Friday, November 30, 2018

Food Fact Friday: Tomatillos!





Arrrrriba!!!! Last week I ordered 3 meal kits through Good Food. I was in a bit of a dinner slump and quite frankly; I needed someone else to decide what to make for dinner. Anyway, one of the recipes included a tomatillo sauce and I realized that although I have eaten tomatillos, I have never really cooked with one!

The tomatillo is pretty unique. It grows within it’s own leafy, papery husk which is pretty cool. All you have to do is slide off the husk and wash off the slightly sticky green fruit that is underneath. The tomatillo is often compared to a tomato, but it has its own identity. Tomatillos have a less sweet flavor and are slightly more acidic, which makes them very versatile in sauces of all kinds.

Here’s a guide from “What’s Cooking America” (https://whatscookingamerica.net/tomatillos.htm) which outlines the various ways you can prepare them:

Raw – Raw or uncooked tomatillos are often in Mexican sauces.  They add a fresh citrus-like flavor.

Blanching – Blanching mellows the flavor.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and boil for approximately 5 minutes or until soft.  Drain and crush or puree as directed in your recipe.

Fire Roasting – Roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or over an open flame such as a grill.  Make sure the heat is quite hot before roasting.  If the heat is not hot enough, the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred.  The charred or slightly blackened skins will enrich your sauces with a smoky flavor.

Dry Roasting – This will produce an earthy, nutty flavor.  Place the tomatillos in a heavy fry pan (preferably a cast iron pan).  Turn heat to low and roast for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Have you cooked with tomatillos before? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Try This Tuesday: Remove Social Media Apps from your Phone

Recently, I realized that I was spending way too much time on both Facebook and Instagram. I even tried to justify some of it with the fact that I do use these apps as “tools” in my business; but that was weak. With all of the other apps on my phone that I use daily (such as a podcast app; an app I use with my accountability coaching clients; texts; emails; and lists) there were just too many opportunities to be picking up my phone and checking social media!


My immediate reaction was that I needed to take a break from both of them – like log out for month or so. However, they are a tool for me, and the real problem wasn’t the apps themselves, but rather my inability to set boundaries with them. So with that – away went the two apps from my phone. It’s been a week or so now, and I can tell you that it’s been the absolute best decision. Now, I use my iPad to check Instagram usually in the evening, and I will log into FB from my computer during the day. (I have had to add instagram back on to my phone for work-related stuff, but I take it off right after). It’s resulted in a TON less time spent on my phone and social media in general – and I haven’t missed out on a thing!

Do you need to implement some boundaries around your social media usage? Let me know if you choose to implement this Try This Tuesday tip yourself!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Food Fact Friday: Blueberries! (And Fresh vs. Frozen)


These little berries really are phytonutrient powerhouses! Lately, my daughter has been enjoying frozen blueberries – which is great, because they are harder to get in the winter.



Since we’re on the topic, let’s talk frozen over fresh for a moment! In a study conducted in 2015, eight fruits and vegetables were ‘put to task’ in an effort to compare fresh vs. frozen. The findings? Overall, the vitamin content of the frozen commodities was comparable to and occasionally higher than that of their fresh counterparts (with the exception of β-Carotene, which was found to decrease drastically in some commodities). (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25526594) Another similar study was done in the same year; this time on minerals and fiber: “The retention of nutrients was highly dependent on the commodity, but the majority of the commodities showed no significant difference between fresh and frozen for all analytes (p ≤ 0.05)”. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25525668)

Needless to say, this is excellent news for those of us in areas where year-round produce production is a challenge! I would actually even argue that because frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak (rather than picked slightly before ripe so that they can endure often long transportation to intended markets); that they could potentially be even more nutritious. So if frozen fruit and vegetables make your life a little easier (especially in the winter months) – GO FOR IT!

Couple of fun blueberry facts: 

Let’s talk vitamins. Would it surprise you that Vitamin K is high in blueberries?  Vitamin K is an important vitamin when it comes to bone health and is probably most well known for its role in blood clotting. 

