Health & Fitness

By Alexis Lardieri

Lets face it summer is here and your chances of cooking at home in 100 degree weather are quickly diminishing. Even if you’re getting in an avid workout routine two to three times per week, one summer cocktail and a few embellishments at your neighbor’s barbecue can easily throw you off track. Suddenly you’re discovering a new mirror image you’re not too fond of – myself included!

Why not kick off your own party in the kitchen with some foods to really make it worth your while! BN has teamed up with renowned, triple board certified clinical nutritionist and the founder and director of the Food Coach NYC (http://www.foodcoachnyc.com), Dana James. Dana tells us about five super foods that you can easily add to your diet, along with recipes that are fun, easy, and worth the time!

Dana James, Nutritionist and Founder/Director of Food Coach NYC

Dana James’ practice specializes in obesity, depression, anti-aging, cardiovascular disease, food sensitivities and digestive disorders. Among her many talents, James is a gourmet cook who possesses a strong passion for food that she avidly passes on to her clients. Her mission is to help you discover your body’s unique biochemistry, while offering nutrition and coaching to support your body type and master healthy habits and thoughts. When it comes to super foods, color plays a big role and we’ve got them all covered!

The Jolly Green Genius
According to James, spinach is packed with 13 different flavonoid compounds, which help protect the body from prostate and ovarian cancer. They are also rich in Calcium and Vitamin K, both which are essential for bone health. Spinach may make you smarter, says James, as it improves learning and motor skills. It’s also packed with Folate which helps give you that thick “Victoria Secret” style hair we all assume can’t exist in real life.

The Recommendation:
Swap out your usual mixed greens for spinach leaves or add them to a berry smoothie for an extra antioxidant punch.

The Recipe:
• 8 cups 1- to 1 1/2-inch cauliflower florets (from 2 medium heads)
• 2 large shallots (3 to 4 ounces), peeled, halved
• 3 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
• 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 to 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:
• Cook cauliflower and shallots in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes and drain well
• Place half of cooked vegetables in processor
• Add 1 1/2 cups (packed) Spinach and 2 tsp oil. Blend to smooth puree.
• Season to taste with salt and pepper
• Repeat with remaining cauliflower, shallots, Spinach, and oil. Season with lemon juice to taste

Got the Blue’s?
Blueberries are nutritional powerhouses, says James. They are packed with anthocyanidins (blue/red pigments) that help improve memory, concentration and brain processing speed. They also improve the effect of Vitamin C, which helps skin structure and makes collagen for radiant skin. Blueberries also contain hippuric acid, the same compound found in cranberries, which help to eliminate urinary tract infections.

The Recommendation:
The best way to enjoy blueberries is in season (May- Oct) is with a touch of organic Greek yogurt. Go for organic as domestic blueberries are among the twelve most heavily pesticide sprayed foods.

Blueberry and Buckwheat Pancakes

The Recipe:
Delicious gluten free pancakes made with buckwheat and quinoa flour, these are sugar free and are made with the natural sweetness of a ripe banana. Add in wild blueberries (fresh or frozen) to boost the antioxidant content. Top with thick Greek yogurt such as Trader Joe’s 2% to balance the protein to carbohydrate ratio to promote sustained energy levels, improve moods and stimulate fat burning.

The Rite Kind of Fat
Avocados, says James are abundant in Vitamin E, a fat soluble antioxidant that helps to improve skin texture. They also contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may help to lower cholesterol.

The Recommendation:
Add some avocado to your salad or snack on some guacamole with thinly sliced jicama instead of corn chips.

Artichoke and Avocado Salad

The Recipe:
• 3 lemons, cut in quarters
• 1 can artichokes, drained, halved
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 8 mint leaves, finely chopped
• 1 handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
• 2 cups baby spinach leaves or watercress
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 2 avocados, diced
• 1 fennel bulb, shaved

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to large bowl and mix
2. Serve drizzled in olive oil and lemon juice, sea salt and pepper

Get on the Vine
According to James, Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene which can reduce sun-induced UV damage by up to 50%. That means less sunburn and less wrinkling.

