Mediterranean Diet Month

THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET can be enjoyed any day and any month. It’s easy to start following the Mediterranean Lifestyle, begin with family and friends and add a variety of foods. Choose a day and incorporate grains, olive oil, fruits & vegetables into your meals.  Please visit the Mediterranean Recipes and enjoy a new way of eating!

The Mediterranean Lifestyle can be enjoyed every day!

Pesche al Vino (Peaches and Wine)

Peaches and Wine! Simply delicious!

Applying simple pairing principles, you may wish for an inspired dessert. Feel free to vary quantities, proportions and ingredients; all you really need is your peaches and vino.

 Ingredients

  • 4 Nectarines or Peaches
  • 2 cups Lambrusco
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • A cinnamon stick
  • Mint Leaves

Preparation

4 peaches each cut with a small crosswise incision where the stem is. Place into boiling water, blanch for 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove each peach and place into a bowl of ice water. After 10 minutes, remove the peach and place cross wise cut down into a bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan over a medium heat, pour two glasses of Lambrusco, 1/4 cup of sugar, a stick of cinnamon.

Simmer together for 3 minutes over medium heat, and then pour the hot liquid over the peaches in the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to stand for at least 2 hours to overnight. Can be served warmed from the oven (bake 20 minutes 170 F) or placed into a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Heat Up & Cool Down! Foods to Add & Remove in Diet

Feeling ‘overheated’  emotionally or physically? Lack of daily movement or what you eat can both contribute to the sense of being warmer than usual.   Addressing the  behaviors that  lead to emotions of anger, depression and stress, all result in negatively heating the body. Headaches, sleepless nights, skin flare-ups, irritability are all examples of how the body heats up as a direct response to stress. Continuing on a declining path will create physical heath conditions: heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc.

Best Exercise for Managing Stress
Walking, swimming, bicycling, yoga and golf are good examples that contribute to relieving or cooling down an individual so that emotional stress is controlled through physical activity. Exercise  increases the endorphins within the brain so  the blood pumping, energy is restored and you will feel more focused.  It can be as simple as a 30 minutes of movement per day!

How Stress Affects Hormones
Choosing to stay on an unenthusiastic  cycle alternates both stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol and how they function in the body. Adrenaline and cortisol when adversely effected influence changes in our blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stimulating the ghrelin hormone (hunger) that promotes an excessive appetite and depresses the leptin hormone that signals satiety in the stomach!  Appetites have now been re-defined.

Foods that Promote Over-Eating
Avoid spices, condiments, drinks , and certain foods that promote over eating when facing stress: fried, greasy or oily foods, margarine, black pepper, chilies, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, garlic, onion, salad dressings, rosemary, white and brown sugar,  white flour, wine, beer, coffee.
Reduce amounts of:  salt, red meat, chicken (4 ounces 2-3 times a week),  cheese (1 oz q/day).  Poor quality fats clog arteries and lead  to heart disease. Calcium and magnesium uptake interference  can be altered by an excess of certain meats spices and drinks, having a negative effect on calming and cooling the body. A deficiency of magnesium leads to anxiety and hyperness.

Dietary Solution to Control Stress 
Fats in the diet must be high quality in order to maintain healthy organs and vascular system, use: fish oils, extra virgin olive, grape seed, flax seed , almond oils. Introduce foods that promote calcium, magnesium absorption, anti-oxidants and polyphenols.
Best food preparation: Grilled, Braised, lightly boiled (7 minutes), steamed.
Consume raw vegetables, fruits (remove citrus fruits if they create digestive problems), berries, nuts, whole grains, yogurt and seafood. Include salads, melons, cucumbers and bitter greens (broccoli, arugula, celery dandelion, basil, parsley, cilantro) which are full of water and needed for calming and cooling the body. Eat plants that are in season for optimal nutrition. Consider pomegranates as way to intake resveratrol protein which helps raise HDL cholesterol and reduce red wine intake. Add decaffeinated black, green and white teas as a way to hydrate and include anti-oxidants and reduce caffeine.

