Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Food for Thought, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Talk about decadent...I know this is not everyday fare..but please try them, make them for your honey...

6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, such as Green and Black, chopped
½ teaspoon Starbucks VIA instant coffee granules, 
   (or your favorite other brand...)
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
2 tablespoons Agave nectar

Big beautiful long stemmed strawberries

Set up a double boiler type arrangement using a strong oven safe glass bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water.
Heat the cream and orange zest. Add the chocolate, coffee, Grand Marnier, and agave nectar and stir constantly until the chocolate is just melted and smooth. 

Keep the chocolate warm in a fondue pot or leave the glass bowl set over the simmering water. Serve the warm chocolate with a large plate of long-stemmed strawberries for dipping. You can dip pieces of pineapple, marshmallows, bananas...pound cake...fingers...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Nap Time!

A study in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory found that napping during the day improves memory.
Children fight taking naps, adults wish they had the luxury...and it appears that if they did they would be sharper for it. The study shows adults can rely on a daytime snooze to improve their mood, alertness, and memory. Napping strengthens existing memory and also reorganizes memory and catalogs information into memory networks for easy retrieval later.

Ficca, G., Axelsson, J., Mollicone, D., Muto, V., & Vitiello, M. (2010). Naps, cognition and performance Sleep Medicine Reviews, 14 (4), 249-258 

Lau, H., Tucker, M., & Fishbein, W. (2010). Daytime napping: Effects on human direct associative and relational memory Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 93 (4), 554-560

Lose the Blues, Naturally

Feeling blue yet wary of anti-depressants due to the many adverse effects? Here are some suggestions for natural mood support.

Begin with Omega 3s, (three grams a day of EPA and DHA from pure, high-quality marine sources). Be sure you are taking Omega 3s that have been tested for contaminants, the statement that they are tested for lead, mercury, PCB’s and other toxins should be right on the label.

How Omega 3s Combat Depression:   
Better levels of serotonin and phosphatidylserine. 
Increased cerebral blood flow
Reduced alcoholic brain injury 

Also take phosphatidylserine (100 mg/day). The all-natural supplement phosphatidylserine or PS, (available in natural food stores everywhere), enables the creation of billions of brand new brain cells. PS optimizes brain function, powers up your memory, and reverses the effect of stress on the brain. PS supports your brain cells ability to make more serotonin, the feel good mood lifting neurotransmitter.

Another great mood support nutrient is glutamine (one teaspoon of powder in four ounces of water per day). Glutamine is one of the few substances that passes freely across the blood brain barrier. Once in the brain, your body converts it to glutamic acid and it increases the concentration of GABA, (gamma amino butyric acid). Both glutamic acid and GABA are essential for proper mental function.
Both help to greatly relieve anxiety and brighten the mood. 

Ever reach for a cocktail to combat stress or depression? Would you like to cut back? Glutamine to the rescue here too...Because of its action in the brain, glutamine supplements have been recommended for preventing the harmful effect of alcohol on the brain and it’s widely used for reducing alcohol cravings. This makes it an ideal supplement for those who are in recovery.

Some sources describe glutamine as a “brain fuel” capable of stimulating mental alertness and clear thinking. I have seen some individuals who were working to overcome panic attacks and anxiety attacks find that supplementing with glutamine helps.

For mood balancing, take a teaspoon of glutamine powder in water when you’re feeling anxious or at times when you may be feeling a craving for alcohol.

I know people who have had success reducing symptoms of depression using one of my favorite herbs St. John’s Wort. The right dose is 300 mg, three times per day. This herb is not to be used if you’re still taking Prozac or
Zoloft. But once you’re no longer on an SSRI, you can wait two weeks and then take advantage of the herbs power to boost serotonin and lift your mood.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Kiss

Spring break 2010...oh how we loved playing with the dolphins!

Did you know that dolphins and humans are closest in brain size, their brain-body weight ratio is almost exactly the same...and dolphins have language, they see in three dimensions and with sonar...

A Veggie Juice for my BFF Bobbi

This is a recipe for my BFF Bobbi...Bobbi and Marv are dear dear friends...more like family after all of these years. ( I won't say how many.)
They have one of those rare and precious "best friend" kind of marriages..they've been together now through thick and thin..and you see them and know that they are still completely besotted..totally in love. Well it's just heartwarming...inspiring...

Bobbi has discovered juicing...on her path to vibrant health...so this recipe is for her. It is almost Spring...we are moving into the light here in the northern hemisphere...and Spring Cleaning is the order of the day..whether it is your closets or your body...

This is a juice for that task...should bring you lots of energy..lighten things up a bit..and it is delicious!

