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16.12
2013

Vitamin D

Are you getting enough Vitamin D in winter? Proper level of Vitamin D is crucial to maintain health. It’s best to get 15-20 minutes sun exposure to support its natural production in our skin. If you have few opportunities to go outside you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Decreased or insufficient levels of vitamin D have been linked to:

  1. Suppressed immunity: Our internal systems of defense do not function efficiently without adequate vitamin D.
  2. Increased risk of chronic disease: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a higher-than-normal risk of heart disease and several kinds of cancer.
  3. Inflammation: Vitamin D is a key cofactor in regulating inflammation.
  4. Brain damage: Vitamin D protects against free radical damage in your brain.

Speak with your doctor about checking your 25-hydroxy vitamin D level, and ask if supplementing may be needed. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 600 IU of vitamin D a day. That goes up to 800 IU a day for those older than age 70. To meet this level, choose foods that are rich in vitamin D. For example, choose fatty fish such as salmon, trout, tuna and halibut, eggs, fortified foods such as milk and yogurt and. However, Dr. Weil recommends 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. If supplementation needed it should be taken in the form of D3 (cholecalciferol) rather than D2 (ergocalciferol).

So go outside and enjoy sun (in moderation)! And if that’s not enough, eat foods which contain Vitamin D and consider supplementation.

13.11
2013

Butternut Squash love

I love sweet potatoes… but I am recently indulging myself with butternut squash….  

Butternut squash is a member of the cucurbitaceae family, which includes gourds and melons. It is extremely low in fat, yet very rich in dietary fiber, which makes it exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It is loaded with potassium, vitamin B6, and folate. Its beautiful color indicates an abundance of carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. What's more, with only a 1-cup serving, we get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. On top of it, butternut squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content. Incorporating more of this hearty winter staple into your diet could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

There are plenty of ways you can prepare this vegetable. You can just place it on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about an hour, or until you can pierce it with a sharp knife. Or remove the skin using a vegetable peeler and cut the flesh into chunks for steaming or sauteing. Once cooked, mash it, puree it for soup, fold it into a pasta or risotto dish, or simply savor your butternut squash as is.

But here is my favorite way of enjoying this delicious golden colored vegetable:

Butternut squash Fries:

    1 (2 pound) butternut squash, halved and seeded
    1 tablespoon of olive oil
    salt to taste
    paprika, pepper, ground oregano, some curry or other favorite spices

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
    Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away the peel from the squash. Cut the squash into sticks like French fries. Arrange squash pieces on a baking sheet, top with a tablespoon of olive oil,  and season with spices
    Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, turning the fries over halfway through baking. Fries are done when they are starting to brown on the edges and become crispy.


13.11
2013

I Love sweet potatoes

I simply love sweet potatoes! They taste great, we can do so many things with them and they have this amazing lively orange color... They are very healthy as well! They are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You simply can't go wrong with them!

I found a great a great recipe from Dr. Weil here http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/RCP02409/Sweet-Potato-Bars.html
But I was kind of lazy and made simplified version of it. It turned out simply amazing! No need for a food processor! Here is my recipe:
Ingredients
Crust:
1 organic egg
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Filling:
3 large sweet potatoes, such as garnet yams, steamed until tender
1 organic eggs, beaten
1/3 cup organic plain yogurt
3 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Freshly grated nutmeg, for dusting

Instructions
1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan.
3. Mix all ingredients for crust until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal.
4. Add the maple syrup and olive oil and pulse until the ingredients are evenly combined but the mixture is still crumbly looking.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until set.
Keep the oven on. Meanwhile, make the filling:
6. Scoop the sweetpotato flesh into a bowl and mash it.
7. Add the eggs, yogurt, maple syrup, cardamom, and ginger and process until smooth.
8. To assemble and bake the bars, pour the filling over the crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
9. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the filling is set and just beginning to pull from the sides of pan.
10. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate.
Prep Time: 15 minute
Cook Time: 40 minutes, plus two hours for chilling


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