Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vegan Mushroom Soup


The consistency of this mushroom soup reminds me of the Campell Creamed Mushroom soup, however, it is made from scratch, only with healthy ingredients and it is vegan. And delicious.
  • 1 white onion, small diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TB grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup of fresh mushroom (e.g. portabella mushroom, shitake, oyster, etc.), cleaned and sliced
  • 1 cup of dried mushroom (e.g. shitake, porcini, and/or oyster)
  • 1 spring of thyme
  • 1/4 cup unflavored almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 ts vegetable bouillon
  • optionally: more water, depending on wanted consistency
  • salt, pepper to taste
For garnish: more fresh mushroom sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper and some feta crumbles.
Reconstitute the dried mushrooms in 2 cups of boiling water for about 10min. Heat a pot with the grapeseed oil and fry the onion and garlic until translucent, then add the fresh mushrooms. Saute the mushroom until they are slightly browned. Now, add the dried mushroom with the soaking liquid. Stir and combine well. Bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat to a medium-low simmer. Add the thyme, bouillon, almond  milk and the chickpeas. Simmer on medium-low for ca. 30min. Let it cool, and then puree in a really good blender (e.g. vitamix) to get a creamy, smooth consistency. Reheat, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with sauteed fresh baby bella mushroom and feta crumbles (optional). 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tops Ten Reasons Why WLS is Not the Easy Way Out

The Top Ten Reasons why Weight Loss Surgery is NOT “the easy way out”

By Glenn Goldberg (reprinted by permission of the author)
10. It's very expensive. Many health insurance companies don't pay for the surgery, and even when they do, co-payments and other costs add up quickly. Also, it can become very costly to constantly replenish wardrobes as the weight comes off.
9. Recovery can be very painful. Besides the pain from the surgery wound, patients may experience nausea or severe gastric distress. Patients with sleep apnea may become sleep-deprived, with all of the associated adverse affects, when they must discontinue use of their CPAP machines to avoid disturbing the staples creating their tiny new stomach pouch.
8. Recuperation can take a long time. Patients may be “out of commission” and absent from work for a prolonged period of recovery time. In some cases, patients may not be able to return to work or normal pursuits for up to 10 – 12 weeks.
7. It's hard work and a major time commitment. For optimal results, patients should engage in aerobic exercise for up to an hour daily. For bodies unaccustomed to vigorous exercise, this can be very hard. It's also a real challenge for WLS patients to learn all they must about nutrition so they can assure that their food and vitamins are sustaining their body. Finally, it can be exhausting to consciously, carefully and painstakingly chew every bit of food that enters your mouth.
6. Vomiting isn't fun. Nor is diarrhea. It may take patients many months (and frequent episodes of vomiting or diarrhea) to identify incompatible foods and to learn the practical limits of their newly reduced stomachs or digestive systems.
5. It takes extraordinary courage to consciously limit food choices for the rest of your life (and potentially limit social opportunities built around meals). For many patients, life after WLS means treating food as a fuel, not as a source of drama, excitement, comfort or a central life focus: i.e. eating to live rather than living to eat. While some procedures may be reversible, for most patients WLS is a lifetime commitment, requiring a lifetime of major lifestyle changes.
4. Weight loss surgery can be dangerous. As many as .5% of surgery patients may die from the procedure, and up to 5% may experience debilitating medical complications (especially if they listen to their peers' advice more carefully than their doctor's.)
3. It takes great bravery and strength to deflect other people's judgments and society's myths about obesity. Fat people are often blamed and shamed by family and friends with simplistic advice, unrealistic solutions, and uninformed prejudices. Whether it's for genetic or metabolic reasons, diet and exercise, willpower and discipline have never, by themselves, been enough. Our appetite regulators simply don't work. Without WLS, we don't know when we're full!
2. What gives anyone the right to judge which path is right for another? Is a person who runs a 10K taking a “better” or “tougher” route to wellness than the person who walks vigorously every day? Is working with weights better than water aerobics? Different strokes for different folks. Each of us finds our own right way, and how dare others judge our path to health and longevity! By their reckoning, the most courageous thing would be for us to suck it up and die young.
1. For many morbidly obese people, WLS may be the ONLY realistic alternative for achieving a long, healthy life. The newest research provides irrefutable evidence that body weight is largely a function of genes — just like height or a family propensity for cancer. These genes help regulate appetite and metabolism. People prone to obesity seem to gain excessive weight easily, while finding it difficult or impossible to lose it. That's why diets almost always fail and why WLS is currently the only viable weight loss option for many morbidly obese people, according to endocrinologist David Cummings of the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System. Most people can lose no more than 5-10% off their "natural" body weight by exercising and eating wisely. Decades of diet studies show that more than 90% of people who lose weight by dieting gain it all back within 5 years. "There are exceptions, but when you are speaking of general rules, the only people who are able to lose more than 10 percent of their body weight and keep it off are people who have had gastric-bypass or other bariatric surgery," Cummings notes.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Your guide to picking your best training supplement

