Meal Planning

Previ Culinary: Healthy Shamrock Shake!

Shake things up for St. Patty’s day with a healthy green Shamrock Shake! Avocado and peppermint are front and center in this nutritious shake.  The peppermint is icy, cool, and refreshing while the avocado is rich and creamy creating the perfect balance within a smoothie. 

Healthy Shamrock Shake

Recipe by: Stefanie Gates, PreviMedica Culinary Advisor

Makes 2 smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup yogurt of choice (or 1 ripe banana)
  • 2 scoops protein powder of choice (1 serving size- optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. raw honey (optional)
  • 1 cup ice
  • Dairy free chocolate chips to garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add additional ice or unsweetened almond milk as necessary.
  2. Garnish with dairy free chocolate chips.
  3. Enjoy this minty refreshing shake!

 


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.

 

Food Sensitivities 101

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that many of the recommendations we make and the recipes we share are geared towards those with food sensitivities. Today we want to give you an overview of what it means to have a food sensitivity, how you can determine if you are sensitive to certain foods, and we’ll point you to some of the resources that we have created to help.

What is a Food Sensitivity?

First, we want to acknowledge that there are different types of adverse reactions to food. Today we are talking about food sensitivities, which differ from allergies and intolerances.

A food allergy involves the specific immune system, is IgE mediated, and produces symptoms that are immediate appearing minutes after ingestion of the allergen up to several hours later. Symptoms include hives, eczema, itchy throat or mouth, and swelling, which may appear minutes to several hours after ingesting the culprit food. Severe symptoms can be life threatening and are referred to as anaphylaxis.

A food intolerance is the inability to digest, metabolize, absorb a food component (for example, a lactose intolerance). This type of reaction does not involve the immune system, and symptoms tend to be digestive in nature (gas, bloating, cramping).

Food sensitivities involve the immune system and produce symptoms that are described as more vague and chronic, occurring several hours up to days after consuming the food culprit. Symptoms tend to be less intense than allergic reactions and are often not recognized as having any connection to foods consumed. Symptoms may include fatigue, inattentiveness, headaches, digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, joint aches, and struggles with weight management.

How are Food Sensitivities Identified?

One approach to identifying food sensitivities is an elimination diet. This type of eating pattern removes foods that are suspected to be causing symptoms for a period of time in order to resolve symptoms and reduce inflammation. The elimination period is followed by a reintroduction of these foods to determine reactivity and whether or not the symptoms return. We recommend that you work with a qualified nutrition practitioner when following an elimination diet to ensure that your nutrient requirements are being met. An elimination diet is a cost-effective way of identifying food sensitivities, but it can take a while to identify which foods are causing symptoms, and it may over-restrict or not cover all possible food culprits.

Some people elect to have food sensitivity testing done to reduce guess work and identify triggers more quickly. There are a variety of tests available for food sensitivities including IgG antibody testing, leukocyte activation testing, and mediator release testing. At PreviMedica, we work primarily with the Alcat Food and Chemical Sensitivity Test, which is a leukocyte activation test. You can find out more about this test here.

Following Your Food Sensitivity Results

Once food sensitivities have been identified, an elimination period follows where these foods are avoided for a certain period of time (period of avoidance depends on the test).

With the Alcat test, the recommended period of avoidance is 6 months for severe sensitivities, 3 months for moderate sensitivities, and limiting mild sensitivities to 2 times per week. These recommendations can vary depending on a number factors.

A comprehensive approach to addressing food sensitivities will include avoidance and a proper protocol to heal and repair the gut. Your nutrition practitioner can offer guidance on the protocol that would be best suited for your health needs and goals. After the recommended period of avoidance, foods are reintroduced to determine reactivity. We will be writing a more detailed post on our approach to reintroduction in a separate post.

Additional Resources

If you are following an elimination plan based on food sensitivity testing or otherwise, we know that staying on track can be pretty challenging. Finding food products that are appropriate, modifying recipes, and going out to eat are all situations where you might feel overwhelmed. This blog and our Facebook page are dedicated to helping you find options that work with your sensitivities. If you have taken the Alcat test (and even if you haven’t and just want to learn more about food sensitivities), the following tutorials may be helpful:

Living Gluten Free Tutorial

Eating Dairy Free Tutorial

Candida Related Complex Tutorial

We also offer meal planning tools that can be customized for your food sensitivities and other food restrictions. And finally, our nutrition team is here to offer additional guidance and work with you to create a nutrition plan that fits your needs. Our 1-month membership includes 2 sessions with a nutrition expert, access to all of our educational materials, the meal planning tools mentioned above, and so much more. Interested in any of our services? Contact us at 855-773-8463 or by email at hello@previmedica.com.

