Use Your Noodle: Summer Squash

Vegan Zuccini pasta bowl

When you’re craving pasta, but are gluten-free or vegan (or both), here’s an idea to satisfy your noodle-lust: Zucchini noodles! In this bowl, we’ve piled carrots, cabbage, spring onions and almonds, and drizzled it with a little oil-based dressing for a meal that is filling, delicious, and oh-so good for you!

Not only is making Zucchini noodles easy – just buy a julienne peeler, peel only the outer layers (stopping before you reach the seeds), toss the strings with a little salt and wait 15 minutes – the outer peel of the zucchini is where the highest concentration of anti-oxidants are stored. This may be the best way you can enjoy zucchini!

Health Benefits of Summer Squash (aka. zucchini)

The high dietary fiber in zucchini can help prevent colon cancer, but it’s also packed with vitamins A, C and folate – other powerful cancer fighters – and phytonutrients that are especially good for promoting prostate health. Summer squash is anti-inflammatory, and since it’s rich in manganese, is great for creating healthy, glowing skin (and healing wounds).

Rounding out the zucchini with cruciferous cabbage, beta-carotene-rich carrots, and protein and good fat-filled almonds not only provides a satisfying crunch, they’re also powerhouses of health.

With summer in full swing, there’s no excuse not to enjoy the fruits – and vegetables – of the season! Come by Intelligent Gourmet and ask us what’s fresh (hint: the answer is everything!).

Flu Fighting Foods – From Apples to Hot Toddies

apples
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – Your mother probably told you that, and she was right! It’s amazing how well we can prevent disease through simple nutrition alone, even during flu season (yes, even during THIS flu season!). Here are some scientifically proven snacks that have the power to prevent – or at least shorten the duration – of colds and flu. Give your body the weapons it needs to fight!

Apples to the Rescue!

Apples not only have Vitamin C, they also contain flavanoids (which help prevent heard disease), antioxidants (which prevent cancers), phenols (which lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol), phytonutrients (prevent neurodegenerative diseases), and antibacterial properties that help prevent tooth decay.

Make Room for Mushrooms

Cremini, portobello, and white button mushrooms are sources of beta-glucan – a dietary fiber that reduces risk for disease and infections by activating the immune system. Barley is another great source for beta-glucan. Try sauteing them with some garlic and olive oil for an anti-bacterial and antimicrobial boost.

Time for Tea (or a Hot Toddy)*

Tea with honey not only feels great on a sore throat, it packs an antibacterial and antiviral one-two-punch. Kick it up a notch by adding a shot of brandy, lemon, and a slice of fresh ginger (antibacterial properties!) for some added cold comfort. Either way, you’ll also benefit from tea’s antioxidants.

Chicken Noodle Soup for Body & Soul

Chicken noodle soup is an anti-inflammatory, especially when it comes to inflammation of the nasal passageways. In fact, Dr. Irwin Ziment at the UCLA School for Medicine found that chicken soup contains “drug-like agents similar to those in modern cold medicines,” even one that’s commonly prescribed for bronchitis.

Recipe for a Hot Ginger Toddy

In a large mug, combine:

  • 2 Tb Honey
  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • Thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 tea bag of your favorite black tea
  • Fill with boiling water
  • Top with a lemon slice

Keep out of reach of children.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Celery and Garlic Juice

No, this title isn’t about your state of being two weeks after making your New Year’s Resolutions (you’ve stuck to them like glue, right?). It’s the title of a 2010 documentary (which you’ve probably heard of) that follows Joe Cross for 60 days as he does an extended juice fast to regain his health.

And, he has a lot of health problems. Starting the film, he weighs in at 309 pounds and is on steroid medications to treat a rare autoimmune disorder. The drugs, of course, were only treating the symptoms, not the underlying issues, so Cross loads up his car with a generator and a juicer, fruits and vegetables, and takes off on a cross-country road trip around America for two months filming a documentary on health.

Vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and water. That’s it.

Yes, he loses a lot of weight. But the most interesting part of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is how he – and the truck driver he meets and gets started juicing – are able to go off their medications entirely. They heal themselves through nutrition and exercise alone!

Both men’s juice fasts are doctor-supervised, and the morbidly obese truck driver ended up losing 91 pounds in 60 days. That’s a very long fast, but even if you want to try a shorter fast, you can accomplish a lot. After just 10 days, he had lost 30 pounds. Of course, if you’re within a relatively healthy weight range already, you may not see such dramatic results – which is a good thing.

