Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Year Without

Physical
+No DOGS (Dairy, Oils, Gluten, Sugar)
+No stimulants (caffeine)
+No alcohol

Material
+No purchasing of non-essentials

Intellectual
+No social media (Twitter, IG, Facebook)
+No YouTube
+No mindless television
+No news

Spiritual
+No profanity
+Look in mirror less than 5 times per day (avoid looking at reflection in other surfaces)
+No judging of others
+No speaking negatively of others, especially behind their back


Exceptions to the rules
+1 weekly news show (e.g. Bill Maher, John Oliver, etc.)
+Pocket app articles for news
+Movies allowed


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

+Place eggs in pot large enough for at least 1 inch of water to cover them

+Cover eggs with at least 1 inch of water

+Place on stove top and turn flame on high

+Once water comes to semi-rapid boil (more than a few tiny bubbles but not vigorous boil), immediately turn off flame

+Set timer for 12 minutes

+After 12 minutes, drain hot water (leave eggs in pot) and refill pot with cold water to stop cooking - add an ice cube or two if desired

+Let eggs sit in cool water for ~5 minutes

+Eat or store in fridge!

*tip= if eggs are tough to peel, peel while submerged in water
Image result for hard boiled egg gif

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Must Read

Genius foods book
+On the connection between dementia and diet

Shortest summary possible: avoid all processed oils (aside from extra virgin olive), gluten, and added sugars

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Iced Tea

Here is a simple recipe for iced decaf green tea.
Make a big pitcher and keep in the fridge for whenever the mood strikes.  This cold beverage is a refreshing change of pace from water and provides antioxidants, as well.

Ingredients:
4 green tea bags
32 ounces fresh, room temperature, filtered water

Equipment:
-glass pitcher with lid (so liquid does not absorb any existing fridge smells)

Steps:
1 - fill glass pitcher with water
2 - place tea bags in water
3 -  gently stir tea bags around in water for 10 seconds
4 - cover pitcher and place in fridge
5 - after 24 hours, remove tea bags (very gently squeezing out some of the tea water remaining in them)
6 - enjoy tea!  (I don't think unsweetened iced tea has an expiration date but I typically try to finish this drink within 7 days)

*Decaf tea does still contain a small amount of caffeine so if you are particularly sensitive and/or strictly restricting caffeine, decaf tea is not for you.


This is one brand of tea I really enjoy.  It is smooth and subtle but delicious:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chronic Pain

One of the hallmarks of chronic pain is feeling very alone; unfortunately, I would know.

You are alone with the pain.  Just you and the pain and no one else.

It speaks to you constantly, and only you.

When you hear people talk about things that might help, all you can really listen to is your pain.

It becomes an overwhelming part of your identity and everything you do.  You find yourself walking up stairs, with the pain.  Sitting on the subway, with the pain.  Having a conversation, with the pain.  Watching a movie, with the pain.  Eating (if and when you can), with the pain.

For me, it once was a chronic painful ache in my trapezius that persisted for years.  Then it was eczema, not just itching but the inflammation and fissures, and aches from brutally rubbing and contorting my fingers and scratching my skin.

I've attempted to meditate through the pain, to try and disconnect my consciousness from the physical sensation.

But for as much peace as I willed into my head, I still found myself thinking cynical and resentful thoughts towards the words of most yoga instructors, for instance.

How can I set an intention, when my skin is on fire?

How can I feel my muscles to my bones when I'm straining to just not scratch the most intense itch you could ever imagine?

I think most of us take for granted when we aren't in pain.  I don't.  I regularly stop to acknowledge and be grateful for feeling no pain at all, just at the moment.

