Recently in Nutrition Category

One of the biggest perks of living close to my mom is having access to her wonderful home cooking! During my first trimester, I experienced a loss in appetite and could barely eat anything that wouldn't make me nauseous. The only dishes I could truly indulge in were prepared by my mother. Garlic and onions would turn me green, which is strange since my mom used both of those ingredients to make her lasagna. My baby is probably made of 80% lasagna / 5% oatmeal cookies / 10% white peach cobbler / 5% pickles. Of course, I've made it a habit to take my vitamins, extra calcium (w/magnesium and D), folic acid, plus a consistent amount of omegas for her development. I falter a few times a week when it comes to eating low-glycemic, and really try to monitor my sugar intake. At nearly eight months, I've gained 18 pounds and will continue to watch the scale and what I eat to insure this little girl is getting proper nutrition and gaining weight in a healthy way. In other news...we finally closed escrow on our home last Friday. It was a challenging experience purchasing a bank owned fixer upper, but the lovely little gingerbread craftsman was well worth the wait and huge pile of paperwork! I've dealt with many REO (real estate owned) properties this past year and am always amazed at what they previously sold for and how much attention or lack of was spent on maintaining the home.
After an excellent appointment with my midwife's assistant/doula in Menlo Park, my friend and I headed to downtown Los Altos to indulge in something light and sweet at Satura Bakery. If you've not yet been, I highly suggest taking a trip there on a Thursday afternoon. After eating one of the best choux creams in my life, we walked over to the farmers market. This is one of the rare markets that stays open later in the day. We sampled different types of flavorful cherries that were sweet and not the least bit sour, hearty Jersey Brand milk cheeses, super sweet sweet peas, and dark juicy red strawberries. I left with five small, but crisp and sweet, organic white peaches from Kashiwase Farms, organic Spring Hill Farms garlic curds (made from fresh mozzarella), and also one of their pesto jack blocks, melt-in-your-mouth roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes (we ate those there), and a small basket of unusually pointy, but remarkably sweet strawberries!! Oh, and I also purchased five of Satura's choux creams for Naoki -- three vanilla and two green tea flavored. Forgive all of these foodcentric posts. Occupying my mind most of the time is food, house hunting for friends/clients and ourselves, and this baby.
I came across this wonderful organization that supplies discounted groceries to families and seniors. They do not require meeting any particular criteria; however, they are still working on nationwide deliveries. According to the organization, the food provided is of restaurant and high grade quality.

The cost of groceries has risen significantly since last year due to the economy. Below is a short news clip on how you can reduce how much you spend at the stores (though I believe most people know these tips already...).

Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States.

Blessings by the box

Angel Food's groceries are sold in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month's menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $50. Comparison shopping has been done across the country in various communities using a wide range of retail grocery stores and has resulted in the same food items costing from between $42 and $78.

Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is all the same high quality one would purchase at a grocery store. There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe. Also offered are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. Many participants in this bonus program appreciate the expanded choices. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can purchase, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere. Angel Food Ministries, like most all other retail grocery stores, also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.

It's both a Bargain and a Blessing!

Hello and welcome to my latest obsession...fresh strawberries, dunked in lowfat sour cream, then swiped in light brown sugar! 

I had a colleague share this foodie tip with me recently and internally I scoffed at it.  C'mon the combination sounded to bizarre to be good; however, curiosity got the best of me after my brother said he'd tried and liked this concoction.  So, yesterday after a quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up super ripe organic strawberries (good enough to eat on their own) and tub of sour cream, I ripped open that bag of light brown sugar Naoki was waiting to use for one of his breads (that's his current obsession btw).  Together those three simple ingredients were absolutely delish!!  I had heard that it would have a cheesecake like flavor, which I am not a fan of, but was pleasantly surprised that it was even better!

If you have a chance to try this combo, I would highly recommend it (unless you're lactose intolerant, in which case contact me for the perfect enzyme supplements).

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per strawberry: 29 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 43 mg potassium.

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

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Right now I want...

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to eat...

