The purpose of the event was to celebrate something other than the last week of fun before Lent. February was Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month and we were there to learn more about lactose intolerance and more importantly, watch and taste the prep of some low lactose recipes from one of New Orleans' up and coming chefs, Chef Michael Stoltzfus, the owner of Coquette, and their pastry expert Chef Zak Miller. Coquette is located on a tree-lined street in the Garden District in an old two story house that Chef Mike believes is haunted.
Back to the food, we started out with some Horchata, a local favorite in the border region. Usually horchata is made with rice milk, which I find to be nutritionally lacking, to say the least! This drink was made with Lactaid, a milk that is virtually lactose free. So how does milk, whose primary source of carbs being lactose become lactose free? I guess we should start at the beginning.
Lactose is the primary sugar in milk; it's a disaccharide, meaning a combo of two simple sugars. In this case, the two sugars are galactose and glucose. If you've got lactose intolerance, it means that your small intestine is not secreting the enzyme, lactase, necessary to break down the sugar. What happens to the lactose then? It travels intact to the colon where it ferments, causing gas, bloating and sometimes diarrhea. Lactase works to break down sugar in your gut, but it also works when it is added to milk--hence the reason Lactaid milk is lactose free. You can also take a lactase pill, also called Lactaid, whenever you consume dairy, to help your body break down the lactose. Other foods are naturally low in lactose, as I mention in my Times article, and include aged cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt and butter.
Parmesan and Artichoke Soup anyone?
After learning how to prep a fresh artichoke so that only the heart is left, we watched Chef Mike turn the flower of an ordinary thistle into a creamy soup, courtesy of a powerful blender and Lactaid milk. Simple. Nutritious. Yummy.
The main course was Wagyu Sirloin, accompanied by roasted baby beets and a side of creamy sauce made with Greek Yogurt. (I got to help prepare the beets, which are again not a favorite in the past.)
But I loved this recipe! Chef Mike pickled them slightly by marinating them in a mix of Rice vinegar, sugar and water.
Chef Zak got in the action by showing us how to make a delicious nonfat substitute for whipped cream, using egg white and Greek yogurt. Served with fresh local strawberries, it was the perfect dessert for our group of dietitians and foodies.
If you're wondering about Coquette, whose chefs led our culinary demos, it's located at the corner of Washington and Magazine Streets. The 1880's building has had many past lives, including a grocery store, a residence, an auto parts store and several restaurants.
Chef Mike thinks it is haunted, which only adds to the intrigue of this historic restaurant. The cuisine is southern inspired with an emphasis on locally sourced incredients. Everything is made in house--from the buns and bread to their own pancetta and chorizo. If you're ever in New Orleans, I highly recommend it.
Recipes are below. Just one more thing, as they say in New Orleans,
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
2 cups White Rice
4 cups Lactose-Free Dairy Milk
5 Tbs. Granulated Sugar
2 Vanilla Beans (or 2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract)
1 Tbs. Ground Cinnamon
6 Tbs. Grade A Maple Syrup
Toast White Rice in a dry pan over medium-low heat for ten minutes until the rice is lightly brown and emitting a toasty fragrance. Transfer the rice to a glass bowl, add all of the other ingredients. Chill and let steep for two hours, strain and serve over ice.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Sauce for the Sirloin:
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
For the Soup
For the Garnish
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
<Bridget's note: short on time? Just make the strawberries with the Greek Yogurt Cream.>
Greek Yogurt Cream
Greek Yogurt Cream
by Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Recently I was invited to Chicago to visit the home office of Kraft Foods and specifically to get an insider’s look at cheese. That was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. (Disclosure: my travel, hotel and meals were compliments of Kraft on my 2 day trip;. the opinions in this article are my own.)
So I joined eight other food and nutrition colleagues, which included registered dietitians, cookbook authors and mommy bloggers, to discover the world of Kraft. It began the night we arrived, as we dined with a variety of Kraft staff including folks from R & D, the test kitchen, nutrition communications, marketing and even the “Big Cheese” himself, George Zoghbi, President of Kraft Cheese & Dairy. We learned how Kraft as a company has returned to its roots—splitting off many of its brands into another company and keeping the “new” Kraft as one focused on cheese and other American brands.
Bright and early the next day, we went down Kraft memory lane, learning that like most new products, processed cheese was developed to fill a need-- feeding soldiers during World War 1. J.L. Kraft was determined to find a way to blend and sterilize cheese so it could be kept longer without a loss of quality—and thus be used to feed the troops. In 1915, Kraft received a patent for the process of sterilizing cheese—and processed cheese was born. Who knew that J.L. Kraft, who first eked out a living by delivering cheese in a rented wagon and horse, would found a company that would eventually be a multi-billion dollar worldwide corporation! Our day was filled with cool activitities like sensory testing, learning how to describe taste, smell and texture the way a "taster" would, visiting the pilot plant and see Singles being made, having a grilled cheese "cookoff", touring the Kraft test kitchens and pantry (to die for!) and discussions about Research and Development.
