Mythbusting Ideas About Fat and Cholesterol and Wellness Wednesday

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I’ve started reading Grain Brain by neurologist David Perlmutter. The focus of the book is brain health. Have you ever heard that there’s a connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease? This book shows you that connection as well as many other lifestyle causes of neurological disease and dementia.

Grain Brain also lays out just what lifestyle choices people are making that can lead to developing Alzheimer’s disease. These include living with chronic high blood sugar levels (those in the “high normal” range) even without diabetes, eating too many carbohydrates (especially refined ones), trying to eat a low fat and low cholesterol diet, and having an undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten. Dr. Perlmutter says up to 40% of all people can’t properly process gluten.

Even if you have a family history of brain disease and Alzheimer’s or dementia you can turn the train around. But he says you have to bust a few myths first. The biggest myths you have to wrap your head around? 1- a low-fat/high-carb diet is good and 2- cholesterol is bad. According to the results of the Framingham Heart Study report from 2005 “people who had the highest cholesterol levels scored higher on cognitive tests than those with lower levels. Evidently there is a protective factor when it comes to cholesterol and the brain.” What most people don’t realize is that cholesterol is a building block for cell membranes and a critical brain nutrient necessary to fuel your neurons.

For more great information on cholesterol you can also read Jimmy Moore’s recent book, Cholesterol Clarity. I reviewed that book here.

Do you avoid fat? What have you always heard about cholesterol? How hard is it going to be to change your habits? Leave us a comment with your thoughts, and then check out the other posts here at Wellness Wednesday.

Wellness Wednesday starts here

Slow-cooker Cajun Pot Roast

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cajun pot roast titlesI love slow-cooker recipes! We were gone all day yesterday and it was so nice to come home to the delicious aromas of dinner nearly ready. The prep was simple – I pulled out a grassfed chuck roast from the deep freeze the night before, rolled it in my homemade Cajun Seasoning, stuck it in the crockpot and topped it with chopped onions and diced tomatoes. Eight hours later I made some rice and a salad and there was dinner!

If your Cajun Seasoning doesn’t have salt, you will need to add a teaspoon of sea salt as you rub the seasoning over the beef.

Slow-cooker Cajun Pot Roast
 
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: cajun
 
Use my homemade Cajun Seasoning to liven up a pot roast in the slow cooker!
Ingredients
  • 3 lb. beef chuck roast (preferably grassfed)
  • 1½ Tablespoons Cajun Seasoning (see link for recipe)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Instructions
  1. Coat the chuck roast on all sides with the Cajun Seasoning and place in a slow cooker.
  2. Place the chopped onion evenly over the chuck roast.
  3. Mix the diced tomatoes with the Tabasco sauce, and pour it over the onions and beef.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until tender and falling apart.

Serve over hot cooked rice so you can catch all the delicious juices!

What is your favorite slow-cooker recipe? Leave a comment and tell us!

“Twitter” potatoes and Wellness Wednesday

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twitter potatoes titlesThese cute potatoes are simple to make, and probably get you some attention in the form of eye-rolling from your social media-savvy kids – right before they eat them all up!

Start with 6-8 small potatoes, scrub them and cut them in half lengthwise to give you the flattest cut surface area. Use your knife to score the cut side of the potatoes into the hashtag (tic tac toe) sign.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl mix together 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon  smoked paprika  and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Dip the potatoes into the bowl of seasoned olive oil coating all sides but especially the cut side. Place the potatoes cut side up on a baking sheet or baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until tender on the inside and golden brown on the outside.

"Twitter" potatoes
 
Author:
Recipe type: side dish
 
Hashtags on the top of the potatoes give this simple side dish a fun twist.
Ingredients
  • 6-8 small potatoes
  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or you can use melted butter)
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise giving them the flattest cut surface area possible.
  3. Use a knife to make hashtags (tic tac toe sign) in the cut side.
  4. Mix the olive oil, paprika and sea salt in a bowl.
  5. Dip the potatoes into the seasoned oil making sure all surfaces are coated.
  6. Place potatoes cut side up in a baking pan and bake for 30-40 minutes.

 

Now it’s time for Wellness Wednesday! Please enjoy the featured posts and all of the new ones for this week. We’d love to have you link up your own blogs using the link below.