1. An egg salad sandwich on croissant with a dill pickle spear and avocado on the side
2. Tofu from the San Jose Tofu factory (delicious recipes here - http://www.theppk.com/)
3. My mother's spinach, cheese, and mushroom quiche - hot from the oven
4. Apple crisp with a blueberry crumble topping - also hot from the oven, ala mode!
5. Fruit salad made of cantelope, honeydew, watermelon, berries, and red flame grapes

Afterwards, I would like to...

1. Finish my crochet project before summertime
2. Curl up with a good book and hot chocolate (stirred with a cinnamon stick)
3. Surf the 'net for gifts for my friend's son's 100 day ceremony/celebration
4. ...darn, I really want that fruit salad...
5. Pay my bills, organize my tax receipts, and prepare items for donating

I'm either...

1. Dealing with severe insomnia or slept too much today
2. Getting old or well...getting older
3. Pregnant having horrible food cravings and have messed up my sleep schedule or ?
4. Delirious from lack of sleep or spending too much mind numbing time at the computer
5. Finding an excuse to write something on my blog or killing time.

Wouldn't it be lovely to have a 24 hour delivery service that caters to people's late night cravings?  They'd have access to books, movies (though we can practically find everything online these days), healthy midnight snacks or other food items, clothing/shoes/accessories (just in case),  etc.

It would cost a low monthly fee to use different levels of the service...and well, I just wish I could order an egg salad sandwich right now.



Addicted to Kabocha (pumpkin)

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Ever since returning from Japan a few weeks, I'd been craving the simmered pumpkin that Naoki's mother made many times while we were there. Luckily, I found that Nijiya, our local Japanese food market carries organic Kabocha! The first time I purchased one, I selected the smallest (in case I made any mistakes in cooking it).

> It was simple to cut, scoop out the seeds, and slice into 1 1/2 inch or so pieces.
> To finish, place pieces of the pumpkin into a large pot, fill one third of the way with filtered water, soy sauce, and mirin (Japanese cooking wine).
> Sugar is optional, but I usually leave it out, as this vegetable is sweet enough (to me).
> Heat on high until boiling, then reduce to a simmer until the pumpkin is easy to cut through.
> Add a small drizzle of olive oil towards the end (my mother-in-laws suggestion) and serve hot or cold.

* My dear friend, who has the most amazing cooking skills, recommends adding butter. I have to agree that I love that richness it adds, but can do with out the extra fat, salt and calories.

* This lovely little dish makes a welcome addition to a packed lunch. It is rich in beta carotene, with iron, vitamin C, potassium, and smaller traces of calcium, folic acid, and minute amounts of B vitamins. <= last part pinched from Wikipedia.com

Eating Healthy in Japan

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We just arrived in Japan yesterday after a long journey by car, plane, speedboat, and minivan!

Our first place to visit was my in-laws in Mie. My lovely mother-in-law, Misako-san, prepared a wonderful assortment of dishes of different types of sashimi, homegrown edamame (soybeans), lots of fresh vine-ripened veggies from their garden, and mixed rice loaded with yummy bits of shitake mushroom, tofu, and other greens. In addition to their green tea, they also have a huge garden of tomatoes, cucumbers, shiso (a type of basil), grapes, and much more.

For breakfast this morning, we had grilled mochi (rice cakes) wrapped in seaweed, miso (w/tofu, seaweed, and more mushrooms), fishcake stuffed with cucumber, and more melon and white peaches...yum!

Green Tea for Health

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For the past few months there have been numerous (but not new) reports on the benefits of drinking tea, especially the green kind! Naoki's family has a beautiful green tea farm in Mie, Japan and they are ready to ship 2007 spring leaves. The cut off date to order will be this Thursday, May 10.

This green tea tastes different and has a sweeter and fresher flavor than what is available in most stores here. It can be cold brewed as well as served hot. Please allow boiled water to cool for a few minutes before adding the delicate tea leaves to prevent burning, which can alter the taste. Hadaseicha's tea is dark green in color, has a bold taste and was carefully harvested by Naoki's parents. Orders are available only once a year and large orders can be stored in the freezer to preserve freshness. My mother likes to order the teabags in bulk and repackage them to give as gifts to her health-conscious clients.

