Why Avocados are Amazing

By Shannon Morehouse MA, CHHC

Avocados are high in oleic acid (also known as Omega-9), a mono-unsaturated fat that research indicates may help prevent heart disease and even cancer! As if that isn’t enough good news, avocados can actually help increase the absorption of nutrients from other vegetables! This is a concept known as nutrient fusion. For instance, a salad with lettuce, carrots, some spinach, and salsa is rich in carotenoids such as beta carotene, which are extremely health-promoting. Add an avocado in your salad, and you automatically increase your body’s ability to absorb those nutrients! Why? Because these carotenoids are lipophilic (which means they are soluble in fat, not water); if you eat them along with a healthy fat, like avocados, you enhance their bioavailability!

A 2005 study published in the Journal of Nutrition proves this point. Adding avocado to a salad increased absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times higher, respectively, than the average amount of these carotenoids absorbed when an avocado-free salad was eaten. Amazing, isn’t it!?

If you are not a big fan of the avocado texture, try avocado in other forms. Avocado oil is great to use in cooking. If you haven’t the time to cook, try some healthy snacks made with avocado oil. All of the following are available at Natur-Tyme.  I love good health’s Avocado Oil kettle chips! And when I watch a movie at home, it is usually with a bowl of Lesser Evil’s Buddha Bowl Avocado Oil popcorn. Sandwiches are so delicious with a thin spread of Chosen Foods’ Avocado Oil Mayo.

If you are a dessert lover like me, you must try Avocadough cookies. You would never guess that avocado was hiding in these treats! Made locally in Central New York, the cookies are amazing. They are all-natural with a mixture of whole grains, sugar (or cane juice), egg, butter (or healthy oil)…and avocado, of course. In the mood for Oatmeal Raisin, try “Raisin the Bar.” Looking for a chocolate fix, try “Peanut Butter Me Up” or “Choc it Up.”

How will you incorporate avocados into your diet?Avocado_group_shopt

 

 

How to Go Organic Affordably

Excerpt from Jordan Rubin’s book, Planet Heal Thyself

Organic fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products are more expensive, generally anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent more than conventionally grown and raised groceries. [However], there are ways to get a lot of organic bang for your buck:

  • Stock up at sale time. Yes, even organic products go on sale at health-food grocery stores.
  • Shop at farmers markets. Food that’s grown, produced, and sold locally is a great way to help the planet heal itself, and without middlemen between you and the grower, the prices can be excellent. Farmers market produce tastes better than fruits and vegetables that have traveled thousands of miles from farm to plate.
  • Eat organic food instead of going out to a restaurant. Yes, this means time spent preparing and cooking organic foods, but eating organic food is cheaper than taking the family to a fast-food place or “fast casual” restaurant—and much healthier, of course. A family of four would have to pay a minimum of $20 to $25 for a meal out, but you could pay for a wonderful home-cooked meal, complete with organic, grass-fed beef or wild-caught fish for that amount—even less. [However], if you are interested in eating out, search for local organic restaurants as more and more of them are opening their doors in major and even smaller cities all across the U.S.
  • Eating organic is cheaper than going on a special diet. And there’s a good chance you’ll lose extra pounds that wouldn’t come off with any other diet.
  • If you’re taking nutritional supplements, shop organic as well. Surveys suggest that 40 percent to 70 percent of Americans consume nutritional supplements, so look for products that are certified-organic (Check for the USDA seal) as more and more leading brands are taking the giant leap and producing nutritional formulations using organic ingredients.

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, the decision to eat organic foods boils down to what’s important to you. What you spend your money on shows where your [interests lay] and where your heart is.

Do you want to live a healthier life and leave a smaller footprint on the planet? Do you see organic foods as a down-payment for your future and your health?

Let me leave you with this little saying that puts everything in perspective:
You can pay the farmer now, or you can pay the doctor later.
GetReal_andrew_2If you would like more inspiring healthy-living tips from Jordan Rubin, be sure to attend his April 10th lecture from 2:15-3:45 at Natur-Tyme’s 15th annual health fair, held at the New Your State Fairgrounds. Tickets are available on our website.

Go Mediterranean for your Heart

By Shannon Morehouse, MA, CHHC

February marks National Heart Health Month; are you taking your heart health seriously enough? Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack. Choosing a Mediterranean diet is one of the best ways to protect your health.

Let’s take a look at some of the main items consumed by Italians, Greeks, Egyptians,
and others who live near the Mediterranean Sea.

