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Filtering by Category: Food & Drinks

Basic Organics: Starting From the Top

Annmarie Rodriguez

     

By Annmarie Rodriguez |

The average person's supermarket experience has evolved into quite the quest. After a day filled with endless choices, the idea of having to make yet another one can seem daunting. I often find myself standing in front of a wide array of colorful cans trying to decide whether to buy the $2.89 can of tomatoes or the $2.99 one. I'm then posed with the simple but equally daunting question: organic or conventional?

By the time we reach adulthood, we've heard countless facts and myths about nutrition that make figuring out the best option exhausting. But, there's hope. Here are some helpful insights for venturing back through those supermarket doors. 

Choosing to purchase an organic product is more than simply buying a particular fruit or vegetable. By buying organic, you are supporting a particular process, which affects farmers, land and nutrition.

Land used to grow organic produce is held to higher USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] standards than conventional farms. Organic farms meet standards that provide benefits to both future generations and wildlife. The production of organic foods reduces the use of pesticides and eliminates the use of GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in and on foods. 

These details may feel far removed or disconnected from our everyday lives. It's hard to fully grasp the importance of this choice when many of us are far from farm life. It's the classic 'out of sight, out of mind' idea. We at deliberateLIFE are trying to bring it back into view. We believe it's something worth talking about. 

Pause for a moment and try to visualize the actual farms. You can even go visit one! Take your family, a friend, a nephew or niece and check out what an organic farm looks like and why it's valuable to both our personal health and environmental sustainability. 

Many people (USDA included) refer to buying organic produce as a 'gateway' into other healthy habits. Research has begun to persuade people that organic foods contain higher levels of nutrients than conventional foods. Researchers at UC Davis discovered that organic tomatoes produced more flavonoids, Vitamin C, and phytochemicals than conventional tomatoes did. 

Phytochemicals exist in a variety of foods, and are considered to help with disease protection. Within the umbrella group of phytochemicals, flavonoids are the most diverse sub-group. Flavonoids are thought to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cardiovascular benefits, to name a few. 

Because buying organic produce supports better land maintenance, animal treatment, and pesticide reduction, We the Deliberate believe that it is a choice worth making. Buying organic transforms the mundane and potentially tedious task of grocery shopping into a do-good opportunity.

So next time you walk through those oh-so-familiar doors, take a deep breath. Don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy being informed and living well.  

What's Consuming Our Fresh Water Supply?

Annmarie Rodriguez

By Annmarie Rodriguez 

When attempting to live a more water-conscious life, many of us automatically think of taking shorter showers, turning the faucet off while brushing our teeth or letting our lawns brown. These are all worth while tips! However, after writing our Making Water Conservation The Norm post, I continued researching and came upon some astonishing numbers.

Many people are unaware of how much water is used to produce certain foods. According to the Department of Water Engineering and Management from the University of Twente, 

Agricultural production takes the largest share, accounting for 92% of the global WF [water footprint].

Below is a comprehensive list containing the amount of water (per gallon) required to produce particular foods (per pound). We have also included tips on how to change eating habits in order to save water, care for ourselves and care for the earth. 

Meats 

  • Beef requires 1,847 gallons of water per pound. 
  • Pork: 718 gal/lb. 
  • Chicken: 518 gal/lb. 

Nuts 

  • Almonds: 1,929 gal/lb. 
    • This number is especially relevant for California where 80% of the world's supply of almonds are produced. This fact, coupled with it's increasing demand, have added difficulties to ending California's drought. 
  • Cashews: 1,704 gal/lb. 
  • Pistachios: 1,362 gal/lb.
  • Hazelnuts & Walnuts: 1,260 gal/lb. 

Sweets 

  • Vanilla Beans 15,159 gal/lb. 
    • Keep in mind, vanilla beans are often used in very small proportions. 
  • Chocolate: 2,061 gal/lb. 
  • Cocoa powder: 1,874 gal/lb.

Vegetables 

  • Artichokes: 98 gal/lb. 
  • Eggplant: 43 gal/lb.
  • Cucumbers: 42 gal/lb.
  • Broccoli: 34 gal/lb. 
  • Lettuce: 28 gal/lb.
  • Tomato: 26 gal/lb. 

*Tips of the trade:

Work on developing trends in your eating habits.

  • Eat less animal products and processed foods. Instead, eat more plant products. This will help you save water and eat well.

Spring Recipe Ideas: What To Make

Annmarie Rodriguez

There are a plethora of tasty fruits and vegetables that are ready for the picking this time of year, as you may have seen in our two previous spring-spirited posts. Here to help you utilize your knowledge of what's in season, we've composed a list of recipes from simple to more complex. Prep time & cook time: 2 minutes to 2 hours. It all really depends on you. 