Orange Creamsicle

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ORANGEDRINK.JPG This past weekend, I had the worst craving for an Orange Julius drink. Do you remember those? There are still some stands in select malls around the Bay Area. This super sweet orange drink is like a liquid creamsicle, the orange popsicle with vanilla cream center. I know we could have probably stopped at the grocers to purchase the mix, but due to it's high sugar content, artificial flavoring and color, I passed.

To satisfy my fix, I blended two scoops of French Vanilla low-glycemic shake with one heaping scoop of naturally flavored orange fiber/energy mix (no, not Metameucil for those of you wondering!) along with a cup and a half of cold filtered ionic water and a handful of ice (also made from the same water). The taste and flavor was spot on, and the plus side was that this frothy drink was low-glycemic, high in protein and fiber.

This same concoction makes a lovely sorbet if blended til smooth then placed in the freezer for 30 minutes! Yum :)

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Sophie's beautiful mother recently ordered us a bazooka-load of these delicious organic, sundried dates from Oasis Garden Farms!

When I was younger, my friend's mother used to make the most amazing homemade chicken soup and used these types of dates to give it a touch of sweetness. The dates also flavor tea in the most remarkable way too. What's special about the dates we received is that they're organic, do not contain sulphur, and their huge size. Most of the ones sold in markets are small and have a tiny seed, whereas you can tell that these were allowed to grow to full size before harvesting.

Please contact me via email if you would be interested in ordering any of these dates. You can learn more about these special fruit (sometimes known as "jujube" Chinese, "daechu" Korean, or "natsume" Japanese) on Wikipedia!

cranberryorangerelish2.JPG Ok, not the best picture, but this cranberry/orange relish is delicious with turkey. The color is off in this photo and it's actually a deep dark red with flecks of orange.

I used two containers of fresh cranberries, one navel orange cut into small pieces, xylitol, and pure blackberry honey. All of the fruit and honey is organic. After using the chop feature on the blender, I stored the contents in a jar for this Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or a light dash of ground clove can be added.

To keep from overeating during the holidays, I'll usually have a light meal two hours before consisting of food that I'm used to eating on a daily basis, such as brown rice, fish or chicken and a dark green veggie on the side. When we arrive at my family's place, I'll use a small plate to keep portions under control. If I'm too lazy to fill a second serving, I've probably had enough to eat.

My sweet-loving family also always have a variety of desserts to gorge upon. Mom's pecan pie is my weakness, so I'll have a sliver and a nice hot cup of cinnamon tea to accompany it. This time I'll bring a lovely chocolate port from Sonoma Port Works (I blogged about this earlier) for my sister. It's heavenly drizzled on vanilla bean ice cream.

Last weekend on Saturday, October 21, the ANA (American Nutraceutical Association) held it's annual Nutraceuticals and Medicine Fall 2006 Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. The focus was on the role of nutraceuticals, diet and nutrition in disease prevention. This continuing education program provided CME credits for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and other medical practitioners.

The cover of the program featured a DNA strand interlaced with fruits and vegetables, quite similar to a recent Newsweek cover that discussed the same topic.

Can what we eat/consume influence our genetic makeup and can we take a preventative approach to developing the diseases that are coded in our genes?

* 100% Pure Organic Blackberry Honey from Oregon. - My dear friend introduced us to the best honey that makes everything you put it in tastes dreamy! That's not an exaggeration either. She is also able to get other wonderful natural bee products like propolis and royal jelly from the same beekeeper. Honey is currently on hand, so if you'd like to make a purchase let me know.

* All Natural Gelatin-free Gummy Bear Snacks - These contain a blend of freeze-dried fruits and veggies, along with other added essential nutrients. (No colors, fillers or preservatives) They are so tasty, I find them hard to resist eating by the handful.

* Natural and Super Fresh Tasting Japanese Green Tea - Brewed hot or cold, this is honestly the best green tea I've ever had. Most of the tea we buy at the supermarket has been sitting forever on the shelves or have been overprocessed. This tea is actually green and makes the perfect substitute to coffee in the morning. Does contain caffeine, but does not cause the jitters like coffee.

* Travel size Aloe Gel
- Oftentimes most aloe products do not contain the active ingredients that fresh aloe does. This easy to carry gel is soothing to burns, cuts, and irritations. The healing ingredient of aloe has been stabilized in this product. Sunburns, papercuts, scrapes and bug bites are a few of the things we use this get on.