Antibacterial Soap America’s April Fools and Wellness Wednesday

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antibacterial soap titles
Antibacterial Soaps – you find them everywhere. I’ve seen them in gas station bathrooms, hospitals, schools, friends’ homes, you name it – if there’s a high-traffic bathroom it’s likely to have antibacterial soap being dispensed. Marketed toward moms, especially those with small children, they are hyped as something that will protect us from horrible germs, especially colds and flu, and we will be much safer using them.
The truth is all that hype is just one big joke. Too bad it’s not an April Fool’s joke, unfortunately it’s real. Hand washing is a time-tested, centuries-old method for preventing the spread of disease. However it isn’t the soap that’s the most important part. The main mechanism for getting rid of germs? It’s the action of scrubbing your hands under running water for 20-30 seconds.
Soap helps get rid of actual dirt by mixing with the dirt and lifting it off your skin so it can wash down the drain. But the germs – those nasty viruses and bacteria you pick up from doorknobs, toilets, diapers and your own nose – those need good old fashioned scrubbing to get them off our hands.
Antibacterial soaps are actually harmful for several reasons. 1) They give us a false sense of security. We think that since we (or our kids) are using a medicated soap then we don’t have to worry if our hand washing technique is thorough enough. The truth is that colds and flu are caused by viruses which aren’t harmed at all by antibacterial soaps. 2) They are creating a bigger problem by encouraging antibiotic resistance.  We get in a panic over one case of ebola coming into the country and yet 23,000 people die every year from antibiotic resistant bacteria. The overuse of antibacterial substances is partly responsible for this serious problem.  3) The soap dispensers themselves are passing along more germs than were originally on people’s hands BEFORE they washed them!
Your best bet is to bring along your own clean container of plain soap, and use that with plenty of running water to scrub your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday.
Now that you are well-informed on the subject of hand washing – take a look at all the other great posts on this week’s Wellness Wednesday!


Tips Good Cooks Know and Wellness Wednesday March 25

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tips good cooks know title
Everyone who transitions from the Standard American Diet to eating real food discovers there is a lot more happening in the kitchen. It can become overwhelming if you don’t know some of the tips and tricks to help you use your time in the kitchen wisely. These tips came from the Splendid Table podcast and professional chef Lynn Rossetto Kasper.

1. Clean up as you go

Don’t let dirty dishes pile up. Keep a sink full of hot, soapy water. Wash your knife and your bowls as you use them and put them away. This keeps down clutter and keeps your workspace clean.

2. Organize ahead of time

The French term sounds more posh – “mise en place” – which just means everything in its place. Run through the recipe you will be making, get out ingredients and equipment you will need, prep as much as possible including chopping vegetables and measuring spices, and only after this is done do you begin cooking. If you do this prep work you suddenly realize you look like a TV chef!

3. Use the largest cutting board you can find

You can’t have a cutting board that’s too big, only one that’s too small. 24″x30″ will give you plenty of room so your food doesn’t keep falling off.

4. Keep salt handy in an open pot or dish.

When you use your fingers to sprinkle the salt from high above your food it will cascade evenly and season your food thoroughly without too much or too little in one place. Plus this is another chance to let you look totally awesome and professional. :)

5. Keep frequently used items handy

Get a basket or tray and place items on it that you use with every meal. Salt, pepper, olive oil, butter and anything else in constant use. Keep this tray handy when you are cooking so you don’t have to search for anything. I buy multi-gallon tins of olive oil which wouldn’t fit on my counter so I decant some of it into a smaller dark glass bottle with a pour spout that fits nicely next to the salt and pepper.

6. Don’t throw out your scraps

At the risk of sounding like a hoarder, this is actually a secret flavor tip. High-end restaurant kitchens freeze vegetable peels, pan drippings, bones and carcasses and turn them into flavorful stocks and broths which will then become a fabulous sauce or soup. The key here is to remember these bits are in your freezer and make time later to use them.

7. Save great tasting fats

Butter, olive oil and coconut oil are wonderful. But you can also save the bacon grease left after you cook a pan of bacon. Trim extra fat from your grassfed beef, pork or lamb and freeze it in baggies until you have a pot full then render it into amazing lard or tallow. Excess skin and fat from chicken and duck can also be rendered down into great tasting cooking fat. You’ve spent the money to buy quality grassfed, free-range meat so be sure to get your money’s worth by using the high quality fat, too.

What are your best kitchen tips? Share them here in the comments, and be sure to check out the great link ups with today’s Wellness Wednesday.


Healthy Pregnancies: Looking at Epigenetics and the Difference a Healthy Lifestyle Makes

baby knowles watermark titlesThis is a guest post done for Kimi Harris of The Nourishing Gourmet who is taking some time off for maternity leave. Congratulations to the Harris family!

What if it were possible to press a genetic reset button? To wipe away something that has been plaguing generations of your family. To give your children and grandchildren a fresh new future. The key to finding this genetic reset button lies within the science of epigenetics, and then the application of some timeless wisdom.