Simple Recipes 

Pineapple Salsa

Total Time: 10-15 minutes  There are a plethora of tasty fruits and vegetables that are ready for the picking this time of year, as you may have seen in our two previous spring-spirited posts. 

Here to help you utilize you r knowledge of what's in season, we've composed a list of recipes from simple to more complex. Prep time & cook time: 2 minutes to 2 hours. It all really depends on you. 

In a bowl, mix the following ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

[Recipe brought to you by Whole Foods]

Fresh Peas With Lettuce & Green Garlic Recipe   

Serving Size: 4 people 

Total Time: approx. 10-15 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 5 small stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen green peas
  • 2 small heads butter lettuce (about 6 oz.), washed, cored, and torn into large pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper 

Directions

Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat; add garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add peas and cook until bright green and tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in remaining butter, along with lettuce and 1 tbsp. water, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat. Stir until lettuce is just wilted, about 1 minute.

Apple Salad (Contains Celery)

Prep Time: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour & 15 minutes 

Ingredients 

  • 2 large apples diced (Honey crisp recommended)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar 

Directions

  1. Place apples, celery and walnuts in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir mayonnaise and sugar until smooth.
  3. Pour mayonnaise over apples/celery/walnuts and mix well.  
  4. Four the best taste, refrigerate 1 hour before serving.*Tip of the trade: 

*Tip of the trade: the recipe can be easily doubled, if you would like more of this tasty goodness.  

 [Recipe brought to you by Ann Drake]

Recipes that Requires More TLC ~ Time Looking and Cooking 

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie

Serving Size: Makes 1 smoothie

Total Time: 5-15 minutes 

Filled with delectable fruits of the season, you can feel happy about both the health benefits and flavor packed into this smoothie. 

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple (fresh in juice recommended)
  • 1/2-1 cup ice cube
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
    • Want to make it vegan or lactose-free friendly? Swap out the skim milk for almond, soy, or rice milk.

Fill the blender with all this refreshing ingredients and blend until the liquid has smoothed.

Feel free to alter the ice input based on desired consistency--thinner or thicker. 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This recipe is a healthy make-over of a family favorite recipe. 

Serving size: makes 5 cups 

Ingredients 

  • 2 (14 oz) cans artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1(10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry 
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt 
  • 1 (8 oz) block 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened and cut in 1/2" cubes 
  • 1 (8 oz) block fat-free cream cheese, softened and cut in 1/2" cubes 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced (optional garnish)

Directions 

Slow Cooker Method: Coat the slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients except the red bell pepper. Stir to combine, cover and cook until heated through. 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours on high, 3 to 4 hours on low. [Recipe can be doubled]. 

Oven Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Set aside half of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. In a large bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients but the red bell pepper. Spoon mixture into greased or sprayed 1& 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining cheeses. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes of until bubbly and golden. 

To Serve: Sprinkle cooked dip with diced red pepper, if desired. Serve warm with crackers, tortilla chips, pita chips, crostini, or raw vegetables. 

[Recipe by Yummy Life]

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Serving Size: 8 people

Total Time: 2 hours (1 to prep, 1 to cook)

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • looking for a healthy alternative? Try Arrowroot!
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie
  • 1 egg beaten for glaze
  • sugar (optional) 

Directions 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 

Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch of arrowroot, lemon juice and cinnamon in a bowl. 

  1. On lightly floured surface, roll our half of the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate. 
  2. Spoon in the filling from the bowl.
  3. Roll our the pastry for top crust: using pastry wheel or knife, cut into 1-inch wide strips. 
  4. Beat eff and brush pastry rim with some of the egg. 
  5. Gently weave strips over the pic to form lattice; trim and flute the edge. 
  6. Brush lattice with the rest of the beaten egg. Sprinkle top with sugar if using. 
  7. Bake on a baking sheet with the sides in the oven for 15 minutes. 

*Tip of the trade: If you do not have a cookie sheet handy, make a drip catcher out of foil paper, larger than the bottom of thepie plate, and place it under the pie plate and up the sides loosely. 

  1. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes more or until rhubarb is tender, filling is thickened and crust is golden. 
  2. Let the pie cool off for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting. 
  3. Enjoy the nutrient-rich ingredients and taste! 
[Recipe from Canadian Living Magazine; May 1993]

Spring Time Vegetables

Annmarie Rodriguez

By Annmarie Rodriguez 

‘Eat your vegetables!’ may be an expression echoing through your head from childhood. Since it's a familiar expression, it can be easy to dismiss. Yet, to make consistent healthy choices it’s important to cultivate a deeper understanding of why eating certain vegetables can be valuable.