* Preservative/Paraben-Free Skincare - This line will launch in the U.S. in March of 2007; however, we are able to have our family ship it to us from Japan. It isn't anything like what is currently on the market and the results are remarkable! Did I mention I love the eye cream?

Please contact me directly via email at jeanette337 at gmail.com

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Nothing beats the taste of a freshly picked strawberry or tomato grown in your garden, or in our case, balcony planter. I never believed it til actually trying it for the first time! Our local farmers market carries a fabulous assortment of tasty, organic produce, which I believe probably tastes even more amazing right after it's picked.

We purchased organic baby tomato seedlings and wild strawberries plants from Whole Foods in Campbell earlier this spring. It was the first time I'd ever grown something edible.




Gazpacho is one of my favorite dishes, especially on hot summer days! This is an easy recipe that I modify to my taste using spicy peppers, more garlic and sprouted wheat toast (instead of the stale white bread). Since this is a cold soup, you can add Phyto-Aloe powder to enhance the nutritional value and taste. Enjoy!

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Beautiful white peaches from Kashiwase Farms (Organic, specializing in stone fruit, almonds, and Asian pears (yum!))

Today we headed to the Farmers Market at Santana Row. Thankfully the crowd was light, as I believe most people were swarming around downtown San Jose for the Grand Prix racing event. There were quite a few certified farmers there and a handful of organic vendors as well. We left with decent sized bags of delicious white peaches, white nectarines, shiney red plums, juicy strawberries, and one crisp, j-shaped Armenian cucumber - all organic of course!

Afterwards we made a quick stop over at the Great Mall in Milpitas for something to eat and to get a bit of exercise in. Window shopping at a mall that's the size of four football fields definitely counts as exercise.

This particular mall has a mix of really cool and some seriously junkie stores. I usually have a lot of fun visiting the accessory shops that sell all types of sparkley stuff. It's a bad case of "Magpie Syndrome", being attracted by things that glitter and catch the light. Maybe it was from being full or from shopping the day before at the Gilroy Outlets, but I couldn't find anything to purchase even though there were some excellent sales going on.

40% fewer calories than processed sugar / 75% less carb intake

Diabetic Safe

Xylitol is a natural low-glycemic sugar manufactured from birch trees or other natural xylan-rich sources. It's metabolized independently of insulin and is safe for diabetics or anyone seeking a healthier lifestyle. No sugar highs or lows.

Perfect for coffee, tea, cereal...does not promote cavities, looks and tastes like sugar, leaves no aftertaste, and disolves quickly.

Find it at your local healthfood stores (such as Whole Foods) or online at http://www.emeraldforestsugar.com

Find more information by Googling or visiting http://www.wikipedia.org

I had an interesting discussion this evening with a friend on the topic of natural versus synthetic supplements. We, well at least most of us, are conditioned to believe that natural is always better for us than synthetic; however, it appears that it would depend on which type of product we're taking and whether there are any allergies involved.

Take for example melatonin. I've read that the synthetic version (which usually comes in the form of a white tablet) is often safer than the "natural" version (frequently a brown speckled pill). There seems to be less of a likely chance of consuming a tainted supplement that might have had the hormone extracted from a sick animal.

In the case of vitamin C, here's a short paragraph taken from an article on ediets.com -

There has been a lot of hype about the superiority of vitamin C with rose hips or esterfied vitamin C, as opposed to the synthetic form, ascorbic acid. Is there any truth to these claims? The answer is no.

The body recognizes and absorbs all three types of vitamin C equally. Therefore, if you have been paying an extra three to four times more for the “natural” vitamin C thinking that it is of higher quality, think again and save yourself some money! The only reason why a person may want to consider taking a natural vitamin C is if they are allergic to citric acids. However, if you are allergic to pollen then you probably should take the synthetic vitamin C.

There's an incredible amount of information available on Wikipedia.org...

http://www.truefoodnow.org/shoppersguide/index.html

Interested in learning more about genetically modified / engineered food? I'd suggest finding or renting a copy of "The Future of Food". It sheds an interesting and frightening light on how GMO produce and products are developed and find their way onto our grocery store shelves.

Jeanette Lee Hada

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