Delves into Four Food Myths

 

A tall glass of milk
Photo: Krzysztof Puszczyński

Today, healthy eating has taken foodie culture by storm. Magazines dedicated to the gluten free and Paleo diets are displayed prominently in our supermarket checkout line. Plant based diets are on the rise and more restaurants — from quick eats to fine dining — are including fresher, healthier options. Even McDonald’s has tested adding meals to its menu that contain egg whites, kale and Greek yogurt. With the proliferation of healthy food, it’s also important to decipher what is fact and fiction. We’ve decided to get to the bottom of a few mood myths that many of us believe to be true about the foods we eat. Here’s what we found.

Food Myths Explained

  1. Milk makes you grow taller. Don’t you remember the eye-catching and popular got milk? ads? According to a Modern Farmer article, the science isn’t clear whether dairy milk really does help kids’ growth. This doesn’t mean to skip out on the nutritious beverage — it contains significant amounts of calcium, VitaminsB1, and magnesium, which are essential for a well-balanced diet.
  2. Orange carrots lay on a wood table
    Photo: Jonathan Pielmayer

    Eating carrots helps your eyesight. In short, the answer is sort of. The bright root veggie contains beta-carotene, the pigment that gives carrots their orange color. The body then uses it to make Vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy vision. But in Scientific American, Emily Chew, deputy clinical director at the National Eye Institute, suggests eating leafy green vegetables. Why? They contain lutein and zeaxanthin which protect against UV damage and help thwart age-related macular degeneration (which beta-carotene cannot.) Our Living Watercress, in fact, contains lutein and zeaxanthin!

  3. All Fat is bad for you. Knowing the difference between “good” and “bad” fat is important. Foods like nuts, salmon, olive oil and avocados contain unsaturated fat, which can actually decrease your risk of heart disease. Red meat, fried foods and palm oil, on the other hand, contain saturated and trans fats, and should be limited in a healthy diet to avoid high cholesterol, among other health issues.
  1. Carbs are the enemy. “Science makes the answer pretty clear: no. While bread, pasta and sugar are hard-to-resist sources of calories without much in the way of nutrition, other carbohydrate-heavy foods — whole grains, legumes and fruit — are nutrient-rich,” writes The Washington Post.  

For a variety of healthy and tasty recipes, check out our blog archives.

 

 

 

Try Ribollita with Watercress This Winter

 

The Tuscan comfort food Ribollita is a thick vegetable soup that is traditionally served throughout one week; its flavors deepening and consistency thickening with each day. In some households, they even fry the remaining bit like a pancake. Regardless how you decide to serve your Ribollita, you are bound to satisfy everyone, from vegetarians to those who are dairy free. We used Chef Mario Batali’s, of the Chew and Moltissimo, rendition as a point of departure. Putting our own spin on the recipe, we added Pete’s Living Greens Organic Watercress (you can also use our Upland Cress), used store-bought tomato sauce instead of homemade and canned beans in lieu of dry. (Shh! We won’t tell if you don’t.) These minor alterations won’t sacrifice the taste, but will save you time on a busy weeknight.

The dish is already a low-fat and vitamin-rich meal, but our watercress gives it extra oomph. Watercress is high in phytonutrients as well as antioxidants, vitamins C and A. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, it’s the highest ranked vegetable on the nutrient scale. It even has as much vitamin C as oranges and other citrus. Vitamin C helps the body fight against immune system deficiencies and the common cold. All the more reason to add the Pete’s Living Greens Organic Watercress or Upland Cress to your potage this winter!

Ribollita with Watercress
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Ingredients
  1. A can of white cannellini beans
  2. Extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  5. 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  6. 2 medium red potatoes, cubed
  7. 1 cup tomato sauce
  8. 1 bunch of Pete's Living Greens Organic Watercress or Upland Cress
  9. 1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped
  10. 1 bunch Tuscan kale, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add potatoes, carrots and garlic and sauté for five minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add four cups of water and tomato sauce. Stir and let it come to boil.
  4. Stir in greens and undrained beans.
  5. Turn burner down and let it simmer for 1-1.5 hours.
Notes
  1. To serve: Salt and pepper to taste and add red flakes if you like a bit of heat. You can toast thick pieces of fresh bread in the broiler. Once you remove the slices, add one to a bottom of a bowl and ladle the Ribollita on top of it. Mangia!
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

 

Handwashing, tea steeping, someone meditating and a woman sleeping in a bedDid you know? The influenza virus may survive better in colder, drier climates, and therefore be able to infect more people in the winter reports Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences blog. 

