Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Antioxidant-Related Health Benefits
Like most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables, kale has been studied more extensively in relationship to cancer than any other health condition. This research focus makes perfect sense. Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates. Without sufficient intake of antioxidants, our oxygen metabolism can become compromised, and we can experience a metabolic problem called “oxidative stress.” Without sufficient intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients, regulation of our inflammatory system can become compromised, and we can experience the problem of chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation — and the combination of these metabolic problems — are risk factors for development of cancer. We’ve seen research studies on 5 specific types of cancer — including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer — and intake of cruciferous vegetables (specifically including kale). As a group, these studies definitely show cancer preventive benefits from kale intake, and in some cases, treatment benefits as well.
Kale’s cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale. Researchers have actually followed the passage of these two carotenoids in kale from the human digestive tract up into the blood stream, and they have demonstrated the ability of kale to raise blood levels of these carotenoid nutrients. That finding is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in the protection of our body from oxidative stress and health problems related to oxidative stress. Increased risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are three such problems. Also among these chronic health problems is cancer since our overall risk of cells becoming cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress.
Within the flavonoids, kaempferol is a spotlight antioxidant in kale, followed by a flavonoid called quercitin. But recent research has also made it clear that at least 45 different antioxidant flavonoids are provided in measurable amounts by kale. This broad spectrum of flavonoid antioxidants is likely to be a key to kale’s cancer-preventive benefits and benefits that we expect to be documented for other health problems stemming from oxidative stress.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dynamite Chewy Chocolate Cookies

3 beaten to a peak egg whites...Then fold in:
1 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
dash sea salt, 1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. maple syrup
Bake 350 @ 8 minutes

Monday, April 23, 2012

Almond Butter Balls

Servings: 20 pieces
Preparation Time: 1 hour total

For Almond Butter filling:

* 3/4 cup natural crunchy almond butter
* 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
* pinch of sea salt
* 1/2 cup coconut flour

For chocolate coating:

* 4 oz. dark chocolate, melted
* 1 teaspoon coconut oil

In a medium bowl, mix together the almond butter, honey and a pinch of sea salt. Add in the coconut flour gradually– starting first with a 1/4 cup, then adding it in a tablespoon at a time until a "dough" forms. I ended up using a 1/2 cup of coconut flour, but it may vary depending on the texture of your almond butter.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a pan lined with parchment paper. (Roll with your hands to make them smooth, if you like.) Place them in the freezer to set for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, melt the chocolate together with the coconut oil. (I used an oven-safe bowl– 5 minutes at 400F– but any method works!)

Remove the almond butter balls from the freezer, and dip each one into the melted chocolate mixture, coating each one thoroughly. Return the chocolate-covered balls to the parchment paper to set. There will inevitably be some areas that won't get covered (where your fingers touched), so feel free to spoon some extra chocolate over the tops when they've all been dipped!

Return the balls to the freezer to set for another 30 minutes, then serve. They are delicious when served cold, or at room temperature!

I recommend storing them in the fridge or freezer for longer shelf-life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Butternut Squash "paleo" Lasagna

coat bottom of pan with tomato sauce
slice up 1 butternut squash and layer "like pasta"
layer on basil

saute sausage (I used 1/2 spicy 1/2 mild) 6 links with 1/2 onion, one pepper, 1 garlic clove, olive oil and basil

layer until you have used all of your ingredients bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes