and he said, “It will make a difference for that one.” Thanks for joining us today on Food Exposed, join us next week for another look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed check me out on emPOWERme.tv, and until next week remember make food your best friend, and exercise your companion for life.

Chef D. Brandon Walker of St. Joseph’s Center

Episode 108 Chef D. Brandon Walker of St. Joseph’s Center… foodexposed

Video Transcription

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed where each week we take a good look at what’s on your plate. My name is Jackie Keller and today we’re talking about the whole DYI thing, no not arts and crafts DYI but the art of crafting something wonderful to eat. Making something delicious from whatever you can scrounge up in the kitchen, that’s like play with your food elevated to a whole new level. And you know you don’t have to go far to find cooking shows of all types these days from mild to wild and wacky, but if you struggle with cooking and don’t want to spend all of your money eating out, here are a couple of really simple, quick menu planning tips. Number one, organize your food stuff. Pull the old cans, the jars, the packages, go ahead check for expiration dates, don’t be afraid of what you’re going to find. Be prepared to dispose of anything that isn’t wholesome or a mystery food, like if it doesn’t have a wrapper, you donate or your throw it away. Anything that you can’t use or don’t need or haven’t thought of what to do with. Number two, assess what you’ve got left in terms of the food groups. I like to think of it in terms of fruits and veggies then proteins, grains, and if you can’t tell because there is no label on it, just open it, dump it, and recycle the contents of the can. Number three, go online or look at your recipe files for those major ingredients that you have left. And even if you can’t find something to match exactly, you’ll get inspired by reading other recipes or seeing what other people have done with that ingredient. Remember it’s already bought and paid for if it’s in your pantry or your refrigerator, so you’re really not losing anything by trying and who knows, you just may love what you create. My guest today is an expert at doing just that. He’s an expert at making magic in the kitchen. Chef D. Brandon Walker is the program manager and instructor of the Culinary Training Program at St. Joseph’s Center in Venice, California, and he also serves as the Executive Chef at Bread and Roses Cafe where they feed the homeless with a gourmet meal five days a week. Last summer he won the competition on the hit TV show Chopped and I am so proud to welcome Chef D to Food Exposed. Thank you so much for coming. Chef D: Well thank you, it’s my pleasure. Jackie Keller: I’ve got you out of the kitchen. Chef D: Yeah, that’s right. Jackie Keller: So tell me about St. Joseph’s Center. Let’s start with that because I know that is your main stay, your passion, your focus right now. Chef D: Well, I’ve been working at the St. Joseph’s Center in Venice Beach for seven years now. Jackie Keller: Has it been that long since we worked together? Chef D: Yeah, it’s been seven years and I really found my passion there. It’s about helping the people that are most vulnerable in the community and there’s a great synergy between two programs at the St. Joseph Center which is the Culinary Training Program and the Bread and Roses Cafe. So everything that I’m teaching the under employed and unemployed at the CTP or the Culinary Training Program, we utilize those same techniques down at the Bread and Roses Cafe where we take what really in essence other people would throw away and we create these gourmet meals. So the synergy is, again, wonderful between the two programs and it raises, it elevates the level of food at the cafe and I don’t think that there is anymore appropriate time or reason to give someone a great meal as when they’re at their lowest. And again, we’re serving the homeless men and women and low- income families. Jackie Keller: Wow, so if I understand it correctly, I mean, it’s really . . . And I visited once, and very briefly, so I didn’t see how the whole operation works, but people make reservations and they come, they sit down, they’re waited on. It’s not like a soup kitchen. Chef D: No, it’s not a soup kitchen and that’s a really important aspect of what we do at Bread and Roses is that everyone makes a reservation. So their name appears on a list that is then printed out and then we receive them at the time that they’ve made a reservation for either 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, whenever they’ve made their reservation. What we’re striving for is accountability. We need people to show up and be a part of their own solution. And so basically you go through an orientation at another site which is called the homeless service center, which is about a couple blocks away. And there you go through orientation and you are assigned a case worker. And the case worker sits down and says, “What got you here?” Let’s try to figure out what’s happening whether it be mental illness or some type of addiction. And then one of our core competencies at the agency that we pride ourselves on is our ability to give someone a referral to bring in our, you know, our other agencies that are doing good work in the community and get someone the help that they need. So we’re not just feeding someone and then, you know, having them, you know, shuffle along. Jackie Keller: Go back on the street. Chef D: Right, correct. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: We really want them to be accountable and to check in with us each and every day, so that’s one of the privileges of doing that is being able to eat at the Bread and Roses Cafe which is such a unique place. Jackie Keller: Wow, that is just wonderful work. It must be so gratifying to hear people who literally would otherwise potentially be eating food off the street to be able to serve them something that’s wholesome. Chef D: Well, that’s what brings in that nutrition component. That’s what makes it so vital that we’re giving them something that is wholesome and nutritious because for most of those folks that will be the only meal that they’ll eat that day. Jackie Keller: Wow, and the Bread and Roses Cafe relies on donations or . . . Chef D: It’s a combination. Basically, we have great partners in the community like Whole Foods and Panera Bread, and California Chicken Cafe. And they are great partners and they donate things that they are a day of or no longer able to sell for some reason and so they’ll go ahead and give those to us which we utilize. We also utilize . . . Most of our fruits and vegetables come from the West Side Food Bank which is a great organization that is affiliated with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, so that’s another great partner of ours. Everything else we shop for ourselves because there are certain items that you just can’t get donated or don’t get donated usually like proteins. So I’ll usually go out and buy a protein and then I’ll combine that with whatever we happen to have on hand. So one week we’ll get grapefruits and zucchinis, and bell peppers. And then the next week we’ll get a sack of potatoes and some carrots. So whatever I have and then I think, well, what am I teaching over at Culinary Training? So if we’re making a classical French brown sauce then maybe we’ll go and buy some beef and we can put together something like a beef bourguignon, and use the carrots, and use the potatoes. