Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Greens

The WSJ published a great article on Winter Greens yesterday. If you're not sure how to use kale, collard greens or mustard greens,  take a peak at this article written by Katherine Wheelock. 

Personally, I love kale.  Kale is not only nutritionally superior to spinach but has a more delicate flavor and can be paired with almost anything. Admittedly, I'm not a cooked kale fan because it becomes more bitter and brown (it loses it's chlorophyll) but raw it's utterly delicious.  The tip - massage in some EVOO or avocado into the leaves and voila you have the base for a Winter salad.  You can also drizzle on some EVOO and roast the kale for 5 mins at 375F for kale chips.

Inspired by the Cavolo Nero Cesar Salad in the WSJ yesterday, I thought I'd post an easier version here for you. I had this with a gluten-free pizza by Amy's Organic followed by a squash, quinoa and date pudding (see I do eat carbohydrates, just not all the time).

  • Cavolo Nero (Tuscan or Dinosaur) kale
  • Handful of cajun cashews
  • Parmesan cheese
 Dressing (makes enough for weeks)
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 anchovies in oil
  • EVOO
  • sea salt
  • egg yolk
  • 3 cloves of garlic
Combine zest from one lemon with anchovies, sea salt, egg yolk and 1/4 cup of EVOO. Add to blender like a Vita Mix and blend for 30 seconds.  Add lemon juice from 1/2 lemon and sea salt for taste. Add more EVOO and lemon juice as required.

Chop kale and remove stalk.  Add to serving bowl. Massage in 1 tbl of dressing until kale turns from a dusty green to a deep green.  Add chopped cashews and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

 Credits: photo by David Prince for WSJ

Brunch, Brooklyn & Biochemistry

I'm declaring 2011 as the year of exploration. Let's experiment with foods we haven't eaten before, exercise we haven't done before and adventures we haven't undertaken before. I've committed to going to yoga once a week and so far, I've done it.  Last night, inspired by an article in the WSJ, I made a Kale caesar salad with cajun cashews.  Next weekend, I'll be getting off my Manhattan-butt and making my way over to Brooklyn. And if you're up for an 11am brunch, I'd love you to join me.

The glamorous girls, Nadia and Sara, at Mice at Play are hosting a brunch next Saturday 22nd where I'll be speaking about all those fat fallacies and what we really need to do to lose it.  None of this calorie counting rubbish - it's all to do with your hormones.  We'll be focusing on physiology and how the body works to burn (and store) fat and what you can do about it. We'll be touching on the real way to detox and the pros and cons of a juice detox. We'll finish with a discussion on vitamin and mineral supplementation- what you should be taking, what's a waste of money and what's over-hyped.

If you're hot on this knowledge and just want to join us to be social and for the exquisite brunch, we'll let you in too. Brunch will include a spinach and ricotta frittata, berry parfaits, organic French press coffee and iced hibiscus tea. Tickets are $56 for a non-member and $50 for a Mice at Play member.

For more information on the seminar and location, click here
For more information on Mice at Play, click here
For more information on me, click here

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Five of the Best from 2010

We would all like to be the perfect '10 but only five made it to our best of list.  Voted on by us, these are foods that caught our attention and warrant consumption through 2011.

Chia seeds - flaxseed, you're too much work.  You need to be ground to release your omega 3's.  You must come wrapped in black packaging otherwise your delicate oils are destroyed. You often cause bloating, the exact problem people are trying to eradicate. And food scientists have damaged you - added you to cereal, crackers and breads but your omega 3's are spoiled by heat and commercial processing. And flax oil? Well you're just a shell of your former self - striped of all of your goodness: omega 3's, fiber, lignins - all gone. Move over flax, chia seeds are stomping all over you. Chia seeds have more vegetarian omega 3's (ALA) than any other food and are packed with vitamin E which helps protect the oils from rancidity.  They have 8 grams of soluble fiber and only 105 calories per 3 tablespoon serving.  They absorb 10X their weight in water forming a gel that suppresses the appetite and regulates transit time. Plus they taste delicious! You can add them to smoothies, soups and salads but my favorite is a chia seed tapioca (photo above). Simply add 2 cups of organic almond milk to 3 tbl of chia seeds.  Let it sit for 5 mins to absorb the liquid, then stir.  Add water if required. Add a dash of agave, fresh mint and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and stir.  Serves two. While this looks and tastes decadent, it's only 125 calories and packed with fiber, omegas and minerals. Goodbye flax, hello chia!

Sea Snax - Who would have thought that nori (the sea vegetable used in sushi) would be so addictive? Dusted in sea salt with a touch of olive oil, these toasted nori sheets are so utterly delectable that I can consume the entire packet in less than 2 mins. Greedy?  Well possibly, but with only 42 calories, zippo carbs and 80mcg of iodine, I'm getting a delicious snack that boosts my metabolism (iodine is required for the synthesis of TSH) and doesn't cause an insulin spike. While you can buy toasted nori snacks at the Korean market (and Annie Chun does a version), Sea Snax uses sea salt versus regular salt and olive oil versus canola and sesame oil.  Eat Sea Snax on their own use them as a wrap alternative.

Jungle Snacks - A very easy way to increase your vegetable intake. These are raw kale chips with sesame seeds and salt. Like the Sea Snax they are very easy to polish off.  However, the sesame seeds jack up their caloric content.  Keep them to one serving which is 120 calories.  You'll get all the pleasure of eating a chip but without the damaged fat and carb-loading. While they may seem expensive, $7.70 per packet, they have 4 servings which makes the price more palatable.  Just remember to portion them out and not eat them directly from the bag.