 


Eunice Holmes, RDN, LDN is a regular contributor to this blog and assistant nutrition manager for PreviMedica. Her favorite things are pretty food, being a cat lady without actually having a cat, and of course, her family.

Previ Culinary: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Looking for a healthy dessert (like most of us)? This rich and creamy chocolate mousse is made with avocado and the natural sweetness of honey. Simply blend with unsweetened cocoa powder and vanilla for an indulgent chocolate dessert that surprise everyone, including you!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Written by: PreviMedica Culinary Advisors

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Puree all ingredients until smooth. Serve chilled. Garnish with your favorite fruit, if desired.


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.

All Things Cranberry

Freshly picked selection:

Cranberries

Cranberries (or craneberries) grow on very low trailing vines in large sandy bogs.  They grow wild in North America and northern Europe but are extensively cultivated in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon.  They are best enjoyed blended with other sweet fruits to offset their tartness.

What to look for when purchasing:

Cranberries should be bright red without any blemishes or discolorations.  Avoid berries that are shriveled.

How to store:

Store tightly wrapped fresh cranberries in the refrigerator for up to two months or freeze for up to one year.

Varieties:

You can find cranberries fresh, frozen, canned, and dried.  If purchasing dried, look for cranberries without any added sulfites and minimal added sugar.

Nutritional Benefit:

Recipes

This Cranberry Balsamic Chicken will be your new go-to weeknight dinner.

If you love slow-cooker recipes, this Cranberry Orange Turkey Breast is for you!

Many recipes contain dried cranberries, but this Energy Bite recipe in particular is always a hit with the little ones!

Our Chef’s & Nutritionists Say:

“In addition to cranberry sauce, try making a chutney, pie, tart, or cobbler.  This way you can enjoy cranberries year round instead of just in the winter time!”

-Stefanie Gates, Culinary Advisor

References:

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.

 

 

What is Lurking in Your Cereal?

Cereal is certainly one of the most popular packaged food items in America, but also one of the most loaded with additional sugar.  What a way to start the day!  Many cereals tout themselves for being “whole grain” with very little “added sugar” which is extremely misleading.  In addition to loading cereal with sugar, manufacturers disguise the sweetener they do use in the form of syrups or other difficult to recognize words which is often times the first or second ingredient on the label.

When choosing a cereal, many of us look at the amount of fat and calories when looking at the nutritional facts, but it is always important (if not more important) to note the amount of sugar per serving on the nutritional information.   The amount may surprise you!

Although America as a population is becoming more conscious of added sugar, cereal is still a booming business.  Therefore, we encourage you to read your own ingredient labels and become an educated consumer.

We have put together our top five favorite packaged gluten free cereals that we would eat or feed to our kids on a normal basis.  Little to no added sugars make these cereals a wholesome way to start the day accompanied by a source of protein and fat such as nuts or seeds and some fruit.

 

Erewhon Organic Cereals – https://www.erewhonorganic.com/products#cereal 

Our favorites are the unsweetened corn flak

es and the Harvest Medley. 

 

Arrowhead Millshttp://www.arrowheadmills.com/product_category/cold-hot-cereals/

They make a line of unsweetened cereals that we enjoy.  Hot or cold, it’s always easy to add sweetness in the form of fruit!

 

Nature’s Pathhttps://shop.naturespath.com/Cold-Cereals/c/NaturesPath@ColdCereals

One of the more popular and recognizable brands, Nature’s Path caters to many different dietary restrictions.  Most of their cereals do contain a significant amount of sugar, but the Fruit Juice Sweetened Corn Flakes are our particular favorite as it is sweetened only with fruit juice.

 

Barbara’s Classics Cerealshttp://barbaras.com/products/barbaras-classics/

These cereals are only sweetened with fruit juice (excluding the one with honey) which makes them better in our book.  There are four different options to choose from, Brown Rice Crisps, Corn Flakes, Honest O’s                                  Crunchy Cereal and Honest O’s Honey Nut Cereal.