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: And so that’s basically how I do my menu planning. Jackie Keller: That’s great and I know that you do a lot of menu planning for your own catering business as well. Tell us a little about that. Chef D: I run a successful catering business here in Los Angeles. It’s called Commis which is it just means cook or humbled cook in French. And we do corporate galas. We do dinner parties. We do weddings, a lot of weddings. We do parties for 20 people, for 200, for 500 people in the past. And that certainly keeps me busy because I do work full-time at the St. Joseph Center. But it, again, is a real passion of mine to do this elevated seasonal farm to table really style cooking for really a wide range of clients. And that usually takes up my time on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sundays. I’m usually doing events each and every week pretty much. Jackie Keller: Wow, so where do you have time for family? Chef D: Well, luckily I’ve got these wonderful little girls. I have three girls, ages four, five, and nine, and they love to cook. So I get them down at Bread and Roses. They’re volunteering . . . Jackie Keller: Oh, that’s great. Chef D: . . . which is such a great, you know, and that’s really important to me, being a great example for them. And so they come down and they help out in the kitchen and then when we’re at home they kind of understand, and they help with dinner. And so I have benchmarks in my life like, okay, I’m going to coach my daughter’s basketball team regardless of how busy I get. I’m going to be home for dinner as much as I possibly can and we’re going to sit down and we’re even going to prepare that food together. So things like that, that’s basically how I keep it all in balance. It’s just that certain things I will not compromise. Jackie Keller: And in the middle of all that was Chopped, tell us about that. Chef D: Yes, 2013 was an amazing year both at the Bread and Roses Cafe, for St. Joseph Center, for me personally, the business is doing better than ever. And then along comes the opportunity to be on Chopped which is one of my favorite shows. I think it’s such a successful show on the Food Network because it’s not really about personality, it’s really about the cooking. It’s four chefs, mystery ingredients, a clock, they start it, boom, you got to go, and then you’re judged, and then somebody gets chopped. And I was fortunate enough to come out on top. So yes, I am officially Chopped Champion. Jackie Keller: Hey! Chef D: And the great thing about it is they came down to Bread and Roses. They did all of the back story there and the bio pieces, and the amount of attention and notoriety that it’s brought to the good work that we’re doing out there in Venice, I mean, we’re getting letters from Vermont and New York, and you name it. Jackie Keller: That’s great. Chef D: Yeah, it’s just so wonderful to be able to go and say, look, I may cook at a place that gives the food away and we might utilize things that people have no use for otherwise, but we can still produce food that comes out and is on a tremendously high level of execution. Yeah, so I think what prepared me for the show, I mean, little did they realize is that I am really going through an episode of Chopped each and every day at the Bread and Roses Cafe because, I mean, we’re literally walking in in the morning and someone will walk down the street and one of our neighbors will come in with a basket full of these giant zucchinis or eggplant. And so you really never know what you’re going to get and so I was well prepared fortunately. Jackie Keller: Well, I think you’re going to be well prepared for what we’re going to do because I could not resist doing a little co-cooking with you here. Chef D: Oh, no. Jackie Keller: It maybe seven years since we shared the kitchen when you worked for me and we cooked together, but I thought we’d do a little bit of that today. Chef D: Awesome. Jackie Keller: So I have some mystery ingredients for you. Are you ready for your challenge here on Food Exposed? Chef D: I am. I am ready. Jackie Keller: Well let’s go cook. Chef D: Okay. Jackie Keller: Okay Chef D, so now is the time for you to absorb this challenge because what we’re going to do is throw it together. I just bought some ingredients from the kitchen and I thought you could create something wonderful from it. I know you can. I did pick the ingredients for a reason, so real quick I brought some cooked brown rice. Chef D: Okay. Jackie Keller: Because we know that that’s wholesome, nutritious, high fiber . . . Chef D: Fiber. Jackie Keller: . . . good base. And then kale because you know everything’s kale these days. Chef D: I love kale, personal favorite of mine. Jackie Keller: Good, good, and I steamed it a little bit because kale does better with a little bit of time, so I know time would be of the essence. So I steamed a little fresh kale for you. We chopped some red bell peppers. Chef D: Great. Jackie Keller: And I brought some almonds because this is another one of my favorite nutritionally . . . Chef D: Dense foods, yeah. Jackie Keller: Really great, great nutritional calories there, great Vitamin E, and great Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and then because I love dried fruit, I brought some unsulfured slivered dried apricots. You have some vegetable broth to work with. Chef D: Okay. Jackie Keller: You have some extra virgin olive oil and you have one of our salt and sugar free seasoning blends. This is the Mediterranean blend which you probably remember from when you worked with me. Chef D: Yes, wonderful. I love that stuff. Jackie Keller: So the pan is getting hot and I’m going to turn the cooking over to you. Chef D: Okay. Jackie Keller: And let you just kind of go for it and put something together for us. Chef D: Okay, wonderful. Jackie Keller: All right. Chef D: Yeah. Jackie Keller: So. Chef D: Well, this is really my philosophy . . . Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: . . . that there are just certain recipes that work and then to understanding why those recipes work really will set you free from the necessity of having a recipe. So we will just get started by adding a little bit of fat to the pan and that’s pretty hot there. Jackie Keller: Yeah, I’m going to cool it down a little bit for you. Chef D: That’s warm. Jackie Keller: Yeah, this thing really heats up well. Chef D: And we’ll start with the aromatics. And the aromatics, you know, this could be celery, this could be onion, yeah, these beautiful red bell peppers, this is great, this is great. And so we’ll just kind of, I mean, you can already smell that. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: That’s wonderful. And so this is flavoring the fat that we have in the pan and it’s just going to get a little bit of carmelization on it, and we’ll just have those soften. And again, I mean, I would add some fresh herbs to this. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: Any kind of onion. It’s really about what you have on hand. And now this looks like leftovers from my house. This looks like brown rice that you know . . . Jackie Keller: It’s just plain cooked. Chef D: Rice is just one of those things. Right? You always make a little bit too much and you always end up with some of it leftover. So the next thing that we’ll do is add the nuts. The thing about when you’re cooking with nuts is that they’re very high in fat, good at fat, but they will burn on you. So that’s why we add them halfway through the cooking process. The same way that you would do garlic. Jackie Keller: Right. Chef D: You know? So I would have the onions or the peppers going first and then I would add the nuts or the garlic about halfway through. Jackie Keller: It smells great already. Chef D: Yeah, because you’re going to start getting the toastiness from the nuts. Jackie Keller: Right, right, and that toasting does bring out all the flavor and fragrance of the nut. Chef D: Basically yeah, I mean, what’s going on is that Maillard reaction where you’ve got proteins and carbohydrates that are browning at temperatures over 120 degrees Celsius and they are forming new flavored molecules. That’s what’s making this so delicious. Jackie Keller: Yeah, yeah. I’m going to give this a little bit since we’ve got some stuff in the pan now. Chef D: A little bit of juice. Yeah, and then go ahead and add the dried apricots. Now again, these are high in sugar. They have quite a bit of fructose, not processed sugar, so this is good sugar. But because they do have that sugar content you kind of have to watch out for these guys as well because they will burn as well. So it’s about proportion and timing. So what am I basing this on? I’m doing about one part aromatic, one part nut, one part fruit. Jackie Keller: Okay. Chef D: Just kind of a one to one ratio. I’m going to add a little bit more fat to the pan. Jackie Keller: And you can also, I know, moisten it with a little bit of vegetable broth if you want to . . . Chef D: So what I’m doing is I’m creating a fond on the bottom of the pan. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: And then I’m going to go ahead and deglaze it because this is just about the time and you can see that it’s starting to brown up there. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: It’s a lot of flavor. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: And I’ll go ahead and add my vegetable stock just enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and then we’ll go ahead and kind of scrap and get all of those tasty bits up off the bottom of the pan. And this is classic French technique here. So just a little technique goes a long way for a lot of different dishes. Jackie Keller: Now do you emphasize this kind of cooking technique at the St. Joseph’s Center in your program? Chef D: I do. This is exactly what I teach because it’s so practical. And no matter what the flavor profiles that a certain chef works with, most of the techniques are very similar. So when I prepare the students with these techniques, they do really well when they eventually get to their jobs. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: We have graduates of the program that are now executive chefs and it’s just absolutely mind blowing. Jackie Keller: That’s wonderful. I know I’ve employed several of your graduates. Chef D: Yes. Jackie Keller: We start them out in our kitchen and I’m always grateful to know that I can rely on the basic training that they’ve had through you. Chef D: Well, that’s the cool thing about being a chef. It’s like a family tree. Your resume speaks volume and it’s all about where you’ve been and who you’ve learned from, so I’m happy to have come from the NutriFit kitchens. And you can see that this is actually starting to like make like kind of a syrup. Jackie Keller: Yeah, it is. It’s thickening. Chef D: Because the apricots are kind of giving off their pectin and their sugar, and it’s getting delicious. Jackie Keller: Yeah, that’s one of those nice things about apricots is they have that high pectin content which really helps too, to make it thick. Chef D: And now we’ll just add some base to it. We’ll add the brown rice. This will make it hearty. We’ll go ahead and stir that in. Jackie Keller: Now I know you’ve mentioned that you like to use a lot of fresh herbs. And as you know now we have our own farm at NutriFit and we’re growing a lot of our own fresh herbs. You’re doing the same. Aren’t you? Chef D: Yes, we have an herb garden at the Bread and Roses Cafe. I was sick of all my like fancy pants chef friends, “Oh, I got to go to the roof and get some silver back thyme. I’ll be right back.” And so I was like, why not. You know? So I had a friend at my church who was a Troop Leader for the Boy Scouts and as an Eagle Scout project one of the Boy Scouts came and built us like a tiered herb garden that we have in the back. Jackie Keller: Right, how cool. Chef D: Yeah. Jackie Keller: That is wonderful. Chef D: Really neat. Jackie Keller: Neat. So you just go out there, pick what you need. Chef D: That’s right. Jackie Keller: So at what point now will we add the kale and wrap this dish? Chef D: Well, yeah, the kale is going to come here at the end because we don’t want to overcook the kale. Jackie Keller: I love the color. Chef D: Yeah and it’s so vibrant, and we don’t want to lose any of that by over cooking it. And we don’t want to lose any of the enzymatic activity by raising the temperature too high. So at the end and it’ll just wilt into your dish nicely. And you can do a little massaging of this beforehand if you want to break it down a little bit. You can just put a little dash of salt which the sodium ions will draw the water out through the semi-permeable cell membranes and make it just a little bit softer, and then voila. Jackie Keller: Yeah. Chef D: Look at that. Jackie Keller: That looks wonderful. Chef D: And that’s ready to go and it’s beautiful. It is beautiful. Jackie Keller: It is very, very beautiful. Chef D: Now don’t forget the seasoning. Jackie Keller: Yeah, you might want to pull the whole top off that. I was just adding a little. Now you’re adding in the key ingredients for our Mediterranean blend, the basil, oregano. Chef D: Ooh! And I can smell the dill in there. Jackie Keller: The dill, yeah. Chef D: Oh, my God. That’s so good. Wow. Jackie Keller: That looks absolutely wonderful Chef D. Thank you. Chef D: Yeah, my pleasure. Let’s plate it up. Jackie Keller: All right. Chef D: Take a little bit of this. Jackie Keller: Presentation I know is so important. Chef D: Yes. Jackie Keller: I remember your episode of Chopped, you know, getting it just right. Chef D: Well, we . . . Jackie Keller: And they really grade on that. That’s really real. Right? Chef D: Oh, absolutely. We do eat with our eyes, that is half the battle. You want the plate to look good and look at that. Jackie Keller: That is beautiful. Chef D: That’s wonderful. Jackie Keller: All right, I’ll hold it for you, you taste. Chef D: Yes, absolutely, be my pleasure. See and I know I’m going to get all kinds of texture. Mm, what could be easier? You’ll live forever eating like this. Jackie Keller: Yeah, yeah. Chef D: And we’d be happy to. Jackie Keller: And healthy. Chef D: That’s right. Jackie Keller: That’s so good. Well, thank you so much for sharing that and improvising like that, and giving us a little culinary lesson at the same time. Chef D: It was my pleasure. Jackie Keller: And so much fun. I know that our audience is going to want to follow you. They’re going to want to experience what you’re doing, live through your eyes. What’s the best way for them to find you? Chef D: Well, I have a fabulous website. It’s ChefDBrandonWalker.com and it’s a wonderful site. I have instructional videos. I have recipes. I talk about all the things that we’re doing as far as charity and philanthropic endeavors, and of course it talks about the new book that’s on the way which is all about improvisational cooking. Jackie Keller: Well, I’m going to look that up and I’m going to follow you. Chef D: Please do. Jackie Keller: And I’m going to hope that somewhere in that book there is a shared recipe that you wouldn’t mind me borrowing for our NutriFit clients. Chef D: That would be an honor. Jackie Keller: And I thank you again, so much, for coming to see us today. It was really, really great to have you. Chef D: It was my pleasure. Jackie Keller: Keep up the good work. Chef D: I will. Jackie Keller: We need people like you out there. Chef D: I will. Thank you, Jackie. Jackie Keller: All right, thank you. Here is a little story that illustrates the value of sharing resources and creating something from nothing. There are many versions of it and I’m not really sure where it comes from originally, but here it goes. So many years ago in a time of great hardship and famine, an old soldier wandered into a poverty stricken village and asked for shelter for the night. “There is nothing here to eat!” The villagers told him. “You better just move on.” But, the soldier stopped and he said, “I have enough here in my backpack to make soup for all of us if I could just borrow a large pot.” So the curious villagers, they produced a pot and stood around watching as the soldier filled it with water and built a small fire underneath.” He then took three round stones from his backpack and dropped them into the water. As the water came to a boil, the soldier sniffed it and said, “Mm, I love stone soup, but if I had just a little cabbage it would take even better.” At this point one of the villagers disappeared and came back a few minutes later with a cabbage he had been hiding and he put it into the pot. And awhile later the soldier tasted the soup again and said, “Mm, this is good, but a couple of carrots would make it better still.” And another villager produced a bunch of carrots and so it went on as potatoes, and onions, and mushrooms, a little bit of salt beef were all added to the pot until indeed there was a delicious meal for all. We all have a contribution to make and by sharing our gifts and resources our lives are enriched. That’s my story. Thank you so much for joining me today on Food Exposed. Join us next week for another look at what’s on your plate. For more Food Exposed check me out on emPOWERme.tv and until next week remember, make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

