Sunday, January 25, 2009

Twittering Here, Twittering There

Given that I have been ultrabusy with studying and passing my holistic nutrition courses, and of course cooking, exercising, and living life, I have decided to post blogging articles once every other week, or as often as I can get to them. In the meantime, I am more available on twitter as @realfood2health. Don't know about twitter? Just go to and sign up! You can find me at Check it out. I give out tips at least a few times a day, plus you get a more intimate view of what goes on in my life -- at least more often than I post here!

More to come on this blog, as I embrace "progress not perfection" in my life. Thanks!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Since Kale is SO popular right now...

I had to add another kale recipe (just so I have a record of it here for ME) that I really enjoyed yesterday. Thanks to Elana at Elana's Pantry. I first came across her website went I went searching for either gluten-free food or paleo food. It just so happens that her website is both! And, she has some fantastic recipes, so go check it out.

Yesterday, I modified Elana's version of her Raw Kale Salad to use what I had on hand. It was fantastic! I took the leftovers to an inaugural ball-watching party last night, and everyone (there happened to be alot of vegetarians in the room!) loved it! I did not think it was possible to like kale raw, but this did it for me. Hope you try it out!

1 bunch kale
1 T best extra-virgin olive oil you can buy
1/4 tsp sea salt (I use RealSalt)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Juice from one lemon (or half of a really juice lemon)
1 T minced sweet onion
1 orange, peeled, seeded, and cut into sections

1. Cut kale into noodle-skinny pieces. I leave the stems on and cut width-wise. The little stem pieces add crunch.
2. Put kale, olive oil, and salt in a bowl and mix. Make sure all kale pieces get covered. Let bowl site for a 5-10 minutes to soften.
3. Add vinegar, lemon juice, onion, and orange segments. Let bowl site another 5-10 minutes.
4. Eat and enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Have you challenged yourself today?

Here's my challenge, that I will share with all of you so maybe you can participate with me as well. I wanted to see what would happen after a full month of "sticking to it". The challenge to myself is to eat whole foods for 30 days. Whole foods to me means mostly colorful vegetables, some fruits, some protein, and some fats. To me, these are "primal" foods, such that our ancestors would have eaten before the agricultural age began.

Colorful vegetables - eggplants, kale, spinach, broccoli, you name it. Cauliflower and maybe those white asparagus that I never buy are the only exceptions that still work.

Fruits - mainly berries for me since they are low on the glycemic index. Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries. If I have an apple, I'll eat one quarter to one half of an apple, never the whole.

Proteins - fish, turkey, chicken, shellfish, and beef, in that order.

Fats - raw, cold-pressed olive oil for uncooked foods. Light olive oil for cooked foods.

I had the idea to start day 1 on Sunday, but I ended up eating leftovers yesterday that had beans. I'd rather eat leftovers than waste food, so I am starting today on Day 1 again. I will have to take measurements as a baseline and see how things progress over the next 30 days. Want to share this experience with me? Let me know how it goes for you too!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Meet my new friend, Kim Chi

Doesn't it sound like a girl's name? Meet my new friend Kim, Kim Chi. I'm not sure if it's really kimchi or kim chi or kim chee, but any way, it's a pretty odd food if you didn't grow up with it. Although I am not of Korean descent, my mom spent every once in a while making kimchi. I distinctly remember the *smell* more than anything. It stunk and how! That may be enough to make you turn and run. But, for those of you adventurous enough, try this out!

There are plenty of different recipes out there, the more complicated ones are for you cooking freaks. I prefer to keep things simple and this recipe below was easy enough for me to make and didn't involve too many ingredients. I pulled this recipe from a book called Nourishing Traditions, one of my favorite cookbooks! If you want a cookbook that offers real_food recipes, this is definitely one to consider. It could turn your whole food world upside down.

But, before the recipe, here are the reasons why kimchi is so good for you:

  • If you make it yourself, kimchi is a real food (be careful with store-bought versions with MSG or other not-so-good-for-you food additives) and can be customized to your needs (for those of you with allergies, mild to blazing your butt off hot, etc.)

  • Fermented kimchi adds Lactobacilli bacteria and digestive enzymes to help your digestive tract do its work properly.

  • Those of you who have a "gassier" time eating cabbage may have an easier time eating kimchi because of the fermentation.

  • Cabbage is rich in calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll, folic acid, vitamin C, selenium, sulfur, and chlorine.

  • Cabbage is loaded with indoles, dithiolethiones, isothiocynates, and sulforaphanes, which are all cancer-fighting nutrients.

  • Spicy, hot foods have been shown to burn more calories than non-spicy foods.

  • It is one of the lowest calorie foods you can eat PLUS fiber.

  • Use kimchi as an appetizer, which will help fill you up so you eat less for your main meal.

  • It's veggies that you can use to add to your Veggie Total of the Day!

NOTE: people who have hypothyroidism should consume cabbage in moderation as it may interfere with the proper function of the thyroid!

1 Head napa cabbage, cored & shredded
1 Bunch green onions, chopped
1 C carrots, grated
1/2C Daikon radish, grated (optional, but I like!)
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 Cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1/2 Teaspoon dried chili flakes (this is MILD, you can add more but be warned!)
1 Tablespoon sea salt (I like RealSalt)
4 Tablespoons homemade whey** (see below, if not available, use an additional 1 Tablespoon sea salt)

Place everything in a big bowl, mix, and pound with meat hammer to release juices (I just used my washed hands to squish the big pieces). Place in a quart-sized sealable container and mix well. You should see juices starting to come out of the vegetables within the first half hour and the mixture should start shrinking in size. Whatever container you are using, make sure that the kimchi is at least 1" below the lid and that all pieces are touching the liquid. Leave on your kitchen counter for three days, then promptly move the container into the fridge.