While food sources of protein are plentiful, there will come a time in your busy day when eating a baked chicken breast or a hard-boiled egg just isn’t an option. Your easiest solution? Protein powders. Not only are they convenient (there’s nothing faster than adding a scoop of protein powder to your oatmeal, shake or yogurt) but also of the many types available, each one provides additional health benefits beyond just building muscle. In fact, whether you’re a meat-eating gal looking to reduce belly bloat or a vegan trying to meet your nutritional needs and get buff, there’s a protein powder for everyone. Find yours with this handy guide. 

1. Repairs and builds muscle
2. Aids in fat burning
3. Boosts postworkout immunity
4. Improves general health
5. Vegetarian/vegan option


Repairs muscles, fast!
25 grams of protein per scoop.*
*Average scoop size is 30 grams. 

When it comes to building lean muscle, research proves that whey’s the way. As the most popular protein powder on the market, whey provides an ideal array and proportion of amino acids to assist with muscle recovery and growth, as well as enhancing fat loss. Derived from milk, whey is considered the fastest-digesting “complete” protein, which means that it contains all the essential building blocks of muscle (amino acids), including high amounts of the all-important group of branched chain amino acids (BCAA). BCAAs become depleted after exercise and are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue. That’s why it is so often recommended to consume whey within minutes after your sweat session to quickly repair muscle damage.

Health Benefit: May help fight cancer through its antibody content, shows research. Whey can also aid your body’s own production of disease-fighting antioxidants.

Best Buys: Whey concentrates and whey isolates. The concentrated version contains the protein itself, but also some carbohydrate (lactose) and fat from milk. Whey protein isolate is virtually only whey protein, with trace amounts of carbohydrate. Isolates are ideal if you’re lactose intolerant but they are slightly more expensive than concentrates.


Builds muscle while you sleep!
15 to 20 grams of protein per scoop.*

The other milk protein, casein, is also a complete protein. However, casein has a lower biological value (BV) than whey, meaning that a lower percentage of protein is absorbed out of the total protein consumed. The plus? Casein provides a slower and prolonged release of amino acids over time. This slow release is important for reducing muscle damage, which can occur for up to 48 hours postworkout. (Do you recall ever being sore two to three days after a workout?) For women looking to maintain lean muscle tissue, casein may be more beneficial before bed because the slow absorption will supply the body with protein through the night when the body enters a catabolic state (breakdown of protein tissue for energy). This slow release can also help you to feel fuller longer, thereby supporting weight-loss efforts by helping you take in fewer calories.

Health Benefit:
 Extremely high in glutamine, an amino acid that boosts immune function.
Best Buys: Micellar casein (the natural, unaltered form of casein found in milk) and calcium caseinate, which helps to strengthen bones. Look for casein that has not been hydrolyzed as this actually turns it into a fast-acting protein, similar to whey.


Ideal for all women!
20 to 25 grams of protein per scoop.*

A popular vegetarian protein source, soy protein is something that meat-loving gals should also consider for boosting overall health. And although sports research shows that soy results in inferior strength gains when compared to whey, the differences are minimal for a healthy woman. At the end of the day, an elite athlete may need the slight edge of whey due to heavy training, but for the average active gal, soy protein powder provide the biggest bang for your “health” buck.

Health Benefit: Research shows that soy can lower cholesterol levels to improve your heart health. Soy isoflavones have been shown to combat menopausal symptoms and reduce breast cancer risk.

Best Buys:
 Soy isolates. They contain very little fat or cholesterol, and provide higher amounts of isoflavones than a soy protein concentrate.

Brown Rice

Easy on the stomach!
15 grams of protein per scoop.*
While much of rice seed is carbohydrate, it does contain some protein, which is extracted without the use of chemicals during processing to make brown rice protein powder. As with all plant proteins (quinoa being the exception), rice protein is incomplete. It lacks one of the essential amino acids, lysine, which helps manage triglycerides (a form of body fat) and is necessary for hormone production and bone growth. You can solve this problem by pairing brown rice protein powder with milk or soy to fill the missing link.
Health Benefit: Some people experience gas and bloating from animal-based powders, like whey and casein, but rice protein is hypoallergenic and easily absorbed, making it very well tolerated if you’re lactose intolerant or have a sensitive stomach.