Daily and Weekly Diet
Consuming breakfast is critical for energy and initiating the metabolism and should not be skipped. 5-6 small meals are necessary for proper maintenance of a healthy individual, light evening meals eaten 4 hours before bedtime to optimize a restful sleep.  Daily intake of  nutrition should include: 4 servings of fruit, 5 servings of vegetables, 1 ounce (28 g) cheese,  3-4 weekly servings fish, 2 weekly servings meat, multi-grain breads, pasta rice, 1-2 servings soy or lowfat milk, 6 cups water (250 ml).

By incorporating a healthy diet and managing stress through exercise hormonal balance can be achieved. While the initial steps can be put into place by you, communicate any dietary or physical activity changes to your doctor so that your overall health can be observed and guided as needed.

By: Kim Crocker

Phyto Estrogens You Should Eat

Estrogen’s Role in the Female Body

Estrogen is a hormone that is produced in our bodies and is critical to the function of our
sex organs. Produced within the ovaries of child bearing women, it controls the uterine lining growth and interacts with progesterone to make ovulation possible. During pregnancy it stimulates the maturation of the fetus, the growth of the placenta and the change in the breasts.
THE DOWN SIDE OF ESTROGEN
Most women at one time or another will suffer from: headaches before a period, breast tenderness, urinary stress incontinence, mood swings and hot flashes, inability to properly absorb calcium can all be attributed to a drop in estrogen.
 As one ages, estrogen diminishes and often times Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) medication  is initiated by the doctor.
INTRODUCING PHYTO ESTROGENS
The conversation is shifting and research is showing that there is a natural HRT called Phyto Estrogens. Phyto-estrogens are naturally occurring chemicals and are commonly known as iso-flavones, flavones, coumestans and ligans. Phtyo-estrogens have a chemical structure that is similar to that of “human estrogen” producing the same estrongenic and anti-estrogenic effect that the body would other wise produce at it’s own normal level of estrogen.
WHO SHOULD TAKE PHYTO ESTROGENS?
Women of all ages should be adding a variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts into their daily intake of food. It has been shown that women who eat flaxseed, soy or algae during peri-menopause have and easier time of going through menopause and many symptoms are greatly reduced!
WHERE CAN YOU BUY PHYTO ESTROGENS?
Look no further than your garden or local grocer! Studies were performed on 120 foods including: nuts, herbs and beverages. Researchers found that the phyto-estrogens are found in abundance in both Flaxseed and Soy. While other foods such as: vegetables, fruits and nuts contain lesser amounts, however, they are an equally important part of our daily dietary intake.
OTHER BENEFITS OF EATING PHYTO ESTROGENS
Studies have shown that a dietary increase in phyto estrogens leads to reduce incidence of breast and prostrate cancers, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms. Women are turning to phyto estrogens in place of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Doctors are also noticing reduced cholesterol serum levels in patients who add more phtyo estrogens to their meals.
ADDITIONAL STUDIES FOR WOMEN
Further research performed on a global level are showing that phyto estrogens taken along with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has a positive impact on producing a vital pregnancy. Each pregnancy is unique and pursuit of further information should be discussed between the patient and the doctor.
FOODS THAT COULD LOWER ESTROGEN:  Berries, Broccoli, Rutabaga, Bok Choy, Mushrooms.  HERB SUPPLEMENTS TO AVOID: Soy, Palmetto, Red Clover, Black Cohosh, Mexican Yam. AVOID ALCOHOL.
WHICH PHYTO ESTROGEN IS BEST FOR ME?                                                           
A variety of foods listed below allows individuals to accomodate their own tastes and improve their health by choosing from foods that have higher amounts of phyto estrogens.
  • Flax Seed
  • Soy/Soy Nuts
  • Tofu
  • Soy Yogurt
  • Sesame Seed
  • Flax Bread
  • Multigrain Bread
  • Rye Bread
  • Soy milk
  • Algae
  • Miso Soup
  • Hummus
  • Garlic
  • Mung Bean Sprouts
  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Dried Dates/Prunes/Apricots
  • Sunflower Seed
  • Pistacchio
  • Hazelnuts
  • Walnuts
  • Cashew
  • Chestnuts                                                                                                                       
  • Olive Oil & Olives
  • Almonds
  • Winter Squash
  • Green Bean
  • Collards
  • Cabbage
  • Lentils
  • Peanuts
  • Black Bean
  • Onion
  • Corn
  • Peaches
  • Watermelon                                                                                                       
  • Coffee
  • Milk
  • Red and White Wine
  • Green and Black Tea
  • Beer
REFERENCES

