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"I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us."
- Anne LaMott

The views expressed are those of the authors and should not replace medical advice by your qualified healthcare professional. Before starting any nutrition program, you should always consult your physician.

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Archive for the 'Food & Recipes' Category
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Paying Homage to the Cooking Giants of Our Lives
Thursday, May 26th, 2011

After a very long time, I drove four miles to my parents’ house to have a home-cooked meal. Their home cooked meal. It immediately evoked what I already knew: food is not just about flavor but also about nourishment of the body and soul. In my family, meals were about the mothers’ and grandmothers’ love.

My grandmother was one of the first working moms in my family living in India. She was a principal of a school and got married late in life, 19-years-old was pretty late back then — because her father valued education. Although she was a professional, she still had her household duties. I remember when I was 4-years-old I asked her to repeat a story about how she would cook for the family when she got back home from school. She would come home and quickly throw off her sari to change into her daily salwar kameez and make fresh chappatis for all of her 7 children. The children would sit Indian-style, lined up on the kitchen floor as she served fresh chappatis to each of them. She would quickly spoon out portions of a fresh vegetable sabzi that was half-cooked to each child’s steel plate. To this day, my mom prefers her vegetables under-cooked because of her how her mother made vegetables.

I too love the smell of garlic and ginger sizzling on the stovetops and eating chappatis just as they are made. It reminds me of my childhood and my mom’s lamb curry and chickpeas. My mom made chappatis while we set the table and then sat with us while we said our daily prayer. More likely than not, she went back into the kitchen to finish making the chappatis as we started eating. At some point, I began to feel that a woman always keeping her eyes on the kitchen was anti-feminist. Fresh chappatis, that keep a woman apart from her family at dinner, just weren’t necessary. Though I stand on the shoulders of generations of women who brought food straight from the pan to the plate, I chose not to make fresh chappatis.

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health, Spirit & Personal Energy  /  Comments: more

A Simple Salad for Spring
Friday, March 25th, 2011

Spring SaladIt’s spring and even as I delight in the pastel flowers and locally-grown fruits at the market, I am reminded of our family’s road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway in California. More than one of the friends whom we stopped to visit offered us fruit from their own trees. The direct warmth of the sun still clung to the skin of the plums and figs and oranges that I sank my teeth into. And to think, a minute ago they were still gently swaying on their own twigs. Now that’s as local as it gets. That is how life ought to be, so my friends in California tell me.

An old college friend of mine in the San Francisco Bay Area made us lunch at home. I went into the kitchen to help her cook and she assigned me the banal task of making a salad. I would have just as soon picked one up at Panera Bread and watched the kids slurp their Gogurt while we reminisced about our college days. After all, this particular friend had once burned a dish I asked her to warm-up for a party. So I was surprised when she looked over my shoulder to see how I was doing, and then doubly surprised when she said that I was “doing it all wrong.”

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health  /  Comments: 1

Where Does My Food Come From?
Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Growing PumpkinA few weeks ago, I was a chaperon for my 5-year-old’s class field trip to a pumpkin farm, Ticonderoga Farms in Loudoun County, Virginia. After being ushered onto the hayride, we were literally dropped off at a pumpkin patch to choose our jack-o’-lanterns off the vine.  Granted, some of those pumpkins where conveniently placed next to the vine to prevent a shortage of pumpkins and upset kindergartners. But the entire experience made me think how strange it is that I had never seen a baby pumpkin on  a vine before.

I went on to buy freshly picked figs from the farm.  Do I do things like this usually?  No.  Would I like to buy straight from the farm more often? Absolutely. It felt like I was taking my first baby steps into the Slow Food Movement. I am starting to become more in touch with where my food comes from and how it is produced.

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Green, Healthy Lifestyle  /  Comments: more

A Touch of Extra Virgin Please
Friday, July 17th, 2009

Olive Oil Ahh, lifestyles… what does that mean?  Living in Crete and eating a healthy amount of wild greens like purslane everyday or just going there for vacation?  Eating the revered fruit, the olive, and using its oil after the first press or eating any fried item?

The America Heart Association recommends a diet high in monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat (7% or less of your caloric intake) because this diet helps decrease LDL (the bad cholesterol) without reducing the good cholesterol, HDL.  Olive oil is coveted for it’s monounsaturated fat and is one of the main ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet.  A serving of olive oil, 1 tablespoon, is made up of  77% monounsaturated fat, making it one of nature’s greatest natural resource of monounsaturated fat.   Like other oils, olive oil also has saturated fat (14%) but is less then what is found in other fats, such as butter and palm kernel oil.

We know olive oil is good for us but what type olive oil should one buy?   We have so many choices…extra virgin, virgin, light, lite, pure, or refined.  I often hear questions like:  Which type of olive oil would be lower in calories?  Which one can I use for frying, baking, and drizzling?

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health  /  Comments: 1

Three Ways to Enjoy Water
Friday, July 3rd, 2009

I was just reminiscing about being in Cancun, Mexico and enjoying an elegant brunch buffet where I eagerly forked a delicate sliver of a pale citrus fruit.  Its appearance was one of a sweet sub-tropical Mexican variety and its dainty succulent sections beckoned me.

How absolutely beautiful it looked on the small crystal platter next to the smoked salmon.  Enticed with its beauty and delicacy I put the entire wedge in one big swipe into my watering mouth.

My lips puckered and my tongue recoiled from the tartness that hit all four sides of my mouth as I devoured the Mexican staple!  I had been duped by the simple lime without its rind.