Best Buys:
 Consider organic brands when purchasing plant protein powders to minimize your exposure to pesticides.


Great for vegans!
10 grams of protein per scoop.*

Suitable for active people who avoid all foods of animal origin, hemp protein also offers the inflammation-fighting power of essential fatty acids. For your training, the omega-3s in hemp aid in muscle recovery after your workouts. Whole hempseeds also contains about 25 percent of a highly digestible protein, however, the amino acid profile is not complete, but eating a variety of plant proteins throughout the day (a daily mix of beans, legumes and grains) may provide your body with all the essential aminos you need.

Health Benefit: Helps your heart by lowering cholesterol levels with fiber, and the anti-inflammatory omega-3s boost memory, focus and concentration.

Best Buys:
 Consider organic brands when purchasing plant protein powders to minimize your exposure to pesticides.

Try Them All

Because each form of protein works somewhat differently, choose them with the same care you would when picking out your daytime and nighttime makeup. Here’s a sample starter menu that takes into account the best times you should take each powder, according to research. Try any of these meal ideas as a part of a balanced diet that includes whole food sources of protein. You can reap the health and training benefits of each protein powder plus figure out which one pleases your palate the most.

Breakfast: Mix a scoop of hemp or soy powder into oatmeal.
Preworkout: Stir some whey protein into coffee to perk up for a morning workout.
Postworkout: Unless you are vegan, always choose whey for quick delivery to repair damaged muscles. Try a scoop in your favorite fruit juice. 
Bedtime or as a meal replacement:
 Add casein protein to a cup of non-fat milk.

Fast Facts:
  • Skim milk powder delivers both whey and casein. Bonus: It’s inexpensive.
  • 30 Grams of protein per meal your body can metabolize at one time. Contrary to popular belief, taking any more than that won’t boost muscle gains.
  • Brown rice protein is gluten free and a source of energy-boosting B vitamins.

Fat-Loss Tip: Add a scoop of protein powder to your breakfast oatmeal to jump-start your metabolism.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mostly Liquid Weight Loss Meal Plan

Morning Meal: 1 serving protein supplement mixed with 8 oz. broth, coffee, tea, or Crystal Light (100-200 c)
1/2 cupcooked cream of wheat or oatmeal (80 c)
8 oz. V-8 or tomato juice OR 4 oz. orange OR prune juice OR 1/2 banana (60 c)

Snack: 4 oz. sugar free pudding (80 c)

Midday Meal: 1 serving protein supplement mixed with 8 oz. broth, coffee, tea, or Crystal Light (100-200 c)
4 oz. nonfat, no sugar added, plain or flavored yogurt (100 c)

Snack: 8 oz. sugar free gelatin

Evening Meal: 1 serving protein supplement mixed with 8 oz. broth, coffee, tea, or Crystal Light (100-200 c)
8 oz. V-8 or tomato juice OR  4 oz. orange OR prune juice OR 1/2 banana
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1/2 banana

Bedtime Snack: 1 serving protein supplement mixed with 8 oz. broth, coffee, tea, or Crystal Light (100-200 c)
4 oz. no sugar added, plain or flavored yogurt (100 c).

This diet does not provide adequate vitamins and minerals to meet daily requirements. A multi-vitamin is recommended along with calcium.

If you plan on following this diet for more than 2-4 weeks, you should be monitored by your primary care doctor.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Three Different Flavored Waters

  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  • 1 large lime, sliced
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced
  • 1 half-gallon of water
  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  • 1 large lime, sliced
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
  • 1 half-gallon of water
  • 1 each of the following fruits: apple, lemon, orange, pear
  • 4 large strawberries
  • Handful of raspberries
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • 1 half-gallon of water
Cut large slices or thin wedges of each fruit; place them in a large glass pitcher and add cold water. Refrigerate 2 hours and serve over ice in tall glasses.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Diet vs. Exercise