I have a confession—up until now, “processed cheese” has not been something I aspired to eat on a regular basis. Once my kids left home a few years ago, I became a bit of a cheese snob. Moving towards the “cleaner” diet I promote in my books, I bought only natural cheese without artificial color or preservatives. So, my Kraft adventure turned out to be a “myth buster” for me:
At the end of the day, you know that what really makes processed cheese different from cheddar is it’s melt-ability. That’s what makes it slide perfectly over your cheeseburger and stick to the bread on your grilled cheese just right. It gets that way from cooking it and adding an emulsifier. The emulsification process is similar to what happens when you make a white sauce. If you mix flour and milk together it gets all gunky. If you mix flour and butter first and then add milk, the flour acts to keep all the ingredients mixed. In the case of processed cheese, the emulsifier isn’t actually flour or another thickener- it’s sodium citrate.
You may have guessed that there are now Kraft Singles in my cheese drawer, and I’m a believer in the product. As a child nutrition expert, I know that for
the love of cheese, many a kid now gets the calcium he needs in a day, and for that I’m grateful!
A few weeks ago, I helped with Food Day in El Paso. Food Day, held annually on October 24th, is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Food Day encourages people to “eat real”, by eating less processed foods, more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and sustainably raised protein.
Here on the borderland, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health spearheaded the celebration downtown at the Art and Farmer’s Market. It included several booths from the Health Department to help folks be aware of things like how much added sugar is in typical food and drinks. Activities included Zumba lessons, several groups of folklorico dancers from l ocal schools, and a Halloween costume contest. Also participating in Food Day was The Green Ingredient Restaurant, The El Paso Community College Culinary Students and the El Paso Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The event I was involved with was the Healthy Eats Food Truck Contest. The goals of the contest were to:
The Registered Dietitian team with Eat Well El Paso (a local initiative to help make local restaurant’s kid’s meals healthier) developed the guidelines for the recipe contest:
Entrée: 500 calories or less, 15 g fat or less, < 5 g saturated fat < 500 mg sodium
Side dish: 150 calories or less, 5 g fat or less, < 2 g sat fat, < 300 mg sodium
Dessert: 250 calories or less, 5 g fat or less, < 3 g saturated fat, <300 mg sodium
The recipes were judged on Taste, Appearance, Health and Creative Use of Fruits and Vegetables.
Three food trucks owners participated and are pictured below with the RD team and Joy Leos, Eat Well El Paso Coordinator.
Third Place went to Antojitos Carabenos for their Pulled Pork Sandwich on a Whole Grain Bollilo. The recipe used cooked cabbage and onion to add fiber and cut back on the amount of meat on the sandwich.
Here’s what you can take away from the Food Truck Contest—if a food truck with it’s limited space and cooking limitations can healthy up their recipes, you can too!
For More Information about Eat Well! El Paso: http://home.elpasotexas.gov/health/eat-well-el-paso.php
For more about Food Day: http://www.foodday.org/about
For more information about El Paso Food Trucks: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mobile-Food-Vendors-Association-of-El-Paso/505913769443404
As I was mulling over my choice of caffeinated beverages this morning, I hit on a Eureka! moment for a blog post—simple ways to increase the nutrients in your foods by making simple changes to the foods you already eat.
by Bridget Swinney MS, RD
Yesterday I commented on a Huffington Post article titled:
No surprise there...but I was surprised about the comments from other moms who noted that you aren't a mom until after birth. Let's think about this a moment. A mom's job is taking care of her child--to some extent, forever. That begins before birth. In fact I'd like to argue that Moms-To-Be deserve just as much recognition as Moms! Being a mom of two grown sons, I think I can speak to both sides of this coin.
When you're pregnant, the pressure is on you. No more 2nd helping of cappucinnos, that relaxing glass of wine is out the window and of course, you've got to do everything in your power to build a healthy baby, including staying away from chemicals, watching what you breathe and what medicines you take, and of course, eating a healthy diet. Now more than ever, when science has shown that you can "program" your baby for good or ill health, starting before and during pregnancy, the pressure is on mom-to-be.
So if you're you're a friend, partner or relative of a Mom-to-Be: Yes! You should help her celebrate her new job as mom--preferably by making her job in the coming months leading up to delivery easier, safer or more pleasant.
