Studies report that chocolate is good for your health, but how so and which ones? Cacao (pronounced “kuh-KOW”), cocoa, Dutch cocoa, and chocolate… what’s the difference? Here’s how it all breaks down along with the ones to eat and ones to avoid.
Cocoa and cocoa-containing foods contain high levels of flavanols (“FLAY-va-nole”) — an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and dilates (widens) blood vessels. According to extensive research, eating chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, improves the markers of cardiovascular health. Consuming flavanols from chocolate is associated with a lower rate of:
Did you know… that a spoonful of black rice bran contains more powerful antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries?
The “Forbidden Rice”
In ancient China, black rice was known as “forbidden rice” because only the emperor and members of the royal family were allowed to eat it. Black rice was first introduced to the United States in the 1990’s.
Characteristics of Black Rice
Color: Raw black rice is black or dark brown. When cooked, it becomes a deep purple-burgundy due to the healthful pigments (anthocyanins). The color will transfer to other foods, so if you combine brown rice with black, it’ll turn a purple hue.
Taste: Black rice has a roasted nutty taste. It’s used in Asian desserts as well as for food coloring, noodles, sushi, and pudding.
Storage: Store in the refrigerator and use within 3 months.
Black rice is a whole grain and more nutritious than brown and white rice. It has more fiber, protein, and iron as well as fewer calories and carbohydrates. Here’s how they compare:
1/4 cup uncooked BLACK rice (Organic Black Pearl Rice by Lundberg® Family Farms)
33 grams carbohydrates
5 grams protein
3 grams fiber
1/4 cup uncooked BROWN rice (by Sukoyaka Genmai)
42 grams carbohydrates
3 grams protein
3 grams fiber
1/4 cup uncooked WHITE rice (by Rice Select™)
45 grams carbohydrates
3 grams protein
Not a significant source of dietary fiber or iron.
It’s hard to believe summer officially ended and as if overnight, we’ve rolled into pumpkin season. I revisited ABC10 last week as their TV health expert and was excited to feature some healthy ways to eat America’s beloved fall vegetable. Pumpkins are packed with anti-aging nutrition and are a versatile veggie — you can cook it, soup it, bake it, sweeten it, or just eat their seeds! Pumpkin for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Yes, yes, and yes!
On the menu:
BREAKFAST: Pumpkin Nut Belgian Waffles — Chopped walnuts add a healthy dose of heart healthy omega-3’s to these light whole grain waffles. Topped with my favorite naturally sweet Spiced Apple Topping. (This antioxidant-rich topping is delicious over yogurt and muesli, pumpkin pancakes, and ice cream too!)
BREAKFAST, SNACK OR DESSERT: Super Moist Pumpkin Bars with Greek Cream Cheese Pineapple Frosting — These bars are delicious and healthy any time!
ENTREE: Pumpkin Marinara over Green Lentil Pasta — Super easy to make and super rich in skin-loving ingredients: pumpkin and tomato purée!
SOUP: Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Soup in Pumpkin Tureen — Pumpkins + apples make the perfect pair.
BEVERAGE: Pineapple Pumpkin Smoothie — This creamy smoothie (frozen pineapple, bananas, pumpkin, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt) makes a great way to start the day, pick you up in the afternoon, or reenergize you after a workout. Freeze it for a fresh fruit frozen dessert! 😀
DESSERT: Pumpkin Bark — Handmadeextreme dark chocolate with roasted pumpkin seeds and almonds.
Do you need help planning balanced, antioxidant-rich* meals? This small-group session is a follow-up to “The Basics” class. It provides you with specific menus based around centenarian principles and the vegetarian and Mediterranean-style patterns. (The Basics class is not required, but recommended.)
Simple menu plans and plant-rich plates are heart healthy, diabetic friendly, and cancer protective. Ideal if you’re trying to lose weight and want simplicity in the kitchen.
*Note: If you received a low antioxidant test score, i.e., Skin Carotenoid Score (SCS), when we tested you at the Kick-Off Shopping Party, the menus provided in this class will help you boost antioxidant activity and your SCS score.
OBJECTIVE: Learn how to put healthy eating into practice.
WHEN: Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 4:00 pm
WHERE: Sports Basement San Ramon – 1041 Market Place, San Ramon, CA 94583
I was on ABC10 TV out of Sacramento yesterday to show their viewers (a.k.a. Easter bunnies) how to pull together a ‘healthy Easter basket’. Hmmm…. that’s an oxymoron, you say. Believe it or not, options outside of solid chocolate bunnies, Peeps and sugar-coated sugar do actually exist.
Here are my five basic principles when it comes to “healthify-ing” this tradition.
Include plant-based foods and plant-based colorants.
Load up on whole grains.
Use healthy fats.
Cut back on sugar.
Swap out milk chocolate with dark chocolate.
All the recipes for the treats on the show will be featured in my upcoming book, “Athletes in Aprons“. 😀
Oat & Berry Bars: These whole-grain, gluten-free bars are made with oat flour and rolled oats layered with an organic berry purée sweetened with just apple juice.
Chocolate Chip Cookies: These cookies will surprise you! They’re made with garbanzo bean and fava bean flours, oat flour, zucchini, dairy-free dark chocolate, and organic unsweetened applesauce. Gluten-free.
Fudge Brownies: These fudge-y treats are made with whole wheat flour and… spinach. Really! Their moist richness comes from just a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, and golden ground flaxseeds. You have to taste ’em to believe they’re not loaded with hydrogenated fat and white flour.