Burn Calories | You Can't Out Train a Bad Diet

Diet vs. Exercise – You Can’t Out Train a Bad Diet  

A lot of people believe that their exercise program will somehow make up for the way they eat. They use the excuse that they can eat whatever they want because their exercise offsets the excess calories taken in. This way of thinking is typically a set up to fail.  Most people do not end up with a six pack and really low percentage of body fat eating whatever they want whenever they want. The body just doesn’t work that way.  Often a person does not realize the amount of calories they consume and they also think they burn a lot more calories than they actually do. The majority of people have no clue how many calories are in the foods that they eat, but justify them with spending 30 minutes jogging or in the gym. The bottom line is that healthy eating and adequate exercise are the way to good health and a tone body.  
In the same 3 minutes it takes to consume 800-1000 calories of food a person only burns approximately 40-45 calories in high impact cardio exercise.  It takes a lot more effort to burn 800 calories than it does to eat 800 calories. Yes, we all know that it takes less time to eat then exercise but the comparison helps us realize that one donut can defeat the results of an hour of aerobics.  Is it worth it? The excess calories rarely get burned off. In diet vs. exercise you can never out train a bad diet. The bad diet will win every time.  For someone who desires to be lean it takes eating the right amount of proper foods and an effective exercise routine. Receiving the maximum results from exercise will not happen without eating the right foods.  They go hand in hand.  Most of us are not Olympic Athletes who train up to 10 hours per day. They are an exception.    

Diet Recipes for Success

  • Eat 4-6 small meals per day
  • Snack on bananas, non fat yogurt, nuts and seeds 
  • Cut down on portion size – a fist full is enough
  • Choose lean proteins – tuna, salmon, egg whites, lean beef, turkey breast, ground turkey
  • Increase water drinking and stick to non caffeinated beverages – an average person adds an extra 500-800 calories per day drinking soda
  • Choose healthy fats – extra virgin olive oil
  • Eat high fiber carbs – corn tortillas, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread
  • Cut back on alcohol intake
  • Don’t think you have to clean your plate 
  • Track daily calories – it surprises a lot of people how many calories they actually consume
The general population that is serious about exercising spends approximately 6-8 hours working out per week. This most likely will not cover the amount of calories taken in for a person who eats whatever they want whenever they want.  A great exercise workout program works if it does not have to go against an unhealthy diet. This is why you can’t out-train a bad diet.  It is so important to know what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. A lifestyle of eating healthy is the way to utilize working out to the fullest. When a person says they can eat what they want because they exercise the body has news for them. The exercise will not offset their excess of calories. Running on a tread mill is great but it will not burn the excess calories of eating half a pizza. In general, people underestimate the actual amount of calories they eat and drink and over estimate the amount of calories they burn during a workout. Unless a person lives a healthy eating lifestyle combined with a regular exercise routine the body will not be able to burn the excess.  It takes both.   

The Incredible Edible Egg

1. Eggs are great for the eyes. According to one study, an egg a day may preventmacular degeneraton due to the carotenoid content, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. Both nutrients are more readily available to our bodies from eggs than from other sources.
2. In another study, researchers found that people who eat eggs every day lower their risk of developing cataracts, also because of the lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs.
3. One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.
4. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption andheart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.
5. They are a good source of choline. One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
6. They contain the right kind of fat. One egg contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.
7. New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. In fact, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person's lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. Research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.
8. Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.
9. Eggs may prevent breast cancer. In one study, women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.
10. Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair growing faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Heirloom Tomato–Avocado Tartare

This 'raw' recipe pops with the flavors of summer! Beautiful, juicy heirloom tomatoes, fresh avocado, cucumbers and oyster mushrooms create a delightful contrast of flavors. This makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips or crackers, or serve as a side dish at your next barbecue.
Reprinted with permission from Candle 79 Cookbookby Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda (Ten Speed Press 2011).

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1⁄4 pound oyster mushrooms, diced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
  • Tortilla strips, for garnish
  • Sprouts or microgreens, for garnish


In a small bowl, combine the mushrooms, shallot, scallions, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Put the tomatoes in a large bowl. Halve the avocados. Carefully press the blade of a sharp knife into the pit, twist, and pull gently to remove. Cut 1⁄4-inch slices horizontally and vertically into the flesh of the avocados to make medium-sized squares. Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon and add it to the tomatoes, along with the diced cucumbers.
Add the mushroom mixture and the remaining lemon juice to the tomato mixture. Gently mix with a large spoon, making sure not to mash the avocado. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
To serve, present the tartare in a bowl. You can also offer individual servings: pack the tartare into a 2-inch ring mold to shape it, then remove the mold. Garnish with the tortilla strips and sprouts and serve at once.