Best Gifts for the Mom-to-Be:
In El Paso, Texas, Food Day 2012 was celebrated on October 20th and was hosted by The City of El Paso Department of Public Health WIC Program and Health Promotions Program. Approximately 820 individuals were in attendance. Many organizations such as El Pasoans Fighting Hunger, City of El Paso Parks and Recreation’s Community Garden, El Paso Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, UTEP’s Eta Sigma Gamma, NMSU, Texas AgriLife, La Semilla Food Pantry, Greater El Paso Chef’s Association, and many others came together at Bassett Place Mall to kick off this year’s festivities.
Through the duration of the event, cooking and gardening demonstrations were displayed to educate the public about eating healthy and growing organic foods, opposed to the processed food system we have now. WIC clients received class credit by attending 3 mini-classes adapted from the Food Day curriculum. The Greater El Paso Chef’s Association created delicious, easy to make snacks such as spring rolls, salad, and jicama “fries” that showed attendees how to include more vegetables in their diet. Physical activity demonstrations including belly dancing, folklorico, zumba, gymnastics and martial art were provided to promote an active lifestyle.
Door prizes such as cookware and exercise equipment were raffled to all attendees who brought at least 3 cans of food to benefit El Pasoans Fighting Hunger and to raise awareness about food insecurity in our community. Local high schools, El Paso Community College and City of El Paso employees also hosted food drives to help collect over 1000 pounds of food.
The City of El Paso Department of Public Health’s Food Day Celebration is part of the department’s Eat Well! El Paso initiative and WIC along with Health Promotions worked collaboratively to ensure success of the event. The Department is trying to promote healthy eating and physical activity in the community to help benefit the health of our residents. A resolution was passed by City Council proclaiming October 24, 2012 as Food Day in El Paso.
Hello Faithful Readers!
I want to apologize for my absence from the blog! I've been working hard to finish my latest book, Eating Expectantly-4th edition, which will be available this holiday season! Thanks for hanging in there with me! From now on, expect to see many more posts from me!
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome--a Possible Road Block to Pregnancy
Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS affects as many as 10% of women. Seventy-five percent of women diagnosed with PCOS are thought to have problems with infertility. PCOS tends to run in families; pay attention if women in your family have problem with PCOS, irregular periods or diabetes.
What Causes It: PCOS is caused by an imbalance of hormones—especially insulin--which leads to an overproduction of male sex hormones (or androgens) which can lead to small benign cysts on the ovaries, irregular, heavy or no periods, acne and excessive hair growth on the face and body (hirutism). While being overweight is often common in women with PCOS, you can be of normal weight and still have it.
Issues about body image and self-esteem as well as problems with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and bipolar disorder are also more common in women with PCOS. If left untreated, PCOS can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
Other Symptoms of PCOS May Include:
Treatment for PCOS includes weight loss, physical activity, a low glycemic index diet and treatment with a medication to improve insulin sensitivity (such as metformin). Because depression and low self esteem can go hand-in-hand with PCOS, spending time with a therapist is often helpful. If you suspect you have PCOS, speak with your physician about it; a registered dietitian familiar with PCOS can individualize a diet that will help with weight loss as well as help normalize insulin levels. According to Angela Grassi MS, RD, author of The PCOS Workbook: Your Guide to Complete Physical & Emotional Health, a healthy eating plan for PCOS often includes:
Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
The roses have faded, the camera has been put away and mother's day dinner is a recent memory. Celebrating moms is over until next May, right? Well not so fast--Mother's Day begins a more important week for all women--National Women's Health Week. It's a way to draw attention to something that women (and moms) sometimes ignore--their own health. Too busy taking care of others, taking care of their own health often doesn't make the top of their "to-do" list.
Quick--what's the leading cause of death among women? You may be surprised to learn it's heart disease. And since much of the foundation of heart disease research was done using men, there's still a lot to learn about heart disease and it's effect on the fairer sex. For example, you may be able to correctly identify the most common symptoms of a heart attack: squeezing chest pain or pressure and nausea. But those symptoms are not as common with women. In fact, in a 2003 study in the journal Circulation, 43% of women had no chest pain at all. Instead women have symtoms like shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue--symptoms that can be easily brushed off or misdiagnosed.
Five Things To Do Today to Help Your Health:
For more information:
For More information:
Can food taste good and be good for you? Yes, says Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD, registered and licensed dietitian and Media Representative for the Texas Dietetic Association. Her passion is teaching people the connection between nutrition and health, especially about making healthy food taste great.
She is the author of three books about nutrition and has worked in virtually every area of nutrition including hospitals, health departments, school districts and outpatient clinics. She is a medical advisor to www.Babycenter.com. Bridget has been interviewed on Good Morning America, The Food Network, WGN and local networks around the country.
For more information about Bridget and her books, see www.healthyfoodzone.com.
Have a topic you'd like addressed in the blog? Send an email to: EatSmartElPaso@gmail.com