Category Archives: Food

8 Ways to Lose Weight with Little Effort

by Michelle Schoffro Cook

1. Eat small meals throughout the day.

This simple food-timing trick sends messages to your brain to release fat stores. If you haven’t eaten anything for 2 to 3 hours, it’s time to eat again. Ideally, choose some protein and nonstarchy vegetables to get the best results. Some great options include: soaked almonds (soak for 8 hours or overnight, then drain), celery sticks with almond or hemp seed butter, and apple slices with avocado or almond butter.

2. Switch to coconut oil.

It’s a great substitute for butter, margarine, and most cooking oils. It also has more health benefits and stimulates the thyroid while lowering cholesterol levels.

3. Eliminate the Candida albicans yeast in your intestines to help shed weight.

Yeast overgrowth is linked to an average weight gain of 32.5 pounds. Shocking but true! And the incidence of candidiasis—the condition of Candida overgrowth—is surprisingly common. Getting to the bottom of this infection can help you lose weight. Candidiasis is linked to weight gain in several ways:

  • It can interfere with absorption of many critical nutrients needed for detoxification and fat metabolism.
  • It triggers intense cravings, particularly for carbohydrates that candida organisms need to live and that allow them to multiply further.
  • It interferes with the normal functioning of the thyroid, which reduces the body’s ability to convert fat and food into energy needed for cellular functions.
  • It causes belly bloating due to the fermentation of carbs and toxic by-products of candida in the intestines.

The best way to eliminate a candida infection is to: cut out sugars (even natural ones and fruit) at least for a few weeks to a month. Add a probiotic supplement to restore healthy bacterial balance. Use herbs like artemisia, burdock root, and garlic (follow package instructions). Snack on fresh pumpkin seeds, cooked with coconut oil, and try to eat at least one clove of fresh garlic daily.

4. Resistance training, like weight lifting, results in a 73% increase in fat burning for hours afterward.

Okay, I know this one requires a bit more effort. But just adding 15 to 20 minutes of resistance training like lifting weights results in a 73 percent increase in fat burning for hours after you finish, according to research at the University of Nevada. Even lifting 5-pound weights or canned goods helps you to get this impressive result and develop great muscle tone, which in turn burns fat.

5. Snack on almonds to increase weight loss by 64 percent and target belly fat.

According to research at California’s City of Hope National Medical Center and a study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, overweight participants who snacked on 70 almonds daily had a 14 percent waistline reduction.

6. Drink green tea. It’s a fat buster extraordinaire.

Study after study proves that drinking green tea dramatically reduces weight thanks to the phytonutrient epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG for short). EGCG has been proven in multiple studies to increase the rate at which fat is burned in the body. Research at Tufts University indicates that EGCG in green tea, like other catechins, activates fat-burning genes in the abdomen to speed weight loss by 77 percent. Drink at least three cups daily for weight loss.

7. Shrink fat cells with chromium.

Research at the University of Texas found that supplementing with the mineral chromium daily can double fat loss, without losing muscle.

8. Take carnitine to burn fat fast.

Carnitine is a powerful nutrient that transports fat to your cells’ incinerators to be burnt as fuel. In a study of people who ate healthy, exercised moderately and supplemented with 2 grams of carnitine daily, those who supplemented with carnitine lost an average of 11 pounds, while the placebo group lost only 1 pound in 12 weeks. Best results are obtained with 2000 mg or 2 grams daily on an empty stomach, ideally before breakfast.

Read more:

“The best Polish Cuisine in Los Angeles”

Just because I had a taste for pierogis (smile)

Polish cuisine occupies a distinctive place among Slavic food because foreign influences abound throughout Poland’s long history. Ancient merchants traveling the famous amber trail from Byzantium through Poland brought exotic spices like cinnamon and cloves, while invaders from Asia brought steak Tatar, and Bona Sforza. In the early 16th century, the Italian wife of King Sigismund I introduced many kinds of pastas and new vegetables. King Stefan Batory, a Hungarian, introduced spicy paprika, and the French wife of Jan Sobieski, who saved Vienna from invading Turks in 1683, imbued our cuisine with many French flavors. Austrian occupiers gave us the tradition of incredible delicate pastries. The result is that together with Poland’s own abundant products of agriculture and forests (wild berries, mushrooms, honey, and game), these foreign influences caused Polish food to evolve into a rich cuisine, filled with a variety of mouth-watering dishes, many of them vegetarian.

– from the Warszaw Restaurant

Fast food, German-style

Check out the video here.

Dining out at Germany’s fully automated “robot” restaurant

Germany likes to call itself the “Land of Ideas” – and over the centuries it has certainly had plenty of them. It was Germans who invented the aspirin, the airship, the printing press and the diesel engine.

But Germany has surely never produced anything quite as weird as the automated restaurant.