Blueberries are low in calories but high in antioxidants, fiber and other micronutrients – so almost anyone could benefit by incorporating these babies into their diet on the regular. 

Finally, did you know that here in Canada we grow wild blueberries? Yes! They grow abundantly in 4 Canadian provinces actually (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Quebec) – and these are the ones (wild Canadian) that my daughter happens to love. Find more info here.

Happy Friday! Now go get yourself some blueberries!


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Try This Tuesday: Taco Bowls!

Now that Food Fact Friday is well underway – I’d like to introduce a new rotation I am adding to the mix, called “Try This Tuesday”.

Try this Tuesday segments will include things like recipes I think you might like to try, habits you may want to introduce to make your life healthier and happier, restaurants that are worth trying out, or maybe even a new product or supplement that I have found to be helpful.

Today we begin with our first Try This Tuesday: Taco Bowls!

I have so many under-utilized cookbooks at home, and I realized that last Christmas I was given a cookbook I really wanted – but yet I haven’t made ONE thing out of it! This inspired my first TTT post. Of course, I also love “bowls” – so I thought Taco Bowls was a fun place to start.

This is a recipe from Yum & Yummer, called "Beef Bowlrito". Link to a video here: http://yumyummer.com/beef-bowlrito/

I didn't follow it 100% but you get the idea! "Bowls" are pretty forgiving, as long as you've got a great sauce. (I also love supporting farmers who have animal welfare at the top of their priority list. Check out TK Ranch)

What are YOUR favorite bowl ideas?

Friday, November 16, 2018

Food Fact Friday: Bell Peppers!


Today we’re talking Bell Peppers! I absolutely love the ability of a bell pepper (or two) to add color to almost any dish. Let’s start out with some fun facts about this well-loved veggie:

·       Bell peppers rank higher in Vitamin C than oranges (and are also good sources of Vitamin A and B6)
·       Yellow bell peppers contain 3X the amount of vitamin C as red peppers!
·       Most varieties of bell peppers start out green in color and change as they ripen
·       Bell peppers are a part of the “nightshade” family of plants – a flowering family which includes tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant!



If you have the time – watch this 6 minute video about a redbell pepper farmer from New Jersey. I love the video for a couple of reasons:

1)     Bob Muth (of Muth Family Farms) uses an unconventional method of fertilizing (I will let you find out what it is)!
2)     Bob addresses the sad fact that consumers demand cosmetically perfect produce and that there is tremendous food waste generated because of this.
3)     I like the very real reminder that farm work is TOUGH. It’s often back-bending work, long hours and difficult environments. On top of it all – they really don’t get paid very much. This is yet another reason to be thankful for the food you are eating – and take at least a quick moment to recognize the MANY hands (and lives of animals) that go into your food, every time you eat.

Quote from Farmer Muth: “You want to leave the land in better condition than when you took it on”

Friday, November 9, 2018

Food Fact Friday: Pineapples!




Besides being ridiculously delicious and having unique nutritional benefits, pineapple happens to be the signature fruit of Stacy Yates Nutrition!

It’s one of the main ingredients in my most favorite pool-side drink (hello, piña colada) and I think it’s just the most happy, festive and beautiful fruit (I mean come on - it grows its own crown)!

Pineapples are a good source of a protein-digesting enzyme called bromelain, and are also thought to have anti-inflammatory benefits. You’ll find that one cup of this fruit delivers nearly all of your day’s minimum manganese requirements.

(What’s manganese you ask? Manganese is an essential mineral involved in many enzyme systems and may also function as a protective anti-oxidant).

Want to know more about this sweet treat?



Friday, November 2, 2018

Food Fact Friday: NUTS!

Today I am launching "Food Fact Friday's" on my FB page. I realized that over time, these posts are going to get buried! I want to keep a good record of them, for those who want to see what the previous posts were, so I am including them here on my blog as well!

Food Fact Friday's will highlight a food and we will talk about things such as health benefits, unique qualities and interesting facts about it. Enjoy!

Let’s start with NUTS!



I found a good article on the benefits of incorporating nuts into your diet...

