Meal Planning

All Things Rosemary

Freshly picked selection:


Rosemary is originally from the Mediterranean but is now cultivated worldwide.  It is a woody perennial shrub that has silvery green needles that can be consumed.  Early on, it was used for medicinal purposes such as treating nervous system disorders and improving memory.  Rosemary is highly aromatic and its leaves are used in cooking, oils, and cosmetics to name a few.

What do I look for?

Rosemary leaves should be green and somewhat flexible.  The stem should be aromatic.  Discard rosemary that has turned brown or black.  Store in the refrigerator wrapped in damp paper towels.

Ways to Eat:

Rosemary is one of the most commonly found herbs.  The ways to use it are endless.  It can be used in salads, soups, casseroles, meats, fish, egg dishes, stuffings, and dressings.


If you love lamb, you know that lamb isn’t the same without rosemary.  This Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary is the perfect flavor combination.

Infuse your favorite olive oil with the flavor of rosemary!

This Lemon Rosemary Vegetable Stack is the perfect healthy meatless dish for a weeknight.

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“26 Impressive Benefits of Rosemary.” Organic Facts,

All Things Bok Choy

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Bok Choy

Bok Choy (also known as Chinese white cabbage, pak choy, and white mustard cabbage) is a member of the cabbage family.  Its flavor, however, is much milder than cabbage.  All parts of it can be eaten raw or cooked and it can be found virtually year-round, although the true season is summertime.

What do I look for?

The upper leaves should be vibrant green and the lower stems should be white. Look for bok choy that is crisp and bright.  The leaves should not be yellowing or wilted, and the stalks should not be brown.

Ways to Eat:

Eat bok choy raw or cooked!  It is delicious sliced and thrown into a stir fry, quick sauteed or roasted for a side dish, or even sliced and used in a salad.


One of the best things about bok choy is it’s quick to cook.  This 10-Minute Lemon Garlic Bok Choy recipe doesn’t disappoint with flavor and is on the table in under 10 minutes from start to finish!

This Basic Stir Fry recipe is essential when cooking with bok choy.  Top it with a lean protein for a delicious and healthy meal!

This flavorful and filling side dish incorporates sesame, lime, mushrooms, and cilantro with bok choy.  Try this Shiitake and Sesame Bok Choy recipe, you won’t be disappointed!

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Bok Choy.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

All Things Lime

Freshly picked selection:


Limes are small green citrus fruits that are similar in shape to a lemon.  They have a thin outer skin and 8 segments like other citrus fruits.  Limes were given to British sailors to prevent scurvy because of their high vitamin C content.  The Persian lime is the variety seen in most grocery stores while the Florida Key Lime is found throughout Florida, and some specialty stores outside of Florida.  Limes are grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

What do I look for?

Limes should have thin bright green skin that lightly gives when pressed.  Choose limes that feel heavy for their size.  Avoid limes that have hard dense skin.  Limes that have brown patches (scald) won’t affect their flavor.

Ways to Eat:

While limes are a delicious accompaniment and flavor enhancer, they are generally not eaten individually due to their acidity.  Add lime juice or zest to tacos, smoothies, beverages, soups…the list goes on.  Their natural acidity adds brightness to any dish you add it to.


This Roast Chicken with Scallion, Ginger, and Lime blends bright flavors for a delicious weeknight meal.

Who says you have to cook rice in water?  This Coconut Lime Rice is the perfect accompaniment to a fruit salsa and grilled protein such as chicken or steak.

These Vegan Mini Key Lime Pie’s are the perfect healthy play on Key Lime Pie.

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Lemon/Limes.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

Mediterranean 101

You may have heard that a Mediterranean style of eating can lead to a healthier life, but what does this mean exactly? There is a lot of information out there regarding the Mediterranean diet and we have pulled together what it really means for you and why it really should be considered a lifestyle and not a “diet”.

The Mediterranean way of eating is, of course, adapted from those who live in the Mediterranean.  Research suggests that following this eating pattern leads to decreased risk of heart disease, lower LDL levels, decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and cancer.