Veggies Galore:

Vegetables are very central to the Mediterranean diet. For example, residents of Greece eat, on average, six or more servings of vegetables a day. Experiment with spices to add flavor and life to those veggies. No mushy broccoli here!

Fish:

The Mediterranean diet includes a lot of fish. Thousands of studies have proven that the Omega-3s present in fish are great at boosting heart health by decreasing triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, reducing blood clotting, and reducing inflammation in general. The research has led to the American Heart Association recommending 2-3 servings of fish a week.

Nuts & Seeds:

Nuts and seeds are heart-healthy snacks and condiments for salads. Several of the largest cohort studies, including the popular Nurses’ Health Study, have shown a consistent 30 percent to 50 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death or cardiovascular disease associated with eating nuts several times a week. In fact, the FDA now allows some nuts and foods made with them to carry this claim: “Eating a diet that includes one ounce of nuts daily can reduce your risk of heart disease.” Which nuts to choose? Almonds lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Pistachios lower blood pressure and walnuts help keep the arteries clear.

Olive Oil:

The Greeks, Italians, and Spaniards are serious about their olive oil. Abundant evidence supports the role of extra-virgin olive oil in protecting the heart. It lowers LDL cholesterol and may raise your HDL (good cholesterol).

Try substituting your red meat dishes for fish; choose nuts and seeds over cookies and pastries, and experiment cooking with olive oil as opposed to butter in your cooking and you will be doing your heart a super favor!

The MIND Diet for Better Health

By Laurel Sterling, RD

There is a growing body of evidence that shows that what you eat can affect your brain. A recent study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center demonstrates that a diet plan they developed may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53%! This diet has been coined the MIND diet. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It is a combination of the well known Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Apparently, the MIND diet proved to be more effective than either diet alone. They found that those who followed either the DASH or the Mediterranean diet “moderately” had almost no drop in their Alzheimer’s risk.

The MIND diet breaks its recommendations down into 10 “brain healthy food groups” a person should eat and five “unhealthy food groups” to avoid.

Food Groups to Include:

  • Green leafy vegetables (like spinach and salad greens) at least 6 servings/week
  • Other vegetables – At least 1/day
  • Nuts – 5 servings/week
  • Berries – 2 or more servings/week
  • Beans – At least 3 servings/week
  • Whole grains – 3 or more servings/day
  • Fish – Once/week
  • Poultry (like chicken or turkey) – 2 times/week
  • Olive oil – Use it as your main cooking oil
  • Wine – 1 glass/day

Food Groups to Avoid:

  • Red meat – Less than 4 servings/week
  • Butter and margarine – Less than 1 tablespoon/day
  • Cheese – Less than 1 serving/week
  • Pastries and sweets – Less than 5 servings/week
  • Fried or fast food – Less than 1 serving/week

They discovered that the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s regardless of genetics and other risk factors like smoking and exercise. So let’s MIND the way we eat!

Wiley’s Finest Fish Oil and its Marine Stewardship Council’s Certification

MSCWe recently brought in Wiley’s Finest Fish Oils to our store shelves and customers have been raving about it. It is an affordable and effective fish oil option. And they even have easy-swallow minis for those who aren’t able to swallow big pills. One of the reasons why we love this family-owned company so much is because they are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.

You may not have noticed it on their packaging, but the blue check mark on the front of every box is called the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Ecolabel. This is a prestigious and difficult-to-obtain certification: very few fish-oil supplements are MSC-certified out of the thousands of different fish-oil supplements sold worldwide.

First off – what is a fishery?  A fishery is defined as a geographic area, a species, and often a specific catch method. So for instance, Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (area) Alaska Pollock (species) Pelagic Trawl (catch method). Don’t confuse a fishery with a fish farm– that’s called a hatchery! When we’re talking about a fishery, we’re talking about wild-caught fish.