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes – http://shop.ancientharvest.com/Ancient-Grains-Hot-Cereal/c/AncientHarvest@HotCereal 

If you’re looking for a hot cereal, this this quinoa cereal a great alternative to oatmeal, especially the instant oatmeal that has sugar added.  Full of protein and cooks in minutes with absolutely no added                               sugar.

 


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.

All Things Banana – Happy National Banana Day!

Freshly picked selection:

Banana

Bananas are grown in hot, humid climates and are available year round.  Each banana bush takes about 15 months to mature and in their lifetime will grow approximately 50 pounds of bananas. Bananas are a unique fruit in that they are the only fruit to develop better flavor when ripened off the banana bush.

What to look for when purchasing:

Depending on when you would like to eat it, choose bananas that are yellow with a bit of green on the ridges and near the tips so they can continue to ripen at home.  They are ready to consume when they have tiny brown spots and all traces of green are gone.  Avoid bananas that have blemishes and shriveled skin; this indicates they are over ripe.

How to store:

Bananas should be left to ripen at room temperature.  Once ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.  The peel will turn brown but the flesh will remain creamy white.  If expedited ripening is desired, place bananas in a paper bag and seal.

Varieties:

The most popular variety of bananas consumed in the U.S. are Cavendish bananas.  Unfortunately, this particular variety is threatened to extinction due to a fungus that is wiping out the banana bushes in South America.  There are many other varieties available, but they all vary in flavor and texture from starchy and bland to overly sweet and firm.

Nutritional Benefits:

Recipes

Bananas are a great addition to baking, smoothies, pancakes, and even ice cream!

Banana Egg Pancakes contain only two ingredients are are oh-so-sweet.

This one ingredient Banana Ice Cream is perfect for those avoiding sugar.  We promise it turns out just like ice cream!

This naturally sweetened Banana Pumpkin Bread is delicious and perfect for breakfast or even a snack.

If you find yourself with over ripe bananas, think about making this Banana Bread that is ALWAYS a hit with the kids!

Our Chefs & Nutritionists Say:

“Bananas are a miracle ingredient.  They provide sweetness, glue, moisture, and structure to any recipe they are added to.”

-Stefanie Gates, Chef & Culinary Advisor for PreviMedica

References:

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.

Craymer, Lucy. “The World’s Top Banana Is Doomed and Nobody Can Find a Replacement.”The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 18 Dec. 2017, www.wsj.com/articles/the-worlds-top-banana-is-doomed-and-nobody-can-find-a-replacement-1513616319.

 

Ketogenic Diet 101

There is always a trending diet out there and right now I would have to say the ketogenic diet or “keto diet” is in the spotlight! With popular eating plans, there is always mixed information. Here’s what you need to know:

A ketogenic nutrition plan is a high fat, low carbohydrate, and moderate/adequate protein regimen that actually has been around since the 1920s when it was first introduced for the prevention of seizures in patients with epilepsy. The premise of the plan is to mimic a state of fasting so that the body and brain will turn to fat and ketones as a major source of energy instead of glucose (sugar). So, what exactly does this mean?

Simply put, glucose is what is normally used by our cells as a quick source of fuel (energy). However, when its presence is lacking, the body starts to burn fat and produce ketones instead. To give you a little more basic nutrition science… ketones are produced in the liver from the breakdown of fat into fatty acids and are then released into the bloodstream to be used for energy. Once ketone levels in the blood rise to a certain point, you enter into a state of ketosis. Ketones are present under normal resting conditions, but their production and use are greatly elevated during very low carbohydrate intake, prolonged exercise, or starvation periods. Ketones provide more energy per gram than glucose  provides.

Our bodies are pretty amazing, huh? You’re probably thinking- burn fat for energy? Umm, sign me up! Why wouldn’t I want this for myself?? Well, while the keto plan does bring on many benefits to our well-being (keep reading to learn more), it may be contraindicated in a number of conditions such as type 1 diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, hyperlipidemia, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, impaired fat digestion, gastric bypass surgery, metabolic disorders, or defects in fatty acid oxidation. Whether or not any of these health conditions pertain to you, it is crucial to discuss with your physician whether this eating plan is appropriate for you and make sure you are working with a nutrition expert throughout it. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Okay, let’s talk about the benefits that come from following a ketogenic eating plan.