This article is possibly one of the most exciting for me to write because this topic melds two fields about which I am passionate; these fields intrigue me and make me want to learn more and more and more. The first is the cutting edge field of science called epigenetics, and the second is the historically significant field of ancestral diets. “Cutting edge science combined with dusty old diet studies from 100 years ago or more? How can this possibly excite?” you ask. Well because when you link the new information with the old you have the ability to radically change families, to help parents give their children AND grandchildren the best health possible, in some cases to even save lives.

To read the rest of this article please go here….

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Wellness Wednesday and Green Smoothies

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green smoothie titlesIt’s Wellness Wednesday! First my tip of the day and then it’s on to all of the great blog link ups. I can’t wait so let’s get started!

My Spin on Green Smoothies

Most of the green smoothies I hear about frankly sound disgusting. A whole blender full of chard with maybe an apple chunk thrown in or a handful of raw cashews. Ok, they sound healthy and spartan and full of virtuousness, but not very tasty. I also don’t want to be eating a ton of the kinds of raw greens that are so high in oxalic acid that i can’t absorb all the good minerals in my food either.  My solution is to add a handful of really nutritious super-greens to my regular smoothie recipe. I’m thrilled to be growing my own greens this spring, so it’s super easy to pick parsley, dill, mustard, leaf lettuce and a little red russian kale leaves to add to my morning smoothie.  I’m getting a whole-food vitamin and mineral boost plus the probiotics, calcium, protein, good fats and creaminess of kefir.

Wellness Wednesday

 


Irish Nachos

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irish nachos titlesI have to thank my friend, Meghan, for giving me the idea for this post. She is highly qualified to make these being both Irish (on her dad’s side) and Mexican (on her mom’s side).  There are enough recipes out there for the traditional Irish foods like corned beef and cabbage, or sausage and boxty (I did those last year). And since we are a No Artificial Colors blog having something faux-green is right out. I was captivated by this fun, light-hearted take on St. Patrick’s Day food since it uses lots of real food in a delicious, fun, family-friendly way.

The idea is simple yet brilliant. Make a big pan of oven-fries (the inspiration for my fries comes from Lidia’s Italy) and then top your fries with traditional nacho ingredients. To keep the Irish theme be sure to use plenty of Kerrygold butter and cheese. (We love Kerrygold, not because it’s Irish but because they pride themselves on using milk from grassfed cows.)  Be sure to use plenty of fresh cilantro and/or parsley on top because it is both green (can you wear cilantro instead of a shamrock if you don’t want to get pinched?) and it’s also really good for you. irish nachos potatoes title

Irish Nachos

for the potatoes

6 good sized organic Russet potatoes

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons Kerrygold Irish butter

1 teaspoon sea salt or herbed season salt such as Rosemary Celtic Sea Salt

preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Scrub the potatoes and slice them into thin wedges, at least 8-10 per potato, maybe more depending on how big your potatoes are. Thinner wedges get crispier. Thicker wedges are more like steak fries. Melt together the butter and olive oil. Toss the potatoes with butter mixture and sprinkle on the salt or seasoned salt and toss well. Place the wedges skin-side down in a large cast iron skillet or stoneware baking sheet or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It may take more than one pan to fit them all in. Cast iron or stoneware help the potatoes brown better. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, turning the potatoes over once or twice to help them cook. If you’re using two pans be sure to rotate pans during the cooking. While the potatoes are cooking assemble the rest of the ingredients for the topping so you will be ready as soon as the potatoes are done.

for the toppings

1 lb. grassfed ground beef (or make the Irish sausage recipe and use that to top your nachos)

2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (no-MSG! use my recipe to make your own)

8-10 ounces Kerrygold cheese, shredded

3 green onions, thinly sliced

salsa (make your own probiotic salsa here)

sour cream (read the label, nothing but cream and cultures should be in it, we like Daisy)

chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Brown the ground beef. Sprinkle in the taco seasoning and mix well. Assemble the remaining ingredients. Feel free to add any other nacho toppings you want like black olives, jalapenos, or bacon. Mmmmmm, bacon….

for the nachos

When the potatoes are done pull them out of the oven and turn on the broiler. While the broiler is heating up, spread the seasoned ground beef evenly over the potatoes. Evenly spread the shredded cheese over the ground beef. Slip the potatoes, beef and cheese back into the oven and broil for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melty. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining toppings. Serve at once.

