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Posts tagged ‘clean eating’

Tomato Soup: The Benefits You Didn’t Know About!

Hi friends!!!

My deepest apologies for a gap in communication, but recently there have been some sad events in my life – which combined with the weather, made me less productive. But we’re back on track! Right now I am foolishly looking at the Weather Channel app to see there will be arctic temps tonight and snow on Monday…….

  Damn you, Groundhog!

What could be better than some warming, nutritious soups to ease you through the last days of this interminable winter? Today I want to talk about the nutritional benefits of tomatoes. So to start, here are two fantastic, simple recipes for tomato soup:

1) http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/RCP00226/Creamy-Tomato-Soup.html

2) http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2305847

Tomato is famously rich in LYCOPENE.  Lycopene is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are the  substances that give vegetables their red, orange and yellow hues. Lycopene is not used by the body to make vitamin A, as many other carotenoids are, making it unique and safe.

Here are some good sources of lycopene:

½ cup canned tomato puree

27,192

1 cup canned tomato juice

21,960

1 wedge of raw watermelon

12,962

½ cup ready-to-serve marinara sauce

6,686

1 tablespoon canned tomato paste

3,140

1 tablespoon catsup

2,506

½ pink or red grapefruit

1,745

1 tablespoon salsa

1,682

One sun-dried tomato

918

One slice of raw tomato

515

Note how much more lycopene the sun-dried tomato has!

Lycopene is absorbed best when foods containing it are cooked, and also when a small amount of fat is eaten with the food, making these soups a perfect way to get your lycopene! I’d even add a little more good-quality olive oil than called for.

Some medical studies suggest that lycopene may be protective against certain cancers, such as lung, stomach, skin, cervix, possibly breast and particularly prostate. Some of the studies used a lycopene supplements while others were observational studies of persons with high lycopene diets. The studies using a supplement were less impressive than the ones refecting a high–lycopene diet such as the Mediterranean diet.

HAVE A HIGH CARDIOVASCULAR RISK?

A recent study in the journal Neurology shows that men with high lycopene levels have a lower stroke risk. (Hey, lets do a study on women, too!) Lycopene may also improve cholesterol profile. However, I BELIEVE STRONGLY THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL EXTRA BENEFIT FROM EATING WHOLE FOODS FOR NUTRIENTS. I think the other nutrients and micronutrients, fiber and more in real foods are an inextricable part of the good effects of nutrients like lycopene!

So eat REAL, WHOLE FOOD!

(WATCH: Jon Stewart’s take on snack foods)

All the best,

Dr. Nolfo

It’s Never Too Late to Eat Right!

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Photo is Courtesy of NPR News

I specialize (that is I am board certified) in Internal Medicine. Internal Medicine is a real specialty, though I am not usually referred to as a specialist. Sometimes as a primary care doctor I’m called a GP (General Practitioner), an old term that applies to doctors 1 year out of medical school with a state medical license and no board certification.

I’m also called an internist (though I take care of more than people’s insides!). I’ve also been referred to as an “adult medicine physician” and sometimes for a laugh, I call  myself an “Adult-atrician” – since everyone seems to know what a pedi-atrician is!

As a practicing internist, I have to know great deal about many aspects of our bodies and minds – and keeping current is hard work. One way I like to keep up with modern medicine is by reading journal articles. Every week I get several journals in the mail such as the New England Journal of Medicine, The American Journal of Medicine and my specialty journal, Annals of Internal Medicine – as well as several others on dermatology and more. I probably read dozens of these publications a week! So here’s a shout out to all the primary care doctors out there who are spending their precious free time striving to stay smart and informed for their patients!

Here’s some fun and interesting stuff I read this week on food and health:

As you know, my philosophy on food and wellness is that no matter what way you choose to eat, whether it be a plant-based diet, Mediterranean, Paleo or otherwise –  I believe firmly that your everyday diet should be composed of real food. This means no harmful chemicals, processed foods, dyes, flavor substitutes or fat-reducers – to name just a few of the culprits. I was amused and also a little shocked to read “The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads Chicken Little” in the American Journal of Medicine.

This particular study detailed an account of doctors from the University of Mississippi Medical Center (the state that tops the list at #1 in America’s obesity epidemic ) cutting open chicken nuggets from two national fast food chains and examining them as though they were pathology specimens to see what types of tissue they contained.

**** WARNING: THIS IS GROSS!!  Keep in mind that meat is muscle (a reason why some people are vegetarians). In these chicken nuggets, doctors from the University of Mississippi found only 40-50% muscle –  the rest was fat, skin, blood vessels, nerves, viscera – a.k.a. GUTS (sorry again) and BONES! Add to that the fat and carb crust found on a chicken nugget and you have a pretty useless non-food “chicken product” not too much different from the nefarious pig-snout-containing hot dog. It is extremely important that over time consumers around the world become increasingly aware and weary of these kinds of processed foods – becoming informed and educated is the very first step to living a clean, happy and healthy lifestyle! And certainly, this is not the sort of “food” we want to be putting into our bodies.

OK, on to a less gross article.

