3 Easy & Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When I start the morning with good choices, it is easier to follow throughout the day with more good choices. I’ve created 3 delicious and simple recipes that should suit you if you need something fast, or if you’ve got a little more time to treat yourself in the kitchen. Two out of the three recipes are completely vegan, and one includes eggs and leaves a lot of room for variation for your tastes.

I have created a mini frittata, smoothie, and avocado toast. I hope you will try out the recipes!

xoxo

Fifi

Meal Prep 201: Healthy Options for Kids Lunches

It’s back to school season and everyone wants to stay on track with their schedules, health, and of course their budget. My video focuses on healthy options for kids, but these are honestly healthy lunch options for anyone! Please share with anyone you think my benefit from this info.

xoxo
Fifi

My Interview with MedMike about Food & Health

Dr. “MedMike” is a well-rounded and highly knowledgeable medical professional and also a long time friend. I was so excited to have the opportunity to interview him on subjects that interest me most– how we eat and how that effects our overall health. Trust me, you’ll learn a lot from this article. I know I did!

Medical personal at a doctor's office

What is your medical background?Medical personal at a doctor's office I’m a medical student in my final year at the Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. With degrees in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University, I began my career designing solutions to improve the quality of healthcare delivery. During medical school I sought to broaden my medical education, so I took time off to work for the US Department of Health & Human Services in Washington, DC to help solve healthcare system problems at the policy level. I also worked for The Dr. Oz Show in New York, where I cultivated further experience in simple disease prevention. These experiences have shaped my more balanced, patient-centered approach to medicine.
What are some things people should be aware of if they would like to switch to a less-traditional style of eating like vegan, paleo, or vegetarian, for instance?

 

The first question you should ask yourself (and that I ask my patients) is, why? You’ve just chosen to make a lifestyle change, and you need that inner fire to make new eating habits part of the essential you. Many people approach dieting as a temporary gig, only to be frustrated later. Set some milestone goals to stay on track, but maintain the underlying lifestyle change indefinitely.

Eating the so-called Standard American Diet (SAD) is linked to chronic illness including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune conditions. This calorie-dense conundrum is nutritionally-depleted, highly processed, and it’s hard on the body. After years of poor eating habits, a harmful inflammatory environment is maintained in the body, fueling the wrong kind of fire. Doctors call this metabolic syndrome, and it’s deadly. However, with lifestyle changes damage can be reversed, and a long healthy life can be achieved.

VEGETARIANISM

Vegetarianism generally means you choose to primarily eat plants. This includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, and legumes. Body parts of any animal and products derived from animal carcasses are avoided. Science shows that ‘going veg’ is associated with a number of perks.

In addition to feeling full sooner and eating less, vegetarians have lower heart disease risk, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, and blood pressure on average.

Substances uniquely found in plants, especially the thousands of phytochemicals in raw green leafy vegetables are incredibly nutritious. The pigments, antioxidants and micronutrients that make up colorful veggie cuisine mop up free radicals that lead to inflammation and chronic disease.
VEGANISMMedical personal at a doctor's officeBecoming a strict vegetarian (vegan) takes a plant-based diet up a notch and means eliminating all animal protein, including eggs and dairy. Some people with existing inflammatory conditions may benefit from eating vegan. Certain animal proteins have been linked to allergies and excess inflammation, so eliminating all animal products is certainly something to try especially if there is a family history of heart disease or other inflammatory conditions. Plants are chock-full of macronutrients such as protein and essential fatty acids, so vegetarians and vegans are not necessarily protein deficient. Just look at some of the world’s largest herbivores: giraffes, hippos and rhinos—all with powerful muscles. Per calorie, broccoli actually contains more protein than a steak! It is only when vegetarian diets are based on high amounts of white flours, refined grains and simple sugars that protein, B12, vitamin D and calcium intake may become a concern. Even pregnant women and athletes can thrive on vegetarian diets so long as their caloric needs are being met with nutrient-dense foods. Adults generally need 10 to 35 percent of their total daily calories to come from protein. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this amounts to about 50 to 175 grams a day.
PALEO

But wait, aren’t we supposed to eat meat? After all, our genome appeared in its current form during the Paleolithic Period, about 2.6 million to 10,000 years ago. Based on what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, going Paleo means eating a large amount of fruits and vegetables, some meat and fish but no whole grains, legumes or dairy. The Paleo diet is a controversial one. Although its low-glycemic index is hard to argue with, many nutritionists are concerned about eliminating whole grains and dairy.