Eating foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts, and some fish are hallmarks of this eating pattern.  Yes, fats (especially plant based fats that aren’t saturated) are good for you!  Eating the Mediterranean way doesn’t focus on limiting calories and fat consumption; it’s more about the types of fats and foods eaten.

Foods that are consumed frequently are fish, chicken (lean protein), nuts and seeds, lots of fruits and vegetables, olive oils, whole grains, whole grain breads and pastas, herbs and spices.  Salt should be used sparingly and most flavor should come from fresh herbs and spices.

The experience matters just as much as the food when you follow the Mediterranean lifestyle.  Cooking the meal and gathering with friends and family, as well as letting a meal last instead of rushing through, is ideal.  This way you are truly able to savor and listen to your body’s cues of fullness.  Having a glass of wine with dinner is common, though it is enjoyed thoughtfully and in moderation, if at all.

Red meat is typically consumed no more than once per week if that, and low fat dairy products are used instead of full fat. Choose unprocessed, unrefined oils (cold pressed is best) and avoid butter or any food high in saturated fats from animals, such as bacon or sausage.  Load up on a variety of in-season vegetables, whole grains, minimally processed breads and pastas, and raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds.  Remove processed foods and avoid anything fried.  Skip dessert and enjoy a ripe piece of fruit instead.  Sugar should be consumed in small amounts if at all, and is more acceptable in the form of a natural sweetener.

Staying active is an important aspect of this lifestyle as well!  It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but walking, playing a game, and physically exerting yourself for energy, metabolism, and health is vital.













(image courtesy of Fundacion Dieta Mediterranea)

The Mediterranean lifestyle is a well-rounded lifestyle that includes food, activity, and socialization.  Following this lifestyle may be appropriate for you if you are looking to lead a healthier way of life in general.  Some aspects may not work for everyone, but generally, it is a good place to start for lifestyle change.

As always, speak to your practitioner if you are interested in following the Mediterranean way of eating to be sure it is appropriate for you, or you can make an appointment to speak to one of our PreviMedica nutritionists by contacting us at 855-773-8463.

Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about her here.

Low Histamine 101

If you’ve tried the conventional route and have even searched for natural remedies to help alleviate allergies but are still experiencing nagging symptoms, it’s possible that a histamine intolerance is at play. A low histamine eating plan could provide some relief! Here is what you need to know:

What are Histamines?
Histamines are biogenic amines released by our cells in response to injury, inflammation, and allergic reactions. They are also naturally occurring in many foods.

In healthy individuals, histamine is rapidly removed by DAO (diamine oxidase) and HNMT (histamine n-methyltransferase) enzymes. The main enzyme, DAO is stored in epithelial cells and secreted into the circulation on stimulation.

Histamine intolerance results when the body is unable to breakdown histamine sufficiently, leading to a histamine excess. This can lead to a host of symptoms which usually mimic those of an allergic response. The main cause of histamine intolerance seems to be the impairment of DAO activity caused by gastrointestinal diseases or through the inhibition of DAO. There is also evidence for a genetic predisposition for histamine intolerance in some people.

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms?

Histamine intolerance can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to those seen with allergies, as well as symptoms of sulfite intolerance or intolerance to other amines. The signs and symptoms of histamine intolerance include:

• Diarrhea
• Headache
• Hives
• Asthma
• Hypotension (low blood pressure)
• Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
• Pruritus (severe itching of the skin)
• Nasal congestion and runny nose
• Tissue swelling (usually of the face or oral tissue and sometimes throat)
• Chest pain
• Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
• Fatigue/confusion/irritability
• Flushing

Additionally, excess histamine in individuals with histamine intolerance can exacerbate some existing conditions such as eczema, digestive issues, and anaphylaxis.

Low Histamine Eating Plan
Histamine intolerance will vary from person to person. What sets off symptoms for one person, might not do the same for someone else. This is due to the many different factors leading to a histamine intolerance and any other medical conditions present that may be contributing to the amount of histamine in the body. Therefore, the guidelines for foods to avoid are to be used as tools to help each person determine what their threshold level is.