It's an interesting practice, being thankful for the absence of something.  But it's important.  At least if and when the pain comes back, you won't be kicking yourself for not appreciating when it was gone.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

2 Quotes


"Consciousness is the only real thing in the world and the greatest mystery of all."
-Vladmiri Nabokov, Bend Sinister (1947)



"The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside."
-Emily Dickinson (ca. 1862)


From the opening page of book I just started, Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts by Stanislas Dehaene

Monday, April 29, 2013

Started my own homemade raisin company: Little Wrinkles
-all natural, absolutely no preservatives or added sugar
CLICK the Raisin Lady!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Beautiful Mind

We usually only think of nourishing our bodies from the neck down even though our brain is the true epicenter of our functionality!  A recent study conducted at the University of Michigan found that "cognitive ability starts to decline slightly as early as your twenties, when the brain begins to shrink and show other signs of aging".  "The human brain is more sensitive to food than any other organ" according to Ann Kulze, M.D., a nutrition expert.  Don't worry- there are plenty of foods that you probably already have on hand that make the perfect prescription for maintaining a healthy and high functioning brain:

+coffee: a long-term study found that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day at midlife was associated with a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer's and dementia.  Caffeine blocks adenosine (the brain chemical that causes memory loss and attention problems).  Other option: caffeinated green, black, white tea

+blueberries: exceptionally high in antioxidants which are key in counteracting the oxidative stress our brains experience from free radicals.  Other great options: pomegranates, apples, grapes, cherries, garlic, red cabbage, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, dark chocolate, red wine

+wild salmon: packed with omega-3 fatty acids that protect neurons and help brain function - afterall, our brains are over 60% fat!  Other sources: walnuts, flaxseed, dark leafy greens, canola oil, mackerel, tuna, sardines

+broccoli: magnesium rich- a deficiency in this mineral can contribute to age-related memory decline.  Other sources: almonds, cashews

+chicken: a complete protein which means it supplies our bodies with amino acids that are essential for healthy brain function.  Other options: red meat, soy, milk, yogurt, eggs, whey protein, fish


(source: Whole Living magazine, March 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Take Back the Power of Food

In the midst of what some consider a renaissance of food (the recent reemergence of local, sustainable, farm to table, artisanal, etc), eating has ironically lost a lot of its enjoyment.  We've lost site of moderation and balance, and blame things like the obesity epidemic on the government, media and other external sources.  It's time to re-focus on ourselves. The more attention and respect you pay to the actual act of feeding yourself, the closer we can get back to a healthy attitude towards food.  Here's an exercise to try at your next meal:

Sit down (don't stand) at a cleared off, clean table. 
Eliminate all distractions like television, music, talk radio, books, magazines and your phone.
Take a few deep, calming breaths.
Try to eat something simple and from nature like a piece of avocado with greens on whole grain bread.  No dressings or sauces.
Take a bite and pay attention to the naturally complex and delicious flavors.
Eat slowly.  Chew well.
*The brain takes at least 20 minutes to register fullness so take your time- that's why eating quickly leads to over eating.
Eat until you are satiated, not stuffed. 
Avoid drinking anything while you eat- liquids can hinder digestion by diluting your stomach's gastric juices.

Be kind to your body; pay attention to it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wake Up with Water

After a night's rest, the body wakes up essentially from an overnight fast.  The best thing to first introduce to your body upon rising is a big glass of room temperature, filtered water (with a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice).  It awakens the digestive system and gets things moving (literally!).  Doing something healthy and beneficial for your body at the very beginning of your day sets the tone for all your other meals and decisions.

Drinking enough water throughout the day not only aids digestion but is essential for clear, glowing skin, physical and mental energy and detoxification of the entire body.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Segregation in The Marketplace

Ever notice how in big, chain supermarkets (e.g. Pathmark, Gristedes, Red Apple, Key Food, etc) any and all "health foods" have their own section?  I can not figure out the logic behind it.  All the whole grain breads, gluten-free products, dairy-free milks, and any other "healthy foods" sit on their own, sad little shelf in some random aisle.  So when you go look for bread, for instance, in the bread aisle you actually won't be faced with their entire selection.  But how would you know to look elsewhere?