Irish Nachos
 
Author:
Cuisine: Irish and Mexican
 
A fun spin on nachos to make your St. Patrick's Day, or any day, more festive!
Ingredients
  • 6 good sized organic russet potatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Kerrygold Irish butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or herbed season salt like Rosemary Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning (no-MSG)
  • 8-10 ounces Kerrygold cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • other nacho toppings as desired
Instructions
  1. To make the potatoes preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and slice them into thin wedges, at least 8-10 per potato, thinner wedges make crispier fries.
  3. Melt together the butter and olive oil and toss with the potatoes along with the salt.
  4. Place the potatoes skin-side down in a large cast iron or stoneware baking pan, or a parchment-lined baking sheet using more than one pan if needed to fit the potatoes in a single layer.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes turning once or twice to help brown evenly.
  6. While potatoes are cooking assemble the remaining ingredients for the toppings.
  7. Brown the ground beef and season with taco seasoning and/or more salt if needed.
  8. When the potatoes are done pull them out of the oven and preheat the broiler.
  9. While broiler is heating top the potatoes with the ground beef and the shredded cheese.
  10. Return potatoes to the oven and broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.
  11. Remove from the oven and top with remaining nacho toppings and serve at once.

 Tell us how you like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at your house. Leaves us a comment here and don’t forget to pin this recipe to use again – there’s no rule saying you can’t have these anytime!

irish nachos title closeup

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pie for Pi Day

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Pie for Pi Day titlesPi – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter – is a favorite of the mathematical world. In its decimal form it is a number that never ends and never falls into a repeating pattern. Pi Day is celebrated around the world every year on March 14th. This year is special because not only is it 3.14 it is also 2015 making the date 3.14.15 so if you celebrate Pi Day at precisely 9:26 and 53 seconds a.m. you can hit the first ten digits of Pi …  3.14.15 and 9:26:53 (3.141592653)

Enough with the math – on to the food!  It is customary to celebrate Pi Day with, what else, PIE! So without further ado here is a round-up of some delectable pie recipes ripe for your Pi Day celebrating. Go all out and eat pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and raise a fork to Newton, Einstein, Pythagoras, Fibonacci, Pascal, Descartes and all the other great minds who made numbers look so easy. Here’s a baker’s dozen pie recipes, mostly sweet, a few savory. Enjoy your Pi and your Pie.

Pies for Pi Day

Cherries and silky smooth custard make Cherry Clafoutis from Traditional Cooking School the perfect choice for a breakfast pie.

Don’t like to bake? Here’s a No=Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie from Melissa K Norris.

Apple is a classic pie so here’s an Apple Crumb Pie recipe from Katie at Simple Foody.

Mouthwatering Crispy Coconut and Chocolate Pie from Deep Roots at Home will tantalize your tastebuds.

A gluten-free real food spin on the classic pumpkin – here’s a Pumpkin Pie recipe from Never Lacking Zeal.

Need something small? How about Cranberry Apple Mini-pies from Nourishing Gourmet.

Worth Cooking does great things with allergy-free cooking ingredients like this Lemon Pie.

Honey is the sweetener for this Strawberry Pie from the Humbled Homemaker.

Don’t Waste the Crumbs shared this Key Lime Pie recipe a few summers ago and includes instructions for homemade sweetened condensed milk.

This Raspberry Cream Pie from Common sense Homesteading just screams summer.

And don’t forget Chocolate Peanut Butter Deluxe Pie from Amazing Graze Farm.

If you don’t want sweet how about savory like this Pizza pie from us here at Well Fed Family.

Or Tamale Pie from Farm Fresh Feasts.

P.S. Here’s a late entry for South African Peppermint Crisp Pie from Keeper of the Kitchen that you won’t want to miss!

Leave a comment on the blog with your favorite pie recipe and thank them for making your Pi Day so delicious! Then leave a comment here telling us which pie you made – and no, you don’t have to tell us the circumference or the diameter of your pie pan.

 

 

 

Cajun Catfish and Homemade Cajun Seasoning

Cajun-Seasoning-and-Catfish-Traditional-Cooking-School-GNOWFGLINS-main2-jpgThis post is one of my regular blogs for Traditional Cooking School:

The Acadians began as French settlers of a region called Acadia — in eastern Canada and northern Maine — but they eventually traveled down the Mississippi River in the 1750s to escape difficult British rule. Near the end of that long river, the Spanish finally welcomed them in what would become Louisiana.

The Acadians settled down and got cooking, developing some of the tastiest food anywhere. Étoufée, boiled crawfish,  gumbo filé, and fried catfish became trademark dishes for these folk, whose name was soon shortened to just Cajuns.

Cajun food focuses on local ingredients found in the bayous and river delta, and (unsurprisingly) their menus feature fish and seafood quite often. In addition to the traditional French mirepoix (diced onion, carrot and celery), the Cajuns like to add garlic, cayenne pepper, and plenty of black pepper to make zesty, full flavors.

Although their basic seasoning combination is…. (You can read the rest here)

Leave me a comment here or at Traditional Cooking School and let me know your favorite way to eat catfish!