Pumpkin And Potato Masala Curry (Vegan)

November 30, 2012

Pumpkin And Potato Masala Curry (Vegan)

I have a favorite Indian cookbook. It’s “Step-By-Step Indian Cooking” by Sharda Gopal. A great cookbook if you want to master your cooking skills with Indian cuisine.
She keeps recipes short and simple. Just what any westerner trying to bring Indian flavors to the kitchen needs.
Over the years I became enamoured with one recipe in particular: Aloo Masala (also called Dry Spiced Potato).
It’s a popular south Indian vegetarian spicy dish. Made with a good amount of spices, fresh tomatoes, and potatoes.
As I prefer not to overstuff myself with starches, I tweaked the original recipe and tried several combination of vegetables over the years to replace the potatoes.
After many attempts I decided that my fave combo is pumpkin with one small potato (I didn’t dare to completely depart from the original recipe). Also, I used olive oil instead of ghee (or butter) to make it completely vegan and lighter.

How To Make A Perfect Flax Egg (For Vegan Baking)

November 29, 2012

Flax Egg
Vegan baking can be intimidating. I know better. At the beginning of my healthy cooking journey I didn’t even care for vegan baking. In my mind baking involved eggs, butter, milk and cream. Considering that these ingredients are off-limits for vegans I thought: why even bother baking? If you can’t use proper ingredients just don’t bake, do something else instead.
I was mistaken all along. There’s nothing wrong with vegan baking. To the contrary, it's awesome. To non-vegans (like myself) it represents a further option to bring different flavors, textures, and nutrients to “regular” baking.
For the most part vegan baking entails just a simple 1:1 substitution on specific ingredients. Plant milk for dairy milk and plant fat for butter. With eggs, however, it gets a bit more tricky.
If you’ve encountered vegan recipes before, you’ll know that, most of times, they call for “flax eggs”.
The majority would think that it’s some expensive product you can buy at specialty shops. It’s really not. Making flax eggs is “easy peasy”. All you need is some flax seeds and water. In a matter of minutes you’ll have vegan egg substitutes that will “act” as a binder in your recipes, just as regular eggs.

How Veggies Make The Meal (Their Hedonic And Heroic Impact)

November 28, 2012

Even though vegetables are known to be healthful, they are served at only 23% of American dinners. Chicken, steak, pasta, pizza, these classic dishes make the core of family meals.
Provided that better nutrition value alone doesn’t seem enough of an incentive to consume more veggies; are there other ways to promote the consumption of vegetables besides the “better for you” claim? What psychological motivation to include vegetables in meals exist?
A team of researchers at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab explored the topic; investigating whether serving vegetables changes the perception of an entrée’s taste as well as the perception of the cook.
To their own surprise, they discovered that serving vegetables improved taste expectations not only for the entrées, but for the whole meal as well.
Furthermore, serving a vegetable with a meal also enhanced perceptions of the cook. They were evaluated as being more thoughtful and attentive as well as less lazy, boring, and self-absorbed.
In other words, vegetables positively influenced the hedonic expectations of the meal and the heroic impact of the cook.

Turmeric Cauliflower With Lemon Pepper Dressing

November 27, 2012

Turmeric Cauliflower With Lemon Pepper Dressing

Not everyone is a fan of cauliflower. I know this for a fact. It’s a non pretentious vegetable, that deserves much more attention it’s actually getting.
Cauliflower is cheap, versatile, and features a high concentration of nutrients for the calories contained.
The bad rep has something to do with the fact that it stinks badly when it cooks. The taste can also be a bit off-putting. I get that.
Nevertheless you should give this recipe a try, even if you don’t think you’re much of a cauliflower person.
It’s that good, that easy-to-prepare, and that healthy. Plus it’s vegan and gluten-free. It really accommodates everybody.

Turmeric Cauliflower With Lemon Pepper Dressing

Is It Possible To Spot Reduce A Body Part Fat Content?

Spot reduction is the idea that if you work a specific muscle group you’ll be able to decrease the amount of fat in that area. As if there is a way to target one specific area of your body, such as your abs, your thighs, or even your bum and make all the fat disappear in that area just by doing one exercise.
As appealing as it sounds (and as much we would love for this to be true) spot reduction is, however, a misguided notion.

The Eat Right Rule

November 25, 2012

All around us, everyone (including myself) is yelling about eat this, don’t eat that, this is good for you, this is bad for you.
With so much rambling, feeling overwhelmed is most common. That’s why it’s important to have some simple rules to hang on to.
A smart one that I really like it’s the so-called “Eat Right Rule”.
It postulates that you should always prefer food that potentially can go bad, over food that rarely spoils. In other words, fresh food is considered to be an healthier choice than food that has an "unlimited" shelf life.