Similar to our ‘Spring Time Fruits’ post, we have researched and compiled a list of various vegetables that are in their peak season during spring. The list includes their nutritional value.

Our hope is that this will help you shop, cook and eat well.  

Vegetables In Season

Rhubarb is often used as a fruit, but is technically a vegetable. It is available year-round, but grows with greater variety from April through July. It contains a good source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese.

*Important to note: rhubarb stalks are the only part of the plant that you should eat.

Asparagus are in their prime during April; however, their full season lasts from February through June. This vegetable contains numerous health benefits due to its many nutrients, including: fiber, folate, Vitamin A, antioxidants (Vitamin C, E, minerals: manganese and selenium).They are high in gluthanthione, which is a 'detoxifying compound' that helps our bodies fight off harmful substances like free radicals.

*Fun fact: Asparagus comes in three colors—green, purple and white. 

Spinach is often referred to as an ultra-healthy 'power' vegetable. If you've ever seen Popeye, a cartoon series from the 1930s, you know what I'm talking about. Popeye, the protagonist, eats a can of spinach in times of need and quickly bulges with muscles and strength. Although you may not gain superhuman strength by eating a can of it, spinach is in fact an incredibly nutritious vegetable. It contains large amounts of Vitamin K which helps our bodies maintain bone health.  It also contains a wonderful supply of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. It is available year-round, but is in season during the spring from March to June. 

*Tip of the trade when cooking spinach: It doesn’t hurt to put a little more spinach in your pan than you might think. Spinach has a large water content which causes it to shrink.

Artichokes are at their peak season from March to May. Artichokes contain a rich nestle of nutrients, which include: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, folate, and great amounts of fiber (about 10 grams for a medium sized artichoke). They hold anti-inflammatory antioxidants within their green, round and slightly spiky exterior.  

*Fun fact: California grows close to 100% of all of the artichokes in the U.S.

Green Garlic is a young form of garlic that looks like green onion because of its stalk. It is in season from February to June. When eaten fresh, green garlic helps boost your immune system due to the allicin it contains, which also gives garlic its strong smell. Because of this, it helps prevent both the cold and flu. 

Peas are in season from April to November. You can eat them cold or warm, whole or just the peas without the pod. In addition to their versatility in consumption, peas are low in calories, and high in protein and fiber. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to the following nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, antioxidant mineral zinc, and alpha-linolenic acid (through which peas provide Omega-3 fat). They also contain pisumsaponins I & II along with pisomosides A & B. 

Celery is in season from April to December. Celery is filled with healthy content. It contains Vitamin A, C, E, D, B6, B12, K, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, and fiber. All these nutrients gathered together in this green stalk-y vegetable to provide the following health benefits: reduced blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, reduced inflammation (around joints, in the lungs due to asthma, and the like), and it's good for your eyes (due to its Vitamin A content) and soothes your nervous system which means: stress relief! 

*Tip of the trade: It will retain more of its great nutrients if it is freshly chopped. If you're going to chop it up, do so the same day as consumption. 

 

 

[Photograph by David Marsden. Photo Library: Getty Images] 

Spring Time Fruits

Annmarie Rodriguez

For those of us near the west coast, spring is finally here. This means new colors, warmer weather, and new fruits and vegetables.

For your spring know-how, we have compiled a list of fruits that are at their peak during this time of year.

What's In Season

Strawberries are accessible all year-round, but hit their most prime season from April to June.  Health wise, they have a good source of fiber, manganese and potassium. They are also high in vitamin C which is an antioxidant and helps promote immunity.

Sweet Cherries are only available during the late spring and early summer so eat up while you can! These juicy delights are high in potassium and fiber, low in calories.

Pineapples are best during April to May. The Hawaiian ones are considered the freshest, especially those marked with a ‘Jet Fresh’ tag on them. This means (as one might insinuate from the tag) that they were flown over (if you’re not in Hawaii) by a jet and are only 2-3 days old—in terms of when they were plunked from their plant. That’s right! Pineapples come from leafy plants, not trees.

Oranges: Navel, Blood, and Valencia Oranges are currently in season. Navel Oranges are in peak season from March to April, and Blood Oranges are in their prime only during March. Valencia Oranges, often referred to as summer oranges are actually in season as early as March until August. These fruits are a great source of vitamin C, a good source of B Vitamins (including: B1, pantothenic acid and folate), Vitamin A, calcium, copper, and potassium.

Grapefruit are in season from winter to early spring. They are high in Vitamin C and contain the antioxidant lycopene (only found in pink and red grapefruit). Lycopene has a high ability to help fight off oxygen free radicals which damage cells. 