Enjoy a little bit each day, as an appetizer or side dish to your main meal. Aside from the cabbage and the salt, the rest of the ingredients are highly customizable, so experiment. If you strongly dislike the smell but like the benefits, say to yourself "food as medicine", chew, and swallow! A little kimchi a day can keep the doctor away.

** Homemade whey means homemade whey from scratch, not whey powder bought from the store. I will post the NT's recipe for whey some time into the near future. Lacto-fermentation was how people preserved food old-school style, before refrigeration and technology. If you don't have homemade whey, use the extra salt instead. Either way, it will turn out great!

Photo courtesy of foodista on flickr.

A new Orange County Organic Food Buying Club

Calling all you locals and locavores!

Disa is starting up a new organic food buying club in Orange County. I was not aware of one before, although there are a few CSA programs around. Basically, the idea is that you pay money up front and get better pricing on organic, seasonal, local food every week. The club is new so there are a few kinks being worked out, but without your help, the group can't grow (or get better prices!). Please help us out!

You can find details at

The current pick-up location is Santiago Park in Santa Ana, near the new Mothers Market.

I personally would like this to be successful because I would like cheaper organic produce and a chance to meet like-minded individuals, so please pass the word around! THANKS!

Monday, January 5, 2009

And you thought you couldn't eat another chip!

Could I be telling you that you can have your chip and eat it too? Yes, I am! Of course, we're not talking about the chips that I know you're thinking about (as in potato chips, chocolate chips, or French fries if you're eating fried seafood!). I am talking about your nutrient-packed friend, KALE!

Perhaps you have never eaten kale before (let alone kale chips). That's OK. It's most likely waiting at your local grocery store, camoflauged against all the other greens in the vegetable section. It is a funky looking veggie, with curly leaves and sometimes a purplish green color. This is one of the best greens you can eat -- it'll "do your body good."

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you why kale is so good for you and why it's on my list of top 10 foods to eat.

  • Kale is packed with calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K.
  • It is a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids (remember beta-carotene from carrots?) that help prevent vision problems caused by macular degeneration.
  • It contains plant nutrients called indoles that have been shown to prevent breast, cervical, and colon cancer.
  • The sulforaphane in kale is also known to be a major cancer fighter.
  • You can eat a whole cup and laugh at the minimal amount of calories!
And, why are kale chips good? They are fairly quick to make. They're also crunchy and can help fill that void you may have if you have stopped eating popcorn and potato chips. One of my personal vices is eating potato chips (one of the few fried foods that doesn't have soy, my archenemy), but now my friend kale may do the trick when I need to nosh.

The recipe I found is on while I was madly searching for ways to use up lemons from my monster lemon tree. I pretty much inhaled the resulting crispy leaves. Yes, the "chips" will be green and no, they will not taste exactly like potato chips. But, I promise you, your body will thank you later!

-One bunch of kale, or more if you really like it!
-olive oil
-sea salt (I prefer to use RealSalt - once you use it, you can't go back to regular salt!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Remove and discard the thick stems. You'll only want to use the leafy parts. Tear them into bite-size pieces. Wash them in a salad spinner and spin them dry. Lay them on a large cookie tray in a single layer (large pieces or multiple layers will not cook evenly). Drizzle evenly with some olive oil and sea salt. Stick in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until they are crispy and the edges are light brown. Do not leave them in too long or they will burn!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Blueberries - the only blue food you need

Actually, I'm not sure if there are that many other blue foods out there! But blueberries are definitely worth being on your top 10 fruits.

If you're concerned about aging, blueberries are one of the best foods you can eat. They have special nutrients called polyphenols that help turn on neurons in your brain so that your brain can function more efficiently. Blueberries also have a phytonutrient (plant nutrient) called anthocyanin that is an antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory and is known to help improve eyestrain, night vision, and macular degeneration. Inflammation and stress caused by oxidation help age the body. Blueberries can also help prevent plaque build-up in your arteries.

Wild blueberries (remember, minimally processed, i.e., minimally enhanced by man) are the best ones to eat. Those of you lucky enough to have wild blueberries growing locally, have at it! For the rest of us, adding blueberries in our diets is a great thing to do. Eat them in their simple form: whole and fresh, or even frozen. Frozen blueberries make great icy little snacks if you haven't tried. That's my favorite way to eat them. No need to add sugar - keep it simple!

Photo courtesy of jenniewoo on flickr

New Year, New Start to a new...

No, not diet. It's a new start to another blog! I know, it's the third one, but sometimes another new push of motivation helps... as well as a new year.

My diet is simple. I eat real food. I love real food. My body loves real food. When I eat processed food of just about any kind, my body boycotts. No, I'm not an angel (even though I would like to think of myself as one!) nor am I on a strict militaristic regimen, but I do try to maintain eating mostly real food every day.

My hope in restarting my blog is gaining new focus around health and being able to help others while I continue my journey to good health. Future posts will describe healthy foods you may have never eaten before (although hopefully you have!), as well as why we should eat those foods.

I am on my journey to my masters degree in holistic nutrition. I feel that health needs to be looked at holistically, with analysis into foods, stress, emotions, physical activity, etc. There is alot to cover! And I hope to cover it all here.

So, welcome!