With the holidays behind us and a long winter ahead, it’s important to protect yourself and family against the nasty flu and pesky cold. To help, we’ve come up with a few tips to stay healthy.

  1. Add watercress to your daily diet as a vitamin booster. Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, watercress is ranked highest on the nutrient scale. It even has as much vitamin C as an orange. Vitamin C helps the body fight again against immune system deficiencies and the common cold.
  2. Stay hydrated. “Your mucous membranes and the immune cells in their secretions defend against cold viruses, and they can’t work as well if you’re dehydrated,” says Dr. Jamey Wallace, MD, chief medical officer at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle in Prevention. Herbal tea on a chilly day is a great way to stay hydrated. Try our Trifecta Tea made with our Living Watercress here
  3. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap frequently. According to waterandhealth.org, “It is important to dry hands thoroughly after washing because some bacteria remain on hands after washing, and these bacteria are more easily spread via wet hands than dry ones.”
  4. Get enough sleep. When you don’t get a sufficient amount of sleep (7-9 hours of quality sleep is recommended for adults) it makes it more challenging for your body to stave off an infection. In fact researchers of one study found that exposed subjects to a common cold virus and those who slept less than 6 hours a night during the prior week were 4 times more likely to get a cold.
  5. Meditate and exercise. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison found that individuals, “involved in mindfulness training can reduce the incidence, duration or severity of acute respiratory infections (ARI) by 40 to 50 percent and the use of exercise can reduce symptoms by 30 to 40 percent.” Need helping getting started? Our very own Charlene Rodriguez, a wellness and fitness expert, shares a few exercising and mindfulness tips here. 

Throwing a Stress-Free Holiday Party with Nancy Waldeck

 

Nancy Waldeck is a Healthy Chef Partyologist who helps people make food that tastes so good it doesn’t even taste healthy! (And she often pairs fun wine with it too.) A cancer survivor and thriver, she shares the message of better-for-you food with learners at cancer centers, cooking schools, businesses and on Atlanta and Company (NBC 11) twice a month.

We’ve asked Nancy to share a few tips and secrets on how to throw a successful, stress-free holiday party. Cheers!


Live Gourmet: As a chef and entertainment expert who has organized large events and parties, what is some advice you can give to someone who is hosting a holiday party this season? How do you stay organized?

Nancy Waldeck: Plan, Plan, Plan. By planning ahead you can enjoy your own party! Planning ahead allows you to carefully choose what you are going to make. My goal is always to make food that tastes great, looks beautiful and makes people happy by being a little better-for-you too! 

Begin the party planning by choosing 3 to 4 appetizers that can be made ahead of time, and served at room temperature. For instance, a tapenade/hummus and fresh bite-sized veggie board, dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with prosciutto, lettuce wraps filled with not-your-average chicken salad, roasted nuts, jerk skewers, jumbo shrimp with Asian Remoulade. If you’re having lots of folks you can always add in a cheese board, (almost everyone loves cheese!) and fill it with not only cheese, but fresh and dried fruit, too. 

LG: You’re also a wine expert. What are your go-to wines when hosting your own holiday gathering?

NW: I specialize in serving wines under $20, so they are perfect for sharing!

Always a sparkling – refreshing and festive. I choose Cava, delicious, crisp and made in the same method as champagne – only from Spain. I hand people a glass as they walk in the door. A fizzy way to get the party started!

White – Unoaked Chardonnay from California is my go-to. If I have a little more adventurous crowd, I’ll stock up on Albarino or Torrontes, from Spain and Argentina, respectively. Both are crisp, aromatic, and super food friendly. 

Rose – Fruity and pretty pink wine is not just for summer, or sissies! Rose is a great pairing with appetizers that are salty, cheesy or savory. If you choose one from Provence, you’re almost always guaranteed to pick a winner. You’ll be surprised how many people will select it from a lineup.