By segregating foods, supermarkets are sending out the wrong message.  It's almost like a caste system- here is all your normal food and here is the "special" food.  If there's a health food section, shouldn't all fruit and vegetables be in it as well?  A practically invisible shelf with gluten-free pretzels and quinoa doesn't exactly educate consumers.  If the healthiest options were made as accessible and attractive as say the pop tart aisle, they'd leave the shelves more often and prices would decrease.  The way things are now does not cater to the majority of shoppers.  A change needs to be made.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stop-Motion Guacamole




*Try planting an avocado pit in some soil- in 4-6 weeks you'll start to see the beginnings of a beautiful green leafy vine- makes for a simple, low maintenance house plant!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Power of Endorphins

Never underestimate the power of endorphins.  A 10 minute brisk walk, a few reps of lifting weights, even a good stretch can get your body flowing with endorphins and give you a burst of energy and improve your mood.  It is a fact  that we eventually build a tolerance to prescription drugs (anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, stimulants) and that their effects quickly fade.  Often times placebos are actually just as effective.  Endorphins are free and always right at your fingertips- no side effects, no instructions - just the amazing human body working it's magic.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sardines

Sardines are one of nature's greatest Superfoods - they should not be overlooked!  You can find them in any supermarket for a great price.

They're perfect in an arugula salad with fresh red onions, lemon juice, salt & pepper and a little hot sauce!  The natural peppery flavor of the arugula, the spiciness of the raw red onion and the acid from the lemon juice perfectly balance the fat from the fish - sometimes I just put hot sauce on them and eat them right out of the can.  They're high in good fat and calories so they're perfect to eat early in your day to really fuel up.  I promise nothing will sustain you like this superfood will.

When I went to Paris a few years ago, every morning I would buy a can of sardines from a little mom and pop shop down the road from my hotel, a fresh baguette from the bakery and sit on a bench and mop up my fish with my bread.  This meal literally sustained me all day and gave me the energy to walk around the gorgeous city literally all day and into the night.  (Of course I snacked along the way- you can't pass up Parisian food especially when in the midst of endless summer farmers markets).  But the feeling is quite extraordinary- not thinking about food an hour later because your body is actually completely content.  Try it out!


Outdoor market on Rue Mouffetarde

deliciously sweet cherries

Eat Good Fats

Plain and simple (especially omega 3s)!  Forget the low-fat, fat-free craze of the 80s and 90s- there's a reason it didn't last.  Our brains are made up of over 60% fat- wouldn't it make sense that to keep it well and running we should supply it with what it needs?

-nuts, seeds (brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pumpkins seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios)
-oils (olive oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, coconut oil*)
-fish, seafood (salmon, tuna, sardines**, flounder, mahi mahi, cod, fluke, trout, shrimp, lobster, clams, mussels)
-eggs

*Extra virgin coconut oil is not only great to cook with (especially popcorn) but a small amount rubbed in the palm of your hands is a great way to tame fly-aways and frizzy hair.

**Sardines- so special they get their own post ^

NYTimes Article that inspired this post <-- Click Here

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chicken: Double Flavor, 1/2 the price

The price of a raw, whole chicken can vary from as little as $3.99 to over $20.  Yes, the size matters (because usually it's priced by the pound) but the price also depends on how it was raised, where it comes from, and if it's Kosher or not.

The Kosher chickens are always more expensive than the non-Kosher ones (I guess because of the extra work that had to be done)- but did you ever notice they taste better too?  I used to think I was imagining it but then I found out it's because...they're all pre-salted!  So instead of spending the extra money, salt it yourself:

-unwrap your store bought, raw chicken take out any/all extra innards
-place in a large bowl
-cover completely with water and add at least 1/2 a cup of salt and 1/2 cup sugar
-cover with plastic wrap, place in fridge and let sit for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours
-when you're ready to cook it, take it out of water, rinse off any salt/sugar that may have not dissolved completely, and prepare as desired (roast, bake, fry, etc).

For the record, I did not discover this technique- it's actually quite trendy these days.  Just letting you know that I've done it (actually, I never make a chicken nowadays WITHOUT doing it) and it's not only a cinch but worth every second.  Every part of the chicken comes out tender and juicy (even the white meat).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Quantity AND Quality

Just about everybody knows there's really only one way to lose weight: consume less calories, burn more calories (i.e. eat less, move more).  Yet we're still constantly bombarded with ads for weight loss supplements, articles "revealing" the "secrets of celebrities" and foods with less calories so you can eat more and not feel "guilty" - all distracting us from the true answer we all have in the back of our minds.