High-Protein Apple Oatmeal Bake (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

November 23, 2012

I’m currently going through a wintertime crisis. It happens every year. It has nothing to do with the cold temperatures or the darker days.
The issue is with my breakfast. When summer is over, my morning smoothies all of a sudden become much less appealing.
It’s freezing outside, and my body needs something warm in the morning. A cold ice smoothie just won’t make it.
I do like a bowl of oatmeal with apples and cinnamon. I get lazy though, and never feel like peeling and cutting apples. On top of that, I don’t like instant oatmeal, it tastes gross.
It seems like I’ve reached an impasse.
There’s an easy way out though. It’s called baked oatmeal.
You make a good amount of it one night, and it lasts for a whole week.
Winter breakfast issue solved!

Protein Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

November 21, 2012

Do you have a favorite mug? I do. It’s the one from Law School. I have 20 mugs or so in my cupboard, but I always use the same one. Green tea just tastes better in that one.
It’s not that I have an emotional attachment to it. My years at Columbia Law were ok, for the most part, even if they involved countless hours in class, studying in the library, drafting outlines, and way too many dreadful finals (bleah!).
Law School or not, green tea just tastes better if served in my CLS mug. My attachment to it got to the point where no one, and I mean no one, can use it besides me. My roomies know this, and respect it (although few “altercations” were necessary to get that message properly across).
I wonder what a shrink would say about this. Probably it’s wise not to ask, and just enjoy the green tea. Better if paired with a good treat, such as these protein cheesecake swirl brownies.

The 8% Weight Rule (Not Only For Endurance Athletes!)

November 20, 2012

Every endurance athlete has an optimal race weight. It’s the weight you’re at when you’re in peak race form.
However, almost no athlete carries that weight year round; there’s really no need to, and it’s also non-practical.
In fact, it’s natural, perfectly healthy - and well established within the “endurance athletes” community - that it’s acceptable to gain a little weight during the so-called off-season.
How much is ok? Of course, you don’t want to go too far, or it might be very hard to get back on track.
Matt Fitzgerald, renowned sports journalists, top athlete, and awesome writer, prescribes what he calls the “8% rule”
The 8% rule states that in no time, during the year, you should weight more than 8% then your racing weight. For instance, if your racing weight is 160 pounds, you wanna make sure that you don’t go beyond the 172 pounds threshold.
What’s cool about the 8% rule, is that it gives athletes some license to slack off when it’s possible to do it; while at the same time setting a simple limit that avoids things to get out of hand.*

Whole Wheat Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato and Fresh Herb Sauce

November 17, 2012

Whole Wheat Ricotta Gnocchi With Tomato and Fresh Herb Sauce
I was craving gnocchi earlier today for lunch. Unfortunately, I neither had potatoes nor pumpkin at home to make them.
Just when I was about to give up that idea, I remembered that my grandma had a recipe for gnocchi with ricotta cheese (I had a good amount of that in the fridge). A quick phone call to my mum to get the recipe (she still has my grandma’s cookbook), and I was ready to fix myself some gnocchi for lunch (YAY!)
The cool thing about making gnocchi with ricotta is that you don’t have to wait for the potatoes or the pumpkin to cook. You make them in a snap.
The down side is that the gnocchi are no longer made with veggies.
However, ricotta is a cheese made from whey, which means that it’s very high in protein and low in fat. We love that, don’t we?

When You Eat Is As Important As What You Eat!

November 15, 2012

If you’re one of those people always keeping an eye on what you’re eating, you might want to consider also when you’re eating.
In a study published this week in
Nature Medicine, two researchers at the University of Pennsylvania by investigating fat cells in mice, were able to identify the existing link between daily rhythm and metabolism.
In particular, their findings showed that when a species' typical daily rhythm is thrown off, changes in metabolism also happen. These results shed light on the complex causes of obesity in humans.

High Protein Pumpkin Bread

November 14, 2012

Have you ever been to France? If so, did you
try the Pan d’épices (aka, spice bread)? It’s a French classic, sold in loaves, but sometimes sold in squares, cut from giant slabs. It’s something between a cake and a bread, but neither one nor the other. It’s delicious. Made with a lot of spices, honey, and some other rad stuff. 
This high protein pumpkin bread reminds me a lot of Pan d’épices.
To be honest, I didn’t actually notice the resemblance
at first. It was my Parisian friend Charles who after tasting it said (in his very thick French accent): “Is this some kind of Pan d’épices?”
is comment was right on point. This pumpkin bread is quite similar to that French goodness, although the recipe is completely different.

Aspartame: Good Or Bad?

Aspartame is used in tons of products you can find at the grocery store: diet sodas, fruit juices, cordials, yogurts, chewing gums, cooking sauces, chips, drink powders, and of course, sugar substitutes.
It has been reported that aspartame is used in around 6,000 consumer foods and beverages sold worldwide.
With such a widespread use, chances are that you’re consuming aspartame on a daily basis, without even knowing it.
That alone is a good enough reason to learn something more about this sugar substitute.