I say “restaurant” – but it actually looks more like a rollercoaster, with long metal tracks criss-crossing the dining area.

The tracks run all the way from the kitchen, high up in the roof, down to the tables, twisting and turning as they go. And down the tracks – in little pots with wheels fixed to the bottom – speeds food.

Supersonic sausages, high-pace pancakes and wine bottles whizzing down to the customers’ tables with the help of good old gravity. One pot is spiralling down so fast, it looks like an Olympic bobsleigh (but it’s only Bratwurst).

I wanted to come up with a complete new restaurant system
Michael Mack, restaurant owner

What’s more, at the ‘s Baggers restaurant in Nuremberg, you don’t need waiters to order food. Customers use touch-screen TVs to browse the menu and choose their meal.

You can even use the computers to send e-mails and text messages while you wait for the food to be cooked. But all this may not appeal to those who like traditional waiter service.

Meals on wheels

Up in the kitchen, it is man, not machine, that makes the food. They haven’t found a way of automating the chef, just yet.

Everything is prepared from fresh. When it is ready, the meal is put in a pot and given a sticker and a colour to match the customer’s seat.

Then it is put on the rails and despatched downhill to the correct table. Manna from heaven, German-style.

The restaurant is the brainchild of local businessman Michael Mack.

“I wanted to come up with a complete new restaurant system,” Michael tells me, “one that would be more efficient and more comfortable”.

Replacing waiters with helter-skelters and computers is fun for the customers. It also makes financial sense for the restaurant.

“You can save labour costs,” explains restaurant spokesperson Kyra Mueller-Siecheneder.

“You don’t need the waiters to run to the customers, take the orders, run to the kitchen and back to the guests.”

The restaurant has not completely done away with the human touch. There are still some staff on hand to explain to rather bemused customers how to use the technology.

But what do the punters here think? Do Germans really have the appetite for automated mealtimes?

“It’s another art for eating. I like it!” one man raves.

“It’s more for young people than old people,” a woman tells me. “My mother was here yesterday and she needs my son’s help to order.”

Watching all this food raining down on the restaurant makes me ravenous. I decide that it is my turn to test the system. I order steak and salad on the computer and wait for it to appear. A few minutes later, a pot glides down to my table with my “fast food” – and it is delicious.

As I finish the meal and prepare to leave, one final thought crosses my mind. An automated meal doesn’t only save the restaurant money, but the customer, too.

After all, in a restaurant without waiters, there is no need to leave a tip…

Story from BBC NEWS:

Why soul food is actually good for you

Mention “soul food” and you will hear scores of health and medical professionals claim that it is the downfall of the health and well-being of African Americans. It is true that African Americans have some of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers of any group in this country. But frankly, I’m getting sick of soul food being held partially responsible for this. The majority of people imagine the traditional soul food diet as unsophisticated and unhealthy fare comprised of high-calorie, low-nutrient dishes replete with, salt, sugar, and bad fats. Rather than vilifying traditional soul food, let’s focus on the real culprit, what I like to call instant soul food.

In reality, soul food is good for you. In order to understand why, you have to understand grits. As seen with instant grits, mass production and distribution has diminished the product’s superb quality and has obscured the distinctive characteristics that make down-home hominy so darn desirable in the first place. The taste of instant grits boxed up in a factory can never compare to the complex nutty flavor of grits stone-ground in a Mississippi mill. So it’s understandable that those who have only had that watered-down stuff (read: many of my friends in the Northeast) scoff at the mention of grits.

Similar to instant grits, instant soul food is a dishonest representation of African American cuisine. And to be clear, when I refer to instant soul food, I’m not just describing the processing, packaging, and mass marketing of African American cuisine in the late 1980s. I’m also alluding to the oversimplified version of the cuisine that was constructed in the popular imagination in the late 1960s.

The term “soul food” first emerged during the black liberation movement as African Americans named and reclaimed their diverse traditional foods. Clearly, the term was meant to celebrate and distinguish African American cooking from general Southern cooking, and not ghettoize it. But in the late 1960s, soul food was “discovered” by the popular media and constructed as the newest exotic cuisine for white consumers to devour. Rather than portray the complexity of this cuisine and its changes throughout the late 19th and 20th century, many writers played up its more exotic aspects (e.g., animal entrails) and simply framed the cuisine as a remnant of poverty-driven antebellum survival food.

To paraphrase food historian Jessica B. Harris, “soul food” was simply what Southern black folks ate for dinner.

Sadly, over the past four decades most of us have forgotten that what many African Americans in the South ate for dinner just two generations ago was diverse, creative, and comprised of a lot of fresh, local, and homegrown nutrient-dense food.