2 firm bosc pears, stemmed, cut into wedges ~ or two crisp Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples
1 3/4-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
5 medium carrots, scrubbed (about 1/2 pound), cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, trimmed, cut into 2-to 3-inch pieces
1 baby beet, trimmed, scrubbed
1/2 cup (packed) fresh italian parsley (stems and leaves)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Push pears and ginger through juice extractor. Working in batches, push carrots, celery, beet, and parsley through juice extractor. Stir in lemon juice. Divide between two 8-ounce glasses and serve.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Swiss Chard Tart

This is what I made for lunch today, I found the recipe in a Salon.com article which it turns out was adapted from a Mario Batali recipe...this is definitely one of the best, most amazing things I've ever done with steamed greens...

Swiss chard is extremely versatile, has a mild sweet yet slightly bitter flavor (similar to beets), and has large green leaves with ribs running throughout. The leaves can be smooth or curly and are attached to fleshy, crunchy white, red or yellow celery-like stalks. It is just so pretty!
Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins A and C along with calcium and magnesium.

Swiss Chard Tart

2 bunches Swiss chard
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Handful of chopped parsley
3 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup homemade bread crumbs ( Just put any good wholegrain bread in the food processor.)
¼ cup pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add two tablespoons salt.
Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and some cold water.
Cut stems off of chard. Toss the leaves into boiling water. You may have to do this in batches. Let wilt in the water for 60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and place in ice water. With your hands, squeeze out water and place chard on cutting board.
Roughly chop chard.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and sliced onions. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the chard and the parsley and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, break eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup cheese. Whisk until well mixed. Combine with cooled greens.
Lightly grease a 9-inch baking pan and place bread crumbs on the bottom, reserving some for top.
Carefully put chard and egg mixture on top of the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and the pine nuts on top.
Bake for about an hour or until golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

A Garden of Eden...for Your Skin.

When I say Apple...do you think computers? Well forget that... be thinking ageless skin. Turns out the apple does more than keep the doctor away. It can turn back the hands of time and leave you looking younger...
Yes eating apples can be extremely beneficial to one’s health. The fruit is rich in fiber and vitamin C. Apples are also packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, which can help prevent disease. But...one of the hottest trends in skin rejuvenation uses apple stem cells culled from a rare Swiss apple known for its longevity. The Uttwiler Spatlauber apple is a nearly extinct variety found only in Switzerland. Apples and even bark from this tree have an amazing ability to heal themselves if they are scraped or punctured. Once picked, the apples last for months longer than other varieties. Because of this, this apple was studied, and the source of the anti-aging and regenerative properties was found in its stem cells. Since then, these endangered apples have been cultivated, and their stem cells have been extracted for cosmetic use. Studies have shown that they help protect and repair human stem cells, which is incredible.
But it’s not just the Swiss apple stem cells that make apple a great skincare solution. No matter from where the apple is plucked, the fruity flesh is filled with nourishing ingredients. Apples contain natural exfoliants that remove dead skin cells, and they also contain components that protect the skin from harmful UV rays, prevent cell and tissue damage, and fight wrinkles and aging. Additionally, the abundance of alpha hydroxy acids, collagen, elastin, and vitamins A, B, and C aid in balancing the pH levels in the skin.
Things to try...

Emerge Skin Care Swiss Apple Stem Cell Serum: This patent-pending product boosts the production of human skin stem cells and protects them from stress, thus decreasing wrinkles and producing younger looking skin. www.emergeskincare.com or Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Swiss-Apple-Stem-Cell-Serum/dp/B001E8QF3I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=beauty&qid=1298994014&sr=1-1

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Apple Brightening Serum and Peel

EmerginC Scientific Organics Phytocell Serum

Monday, February 28, 2011

Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deb Madison

Have a look at this gorgeous book! The fabulous, local-food expert and prolific cookbook writer Deb Madison,brings us a beautiful seasonally inspired dessert cookbook. 

I don't often make time for a dessert, so I really love that these recipes are easy...you don’t have to be a pastry chef. And since we all need to eat more fruit, these desserts feature simple, perfectly ripe fruit: fruits with cheese, simple tarts and cobblers, fruits with fresh herbs.... Her friendly writing makes you feel as if you've been in her kitchen many times....you'll feel right at home.

Here it is on Amazon.com


Researcher: Roundup or Roundup-Ready Crops May Be Causing Animal Miscarriages and Infertility

One of the nation’s senior soil scientists alerted the federal government to a newly discovered organism that may have the potential to cause infertility and spontaneous abortion in farm animals, raising significant concerns about human health.  Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, believes the appearance and prevalence of the unnamed organism may be related to the nation’s over reliance on the weed killer known as Roundup and/or to something about the genetically engineered Roundup-Ready crops. In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the professor called on the federal government to immediately stop deregulation of roundup ready crops, particularly roundup ready alfalfa.

Read the full story at the Organic Consumer's Association website