In the Annals of Internal Medicine there was an article that noted that people with an exceptional diet in their midlife (defined as late 50s early and 60s!) significantly decreased their risk of encountering major physical or mental limitations in later life.

What does this mean?

1) It’s never too late to eat better!

2) If you don’t want to just live longer but live longer and better, drop the nugget and pick up a real food. Eat more things with fewer than 6 ingredients on the label! Eat more fruits, veggies and fiber.

From time to time as I read up in these journals, I will pass along more interesting tidbits. Hopefully you found this stuff as interesting as I did!

Have a great weekend as always,

Emily A. Nolfo……..Doctor of Internal Medicine

RECIPE WEEK: OH MY CAULIFLOWER!!!

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Ok, PALEO PALS! Its RECIPE TIME!

In Connecticut we’re coming to the end of season for tomatoes and corn, but never fear, this is the best time for the fabulously healthy, cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetable family.  This week, we have five fabulous cauliflower recipes that serve as incredible substitutes for our favorite carb-heavy foods from rice to pizza. But before you start cookin’ up a storm, I want to share with you some valuable information about the health benefits of cruciferious vegetables. This is from my favorite site for information about eating to lower cancer risk:

Cruciferous Vegetables:

The four-petal flowers from these veggies resemble a cross or “crucifer,” hence the name. Broccoli is probably the best known cruciferous vegetable. Like Brussels sprouts, rapini, cabbage (green), cauliflower and turnips (white), it forms a “head.” Others – known as the “headless crucifers” – include dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens.

WHAT’S IN CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES?

Nearly all are excellent or good sources of vitamin C and some are good sources of manganese. Dark greens are high in vitamin K. Glucosinolates are compounds found in all cruciferous vegetables; Glucosinolates form isothiocyanates and indoles. Other nutrients and phytochemicals vary:

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and rapini are all excellent sources of folate, a B vitamin. Broccoli is a good source of potassium. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are good sources of dietary fiber and rich in magnesium. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and rapini contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene. Red cabbage and radishes supply anthocyanins. Other cruciferous vegetables provide different polyphenols, such as hydroxycinnamic acids, kaempferol and quercetin.

http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=19792&news_iv_ctrl=2303

Now for our “creative cauliflower culinary creations” from your Health Guru’s at Stony Creek Internal Medicine and Wellness:

 Cauliflower “Rice”

2 Tbsp olive oil   1 medium onion, diced

1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely chopped

¼ tsp salt

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion to skillet and sauté till soft, about 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, place cauliflower in food processor with “S” blade and pulse until it’s the texture of rice. (Alternative: use a cheese grater to grate into rice-sized pieces.) When onions are ready, add cauliflower to skillet. Cook till soft, about 7 to 10 minutes, then season to taste with salt and serve. Use as a side dish, add to soups, any place you’d use rice.

Cauliflower Rice Variation #1, Curried “Rice”

After onion cooks 3 minutes, add 2 tsps of curry powder and a pinch of coriander. As it’s cooking if the onion mixture becomes too dry, add vegetable broth 1 Tbsp at a time until the onion is finished cooking. Add cauliflower as above. After 5 minutes, add ½ cup frozen peas, cover and cook 5 minutes more, till peas are done.

 Cauliflower Rice Variation #2 Mexican “Rice”

After onion cooks 3 minutes, add 2 tsps of chili powder and a pinch of cumin. As it’s cooking, if it becomes to dry, add a Tbsp of water or vegetable broth. When cauliflower is done, stir in 2 Tbsp or more of salsa or taco sauce and heat through. You can also add ½ cup of beans for protein.

Cauliflower Rice Variations:

Now be creative. Add cooked turkey sausage (seitan or tempeh for vegetarians). Add other sautéed vegetables.

 Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” 

1 medium head cauliflower

2 cloves garlic, peeled, ends trimmed

Chicken broth, vegetable broth or half and half mixture, salted to taste

Put cauliflower in a pot deep enough for cauliflower to fill no more than half way. Add water/broth to cover. Boil till soft to a fork, around 10 minutes. Drain COMPLETELY in a colander. Return to pot. Use a stick blender to puree thoroughly. Enjoy!

 Cauliflower Pizza Crust Basic Recipe

       (I double the recipe)

    Riced cauliflower (approx. 2 cups)

1 egg

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup grated cheese  (or few tablespooons nutritional yeast)

Directions:

1) Microwave cauliflower for 8 minutes

2) Strain the water

(you can wring out the riced cauliflower in a dish towel after it cools)

3) Mix all ingredients together.

4) Preheat a cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven

5) While the cookie sheet is preheating, press the cauliflower mixture onto parchment paper, so it will fit roughly the size of the cookie sheet. When cookie sheet is hot, transfer the parchment paper to the cookie sheet carefully

6) Cook for approx. 15 minutes or until crust is golden.

7) Put toppings on the crust, and bake until toppings are cooked (you can put under broiler briefly)

I would love any feedback, suggestions, add-ons or stories about how these recipes worked out for you! Drop us a line and let us know how we’re doing!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Dr. Nolfo

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