The Recommendation:
Tomatoes are in season from July to September. Simply drizzle with some EVOO and sea salt for a delicious summer salad. In winter, skip the fresh tomatoes which have been artificially ripen by ethylene gas and transported in from California or Florida. Instead, use sun-dried tomatoes in salads, canned tomatoes in soups or tomato paste in stews and hearty meat dishes.

Green Bean, Olive and Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

The Recipe:
• 200g small red tomatoes, halved
• 200g baby plum tomatoes, halved
• 500g green beans, trimmed
• 1 small baguette, sliced
• 5 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• Croutons
• 1 red onion, thinly sliced
• 1 handful basil leaves
• Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Serves 8

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300F. Place all the tomato halves on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 1 hour until roasted and dry. Then remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (This can be done the night before)
2. Increase the oven temperature to 375F. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the beans and cook for 8 minutes until tender. Drain and refresh under cold water
3. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet, brush with 1tbsp of olive oil and toast in the oven for 10 minutes until crisp. Set aside to cool
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar with the remaining olive oil and mustard. Toss in the beans, oven-roasted tomatoes, croutons, onions and basil. Season and serve with the bread

Why Not “Beet” Blood Pressure?
Beets help prevent the process of nitrates from processed meats being converted to potentially cancer causing nitrosamines. According to James, a study at The London School of Medicine showed that just 2 glasses of beet juice per day can significantly reduce blood pressure.

The Recommendation:
James suggests downing an 8 ounce glass of beet juice after your work-out to decrease exercise-induced fatigue. Swap out your afternoon cookie for a fresh beet juice which helps quash that 3PM sugar craving and also boosts your antioxidant levels.

The Recipe:
• 500g golden beets
• 500g red beets
• 80g sunflower seeds
• 2 tsp maple syrup
• 4 tsp sherry vinegar
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 20g chervil leaves, plus more to garnish
• 60g baby chard leaves, baby spinach or wild Arugula
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat the over to 375F. Wash the beets well and wrap them individually in foil. Bake in the oven from anything from 40 to 90 minutes, depending on their size. Check each one, as cooking times can vary a lot; the beets should be tender when pierced with a sharp knife
2. Spread the sunflower seeds out in an oven proof dish and taste in the oven alongside the beets for 8 minutes, just until lightly colored
3. Once the beets are ready, unwrap them and peel with a sharp knife while still warm. Cut each into halves and quarters. Mix the beets with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Toss well and then taste: (there should be a clear sweetness balanced by enough salt. Adjust the seasoning if necessary)
4. Plate, sprinkle with more chervil and serve

Black Out the Weight
Black beans contain soluble fiber which may help with weight loss as it forms a gel that stimulates the appetite suppressing hormones. It’s also rich in insoluble fiber that can alleviate constipation. Black beans also contain anthocyanidins, like blueberries, and the darker the better. They have 10 times more antioxidants than oranges so don’t be deceived by their color.

The Recommendation:
Add some into your lunch time salad for a fiber boost or puree them with some Greek yogurt, fresh chili and cilantro for a metabolism boosting dip.

The Recipe:
• Cumin
• 2 organic oranges
• 1 tsp coconut oil
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 4 garlic cloves, pressed
• 4 tsp chili powder
• 4 tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 3 15.5-ounce cans seasoned black beans, drained
• 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
• Organic plain yogurt
• Chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. Grate enough orange peel to measure 1 1/2 tsp; juice oranges
2. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté 5 minutes. Mix in garlic and spices
3. Add beans, tomatoes, and half of orange juice
4. Simmer over medium heat until heated through and flavors blend, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Mix in orange peel and remaining orange juice
5. Season to taste with hot sauce, salt, and pepper
6. Ladle chili into bowls. Top with yogurt and cilantro

For more information on Dana James, visit http://www.foodcoachnyc.com.
The Food Coach is located at 16 West 23rd Street (at 5th Ave), Floor 4.
Telephone: 646- 932-7442
Email: info@foodcoachnyc.com

Originally published August 2010
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