NWF Director Beth Pratt discusses the Challenges of Life on the Road

Episode 107 NWF Director Beth Pratt discusses the… foodexposed

Video Transcript

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take an inside look at what’s on your plate. I’m your host Jackie Keller. I’m the founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food company. And today we’re talking about staying healthy under the pressure of life on the road, which can be very challenging, even for the most experience traveler. You know, millions of people fall ill every year and many even die as a result of eating unsafe food. So, what causes this lack of food safety? There’s a combinations of many factors, but here are some simple rules to remember about food safety. Number one, keep hot foods hot; two, keep cold foods cold. And, number three, keep all areas clean. So you really have to plan ahead. Travel with non-controversial foods; things that are easily identified like bars, dried fruit, nuts, and keep the portions small enough to eat in just one serving. Avoid very salty foods because they can help you bloat and retain water and that is often a problem when you’re traveling anyway. So you don’t want to exacerbate that problem by having really salty foods because then you’ll want liquids and you don’t want to risk taking liquids through security. No soups, no smoothies, sometimes even salads dressings are going to be confiscated. So don’t take them with you because you’re probably going to get them taken away anyway. Fresh fruit and turkey jerky are great travel snacks. But if you’re and international traveler, and this has happened to me, I can say it does happen, remember you have to consume any open food before you land and pass through agricultural inspection because if you don’t, not only will they take it away from you, but they will fine you! Because if you’re traveling internationally you cannot take animal proteins across country borders and there’s nothing more depressing then having them take away some expensive turkey jerky that you bought and you didn’t eat. Well, my guest today is a very experienced traveler. She’s spends about 60 percent of her working days on the road and knows all too well what toll a schedule like that can take on your health, your sleep, your stress levels, your eating habits. As the California director the National Wildlife Federation, Beth Pratt has worked in environmental leadership role for over 20 years; included two of the country’s largest national parks, Yosemite and Yellowstone, which are two of my favorite places. She lives outside of Yosemite right now with her four dogs, two cats, three western toads, and she even has a frog pond in her back yard, which is a certified wildlife habitat. Beth Pratt, welcome to Food Exposed! Beth Pratt: Thank you for having me Jackie. Jackie Keller: Well thank you so much for coming. You came all the way from Yellowstone this morning. Beth Pratt: Yosemite. Jackie Keller: Right, Yosemite. Beth Pratt: Yellowstone’s too cold right now. Jackie Keller: But even Yosemite, that’s quite a drive. Beth Pratt: Yeah, it’s about four and a half hours. But for me that’s a walk in the park these days with all the traveling I do. Jackie Keller: Almost literally, right? Beth Pratt: Exactly. Jackie Keller: Well, I know that we’ve met several times both in the course of the National Wildlife Federation, but also in the course of our shared interest in the Climate Reality Leadership Core. How are those two interests connected for you Beth? Beth Pratt: Yeah, obviously for me with the National Wildlife Federation I work to conserve wildlife and to do things to make sure we have wildlife in the future. And climate change of course is one of the overriding impacts for both people and wildlife, so the two are so interrelated. And it was fun spending time with you, training with Al Gore, two summers ago now, to make ourselves more aware and better able to communicate about the climate change. For me it’s the issue, for both wildlife and people. Jackie Keller: You must be seeing a lot of impact of climate change just in Yosemite, right? Beth Pratt: Yeah, you know, I’ve lived up there for 15 years; have been going to Yosemite for 25 years now. And anecdotally I’m noticing stuff. The frogs are coming earlier to my frog pond. They’re singing their mating song earlier. Of course we had one of the worst fire seasons, just in my area, that was terrifying. We had the rim fire in Yosemite, and some people think climate change is fueling that. They’re burning longer, hotter, and bigger. And of course we’re having the worst drought now in some say 500 years. And birds are impacted by that, bears are coming out of hibernation earlier, so, a lot of impacts, yep. Jackie Keller: Tell us more about the work you do on a day in and day out basis, and what takes you on the road so much. Beth Pratt: So, I have the best job in the world, as you know. I get to drive around California and get people inspired to help wildlife. And it’s an amazing job. That’s how we met through the National Wildlife Federation. And so, California is a big state, as we know, and I spend as you said, about 60 to 70 percent of my time on the road, because I have project all over the state. He in LA we’re working on, I think it’s one of the most inspiring wildlife conservation projects I can think of. Jackie Keller: Tell us about it. Beth Pratt: We have P22. Most of you know P22 is living in the middle of Griffith Park, he’s a mountain lion. He had to cross two major freeways to get there. Jackie Keller: That’s more than most of us can do in LA traffic I think. Beth Pratt: I don’t even survive that 405! So he’s in Griffith Park, and an average mountain lion territory is 250 square miles. He’s making do with 8! It’s unbelievable. So, we’re working on building with the National Park Service in the USGS in the Santa Monica Mountains fund a wildlife crossing on the 101 so that it doesn’t happen again. So that animals live P22 have safe space and can disperse to green areas and not be living 2 miles from the Hollywood block. Jackie Keller: Now let me ask you something, will they use the freeway overpass? I mean, honestly? Beth Pratt: Yes, animals do. They build these underpasses and overpasses and animals do use them. I mean, they know these areas are pinch points. And animals use existing underpasses now. So they know where these animals are funneling. And they build it they will come. And really the future of the Santa Monica mountain lion population is dependent on things like this. They are not going to survive if they can’t move. Jackie Keller: So that project brings you to LA a lot? Beth Pratt: I will be here a lot, yes. It’s a big project, it’s a monumental undertaking. So, I’m down here at least once a month, probably twice. Jackie Keller: OK. And I know we’ve talked about some of the challenges that you’ve personally have faced with all of this travel and the impacts on your own personal health. Tell us a little bit about that. Beth Pratt: Yeah, and I can’t thank you enough. We came together through our shred love of the environment, but what’s been helpful is your coaching around, you know, I put a lot into my work, I travel a lot. And what’s suffered has been my fitness and health. When we first started talking I told you I was in the worst shape of my life, because I was driving and I was sitting at the computer all day, and the things you talked about, those challenges, I was eating badly and not exercising. So, I would say that the two biggest challenges for me is, you know, when you’re not working in an office and sitting all the time and doing a routine, and when you go on these trips it’s really hard to make time to exercise. Sometimes you’re working from 7 to 11 at night plus it’s hard to just find time. And then the eating badly, you’re eating quickly, or you’re going out to dinner or lunch. You know, business meetings seem to gel around a meal. And when the other person is having this elaborate beautiful delicious high calorie dinner, it’s hard to sit there with water and a salad. So those have been some of the challenges I know you have been working with me on, I’m making a lot of progress, it’s great. Jackie Keller: Well, we talked about the fact that you are willing, and it’s unusual from my perspective for somebody to be willing to go public about their challenges with weight and health and eating properly. So we talked about a creative way of doing that kind of fits with the dynamic of charity and philanthropy and being public. So, tell us a little but about that. Beth Pratt: This is really fun. So one of the things that Jackie worked with me is, so, we know you’re a person who is very self motivated and especially around my main motivations which I want to save wildlife. And looking at the weight gain and me being out of shape… Let’s look at motivations and what motivates you. And what we came up with jointly is what motivates me is saving wildlife obviously. So, how do you tie that in with weight loss? Brainstorming between the two of us, we came up with: what if you do directly tie that in with weight loss? So, we came up with the idea with Weighing for a Cause. Which I think we’re about to launch; which is, you set a goal weight, and you set up a fundraising campaign, much like you do for a walkathon or something where people give money. But if you don’t get to your goal rate, the nonprofit doesn’t get the money. We thought this was a great motivator because, I mean, if you’re putting money up for the puppies at the SPCA you’re going to make your goal weight. Jackie Keller: That’s right. Beth Pratt: You don’t want to just point them. And what’s fun is getting the non-profit involved too. Obviously they’re going to have some motivation. Jackie Keller: So your non-profit, we’re calling this Weighing In for a Cause, and we’re doing this on Crowdrise, and your non-profit is… Beth Pratt: Yeah, so I work for the National Wildlife Foundation, but we partner with Save the Frogs. In fact, the mountain lion was one of my projects, but another one of my projects is we’re going to be doing this campaign for the Red-Legged Frog around California. So I chose for my Weigh In for a Cause that joint project that we’re doing. So here’s Save the Frogs. And frogs are one of my favorite animals! So we’re excited about this. And the executive director Cary Krieger for Save the Frogs, he has promised to be emailing me daily to make sure that I am not exceeding my calorie count and to take me on hikes. So I think it’s fun to get the non-profit involved too. But also