Salmon! Here fishy fishy…

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Salmon is a tasty fish that’s chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial fats that can improve heart health. Salmon is also protein-rich. Choose wild over farmed salmon, which has been shown to contain elevated levels of contaminants and is artificially colored.

  • With so much focus on the amazing omega-3 benefits of salmon, other unique health benefits from salmon may have been inadvertently overlooked. One fascinating new area of health benefits involves the protein and amino acid content of salmon. Several recent studies have found that salmon contains small bioactive protein molecules (called bioactive peptides) that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. One particular bioactive peptide called calcitonin (sCT) has been of special interest in these studies. The reason is because a human form of calcitonin is made by the thyroid gland, and we know that it is a key hormone for helping regulate and stabilize the balance of collagen and minerals in the bone and surrounding tissue. As researchers learn more and more about salmon peptides - - including sCT - - we expect to see more and more potential health benefits discovered related to inflammation, including inflammation of the joints.
  • Even though contamination with mercury, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants (POPS) has become a widespread problem in salmon habitats and with the quality of salmon itself, there are still salmon runs that pose relatively low risk in terms of contaminants. Leading this low-risk category for wild-caught salmon are Alaskan salmon. Southeast Alaskan chum, sockeye, coho, pink, and chinook salmon, together with Kodiak coho, pink, and chum salmon have all been evaluated for contaminant consumption risk involving many POPs (including dioxins, dioxin-like compounds, or DLCs, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs) and have been found to be the lowest risk category of wild-caught salmon for regular consumption. This lower contamination risk amongst all wild-caught salmon is one of the reasons we recommend selection of wild-caught Alaskan salmon as a salmon of choice. (While some salmon runs from British Columbia and the U.S. West Coast also stand out as lower risk in terms of contaminants, we do not feel enthusiastic about recommending them for consumption due to the more precarious sustainability of these salmon runs.)
  • Along with lower risk of contamination from wild-caught Alaskan salmon, we like what experts are saying about the greater sustainability of Alaskan salmon runs. For example, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California has recently determined Alaskan salmon to be the only low-risk salmon in terms of four sustainability criteria: the inherent vulnerability of the fish, the effects of fishing on the overall habitat, the status of wild stocks, and the nature of the by-catch (the other types of fish that are caught unintentionally during salmon fishing).
  • Like other seafood, salmon is still not covered under regulations issued by the U.S. National Organics Program (NOP). However, the National Organics Standards Board has officially adopted recommendations for seafood (including salmon) and government officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have plans to implement these new regulations by adding them to the National List and issuing rules for compliance. Recommendations from the NOSB currently include:
    • organic certification of farmed salmon that meet certain standards
    • no certification of any wild-caught salmon
    • allowance of up to 25% fish oil and fish meal from wild-caught fish in the feeding of farmed organic salmon
    • permitted use of net pens and inland containment facilities

    All aspects of the NOSB recommendations remain controversial. The limitation of organic certification to farmed salmon appears to have been related to the NOSB’s desire for certainty about compliance of salmon production with organic regulations as well as its belief that verification of compliance for wild-caught salmon would simply not be possible. However, many advocates of sustainable food argue that farming creates an unnatural habitat for fish and is likely to compromise fish quality. Since organic regulations prohibit the use of animal by-products in the feeding of land animals (like cows or chickens), this area of certification for farmed fish has been equally controversial. When salmon migrate out to sea, many different types of fish are included in their natural diet. From this perspective, it would seem appropriate to allow the feeding of fish oil and fish meal from wild-caught fish to farmed organic salmon. However, at the same time, prohibited feeding of non-organic animal by-products to cows, chickens, and other land animals has played an important role in assuring organic quality. When animals are being raised for organic food, it’s obvious that non-organic animal by-products in their diet increase risk of contamination.

    While we welcome the idea of certification standards for organic seafood, we aren’t convinced that the current NOSB recommendations make good sense. For this reason, if the current recommendations are implemented into law, we will continue to recommend selection of wild-caught Alaskan salmon as a salmon of choice, even over certified organic, farm-raised salmon. However, if changes are made in the current NOSB recommendations, we’ll re-evaluate your best chances of getting optimal nourishment from any salmon that you decide to include in your meal plan.