Red – Cotes du Rhone is a easy to drink, easy to love red wine from France. Made from a variety of grapes, but mostly Grenache and Syrah, you’ll be hard pressed to come up with a bigger crowd favorite. Spans the gap from lighter to heavier reds.

LG: Which recipe are you most excited to make this holiday season?

NW: I’m going to make a trio of beautiful hummus (recipe below). Bold Orange Pumpkin, Bright Red Beet and Vivid Green Watercress hummus, all using the same basic white bean recipe. I’m going to serve it up with lots of fresh veggies, lettuce wraps and homemade nut crackers.

LG: For a host who is trying to serve healthy yet tasty options at their upcoming gathering, what would you suggest?

NW: Think color! Make it pretty. Incorporate fruits and veggies along with your cheese and meat heavy appetizers. Instead of serving lots of breads, crackers or chips include romaine lettuce as a scooper. Use nutrition super stars like arugula in pesto and tapenade. It will add lots of flavor and bright color to your food.

White Bean Hummus (with Beets, Pumpkin or Living Watercress )
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Garlic Cloves
  2. 2 Cans Cannellini (white kidney beans) drained and well rinsed
  3. ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  5. 1 Tsp Cumin
  6. 1 Tsp Turmeric
  7. 1 TB Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  8. ¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper, optional
  9. Chopped Herbs or Pumpkin Seeds or Goat Cheese for Garnish
Instructions
  1. Step One
  2. Place the garlic cloves in the processor and finely chop. Add the beans, ¼ Cup Oil, ½ Cup Beets, Pumpkin or Watercress, salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice and cayenne to the food processor and process until smooth. (You may need a little more oil to make it the consistency that you like.)
  3. Step Two
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with your selected garnish and a drizzle of olive oil if you desire. Serve the hummus with lettuce wraps, fresh veggies, pita chips or breads.
Notes
  1. *Add ½ Cup Chopped Beets, Canned Pumpkin or Watercress when processing the hummus to make it colorful – and taste great!
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

Running into Fall: Eat Leafy Greens to Give Your Athletic Performance a Boost

 

A woman runs as the sun sets. Two images for leafy green salads accompany the runner photo.Marathon running may not be synonymous with fall pastimes like sipping pumpkin lattes or heading to the cider mill. Yet, thousands of diligent individuals are preparing for half and full marathons around the world this season. These athletes have to properly cross-train, fit in ample training time and stretch to successfully complete their goals. They also have to be mindful of what they eat. In fact, intense bouts of physical activity like marathon running deplete one’s antioxidant levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, plant-based foods, like Pete’s Living Upland Cress and Organic Watercress, are the best sources of antioxidants.

 Why are these substances important?

“Powerful antioxidants found in dark leafy greens, including lettuce, can benefit athletes by reducing damage to cells during exercise and in recovery,” says Barbara Ruhs, Arizona-based Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert. “In addition, leafy greens are a source of hydration and a variety of vitamins (vitamin C), minerals (potassium, magnesium) and nutrients (fiber) that may enhance athletic performance.”

When our bodies undergo physical exertion, we produce free radicals, and there is evidence linking free radical production to the process of aging and DNA and cell damage. Ruhs mentions a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition that found that subjects who consumed watercress daily before working out, experienced less DNA damage than their non-consuming watercress counterparts.

You don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise regime.  The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week.  Our Pete’s Living Greens products are an excellent addition to a well-balanced diet for active individuals of all levels. Peruse our blog and Facebook page, for a variety of nutritional yet tasty recipes.

You can find Barbara Ruhs on Twitter at @BarbRuhsRD, Facebook, Pinterest and on http://www.neighborhoodnutrition.com/

 

Live Gourmet’s Favorite Hearty Meals in Honor of National Grain Month

greens-meet-grainsWondering how to incorporate whole grains, like quinoa, millet and farro, in your daily diet? They’re actually quite versatile! To help you get started and since it’s National Grain Month, we’ve picked our favorite meals that combine healthy ancient grains with our favorite superfood watercress. Stop by your local supermarket to pick up our Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Living Watercress to get started.

A Few Facts and Resources

According to a Harvard.edu article, whole grains and fresh produce are some of the best sources of fiber. The essential carbohydrate regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels and helps us feel full longer. While distinguishing itself from other starches and sugars, fiber doesn’t negatively contribute to your caloric intake.