Thing is, quality matters too.  If you just eat less, you will lose weight, no matter what you still continue to eat.  But if you eat mostly nutritionally vacant foods (sugar, white flour, saturated unhealthy fats, foods filled with chemicals and preservatives), you won't come even close to feeling your best.  These things drain your energy and affect your skin and hair poorly, can make you feel depressed and lead to mood swings, constipation, bloating and trouble sleeping.  Wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats contribute to glowing clear skin, shiny healthy hair, a regular digestive system, sounder sleep and feeling alert and happy.

Eat to live (don't live to eat) and keep moving.


"The Importance of Portion Control" - An Interview with Marion Nestle - The Atlantic

Peanut Butter

HuffingtonPost.com posted a foolproof article to help you pick out the best one- here are the two most important takeaways:

-choose peanut butters that contain only peanuts and salt

-most contain palm oil (to emulsify the oil and the nut meat to create a smoother texture) - Unfortunately, palm oil is not only extremely high in unhealthy saturated fat but the increased production of it has resulted in the demolition of rainforests and peatlands in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bob Greene's 4 Pillars of Living Your Best Life

Nutrition

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." -Michael Pollan

"Eat foods that spoil, before they do." -Nina Planck


Exercise

It's a cliche by now but if you really want to stick to exercise and see results, do something you enjoy.

For example, I've never loved spinning (stationary bike riding) or pilates- I gave both a try many times over the years but couldn't stick to it...because I didn't enjoy it that much.

When I discovered yoga, I not only enjoyed it but looked forward to doing it again. That's what you should look for. Try everything once but don't force it.

Skin Care

It's a little redundant to have skin care as a pillar since it should/could be under the other 3.

However, it is something everyone cares about and is simpler than you think. The key is consistency. If you have "normal" skin (dry sometimes, oily sometimes, a zit sometimes but overall not problematic)- here are the two keys:

1. sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) on your face every single day- winter, spring, summer, fall- rain or shine.

2. the other pillars! (drink filtered water throughout the day, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, get at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night)


Sleep

-always rinse face off before going to sleep

-at least 6-8 hours every night, even on weekends

-make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet (put your pets in another room if you have to)

-don't eat too close to bedtime- digestion is work and your body should be shutting off when you go to sleep for the night. Also, digestion uses gravity - your body can not digest food well while you are horizontal- that's why eating too close to bedtime leads to indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn.

-shut off TV and other electronics (especially cell phones) at least an hour before bed- the stimulation your brain gets from the bright screens will disrupt your sleep

-never use the snooze button- just confuses your body and makes you feel twice as groggy when you finally get up

-first thing out of bed- stretch, splash face with warm water, rinse out mouth, drink a tall glass of room temperature water with a squeeze of lemon (stimulates digestive system)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Don't be scared!

Once again, Americans were jolted today by a new study telling them they were unknowingly poisoning themselves and their children: According to Dr. Oz, regularly drinking apple juice, over a long period of time, can lead to arsenic poisoning.

What they DON'T tell you is that over 70% of the apple juice we consume in America is made from apples that come from China- where they use arsenic based pesticides and farming. Simple solution: buy locally farmed apples, locally made juice and/or buy a juicer and make your own juice!

Remember- always do your own research especially when new "studies" like this suddenly arise.

Here is an episode of All About Health with Vicky DeRosa where I speak with Vicky and a fellow health-expert on relevant topics:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

for Perfect Brown Rice, cook it like Pasta!

Light, fluffy, each individual grain cooked al dente- not too moist or mushy- perfect:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil

2. Rinse desired amount of (uncooked) brown rice under running water for a few seconds.

3. Add rice to boiling water, stir well, turn heat to medium and boil uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

4. Pour rice into a fine strainer and let drain for a few seconds.

5. Return rice to original pot which should still be hot and dry. Cover. Let steam 10 minutes off the heat.

6. Uncover and gently fluff with a fork.


IMPORTANT NOTES:
-ratio of rice to water must be at least 1:5

-rinsing uncooked rice under water before cooking rids the grains of any excess starch (which contributes to that unwanted sticky/mushy result)- no matter how you cook your rice, I recommend rinsing it first.

