Posts tagged ‘new york times’

Gluten Free NYC

I’m sure you’ve seen the words “gluten free” touted on food packages and maybe even on  restaurant menus. After all, gluten is THE buzz word in the health world now. We’ve been through low fat, then sugar free, then low cholestorol…and now we’ve arrived at gluten. But I assure you, gluten sensitivity is a very serious issue if it applies to you.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, gluten is a particular protein found in wheat products that many people are sensitive to. What can result (in varying degrees, from mild to extremely severe) is celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats that are not manufactured in a separate facility. The disease is also one of malabsorption, because as the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged and inflamed, nutrients are not able to be absorbed into the blood stream. This can lead to many problems as I’m sure you can imagine.

If you know anyone who has celiac disease, this is no joke. Gluten can be found almost everywhere and in everything, from pasta sauces, beer, broth, toothpaste and even some makeup. Check out this site for a more comprehensive list of where gluten can lurk…it’s pretty wild!

According to, celiac disease is 4x more prevalent NOW than it was 50 years ago, and only 5% of people who have this disease are aware of it. Scary! Symptoms of the disease include gastrointestinal upset like diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, infertility, and osteoperosis, among many others. So it’s easy to understand why individuals might not think they have the disease.

There are many who do not get severe symptoms like the above, but nonetheless feel better when they don’t eat gluten. I know I do. The best way to find out for yourself is to experiment. For one week, cut out all gluten from your diet and see how you feel! If you suspect a gluten intolerance, please visit your doctor.

New York City restaurants, ever so trendy, have picked up on the growing gluten-free market. So now, it is not all uncommon to visit a restaurant and see a separate gluten free menu.  Go New York!  If you’re interested in finding these places, check out these links from the New York Times here.

Please post a comment if you’ve been to any of these restaurants and share your experience!

July 1, 2010 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

All the Recipes Fit to Print

articleLargeChances are, if you’re a healthy eater, you cook. Whether or not you LIKE to cook is a different story, but successful healthy eaters know that preparing their own food is not only super nutritious (after all, you control exactly what goes into your food preparation), but also extremely nourishing.

I love to cook. I’m not great, by any means, but I can follow a recipe easily enough. And I LOVE to find new receipes. I own TONS of cookbooks. However, I only actually make about 5% of the recipes I find. For me, it’s more about the hunt of finding the perfect butternut squash soup, the most delictable preparation of kale. Whether or not I actually prepare the dish is inconsequential to me…as long as I know the recipe is out there and exists (for when I actually might want to make it) I am happy. I guess you could call it “recipe porn.”  (And if “food porn” is totally your think you absolutely must, must check out Swoon!)

So, imagine my delight when I was trolling the New York Times Fitness & BNutrition section and came across a cornucopia of recipes from the Times. Man, these recipes are AWESOME, plus they’re super healthy, and divided by category, like pantry items, canned tuna, artichokes, and walnuts. Cha-ching, and schwing!

Here’s a recipe for simply preparing collard greens, my favorite leafy green of the moment. (And by the way, the book Greens, Glorious Greens is a MUST for any healthy cook)

Braised Collard Greens by Martha Rose Shulman of the New York Times

The Southern way with collard greens is to cook them for at least an hour, usually more, with a ham hock or bacon for seasoning. This is very nice, but the pork contributes a lot of sodium and some fat to the dish. I find that onion and lots of garlic, along with a little crushed red pepper, are seasoning enough, as collards have a lot of flavor to begin with. An hour of cooking may seem excessive, but you’ll see how their flavor changes from bitter to almost sweet over the long simmer. The greens are nice with a squeeze of lemon.

1 large bunch collard greens, about 1 1/2 pounds, stemmed and washed in 2 changes of water

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, sliced very thin across the grain

2 to 4 garlic cloves, green shoots removed, sliced thin

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the collard greens. Blanch for four minutes and transfer to the ice water with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Drain, squeeze out extra water and coarsely chop or cut in thin ribbons. Set aside the cooking water.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a wide, lidded skillet or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the collard greens, and stir together for a few minutes, then add 1 cup of the cooking water and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and simmer over low heat for one hour, stirring often and adding more cooking water from time to time, so that the greens are always simmering in a small amount of liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or warm, with a little fresh lemon juice if desired.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: You can make this dish up to a day ahead and reheat in a little water or broth.