There is no such thing as a histamine-free diet so keeping histamine intake as low as possible is key. When considering a low histamine plan, it’s best to avoid all foods known to contain high and moderate amounts of histamine, foods known as histamine liberators, and those that are DAO inhibitors.

Improvements in symptoms are usually noticed after 4 weeks of following a low histamine plan. Once symptoms are alleviated, one can determine the individual threshold levels by introducing foods back one at a time into the diet. A food diary can be very helpful in keeping track of foods and symptoms, and will facilitate creating a customized list of foods to avoid for each individual.


Aside from histamine-rich foods, some foods, like alcohol, are also DAO inhibitors and should be avoided for that reason. Other guidelines are as follows:
• Avoid canned or ready-made meals
• Avoid ripened, fermented, or aged foods (aged cheeses, alcoholic beverages, yeast containing products, stale fish)
• Purchase and consume only fresh products
• Avoid leaving food out of the refrigerator (especially meat products)
• Consume only fresh wild caught fish (ideally cooked within 30 minutes of catching)
• Avoid smoked products such as ham, salami, and sausages
• Avoid foods that contain preservatives and artificial colors. Focus on consuming fresh whole foods.
• Avoid histamine liberators. (Some of these are citrus, cocoa, nuts, papaya, beans, tomatoes, and spinach.)
• Avoid DAO blockers. (alcohol, black/green/mate tea, energy drinks)

Histamine intolerances often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to the number of different symptoms that may result and their similarity with those symptoms of allergies and other intolerances. All histamine sensitivities are not created equally and efforts should be made to determine the mechanism of the histamine intolerance and individual threshold level, therefore it’s best to implement with help and guidance from a qualified nutrition expert like our experts at PreviMedica. If you are interested in scheduling a nutrition consultation or enrolling in our monthly membership, give us a call at 855-773-8463. You can also schedule a complimentary discovery call by completing this quick questionnaire. 

Maintz, Laura, and Natalija Novak. “Histamine and Histamine Intolerance.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 85 (2007): 1185-196. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.

“About HIT.” Histamine Intolerance. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.

Joneja, Janice. “Histamine Intolerance Investigated by Dr Janice Joneja.” Histamine Intolerance Investigated by Dr Janice Joneja. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

Joneja, Janice M. Vickerstaff, and Cabrini Carmona-Silva. “Outcome of a Histamine-restricted Diet Based on Chart Audit.” Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 11.4 (2001): 249-62. Web.

All Things Grapes

Freshly picked selection:


Grapes are technically berries that grow in clusters on small shrubs or vines.  There are thousands of varieties of grapes, but the main classifications are white and black (red).  They can be seedless or contain seeds, sweet or acidic, used for wine, juice, or commercial purposes.  Grapes are truly one of the most versatile berries available!

What do I look for?

Look for grapes that are firmly attached to the vine, plump, and vibrant in color.  The green grape variety should be yellow/green in color with little to no blemishes.  They should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, and washed when ready to eat.  Grapes are part of the “Dirty Dozen” so it is important to wash them well when ready to eat as non-organic grapes are sprayed with insecticides.  Of course, organic is always recommended over conventional.

Ways to Eat:

Grapes can be eaten out of hand, in salads, jams, jellies, pies, the list goes on!  You can find them canned, fresh, juiced, dried, and of course, in wine.  The grapes that are used to make wine are not suitable for eating as they are too acidic.  Red grapes are in general the sweetest, green grapes are semi-sweet, and grapes used to make wine and the least sweet.


In this Chicken, Fennel, and Grape Salad, grapes add a layer of sweetness that is perfectly complimented by the tart red wine vinegar.

Frozen grapes make the perfect snack for kids and adults alike.  Take it to the next level by dipping them in Greek yogurt and seeds for protein healthy fat.  These Greek Yogurt Grape Popsicles are completely addictive AND healthy!

These Chicken Apple Wraps are so simple and made with ingredients you probably have on hand.  Wrap your chicken and grape mixture into a piece of lettuce for an extra boost of nutrition!

