Is black pepper the next super food?

I’m always wary of claims that various foods can cure anything or even improve health. The science of how what we eats impacts us is still too primitive and too general for my taste. Case-in-point is this story I read recently about black pepper.

Find a spice store that will create salt-free blends for you
Find a spice store that will create salt-free blends for you

For someone trying to cut salt from their diets, pepper becomes a go-to flavoring It’s usually available when eating out, for one, and it’s tasty without being spicy hot which I tend to shy away from. So I’m using more pepper in my cooking.

But this Time article says black pepper could aid digestion and have other health benefits as well. It also can counter-act some carcinogens in charred beef (barbecue fans take note).

I hope all that is true, but for now, I’ll just use black pepper because I like the taste. If you have a local spice shop, ask for a salt-free mixture of various peppers as I’ve done to get some variety of flavor.

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Here’s one reason olive oil gets all the glory

Being Italian-American, I grew up with olive oil always on our table and still use it on salads and in cooking. It hasn’t prevented me from needing two stents in six years, however

Olive oil is like the Mount Olympus of ‘good’ fat, most nutritionists agree. But exactly why is that the case? So much of nutrition science is still in its infancy that I often am skeptical when anything is touted as a ‘healthy’ food.

Always carry your own oil and vinegar packets to use on any salad. I buy these in bulk on Amazon.
Always carry your own oil and vinegar packets to use on any salad. I buy these in bulk on Amazon.

But a new study may give some insight into why olive oil can help us. Apparently it helps your good cholesterol, the HDL kind, work more effectively, according to an article in Cooking Light magazine.

Continue reading “Here’s one reason olive oil gets all the glory”

Have some bad eating habits? Here are ways to break those

Bad eating, binge eating, eating lots of sugar, salt and fat — all are ways to say we have bad eating habits.

Like to over-eat? Try this quiz that may help you break that and other bad habits.

A new year is always a good time to resolve to break such bad habits, it’s a fresh start after all, isn’t it?

So try taking this WebMD quiz on how to break bad habits. Some of the answers it gives (you have to answer questions and then get told if you gave the right or wrong answer, may surprise you. The correct answers will give you tips on how to best break bad habits.

 

Looking for a diet plan? Here’s how U.S. News ranks the plans

I’ve said before this is not a diet site, its a site for helping you cut the salt, fat and sugar from your daily food intake (ok, diet). If you cut all three of those, chances are you’ll be losing weight because you will simply be eating less.

But that said, it’s January and this is when everyone realizes how much they over-ate during the year-end Holiday season and so searches for the best diet to help them drop some pounds.

The Keto Diet got lots of press in 20918, but it’s not at the top of the list of best diets U.S. News has put out for 2019. Number one is the Mediterranean Diet which I think of as very old-school since it’s been around, and recommended by healthcare professionals, for some time. Continue reading “Looking for a diet plan? Here’s how U.S. News ranks the plans”

A Salt-Free Thanksgiving Side — Roasted Vegetables with Pumpkin Seed Gremolata

If you’re searching for salt-free side dishes to make for Thanksgiving that will amaze and satisfy your guests try this variation on roasted vegetables from Chef Laura Frankel.

I recently met Chef Laura and sampled this wonderfully tasty dish, at a meeting of my local Mended Hearts chapter, a support group for heart disease survivors.

The dish contains things I never eat, like Brussel Sprouts. Somehow, Chef Laura has made them desirable, a miracle in culinary magic if you ask me.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Vegetables with Pumpkin Seed Gremolata

8+ servings as a side

3 large shallots, sliced thinly
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
2 Sweet potatoes, not peeled, cut into large dice
1 small Acorn or butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin wedges or large dice
2 raw beets, peeled and cut into large dice
1 small celery root, peeled and sliced thinly
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, preheat oven to 400F.

1. Toss vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on lined baking sheet.
2. Roast vegetables in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender.
3. Arrange vegetables on serving platter and sprinkle generously with Gremolata.

Gremolata

½ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
6 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
Pinch of crushed red chili flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 fresh sage leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry medium saute pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they pop. Transfer seeds to a food processor.
2. Pulse toasted seeds, parsley, garlic, chili flakes, zest and juice, sage leaves and extra virgin olive oil until a coarse mixture is formed.
3. Sprinkle gremolata on top of roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, fish and turkey.

A low-sodium Thanksgiving’s cooking guide

Traditional Thanksgiving fare is loaded with salt and fat, so double your vigilance when planning your Thanksgiving menu this year.

We have lots of tips on our site, check our recipe page for low-salt sides. We have a recipe for a low-sodium stuffing, as well as an entire low-sodium Thanksgiving menu.

And start by getting a fresh turkey that hasn’t been injected with a salt bath you check salt content on some of the frozen, self-basting turkeys, you’ll see salt content around 200 mgs or more per serving. That’s about three times what is in a serving of fresh turkey.

You can cut the salt and still enjoy Thanksgiving!

 

Be salad smart when eating out

See the word salad on a menu and you assume it’s got to be the healthiest thing on there, right? Wrong, unfortunately. Restaurants love to load up salads with any and every unhealthy thing, like fried foods, to destroy the basic salad.

You're left with a relatively healthy salad with chicken.
You’re left with a relatively healthy salad with chicken.

WebMD recently ran this guide on what to avoid in restaurant salads.  Basics you should already kn0w — avoid creamy dressings, croutons and lots of cheese on a  salad, they’re all fat bombs waiting to destroy your insides.

Olive oil and vinegar is the best dressing option. I now carry my own with me because I’m continually surprised how many places don;t offer that as an option.

Sadly, one option I do like, dried cranberries, is on the bad list here because of the amount fo sugar in dried fruit. Bye cranberries. Continue reading “Be salad smart when eating out”