Diabetes Awareness

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

The key word in the sentence above might seem Diabetes, but it’s indeed Awareness.

Be aware of what you eat, be aware of your weight but most of all be aware of changes in your body, changes that you might be ignoring but that are trying to tell you that you should change your habits and choose healthier ones, not for the sake of how you look but for the sake of your wellbeing.

I encourage you to read this article on Life with Diabetes that was sent to me by Dr. Mario Trucillo, Managing Editor of The American Recall Center and keep it in mind during the Holiday Season (and for the rest of the year, too!)

I hope that it will help you make sensible food choices, for yourself and for your family.

Live Healthy to Avoid Diabetes!

Tips for Eating Right While Traveling

Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie, has asked me to post this article to share the tips and tricks that he has learned in his experiences of traveling and staying healthy on the road.
Sometimes it’s challenging to maintain a nutritious diet when indulging in cuisines across the world, but you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat right.
When I travel, unfortunately cannot leave my many food intolerances at home. Sometimes there is no way to control how the food is prepared and a meal with the wrong ingredient can ruin my experience of the places I’m visiting. That’s why being prepared and informed becomes important.
One more tip: don’t be shy and ask your waiters to accommodate your special needs. You’d be pleasantly surprised by how willing they are to make your meal an enjoyable experience.

Tips for Eating Right While Traveling
by Cole Millen

melaThe stress of travel can be multiplied if you don’t take care to eat healthy while away from home. Even vacations can become hazardous to your health if you don’t take the time to find healthy options while away. Although you regularly incorporate healthy eating habits at home, it may be challenging to maintain these habits when traveling. I find that a little advanced preparation goes a long way toward helping me remain committed to my healthy habits when I’m on the road.
First, I try to learn a little about the place where I plan to travel before I embark on my journey. Information including what amenities are available at hotels and what restaurants can be found in an area helps to give me a good handle on what to expect. I was even able to find restaurants offering gluten-free menus by browsing reviews of different Las Vegas hotels and digging through reviews from real people. I have found that these are the most unbiased and honest forms of information when looking for a place to stay.
When booking my flight, I also check for the healthiest available options. In-flight meals and snacks are notoriously unhealthy. If an in-flight meal will be served, I make sure to request a healthy vegetarian option to avoid high-sodium, processed meats. I also pack raw almonds, dried fruits, and other healthy snacks in my carry-on to enjoy, rather than succumb to caloric goodies served on the plane.
At my destination, I frequently find a local health-food store where I can stock up on a few healthy snacks to keep in my room, and I always refuse the key to the tempting mini bar. This helps me avoid the pitfall of late-night binge eating. At hotels that offer a complimentary breakfast, I look for fresh fruit, whole-grain toast and perhaps a boiled egg or two. These give me good energy for a full day and help me avoid starchy, caloric foods like muffins and waffles.
Eating out while traveling provides its own dangers to a healthy diet. I try to stick by the same guidelines that I use when eating out at home. “Broiled” and “steamed” are good words to look for on a menu, while I stay away from anything labeled “batter fried.” Also, the more color there is on a plate, the healthier it tends to be, so I often choose menu items by pictures loaded with veggies.
The stress release a vacation provides is a boon for our health, and we all need to take a little time off now and then. And while it’s ok to indulge a bit on vacation, there’s no need to send your diet off the rails and quash any potential health benefits your getting from your trip. If the place I am visiting offers an absolutely irresistible regional treat, I will treat myself once or twice during the trip, but otherwise, I stick to the tips above to get the most out of my vacation!