Pacific Organic Almond Milk - Organic almonds, water and not much else. 40 calories for 8oz and only 2 grams of carbohydrate.  It is one of the few milk substitutes that actually tastes nice.  Cow's milk can trigger an inflammatory cascade within the body while almond milk will not (unless you're sensitive to almonds). You'll also save yourself 80 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrate. Almond Breeze is another brand but Pacific is organic and has fewer additives.

Pamela's Gluten Free Brownie Mix - Gluten-free doesn't always equate to 'healthy' and these gluten-free brownies aren't, but they taste so damn delicious it would be a travesty to exclude them. Reminiscent of Ottolenghi brownies, chocolate just drips into your mouth when you bite them. I became so addicted to these in December that I nearly had heart palpitations when I thought the store ran out of them (I was giving them way to people, not eating them...). Eating a gluten-free diet can feel restrictive at times, but these little gems remind us that it's entirely possible to be gluten-free and still enjoy our favorite treats.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Better Way to Detox

You've got big plans for 2011. A boozy brunch followed by more imbibing and the making of anti-resolutions. Tomorrow you'll detox. Juices fasts for three days? Not your style. You were once persuaded by the "You Drink, We Think" campaign, until you couldn't think at 3pm. You are smart enough to know that without protein, you'll be catabolizing that muscle you've spent the last 12 months building up. The insiders approach: make detoxing simple and something you can do for the next 365 days. Swap out your 4pm snack for a green juice (a freshly pressed concoction of green vegetables). It's raw, vegan, loaded with phytonutrients and racks up less than 45 calories for 8oz. Since you don't own a juicer (and never will) where do you get green juices in Chelsea and the West Village?

ABC Kitchen - 35 East 18th St (cross is Broadway) NYC,  212-475-5829, M-F 12-10pm S-S 11am-11pm
Not only does ABC Kitchen stock Organic Avenue green juices (see below), it also provides refugee when you're dating and detoxing. Order a 24 Karot and while your date might think you're being rather bling, it's simply carrots, beets, apple, ginger juice and blue-green algae. For staying power points, select the roasted carrot & avocado salad with snow pea shoots and sunflower seeds. If you must order the burger, rationalize that it's from grass-fed kobe beef and you'll be getting more omega 3's than a GNC fish oil capsule. Prices - $10

Elm Health - 56 Seventh Avenue (cross is 14th  St) NYC 10011, 212-255-6300, 8am-10pm daily
While 14th street doesn't elicit thoughts of purity, Elm Health, which opened 4 weeks ago, adds some salubriousness to it's otherwise carb-plagued neighbors - bagels, pizza and donuts. Pick up a green juice that contains your combination of organic cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, lettuce and kale. I suggest going light on the celery as it tastes, well, like celery. Elm Health also stocks a very large range of gluten-free products should you be attempting another resolution this year. Prices - $5.50 for an 8oz and $8.50 for 16oz.

Integral Yoga Natural Foods - 229 West 13th St, NYC, 10011, 212-243-2642, M-F 8am-8pm; S-S 9am-7pm
You don't need to master the downward dog to purchase a green juice at Integral Yoga Natural Foods. Despite it's co-op look, the store is open to all. Make your skin glow by selecting a Swiss chard, collard greens, kale, bok choy and cucumber juice. Or try their Heart Juice which would be better named Hangover Helper as it contains liver protecting foods, green pepper, dandelion, spinach and beet. $8 for 16oz.

Lifethyme Natural Market - 410 Avenue of the Americas (cross at 9th St) NYC, 10011, 212-420-9099, M-F 8am-10pm; S-S 9am-10pm
Green Champagne? That's like Happy Hour Yoga... Green Champagne is a mixture of organic apples, lemons, ginger, collard greens and celery. If you're more hard-core, opt for the Green Forest which is Green Champagne without the apple. Insiders tip: call ahead for your juice. The juice bar doesn't operate on NY time. $6 for 9oz and $9 for 16 oz.

One Lucky Duck - 425 W 15th street, Chelsea Markets, NYC, 10011 212-255-4300, M-F 10am -9pm; Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 10am-7pm
One Lucky Duck is the most experimental with their green juices. A dash of spearmint and tarragon in their Swan Greens or some cilantro and lime in their Mean Greens. Delicious. Be inspired by One Lucky Duck's raw food and go raw and vegan for a day. Try their Goji High cashew milk smoothie for breakfast, Taco Salad for lunch, Portobello and Hempseed burger for dinner and drink their Swan Greens and Mean Greens through-out the day. If you need something sweet, their gluten-free chocolate pudding will have even the most jaded salivating. $10 for 16oz.

Organic Avenue - 43 8th Avenue (between Jane & Horatio), NYC, 10014, 212-358-0500  8am-8pm daily
If you're not convinced of the benefits of a green juice, check out the staff at Organic Avenue. With their peachy perfect skin, you'll be knocking back their cucumber juice and Young Love (cucumber, celery, spinach) faster than Kim Kadarshian does a sponsored tweet. Still feeling timid? Try their Green Mylk - freshly pressed almond milk with cucumber and cinnamon - it tastes more like a smoothie than a juice. On the sweeter side (but equally cleansing) try Organic Avenue's Veggie Vibrance packed with carrot, cucumber, beet, celery, chard, spinach, ginger, parsley and lemon. Prices from $10 (+ $2 bottle deposit).

Terri Organic - 64 W 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 212 647 8810 M-F 5:30am-11pm S-S - 8am-4pm 
Need to feel virtuous at 5:30am? Get a green juice from Terri. Their Perfect Pear is made with cucumber, spinach, pear and celery or try their Live Long and Green with apple, cucumber, spinach, lemon, ginger. These green juices aren't organic but they are also the cheapest - $5.97 for 16oz.