Supplement Quality – Does it Really Matter?

Nutritional supplement qualityWhether you’re planning a cleanse, following doctor’s orders or simply upgrading your daily health routine, nutritional supplements might be part of your plan. But, should you be concerned about supplement quality? ─ In a word, yes. Here’s why and a few common misconceptions about the supplement industry. 

Doesn’t the FDA Monitor the Supplement Industry?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does provide oversight to the supplement industry. However, don’t let this give you a false sense of security about your supplement safety and efficacy. Some aspects of the FDA regulation might surprise you.  Continue reading

8 Alcohol and Sugar-Free Detox-Friendly Drinks

8 Detox-Friendly BeveragesDetox-friendly drinks anyone?! January means simultaneously starting fresh and taking it back a notch. We celebrate the new year and our bodies by getting back to (ideally) the best of our pre-holiday patterns. Whether you are doing a full-on detox program, whole30, or recovering from holiday transgressions, you’re likely taking a break from alcohol, perhaps sugar and caffeine as well. But, that can leave a lifestyle and flavor void to fill —as in what are your beverage options? Filtered water and more filtered water? Even if you flavor it up with lemon, mint or ginger, liquid boredom will eventually set in.

Following are 8 health-supportive and detox-friendly drinks I’ll have on rotation this month. Some of these are warm drinks and some are cold. All are not only non-alcoholic and caffeine-free, but they have no refined sugar, don’t require a juicer and they’re rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Hopefully, these ideas will help you stick with your health resolutions —and get you through what might have been your coffee breaks or happy hours.

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Antioxidant-Rich, Healthy Cranberry Compote

Maine LR-4301

This antioxidant-rich and healthy cranberry compote deserves a place at the table year-round. Because cranberries bring a lot more to the table than just tradition and a dash of ruby-red. That favorite holiday condiment is actually a potent anti-microbial. In fact, cranberries could help keep you feeling festive all year-round.

Originally, researchers attributed the protective effect of cranberries to their acidity. This has long since been disproved. We now know that cranberry’s anti-microbial properties are due its high levels of a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins (PACs).

In plants, PACs provide protection against pathogens and predators. In humans, a unique structure of the PACs in cranberries essentially renders whatever bacteria it comes in contact with a non-stick surface. So, cranberry’s PACs help prevent an overall bacterial invasion that can result in an outright infection. If bacteria can’t stick to our cell walls —it can’t infect. And, if it does stick, it will have less chance of spreading.

Research shows that the PACs in cranberries inhibit bacteria (especially E. coli) from sticking to bladder walls, reducing urinary tract infections and may help prevent ulcers by suppressing H. Pylori infections. They may also prevent cavities by inhibiting unhealthy oral bacteria. This same non-stick ability may also lower the risk of atherosclerosis by inhibiting platelet aggregation and adhesion and by reducing cholesterol.  Clearly, cranberries have a place on the table the other ten months of the year!

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Don’t Make This Apple Season Mistake!

How to Select the Most Nutritious Apple VarietiesCooling temperatures mean apple season, at least where I’m from (Washington State) and where I lived until recently (New York). So, those of us in harvest mode head to the farmer’s market or apple orchards in search of our usual favorites. Right?!

Actually, this is a mistake. Or, at least a missed opportunity. With the greatest selections of varieties available, this is THE time to try buying, snacking, serving or baking with new-to-you apple varieties. Selected mindfully, veering onto the apple path less traveled could have game-changing health benefits compared to the same old, same old grocery store varieties. Here’s why. Continue reading

Healing My Broken Body After a Traumatic Injury

Traumatic Injury  You can never anticipate a traumatic injury.

Nevertheless, days before Christmas, on a -16°F day in Yellowstone Park, traumatic injury became my reality.

Suddenly, I’m on my back on the ice and snow-covered ground. The 700-pound snowmobile I’d ridden all day was now resting on top of my 125-pound frame. As it was pulled off me, I opened my eyes to find a circle of people peering down at me—all with a similar “Oh @#$!” expressions of on their faces.  Continue reading

Grilled Caesar Salad with Gluten-Free Croutons

grilled caesar saladGrilled Caesar Salad—because grilling is one of the easiest ways to put a fresh twist on a classic. And Caesar salad, an uber classic, is as welcome at a backyard BBQs as sit-down dinners. But, for Grilled Caesar Salad, select small, compact Romaine hearts, ideally about six inches in length. Anything bigger, anything floppy, skip it. Those greens simply won’t hold up to the heat of the grill. Continue reading

Parmesan Chickpea Croutons for Salads or Snacks

Parmesan Chickpea CroutonsParmesan Chickpea Croutons

Parmesan chickpea croutons are one of my favorite salad toppings. They add flavor, texture and protein to a salad, and bonus—they’re also gluten-free!  The croutons can be made a day in advance and, once completely cooled, stored in an airtight container. If using canned chickpeas, look for cans with BPA-free lining. Either way, be sure to make plenty. They make for an addictive snack, especially hot out of the oven! For vegans, simply skip the parmesan. 

Tip: For more of a parmesan ‘crisp’ with cracker-like shards of parmesan, freely add parmesan so that it covers the spaces in the pan between the croutons and let it melt!

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can or two cups cooked chickpeas, well-drained and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional: black pepper to taste
  • Garlic, onion powder (or other seasonings of your choice) to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 cup grated parmesan

Parmesan Chickpea Crouton Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the chickpeas and cook.
  4. Sprinkle seasoning evenly over chickpeas.
  5. Continue to cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the chickpeas are lightly roasted and slightly browned.
  6. Sprinkle the parmesan over the chickpeas and place pan in the oven and cook for another 35 minutes, for a total of about 1 hour total cooking time. Enjoy!

Note: If chickpeas are not crisp after an hour, lower the heat to 250°F and let them dry out as long as needed. And if you won’t be around to monitor them, simply turn off the oven when they are close to desired crispness and let them continue drying in the residual heat of the oven.

Roasted Chickpeas 1

 Roasted Chickpea CroutonsParmesan Chickpea CroutonsParmesan Chickpea Croutons for Grilled Ceasar Salad

The G & T Healer: Ginger Turmeric Medicinal Tea

Ginger Turmeric Medicinal Tea

Got inflammation, aches, and pains? A few weeks with this drink and you may understand why I fondly call this drink the Ginger Turmeric Healer. G & T for short. Not that kind. 

I’m not being coy calling this ginger turmeric drink a healer. In fact, after serving this up daily during a two-week stay with relatives, they both noticed relief from their daily arthritis-related aches and pains. To quote them “It doesn’t hurt anymore to walk the dogs” and “When I get up in the morning, the pain of putting my socks and shoes on is gone.” This drink also helped me dramatically following a recent traumatic injury, a story for another day. So, for anyone trying to avoid inflammation-related aches and pains, this drink is for you. Continue reading

Herbal Lemon Vinaigrette

Lemon Vinaigrette

Yes,this lemon vinaigrette dressing is as bright as it is versatile. With just a change of fresh herbs; cilantro, parsley or mint —or a combination of several herbs, it will complement a range of salad ingredients. The key here is using fresh lemon juice and balancing it with a small amount of natural sweetener. Continue reading

Did Your Father’s Waistline Influence Your Own?

Fathers' Influence on Child's Obesity Risk

Photo Credit:Sukanto Debnath

Growing up, most people can’t help but look to their parents’ physiology as a contributor of their current as well as a possible future physique. But, it seems that parents, specifically the father’s waistline, may influence a child’s risk of obesity beyond genetic inheritance. Continue reading