NutriFit’s a very philanthropic organization, you help National Wildlife Foundation by donating your time, your services. But your also going to be putting up some of your money for your clients. Jackie Keller: I am! And in fact, I have a check for you, for the National Wildlife Federation! Beth Pratt: Yay! Jackie Keller: To support the Save the Frogs and the Weighing in for a Cause. And if I understand it correctly, you have to give some of this back if you don’t make your goal, right? Beth Pratt: Exactly. A portion of this is going to go to the Save the Frogs campaign. So Cary and your staff at Save the Frogs, start emailing me to make sure I’m not eating too much! Jackie Keller: Well, you know what in fact, I thought what we would do now is take a minute to cook up something really quick and easy that you can use for your road trips; something nutritious, something clean, something easy, something quick, something that doesn’t require refrigeration. So would you join me for a little cooking? Beth Pratt: That would be wonderful. I’d love some tips. Jackie Keller: Alright, let’s go. Jackie Keller: Alright so, we’re going to make something really simple now. Beth Pratt: Awesome. Jackie Keller: I chose this recipe. We call them Quinoa and Flour Fritters. And I chose the recipe because Quinoa, as you know, is a very wholesome grain. It’s very high in protein, it has no gluten, even though I know you don’t have Celiacs disease or anything but, you want to incorporate more variety in whatever you can. So quinoa is one of the most popular foods right now. It’s very simple to make, you can find it anywhere. You just rinse it, rinse it, rinse it, before you cook it, and then you put it up un water and you let in simmer. That’s it! Fifteen minutes later it’s done! And if you make it plain like I did, then you can season it however you want afterwards and use it however you want to use it. So we start with some cooked quinoa, that’s what I’ve done here, I’ve pre-cooked it to make it a little but faster for us. And into a bowl it goes with a little bit of rice flour, just to get it to stick together. And this is just grocery store plain Japanese rice flour. And then I’m going to add a little bit of egg substitute. And this is just egg white in a carton, but you can crack an egg and beat it and add it in. So, you can see what you’re aiming for is a fairly wet consistency, but we’re going to bind it even further with a little bit of cheese. This is low-fat mozzarella cheese. Just plain mozzarella, a little bit more than you need, but then you go a little less with the other cheese, which is a little bit of parmesan, and finally our fiber, not only from the quinoa, but from cauliflower. Beth Pratt: Oh, OK. That’s a nice combination. Jackie Keller: So, this adds some vegetable into the dish. And cauliflower is just steamed cauliflower chopped up. So, very simple, a little bit of salt and sugar free seasoning to give it some flavor. And this is one of our salt and sugar free seasoning blends, this is our Mediterranean blend. But you can use basil or whatever your favorite sugar free blends are, whatever you like the best. And one thing you don’t want to do is add any salt because the cheese has a lot of salt in it to begin with. So you don’t need any more salt. And remember we talked about… Beth Pratt: I noticed from traveling, even minimally amounts of salt I start feeling it definitely. Jackie Keller: And so, we’re stirring it up here. And I’m going to have you spray the skillet lightly with a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil spray. Beth Pratt: Nobody’s going to believe I’m cooking. Jackie Keller: A little closer, alright. Beth Pratt: There we go, OK. Jackie Keller: And now, and we have a lot of mixture here, far more than we’re going to make, but you see, we need to get something in there before we burn the bottom of that skillet. So, grab a spoon and follow me. You can make them as big as you want to make them they can be little, they can be medium. My thought was that you would be eating them in the car. Beth Pratt: Yes, and it’s a bad habit, but with the amount of driving I do, eating and driving is very efficient. This does look perfect for nibbling while I’m driving. Jackie Keller: We’re going to form them into… there you go, see? Who said you couldn’t cook! Beth Pratt: I’m cooking! Hey mom, I’m cooking! Jackie Keller: Look at that! Beth Pratt: She’d never believe it. Jackie Keller: And then we’ll flatten them a little bit. So we’ll make like a nice little… And obviously you know if you were making these at home, you could use a scoop, like an ice cream scoop or something to get nice uniform sizes and things like that. But you can tell, it’s not that fancy. Beth Pratt: And this is perfect, because it is really hard to buy healthy snacks sometimes. So this is perfect. Jackie Keller: This is probably not the ideal cooking implement because what I really want is the spatula to flip it. But, you kind of get the drift, right? So, they cook pretty quickly because essentially all we’re doing is cooking the egg that bound it together, because the quinoa is already cooked, the cheese doesn’t require cooking. So we just want to cook it until the egg allows it to set up and bind it together. And they get nice and toasty. And then the challenge of course is going to be to flip it. Yeah, but’s it’s not quite there yet. So, one suggestion that I have for this recipe is to make a big batch of them and freeze them, because they really freeze beautifully. And if what you want is something that you have handy that you could just grab and go, this is truly just grab and go food. They’re not greasy, so they’re great for the car because the other thing about them is they’re balanced, you have protein, you have fiber, you have carbohydrate, you have a little bit of healthy fat, so it’s really an ideal meal. Beth Pratt: And I love the cauliflowers in there, because you got to get your vegetables. Jackie Keller: You got to get your vegetable in there. Beth Pratt: Which is the one I always struggle with! I’m from Boston, Irish, we don’t eat vegetables. Jackie Keller: Potatoes are sort of like cauliflower. Beth Pratt: Yeah, exactly. Jackie Keller: Alright, so I think we’re about ready to attempt the flip! Well, no that one failed. You want to give it a try? Beth Pratt: Well, if you’re having trouble, I’m willing. I’ve got to learn to do this because this looks like the perfect snack for… Jackie Keller: Well trust me, because if you have a flat spatula it probably works perfectly. There we go! You see, it’s not bad! One or two more and then maybe you’ll to sample, what do you think? Beth Pratt: I think so. Jackie Keller: Great. Beth Pratt: I’m not going to be able to flip that, I’ll give that to you. Jackie Keller: What I’m going to do is I’m going to turn this guy off. Beth Pratt: Look at that! Aren’t they perfect? Jackie Keller: Wow! Anyway give it a try, tell me what you think. Beth Pratt: Mm. It’s the perfect snack. Jackie Keller: Now, couldn’t you eat that on the road? Beth Pratt: I’m sure this would be perfect. Jackie Keller: And the nice thing about that is that it can go through customs too. It can go through security, they’re not going to take it away from you. While ideally you’d want to eat whatever you brought… Beth Pratt: Well, this is perfect airplane food too, like you said, a lot get confiscated. And airports are traps. You get in there and of course you want the junky food when you’re there. Coming armed with these would be perfect. Jackie Keller: Alright, great. Well, Beth I know that everyone is going to want to follow you, they’re going to want to keep up with what you do, what’s the best way for people to reach you? Beth Pratt: You know, I’d say the two ways, Facebook, BethPratt1, the number one, and I post great photos of wildlife as I travel along. Jackie Keller: That is true, you defiantly do. Beth Pratt: You want to see mountain lions? My twitter handle is BethPratt. Or NWFCalifornia is also a Facebook page that is, again, also a lot of adventures in wildlife photos. And also we’ll be posting on how I do with my goal weight. So, come tune in. Jackie Keller: And we can find that on where? Beth Pratt: I’ll be posting that on my Facebook page and the NWFCalifornia Facebook page as well. Jackie Keller: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for coming! Beth Pratt: That you Jackie, it’s always wonderful to see you! Jackie Keller: Yeah. And I wish you good luck. I know you’re already losing some weight, right? Beth Pratt: Yes, I’m down 8 pounds, and yeah. I feel great. And I can’t thank you enough, because your coaching, your food has been instrumental in that. Jackie Keller: Well, you’re most welcome. Beth Pratt: So you’re helping wildlife by helping me. Jackie Keller: Alright. I’d like to talk a minute with you today about commitment with passion. No, I’m not talking about the romantic kind, as in intimate relationships with others, not that kind of commitment. But I’m talking about the kind of commitment that leads to creating self-fulfilling prophecies. Let’s face it; pursuing your goals even if you’re highly motivated isn’t always a piece of cake. And nearly everything means overcoming some kind of obstacle, personal sacrifice, and risking some failure. So developing skills for this requires some form of patience, practice, labor, and passionate commitment carries many benefits. It reinforces our sense of autonomy, but also helps us feel that we belong to something. When we follow through on our decisions to something it shields us from social pressures. For that reason, when we make a commitment in front of others in particularly potent. You know there was a study that was recently done a the University of Scranton and it found that people who made public New Year’s resolutions were ten times more likely to succeed at their goal. And there are many people who’ve written about commitment and how it relates to achievement. There’s some great quotes from leading business gurus. Here’s one I particularly like; “Unless commitment is made, there are only hopes and promises, but no plans.” And that’s a quote from Peter Drucker*. And here’s one from Stephen Covey “Without involvement there’s no commitment.” Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it. So, what about talking about committing publicly like Beth did? How about doing that? Check out Weigh In For A Cause, as you’re way to cement your goal. And do well by doing good. Thanks for joining us today on Food Exposed. Join us next week for another look at what’s on your plate.

