No Salt for You! Philadelphia Mandates Healthier Chinese Food |

No Salt for You! Philadelphia Mandates Healthier Chinese Food
Low Salt Chinese Food
Matt Rourke / AP

A monday Aug. 19, 2013, photo shows the Szechuan Hunan restaurant which is participating in new low sodium initiative in Philadelphia.

(PHILADELPHIA) — Amar Jones knows that high-salt Chinese takeout isn’t good for his high blood pressure. But the lure of shrimp with broccoli is hard to resist.

So he was heartened recently to hear that his favorite dish now has 20 percent less sodium thanks to a citywide effort to battle hypertension — a major risk factor for heart disease.

“People might think I’m being extreme, but you’re probably going to save some lives,” Jones said. “You might save my life.”

Organizers have recruited more than 200 eateries across Philadelphia for the city’s Healthy Chinese Takeout Initiative, which aims to reduce the food’s salt content by 10 percent to 15 percent.

(MORE: Salty Truth: Adults Worldwide Eating Too Much Sodium)

Participants have made several changes, such as flavoring orders with chilies or garlic instead of sodium; using less sauce; distributing soy sauce packets only on demand; and posting nutrition information.

It’s the latest effort by a major U.S. city to help people eat better. Many have already banned trans-fats, and some require restaurants to post calorie counts.

Philadelphia has focused on salt consumption because 37 percent of residents have high blood pressure. The number jumps to 47 percent for African-Americans, according to a 2012 survey by the Public Health Management Corp.

The multi-agency initiative, which began about a year ago, focuses on mom-and-pop Chinese joints because they are “an enormous industry” in the city, serving about 3 million meals a year, said Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz.

The dishes are cheap and easily available, especially in low-income minority neighborhoods that often lack supermarkets and access to fresh produce.

But many residents — and even takeout owners — didn’t realize how the meals affected their health, said Schwarz.

“In some restaurants, the restaurateurs were really taken aback by the amount of sodium in their food,” Schwarz said.

(MORE: Salt Sugar Fat: Q&A With Author Michael Moss)

Dietary guidelines recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day — about a teaspoon. Yet an order of chicken lo mein from local takeouts averaged 3,200 milligrams, while shrimp with broccoli had 1,900 milligrams.

Organizers offered a series of low-sodium cooking classes last summer with the goal of changing the ingredients but not the taste. Nine months later, salt content in those two dishes was down 20 percent in samples from 20 restaurants. Researchers plan to test the food again in a few months, and expand the program to other items.

Steven Zhu, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chinese Restaurant Association, recruited participants by saying healthier food could attract more customers. Still, some owners declined because they worried about losing business.

“Change is always not an easy process, and there was some reluctance in the beginning when we started this project,” said Grace Ma, director of Temple University’s Center for Asian Health.

Xue Xiu Liu, owner of Choy Yung Inn in the city’s Point Breeze community, said through a translator that he got involved to improve customers’ health. Business is about the same, Liu said.

Jones frequents the takeout because he works just up the block at the Arabic Institute. And he said he’s hardly alone, often joined by colleagues or neighbors.

“We’re always going in there, even if we don’t want to sometimes. There’s nothing else to eat,” Jones said. “You want something hot, you want something now, so you order from the Chinese store.”

The Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based organization that promotes healthy eating, praised the city for working with the takeouts instead of pointing fingers. The eateries are community gathering points and not going away anytime soon, noted spokeswoman April White.

“Let’s find ways to make everyone a part of the solution,” White said.

The Food Trust is not part of the study. Participants include the city health department, Temple University, Asian Community Health Coalition and restaurant association; the project is supported by local and federal funds.

[tag No salt for you]

Broccoli’s Benefits in Preventing Arthritis |

Broccoli’s Benefits in Preventing Arthritis168677482

Even if you’re not a fan of broccoli, your joints may be.

Nutritionists have rhapsodized about the various benefits of broccoli — the cruciferous vegetable is stuffed with vitamins A, B, K, C, as well as nutrients such as potassium, zinc and fiber — and arthritis sufferers may soon join them. Along with its cousins brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage, broccoli contains sulfur compounds that can filter out carcinogens that promote tumor growth.