  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbsmayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.

Superfoods! Honey a sweet change

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Honey isn’t just for tea. You’ve probably relied on honey in the past to soothe an aching throat, but did you know it has been used to treat wounds and gastrointestinal problems?  Reflux issues???? Honey acts as an antioxidant, a substance that can prevent the effects of free radicals, which we are exposed to from environmental toxins such as tobacco smoke or radiation and which can contribute to disease. Honey also contains oligosaccharides, which increase the number of good bacteria in the colon. The color of honey is relevant: the darker the honey the more antioxidants it contains.

To help with acne, apply a dab of honey to your face, at least once a week as a mask. honey for acne is great for healing your blemishes and disinfecting skin, as it has antibacterial properties. Those with sensitive skin can also use honey, as it does not irritate most skin.

honey for acne face mask can be used to help clear up acne breakouts and other skin problems. Simply mix together a paste of honey, milk, plain yogurt, and lemon juice, apply to the face, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Many people swear by the honey face mask as an acne treatment.

Superfoods! Installment 2

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Nuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber and vitamin E. Walnuts are the only nuts that contain a significant amount of omega-3s, and are known for their high antioxidant activity. Eat them by the handful, toss them on salads or try this delicious recipe:  noted blueberries is also a super food good for immunity and memory.  This recipe from clean eating magazine.

WALNUT BLUEBERRY BREAD

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 cup 1% buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 tsp orange rind, grated
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a nonstick loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together banana, flaxseed, egg whites, honey and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, mix baking soda, salt, flours and orange rind. Combine dry ingredients into banana mixture. Gently fold in blueberries and walnuts. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.

Nutrients per 4 x 1/2-inch slice: Calories: 200, Total Fat: 6 g, Sat. Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 33 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 13 g, Protein: 8 g, Sodium: 260 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

SuperFoods! Natures Bounty In A Power Punch!!

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Super food.  What is exactly is a super food?  Isn’t  all nutritious,  healthy,  non-chemically processed foods considered a superfood?    Is it a food superman or the green lantern take for their supernatural powers??  Is it faster than a speeding bullet…. more powerful to a locomotive… No….. It is Nutients packed with health enhancing powers… a hmmm I mean properties.

I am going to list a super food over the next 7days…  I know you  thought I was just going to give you a list and you could run to walmart and grab a cart full of these so called  super powers.  No I want you  to learn about why you should be eating it.  I know not everyone will like each superfood, which makes it so great.  Nature has given us so much variety to choose from it’s bounty, you are bound to find several that will appease to your palate.

HERE COME THE SUPERFOODS!  Okay you just want the facts…

These foods benefit your body in so many ways. They power your brain, and correctly and efficiently fuel your body. Super foods fight infection, enhance your immune system, and protect against diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and respiratory infections.

While this list of super foods may be longer than most, it shows that great things do come in small packages. These foods are not only healthy, but they’re also affordable, familiar, and readily available at regular grocery stores and farmers markets. With so many choices, you’ll discover just how easy it is to eat super healthy every day…even when on a tight budget.

This is an all-inclusive list, but some foods might not be right for your tastes, preferences or health goals. Remember that no single food can provide everything you need to be healthy. That’s why it’s important to choose a variety of super foods from each category to meet your daily nutrition needs.

There are probally over a hundred superfoods I could list for you but I am going to give you the top 7 that are readily available to you and that you don’t have to take out a bank loan for or go 100 miles to a “Whole foods type store”

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SPINACH!  This is the top superfood and one of my favorites.  Popeye was right: Spinach should be part of your diet. It’s low in calories and high in nutrients. Research has shown that spinach aids in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, some cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Spinach strawberry Summer Salad

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1/3 c almonds, slivered

4 c baby spinach

3/4 c strawberries, quartered

    1 T balsamic vinegar
    1 t Dijon mustard
    1 t honey
    3 T extra virgin olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Place the almonds in a dry skillet or saute pan. Cook over low heat, shaking the pan the entire time until the almonds are toasting. Almonds are done when you start to smell a “nutty” scent.
    Remove almonds from the pan to cool. (Do not cool in the skillet because they will burn from the heat that remains in the pan.) Wash and dry the spinach.

    Prepare the dressing by placing the vinegar, mustard, and honey in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until all is incorporated. Place spinach in a large bowl. Add strawberries, almonds, and dressing. Toss to coat. If desired, season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

The Great Yogurt Debate!

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Yogurt has been around since the 70’s when the flower children of that generation touted it as the “Super food of the era”  We used to look at Euell Gibbons selling Grape nuts and thought it tasted like eating gravel from the driveway.  It was healthy and who cares if it broke a tooth or two.  That’s another blog, back to the yogurt debate.

First of all what is yogurt and What makes it a super food for our body??  I am not going to be recommending brands but just in general “Greek versus all the rest”

Yogurt in general is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermenting of cows milk. The bacteria used to make yogurt are known as “yogurt cultures”. Fermentation of lactose by these bacteria produces lactic acid which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and its characteristic tang.

Worldwide, cows milk is most commonly used to make yogurt, but milk from water buffalo, goats, ewes(sheep), mares  as well as  camels  and yaks is also used in various parts of the world.

Dairy yogurt is produced using a culture of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus bacteria. In addition, other lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are also sometimes added during or after culturing yogurt.  These are referred to good bacteria.  Did you know that if you are on a antibiotic this can drastically reduce your good gut bacteria and cause another infection such as Clostridium difficille to develop.  So if you go on an antibiotic eat a yogurt or two per day(greek preferred or lactobacillus added yogurt).  Probiotics!!  They are simply amazing and beyond beneficial to the body! Unfortunately many yogurt brands pasteurize their products so much in order to maximize shelf life that the probiotic properties are pretty much completely lost. In fact, several major yogurt companies have recently come under fire for their over-advertisement of probiotic properties for which they are aware are diminished greatly during the pasteurization process.

The ugly truth about cows yogurt: Dairy-based yogurt is also full of cow hormones, which are great… if you’re a calf ;) For those of us who aren’t baby cows, these hormones trigger our body to increase production of sticky oil in the skin which can lead to clogged pores and (you guessed it) breakouts!! No Way!!! Yogurt is also acidic and can increase inflammation which leads to redness in the skin. What’s more, most yogurts have added sugar which also leads to… well, you get the idea here but yes –  more  breakouts, redness, accelerated aging.

Now Greek versus the rest:  If you feel the most important part of the yogurt in your diet is to taste like creme brulee or cheese cake go for the one with the million flavors.  I like Greek!  It takes a little getting used to,  it is thicker and creamier, almost like eating a sour cream but you can flavor it yourself.  The major makers all have a flavored greek yogurt.  Go au naturel as possible, don’t pick the added sugar versions.  I buy natural unflavored yogurt and add a little raw sugar(yeah there is a difference).  Then if I want flavor fresh or frozen fruit.  When I want to be adventerous I add an all natural flavoring such as natural vanilla extract or grind a vanilla bean in it.  There will be less sugar and the benefits won’t end there.  Take a look on the label at the grocers, check out the regular yogurt; the average protein is between 3-5 grams.  OKay look at the greek on an orgainic yogurt this range is between 10-15 grams! Price wise there are generic organic version, difference in price is about 10-15 cents!!   So if you want a serious start for breakfast and hate always having to eat eggs or protein powder (bleghh… sorry haven’t found a good one yet).   I opted to go for the greek with some super food fruit such as blueberries and you are set for the gym, that important meeting or just keeping up with the kids.

If you can’t take the thickness of greek you can water it down with a little skim or low fat milk, give it a shot for one week and see how you feel over your full of processed chemical lemon chiffon yogurt.

Just the rules! This picture explains the concepts

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Thanks to cleaneating.com