Research shows that both can help decrease the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Also note that cavemen tended to be much shorter than modern people and often died in their 40s, before most modern-day chronic diseases set in.

I recommend a plant-based diet to everyone. From there diet can be personalized based on personal preference and body responses to food types (Check with your doctor). As with anything, animal products should be consumed in moderation, and processed foods should be avoided completely. Remember that white flour, processed foods and sugars will make it difficult to lose weight and can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Stick to your lifestyle change plan.

Do you recommend taking multivitamins?

Medical personal at a doctor's office

Scientists may never be able to extract the exact symphony of nutrients naturally contained in plants and make it into a pill. Most of the beneficial “secret sauce” health ingredients in plants are the combinations of phytochemicals. These can’t be duplicated in a comprehensive way. Therefore a multivitamin can never make up for a poor diet.

I recommend a smart selection of supplements, but I don’t recommend blanketing everyone with a multivitamin just because we can. Keep in mind supplements are not regulated by FDA, so without this oversight, labeling can sometimes be an issue. Consumerlab did a test recently finding that 25% of supplements have issues, sometimes with too much Vitamin A, which can be toxic. In general avoid supplements containing high levels of vitamin A, beta carotene or folate.

Nutritional needs vary based on diet, activity level, age and gender. Strict vegetarians are recommended to take multivitamins. When in doubt ask your doctor to have your blood levels checked. This test may not be covered by your insurance.

Follow Dr. MedMike on Twitter!

@medmike

Panang Curry Chicken: Try Something New!

by Jerry Marello, General Manager at Turning Stone Resort & Casino

Trying out new recipes during cold winter months can be fun! The heat from the stove makes the house feel warm and cozy. The delicious smells coming from the kitchen make the family feel loved. Winter is the best time to invite friends and family over to share a meal. Instead of feeling trapped in the house by the snow, view winter as a luxurious time to spend expanding your culinary expertise.

The summer months get so busy. Friends spend weekends traveling. The kids are outside from morning until night. During the summer, the best you can do is usually throwing some burgers on the grill. In the winter, everyone tends to be home more often. They also have more time to be social. It is the perfect time to host a dinner party.

Looking to make a meal that’s healthier, but not boring? Try a flavorful Asian dish. The below Panang Chicken dish is from the Peach blossom Restaurant in Upstate New York, is raved about by guests for its rich flavor.

Chicken Curry

Recipe makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:
• 3 1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk, divided
• 2 to 3 tablespoons Panang curry paste (less if you don’t want it as spicy)
• 1 cup thinly sliced onion
• 10-15 Thai basil leaves, finely shredded
• 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/4-to 1/3-inch-thick slices
• 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
• 3 teaspoons tamarind paste
• 2 teaspoons fish sauce
• sugar to taste
• 6 cups steamed rice (use brown rice or spaghetti squash as a healthier option)

Preparation:
In a wok or large skillet, heat coconut milk and curry paste using medium-high heat. Warm the mixture but do not let it boil. Stir constantly for two minutes. Add onion. Bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, and then lower the temperature to medium-low. Add chicken, bell pepper, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and pinch of sugar. Stir occasionally, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, which should be six to eight minutes. Add basil leaves before serving. Serve over steamed rice.

Ingredient Info:
Unsweetened coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, tamarind paste, and fish sauce can be found in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets or specialty grocery stores.

TIP: Serve this meal with warm green tea and pinot noir. The richness of the curry and coconut milk go well with red wine, but a chilled sauvignon blanc would be a good pairing as well.

Photo credit: Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7617731@N02/4320207046/“>TMAB2003</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com“>Compfight</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/“>cc</a>

FitFeb| The Paleo Lifestyle

Katie is one of my Instagram pals (IG name: fit_weinbagel) who I have had the pleasure of following for quite some time. She’s health conscious and super athletic– and I cannot help but be jealous of her glorious view of the Northern Pacific as she heads out for jogs! Most importantly, through sharing her meals, she has greatly educated me on the Paleo diet and its benefits. People are quick to dismiss what they see as trend diets, but for some it is really eating they way that their body most agrees with– and it has become a lifestyle.