Pasta with Swordfish*

Sometimes I crave for a dish that is completely out of season but so good that I have to make it, against my rule that all the ingredients should be seasonal.
It happened the other day, when I suddenly remembered the delicious recipe that a friend of mine had sent to me before Christmas. Caught in the Holidays rush, I had forgotten about it for weeks but, as soon as I remembered it, my mouth began watering at the idea of trying it before sharing it with you.
I must premise that, because of its history and location, Sicily has one of the best culinary traditions of Italy. Over the centuries, the island has been under Greek, Roman, Germanic, Byzantine, Arab, Norman, and even Spanish rule before it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Each culture has left its footprint on the Sicilian gastronomy that, as a result, is a unique blend of exotic and traditional, local and foreign flavors.
Moreover, the island climate allows an incredible variety of crops, which vary from citruses, almonds, olives and pistachios along the coast to mushrooms and berries in the mountains; the Mediterranean seafood is outstanding but, as you move towards the interior, it’s replaced by venison, meat and poultry cooked in distinctive ways, with unique combinations of ingredients. Then are the cheeses, the sweets, the preserves, and the strong wines …
Every bite makes you wonder how somebody came up with such a dizzying mixture of flavors in just one dish. It feels like each new invader wanted to add its own flavors to the local cuisine; then, over the centuries, nobody wanted to renounce to them and they all became part of the Sicilian cooking style.
In Sicily, every meal is a feast or, as a friend of mine likes to say, a challenge because you would like to eat everything.
Just read this recipe and you’ll understand why I’ve classified it under the “indulgence” category. It’s probably not strictly Biological, but certainly worth trying!

*Recipe by Letizia and Max Arcidiacono

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Ingredients:

(serves 4)  S  B  Gf (with rice pasta)

  • 10 oz. of short pasta, preferably Penne
  • 8 oz. of swordfish
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 10 oz .of organic tomato sauce (see my recipe)
  • 1 mature red tomato red round onion
  • one medium round eggplant
  • 6 Tbsp. of Evoo
  • 1 cup of sunflower oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup of sweet white
  • 1 Tbsp. of chopped basil
  • 1 Tbsp. of chopped parsley
  • 1 oz. of grated Ricotta Salata cheese
  • Salt and black pepper Continue reading

Veal Carpaccio with celery

This easy and tasty recipe doesn’t require any cooking since the raw meat is “cooked” by its marinade. Invented in the ’50s by Giuseppe Cipriani, the renowned founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, it’s named after the XVI century painter Vittorio Carpaccio, whose exhibition was happening in Venice when Cipriani created this dish for a Venetian countess.
Carpaccio can be made both with meat (beef sirloin or veal eye of round are ideal) or fish (tuna, halibut, swordfish) and its toppings vary from region to region: in Sicily it’s served with capers, in Piedmont with shaved white truffle, a real delicacy.
I like it with veal because it’s more delicate than beef, topped with Parmesan cheese and celery because these two tastes complement each other.

Carpaccio makes a very good appetizer or a light meal, if completed by a green salad and a warm starch, like potatoes or rice (see my Lemon Rice and Potato Salad recipes)

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Ingredients:

(serves 4)  A  B  Gf

  • 1 lb. of veal, sliced very thin
  • 2 celery hearts
  • 2 oz. of shaved Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

Marinade:

  • 1 organic lemon, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground Himalayan salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste, optional)

Ask your butcher to slice the meat almost paper-thin or, if you have a meat slicer, slice the meat yourself.
Arrange the slices on the serving dishes.
In a small bowl, mix the marinade ingredients and pour it over the meat. Let the meat marinade for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the outer stalks from the celery and use only the tender central part. Wash it, pat it dry and cut it thinly. Arrange the celery on the meat, and lastly shave some Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

Beets and feta salad

IMG_4793Ingredients:

(serves 4)  F  W  B  V  Gf

  • 1 bag of organic arugula
  • 2 red beets (cooked)
  • 1 fennel
  • 3 oz. of Feta cheese
  • ¼ cup of roasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing:

  •  2 tsps. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. of  organic honey
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt (to taste, optional)
  • Pepper (to taste, optional)

Trim the leaves from the beets, wash the beets, scrubbing away any dirt, and leave them wet. Wrap them in foil and place them on a cookie sheet. Cook in the oven at 400F for 45/50 minutes. Once cooled, peel them by removing the outer skin with a knife and cut them into small cubes.
Rinse the organic arugula and arrange it on four serving dishes. Cut the Feta cheese into small pieces; arrange these two ingredients on the arugula, together with the pumpkin seeds.
Trim the fennel stalks and wash the bulb. Cut it in half lengthwise and slice it thinly, starting from where you removed the stalks and discarding the hard root end.
Arrange some fennel on each salad.
In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing on the salad.