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Grapes.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

All Things Fig

Freshly picked selection:


Originally brought to the U.S. by Spanish Franciscan Missionaries (hence the name “Mission Fig”),  figs symbolize peace and prosperity.  There are hundreds of varieties of figs that range in color from purple-black to almost white.  Figs have a unique sweetness and texture that only intensifies as they ripen.  They are often found dried or as a syrup.  Their season runs from mid June through September.

What do I look for?

If you are purchasing fresh, look for figs that have fresh smooth skin and are still plump.  Avoid figs that look shriveled or moldy.

Ways to Eat:

Fresh figs are incredibly delicate and go well with cheese, salads, and salty accompaniments.  Dried figs are the same, but hold up in any recipe dried fruit is used in.  Since figs are so perishable, they should be used within a few days of purchase.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Keep it simple with figs instead of tomatoes in this Fig Caprese Salad.

These Glazed Chicken and Fig Skewers are the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

These gluten free/vegan Oatmeal Fig Bars utilize dried figs and with only 9 ingredients come together in a snap.

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Figs.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

Living with Food Sensitivities: Eggs

From a typical breakfast to an ingredient commonly used in recipes, having a sensitivity to eggs can really put a damper on our shopping list and cooking. Luckily, were are here to sort out all of the products designed to make living with an egg sensitivity a little easier- from “vegan scrambled eggs” to utilizing different ingredients as an egg substitute for binding purposes, you will see that implementing an egg free eating pattern may be easier than you think.

What to Look For

Something you may already know: eggs are one of the top eight allergens with specific labeling requirements under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. Under that law, manufacturers of packaged food products sold in the U.S. that contain egg as an ingredient must include the presence of egg, in clear language, on the ingredient label. This can make it a lot easier to ensure you are completely avoiding this culprit food in packaged foods.

Some common foods to be aware of with a sensitivity to eggs: breaded or battered foods, egg bread, egg rolls, Challah, egg noodles, matzoh, eggnog, mayonnaise, some salad dressings, foam on specialty cocktails or coffee drinks, macaroni, marshmallows, and nougat. Some other ingredients that may indicate the presence of eggs include: albumin, lysozome, meringue, surimi, lecithin, and ovumucin.

What’s for Breakfast?

Eggs tend to be the go-to breakfast option for most individuals, so there is always a little bit of panic with a reaction to eggs on the Alcat test and the inevitable question: “What am I supposed to eat for breakfast?” If scrambled eggs are your thing, consider the vegan alternative made with chickpeas (recipe below). Other breakfast options to consider include: porridge or hot cereal, yogurt parfait, overnight oats, chia seed pudding, smoothies or smoothie bowls, avocado toast.

If you are concerned about losing your protein source for breakfast, there are other ways to incorporate protein in the options mentioned above. Try adding nuts, seeds, or nut butter to your warm cereal, including protein powder in your smoothies, or having Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with your breakfast (if you didn’t react to dairy).

Substituting Eggs in Recipes

Eggs are used in recipes for leavening, such as in muffins, cakes, and other baked products. They are also used as a binder in other recipes. The egg substitute tips below are categorized by the egg’s purpose in the recipe. Some substitutes may work better than others depending on the recipe so there may be some trial and error:

  • For binding, replace each egg with one of the following:
    • ½ of a medium banana mashed
    • ¼ cup of applesauce or other pureed fruit
    • ¼ cup of canned 100% pumpkin
    • 3 ½ Tbsp. gelatin blend (gelatin blend: 1 cup boiling water mixed with 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin)
    • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed or chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp. warm water (let stand for 1 minute before using)
    • Commercial egg replacers such as those made by Bob’s Red Mill and Ener-G
  • For leavening, replace each egg with one of the following:
    • 1 tsp. baking powder + 1 tsp. water + 1 tsp. vinegar
    • 1 tsp. baking powder + 1 ½ Tbsp. vegetable oil + 1 Tbsp. water
    • Commercial egg replacers such as those made by Bob’s Red Mill and Ener-G
  • Egg wash substitutes:
    • Cow’s milk
    • Soy milk
    • Watered down agave nectar

It is important to keep other food sensitivities in mind and choosing what is most suitable for your needs. Like any change, going egg-free may be tricky at first, but with the right substitutions at hand, living egg-free can be easy. To ensure individual needs are met, it’s best to consult with a nutritionist, such as the nutrition experts at PreviMedica. Call us at 855-773-8463 or email for more information on our services.