High levels of phyto estrogens can interfere with proliferation. Research: Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Rockstock, Germany http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12820351                                                                The Risk of high amounts of phyto estrogen may reduce maintenance of pregnancy http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19165661

Increased rates of phyto estrogens used to assist in IVF pregnancies  Research: Obstetrics and Gynecology Rome, Italy http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15589851

Adding Phyto Estrogens to IVF may improve chances of vital pregnancy. Research: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Women’s Health Care Center, Assuit University, Egypt http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18413068

Phyto estrogen taken over time reduces risk of breast cancer. Research: University of Sydney, Australia http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17176212

Zucchini and Carrot Side Dish

A perfect pairing of two vegetables! Zucchini is high in Vitamin B6,2,1 Vitamin C, A and minerals. While carrots carry the load in carotenoids with recent research also linking critical phytonutrients Falcarinol and Falcarindiol to inhibiting the growth of intestinal and colon cancer cells, making it a power house vegetable! Enjoy this wonderful side dish weekly or daily and see how you can improve your health.

Zucchini and Carrots maybe prepared together or separately. Maybe served over: Rice, Quinoa, Couscous, or Pasta.

Sliced Carrots and Zucchini for saute`

An easy side dish to prepare that takes little time to prepare and full of nutrients. Establish healthier individual standards and enjoy this dish served warm or cold. The recipe can be used for a”Zucchini” or “Carrot” only dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Carrots, thinly sliced rounds
  • Chopped Garlic and Parsley

  • 3 Zucchini, thinly sliced rounds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley chopped

Saute vegetables in pan

Directions:

Place skillet on low-heat, add olive oil and garlic, allow to heat for 4 minutes. Add in sliced carrots and saute` for 4 minutes. Place Zucchini into skillet and add salt. Using a wooden spoon integrate vegetables together, simmering for about 5 minutes.  Add parsley into carrots and zucchini.

By: Kim Crocker-Scardicchio

Research:

Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamins & Minerals

Recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals and actual breakdown of Vitamin Content for Vegetables and Fruits with a glance at Mineral Content on Fruit and Vegetables Informative links that nicely graphs the proper milligrams of vitamins and minerals that should be ingested on a day to day basis with warnings about how they may create organ sensitivity or organ damage.

Eat Know How.  Know the Healing Power of Food

Recommended link: Vitamins and Minerals

Berry Fresh & Pina Colada Frappe`s

Fresh fruit drink.

3 Fruit servings in 1 drink!

1/2 c Strawberries’ (hulled) or Blueberrie’s washed

1 Banana peeled and quartered

4 ounce Vanilla Yogurt or Ice Cream

3 ounces  Orange Juice.

1/4 cup Crused Ice

Place all in a mixer and blend for 30 seconds.

May drink immediately, served chilled or frozen.

Pina Colada 2 servings Fruit

Pina Colada Frappe`

1 Banana peeled and quartered

1/2 cup Pineapple

3 ounce Pineapple Juice

4 ounce Coconut Cream (yogurt).  For nut allergies use Vanilla Yogurt

1/4 cup Crushed Ice (optional)

Place all ingredients into blender for 30 seconds. Place mixer in freezer for 15 minutes