And the latest study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, shows that those substances may also battle inflammation, which is at the root of osteoarthritis, a painful, degenerative joint disease in which cartilage that normally protects joints starts to wear away under the influence of the inflammatory factors. For the estimated 12.4 million people affected by arthritis in the U.S. these results are certainly welcome news.

Starting with studies in mice, the researchers found that animals that ate a diet high in the sulforaphane found in broccoli had significantly less cartilage damage and signs of osteoarthritis compared to mice who did not consume sulforaphane. The team then moved to human and cow cartilage cells, and found that the sulforaphane was equally effective in protecting these cells from damage. The sulfur-based compound, they say, may be blocking enzymes that contribute to inflammation in cartilage, and the scientists are starting a trial to see if broccoli can protect a small group of arthritis patients getting knee replacement surgery.

If that trial confirms these early results, that could help more people to avoid arthritis to begin with; although surgery can treat symptoms, protecting joints from irreversible damage would keep joints stronger for a longer period of time.

“Although surgery is very successful, it is not really an answer. Once you have osteoarthritis, being able to slow its progress and the progression to surgery is really important, study author Ian Clark, professor of musculoskeletal biology at the University of East Anglia said in a statement. “Prevention would be preferable and changes to lifestyle, like diet, may be the only way to do that.”

Not to mention that a broccoli-rich diet could lower risk of other chronic diseases like obesity, which prior studies have connected to…arthritis.

[tag Broccoli’s Benefits]

The pain, the pleasure and the health benefits » Natural News Blogs

Chilies: The pain, the pleasure and the health benefits

When you think of vitamin C, do you think of oranges or chilies? The surprising fact of the matter is that chilies have more vitamin C and beta carotene than oranges. Surprising fact number two: Red hot chili peppers are actually fruit from plants that are members of the nightshade family. This quirky product of nature has healing properties you wouldn’t normally associate with a hot bite that causes a distinct pain and burning sensation in your mouth, or for that matter, with something as ordinary as a chili. Exotic though it may be in some parts of the world, chilies have now become commonplace as a medicine. Fact is they are packed with nutritional and medicinal properties and it is said that including chili regularly in your diet can effectively control many an illness.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Chili is loaded with Vitamin A and C with a good measure of bioflavinoids. These nutrients enable blood vessels to cope with variations in blood pressure by increasing their elasticity. According to studies chilies have pain relieving abilities and their consumption could potentially relieve migraine and sinus headaches. It has been recorded that chilies can control the transmission of pain to the brain by virtue of a chemical substance in it called capsaicin. This chemical substance helps combat upper respiratory congestion and helps clear mucus from the throat. Chili is endowed with anti-bacterial properties and can prove itself in the treatment of sinus infections. The heat of chili is meant to prevent the spreading of cancer cells, more specifically to do with prostrate cancer.

According to current scientific thinking, capsaicin could be useful in the treatment of painful bone and joint conditions such as arthritis due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. And what with its ability to prevent or manage nervous debility, it may be a blessing for those suffering from diabetic neuropathy and has even been suggested for the treatment of herpes. Skin conditions such as psoriasis are also meant to be relieved by chili.

Chili for better digestion, increased metabolism and weight control

According to a study conducted by Duke University in North Carolina, USA, the chili pepper could be handy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. It acts against H. Pylori bacteria and could be the best preventive therefore for stomach ulcers. There is also evidence to show the effectiveness of chili in weight control. Capsaicin can increase the body’s metabolism and the heat it generates can burn fat (this process is called thermogenisis), while the vitamin C and the beta carotene make it essential for maintaining the health of the mucus membrane in the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tracts and urinary tracts. They are unique in their ability to build the body’s defenses against pathogens. New research has identified that chilies in your meal can reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to convert sugar to energy.

Of course, as always, it is good to exercise caution in the consumption of chilies. You don’t want to eat too much of it. And chili therapy may or may not be a good enough substitute for proper medical advice. That said, chilies are great for cooking with, adding a touch of flavor, healthfulness and even color to your meal. And an unexpected gift of the chili is that is stimulates the release of endorphins, the pleasure hormone.