Most self-proclaimed soul food restaurants, a considerable amount of soul food cookbooks, and the canned and frozen soul food industry reinforce this banal portrayal of African American cuisine. Moreover, film and television routinely bombards viewers with crass images of African American eating habits and culinary practices that further distort and demonize soul food.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for fried chicken, mac-and-cheese, collards greens, and peach cobbler being reinterpreted. But romanticizing comfort foods that should be eaten occasionally, and presenting these foods as standard fare not only rewrites history, but it also normalizes unhealthy eating habits for African Americans who are unaware of their historical cuisine.

When I think about the soul food that my grandparents and their parents ate, I do have some fond memories of deep-fried meats, overcooked leafy greens, and sugary desserts occasionally making a cameo on our menu. But, I also recall lightly sautéed okra, corn, and tomatoes recently harvested from their “natural” backyard garden in South Memphis. Divine recollections abound of butchered-that-morning herb-roasted chicken from Paw-Paw’s coop; “grit cakes” fashioned from breakfast leftovers and then grilled alongside pulled pork; Ma’Dear’s chutney made from peaches that came from Miss Cole’s mini-orchard next door; and fresh watermelon purchased from a flatbed truck on the side of the road and served with salt sprinkled on each slice.

There are African Americans like the late chef and cookbook author Edna Lewis; food historian Jessica B. Harris; and the chef-owner of Farmer Brown Restaurant in San Francisco, Jay Foster, who acknowledge a more complex culinary heritage and understand the African American legacy of being “green.” It’s time, however, that we all reclaim real Soul Food by learning from elders; rediscovering heirloom varietals; planting home and community gardens; shopping at the farmer’s market; eating what’s in season; pickling, canning, and preserving for leaner months; getting back into the kitchen and cooking; and sharing meals with family and friends. While these actions may not solve all the health issues in our communities they will get the ball rolling.

Obviously, there are complex social, economic, demographic, and environmental factors that explain why diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are so rife within African American communities. Yes, we can experience real change consisting of personal, family, community, and structural shifts by making our voices heard and pressuring our elected officials to create national, state, and local policies that ensure that all Americans have access to healthy affordable food. The task won’t be easy, but employing the same grit that carried our ancestors through the worst of times can pull us through anything.

Memphis native Bryant Terry is an eco chef, author and food justice activist based in Oakland, Calif. His second book will be published by Da Capo/Perseus in 2009. The following are two of Terry’s recipes for Pan-Fried Grit Cakes and Citrus Collards. Enjoy!

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Pan-Fried Grit Cakes with Caramelized Spring Onions, Garlic, and Thyme

Yield: Serves 4–6

Soundtrack: Green Onions by Booker T. & the MG’s

Mark my word, after making and eating this dish while listening to Green Onions, they both will be on heavy rotation for a few months, if not longer. I enjoy these tasty cakes as a savory dinner side or as a light meal with a green salad. You can omit the spring onions, cayenne, garlic, and thyme and eat these with pure maple syrup as a breakfast treat.

For a lower fat version, they can be baked on a lightly greased baking sheet at 325ºF until crisp, about 15 minutes each side. They can also be lightly brushed with olive oil and grilled for 10 minutes on each side.

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 large bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced thinly

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups whole milk

1 cup water

1 cup stone-ground corn grits

Coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

· In a medium sauté pan combine 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, the spring onions, and the cayenne pepper. Warm the heat to medium-low and sauté gently until well caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

· In a medium saucepan combine the milk with the water, cover, and bring to a boil, about 3 minutes. Uncover and whisk the grits into the liquid until no lumps remain.

· Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring ever 2-3 minutes with a wooden spoon to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

· Add the spring onion-olive oil mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and thyme and stir well. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

· Pour the grits into a 2-quart rectangular baking dish or a comparable mold and spread them out with a rubber spatula (the grits should be about 1/2-inch thick). Refrigerate and allow it to rest until firm, about 3 hours or overnight.

· Preheat the oven to 250°F.

· Slice the grits into 2-inch by 2-inch squares.

· Line a couple of large plates with paper towels. In a wide heavy skillet over medium-high heat warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, panfry the cakes for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside (do this in several batches to avoid overcrowding the pan). Transfer the cooked cakes from the skillet to the plates to drain, and then hold them in the oven until all the cakes are cooked.

· Serve immediately.

* * *

Citrus Collards with Raisins

Yield: 4 servings

Soundtrack: “Preaching Blues” by Corey Harris from Fish Ain’t Bitin’

Though I love savory collard greens, I created this sweet, modern variation to be paired with savory entrées.

2 large bunches collard greens, stems removed, rolled into a tight cylinder,

sliced crosswise, rinsed, and drained

Coarse sea salt

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2/3 cup raisins

· In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the collards and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened.

· Prepare a large bowl of ice water to cool the collards.

· Remove the collards from the heat, drain, and plunge them into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color of the greens. Drain.

· In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the collards, raisins and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

· Add orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Do not overcook (collards should be bright green). Season with additional salt to taste if needed and serve immediately.