Here’s what MSC certification of a fishery means:

  • Fish are caught sustainably– MSC designs an exacting and rigorous fishing practices standard that looks at by catch, environmental impact, and healthy stock levels.
  • Independent third-party audit of supply chain– First, the fishery has to be certified that it meets the MSC’s standard. Then, individual fishing companies have to be audited that they comply with the standards. Then, any company who wants to use the MSC Ecolabel on their package has to be audited that their ingredients can be traced back all the way to the boat that caught the fish.
  • Guaranteed Species– The MSC’s Chain of Custody auditing and inspection program guarantees that Wiley’s only uses the species in their formulas that they say they do. In the case of our Wild Alaskan Fish Oil supplements, it means that the fish used to make their fish oil were actually wild-caught in well-managed US waters by American fishermen – no funny business here. They are guaranteed to be wild-caught (not farmed). The MSC’s Chain of Custody program is important: a 2011 study by Consumer Reports estimated that 20-25% of all fresh and frozen seafood is mislabeled by species. That’s why Wiley’s lists the species name on their label (Alaska Pollock Theragra chalcogramma) – no generic, catch-all species list for them (mackerel, herring, sardine, and/or anchovy) – it’s important to Wiley’s and Natur-Tyme that you know where your supplements come from and who caught them.

Wiley’s fish oil is 30% off MSRP at Natur-Tyme through April 30th.

To learn more about seafood sustainability, you will not want to miss Sam Wiley, of Wiley’s Finest, at our 15th annual health fair. His “Seafood Sustainability—Why it Matters” talk is at 10:30 AM. Advanced-sale tickets to our health fair are only $7. Purchase them on our website today!

Gluten-Free Cooking Tips

By Suzanne Anthony

1. In baking, the magic ingredient is LOVE. The secret ingredient is CONFIDENCE. You can be a better GF baker.

2. Practice, practice practice. Build a base of knowledge and grow from there. You can easily gain knowledge by reading, watching and listening. In time you will develop instincts. Listen to them too.

3. Read the recipe over thoroughly. I suggest following it exactly as written (and in order) the first time you make it. Be prepared to make that thing at least 3 times. (Not necessarily in the same day).

4. As you go along experimenting, date the recipes you have worked on converting and write notes to yourself. You may want to go back to it again and this will make things more clear in your mind.

5. It is said that gluten-free baked goods are typically best eaten the day they are made. I have found most can be left loosely covered at room temperature for a few days. Refrigeration can often cause the item to become hard and shrink. Some items will do better refrigerated. Experiment to decide what works best for each item. Often times, the recipe will tell you what to do.

6. Some things that could go wrong and some possible fixes 
Kind of hard & getting harder – bake for less time, or could be too much xanthan gum. Also take your oven’s temperature. 
Tasted kind of blah – use a variety – a medley of flours – to round out the flavor. GF baking usually requires more spices, salt, and vanilla extract than traditional baking because they are very bland tasting as compared to wheat flour to begin with. Start at double the amount and go from there. Since GF flours are so bland, you will know when enough extra spicing is enough.
It got too brown – Check your oven’s temperature. Or ease off on the baking soda. Did the recipe say 1T or 1t? There’s a big difference.
The texture is weird and all wrong. No it’s not, now stop imagining things. Let’s get used to something new.

7. Common-sense rules the world of GF baking too. An all-purpose mix made with bean flours may taste alright for some things but if you are making cupcakes, you may want to rethink your plan. Stir slowly. They say you cannot over mix GF batters. I disagree. Also do not attempt to bake when the school bus is coming. You should be relaxed and able to focus.  Follow the recipe in the exact order as written. On a second attempt, it is best to change just one thing at a time that you didn’t like about the baked good. You can learn a lot this way. 

8. You will need to use xanthan gum to hold your baked good together. It stands in for the now missing gluten. There is a chart on the back of Bob’s Red Mill brand. Follow the chart. As you proceed, try to use as little as possible.

9. Create your own GF bake mix by using 2 parts flour to 1 part starch. For starch you can use Arrowroot, Tapioca, Potato.

10. When measuring out flours or your baking mix remember “SSS” Sift, Scoop, Sweep. Brown Rice, Millet and Sorghum flours are good ones to start out with.

11. Baking Powder will make things puff or RISE. Baking Soda will make things SPREAD.  If there is an acid such as orange juice, vinegar, molasses, or chocolate in the batter then baking soda can also make things rise.  Baking soda is four times stronger than baking powder. Wow!

12. Always use quality ingredients. Are your flours within date? Is your baking powder and baking soda still good? Things can go bad. Seal tightly and store GF flours in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh.

13. Sometimes it’s the fault of the recipe. There are no recipe police out there. I have come across many that are truly not right.

14. Above all do not get discouraged. Baking is fun and is a great way to show love. And it helps keep our brains young by using all those basic math skills.