Enkir Flat Bread

Enkir is a type of small spelt that belongs to a species that first appeared in the Middle East approximately 12,000 years ago.  Being a wild cereal, it has a natural resistance to diseases and stress and therefore it doesn’t need fertilization or pesticides, which is why it is considered to be a true organic cereal.  Its flour has a high protein content and a high level of carotenoids, which give it its characteristic yellow color.
Enkir flour is very digestible and performs best in simple preparations. Since it doesn’t require long rising, it’s perfect for making these easy flat breads.

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Ingredients:

(makes 8 – 10)   A   B   V

  • 2 cups of Enkir flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 tsp. salt

Mix the ingredients and knead shortly to obtain a smooth dough.  If the dough is too sticky to knead, add more Enkir flour. Continue reading

Smoked Salmon and Fennel Risotto

The other night I was craving for something new and original and, after browsing recipes for half an hour without finding anything inspiring, I opened my refrigerator hoping to find an idea. Looking at the fennel bulbs that I was planning to cook au gratin (see my recipe), I started to wonder how they would taste in a risotto instead. Probably bland, I concluded. But what if I added to them a stronger flavor? Smoked salmon suddenly seemed the perfect pairing and, since my husband is a very tolerant guinea pig, I decided to try the experiment.
Perhaps because I adore salmon in any possible way, I ended up loving this risotto: it’s healthy, it’s low-calorie, it’s light, it has an appealing look, and it makes a meal in less than half an hour!

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Ingredients:

(for 4 people)  F  W  B  Gf 

  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 4 oz. of smoked salmon
  • 10 oz. of rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 1 quart of boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp. of butter
  • 3 Tbsp. of EVOO
  • 1 organic bouillon cube
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped

Trim the fennel stalks and wash the bulb. Cut it in four lengthwise, then cut each half in two, Slice it thinly, starting from where you removed the stalks and discarding the hard root end. Continue reading

Chickpea Soup

During a recent trip to Italy, my dear friend Marisa kept praising the products of a flour mill in a nearby village so enthusiastically that we ended up making it the destination of a day trip together.
From the outside the mill didn’t look like much, but I’m used to the deceiving look of some Italian family businesses and I didn’t let the modest appearance of the premises fool me.
It  took one step inside the ancient building to understand what a unique and thriving enterprise it was. Continue reading

Carrot, Squash and Ginger Soup

My Dear Readers,

I’d like to express my deepest sympathy to all those of you affected by the devastation of hurricane Sandy. I hope that you and your families are safe and well, and that your life will soon return to normality.
Meanwhile, I wish I could bring to each and every one of you a bowl of this cozy soup, to warm up your stomach as well as your heart.
You are in my thoughts and in my prayers.

Ingredients:

(serves 4)  F  W  V  Gf  B

  • 1 lb. of peeled kabocha or acorn squash
  • 4-5 organic carrots
  • 4 cups  of organic vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow potato
  • 1 small piece of  fresh ginger (approx. 1 inch)
  • 4 Tbsp. EVOO

Cut the squash into four sections and remove the seeds. Peel it with a potato peeler or with a sharp knife. Especially in the case of the Kabocha squash, the skin is very hard so be very careful not to cut yourself. Continue reading

Lentils Salad *

This salad can be eaten warm or cold.
Instead of lentils, you can also use black-eyed peas, soybeans, chickpeas, etc.
It gets particularly high in proteins when you mix two varieties of legumes and rice, for example lentils with rice and kidney beans with chickpeas.
In the summer the dried herbs can be replaced with a handful of fresh basil or cilantro.
In the wintertime, some chopped rosemary adds a warmer taste to this salad.

Ingredients:

(serves 2)  A  V  Gf  B

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cucumber or 1 zucchini squash
  • 6-8 dried tomatoes

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Tamari
  • 1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp. Evoo
  • Salt, pepper, turmeric, curry powder, dried herbs

Rinse the lentil and soak them for about 12 hours. Then rinse them again and cook for 20 minutes in vegetable broth, stirring occasionally and adding some water if necessary.
After 10  minutes, add the dried tomatoes and stir.
Transfer the cooked lentils into a serving bowl and stir in a grated cucumber or a grated zucchini squash.
Instead of the grated vegetables you can add a diced fresh tomato or bell pepper.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, pour over salad, toss and serve.

* Recipe by Sonja Bachus