All posts filed under: Health

4 reasons to love chia seeds, plus my favorite chia recipe

Last weekend, my niece and mom asked me about chia seed. They knew it was something healthy to eat, but they weren’t sure why, or how to use it. Fortunately, when I worked at Delicious Living we answered this question, complete with recipes. Here’s a roundup of chia information from DL, plus my favorite chia seed recipe. Chia seeds are easy to use. Unlike flaxseed, you don’t have to grind chia to reap its benefits, and it’s incredibly versatile in recipes. Chia seeds are full of nutrients. Gram for gram, chia contains more fiber than flaxseed and more calcium than milk, as well as significant protein, potassium, and plant-based omega-3s. Chia seeds last a looong time. In the refrigerator, they’ll keep for up to two years. Chia has its own day. March 23 is National Chia Day — who knew? I love this chia infographic made in partnership with the fabulous Mamma Chia, maker of USDA certified organic chia drinks and bars. My favorite recipe with chia seeds takes just a few minutes to put together, and then it sets …

Kitul nectar: a new (old) organic sweetener

A few weeks ago, I received a sample of a new product called Cocotrella, made by Ceylon Pure. It’s a gluten-free, nut-free, sweet and luscious spread made with just two ingredients: kitul nectar (more on that below) and coconut butter. Before I even got it into my mouth, Cocotrella’s impressive certifications caught my attention: USDA Organic, certified Fair Trade, Non-GMO Project verified, plus it’s naturally vegan and gluten free. But the real payoff is the taste and mouth feel—even though it looks a little grainy, it’s fabulously smooth and melts on the tongue, with a just-right toasted caramel flavor and a hint of coconut. The company likens it to Nutella as a sweet spread, but I think Cocotrella tastes SO much better. It’s perfect for paleo pancakes or apple slices. And don’t judge me if I simply eat it with a spoon. Traditional crop in Sri Lanka Aside from Cocotrella being just plain delicious, the product immediately intrigued me because I’d never heard of kitul. Turns out it’s a fascinating crop with an interesting history …

3 surprising reasons to love the paleo diet

My article Mythbusting the Paleo Diet is now live on! Check it out and let me know what you think. In case you haven’t heard of it, the paleo diet involves eating only foods that existed in the paleolithic, hunter-gatherer, pre-agricultural era. That means grass-fed meats and wild fish; fruits and vegetables, including their healthy oils; and nuts and seeds. Paleo eating eliminates all dairy, legumes, and grains. (Because it’s grain free, paleo is naturally gluten free.) Here are 3 surprising reasons to love the paleo diet, which I learned while researching and writing the Mythbusting piece—and from my own experience. 1. The paleo diet may be crucial to weight loss. Dave and I have been eating what we call “mostly paleo” for a few years now, focusing especially on the low-carb aspect. Dave combined carb-cutting with increased cardio exercise to lose weight. The results: After being a yo-yo dieter for most of his life, he lost 40 pounds and has kept it off. And his cholesterol, which hovered above 220, fell to 180. His doctor, who had been advising …

Chicken Oregano recipe: simple, healthy, gluten-free, paleo

This year I’m embarking on a plan to record my simplest, most frequently made, gluten-free, and usually paleo recipes. First up: Chicken Oregano Serves 2-3 This is a great weeknight dish that’s easily doubled to feed more people. I originally got this recipe (like so many) from my mother-in-law, a classic and talented homemaker. I’ve since modified it a bit to reduce the oil and add more garlic salt and oregano. Remember to always wash your hands after touching raw chicken and before touching anything else. Oh, and there’s no need to wash and pat dry chicken or any other meat before prepping it; in fact the USDA recommends against it because it actually increases the risk of spreading bacteria. Cooking, not washing, will kill any potential pathogens. After cooking, use the extra pan drippings to drizzle in a baked potato or over cooked brown rice; you won’t need butter! Ingredients: 1/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin or regular) 2 tablespoons lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed but bottled will work; I use Santa Cruz Organic) 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic salt (0r garlic …

How to clean your oven naturally without toxins

It started with the chocolate souffles. No, that’s wrong. It started about 16 years ago when we moved into our house and I noticed that our oven could use a cleaning. Didn’t do it. During the years of family cooking and recipe testing, the oven’s entire interior eventually turned solid black (roast chicken is my favorite dinner). A couple of years ago, I noticed that every time I cooked something at 425 degrees or higher, the oven smoked fiercely, filling the house with gray haze and setting off the smoke alarms. Because I mostly roast foods during winter, opening the doors and windows in sub-freezing temperatures became problematic. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to clean it. I hate caustic chemical cleaners and, given the 1/8-inch-thick layer of black grime, it seemed impossible to clean without going nuclear. What about the self-cleaning function? According to our appliance repairman, employing that feature in old ovens like ours often makes the door seal shut — permanently. So it stayed black. And anyway, what’s a little smoke among friends when roast chicken is on the menu? But then, last week, I made …

What’s the history and current state of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet?

Did you know that the ancient Greeks had a word for celiac disease? Or that research indicates gluten might not be the only culprit for millions of people with gluten sensitivity? Or that treatments beyond a gluten-free diet might be on the horizon? In March, I co-presented a talk with John Gildae, PhD, at Natural Products Expo West 2015 on The Evolution of Gluten and Gut Health. My part covered the history, current state, and future projections of celiac disease and the gluten-free movement. Dr. John followed up with a science-based look at how gluten affects the gut, current statistics regarding its effect, and in-the-works treatments for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. (For more about his work, contact him at Several people have asked me for a review of that talk, so here it is, along with my slides.

It’s a wrap: Natural Products Expo West 2015

I look forward to Natural Products Expo West all year; I really do think it’s the most fun business event on the planet. (OK, I may be a teensy bit biased because Delicious Living‘s parent company, New Hope Natural Media, owns and hosts the show.) Experiencing Expo West is like trying to take a sip from a fire hose; there’s simply too much to see and do. Even so, I’m always inspired by new innovations in healthy foods, educated by interesting speakers and interactions, and incredibly impressed by the logistical magic-making of New Hope’s Expo team. Click here for my Storify summary that shows a few of my favorite moments, impressions, and new products from this year’s show.

10 foods with gluten that might surprise you

Yesterday my colleague Allison told me that this gallery of 10 surprising gluten-containing foods that I created for somehow had a viral moment and got more than 10,000 page views! That’s the Internet for you; things live on (whether you want them to or not). The idea for this gallery originated from a blog I wrote a while back about my son’s experience with gluten in sushi, which was a complete shock to me at the time. Have you discovered other sneaky gluteny foods? Let me know!