Vegan Scrambled Eggs

Adapted from:

 Serves: 1 portion 


· 4 tsp coconut oil, divided

· 5 Tbsp chickpea flour (aka garbanzo bean flour)

· 6 Tbsp water

· ½ scallions, chopped

· ¼ c. button mushrooms, chopped

· ¼ c. kale, chopped

·  sea salt & black pepper, to taste



  1. Heat two teaspoons of coconut oil in a small non-stick skillet.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the chickpea flour with the water, scallion, and a couple pinches of black salt or regular sea salt and pepper.
  3. Add the mushrooms into the skillet, and let them cook for about five minutes.
  4. Add the remaining two teaspoons of coconut oil to the pan.
  5. Pour the chickpea/scallion mix into the skillet, and let it cook without touching it for 3-5 minutes, or until you see the perimeter begin to ‘set’.
  6. Sprinkle the kale into the skillet.
  7. Using a spatula, begin breaking the mix into smaller bite-size pieces.
  8. Heat the ‘eggs’ until they are cooked through (no batter in sight).
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Design, Nonprofit Web, and Matrix Group International. Egg – food allergy research & education. 9 Jan. 2016. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.
  2. Victor, Anucyia. “11 Other Eggs You Should Be Eating Instead of Hen’s Eggs.”Daily Mail. Daily Mail, 7 Sept. 2015. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.
  3. “Egg Allergy.” ACAAI Public Website. N.p., 2015. Web. Oct. 2016.

Basilia Theofilou is a contributor on our blog as well as one of the nutrition advisors here at PreviMedica. You can read more about her here.

All Things Raspberries

Freshly picked selection:


Raspberries are highly perishable but incredibly rich in nutrients.  You can find red raspberries in their peak season June through September, black raspberries June through August, and golden raspberries can be found June through September.

What do I look for?

Look for raspberries that are plump, firm, and vibrant in color.  If they are picked while under ripe they are sure to be tart.  Avoid berries that are soft and moldy.  Fresh raspberries should be stored in a single layer in a moisture proof container.  They are best eaten within 2-3 days of purchase.

Ways to Eat:

Fresh raspberries are very delicate and are best eaten with a complementary ingredient that will let the raspberry shine.  For example, a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of chocolate.  You can also find raspberries made into fruit preserves.


This simple dairy free raspberry mousse looks like the perfect light dessert for summertime.

Who doesn’t love a delicious crisp – especially a healthy one made with raspberries?

Instead of bread, use sweet potato as a base for this raspberry and cream cheese toast.

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Raspberries.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

All Things Apricot

Freshly picked selection:


Apricots are close relatives to the peach and are only in season for a short amount of time through June and July.  They are highly perishable and typically will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.  They can range in color from light yellow to a deep burnt orange and when halved, a ripe apricot’s pit should fall out.  Since they are so highly perishable, they are more often found dried.  The roasted pits of apricots are often used to flavor liqueurs and confections, as the raw pit is poisonous.

Where do I look for apricots?

You can find fresh apricots in the grocery store produce section through the months of June and July.  You can find dried apricots year round in the grocery store’s dried fruit section.

Ways to Eat:

Apricots are a delicacy among many people. They have a mild and sweet flavor that complements higher fat foods well.  Eat them plain, in a sauce, dried and in granola bars and trail mix.


Seasonal apricots and blackberries make this salad a must of these hot summer days.

Keep it simple with these grilled apricots topped with brie and prosciutto.

This apricot fruit salsa is something different to top your corn chip with.

Nutritional Benefits:

Our Nutritionists Say:

“Apricots are deliciously simple and make a great addition to a salad or even just grilled.”

-Stefanie Gates, Culinary Advisor


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Apricots.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

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