Peer Health Exchange L.A. Executive Director Amita Swadhin

Episode 105 Peer Health Exchange L.A. Executive Director… foodexposed

Video Transcript

Jackie: Welcome to Food Exposed where each we talk about the story behind what’s on your plate. I’m your host, Jackie Keller. And today we’re talking about teenagers. You know, whether you have one, you are one, or you know one, listen up. Thirteen to seventeen can be a really confusing age. It can be confusing for lots of reasons, but particularly with respect to body image and self-awareness. Here are some interesting statistics from the World Health Organization. Forty-three percent of the world is currently under 25; about 16 million girls age 15 to 19 give birth every year. An estimated 150 million young people use tobacco. Alcohol use starts at a young age; 14% of adolescent girls and 18% of adolescent boys age 13 to 15 use alcohol. In any given year about 20% of the adolescents will experience a mental health problem. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people. And despite our cultural obsession with diets and being thin, obesity is increasing among young people in both low and high income countries. Nearly two-thirds of premature deaths and about one- third of the total disease burden that we experience as adults is related to health practices that start in our youth years. So clearly establishing good health practices at a very young age is especially important just for the health of our population as a whole, and for us as we age. And for that reason I am very, very privileged to welcome today our guest. Amita Swadhin is the Los Angeles Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange, and she has dedicated her practice and her business model to helping students and young people learn more about their bodies and deal with these issues. Amita, welcome to Food Exposed, and thank you for coming today. Amita: Thank you so much for having me, Jackie. Jackie: Tell us about Peer Health Exchange. You know, we don’t hear about it very much; just tell us. Amita: I like to think that we’re the best-kept nonprofit secret in the world. We are a national organization. We have been in existence for ten years. We’ve been here in Los Angeles for five years, and our model is basically empowering teenagers to make healthy decisions. We do that by training college student volunteers to teach a comprehensive health curriculum in high schools that lack health education and in which a majority of students come from low-income households. Jackie: So you recruit college kids to volunteer to go into high schools, to go back, and relate to ninth graders? Amita: Yes, that’s right; we’re specifically in the ninth grade. We know that so much changes for a teenager in that ninth grade year. They are often facing going to parties for the first time with much older kids. They are actually making decisions around whether to have sex, around whether to use drugs, or alcohol. And in general facing a lot of the self-esteem challenges that you talked about. So it’s a pivotal year and that’s why we target the ninth grade. Jackie: So what are the biggest challenges that you face with this group and with the model that you’ve established? Amita: I think that there are a lot of good things about the model. Teenagers listen to their peers much more than adults. You could have the best teacher in the world, but I’m 35 now and I’ve been in the classroom since I was about 19 as a Peer Educator. Jackie: Wow! Amita: And so I really believe in the model, because I’ve seen a shift. When I walk into a classroom now to observe our college volunteers there is this hush, and people are like, well, who’s this lady? Why is she here? Whereas our college students, you know, they are in hoodie sweatshirts, they’re in some jeans. They are 18 to 21 and able to captivate the classroom right away. And it’s really compelling; we have a lot of data on our impact on the teenagers and how they actually grow in their knowledge and skills from the workshops that the college students are presenting. Jackie: That is just wonderful. And what about the bureaucracy, I mean. L.A. is a big place. I know you’re a national organization. But your area of responsibility is this big monolith that we call Los Angeles. Tell me about bureaucracy and how does that affect your work? Amita: You know, I’d like to answer that on two different levels. So first, we are a county; I think it’s taken some time for our national organization to really wrap their heads around, you know, we are not just Los Angeles City. There are 81 school districts here. Jackie: Oh my God. I’m a native and I didn’t realize there were that many school districts in L.A. Amita: Yes, and we’re the largest county in the United States. So just thinking through which teens are we going to serve here, and why it is a challenge in and of itself. This is our fifth year in Los Angeles, and we’ve started with LAUSD. And I think LAUSD has its own challenges and I think also that the need is not as obvious as in some of the smaller districts within L.A. County. So a lot of people don’t realize that LAUSD actually has a high school graduation requirement around health education. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a certified health teacher at every LAUSD high school. Jackie: I can speak to that, because my kids are LAUSD kids, and it hasn’t been that long since they’ve been out of high school. And they both had health education in their classroom, but neither one was taught by a health ed teacher. Amita: Yes, and so you know exactly what I’m talking about. So I think part of our challenge is that we sometimes get high school principals reaching out to us directly within LAUSD, saying, “Hey, you’re a free program. We need this program here. Come and serve our students.” And we don’t always have the permission of the district to do that. So that can be frustrating at times. I think on the flip side, because L.A. is huge, even within LAUSD a lot of people don’t realize that we actually have the largest number of charter school students in the country. Jackie: Wow! Amita: There are a lot of exciting and innovative things happening in education nationwide and L.A. is kind of a hot bed for that. So these are Title I public schools, low income public schools that are not able to afford a health education teacher; so that’s largely who we partner with now. We have 25 high school partners this year within LAUSD’s geographic districts. Jackie: That’s a lot of schools. How many students do you serve? Amita: We’re reaching over 3,000 ninth graders this year with 300 college student volunteers from U.S.C., U.C.L.A., Occidental, and Cal State Northridge. Jackie: Now are you looking for more students, more schools, or more volunteers? How can the community support what you do? Amita: Yes to all of the above. We get calls from district administrators and teachers and even this summer there was a ninth grade high school student in Long Beach Unified, and health education recently got cut there about two years ago from what I understand, who heard about our program in some summer research project she was doing and said, “Can you come and serve our school?” Jackie: Wow! Amita: Obviously that’s compelling; you don’t want to ever say no to a teenager who is saying come and help me, and that’s what our program was founded to do. I think some of our constraints are around having the network of supporters and revenue that will let us grow at a rapid enough pace to meet the need that’s there. We’ve had a waiting list every single year that we’ve operated, and we are trying to broker relationships with districts beyond LAUSD now since there are 80 other ones. But we are looking for board members; we’re looking for adult mentors for our college volunteers. We are building a talent pipeline as a secondary impact in addition to empowering the teenagers themselves to have the knowledge and skills to make healthy decisions. We have this cadre of 2,000 volunteers throughout the country this year; about 7,000 throughout the ten years that we’ve existed, who are now interested in public health and public education as a career. So we are looking for mentors for them. And we’re looking for relationships within community partnerships and school districts that can help us grow and serve even more teenagers in L.A. County. Jackie: You have such a full plate. What’s the biggest challenge for you personally with all of that? Amita: That’s a great question, you know. I got into this work for some very personal reasons. I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse and domestic violence. Jackie: Wow! Amita: And I’m very public about that, because I think in order to really be a good role model for teenagers we have to de- stigmatize the reality that a lot of young people are facing at home. And so for me a challenge is a lot of our supporters like to pull our curriculum apart. There are 11 health topics that we teach; nutrition and physical activity is one. Jackie: Right. Amita: But they say, “I’m really interested in this one topic and I’m going to support you in that one topic area.” And I think the reason that I was drawn to Peer Health Exchange is that we’re such a holistic model. We teach about rape and sexual assault prevention and treatment. We teach about mental health. We teach about safer sex for a lot of the reasons that you listed in the statistics that you went over. You know, a teenager can’t pull apart the effects of body dysmorphia and poor self-esteem. Just being about the food and the drinks that they put into their body every day, of course, that’s a big part of it. But I think you also have to help young people really care about themselves. And so what’s challenging for me is knowing how much access to healing that I’ve had and really wanting to find a way to provide that in as holistic a manner as possible for the teens that we’re serving. Jackie: Well you great work and what a wonderful, wonderful opportunity it is for the community to get to know a little bit more about you; and realizing that that is a free resource for a body of people that don’t have access under normal circumstances to the kind of information and the quality delivery method. I know that there is a lot of research that goes into your curriculum. Amita: Yes, there is. Jackie: And one of the things that I was hoping to share today is just some fun, easy, quick ideas for school lunches. Even though it’s not everything, we do know that nutrition and healthy nutritional practices are the base of a lot of learning that can happen. So I thought today we would take a quick look at some easy, fast, nutritious, delicious, school lunches and see what we can throw together. Amita: I’m excited about this, especially because the teens that we serve are often living in neighborhoods that, you know, we talk about food deserts and access to good produce, and so I’m really excited for you to show us something that any teenager in any community in Los Angeles can make. Jackie: This is pretty simple. Amita: Okay, great. Jackie: Well, let’s go cook. Amita: Great. Jackie: Well, it’s time to cook, Amita, and what I thought we would do today is prepare a really, really simple dish that basically anybody can make, any age. Now we’re talking not just high schoolers; I’m thinking of starting even younger with this one. And the other nice thing I liked about this dish is that it’s inexpensive, and let’s face it, we need affordable food. It can’t be about what the wealthiest can afford; it has to be about what anyone can afford. So that’s why I chose this dish. And also it has some great nutritional properties, because