Wednesday, September 22, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Favorite Fall Soups

"Good manners: The noise you don't make when you're eating soup."

                                                                                                          --Bennett Cerf



With fall here, favorite soup recipes start living in my head.  Some feature one super star ingredient like lentils, others fall in the comfort food category like tomato soup, a few are just great combinations of rainbow vegetables like minestrone soup.  The fun thing about making soups is that you can always change up the recipe a little bit or a lot, depending on the ingredients on hand.  Last night, for example, I decided to make red lentil soup but I had just run out of tomato paste.  I did have some local heirloom tomatoes on the counter, so I switched up ingredients in the recipe and the soup was great!

My recommendation to parents?  Make different soups on the quest to find your family’s favorites. Then keep those soups in regular menu rotation and the ingredients on hand in your pantry and fridge.  Your kids will stay busy helping you prep veggies and getting all the ingredients on the counter (“mise en place”).   

Trips to the local farmers market often make the decision about what soup to make an easy one.  When local tomatoes are in season, you can bet we will be making classic tomato soup.  When summer kale is being harvested, kale and white bean soup is on the stove.  When butternut squash are at the markets, I make sure I have fresh curry powder and cans of full-fat coconut milk on hand.

Have fun making your favorite soups with your family!  When you make lentil soup, I’ll be over for dinner!

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Fall Squash

 "Food is our common ground, a universal experience."

                                ---James Beard


Visiting farmers markets this time of year is pure fun. Fall squash in beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and green - such as butternut, acorn, pumpkin kabocha, and delicata - mimic the color of fall leaves as trees say good goodbye to summer and prepare for winter.

Butternut squash is one of my favorites.  With its deep orange color and high fiber content, the versatility of butternut squash is overshadowed by its powerhouse of nutritional value.  Roast it with root vegetables.  Cube it for sauteeing. Cook it with onions, curry, and coconut milk for comfort soup to serve for friends. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 1 cup cubed has 493 mg of potassium, 2.8 grams of dietary fiber and only 63 calories.  High in beta-carotene, it is good for your skin and your digestive tract.

When you visit your local farmers markets this fall, look for a new “baby” variety of butternut squash.  I tried it for the first time this month and it is delicious!  You can have your own personal butternut squash! I served it with wild rice, sautéed beet greens, and crabless cakes – simply divine!  

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Lose the (Saturated) Fat

 "In fact, reversing type 2 diabetes is very possible-if it isn't too severe.  Every person with diabetes should focus on a careful diet, one that limits concentrated sweets or sweeteners and is high in fiber and vegetables.  Optimal weight should be the goal, as excess weight and obesity makes control of blood sugar more difficult."

                                                             --Dr. Andrew Weil, MD

America has a fat problem.  We have become a nation of obese and overweight people. More than 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes.  More than 1/3 of Americans have prediabetes and if they do nothing about it, they will most likely progress to diabetes, a disease characterized by high blood sugar and a constellation of complications. 

Saturated fat is only found in foods from animals.  Saturated fat is solid at room temperature.  Remember that can of bacon grease your mother saved for cooking when you were growing up?  When you eat foods from animals, saturated fat sticks to the inside of your blood vessels, raises your LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), narrows your vessels, and decreases blood flow (not good).

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, saturated fat blocks cells from using insulin correctly. It’s like putting chewing gum in the lock of your front door and trying to insert your house key into the lock.  Your key (insulin) won’t go in the lock. One of the best ways to reverse diabetes is to eliminate all animal products from your diet. Take the gum (saturated fat) out of the lock and BAM, the key (insulin) opens the door and allows the sugar in your bloodstream to enter the cells where it is needed for energy.   

I recently taught a workshop on this topic for adults with diabetes and prediabetes.  When people understand the “how” of how insulin is supposed to work and how detrimental animal fats are to someone with high blood sugars, it simplifies the decision to lose the saturated fats and move to whole food plant-based eating.

When you are ready to manage or even reverse your diabetes, stop eating all animal products.  Fat has 9 calories a gram, compared to 4 calories a gram for protein and carbohydrates.  Cutting out animal fats and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes will automatically cut your intake of calories and put you on a path to a healthier weight.  Cut back on added oils and learn to cook with vegetable broth or water instead of added oils.  Then prepare to be amazed with your results!

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect