Monday, November 26, 2012


Everybody knows that nuts and seeds are good for you.  They contain healthy fats, are high in fiber,  protein,  vitamins and  trace minerals. They can help with weight loss and maintenance, controlling and preventing diabetes, as well as promoting heart and brain health, reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol.  That's quite a rundown!

A lot of people are afraid to eat nuts and seeds because they are high in fat and calories and that is true but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Certainly eating too much of anything is a bad thing and nuts do lend themselves to eating alot in a short amount of time however in the proper doses they can really support and promote good health, keep your appetite in check and boost your metabolism.  Eating a variety of nuts and seeds in controlled serving sizes is a good idea. Stay away from nuts that are  heavily oiled, salted or candied.    When I counsel my patients, here are the serving sizes I suggest: (which are the equivalent of 100 calories)

  • walnuts and pecans: 7-8 halves
  • almonds: 10 - 12 whole almonds
  • peanuts:  18 nuts or 2 TBS
  • pine nuts: 2 TBS
  • pistachios, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds: 2 TBS
  • coconut, unsweetened grated: 3 TBS
  • nut butters: 1 TBS of above nuts
  • cashews: 12 whole cashews
  • brazil nuts: 4 whole nuts
  • macadamia nuts: 5 or 6 nuts 
  • hazelnuts: 10 or 11 whole nuts

Nuts can be used in smoothies,  as a snack, in casseroles, on salads,  in raw fruit crusts, gravies, and in burgers.  Nut butters are delicious and if you like peanut butter please make sure to buy certified organic as peanuts are one of the most heavily sprayed nuts.  Before eating nuts I do usually soak and slow/ low bake them to make them easier to digest and to release the acidic enzyme prohibitors that are naturally protecting the nut.  You can eat them raw or roasted however but if you have the extra time to soak and roast them you won't regret it and I guarantee that you will really love the crispy texture of them.

Here is the method I use to soak and roast nuts and seeds: (This method works for any of the above nuts and seeds).

Today I was preparing pecans.  I took 2 # or 8 cups (knowing the holiday season is here and I will probably be baking with them)

Then I covered them in filtered water and added 2 tsp of sea salt.
I set them on a counter and let them sit there overnight.  You can place a dishtowel over the bowl.
In the morning, I strained them through a colander and rinsed them off.

Then I spread them on two baking sheets.  I use only stainless steel,  I don't use aluminum or teflon coated pans as they impart toxic chemicals to the food while stainless steel pans do not.

I then placed the baking sheets in the oven at the lowest possible temp my oven goes and that happens to be 170˚ and I baked them all day long at least 8 hours but sometimes even 12  hours just as long as possible.  You can also use a dehydrator for this job but I don't have one yet so I use my oven.
After all that time in the oven they came out so crispy and delicious.   I let them cool off at least an hour before placing them in mason jars for storage on my pantry shelf.  They last for weeks.
Have fun soaking, roasting,  baking and eating. Please feel free to experiment with the different varieties of nuts and seeds and leave me a comment to share the ways you are using nuts and seeds.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kale Chips

YUM......YUM.......these are addicting.    Kale chips, our favorite new way to eat kale.  Kale is really trending these days as THE green to eat.  But this is not news....we've known this all along!  Kale is probably the most nutritious green of all time.
Just looking at it with all it's curls and extra surface packs more bang for your buck than the average green.  Here is a quick rundown of some of powerhouse Kale's health promoting phytonutrients:

  • Beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin= high antioxidant and anti -cancer activity
  • Zeaxanthin and Vitamin A= excellent for the eyes
  • High Vitamin K= excellent for bone health as well as helping to prevent Alzheimer's
  • High in Vitamin C=immune building
  • High in Folates=oxygenates the blood thereby supercharging the metabolism
  • Rich source of minerals necessary for all systems to run efficiently        
So here's how I make Kale Chips:
First, I preheat my oven to 350˚  then I wash and dry the kale.  Then I remove the heavy stalks by holding each leaf with stalk side up and run my finger and thumb down to the end.  Next tear into bite size pieces as pictured below.
Place all the pieces of torn kale an baking sheets being careful not to overcrowd.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over the kale and sprinkle sea salt, garlic powder and nutritional yeast as well.  Stir gently to mix and coat all of the kale pieces.
Place on middle rack of your oven and bake for 15 minutes.   Check the kale to see if it's done you may have to gently stir the kale around to loosen the edges from the pan.  Put back in the oven for 5 more minutes.  After the five minutes of time shut the oven off and let the kale sit another 5 minutes in the oven.  The kale chips are ready when they are crisp.   Serve warm.

WARNING:  These are highly may never steam kale again.  By the way if your kids are not eating their greens they WILL LOVE these!!!!!! I know this for a fact.... as my son who is not fond of greens will  absolutely devour these!!!!!

                                                                Happy Cooking!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nurture, nourish, and unwind

Are you feeling keyed up, strung out or overwhelmed? I sure am!  These are intense times...and it feels to me as if  time is hurtling forward like an out of control freight train.  My nerves are frayed and I'm feeling emotionally spent....thinking of the destruction and horrific conditions that Hurricane Sandy left behind and an emotionally charged Presidential it's time for a break.  I stand behind my self care methods and I absolutely and positively support each and every one of you who give so much of yourselves everyday and in so many ways on the home front, at the workplace, at school, in your families, and in your relationships to take some time out to give to yourselves.  We all deserve a break and need to find ways to take care of ourselves.  So it's time to nourish, nurture and unwind!

Here is one way I do this:

I take hot epsom salt baths almost every night.  It is my way of processing the day, washing away my worries, centering myself and preparing myself for sleep.  I simply add 2 or 3 cups of epsom salt to my hot bath water.  Epsom salt can be purchased at any drugstore, K-Mart or grocery store. Here are just a few of the many benefits of Epsom Salts  a.k.a. magnesium sulfate:

  • helps to sedate the nervous system thereby promoting relaxation
  • helps to relax muscles and relieve joint pain
  • helps to draw out toxins as well as reducing inflammation
  • helps to replenish magnesium stores which many of us are deficient in
  • exfoliates and promotes soft skin

I often light candles during my bath. I love the ambiance created by the candlelight. It helps to draw my energy within calming me and helping me to get in touch with my body and my feelings as well as my higher, calmer, more centered self.

I use essential oils in my bath as well.  Some of my favorites are lavender, bergamot, rose, and orange.  These essential oils also help my mood, harmonize my energies and lift my spirit.  Sometimes at the end of my bath I enjoy using an abrasive cloth to exfoliate and stimulate my skin and blood circulation.  And when I get out if I still have energy I oil up with virgin coconut oil ....just a little goes a long way to feed my skin and add oils back in especially heading into winter, the season of dry skin!

My bath ritual is quite sacred to me....I don't usually compromise or pass on it.  My bath is a healing meditation and it is vital to my well being....I don't view this as a luxury but rather an absolute necessity and a crucial part of my health regimen.  It is me time...and my family knows I am not to be disturbed.

            Well I gotta go...... my bath is waiting.
   What healing nurturing rituals do you have that you can share?