it’s a balanced meal and so what we’re creating is something that’s high in fiber, high in protein, low in fat, so it’s going to be good for heart health. It’s going to be good for brain functioning. It’s going to have a high satiety value, so this is something that will stick with students of any age, and adults as well, and really kind of fuel you for the day. Amita: Great. I’m excited. I think I’m going to learn something, and I’m not the best cook, so if I can do it I think any teenager can do it. Jackie: Well, this is simple, trust me. You know, there are a couple of key ingredients here; one of them is enchilada sauce. Now we don’t make our own, I mean we make our own, but we don’t advocate that everybody has to make their own. What you do need to know, though, when you’re choosing enchilada sauce is that it’s a combination recipe of whatever the manufacturer chose to put in it. So even though a brand may be expensive, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily more healthful than the next brand. And one of the key things with enchilada sauce is the sodium content. And so, what you want to do is always as you’re shopping for it pick up the can, look at the nutrition facts label and check to see that you’re selecting one that has as close to 140 milligrams per serving as you can get, or less; because that is the legal limit for a low-sodium product. And what we’re looking for, particularly with the under-served populations, is a way to minimize the risk of high blood pressure and the resulting illnesses that can complicate heart health. So low sodium enchilada sauce, and then the other key thing, of course, is having whole wheat. When we want grains and we want whole grains in the diet, so whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas, which are also whole grain, would work in this recipe, because there is a lot of different ways we can make it. But if you are going to go with the flour product you want to make sure that it’s based in whole grains. Amita: I love that you’re bringing this up; this is exactly how our nutrition and physical activity workshop is structured, just simple every day choices that a teenager can make, knowing how to look for whole grains, low sodium count. Jackie: Yes, look at this one, not that one. That’s very simple. And then of course, depending on how hot you like your food, whether you put in chilies or you don’t put in chilies; this is a jalapeno chili and it’s fairly mild. If you take the seeds and the veins out, the heat is not in the flesh, it’s in the seeds and the veins. So you want to make sure that you seed and de- vein those. So it’s really simple; I’m going to spray our skillet with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil spray. And you can find this in every grocery store. And let’s get some meat in there, before we burn this thing. Actually, I think I’ll put a few chilies in there. Amita: Great. Jackie: And do you like it spicy? Amita: I’m Indian American, so I do like spicy foods. Jackie: All right. So just to take a little bit of the heat off, there we go. Amita: We’ll be getting the smoke alarms going in here. Jackie: Yes. It’s this induction cooking, so we’re just going to get something in here so we don’t burn the stuff. I have precooked ground turkey with some enchilada sauce, so that’s as simple as it gets. You brown the ground turkey, add a little enchilada sauce to it, and the rest is just in the seasoning. I have some fresh tomatoes . . . Amita: Just chopped up. Jackie . . . just chopped up. And these can come out of a can, but I would suggest that–and let’s turn this down–that fresh is better. And once we have this going here, and the meat by the way, when you start with raw meat it does cook very quickly. So what I like to do is make a big batch of the meat, and then I freeze some of it. And these are really inexpensive little food safe containers. You can buy them in a sleeve of 25 from Smart & Final. They cost almost nothing. And what I like about them is they’re designed for food, you know, they’re not like a margarine tub that you have left over that you put leftovers in. It’s really designed for food and they freeze beautifully; they stack up. They are really inexpensive. And we’re also going to add in a little bit of a salt and sugar free spice blend. This is one of my blends, but it’s like a chili powder. And I like it because I thought of it. Amita: I would imagine you’d like it. Jackie: But you can use any kind of chili powder. So again, depending on whether you’ve added chilies into the mixture or you like your hot and spicy, what I’m really trying to emphasize here is don’t add salt. We’ve got a little bit of sodium in the enchilada sauce; we chose a low-sodium one. We made a good decision there, so why would you then turn around and add more salt to it? If you want flavor add spices, but don’t add the salt. Amita: And I heard you say stay away from sugar, too, right? Jackie: Absolutely. And you know, one of the things that you don’t realize is that these spice blends are again a combination of whatever the manufacturer chose to put into them. So a lot of times you’re not even aware that the first ingredient might be salt. Amita: You have to read the label. Jackie: You’ve got to read the label. Now we’re ready to make the burrito. Amita: Great. Jackie: So this is where you come in. Amita: Okay, I’m ready. I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Jackie: Okay. So you’re going to take a tortilla, a flour tortilla, and we can just grab one, a nice soft one. And then we’re going to put in it some of our meat. Amita: Okay. Jackie: And we can add a little bit of low-fat cheese to that. Amita: And the low fat part is important I’m guessing. Jackie: Because the fat that’s found in cheese is highly saturated milk fat, and you don’t need that milk fat. I mean, the fact of the matter is that it’s like having whole milk, drinking whole milk as adults we know that’s not good fat for us. We don’t need that fat. So reduced fat cheese is like drinking reduced fat milk. And the lower the fat content the better. What we’re looking for is good melting properties, and good flavoring properties, and this cheese has both without that highly saturated fat. Amita: Great. Jackie: You can add a little bit of lettuce to that if you want, but you have to go easy; because once it gets too full–I’m kind of setting you up here. Amita: Oh, great. Jackie: Don’t take it personally. All right, so now the burrito wrap. Start with the sides, fold in both sides, okay. Add a little bit more space, because what you’re going to want to do is now fold the bottom up, and roll it the rest of the way. Amita: I’ve got it. Jackie: All right, so you see what happens when you over fill it? Amita: Yes, I over filled it. Jackie: Now turn it upside down real quick and squash it. Amita: Squash it? Okay. Great. Jackie: So kind of what you’re doing here is you’re sealing it so that the cheese will melt and kind of seal the burrito. Amita: Got it. Jackie: And then it is a little messy to eat. Amita: You are totally setting me up; this is going to be fun. Jackie: But the other thing I wanted to point out is that this is the burrito and not everybody can have cheese; not everybody can have wheat. But let’s say you loved the idea and you just wanted to nix that. You could just make a taco salad out of it the same way by taking a little bit of your lettuce and then you could add a little bit of your meat on top, and some tomatoes to your taste. Amita: Great. Jackie: And if you wanted to, because as you said, you like it spicy. Amita: I do like it spicy, that’s true. And so these are just fresh chopped jalapenos? Jackie: Fresh chopped up jalapenos, and there you go. And it’s just a simple little taco salad, and now of course the proof is in the tasting. Amita: Oh gosh. I’m going to try the taco salad so I don’t spill burrito all over myself. Jackie: I did set you up. Amita: It’s good. Jackie: Is it spicy enough for you? Amita: If I get the jalapeno right in there, yeah. Jackie: Yes. Amita: Okay, great. Jackie: Again, an example of a very inexpensive meal. This can be made for pennies, literally and can be made ahead, put in the refrigerator; you grab it when you’re ready to go to school, and it’s there for you. Amita: I love that there are simple choices in each of the ingredients that teenagers can make to be healthier; even if they’re preparing the simple meal it doesn’t have to be fast and unhealthy. Jackie: Absolutely, and you know what, if you didn’t have the money for the meat or you chose to not have animal, you could just do black beans with this, and the whole recipe would work just as well. Amita: Just checking for the sodium, right? Jackie: There you go. So, Amita, I know that the audience wants to be able to find you, they want to be able to follow Peer Health Exchange, and they want to stay connected to you. What’s the best way for them to do that? Amita: Well we have a website www.peerhealthexchange.org, and we also have a Facebook page that anyone can click like and I encourage you to do that to keep up with our posts about our volunteers and our teenagers; just Peer Health Exchange. And then if you want to follow me on Twitter I’m at @ASwadhin. Jackie: Well, thank you so much for coming today. It was really a pleasure and I look forward to staying connected to Peer Health Exchange myself, and staying current with what you’re doing. It’s great work. Thank you, thank you, thank you for dedicating yourself to the community the way you have. We really appreciate it and God knows we need it, right? So have a great afternoon and continue the good fight. Amita: Thank you so much, Jackie. It was great to be here with you today. Jackie: My pleasure. Research shows us that our self-talk really influences how we behave. Basically, we have our own inner dialogue and it drives our behavior. And this is truly any age whether you’re an adolescent, whether you’re an adult, whether you’re a child, we talk to ourselves and that makes us do what we do. So what’s the best way to get yourself to do something? Well, research shows us that giving yourself permission to do something as opposed to dictating behavior is really what’s going to make a difference in how the outcome is read. For example, if you say to yourself, “I will go do this,” it’s like you’re forcing yourself, like you’re compelling yourself, as opposed to saying, “I’m thinking that I might go do this,” or “I am considering going and do this,” and giving yourself permission to make that decision. That’s really what’s going to influence your behavior, that’s what’s going to make you want to go do something, and as a parent and as an educator, as a coach, I see this all the time. If you tell people, “The decision is yours, you’re in control, you’re in the driver’s seat,” either you want to do it for yourself or you don’t, you’re going to make that decision based on you own inner motivation. We do better when we’re motivated internally than when we’re motivated externally or compelled externally. So the message is: your self-talk drives you, give yourself permission, give yourself autonomy, give it to the people around you, give it to the people you love, and everybody will be happier, and behaviors and outcomes will be much more positive. That’s my talk today. That’s my coaching moment. I hope you’ll watch the show, I hope you’ll share with friends and family, I hope that it helps you, and I hope you’ll tune in next week for another episode of Food Exposed. For more Food Exposed, check me out on emPOWERme.tv and until next week remember make food your best friend and exercise your companion for life.