When you choose to buy and eat what is in season, you support our environment and your own health. Enjoy!

Chocolate Made the Loving Way

Annmarie Rodriguez

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When one thinks of the most typical Valentine's Day gifts, chocolates immediately come to mind and not just every day chocolates, but boxes of beautifully presented, specialty chocolates that, when given, will communicate love at best, or fulfill cultural expectations at least. According to a 2009 Nielsen report, Americans purchased around 58 million pounds (over $345 million USD) of Valentine's Day chocolates prior to the holiday!

Although chocolate has a long history of notoriety, there is a bitter side to its sweet story. Just as slavery is known to exist in the production of cotton, steel, oriental rugs, diamonds and silk, cocoa production also lends itself to exploitative labor. Child labor and bonded slaves are often used in the harvesting of the cacao pods. According to a US government-funded study, over 1.8 million children work in West Africas cacao industry. Many of these children are subject to unsafe working conditions. This unsavory reality has stirred activists and businesses alike to seek solutions.

Consumers who wish to enjoy guilt-free treats now have many options available to them. Possibly the easiest way to ensure that your chocolate is ethically produced is to buy Fair Trade certified products. The Fair Trade certified label guarantees that the farmers who were involved in growing the raw materials in your chocolate receive fair prices for their crops. It also ensures that slave labor and child labor were not used during the production cycle. You can check out Fair Trade USAs website for a list of chocolate manufacturers.

It is important to note, however, that there are companies making ethically sourced produces that, for financial reasons, choose to forgo the Fair Trade certification process. These companies may choose to develop relationships directly with farmers, monitor their own supply chain and label their products ‘direct trade’ or ‘ethically’ made. The benefit of direct trade, some argue, is that producers can pay higher prices to farmers due to the savings incurred by not going through the certification process.

While we at deliberateLIFE are strongly in favor of producers receiving the best possible price, we do encourage supporting companies that undergo external evaluation of their supply chain to maintain transparency.

Note: Organic products are definitely better for the environment and for one’s health, but it’s important to note that ‘organic’ is not synonymous with ‘slave-free’.

7 Tips on Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

Fay Johnson

The holidays are a time of joy for some, stress for others, and lots of food for most. But with a little planning and keeping moderation in mind, the holiday season can be a healthy season too. Here are 7 tips for managing your wellness and weight over the holidays, from Dietician Allison Evanson:

1: Moderation, moderation, moderation – From the Thanksgiving table to office parties, unhealthy foods are likely to surround you this holiday season.  When you decide to indulge, keep the portion small and really enjoy it – remember, one cookie will not add the pounds, but the same can’t be said for frequent treats throughout the holiday season.

2: Save Splurges for the Best – Avoid eating foods that don’t make the grade – if something indulgent isn’t great, put it down and save those calories for something that you can really savor.

3: Be Alcohol Aware – Not only does alcohol contain calories, but the more you drink the less likely you are to make good eating decisions.  Try alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic sugar-free beverages (water, unsweetened tea, etc).

4: Be Buffet Smart – Holiday buffets can be dangerous because of the number of high-fat and high-sugar items available.  Try to fill ½ of your plate with fruits and/or veggies, ¼ with lean protein, and the remaining ¼ with a starchy side.  Decide what you want before filling your plate, so you don’t end up with a scoop of everything!

5: Breakfast is Still the Most Important Part of the Day – It is ok to eat a little lighter during the day if you know you are going to have a big meal in the evening.  However, try not to skip eating altogether, which is likely to cause overeating later in the day.

6: Keep Goals Realistic – If you have been working to lose weight, realize that a good goal for the holidays may be to maintain your weight.

7: Keep Exercising – Exercise can help work off those special treats as well as keep stress at bay.  From walking with family to making time for your regular exercise routine, regular physical activity is good for mind and body.

_____

Allison Evanson, MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian who works with patients to improve their lifestyle habits for disease prevention, weight loss, and health improvement. Allison helps patients find realistic and sustainable ways to incorporate healthy eating into everyday life. Have questions? Feel free to reach out to her here.

Doctor's Orders: Mindful Eating at the Thanksgiving Table

Fay Johnson

By Dr. Larry Burchett |

I love Thanksgiving.  Dipping turkey with stuffing into cranberry sauce is one of my favorites.  I must have inherited my father’s affinity for pumpkin pie, too.  Legend has it his grandmother made 1 pie for his 4 siblings, and 1 pie for just him.  Few moments are as blissful as the post Thanksgiving lunch slumber/coma on the couch where tryptophan intoxication enables me to nostalgically construct my Christmas wish list (I’m in my 30s), with some irrelevant football game in the background.

