Monthly Archives: March 2015

To-Go Mug of…Broth?

Health trends are designed to be magnetic, and I admit, even I can’t resist. No matter how much my photo (3)Nutrition professors beat it into my head that there is no magic elixir for health, vitality, and longevity, my curiosity always gets the best of me. I just HAVE to see for myself what the latest buzz is all about. This fascination with topics in the foodscape is what makes me confident, and thankful, that I have landed on my dream career path. So, what is quickly swooping in to overtake the juicing trend of 2013? Bone broth.

Bone broth is slowly simmered over a period of 12-48 hours in a large stock pot on the stove or in a crock pot. Various recipes exist, but the main components are bones (chicken, turkey, or beef short ribs, oxtails, knuckles, neck bones, and feet), some type of acid (apple cider vinegar, wine, or tomato paste), roughly chopped veggies (celery, carrots, onion), and enough water to just barely cover the ingredients. For a deeper flavor, bones are often roasted in the oven for an hour before putting them in the broth. The acid promotes bone disintegration for release of nutrients. You can find the recipe I followed here, or feel free to explore others, such as this one from the NY Times.

Let’s get this out of the way first-I will not waste your time, enticing you with health benefits that may or not be supported. Very few scientific studies have been done on bone broth and it’s associated advantages. That being said, the broth DOES have ties to long standing traditions in many cultures, who believe strongly in it’s nourishing power.

Broth is cornerstone of the Paleo diet, in large part because of the evidence of its existence during prehistoric times. The broth seems to move throughout history while maintaining a steady presence in cultures from all parts of the globe. A similar light soup was part of many traditional Chinese meals for digestion, palate cleansing, and simply as a drink. In the Caribbean, “Cow Foot Soup,” rich in collagen is consumed in the morning for fortification and alleviation of a range of ailments. A comparable Sopa de Lima exists in the Yucatan, while there is Seolleongtang in Korea. In the U.S., chicken soup has been used to remedy the common cold for generations. Today, celebrities such as Divergent star, Shailene Woodley, and athletes such as LA Lakers star, Kobe Bryant, swear by the concoction. Restaurants, such as New York’s Brodo, JoLa Cafe in Portland, and Red Apron in Washington D.C., all serve up cups of this warm, comforting, and savory liquid.

While the Weston A. Price Foundation has completed analyses illustrating Bone Broth’s ability to decrease inflammation, improve dopamine levels, and help with digestive problems such as leaky gut syndrome and IBS, bloggers cite numerous additional perks including joint health/ relief from arthritis, improved wound healing, strengthening of the immune system, rebuilding of bone, shinier hair, prevention of wrinkles, elimination of cellulite, calmer nerves, and an overall deeply nourished body. The idea is that through long-simmering and bone disintegration, amino acids and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, collagen, chondroitin, and glucosamine, are available in higher quantities than traditional broths.

At the end of the day, author of The Nourished Kichen, Jennifer McGruther, sums it up best in an article by NPR. ” The real benefit of bone broth is that people are returning to the kitchen to prepare homemade, whole foods from scratch. There are always benefits to cooking foods from home, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing with bone broth.”

Teff- ‘The New Quinoa’

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My kitchen-sink Teff muffins pack a healthy, hearty, nutritional punch. Guilt-free nibbling encouraged : )

Ethiopian born Tirunesh Dibaba is one of my favorite female distance runners. If you have seen her effortlessly smooth and swift kick at the end of a long distance race, passing other ELITE competitors as if they are jogging, then you know why I admire her so much. She has won 2 olympic gold medals in the 10,000M (First woman to win back-to-back 10,000M olympic races- in 2008 then again in 2012), and a gold medal in the 5000M. She holds the women’s world record in the 5000M- 14:11.15. In 2014, she ran her first ever marathon in London, where she placed 3rd in a time of 2:20:34. How does she do it?? What super food is she eating to fuel her high level of training? While we know there is no secret diet or specific food that will transform our health and performance, it is still fun to learn about what our favorite athletes eat.

For thousands of years, a major food staple in the diets of Ethiopians has been a tiny grain that resembles a poppy seed, called Teff. The naturally gluten-free grain is a nutritional powerhouse often hailed as a superfood for it’s ample supply of minerals including Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Copper, Thiamin, and key for distance runners- IRON. Just one serving of the grain (1/4 Cup dry) supplies 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 20% of the Daily Value for Iron. The grain also provides 8 of the 20 essential amino acids necessary for growth and repair within the body. Unlike other grains, Teff supplies Vitamin C, which improves Iron absorption.

In Ethiopia, Teff is ground into flour then fermented to make a sourdough flatbread called Inerja. The bread, thin like a tortilla, soft, and porous, serves as an edible platter for all dishes. Pieces of the bread are torn off and used to roll up bites of vegetables or other foods being served on it. According to an article by The Washington Post, the Whole Grains council estimates that up to 2/3 of the protein in Ethiopian diets comes from Teff. Ethiopian distance runners credit the grain with their energy and health.

Teff can be cooked on the stove like quinoa as a side dish at dinner, or it can be used as a breakfast porridge. Mix the grain into a salad for an added textural element. Teff flour, made by companies like Bob’s Red Mill, can be used to make pancakes, breads, and cookies.

I had to try Teff for myself so I experimented by concocting an original recipe of my own. I call them my Teff kitchen sink muffins because I threw in pretty much whatever I had in my pantry- miraculously, especially considering the difficulty of cooking with Gluten-free flours, the muffins were a yummy and satisfying success! Here is the recipe:

Dry ingredients: 1C oats, 1C Teff flour, 1C coconut flour, 3 tbsp freshly ground golden flax, 3 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 tbsp ground ginger root, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking power

Mix dry ingredients then make a well to pour the pre-mixed wet ingredients into.

Wet ingredients: 2 mashed bananas, 1/3 C honey, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 C goat milk (coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid and requires more egg), 1/2 C plain kefir, 1 tbsp melted butter, 3 eggs

Stir everything together. Top with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and diced pecans. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Yields 12 muffins.