As antibiotics continue to fail, use garlic instead to kill MRSA and superbugs

Garlic has been used as an antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal for centuries. But most probably consider it a lightweight, outdated folk medicine against serious bacterial infections. Antibiotics gave modern allopathic pharmaceuticals an illusion of legitimacy from 1928, when penicillin was discovered, until today.

So the mindset became why bother with that nasty tasting foul smelling garlic stuff when you could pop some antibiotic pills or be injected with the latest new miracle drug that seemed to work well without much fuss.

But there has been much fuss

The first fuss was how antibiotics didn’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria. Synthetic pharmaceuticals are equal opportunity killers.

So much of the intestinal flora, containing billions of beneficial bacteria for digestion, protection, vitamin production and total body immunity signaling, were neutralized along with the infectious bacteria.

During and after a round or two of antibiotics, supplementing with probiotics became a ritual among those who knew about synthetic antibiotics’ dangers.

Fluoroquinolone-based synthetic antibiotics also create neuropathy. Sometimes neuropathy would manifest as mild nerve problems and insomnia, but too often very painful and crippling long term side effects occurred, leaving victims without hope.

Major fluoroquinolone antibiotics are Cipro, Leviquin, Avelox, and Floxen (

The final blow is the superbug scare. The most common superbug is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Due to extreme overuse of antibiotics over decades, 70% of which is used for livestock, bacteria learned how to defeat essentially simple chemical compound antibiotics by gene swapping among them.

MRSA started out in hospitals and nursing homes, but soon spread into community contagion. MRSA likes to infect nostrils and skin. There are several carriers of MRSA whose immune systems prevent their becoming infected. But carriers can spread what they’re carrying. If MRSA gets into the blood, it can be fatal.

At first the antibiotic vancomycin was about only the super hero antibiotic that could stop MRSA. But now, those clever little MRSA critters have developed a strain, CC5, which is able to dupe and get around even vancomycin (

Time to get back to garlic

Garlic allicin extracts have recently been used successfully on MRSA victims. Allicin is the main active compound in garlic. It is released upon crushing or chewing raw garlic, but unfortunately it oxidizes rapidly and much of its bacteria killing ability is lost.

Garlic antibiotic solutions: Be unafraid and chew raw garlic directly or quickly after crushed if using as an antibiotic; or simply use a supplement or cream (for external MRSA sores) that contains allicin in a preserved state. These are available and recommended for serious bacterial issues.

Results obtained in the UK using allicin supplement creams took slightly longer than what synthetic antibiotics used to do, but were very effective. Garlic contains other sulfur compounds that bolster the immune system. Big Pharma products either dampen or overexcite the immune system. Overexciting the immune system results in cytokine storms that often cripple or damage with various neurological autoimmune diseases.

Since allicin and garlic’s other compounds are more complex than synthetic antibiotics, bacteria strains becoming resistant to garlic or allicin is unlikely. The complexity is too much for infectious bacteria to handle, and garlic overuse in livestock is also unlikely.

Another issue resolved by using garlic-based concentrated allicin is nerve damage from fluoroquinolones. There are no known side effects, other than the occasional mild allergic reaction, from garlic.

Allicin leaves friendly gut flora bacteria alone. So garlic’s allicin offers an effective solution away from Big Pharma antibiotic’s side effect issues, while offering other health benefits (


How Exercise Can Help Us Sleep Better –


Getty Images

Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.

As a clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Kelly Glazer Baron frequently heard complaints from aggrieved patients about exercise. They would work out, they told her, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, but they would not sleep better that night.

Dr. Baron was surprised and perplexed. A fan of exercise for treating sleep problems, but also a scientist, she decided to examine more closely the day-to-day relationship between sweat and sleep.

What she and her colleagues found, according to a study published last week in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, is that the influence of daily exercise on sleep habits is more convoluted than many of us might expect and that, in the short term, sleep may have more of an impact on exercise than exercise has on sleep.