Then there’s the scale on Monday afterwards—talk about a walk of shame, from couch coma to that electronic reality checker.  When I was younger (20s and below), I didn't gain much weight despite competing in the annual family Overeaters Anonymous competition at our holiday table.  But once I passed 30 and the ol’ metabolism changed, I could literally see the turkey migrate from my stomach to setup a semi-permanent residence on my belly.

Interestingly, studies have shown that many people aren’t aware that they’ve eaten too much until one thing—they have to loosen their pants. Literally. Until we have eaten so much that we no longer fit in our regular clothing. 

When it comes to holiday meals, I think we have simple wants:

  • To enjoy food
  • To enjoy family time, people
  • To be comatose on the couch so we don’t have to watch the Dallas Cowboys (does anybody still play Romo in Fantasy Football???)

I think it would be safe to assume that there are simple things we don’t want:

  • To gain weight over the holidays
  • To feel hungry or unsatisfied
  • To feel guilty about enjoying a nice meal

Did I miss anything?  Maybe you have other wants. Sharing stories with loved ones. Enjoying a day away from your desk to reconnect with friends. Taking part in the ritual of flag football. It would be relevant to consider what would define an enjoyable Thanksgiving.  Can we have it all?  Is there a way we can both enjoy food, the time AND not gain weight, not feel hungry or guilty about it?  I think the answer is yes, there are several things you can do to limit the weight gain without losing the things we really want, like enjoying food. 

 

FACT #1: IT TAKES 20 MINUTES FOR YOUR STOMACH TO SIGNAL TO YOUR BRAIN THAT YOU ARE FULL.

Think about that for a minute.  If you are eating for 40 minutes and you stop at minute 40 because you are full (and are in your fat pants struggling to breath because you housed more than your share of the dark meat), then the last 20 minutes you’ve been eating, has been past when your stomach was full.  In other words, you overate for 20 minutes!

EAT MORE SLOWLY

So what can you do to counter this?  Eat more slowly.  What if you spread out that first 20 minutes of food—over 40 minutes or an hour?  You can savor eat bite of bird instead of inhaling it.  Focus on socializing and conversation, enjoying the moment with people.  Space out bites by drinking water.  Pace yourself by eating more slowly than the slowest person at the table. Try asking questions of your fellow diners. Who has a great story that will engage the entire table?

Because eating more slowly does 2 things: 1) Enables you to feel fuller and therefore eat less overall and 2) Enables you to more efficiently digest your food, and store a little less as fat.  How would you do that?  How would you suggest your family do that, or even—how would you model the behavior of eating more slowly for them?

What about our criteria for what we want from our meal?  Have we compromised?  By eating more slowly, can we still enjoy food and people?  Yes, arguable you can get MORE enjoyment from savoring food and eating more slowly.  Can we do it in a way where we are not hungry and don’t feel guilty about what we are eating?  Somehow I don’t think we are going hungry at Thanksgiving, and in terms of the guilt—eating more slowly should actually make you feel BETTER and LESS guilty.  If anything, this enhances several aspects of what most of us want to get out of the gathering.  Yes, you are a genius.  Now, is The Wizard of Oz still the traditional Thanksgiving movie?

 

FACT #2: WE EAT WITH OUR EYES, BUT FEEL FULL ON VOLUME.

In the book The Volumetrics Eating Plan by PhD Barbara Rolls, she discussed how you can make a ¼ hamburger look like the same amount (visual volume) as a ½ hamburger—by adding fixings to bulk it up—yet have significantly less calories.  Here’s the crazy thing—neither our eyes nor our stomach’s can tell the difference, and we feel just as full, even though we’ve consumed less calories.

Suppose just for a second, that’s true.  How can you use that info—that volume not calories fills us up—to enjoy Thanksgiving eating and not gain/minimize weight gain?  One way would be to fill your plate with more calorie light (not calorie dense) foods that take up space but don’t have a lot of calories.  1 cup of mixed greens for a salad is 20 calories, whereas 1 cup of brown rice is 216 calories, over 10 times that of the greens.  I’m not suggestion you don’t eat the good stuff, but I am saying that adding some calorie light food to fill your plate next to and around the good stuff might help you actually overeat less. 

Regardless of how you stack your plate this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to be mindful about what you're enjoying. Pay attention to how your body is actually feeling, so your pants don't have to tell you.

_________

Dr. Larry is residency trained and board certified in Family Medicine. He currently practices as an emergency physician, hospitalist and in the ICU. He is also the author of the forthcoming book The Gentleman’s Diet. You can learn more about Dr. Larry's take on healthy eating and exercise at www.doctorlarry.com.