Learn more at http://www.hunkafoods.com

Sweet Potato and Spinach Farro Risotto

By Chef Will Lewis

IMG_6972-410x307Ingredients

2 whole Sweet Potatoes
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
2 cloves Garlic
2  Shallots (or 1 Small Yellow Onion)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 cup Farro
3 cups Broth (chicken Or Otherwise)
2 cups Fresh Spinach
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. Start your oven preheating to 400ºF.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch thick wedges. Place them on a baking sheet (I like to cover mine in parchment paper, to minimize the mess). Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle them with a few dashes of salt and pepper; then toss them around so they all get coated. Spread them out on the sheet so they aren’t on top of each other. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until soft.
  3. While the potatoes are roasting, mince the garlic and shallots.
  4. Melt the butter in a pot. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté at medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes.
  5. Once the garlic and shallots are soft and fragrant, add the farro and about 1 cup of the broth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is mostly absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining two cups of broth. (Don’t forget about your potatoes in the oven!) By the time the third cup of broth is almost totally absorbed, the farro grains should be full, reasonably soft, and a bit chewy. The remaining liquid (not enough to cover the farro; should be underneath it) should be pretty thick and creamy in texture.
  6. Turn off the heat and quickly mix in the roasted sweet potatoes, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Mix until everything is evenly distributed throughout and the cheese has been assimilated into the creamy liquidy part. Serve warm.

Sweet and Sour Cherry Braised Short Ribs with Bok Choy and White Bean Goat Cheese Puree

By Chef Jason Jessmore

Sweet&SourCherryBraisedShortRibsIngredients

Beef:
1½ lbs. Drover Hill Farm ribs
1 cup ground Recess coffee
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon ginger
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 package Woodstock Organic Cherries thawed
Splash of Apple cider vinegar

White bean puree:
1 can cannelini beans
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. Lively Goat Cheese log

Bok choy:
1 bunch of bok choy
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 inch fine chopped ginger
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Rub ribs with ground coffee, salt and pepper Pan sear ribs crusted side down in a hot skillet with olive oil Add in cherries and a splash of apple cider vinegar Cover and place in a 325° oven for 3-½ hours
  2. Drain and rinse white beans and place in a stock pot with a little water to keep beans from sticking. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste Stir in cheese and cook slowly till thickened
  3. In a hot pan with olive oil and salt, pepper and finely chopped ginger, add Bok Choy and a splash of water. Turn heat off and cover pan and let it sit for two minutes.
  4. To serve, place white bean purée on a plate, add bok Choy and a rib and drizzle dish with the rib pan juices.

Co Enzyme Q-10: Who Should Take it and Why

By Carol Blair, BS, DiHom
507094075 (1)It seems that some people are unfamiliar with CoEnzyme Q-10 (aka CoQ-10), so let’s talk a little about this important nutrient cofactor.

CoQ -10 is naturally produced by the body and is used by the mitochondria of every cell for energy production especially for the heart where it helps supply uninterrupted energy and increases the heart’s ability to contract. High amounts of CoQ-10 are also found in the kidneys, liver, and pancreas.

A six-year longitudinal study at the University of Texas found that individuals with congestive heart failure who were given CoQ-10 had a 75% survival rate compared to only 25% in the placebo group.

Cancer patients do better on CoQ-10 as well because it helps oxygenate the cells. Studies show improved survival rates, better energy, and less damage to the DNA when undergoing chemo.

Our potential to make CoQ-10 decreases with age. Additionally, statin drugs interfere with your body’s ability to make it; therefore, I recommend anyone taking a statin drug and most of us over the age of 55 to consider taking at least 100 mg per day.

Dairy Products Tainted with rBGH

By: Carol B. Blair, BS, CNC, DiHom
Wellness Educatorcarol

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is injected into cows to increase milk production. It is a synthetic version of a natural hormone produced in a cow’s pituitary gland. This artificial version was developed by Monsanto from genetically-modified E. coli bacteria.

This hormone has been banned in 30 countries including Canada, Europe, Israel, Australia, Argentina, and New Zealand because it is considered unsafe. In fact, as far back as 1999, the UN Safety Agency unanimously ruled NOT to endorse its safety which has resulted in a ban on US milk internationally.

Studies have linked it to higher risks for cancer including prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer in humans. However, in the United States, where many believe our nation’s health is less important than profits, it remains on the market.

Cows also suffer with increased mastitis, arthritis, and other health issues.

To avoid this risky hormone, look for organic milk and dairy products including whey protein or at the very least look for the words “No rBGH.”

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