November 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm 1 comment

To Diet or Not to Diet

diets are meanI read an interesting article in the Styles section of the New York Times this morning, titled “Tossing Out the Diet and Embracing the Fat” by Mandy Katz. Katz shares a trend that is gaining movement in the dieting world—the practice of anti-dieting.  Proponents of anti-dieting have spent years and years on unsuccessful diets, only to end up at the weight they started at (or even heavier). They’re fed up with dieting! According to Katz:

This movement — a loose alliance of therapists, scientists and others — holds that all people, ‘even’ fat people, can eat whatever they want and, in the process, improve their physical and mental health and stabilize their weight. The aim is to behave as if you have reached your “goal weight” and to act on ambitions postponed while trying to become thin, everything from buying new clothes to changing careers. Regular exercise should be for fun, not for slimming.”

Anti-diets celebrate the body in every form and reject the uber-skinny body shape that women (and men) feel pressure to achieve.  Foods should not be labeled “good” or “bad,” and guilt is a dirty 5-letter word. Exercise should be enjoyable, with FITNESS as the goal, not weight loss.  In essence, the anti-diet movement seeks to liberate those that have been slaves to diets and meal plans, and allows them to say “fuck it” and truly savor life with no restrictions.

I was pleased to hear that women (and men) are starting to shun diets and a backlash to the multi-billion dollar diet industry is slowly being created.  People are finally understanding that DIETS. DON’T. WORK. Period. Exclamation point! I’ve spent most of my life on diets, feeling guilty for eating dessert, being self-conscious when I was younger because I was heavier than most of my friends, and experiencing an overall dislike for my body.  It was only when I decided in college that I was sick of being unhappy, and I wanted to be happy again, that I began to lose weight.  In the past couple of years, I’ve worked VERY hard to re-wire my brain to focus on acceptance, love, and eliminating the words “good” and “bad” when referring to food. It’s a daily struggle, but I’m getting there.

 A friend recently asked what I thought of her new 6-week diet plan she created for herself, consisting of grapefruit 3x a day and scarcely any carbs. I told her, right away, that it scared me-it was impractical, unsafe, and she was guaranteed to fail. It reminded me of the diets I used to put myself on. And ridiculous diets like those have given rise to this new non-diet movement-so hooray for that!

 I understand the absolute freedom it brings to say to Suzanne Somers and Dr Phil “Take your diet and shove it!” To be able to enjoy a cupcake because you want something sweet. Or to enjoy a salad on a hot summer day because you just want it—not because it’s low in calories. And studies show that people who are not on strict diets are just plain ol’ happier. I know I am (I’ve spent many years miserable, but very thin. I’d rather have a little extra padding and be happier!)

 On the flip side, however, there may be some issues raised with the non-diet diet.  It doesn’t give you license to throw caution into the wind, to eat whatever you want, whenever you want (although that may happen at first, as it did to me when I stopped truly dieting). Experts such as Dr. Walter Willet are concerned that the anti-diet approach will make people think they have the green light to eat in excess, giving rise to more weight issues in this country.  I know in my case, although I’ve made huge strides in my eating, I have implemented guidelines for myself to keep my weight in a healthy range, like no second helpings and not eating (or trying not to) after 8pm.  

So, I am support of the anti-diet, as long as a high level of health and wellness is maintained.  IF someone starts gaining lots of weight, feels poorly, and starts having digestion issues, for example, that is when a closer look should be taken at the non-diet approach. Really, what matters in the art of eating is noticing how you feel when you consume certain foods and finding what works well for your body. And just like me, that may include setting up certain guidelines to help you feel your best. It’s the only approach that works, I promise you. 

In the end, to diet or not to diet is a personal preference. More importantly, however, what matters in life is that you love yourself and savor each and every single delicious bite of your big juicy life.

July 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm 1 comment

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