Leafy greens like watercress and upland cress also provide servings of fiber. Together with an organic grain, watercress can complete the ultimate hearty meal.

For a complete list of whole grains, click here.

Our Favorite Grain and Watercress Recipes 

1. By now, you’re familiar with the popular (especially on Instagram!) avocado toast. Want to shake the popular breakfast confection? Try it here with Live Gourmet® Living Upland Cress or Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress and whole grain toast.  

2. Savory Oatmeal with our Living Upland Cress and root vegetables is a twist on breakfast for dinner. It’s even vegetarian! 

3. Bring Joy’s roasted sweet potato, quinoa, & watercress salad conjures feelings of fall.

4. Live Gourmet’s Cressto sauce with whole grain pasta will go over well with the entire family, including your little ones.

5. Love and Lemon’s Watercress Feta and Farro Salad balances brightness, crunch and chewiness all in one bowl.

You Put Greens in THAT? Unique Recipes That Rock.

 

Different varieties of lettuce and watercress are displayed on a purple backgroundThough crisp lettuce leaves elevate the simplest of salads, greens also make unexpected yet delicious additions to a number of dishes. There are a plethora of reasons to include our varieties of Living Greens from breakfast to even dessert. 

Here are a few:

Not only are they tasty and add satisfying texture, our Living Greens include a number of health benefits. Romaine lettuce has more vitamin A than a carrot, and is a rich source of vitamin K (a key role in helping blood clot). Butter lettuce also contains significant amounts of Vitamin K and folate. While adding watercress to your diet can help improve your skin. In a study reported by the Daily Mail, “10 out of 11 female volunteers experienced visible improvements to their skin after just four weeks of adding one bag of watercress a day to their diet.”

To receive green’s maximum health benefits while testing your culinary creativity, try a few of our favorite non-traditional recipes. 

Our favorites:

  1. Food 52’s Squid with Watercress Salsa Verde. Fresh sauted squid is a healthier alternative than its breaded and fried calamari counterpart. Not to mention, superfood watercress boosts the dish’s nutritional value.
  2. Andrew Zimmer’s Artichoke, Peas, Fava & Lettuce Stew. Simple yet  flavorful, the veggie one  pot dish is the perfect August supper.
  3. Filmore and Union’s Watercress Banana Homemade Ice Cream. Before your bananas turn to mush in the heat, combine them with peppery watercress to create a uniquely flavored summer treat.

For more ideas, go to our Pinterest board You Put Greens in That.

Watercress: From Stem to Leaf

 

Photos of watercress on a cutting board, a plate of paste with cressto pesto and ingredients to make a salad on a kitchen counterHave you heard that watercress is the most nutrient dense vegetable around? You may have thought it was kale but both highly touted nutrient density reports from Patterson University and Dr. Joel Furhman’s ANDI score have Watercress on top, not ubiquitous kale. This versatile leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and essential vitamins. One serving contains as much vitamin C as an orange and more calcium than a glass of milk.

To get the most available nutrients from our Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic Brand of Living Watercress, you can use the entire cress from stem to leaf. You’ll also be minimizing food waste by eating it in its entirety.

Here are a few facts and pointers on storing and eating our Living Upland Cress and Watercress from stem to leaf.

Why are the roots attached?

Our Live Gourmet brand and certified organic Grower Pete’s brand of Living greens are harvested with their roots attached. This allows them to preserve freshness (usually 5-7 days longer) than conventionally grown greens.

A bonus about our certified organic Grower Pete’s brand: they’re organic all the way to their root balls unlike other hydroponic produce providers who also harvest with the roots attached. Additionally, Grower Pete’s brand complies with the most recent USDA’s NOP ruling and is naturally compostable.

How to Store

Store our cress products in an air tight container (such as a Ziploc® or Tupperware®) with their roots still attached. Refrigerate your greens as soon as possible. Produce needs to be stored below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cress products should be kept in the crisper section.

How to Prepare

Remove the amount of leaves and stems from the root ball that is necessary for your recipe, rinse and pat dry. Return any unused cress with roots and all to your refrigerator and place in the crisper section.