To reach that conclusion, Dr. Baron and her colleagues turned to data from a study of exercise and sleep originally published in 2010. For that experiment, researchers had gathered a small group of women (and one man) who had received diagnoses of insomnia. The volunteers were mostly in their 60s, and all were sedentary.

Then the researchers randomly assigned their volunteers either to remain inactive or to begin a moderate endurance exercise program, consisting of three or four 30-minute exercise sessions per week, generally on a stationary bicycle or treadmill, that were performed in the afternoon. This exercise program continued for 16 weeks.

At the end of that time, the volunteers in the exercise group were sleeping much more soundly than they had been at the start of the study. They slept, on average, about 45 minutes to an hour longer on most nights, waking up less often and reporting more vigor and less sleepiness.

But had the novice exercisers experienced immediate improvements in their sleep patterns, Dr. Baron wondered? And, on a day-to-day basis, had working out on any given day produced better sleep that night?

Boring deep into the data contained in the exercising group’s sleep diaries and other information for the new study, Dr. Baron discovered that the answer to both questions was a fairly resounding no. After the first two months of their exercise program, the exercising volunteers (all of them women) were sleeping no better than at the start of the study. Only after four months of the program had their insomnia improved.

They also rarely reported sleeping better on those nights when they had had an exercise session. And perhaps most telling, they almost always exercised for a shorter amount of time on the days after a poor night’s sleep.

In other words, sleeping badly tended to shorten the next day’s workout, while a full-length exercise session did not, in most cases, produce more and better sleep that night.

At first glance, these results might seem “a bit discouraging,” Dr. Baron said. They also would seem to be at odds with the earlier conclusion that four months of exercise improved insomniacs’ sleep patterns, as well as a wealth of other recent science that typically has found that regular exercise lengthens and deepens sleep.

But, Dr. Baron pointed out, most of these other studies employed volunteers without existing sleep problems. For them, exercise and sleep seem to have a relatively uncomplicated relationship. You work out, fatigue your body and mind, and sleep more soundly that night.

But people with insomnia and other sleep disturbances tend to be “neurologically different,” Dr. Baron said. “They have what we characterize as a hyper-arousal of the stress system,” she said. A single bout of exercise on any given day “is probably not enough to overcome that arousal,” she explained, and potentially could even exacerbate it, since exercise is itself a physical stressor.

Eventually, however, if the exercise program is maintained, Dr. Baron said, the workouts seem to start muting a person’s stress response. Her or his underlying physiological arousal is dialed down enough for sleep to arrive more readily, as it did in the original 2010 experiment.

Of course, both of these studies were small, involving fewer than a dozen exercising volunteers, all of them middle-aged or older women. “We think the findings would apply equally to men,” Dr. Baron said. But that idea has yet to be proven.

Likewise, it is impossible to know yet the sleep-related impacts of workouts of different types (like weight training), intensities or timing, including morning or late-evening sessions.

Still, the preliminary message of these findings is heartening. If you habitually experience insomnia and don’t currently exercise, Dr. Baron said, start. Don’t, however, expect that you will enjoy or even complete workouts that occur on the day after a broken night’s sleep, or that you will sleep better hours after you’ve exercised.

The process is more gradual and less immediately gratifying than the sleep-deprived might wish. But the benefits do develop. “It took four months” in the original study, Dr. Baron said, but at that point the exercising volunteers “were sleeping at least 45 minutes more a night.” “That’s huge, as good as or better” than most current treatment options for sleep disturbances, including drugs, she said.


3 organic super-vegetables that cost less than $2 | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Have you ever felt like you were on the right track with your diet, only to have someone completely derail your progress with a simple comment? It happens all the time. You may eat a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables… but someone asks you, are they organic? Locally-grown? Ugh.

So you do your best to adjust, adding more organic produce to your diet, and after just a few days, you realize that you’re going broke.

I’ve seen this rollercoaster ride so many times before, and it often ends almost exactly where it started. This person who was trying so hard before, now throws her hands up and says, “This just isn’t working.” All her progress goes out the window because she was made to feel like she had to spend her whole paycheck on food in order to be healthy. Well, that’s simply not the case. [12 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget]

Not all vegetables are expensive, but they’re also not created equal. For example, iceberg lettuce is inexpensive, but it contains less protein, fiber, calcium, folate and vitamin K per calorie than its pricier counterpart, romaine. If you look at the lettuces in terms of penny per nutrient, instead of penny per calorie, romaine is the clear winner.

And speaking of nutritional winners, a study published in the journal PLOS One in May reported two clear winners in the overall cost-per-nutrient category: potatoes and beans (beans are classified as a vegetable by the USDA). [13 Easy Kitchen Fixes that Can Help You Lose Weight]

Researchers used a combination of nutrient profiling methods and national average pricing to create an affordability index, which was used to examine the nutrients in 98 individual vegetables as well as five subgroups. The fact that potatoes come out on top is surprising to some, but potatoes are extremely rich in potassium, fiber, vitamin C and magnesium. And, they’re cheap too!

This report definitely sparked my interest because I think this is an important topic. So, I thought this might be a good time to review my personal favorite, budget-friendly organic vegetables that pack a healthy nutritional punch.

  1. Kale: This is one of the most nutrient-dense leafy greens you can get, and it’s cheap. The other day, I went to the grocery store just for some organic kale and I walked out with a big bunch. Guess how much I spent? It was well under two dollars, and I’d say I got more than my money’s worth. Just one cup of this raw leafy green has 206 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, and 134 percent of vitamin C.
  2. Green cabbage: At about $0.92 per pound, this organic vegetable is certainly affordable. But it’s also nutritious. One cup of raw green cabbage contains nearly a full day’s worth of vitamin K, and it has about half of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of fiber, and is loaded with antioxidants.
  3. Baby carrots: At about $1.75 per pound, organic baby carrots make for a nutritious and inexpensive snack. And eating one mere ounce, will give you 77 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A.

Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

[tag 3 organic super-vege]

Doctors prescribe fruits and vegetables instead of pills | MNN – Mother Nature Network

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

The Greek physician Hippocrates may have been way ahead of his time in extolling the health-giving virtues of a sensible diet. In an age of obesity and food deserts, examining the connection between our diets and our health has never been more important.

Fighting the food desert

But you can’t have a serious discussion about why we should eat more fruits and vegetables without also looking at the reasons why many of us do not.

Nowhere is this conversation more important than in poor communities, where fresh foods can be hard to come by, and where fast-food joints and convenience stores proliferate.

It’s for this reason that many programs are exploring ways to increase access to fresh, healthy and local foods – often finding ways to support farms and farmers markets in the process.

Farmers market vegetables

Prescribing fresh food

Wholesome Wave, a Connecticut-based nonprofit, has been pioneering the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx), which sees doctors and medical professionals literally prescribing fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income overweight and obese children who may be at risk of developing diet-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The families of children enrolled in the program receive “prescriptions” (essentially coupons) which they can then use at participating farmers markets to buy the food they need for the week. At the launch of an FVRx program at two New York hospitals, New York Health Commissioner Thomas Farley suggested to reporters that food might provide a direct alternative to some of the pharmaceuticals that are typically prescribed to overweight children:

“This is probably going to prevent an awful lot of disease in the long term than the medicines we tend to write prescriptions for.”

Significant Increases in fruit and vegetable consumption

Initial results suggest that Farley may be onto something. According to the Wholesome Wave website, an analysis of the 2012 program suggested that 55.3 percent of participants reported an increase in their fruit and vegetable consumption, and 37.8 percent of child participants showed a decreased Body Mass Index (the metric used for measuring obesity) since enrolling in the program.

Customers at a farmers' market

Supporting the farm economy

Farmer advocates are also huge fans of the program.

Kayla Ringelheim, market manager at Woonsocket Farmers Market in Rhode Island, even credits the initiative as playing a significant role in the commercial viability of the market by bringing in customers who would never have otherwise shopped there:

“FVRx helped transform the Woonsocket market into one that was vibrant & economically viable for participating farmers.”

A broad range of initiatives

FVRx is by no means the only initiative aimed at bridging the gap between farms and farmers markets and the food insecure. The USDA has been working hard to get SNAP benefits accepted at farmers markets nationwide, and in my neck of the woods in North Carolina, a program called Farmer Foodshare is collecting food from farmers markets and delivering it to community groups, churches and food pantries – paying a fair price to farmers wherever possible. (Disclosure: I have worked with Farmer Foodshare on their branding and communications.)

Ultimately, we’ll never fix issues like hunger or obesity without building a fairer, more resilient food system where everyone has access to fresh, healthy food – and where farmers can make a decent living growing it. Fruit and vegetable prescriptions are just one way of working toward this goal – combining the notions of preventative medicine and sustainable community development in a win-win situation for all.

[Tag Doctors prescribe fruits and vege]

Eat This Now: Japanese Eggplant |

Eat This Now: Japanese Eggplant

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Getty Images/Visuals Unlimited

Is eggplant looking a little scrawny to you this season? Don’t worry, it’s supposed to look like that.

That’s because it’s Japanese eggplant, which is becoming increasingly common at farmers’ markets and is typically longer, thinner and a bit more corkscrew-shaped than the eggplant you may be used to. And while it may look strange, it still shares the same nutritional benefits that have made the purple plant a popular mealtime choice.

The food: It’s cooked like a vegetable, but eggplant is actually a fruit (it’s part of the same nightshade family that includes the other confusing is-it-a-fruit-or-a-vegetable plant, the tomato). In the U.S., eggplant tends to appear mostly in Italian or Mediterranean dishes, but Southern and Southeast Asian cuisines have long incorporated the fruit as well. Japanese eggplant is noticeably less plump than its more familiar pear-shaped cousin, and it’s in season from July to October.

(MORE: Eat This Now: Okra)

The trend: Eggplant is valued for the variety of ways it can be cooked, and Japanese eggplant is even more versatile because it has a much thinner skin and is practically seedless. The sponginess of its fleshy inside drinks in seasonings like soy sauce, miso and ginger.

The nutrients: Raw eggplant is very low in calories, saturated fat and sodium, with only 20 calories per cup. It’s a high source of dietary fiber and is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese. “Leave the skin on this vegetable because it will add fiber to your diet, causing you to remain full for longer periods of time while regulating your digestive system,” says Tracy Lockwood, a registered dietitian at F-Factor Nutrition.

Along with other nightshade plants like bell peppers and potatoes, Japanese eggplants also contain antioxidants like nasunin, which is thought to protect cell membranes in the brain.

photo (26)

The preparation: When it comes to picking the right Japanese eggplant — and storing it correctly — there are a couple of things to keep in mind. If you’re grabbing a few from a farmers’ market, it’s likely that they were picked In the past 24 hours, so the stems should be firm and rough. But be careful: any leaves remaining on the stems are covered in small thorns. Japanese eggplant doesn’t have the same shelf life as other eggplant varieties, so use it soon after purchasing. If it feels firm when you buy it, you can keep it in your fridge for about a week.

And here’s an advantage of the Japanese variety: its thin skin doesn’t need to be peeled. There are many ways to cook it — try grilling, sautéing or baking thin slices. But the way you cook eggplant — and what you add to give it flavor — can change its nutritional profile. (See recipe below.) “Obviously, fried would not be my first choice,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet. “And if cooked with a lot of soy sauce, the sodium content will increase greatly.”

(MORE: Eat This Now: Seaweed)

The taste: Japanese eggplant is milder and less bitter than other varieties. Since it’s extra spongy, don’t overdo the marinades — a little goes a long way. “Because it’s very absorbent, sautéing with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar instead of olive oil can save your nearly 200 calories,” advises Lockwood.

The takeaway: While it’s in season, Japanese eggplant can be a tasty and versatile addition to a light summer meal, and its smaller size makes it easier to experiment with different cooking and seasoning techniques. We’re already big fans of eggplant — we named it one of the healthiest foods to eat. Don’t believe us? Try the recipe below for eggplant pizza from Janet Brill, a registered dietitian and fitness and nutrition expert.