16 Foods to Eat This Winter

Seth Strickland

 
Issue 1 Fruits & Veg.png

Winter brings more than just shorter days and colder temperatures. This time of year also presents an opportunity to expand your food horizons and get your taste buds excited for all the variety the season has to offer. Eating seasonally increases your overall health by nourishing your body with an array of essential vitamins and minerals.

Additionally, choosing seasonal foods helps to promote sustainable food practices and has less of an impact on the environment.

So, how do you know what’s in season? Here are some clues that will help when you are shopping at your local grocer. Price, quantity and source country are a good place to start. You’ll notice your favorite summer delicacies like strawberries and stone fruits have a very small presence in the produce section, have nearly doubled in price or are missing from the store altogether. When items like fruit are out of season, they are often flown in from more tropical countries, increasing the fruit’s footprint and decreasing its nutritional value. If you need nonseasonal items, look for those that have been grown in countries closer to home.

Another way to ensure you’re getting what’s in peak season is to sign up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) membership. These services work with nearby farms to select and share produce that is grown locally and seasonally. Although you typically don’t get much choice of what foods you receive, rest assured you’ll be in for a culinary adventure that will encourage you to include the freshest, most seasonable ingredients in your cooking every week.

The ultimate way to find out what’s in season is to take a trip to a few local farms. Not only will you get the freshest produce possible, you’ll also be supporting your local economy. Not up for the drive? Find out if your city hosts a local farmers’ market, and opt to buy your fruits and veggies there instead of from the grocery store. Here’s a mini cheat sheet to get you started.

Veggies

  • Broccoli: Although it’s available year-round, broccoli is at its peak in the cooler months.
  • Brussels sprouts: If you can, buy sprouts on the stalk; they’ll last longer and taste fresher.
  • Endive: Great for salads or stuff with pear and blue cheese for an easy, beautiful appetizer.
  • Pumpkins: Use the meat of the pumpkin for soups or baking and the seeds for an easy treat.
  • Snow peas: Add crisp snow peas for a dash of green in your vegetable stir-fry.
  • Spinach: Winter spinach is greener, leafier and tastier.
  • Squash: Acorn, butternut, spaghetti—each one has a different, delicious taste and texture.
  • Sweet potatoes & yams: Try baking a whole potato or yam as a filling, low-fat snack.

Fruits

  • Apples: Fall and winter provide a delicious assortment of apples from honeycrisp to Granny Smith.
  • Cranberries: Let cranberries be more than just a side dish to turkey this year.
  • Grapes: Stick with red grapes throughout the end of the year for the sweetest flavor.
  • Kiwis: Even though they may remind you of tropical islands, kiwis are ripest during the coldest time of year.
  • Pears: Bartlett, d’anjou, bosc—pears are in their heyday this time of year.
  • Persimmons: Delicious in a salad or mixed in baked goods for a tangy twist.
  • Pomegranates: Add the seeds, which are a great source of vitamins A and C, to a salad, or make a marmalade.
  • Satsuma oranges and tangerines: These easy-to-peel fruits are a great, vitamin C–filled treat.

Try eating a different seasonal fruit or vegetable each week and cooking a meal with locally grown ingredients this month. Varying what you eat boosts your immune system and improves your body’s ability to fight cancer-causing free radicals. Along with the health benefits for you and your family, eating locally grown food supports your community’s economy and has positive implications for the environment, which affects our global community too.

[These tips were brought to you by our friends at Fig. Fig's app helps you to pursue wellness holistically. They encourage laughter, date nights, napping, checking in with friends and having a positive outlook in addition to eating well and exercising. We appreciate this well-rounded approach (and naps), so we thought we’d give them a shout-out. Check Fig out yourself by downloading the app for your iPhone.] 

This post is a reprint from the inaugural Issue no. 1 available in our store  and in the iTunes store. For more excellent, helpful, and thoughtful content like this and so much more, subscribe today. 

 

Farm with Tables NY - Blue Hill

Seth Strickland

Transient

by  Jessica Wright

The latest and greatest buzz these days in restaurants is the "farm to table" experience where you can feel as if your food was hand-picked moments earlier. For us, it actually was.

Typically, the chef will construct dishes based on whatever food is available in that season locally, as well as garnishes and variations he comes up with himself. When you eat farm to table, you know that the food you're served is as fresh as it comes. 

It wasn't any different on a cloudy day up in Westchester County, New York. We took a day trip to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. This farm is enchanting, and free range chickens and turkeys roam the fields. As you walk through the greenhouse, a farmer herds sheep behind you. When you work up an appetite, they have a restaurant on site that sources all the ingredients from their fields and pastures.