Suggested Reading: The Omnivore's Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals

November 12, 2012

The Omnivore’s dilemma is not some sort of boring food manifesto written by some left-wing intellectual in which the author rambles about the “evil” food industry which poisons all our meals, and makes us sick.
It’s something more, much more.
In a way, it is a kind of food manifesto, and Michael Pollan is indeed an intellectual (he’s a professor at UC Berkeley), and most probably he’s also left-wing, but the book doesn’t feel any of these things while you flip through the pages.
Instead, it’s a tantalizing journey up and down the food chain, that will probably change forever the way you’ll decide which foods to put in your mouth. Eggs, meat, dairy, even organic produce will never look the same to your eyes.
You’ll learn a great deal on food, and that’s precisely why you should read this book.

The Fountain Of Youth Is Filled With Your Sweat!

November 11, 2012

For millennia mankind has been obsessed with what can be considered the greatest of all myths: the fountain of youth. A magic water with the power of stopping the passage of time, and grant immortality to its drinker.
Legends about it have been recounted across the world for centuries, and can be found in writings by Herodotus and Alexander the Great.
Many explorers spent their lives tormentedly looking for the spring from which poured the mystical water. Practitioners of alchemy brewed all sorts of herbs, spices, condiments, powdery and minerals, as the hope of achieving immortality was too hard to resist.
Of course, fiction has thrived on this tale. Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray or Peter Pan, are just two of the numerous characters brought to life by novelist struggling with an ageless existence.
What about the present times? After searching the four corners of the Earth we have finally settled that the elixir source of eternal youth might be indeed just a legend. More significantly, science has ruled out the existence of a magical potion that could grant immortality.

Swiss Chard And Spinach Quiche

November 9, 2012

Swiss Chard And Spinach Quiche

Have you had your greens today? If not, you might want to revert this asap, as we all know too well how greens are crucial for better health.Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to get your daily green fix. Sometime it’s difficult to know what to do with them besides juicing, have them raw in a salad or just lightly steamed.
In order to give you one more option, today I’m gonna share what I believe to be one of the “greenest” quiche you can ever imagine. Made with lots of spinach and swiss chard. So much of it, that one slice will provides a full two servings of greens. What about that?

Maca: The Ultimate Superfood! (Or So They Say...)

November 8, 2012

I’m sure you’ve heard about Maca already, it’s the latest superfood everyone talks about.
It always the same old story: a “never heard before” superfood appears on the market.
Everybody jumps on the bandwagon praising it to be the next miracle food; only to find out after a while that, as with any other superfood, it might have some health benefits but, alone, it’s never enough.
It happened to spirulina first (remember when, few years back, it was called the miracle algae?), chia seeds, hemp seeds, psyllium fiber, just to name a few.
Now it’s maca’s turn: celebs, wannabes, athletes, in-the-know health fanatics, superfood enthusiasts, hipsters, hippies, yuppies (are there any yuppies left? I wonder...), I mean everybody wants a piece of this wonder root.
According to Details Magazine, some of the celebs hooked on maca include: Jude Law, Marc Jacobs, Miranda Kerr, Erin Wasson, David Wolfe, Woody Harrelson, and Mike D of The Bestie Boys.
With such an amazing line-up, don’t you already wanna know more about it?

Some Reasons Why You Should Use More Saffron In Your Diet

November 5, 2012

Saffron is one the least known spice in the world. Few people know where it comes from, how it’s harvested, and what to do with it.
I find this to be a real pity, as saffron it’s only delicious, but also full of health benefits, and quite versatile in the kitchen.
It’s true that saffron is very expensive (that’s why it’s also referred to as the yellow gold), but the high price is balanced out, as you just need to use very small pinches in your dishes.
Let’s discover a little bit more about this amazing spice...

Protein Chocolate Chunk Cookies

November 4, 2012

The story of these cookies begins with a challenge thrown at me by a friend who follows a strict gluten-free diet.
He asked if I could bake him a batch of gluten-free, high-protein cookies. No wheat flour allowed - of course - but also no flour subs allowed (such as rice flour, quinoa flour, or similar). As he didn’t care for them either (I know, picky friend...)
Just don’t use flour, or any flour sub please. Try to be innovative!” he told me. However, I could use oats, he said that oats are gluten-free.
Really? I didn’t knew oats were gluten-free. Interesting. Are you sure?
I was not 100% sold on this, and some research was definitely necessary.
I then discovered that what he said was not entirely correct. According to the scientific literature available, most of the people suffering from celiac disease can tolerate small amounts of pure oats, provided that they have not been contaminated with other cereals.
The official guidelines for celiacs, however, discourage the consumption of oats, because the contamination risk is almost always present (just really small amounts are permitted).
Notwithstanding that, I decided to use oats anyway in these cookies (he’s not celiac, so there’s no risk). Still I didn’t want to label them as “gluten-free”. When I’m not sure about something, I prefer not to make a statement. I believe that this is more cautious way to proceed.
Enough digressing on oats; let’s start baking...

New Study Reveals That Every Single Junk Food Meal Damages Your Arteries

November 2, 2012

If you believe that hitting a fast-food from time to time, binging with a junk food meal is an ok to do, you might want to think again. A newly published study suggests that even one single junk food meal is detrimental to the health of your arteries.