Q1: What is the paleo diet? How did you find out about it and decide it was for you?

A1: The paleo lifestyle in a nutshell is just eating real food; this means no processed food!  A good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of a grocery store (produce, meat/seafood, and nuts/seeds).  There is controversy over whether or not dairy is “allowed”, though I think a lot of people try to avoid it.  I believe people also try to limit fruit intake.

My coworker introduced me to the paleo lifestyle in 2011.  She brought in “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf and I read it in one evening.  I had always been interested and somewhat conscious of healthy habits, however I believed whole wheat and lowfat foods, among other health fads, were “healthy” prior to reading the book.

Shortly after reading the book, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos, which is an autoimmune disorder.  The body attacks your thyroid, and interestingly enough, gluten protein looks like thyroid when it’s ingested.  This is when I gave up gluten all together and got strict about paleo.  I also have a very sensitive stomach and have to monitor what I eat closely unless I want to suffer with the side effects (bloating, nausea, fatigue, depression, etc).

Q2: I love seeing updates from you for gym workouts and runs. What’s your favorite fitness activity?

A2: Wow, this is a tough question!  Recently I have broadened my workout routine and I don’t know if I can pick just one!  I guess I would have to say I really love the runs I’ve been doing in downtown Portland followed by a weight lifting session in my office gym.  I think running downtown on the waterfront is really refreshing.  If I go to the gym, I love the stair climber because it gets your heart rate up and it stays up even if you’re not climbing very fast.  Of course I also love to end my workouts in the sauna!

katie workout

Q3: What does a typical day of paleo eating look like for you?

A3: A typical day of paleo eating for me looks like:

Breakfast: 3 hardboiled eggs and 1/2 an avocado, coffee with half and half (the only dairy I allow myself to eat on a daily basis) and liquid stevia.  Bacon on weekends.

Lunch: Ground meat with steamed veggies

Snack: Handful of nuts (almond or pistachio), and/or roasted veggies

Dinner: Salad

I don’t eat a lot of fruit, but if I’m having a crazy sweet tooth I will eat some and occasionally ice cream (not paleo!).

Green Chicken Curry

Green Chicken Curry

Fish w/veggies

Fish w/veggies

Pork & Salad

Pork & Salad

Bison steak & veggies

Bison steak & veggies

Q4: Are there noticeable differences to your health with this new way of eating?

A4:  I think eating this way has given me a lot more energy, and it has also boosted my mood.  I have read about a lot of people who effortlessly lost weight doing paleo, and I think if it weren’t for Hashimoto’s and my “weird” stomach, the same would have happened to me.  Overall I am so thankful for being introduced to this new way of eating, and it’s so simple.  Just eat real food!

Oven Roasted Broccoli & Glazed Salmon

I’ve been a vegetarian for years, and I love it. But, I also love to entertain and cook for others. I think it’s important that I continue to have some non-vegetarian items in my repertoire. The key to delicious meat and seafood is savoriness and moisture level, in my opinion. Some people cannot stand things like the white meat of poultry, or fleshy fish like salmon, because too many times it has been prepared in a dry and lifeless way. Roasting food is a wonderful way to soak in flavor and make some of the toughest vegetables tender and flavorful. This recipe calls  for few ingredients, has minimal prep time, and very much healthy. My simplistic meal creation is made from Asian-inspired flavors and will be done cooking by the time you’ve set the table and slipped into more comfortable attire!

Ingredients

  • Salmon steak
  • Light soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Minced garlic (I used garlic and ginger from a jar. They tend to fair well in the oven without burning)
  • Minced ginger
  • 2 cups of fresh broccoli
Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Thoroughly wash broccoli and cut into smaller florets and place into a large mixing bowl. Toss with 2 TBSP sesame oil, 1 TBSP chopped garlic, and 1 TBSP minced ginger and sea salt to taste.
  3. Evenly spread coated broccoli on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Mix 1 TBSP soy sauce, 1 TBSP sesame oil, 1 tsp of garlic, 1 tsp of ginger, and a pinch of sugar.
  5. Oil cookie sheet and place salmon down. Lightly sprinkle each steak with sea salt. Generously brush one side of salmon steak with glaze. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 375F. Keep an eye on this. The times vary by the oven and size of the salmon steak.