  • Lessens the risk and/or improves type 2 diabetes & metabolic disorders by helping control the release of insulin (which plays a huge role in the development of diabetes and conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). When we eat carbohydrates, insulin is released as a response to elevated sugar circulating in our blood and as a result insulin levels rise. A ketogenic eating pattern keeps the body’s carbohydrate storage almost empty. Therefore preventing much insulin from being released following consumption of food, essentially helping “reverse” insulin resistance.
  • Despite the high fat intake, cardiovascular benefits seen with compliance on a keto plan are: a decrease in production of triglycerides, reduction of cholesterol precursors and production, increase in HDLs, and favorable increase in LDL particle size and volume.
  • Cancer benefits are also another reason that make a keto plan one to consider as it’s been shown to “starve” cancer cells. Cancer cells thrive on sugar (glucose) seeming to benefit from the presence of hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, this enhancing tumor progression and imparts resistance to radiation therapy.
  • A ketogenic nutrition plan is still being used to help in the treatment of epilepsy along with other neurological disorders like cognitive impairments, Alzheimer’s, headaches, Parkinson’s Disease, sleep disorders, and others. Studies report the ketogenic diet appears to have “neuroprotective effects” — as it appears to correct abnormalities in how brain cells use energy, which is a common characteristic in many neurological disorders.
  • Last, but certainly not least, are all the benefits seen with weight loss. A ketogenic plan appears to be an ideal plan if you’re looking for weight loss. Contributing mechanisms appear to include some degree of appetite suppression (due to satiety from protein and fat intake, alterations in appetite hormones, ketosis), increase in fat breakdown, reduction in fat synthesis, thermic effect of protein, and the amount of energy utilized for gluconeogenesis. Low-carbohydrate ketogenic plans appear to promote more weight loss earlier on than low-fat, low-calorie plans although efficacy after one year appears to be comparable.

So now that you know all the benefits that come with sticking to a ketogetic eating plan, this is what your daily intake of foods would look like:

  • High intake of healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, grass-fed butter, coconut oil
  • Lots of non-starchy vegetables like all leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus, cucumbers, carrots, and zucchini to name a few
  • Moderate amounts of high quality protein like grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, cage free eggs, wild-caught fish, organ meats from grass-fed/pasture-raised sources

Foods that would be limited are:

  • Full-fat dairy
  • Starchy vegetables like peas, beets, potatoes
  • Legumes/ beans
  • Certain nuts and seeds (cashews, pistachios)

Foods that would be avoided include:

  • Any type of sweetener- this includes natural ones like raw honey or 100% maple syrup
  • All grains (wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, etc.)
  • All processed foods like crackers, cookies, snack bars, canned soups
  • Sweetened beverages, alcohol, milk

When it comes to macronutrient breakdown, variations of the ketogenic plan have emerged and are being used in a broader range. For the “classic” ketogenic plan (for seizure control) it’s typically a 3-4:1 ratio. This means 3-4 grams of fat to every gram of carbohydrate and protein combined; so, ~90% fat, 4% carbohydrate, and 6% protein. For weight management the breakdown would be 40-60% fat, 10-30% carbohydrate, and 20-30% protein. Monitoring for ketosis will be necessary- adjusting carbohydrate intake accordingly.

While the keto diet might sound like an ideal eating plan for you, there are many precautions and common side effects that result with implementing this type of eating plan and at the end of the day there are many factors to consider before starting, not just this plan, but any restrictive eating plan. Physician’s approval is recommended prior to plan initiation, and implementation requires the expertise and continued guidance of a qualified nutrition professional.


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.


Resources:

1 Schönfeld P, Reiser G. Why does brain metabolism not favor burning of fatty acids to provide energy? Reflections on disadvantages of the use of free fatty acids as fuel for brain. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2013 Oct;33(10):1493-9. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2013.128. Epub 2013 Aug 7. Review. PubMed PMID: 23921897. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3790936/ .Accessed January 29, 2018.

2. Berg, Jeremy M., John L. Tymoczko, and Lubert Stryer. Biochemistry. New York: W. H. Freeman, 2002. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22436/ . Accessed January 29, 2018.

3. Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, et al. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;67(8):789-96. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.116. Epub 2013 Jun 26. Review.Erratum in: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;68(5):641. PubMed PMID:23801097. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3826507/ . Accessed January 29, 2018.

4. Panov A, Orynbayeva Z, Vavilin V, et al. Fatty acids in energy metabolism of the central nervous system. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:472459. doi: 10.1155/2014/472459. Epub 2014 May 4. Review. PubMed PMID: 24883315.

5. McPherson PA, McEneny J. The biochemistry of ketogenesis and its role in weight management, neurological disease and oxidative stress. J Physiol Biochem. 2012 Mar;68(1):141-51. doi: 10.1007/s13105-011-0112-4. Epub 2011 Oct 8. Review. PubMed PMID: 21983804.

6. Mitchell GA, Kassovska-Bratinova S, Boukaftane Y, et al. Medical aspects of ketone body metabolism. Clin Invest Med. 1995 Jun;18(3):193-216. Review. PubMed PMID: 7554586.

7. Manninen AH. Metabolic effects of the very-low-carbohydrate diets: misunderstood “villains” of human metabolism. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2004 Dec 31;1(2):7-11. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-7. PubMed PMID: 18500949. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2129159/ . Accessed January 29, 2018.

8. Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, et al. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;67(8):789-96. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.116. Epub 2013 Jun 26. Review.Erratum in: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;68(5):641. PubMed PMID: 23801097. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3826507/ . Accessed February 5, 2018.

9. Sumithran P, Proietto J. Ketogenic diets for weight loss: A review of their principles, safety and efficacy. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2008 Mar;2(1):I-II. doi:10.1016/j.orcp.2007.11.003. PubMed PMID: 24351673. http://www.sochob.cl/pdf/obesidad_adulto/Ketogenic%20diets%20for%20weight%20loss%20A%20review%20of%20their%20principles%20safety%20and%20efficacy.pdf . Accessed February 5, 2018.

10. Dhamija R, Eckert S, Wirrell E. Ketogenic diet. Can J Neurol Sci. 2013 Mar;40(2):158-67. Review. PubMed PMID: 23419562.

11. Turner Z, Kossoff EH. The Ketogenic and Atkins Diets: Recipes for Seizure Control. Practical Gastroenterology. June 2006. https://www.cignaturehealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Article6.pdf . Accessed February 5, 2018.

12. Epilepsy Foundation. Ketogenic Diet. http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/dietary-therapies/ketogenic-diet . Accessed February 5, 2018.

13. The Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies. What is the Ketogenic Diet? http://www.charliefoundation.org/explore-ketogenic-diet/explore-1/introducing-the-diet . Accessed February 5, 2018.

14. Paoli A. Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Feb 19;11(2):2092-107. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110202092. Review. PubMed PMID: 24557522. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945587/ . Accessed February 5, 2018.

15. Paoli A, Bianco A, Damiani E, Bosco G. Ketogenic diet in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:474296. doi: 10.1155/2014/474296. Epub 2014 Jul 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 25101284.

16. Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle Weight Loss. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/low-carb-diet/art-20045831?pg=2 . Accessed February 5, 2018.

17. Schugar RC, Crawford PA. Low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets, glucose homeostasis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 Jul;15(4):374-80. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283547157. Review. PubMed PMID: 22617564.

18. Bergqvist AG. Long-term monitoring of the ketogenic diet: Do’s and Don’ts. Epilepsy Res. 2012 Jul;100(3):261-6. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2011.05.020. Epub 2011 Aug 19. Review. PubMed PMID: 21855296.

19. Kossoff EH, Hartman AL. Ketogenic diets: new advances for metabolism-based therapies. Curr Opin Neurol. 2012 Apr;25(2):173-8. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e3283515e4a. Review. PubMed PMID: 22322415. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4002181/ . Accessed February 5, 2018.

20. Simone BA, Champ CE, Rosenberg AL,et al. Selectively starving cancer cells through dietary manipulation: methods and clinical implications. Future Oncol. 2013 Jul;9(7):959-76. doi: 10.2217/fon.13.31. Review. PubMed PMID: 23837760. http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Adam_Dicker2/publication/248383072_Selectively_starving_cancer_cells_through_dietary_manipulation_methods_and_clinical_implications/links/0f31752e721ca22f57000000.pdf . Accessed February 5, 2018.