Not sure how incorporate stems and all?

Three recipes that you can include watercress from stem to leaf:

  1. Live Gourmet Cressto Pesto Sauce 
  2. The Detox Specialist’s Tropical Watercress Detox Smoothie 
  3. Watercress soup any way 

 

 

Acai Bowls originated in Brazil…What?!

 

Though acai bowls have been popularized by US juice and smoothie establishments in recent years, the trendy dish actually originated in Brazil. The main component of the bowl is acai, which is a berry that comes from tall palm trees native to Central and South America (most notably in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil).

According to Wedmd, “Some studies show that the fruit pulp has a very high antioxidant capacity with even more antioxidant content than the pulp of the cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry or blueberry.”

Grace McGuire of Nourish with Whole Foods combines acai powder with a variety of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables, including our very own watercress. In fact, our Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Brand of Living Organic Watercress are certified antioxidant greens and are superfoods like the delicious berries. What’s a superfood you ask? It’s an extremely nutrient-dense food that is very beneficial for maintaining good health.

Acai bowls make a great breakfast and will keep you going throughout the day! Pick up your favorite fruits along with our Living Watercress and acai powder to make your own unique bowl. Take a cue from Grace’s recipe to get started. Don’t forget to share photos of your creations with us by tagging us @LiveGourmet on social media.

Nourish with Whole Food’s Acai Bowl with Living Watercress
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup of raw coconut water
  2. 2 handfuls of organic spinach
  3. 1 handful of Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress OR Grower Pete’s Brand of Living Organic Watercress
  4. 1 cup or 4 frozen organic strawberries
  5. 1/2 cup of frozen organic blueberries
  6. 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  7. 1-2 tsp of Acai powder
  8. 1 sliced (frozen) banana
  9. 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Green Superfood (optional)
Instructions
  1. Blend on high and serve. Top with your favorite nuts, seeds, granola, dried fruit, coconut flakes or nut butter (pictured here).
Pete's Living Greens Blog http://www.livegourmet.com/wordpress/

8 Reasons to Eat Our Living Greens

 

Eight reasons to eat our Living Greens. Hollandia Produce varieties are brightly displayed.You’ve probably heard eating your greens, like our Living greens, is good for your waistband, but did you know they provide a number of health benefits? According to the USDA, “Because of their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods… [And] these same antioxidants have also been proven to decrease the risk of heart disease.” 

Here at Hollandia Produce, our Living greens not only provide essential vitamins and antioxidants but they’re rooted in freshness and alive with flavor. Need more convincing?

Here are eight reasons to eat our Living greens.

  1. They have ample amounts of vitamins and minerals. Watercress and Upland Cress have as much vitamin C as an orange and more calcium than milk. Romaine Lettuce has more vitamin A than a carrot, and Butter Lettuce contains significant amounts of Vitamin K.
  1. Watercress helps the body recover from exercise-related oxidative stress. A study found that subjects who consumed watercress daily before working out, experienced less DNA damage than their non-consuming watercress counterparts.
  1. They keep your stress levels down. Researcher Joe Hibbeln says in a NPR article about stress and diet , “omega-3s [can help] make your stress system more flexible.” By consuming a head of Romaine lettuce, like our Living Baby Romaine, you’ll receive an ample amount of your recommended daily amount of Omega-3 essential fats
  1. They’re a great low-carb option. Use Living Butter Lettuce in place of sandwich bread, taco shells and wraps.
  1. Cress protects your eyes and skin. In addition to its vitamin A and C power, Watercress and Upland Cress contain lutein — an antioxidant found most notably in dark green leafy vegetables that supports eye health and vision. 
  1. Our Hydroponic growing system uses less water than conventional farming. It recycles water while limiting water loss due to evaporation. Moreover, our method produces nearly four times the yield per acre while using up to 84% less water than if our lettuce were field-grown (exact figures depend upon the region, soil structure, time of year and irrigation method used).
  1. They’re versatile! Add them to a diverse array of dishes, including trendy Acai bowls, grain bowls, juices and more.
  1. They’re the freshest greens you can buy. Living Baby Romaine, Butter Lettuce, Watercress and Upland Cress are sold with their roots attached to preserve maximum freshness.