ABC 10 | Healthy 4th of July!

What do you have planned for the Fourth of July? Here are some pics of what I prepared for my guest appearance on ABC 10. Click HERE to link to the video. Think FRESH and seasonal. There are so many sumptuous fruits and vegetables that are perfect for your picnic, party, or just you! See what’s “in season” at this time of year by scrolling over to the right column of this blog page. 

IMG_2536

Fresh Features…

Appetizer

  • Burrata Bites – Fresh Italian cheese in a fresh endive leaf ‘cup’ topped with fresh diced peaches, raspberries, and toasted almonds, then drizzled with Sonoma Gold balsamic vinegar — the key ingredient!

IMG_2530

Sides    Continue reading “ABC 10 | Healthy 4th of July!”

ABC 10 | Healthy Father’s Day

IMG_2431

Hope all you dads out there had a Happy Father’s Day! Here are pics from my guest expert appearance on ABC 10 featuring healthy meals that kids can make for dear ol’ dad or for any occasion. I used pre-cut veggies and pre-sliced beef and Lékué steam cases (both the large and small size) for cooking. No need for kids to have to slice, dice, or cook over a hot stove.

If you haven’t tried a Lékué steam case yet, you are missing out on an opportunity to make healthy, easy and fast cuisine. It’s a new way of cooking! More to come on my “Fit Finds” page.

On the menu:

  • Appetizer: Broccamole (Aztec Guacamole) with fresh carrot “chips”, sliced cucumbers, broccoli florets, baked sweet potato crinkles, and a mixed medley of cherry tomatoes. Broccoli was chopped with my “pull” food processor. No knives! (Adult supervision is still needed.)
  • Entree: Asian Sliced Beef and Veggies (beef and vegetables were purchased pre-sliced ‘fajita’ style, then marinated, and cooked in the large red Lékué steam case)
  • Side: Chili Beans with Diced Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower (‘riced’ veggies were also purchased pre-diced and cooked in the small green Lékué steam case)
  • Beverage: Iced Tea with fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Dessert: Fresh Fruit Cup (layers of fresh kiwi, raspberries, strawberries, mango + crumbled whole wheat graham crackers + Kozy Shack® tapioca pudding topped with non-fat whipped cream and a Bing cherry on top)

IMG_2424

IMG_2425

IMG_2428

Stay tuned… I’ll be featuring a healthy Fourth of July meal on ABC 10 next week!

ABC10 | Healthy Easter Basket Treats

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.

Banana-Date Granola: Most granolas are made with lots of oats, sugar and fat. Here’s a no-sugar/no-fat-added granola (no kidding!) made with a base of protein- and     Continue reading “ABC10 | Healthy Easter Basket Treats”

How to Slow Growing Old

Businessman Suffering From Shoulder PainIf you’ve ever moaned, “Ugh. It’s tough growing old.”, you’re likely in pain or you can’t do the things you used to do. But all is not lost! You can control how well you feel and how fast you age. However, before laying out the foundation of youth, here’s why your body is aging in the first place.

Blame It On Blood Sugar

One of the key suspects in what causes your cells to deteriorate is your own circulating blood sugar (glucose). In a process called glycation, these glucose molecules cling to proteins, and a chain of chemical reactions take place in your body. The end result? Proteins clump together, known as crosslinked proteins, which accumulate over time and disrupt the normal functioning of your cells.

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

These “crosslinks”, also known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs) or glycotoxins, seem to ‘stiffen’ tissues. A stiff body is an aging body. But remember my mantra: “Your age is a given. Growing old is an option.” So don’t throw up your hands just yet. Read on…

Why You Get Stiff

Collagen is the most common and longest living protein molecule in your body. Skin care companies spend billions of dollars trying to replicate it and sell it as their revolutionary secret to erasing wrinkles. Collagen provides structure and support to not only your skin, but to your joints and organs as well.

In addition to AGEs, the following factors promote the breakdown of collagen resulting in skin laxity and wrinkling:

  • Hormone loss (estrogen levels decline after menopause)
  • Sun exposure
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Pollution
  • Other sources of free radicals

The condition of your skin is a good reflection of what’s going on internally. When glucose binds with collagen (part of the aging process), collagen loses its suppleness and becomes less flexible. As a result, your lungs, arteries, tendons, and other tissues stiffen. Stiff = Less efficient. For example, when your arteries are stiff, they lose their contractility and can’t pump as much blood through them due to their limited inability to expand and contract.

Age-Related Diseases Linked to AGEs      

Continue reading “How to Slow Growing Old”

Lengthen the Life of Your Produce | Frig 101

Fresh produce in grocery bag

You just returned from the Farmer’s Market, arms overflowing with fresh, seasonal produce that need to go in the frig fast. Do you randomly stash them in the produce drawer? That is, do you put them wherever they fit… only to find that a few days later your greens are wimpy, berries are moldy, and your cucumbers are shriveling? If this sounds familiar, here’s how to store your bounty to maintain their optimal freshness.

humidity-drawerThose drawers in your refrigerator, a.k.a. humidity drawers or produce crispers, actually have a purpose. Notice the humidity controls ranging from low to high on each drawer. Do you know what they mean?

These settings aren’t anything fancy. They simply open or close a window in the drawer. For the low humidity setting, the window is completely open; for the high humidity setting, it is completely closed. And here’s why…

The Gassy Offender

Ethylene gas is produced naturally and released by many fruits and veggies. It causes:

  • Cells to degrade
  • Fruit to ripen (become softer and sweeter)
  • Leaves to go limp
  • Seeds or buds to sprout

Knowing which items are ethylene-gas producers and which are sensitive to the gas, you’ll never toss your apples in with your lettuce again. It’s all about the gas!

What Goes in the Low-Humidity Drawer (“Low Rot”)

Apples, pears and grapes

1. Produce that IS NOT sensitive to moisture loss.
2. Produce that emits ethylene gas. When the window is open, the gases escape, and fruits and vegetables won’t spoil prematurely.

Here are some common fruits and vegetables to keep in the low-humidity drawer (window open):    Continue reading “Lengthen the Life of Your Produce | Frig 101”