World’s Fittest Mom Nita Marquez shares her secrets to stay fit at 40

Episode 104 World’s Fittest Mom, Nita Marquez, shares her… foodexposed

Video Transcript

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we look at the story behind what’s on your plate. I’m your host, Jackie Keller and welcome to Food Exposed. Today we’re going to talk about how to look fit and fabulous at 40, 50 or beyond. Let’s face it. We all get there and it’s a fact of life. So, you don’t need to let your body give away your age. In fact, according to Dr. Oz, your lifestyle and what you eat and how you live controls somewhere between 70% and 80% of how well you age and how you look, at any age. That’s great news for people who are proactive. So, what are the best foods to control that aging process? Well to start off with, you want foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. These are foods that slow the aging of your blood vessels like salmon, walnuts, flax seed, other healthful nuts like almonds and these are things that will reduce your memory loss, will reduce the constriction of your blood vessels. You also want foods that enhance your immune system, that slow the deterioration of your immune system and some of those foods are berries, orange juice, lentils, tomatoes and kale. There’s a whole host of foods that have very high antioxidant properties that help with that. And finally, you want foods that counteract environmental factors that influence aging. So, foods that are organic, foods that are non-GMO, foods that are sustainable or locally grown that don’t use any herbicides, pesticides, fungicides; our own farm at NutriFit, which is on the central coast of California is a sustainably grown farm and we use organic farming methods. Those are the kind of things you want to look for in your food supply. Remember, if you eat smart you can have your best body at 40, 50, maybe even 60 or 70. My guest today is IFPB fitness professional and mother of three, Nita Marquez. Her passion for fitness is expressed in her branded motivational mantra “Be Phenomenal! You are worth the work!” After a 10 year career as a top five national fitness competitor with the NPC, Nita won the fitness nationals to earn her professional status in 2008, which led to the release of her book Fit for Combat. Nita Marquez, welcome to Food Exposed. Nita Marquez: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to see you again. Jackie: It’s nice to see you and you look not only fit but fabulous. Nita: Thank you so much. Jackie: I know you have some tips for all of our listeners. They’re very interested in knowing how to get to look their best. I mean, we can’t all look like Nita but we would all like to look fabulous. Nita: Well, thank you. First of all let me just preface the conversation with a thank you for all the kind accolades but honestly I grew up with a weight problem. They called me Low Fat when I was growing up because I’m only four-eleven, just under five feet and I was overweight and because I was short and chubby, kids made fun of me and kids are cruel. Jackie: Aw. You were bullied. Nita: Yeah, I was. Jackie: Oh my goodness. Nita: Yes, I was. And as I got older, when I met my husband we had our first baby and I had distinctly remembered Charlene Tilton on the cover of Sports Illustrated when I was 15 years old and she was talking about how she had just had her baby and she had the best body ever, after her birth and I thought if I ever have kids I’m going to remember this. So I really started investigating, at that point in my life, what it would take not only to stay in shape not only for myself but also to have a really healthy pregnancy. I was really fortunate that I gained a lot of weight but I was able to drop it relatively quickly and as I’ve aged and as I’ve had more children-I’ve had three, as you’ve mentioned-I’ve just been very fortunate that conditioning my body over the years just with-pardon the pun-baby steps toward healthy eating, toward working out and then getting into competitive fitness, it’s been really helpful for the aging process for me. I’ve enjoyed aging. I mean honestly, when I was in my mid-thirties I couldn’t wait to reach 40 because… Jackie: Oh my goodness. Nita: I was excited about that number. Jackie: Bless you, my dear. Nita: Thank you. Thank you. I have just loved every second of it. 40 is such a wonderful age because you really, as you know, it’s just like this age of self-commanding and you discover so much of who you are and you’re so much more aware, so much more in control of your own behavior patterns because you’re more aware of them and you can stifle certain things that are maybe not good for you. That goes along with craving certain foods. I don’t have the same cravings I used to and not only do I not have the same cravings but when I do have a craving for something I know when to stop. I know that it’s okay once in awhile to cheat as we call it but it’s really important to just be free spirited and understand that nutrition is not something that’s just good for your body, it’s good for your soul and to listen to your body and honor your soul and say “Hey, I’ve had plenty, I feel good” and stay energetic and stay smiling. I have a number of tips that would help you physically stay in great shape with these physical choices but the number one thing beyond the five tips that you asked for me to share today, the number one thing I say is just staying in joy. If you have peace of mind that is the number one way to anti-age. It really, really is. Jackie: That’s important. Nita: You have to smile a lot. Jackie: You know I work with a lot of women who really have sort of a love/hate relationship with food. They really battle their bodies. You talk about loving yourself and having a mature, sort of sophisticated relationship on a higher level with your body and respecting it and understanding where you fit into the universe with your body but there are a lot of women out there and men too who struggle with making peace with their body. So I wanted to ask you, how do you keep your body the way it is and not fall into that “Well, I’m over 40 now,” or “I just hit 40, now all of a sudden things are starting to fall apart.” Is it really inevitable or can you find a way to sort of make peace with it and still look so fabulous? Nita: Well, personally I subscribe to the theory that you really have to love your own league because we’re all in a league of our own, every one of us. Not one person is like everybody else or any other person in their “category,” even physically. You know we all have different DNA, we have different bone structures and where we might be parallel to one person we’re still different in another area. So it’s about accepting your body and saying “Hey, I’m in a league of my own,” and just that self-acceptance has really helped me. Because for as tiny as I am, under five feet, at four-eleven my height, being tiny it’s always been really a struggle to keep my weight down and when I would gain five pounds it would look like 15 on me. I think a lot of it comes with that self-acceptance of “Hey, I’m in a league of my own.” It’s really perspective. It’s not about, oh there’s nobody else like me, nothing fits. I’m in a league of my own and that’s what I’ve come to grips of my body type with is that there’s nobody else like me. I’ve got to do what’s going to work for me specifically. Jackie: Okay. Nita: Of course there are rules of thumb that you could follow, but yeah. Jackie: Well, share some of those with us. Nita: Well, first of all I think it’s really, really important to do something that’s going to help you practice proper breathing because what happens is you get this great chemical activity going on in your brain that helps you relax, which is great for your cells. It helps anti-age the cells, so any discipline that teaches you proper form and technique in breathing alone, like yoga or pilates is fantastic. Meditating is fantastic but in addition to that it also helps you posture your body. You learn how to use your core to reinforce your back. A lot of people started experiencing back problems, so you’ll reinforce your back muscles by using your core more and putting more impact there and strengthening those muscles, which helps keeps your bones in order and in the right lines. When you’re doing that, that leads me into my second tip, that will help you have proper form and technique with weight training. Now if you haven’t by the age of 40 been weight training, I highly recommend that anybody go and really do intense research on a physical trainer who does weight training who matches not only a great experience level, not somebody that just got their internet certification in two hours, but a real, qualified expert in weight training… Jackie: That makes sense. Nita: …who can help you learn to use your muscles effectively for developing and sculpting your body. I think that that’s been really helpful for me. The weight training, it gives me a sense of power and strength and there’s like some kind of mental control that goes in that space and it really helps me feel good about myself. When I walk out of the gym and I’ve been consistent and I’ve really burned those muscles, it feels great and you get that endorphin rush just like you do with cardio or with yoga or pilates. The third thing that I really recommend to people is really starting to investigate the idea that your body is not producing what it once did. As we age, inevitably we… Jackie: That’s so true. Nita: …yeah, we… Jackie: We change. Nita: Yeah, we change our cellular activity. Our hormones change. Our cellular activity drops somewhat. In certain areas of your body you’re just not able to do as much so the only way to really start regenerating some of that is through supplementation. I really recommend doing your research. Your company is great with educating people on proper nutrition. In addition to that, where people find that they are lacking on what they’re taking in on a daily basis in