21. Kapelner A, Vorsanger M. Starvation of cancer via induced ketogenesis and severe hypoglycemia. Med Hypotheses. 2015 Mar;84(3):162-8. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2014.11.002. Epub 2014 Dec 10. PubMed PMID: 25579853.

Happy National Almond Day!

Freshly picked selection:

Happy National Almond Day!

Almonds are the seed of the almond tree fruit.  The trees are mainly grown in California, the Mediterranean, Australia, and South Africa.  Almonds are easily one of the most popular tree nuts available and found in many different variations.  You can buy them raw, roasted, sliced, slivered, as a flour, milk, butter, paste, extract, and more.

What to look for when purchasing:

Look for almonds that smell fresh and sweet.  Avoid any that are shriveled or soft.   Be sure where you purchase your almonds have a high turnover so fresh inventory is assured.

How to store:

Since almonds have a high fat content, they should be stored in a cool, dry place in a sealed container, preferably the refrigerator.  They will keep for several months refrigerated and up to a year in the freezer.

Varieties:

Almonds are found in two different varieties; sweet or bitter although  bitter almonds are illegal to sell within the US.  Bitter almonds contain a toxic acid when raw, but the toxin is destroyed when heated.  Sweet almonds have a mildly sweet flavor and are found all over the world.

Nutritional Benefit:

Recipes

This is how we make almond milk.

This Honey Almond Chicken is completely grain free and popular even with the kids!

This Almond Quick Bread is fast, easy, and absolutely delicious!

Our Chef’s & Nutritionists Say:

“Almonds are one of the most versatile ingredients available today and it’s no wonder why.  I love baking with almond flour because of it’s sweetness and ability to stay incredibly moist when making muffins and breads.”

-Stefanie Gates (Chef and Culinary Advisor for PreviMedica)

References:

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.

“Almonds.” World’s Healthiest Foods, 8 Feb. 2018, www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=20.

 

All Things Persimmons

Freshly picked selection:

Persimmons

 

Persimmons can vary from orange to light brown in color and their shape is similar to that of a peach.  Their flavor is mildly sweet to tart with some varieties being more tart than others; especially when under-ripe.

What to look for when purchasing:

Choose persimmons that are bright, plump, and yield to gentle pressure.  Avoid fruits that are mushy.

How to store:

Persimmons can be stored at room temperature to ripen, and then refrigerated once ripe for up to three days.

Varieties:

The most common variety found in the US is the Hachiya, or Japanese persimmon.  There is also the Fuyu, Sharon fruit, and Cinnamon persimmon which is a sub-variety of the Haichya.  When under-ripe, the Haichya in particular, is extremely astringent.

Nutritional Benefit:

Recipes

This Spiced Persimmon Smoothie is healthy and full of antioxidant spices – just in time for cold and flu season.

Start your morning with this Persimmon Coconut Overnight Oats recipe!

Go to the savory side with this beautiful and vegetarian Seasoned Kale Salad with Chickpeas, Cranberry, & Persimmons.

Our Chef’s & Nutritionists Say:

“Persimmons have the unique ability to be sweet or savory.  Even eating them plain is a treat!”

Basilia Theofilou, PreviMedica Nutritionist

References:

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.

 

Previ Culinary: Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

This sweet potato breakfast hash is the perfect side OR main dish for breakfast. Top with an over easy egg and let the egg become to sauce for this delicious combination of sweet potatoes, carrots, and leeks. We really can’t think of much better way to start out the day. 

Greek Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash 

(Adapted from: www.aminerecipes.com)

Serves: 4 – 6

Ingredients: 

  • 2 c. sweet potato, diced
  • 1 ½ c. carrot, diced
  • 1 c. ground beef or lamb
  • 1 ½ c. leeks, sliced thin, white parts only
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 packed tbsp. parsley
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. sea salt

Directions:

  1. Heat a large sauté pan to medium heat.
  2. Add ground meat and cook until mostly done. Drain fat.
  3. Add butter, then add sweet potato, leek, and parsley. Cover and stir occasionally.
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add carrots and all remaining ingredients.
  5. Cook uncovered while stirring often to prevent sticking. Cook until all ingredients are tender, to taste.
  6. Serve hot.


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.

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