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This restaurant includes dishes such as "The Fence", which is a long, elegantly stained beam with the morning's vegetables nailed to it. After this, you can enjoy dishes like one consisting of home-made pesto and greens you cut yourself. 

This interactive dining experience not only allows you to feel good about the food you are consuming, it brings an added, earthy awareness to your everyday food choices. Not only can you know where your food came from, you can walk the fields and scatter the animals. While Blue Hills at Stone Barns is the ultimate farm-to-table, since the tables are on the farm, it's easy to find a good farm-to-table experience nearby.

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If there's no restaurant like this near you, why not do it at home? We thought it would be a great way to be deliberate by picking up some fresh, local ingredients, and re-creating a farm to table experience at the house so that we can share it with our friends. Happy farming everyone, whether you go out or stay in.

Grain Grinding: A Healthy Alternative

Bart Munro

Transient

Grinding your own grain - simple, healthy, even beautiful.

By Bart Munro

I first encountered the concept of grinding my own grain while visiting my sister (who has 9 kids).  I was amazed -- with all the things happening in her family, how did she have time to grind her own grain?  “It’s easy, we make pancakes, cookies, muffins, bread, and more,” she announces,  “it’s no more effort than grinding your own coffee!”

There’s a lot of buzz around buying whole grain flour, bread, cereals, etc (which are much better than traditional “white” flour products.)  As it turns out though, we’re still missing out on significant nutrition and flavor benefits, unless we actually grind the grain ourselves.

Within 24 hours of grain being milled (broken open and exposed to air), 40% of all micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals are lost. By 72 hours, this is up to 90%.  By grinding your own grain right as you need it, all these nutrients are still intact!

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Natural wheat germ oils also don’t preserve well on the store shelf, becoming rancid and bitter tasting.  Grinding your own grain delivers the freshest and best possible taste!

If you need help convincing your spouse, roommate, (or yourself), the LA Times makes a detailed case in  “Flour Power:  The joy of grinding your own”.

There are many types of grain you can try grinding at home:  white wheat, red wheat, spelt, kamut, buckwheat, oats … even rice and lentils.

One of my favorite recipe and how-to sites is Bread Beckers, so you can put your new flours to the test.

And you can find some electric grain grinders with stunning looks.  I LOVE my Komo Magic.


KoMo Magic Mill
$514.49
KoMo

To Start A Day

Seth Strickland

By Seth Strickland

Good morning. 

It's lovely to start a day. To start this day. The weariness of the night is gone; the dawn brings a fresh perspective and clarity. Some days. 

Most days, as we all know, start out something like the above idyll, but need a little umph, a little morning chutzpah we call coffee. 

For a smidge over half of Americans, coffee starts our days off right. Whether it's a spouse blindly hitting the grinder at five a.m. or it's you sauntering Saturday-morningly down to your kitchen to crank your lackadaisical   Porlex, the smell of crushed beans and sweet steaming water filtering through them is a true American ceremony. 

Coffee's ubiquity is deceptive. What  coffee are you drinking? Will it be here forever? Kew Gardens's  recent Vimeo release indicates that our world coffee supply lacks genetic diversity. No problem? Think again - this, combined with forces of rising temperatures in Ethiopia (you'll have to see the film to understand the full importance of this country) puts the existence of coffee as we know it in danger.

We don't like scare tactics here at Deliberate Life, but a lack of deliberation could mean that more than half your friends will be inhuman for days, and you'll have to Porlex pepper one of these days. Seriously, though, it's something to consider - coffee is not only essential creative and cultural sap for Americans or Parisians or Turks, it's a global industry which supports thousands of people and their families as this documentary by TwentyTwenty Studios reminds us.

Fair Trade certified coffees and the direct-buy movement in coffee houses (especially, it seems, in third-wave shops) make supporting these sustenance coffee farmers possible, but remember that you, the consumer, have the choice. It's you, pal. Think about this next time you sip a lovely cup of joe. Ask your barista where his house gets the beans. Sustainable living is possible, especially on this daily level, which might seem small until you think about how many people drink coffee and how often.

Live deliberately, even early in the morning.

Image by Becca

Popsicles

Jessica Stackowicz

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What better summertime treat than popsicles?  Homemade popsicles are easy to make and a fun activity to involve your children in.  Choosing local organic ingredients can also make them quite healthy!

We thought we’d share a few of our favorite recipes with you:

Fudgesicles

  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • ½ cup organic fair-trade cocoa powder
  • ½ cup agave

Combine all in saucepan on low heat until cocoa is melted.  Pour into molds, add sticks and freeze at least 4 hours.

