Tag Archives: squash

Day 5: halfway there

Okay, so that went by pretty fast. Hard to believe that we are almost 50% through our fall cleanse. I have to admit that there were a few moments when I yearned for a bite of chocolate or a chunk of French bread dunked in some yummy olive oil, or a nice glass of a full-bodied red wine on one of these cold fall evenings we have been having this week. But it feels good to stay focused on eating and drinking in a cleaner way for this time, particularly with the coming of the holidays, when I know I will indulge from time to time!

As I was shopping at New Seasons today(our local healthy supermarket), I wandered around snapping photos of the wide array of choices that are available to consume. I have had fun experimenting with various kinds of squashes and just today I bought a persimmon: any thoughts on how to eat one of these??? Last weekend I bought 2 quinces after hearing someone on NPR talk about how she had made them for her children, who loved them. I tried to replicate how she prepared them and honestly, they taste great!

What is a quince, you might wonder? Me too actually until just a few days ago. I have heard of them in English novels but honestly, I cannot remember ever trying one. So I took the 2 quinces home, washed them and placed them in a pot, covered them with water , brought it to a boil and cooked them until they were quite tender. Quinces when raw are quite hard and super tart and not very palatable, I would imagine. However, once they are cooked through(give it at least 30-45 minutes), it is easy to cut off the stem and remove the small seeds. Next I placed them in a food processor, added 1/4 cup of coconut sugar, a 1/2 tsp of cardamon and 3/4 tsp of cinnamon, pureed them and voila!  a lovely fruit sauce, similar in texture to applesauce but with a completely unique and wonderful flavor.

Of course my curiosity led me to do a little research on the benefits of quince: wow! These are some power-packed little fruits. They were known as ‘golden apples’ in ancient times and are loaded with nutrition and vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting substances. Quinces are full of fiber(I kept the peel on in the recipe that I just shared: no reason to peel it, by the way), tannins that bind to cancer causing chemicals in the intestine(helpful in fighting colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticultis), vitamin C, copper and many other minerals and it is believed to very beneficial in fighting allergies and inflammation. Who knew?

That is one of the many benefits of paying closer attention to one’s consumption: it forces us out of our comfort zones and gently encourages us to try new things. I hope you have had some of your own food adventures this past week. Looking forward to the next  5 days.

Wishing you health and balance and lovely foods to eat.

SQUASH: a lovely autumn treat: delicato is fast becoming one of my favorites

SQUASH: a lovely autumn treat: delicato is fast becoming one of my favorites

My produce bowl: the persimmon is the light orange fruit: what to do with it???

My produce bowl: the persimmon is the light orange fruit: what to do with it???

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Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Whole Eating, Women's Health & Happiness

Cold and Flu Season are almost here: How to eat to boost your immune system: Part 1

Ah, October: one of the loveliest months with its fall colors and crisp days: I just love this time of year. I have my Halloween lights up, an orange berry wreath on the front door and candles lit throughout the house, making staying inside cozy and inviting.

Brilliant fall colors on my morning walk: breathtakingly beautiful

Brilliant fall colors on my morning walk: breathtakingly beautiful

But as we all know, fall is also known for an increased incidence of cold and flu viruses. Some of my friends have already been sniffling and coughing so it is time to think about the ways we can boost our immune systems.

As we have talked about in past blogposts, how and what we eat has a significant impact on how our bodies fight infections. Every magazine that I have opened lately has spent some time discussing this so obviously this is an important and timely topic. So what are some of the best foods that we can include in our diet?

Garlic and onions: these odorific foods are members of the lily family and they contain sulfur-containing compounds. One of the most important of these is called allicin, which has both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties,which can help fight off many types of infections. It is so easy to include these foods in many of the recipes that you make every day: add them to soups, salad dressings, sauces, casseroles for extra flavor and immune boosting power.

Sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squashes and pumpkins are all rich in beta-carotene, which help your body fight off respiratory infections.  Try these in soups, breads, salads or serve them on their own. They are delicious and full of nutrients.

Pumpkin heaven: full of nutrition and wonderful to look at

Pumpkin heaven: full of nutrition and wonderful to look at

Mushrooms are considered to be powerhouses of the immune system and there are so many varieties to try: shitake, maitake, chantrelles, oyster, portobello, lobster, you name it, along with the familiar brown and white button mushrooms.  They help your body fight infections by boosting the activity of your natural killer cells and they are also rich in the mineral selenium, which helps you fight flu viruses. Try sauteeing them in olive oil and season with herbs, add them to soups, salads, omelettes and casseroles.

Yogurt has long been considered a ‘health food’ but often times it has been sold as over-processed and over sugared, a distant cousin from the really healthy kind. Look for yogurt in its natural unprocessed form: it should say that it contains live active cultures, such as S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus and Bifidus and try to buy types that are higher in protein(like Greek yogurt) and low in added sugars. These beneficial bacteria are known as ‘pro-biotics’, which help to restore healthy bacteria to your intestines(back to gut health, once again), which in turn help your body to fight the onslaught of infections that arrive in the fall and winter months.

Part 2 will review some more important foods to include in your daily diet but before I sign off, I want to share one of my favorite and SIMPLE recipes that combines a few of today’s ‘super foods’ : it is full of flavor, protein, immune boosters and easy on your waist.

Kyle’s recipe for Tsatsiki:

2 cups of high quality, high protein yogurt( I prefer Greek style, normal fat content)

1 cucumber: peeled and grated: squeeze out all of the excess liquid

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

Stir all of these ingredients together in a bowl.  Cover, chill and let the flavors blend for at least a few hours . Serve with whole grain pita chips or crusty whole grain bread.  Yum! great for watching football games or your favorite latest TV series. Enjoy!

Back again with more foods and recipes. As always, we love to hear from YOU and how you incorporate nutritious foods into your daily lives.

Salud and bon appétit.

Don't forget to enjoy the wonders of fall's beauty each day, as soon the leaves will fall and only the memories will linger

Don’t forget to enjoy the wonders of fall’s beauty each day, as soon the leaves will fall and only the memories will linger

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Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Whole Eating, Women's Health & Happiness