-to bring water to a boil twice as fast, cover the pot with a lid

Monday, September 12, 2011

Best Advice

"How you spend your dollars at the supermarket is the most important way to create changes in the food industry." -Jamie Oliver


Concrete Proof: When the campaign against high fructose corn syrup really gained speed, consumers became aware of how prevalent this ingredient really was.  They started switching over to products without it and one by one, big brands started removing or replacing it from their products to keep up.  Now very few products, even high calorie, nutritionally vacant foods rarely have HFCS as it's second or third ingredient, if in it at all.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Eating with your eyes

Studies have indicated that "pre-eating" is nutritious: If a dish looks appealing, the body absorbs more nutrients from it.
(from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 1977)

homemade apple pie


worth the extra work

The 5 Senses

We use them every day, all day- but do we take care of them as well as we should?

Which vitamins and nutrients correspond with which sense to come... (e.g. Did you know a deficiency in zinc can deplete your sense of taste?!)

Blogging on the Road!

via BlackBerry

Friday, September 9, 2011

Seeds in the Middle

if you've been looking for a new cause to support, look no further:

Seeds in the Middle <-- (click here)

A non-profit working with elementary and middle school students in Brooklyn's most underprivileged neighborhoods, introducing them to healthy, accessible food!

Come to their next event on October 15, 2011- some of Brooklyn's best restaurants will be there, supporting the cause and giving out tastes of their famous dishes!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The New Popcorn

Sorghum, a wheat and gluten free grain, is a perfect substitute for couscous, bulgur and pearled barley in soups and sides dishes. It can also be popped right in a pot the same way you would popcorn- it looks and tastes just like mini popcorn, although it's referred to as Broomcorn and it is slightly sweeter. It's also higher in protein and fiber and lower in fat than corn and, perhaps best of all, it has no husk to get stuck in your teeth.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Buckwheat!

Did you know... baking with buckwheat flour can add a wonderfully distinct flavor to your muffins, cakes, breads and especially savory crepes! Buckwheat is not actually a grain but a relative of dock and rhubarb. It is low in gluten, has a fiber content comparable to whole wheat and is high in B vitamins, phosphorus and iron.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ingredient Decoder

If you must buy packaged food, here is a list of acceptable ingredients.

✔Acacia Gum
✔Casein
✔Chicory Root Fiber
✔Evaporated Cane Juice (Syrup)
✔Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil
✔Expeller- or Cold-Pressed Ingredients
✔Fractionated Oils
✔Glutamate
✔Glycerin
✔Lactic Acid
✔Maltodextrin
✔Non-Irradiated Spices
✔Oligofructose
✔Sodium Phosphates
✔Tartaric Acid

These should be considered inedible, indigestible a.k.a. NOT real food.

✖Aspartame
✖BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
✖BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
✖Bleached Flour
✖Calcium Peroxide
✖Disodium Guanylate
✖High Fructose Corn Syrup
✖Monosodium Glutamate
✖Partially Hydrogenated Oils
✖Polydextrose
✖Potassium Sorbate
✖Silicon Dioxide
✖Sodium Benzoate
✖Sulfur Dioxide
✖Sucralose
✖Xanthan Gum

Monday, May 23, 2011

Black is the new Green

-BLACK RICE: -more vitamin E than brown rice (it's all in the bran hull!), bolsters immune system & protects cells from free radical damage
-more
antioxidants than blueberries

-BLACKBERRIES: -packed w/polyphenols that aid brain function
-very high in
fiber (8g per cup!)

-BLACK SOYBEANS: -reduce risk of blood clots more than yellow or green soybeans (edamame)
-contain
omega-3s that reduce risk of heart disease

-BLACK LENTILS: loaded w/iron (1 cup=1/2 daily requirement for women)
-high in
soluble fiber which may lower cholesterol & improve immune function

-BLACK BEANS: their dark skin are packed with bioflavanoids which protect against cancer

-BLACK TEA: contains theaflavins-- antioxidants that may ease muscle soreness after exercise. May also lower risk of heart attack.