Here are some of the highlights: "One meta-analysis of 33 studies found that diets high in nuts do not significantly affect weight gain or weight loss (1). Yet, despite having little effect on weight, many studies have shown that people who eat nuts live longer than those who don't". The article suggests that this may be due to "their ability to help prevent a number of chronic diseases (2, 3, 4, 5)." (But this could simply relate to healthy user bias).

It's important to note that it's best to eat nuts raw (even better if they are sprouted). You could also toast them in the oven at a temperature below 350°F (175°C). Next best: Dry-roasted nuts.

Avoid: nuts roasted in vegetable and seed oils.

Check out the NutHut Organics or Real Raw Food for your nut (and seed) needs!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Just Eat Real Food


Wow.

I just finished listening/watching a (just short of) 4 hr podcast with Dr. Joel Kahn and Chris Kresser on the Joe Rogan Podcast. (Thank goodness for being able to manipulate the speed)! Dr. Kahn is a Holistic Cardiologist and has been vegan for many years. Chris Kresser practices functional medicine and adopts a “nutrivore” diet (a term used to describe someone who lives a healthy lifestyle: doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink excessively, gets plenty of exercise and sleep, etc. and consumes a whole foods diet including animal products and fish) and has written about the benefits of a paleo diet.

This divide between vegan and meat-eating diets (such as paleo) is for sure an emotional, hot debate, but at the end of the day, when done well – both of these diets are more similar than different in principal. Both Chris and Dr. Kahn did a good job of addressing this.



It’s a long episode, and some parts of the podcast end up with talking in circles, but there was some great information – including discussion about the problems with nutrition science.

Here are a couple of highlights from the show:

Chris Kresser talks about how the question “what’s the optimal diet for everyone” is a terrible one - and in fact, an unanswerable one because we are all different. There is no one size fits all.

Dr. Kahn reminds people that Chris and him actually share a lot in common (including the primary focus of plant foods in the diet) and would actually agree on many things. He notes that they are both “lifestyle medicine doctors”, of which nutrition is just one part: other lifestyle factors such as sleep, social support, stress management, smoking, and exercise all play a role. (You know I most certainly concur).

I love this. I think all of us can agree (including these two) that the Standard American Diet sucks; and that any deviation away from that towards a whole foods diet is going to be better. The real dispute between these two styles of eating is whether the inclusion of animal and fish to a whole-food-based, plant-heavy diet is going to be benefit you. (I personally say yes it will. From a nutrient-density perspective, organ meats, shellfish and fatty fish outrank even vegetables).

Anyway, the more I read, the more I research, and the more I see real-life examples from my clients – I cannot help but come back to the very basics:

JUST EAT REAL FOOD.
Or, as Michael Pollan (who I love) has so often be quoted as saying: 
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Also, focus on the quality over quantity (especially protein)



The two other things I would add:

You must experiment on your body and pay attention to how it feels when you do. You may have a body that does better without grains. Your body may do better without dairy. Your body may not like beans. Your body may do better with less protein. The point is – you have to do a little experimentation and be kind and gentle with it in the process.

Secondly, you must accept that it is not just about food. As Dr. Kahn mentioned, it’s about lifestyle. You need to look at the other areas in your life outside of food when it comes to your overall health. 

This whole episode really resonates with me because it’s a reminder that when it comes to politics (and other heated topics that people often argue about vehemently), that just because we have different ideas regarding how to achieve an outcome doesn’t mean that we don’t actually share the same desired outcome. 

Most people want to eat in a way that keeps them alive longer; free of disease; and feeling good in their skin. Let’s all try to be more accepting and respectful about the choices we make. We are not here to win the battle of what is more "right". One is not better than the other. You do you. Just remember to come back to the basics. 

If all that sounds great but you need some support in adopting a healthier lifestyle, you may want to consider Accountability Coaching. For more information, visit my website: stacyyates.com



Food Fact Friday: Oatmeal!

I decided to do things a bit different today. Instead of sharing oat facts, I’m going to tell you about how I prepare my oatmeal...