The green lime, precisely speaking, the Citrus aurantifolia, with its yellow undertones, is the pinnacle of loveliness when it ripens to its full green color.  Rolled with the palm of the hand, to let its juices willingly flow, it is an appreciated accent to entrees and beverages such as the likes of Ceviche and Cuban Mojitos.  As far as a straight shot goes – well I suppose that is a personal preference.

However, my favorite use of the lime is in water and and my Trader Joe’s non-alcoholic Mojito drink.  As someone who experiences headaches and fatigue on days when I drink too little water throughout the day I am always looking for ways to enjoy the most important unsung nutrient, WATER.

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health  /  Comments: 0

Grilling: Prioritizing These 5 Healthy Tips
Friday, June 19th, 2009

Here I am.  My wonderful friends gone back to beautiful California.  A sick child at home.  House-hunting. Working.  A funeral to attend.  Kids summer vacation starting.  You name it I had it.  I knew this week would be busy and then life happened on top of that.

I had carefully weighed my priorities and still found myself caught between a rock and hard spot. 

“Quality time with kids or cook a homemade meal? Do I work or go sight-seeing with out-of-town friends? Wake up early and exercise or get my much-needed sleep?”

Quite frankly, prioritizing can be challenging despite knowing what we value and consider important.  As I sat at my desk I thought, “Am I prioritizing in a healthy fashion?”

Julie Morgenstern’s famous 4 D’s (delete, diminish, delegate, and delay) usually help me with my daily priority list but the trick is to master prioritizing.

In my opinion, prioritizing is kind of like grilling.  Depending on how you do it can be healthy or not so healthy.

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health  /  Comments: 0

Gratitude: The Perfect Cup Exercise
Saturday, May 30th, 2009

In my world, a hot cup of tea (or anything warm) is not just part of that calming moment in the morning it is also my sensory reminder of gratitude.   As I took my yoga instructor’s advice this week and looked at “my inner landscape” I realized a very strange and unexpected thing has happened in my life.  Since starting this blog I have had a deepened sense of conviction in my work and whatever direction it may take me along with a greater sense of appreciation.

I have felt very grateful for those readers and friends who given their words of encouragement.  Most of us have experienced how a few kind words can make our day despite how brief those interactions may be.  For that I am thankful and happy.  Psychology research indicates that gratitude does indeed deepen our happiness.

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Announcements, Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Spirit & Personal Energy  /  Comments: more

Breakfast with a Twist
Friday, May 22nd, 2009

It finally happened.  As a reformed breakfast eater since 1999 the thing I dreaded in the far recesses of my mind finally occurred.

I woke up the other day and had a sinking feeling in my tummy (literally).  I devastatingly realized that I did not want breakfast.  Seriously just did not want it.  My favorite “usual” that I gobble down at the same time every day was just not appealing.

Needless to say I was concerned.  I love my Stonyfield Farm yogurt overflowing with wheat germ, toasted almonds, and blueberries.  I absolutely adore my mini cinnamon bagel with almond butter topped with a daub of raspberry preserve that complements my ginger chai to perfection.  Really I have worked to find the quintessential breakfast formula for my morning routine that closely models AICR’s New American Plate for Breakfast.

Over the years I have reshaped the most important meal of the day, breakfast, to be 2/3 (or more) of fruits, whole grains, beans and vegetables and 1/3 (or less of animal protein).

I love my usual breakfast plate.  So why the sudden disinterest?  I suppose I can’t really fault my senses for being tired of my “usual” and even tempted to skip breakfast and just grab something later.

I decided perhaps the time had come to re-evaluate my “usual” breakfast items.  As I wrote my list of “favorite breakfast” foods I thought about what I loved the most about each and how I could further diversify.

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health  /  Comments: more

Caffeine Confounds: A Need or Want
Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Only actions give life strength;
only moderation gives it charm.
-Jean Paul

Are we fueled by our needs or wants in life?  Perhaps both.  For example, I know I want to start my morning ritual with a warm cup of tea or coffee as I sit down to work at my desk.  I may even need my morning 8 ounce cup of tea with its 40 mg of caffeine (which increases the longer I brew it) or the 85 mg of caffeine if I drink an 8 oz cup of brewed drip coffee.

In today’s market we have so many different caffeine options.  There are products like Chai Milk Chocolate made by Theo Chocolate who in an “artistry” fashion blend black tea and organic cocoa for caffeine enjoyment.  Caribou Coffee tops every espresso drink with a chocolate covered coffee bean just for good measure.  Thank you and don’t forget to chew your caffeine.

Globally consumed & FDA approved, caffeine is a “generally recognized as safe“, mood-altering, habit-forming drug that many swear they need to function.  Ummm…..so is it good for you?  You be the judge of that…

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health  /  Comments: 0

Can Pizza Help Retrain Your Palate?
Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
A Little Pizza with Salad Please

A little pizza with SALAD please

I was talking to a friend the other day and we got into a discussion about how as adults we are so careful about what we serve our children (and pets for that matter) to eat.  We make sure they try foods like oatmeal and go to great lengths to ensure they eat fruits and vegetables.   If we do take them to Chik-fil-A they have to eat the apples and drink milk while we swallow whole those delicious waffle fries and discretely sip soda.  We encourage kids to eat breakfast while we run out the door without eating or if we are lucky pick up a muffin while we stand in line for our 300 calorie Starbucks drink.

Time and logistics play a major role in what we eat but truth be known I think Marcia Levin Pelchat, PhD, at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia hits it on the head by acknowledging in Today’s Dietitian article that scientifically speaking, “people tend to eat what they like.”

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Posted by Anu Kaur  /  Filed under Food & Recipes, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition & Health  /  Comments: 1

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