Whether or not you want to commit to a life of raw plant-based foods and juice, this is a fascinating film that shows us just how much power we have over our health and wellness. And – it’s inspiring. The sales of the Breville juicer Cross uses went sky high after this movie came out!

3 Things You Should Know About Juice Fasts

  1. The first few days of a juice fast are tough, especially when your social life revolves around eating. It can feel very isolating. But once you blast through the first few days, your energy increases and you start to look and feel better than ever. I’d say that’s worth it, wouldn’t you?
  2. Liquids are more rapidly absorbed than whole foods, which means the micro-nutrients in the juiced vegetables and fruits are more readily available for the body to use.
  3. Forget the juice at the grocery store – by the time it reaches the shelves, it’s been so processed that it’s practically sugar water.

Curious? Try a 3-day juice cleanse for just $195. We do the hard work (and the cleanup) for you.

“But wait! I’ll gain it all back in a week!”

One of the key facts about juice cleanses and fasts that don’t get as much press is the issue of re-bounding. You know how it goes – you start a diet, or one of those “fat flushes,” and you lose a little weight, but once the diet ends you gain the weight back. When you fast on micro-nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans for a week, your brain chemistry that craves all those bad-for-you foods changes. You’ll find yourself able to control cravings better than you ever have before for long-lasting results. Just don’t spike your blood sugar with a celebratory donut, okay?

Sweet and Tangy Breakfast Juice Recipe (in case you bought that Breville juicer!)

  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

We ♥ Heart Healthy Eating

Heart Healthy Salad from Intelligent Gourmet

Ancient Egyptians believed the heart contained the soul, and before entry into heaven, a person’s heart would be weighed against a feather. Today, we talk about people having heavy hearts or light hearts, but right now, let’s talk about healthy hearts.

From American Heart Association Research

  • For every hour of walking you can add 2 hours to your lifespan (Bonus! Exercise also increases brain size and memory)
  • For every pound lost you alleviate 4 lb. of pressure from your joints
  • Eating 2 servings of fish a week decreases your risk for heart disease by 23%

My rule of thumb is that if it’s from a box, it’s bad for your heart. Pre-packaged, mass-produced foods are created in labs to produce two outcomes:
1) They’ll last forever, packed with hydrogenated oils, trans fats, saturated fats and preservatives. They have to keep crunchy on store shelves, right?
2) To make you want more. They do this by pumping up the salt content.

Please hold the salt

Up to 75% of the sodium Americans eat comes from processed foods – and Americans are eating far too much. Most restaurants also over-salt their food to appeal to the typical American palate. What does all this salt do?

A healthy level of salt is vital. It helps regulate body fluids and blood pressure, and is necessary for muscle function and nerve impulse transmission. Active people who sweat a lot need more sodium.

Too much sodium (and the ADA says Americans typically eat over twice the daily recommended amount) contributes to high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease.

Five Favorite Heart Healthy Foods

  1. Salmon & Sardines are loaded with Omega 3: good fats that help brain function and keep your LDL low and your HDL high. Wild Salmon and sardines are both low contaminate fish, meaning they don’t have PCB or dioxins (which can be found in farm raised fish). An inexpensive way to get Wild Salmon is to buy it canned. Look for Wild on the label, and if it says Alaskan, it is automatically wild.
  2. Oatmeal is a soluble fiber which attaches to cholesterol and escorts it out of the body. Don’t muck it up with too much sugar! Add chopped nuts for more Omega 3’s, berries for cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, and cinnamon – studies show that cinnamon also lowers LDL.
  3. Sweet potatoes help manage your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Sweet potato also contains soluble fiber but with the added benefit of Potassium. The trick to lowering blood pressure is to decrease sodium and increase potassium in your diet – and sweet potatoes are the perfect vehicle.
  4. Nuts are another great source of Omega 3s, but don’t overdo them. They’re calorie-dense, so a few will go a long way. Have a handful of almonds, walnuts, or cashews for a quick healthy snack that won’t spike your insulin (and make you crave more food). And, if you get a can of mixed nuts, know that eating just one of those giant Brazil Nuts fulfills your daily selenium requirement. Research suggests that selenium reduces risk for breast and prostate cancers.
  5. Wine! My favorite way to wash down a heart-healthy meal is with a glass of red wine. Antioxidants in red wine (such as resveratrol) protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Not a big drinker? Search online for wine flour made from red grape skins (they make terrific brownies).