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Strawberry Popsicles

  • 3 cups fresh organic strawberries, tops cut off and halved
  • ½ cup agave

Combine all in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour puree into molds and put freeze at least 4 hours.

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Coconut

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ¼ cup agave

Blend both in a blender or food processor, pour into molds and freeze at least 4 hours.

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To make striped or multi-flavored popsicles, let each flavor freeze for 1 hour before adding the next. Don’t forget to add your stick! 

We used Tovolo’s groovy popsicle molds, they’re BPA free, eliminate the waste of throwing away popsicle sticks and have a drip catcher.

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Article and Images by Jessica Stackowicz

Spring Picking

Terry Chi

By Terry Chi

The growth of early spring blooms, sprouts, and swells into abundance in late spring and early summer, bringing copious amounts of fresh fruits and veggies to our tables. You might notice a difference in the amount and variety of produce coloring the aisles of your local grocery stores and farmers markets. Apples and oranges are no longer the only fruit available—they are joined by nectarines, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and others. A lovely array of vegetables also enters the scene, opening up the door to exciting summer salads and a diverse range of vegetable dishes, from a summer squash salad to stuffed gypsy peppers.

To help you prepare healthy in-season fare for your family and friends alike, we spoke with the head chef at Oakland’s Boot and Shoe Service about what you might enjoy this season. A weathered wood haven for early morning risers and afternoon lunching locals, this café restaurant is one of the growing number of eating establishments that are dedicated to using fresh, local, organic ingredients to make dishes that change with the seasons. Started by the owner of Pizzaiolo and former kitchen aide at Chez Panisse, Charlie Hallowell, Boot and Shoe has a similar, if not the same goal as both those restaurants —to take ingredients from the community and transform them into delicious fare for the community.

Drawing from the Slow Food Movement,  the people at Boot and Shoe Service strive to follow the Slow Food mission to, “counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” This mission does not have to be confined to the restaurant world—each and every one of us can apply the philosophy of the Slow Food Movement to our own lives and eating habits. Taking time to make a meal and then sit down and enjoy it makes a great difference in the quality of our lives. Whether we enjoy food by ourselves or in the company of those we love, we should appreciate what nourishes us. By eating local, organic foods, we help to protect both our health and the health of the environment by reducing our carbon footprint and avoiding the chemicals in pesticides that are harmful to our bodies. In order to live deliberately, we must eat deliberately.

Note: ‘Slow food’ does not have to mean hours of cooking. A healthy slow food meal can be as simple as ripping up some organic kale and tossing it with pine nuts, lemon juice, and olive oil for a refreshingly simple salad. With some help from the head chef at Boot and Shoe Service, Marc Baltes, we’ve put together a list of food and easy recipes that we love and that you may want to try this May: 

Asparagus Harvested from March until June, depending on geographical location, these tasty spears are wonderful steamed, boiled, or sautéed. Available in white or green, asparagus stalks vary in width, but you may be surprised to find that the thickness does not correlate directly with their tenderness. The asparagus’ tenderness depends on how the plant is grown and how soon it is eaten after it has been harvested. They are wonderful steamed, boiled, or sautéed. Marc Baltes recommends serving them roasted or grilled with mustard vinaigrette, hard cooked eggs and bits of pancetta.

Rhubarb Known for its tart taste, this sour stalk acts as a great pairing to sweet fruits like strawberries and cherries. Put it in a pie, make it into a jam, or turn it into chutney. For the freshest rhubarb, look for heavy crisp stalks with shiny skin.  

 

 Via TheKitchen

Via TheKitchen

Cherries Cherry blossoms turn to cherry fruit at the end of spring, which means you can enjoy these sweet, antioxidant and melatonin-rich treats at the beginning of summer. While sweet cherries, like Bing or Rainier, can be found from May to August, sour cherries have a much shorter season, and are only available for a week or two, usually during the middle of June in warmer locations and as late as July and August in colder areas. Have a pit-spitting contest for fun!

Mint This herb starts to thrive in the spring and adds a refreshing taste to fruit or veggie salads and iced drinks or cocktails. At Boot and Shoe, Baltes tosses whole leaves of mint with arugula, drizzling it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a simple, but delightful salad that goes great with their buttery avocado toast and marinated beets. He also recommends adding some feta to the salad for a little extra richness.

Nettles Rich in iron, these dark leafy greens can be found at farmers’ markets sold by foragers and farmers. In some regions, they may be growing as "weeds" in gardens. Purée them into a soup or make a sun tea by plunging them into hot water and letting them sit in the sun while their nutrients seep into the water. According to Baltes, you can also wilt them quickly in a hot pan, squeeze out the water, chop them up coarsely, and mix them into beaten eggs for a bright green frittata.