Recipe: Mia’s Whole-Grain Pizza With Arugula, Eggplant and Caramelized Onion
Yield: 16 slices

This recipe makes two 12-in. pizzas. One pound of store-bought whole-wheat pizza dough made with olive oil can be substituted for homemade dough if desired. If King Arthur Flour is not available in your area, substitute 1 cup whole-wheat flour mixed with 1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour.

2¾ cups King Arthur white whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp. quick-rise yeast
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup warm water (105°–115°F)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. honey

In a food processor fitted with plastic blade, blend the flour, yeast and salt. In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the water, olive oil and honey. With the food processor running, add the water-oil mixture and blend until the flour forms a ball of dough. Process for one minute to knead the dough. The dough will be a bit sticky; if it’s too wet, add up to ½ cup more flour. Spray a bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Put the dough into the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about one hour, until the dough doubles in size.

¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1¼ tsp. kosher salt, divided
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 8-oz. eggplant, cut into 1-in. cubes
5 oz. (about 4 cups) baby arugula
2 tsp. cornmeal, divided
2 tbsp. olive oil for brushing the crust, divided
¼ cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove to a bowl. In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add the eggplant and salt and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes to soften the eggplant. Uncover and cook for two to three more minutes to remove any excess moisture. Remove to a bowl. In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add arugula and cook, tossing the arugula until it is wilted. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

To assemble the pizzas, preheat the oven (and a baking stone if desired) to 425°F. Punch down the dough and divide into two pieces. Set on a lightly floured surface and cover with a towel to rest for five minutes. For each pizza, sprinkle a baking sheet with 1 tsp. cornmeal. Roll one piece of dough into a 12-in. circle and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush dough with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Distribute ½ cup caramelized onions, ½ cup cooked eggplant and ¼ cup arugula on the dough. Sprinkle each with 2 tbsp. shredded cheese. Repeat with other piece of dough. Bake the pizzas for about 15 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Cut each pizza into eight slices.

Nutrition per serving (1 slice of pizza):
Calories: 164
Fat: 9 g (EPA 0 g, DHA 0 g, ALA <1 g)
Sodium: 335 mg
Carbohydrates: 18 g
Dietary fiber: 4 g
Sugars: 1 g
Protein: 4 g

Recipe excerpted from Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill (Three Rivers Press, February 2011). To learn more about this book, visit or

Natural News Blogs Sprouting Organic Mung Beans » Natural News Blogs

Sprouting Organic Mung Beans

Mung Beans have a shelf life of 3-5 years if kept in a cool, dark place such as a closet but not a hot garage. Mung beans will usually produce twice the amount of sprouts as seeds. Mung bean sprouts can last up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator if properly stored. As with anything in the fridge, if it smells funky in a bad way, don’t eat it!


Put 1/3 cup beans into your sprout jar. Add 2 cups of water. Allow seeds to soak for 8-12 hours. Empty the seeds into your Sprout Jar. Drain off the soak water. You may use it to water plants. Rinse thoroughly with cool (60-70°) water. Drain thoroughly.Once I emptied out the water I set the jar upside down in a bowl to drain completely.

If you want to grow short, sweet Mung Beans – with 1/8 – 1/2 inch roots:

Rinse and drain every 8-12 hours for 2 – 3 days.

If you want to grow big, thick Mung Bean – with 1 – 3 inch roots:
Rinse and Drain every 8-12 hours for 4 – 6 days.

Just to be clear:
Soak for 8-10 hours. Rinse and drain. Leave the jar in a cool place with no direct sunlight for the next 8-10 hours (dry). Repeat. It is VERY important that you rinse and drain thoroughly.The great thing about my Sprout Jar is that it’s self-contained. I can soak, drain, rinse and let them sit all in one container.

Your sprouts are done 8-10 hours after the final rinse. Be sure to drain your sprouts as thoroughly as possible after the final rinse. Remove any left over hulls. Transfer your sprouts to a plastic bag or sealed container and put them in the refrigerator.