One Healthy (or not so much) Paris Recap

Travel does wonders for the mind and soul, especially traveling to Paris! Here’s a quick recap of our trip along with some healthy tidbits we can all learn from the Parisians.

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Say this three times fast: fresh French food. Food is fresh in France. Whether it’s fish, fruit, veggies, meat, bread, or wine, fresh and locally made is the standard. You can taste the difference, from the simplest salad to a baguette to a gourmet meal.

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Restaurant menus change often because seasonal goods are preferred and expected. Everything is less processed. Interestingly, people sensitive to gluten or dairy often don’t feel the effects abroad, which leads us to believe that it may actually be the processing and not the food itself.

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During the cooking class we took, the first 90 minutes was dedicated to walking through the market, the butcher, the cheese vendor, and the fish market, seeking the freshest of fresh, which included dover sole, asparagus, tomatoes, and the herbs in the vinaigrette.

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As a nutritionist, I often encourage clients to grocery shop with a list; having a strategy as to avoid extras like Oreos sneaking into the cart. Interestingly, the people of Paris shop for groceries almost every day. Instead of stocking up on bulk items, they tend to buy just what they need for that nights’ meal, every day. Less freezing, thawing, bulking, and money. Smart.

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Regulations on meat and poultry are also more specific and there are simply no antibiotics or GMOs allowed…at all. Again, smart. As for wine,  there’s a push for biodynamic/organic wine, made without sulfates or chemicals. The wine tastes cleaner, goes down smoother, and doesn’t result in a headache or hangover the following day. Super smart.

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Being that we live in such a young country, it’s amazing to see such extensive history, like the palace of Versailles. Paris exemplifies the statement “worth the wait.” From the architecture to the wine and cheese, Paris is about the end result, not instant gratification.

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Cheese and refined sugar. Two things I rarely indulge in, but vacation (especially Paris!) calls for  complete indulgence. And with that, it’s time to get back on track with all things green.

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Last note: one thing we’ve far surpassed is our incidence of smoking. Ew. But if sitting is the new smoking, all of the walking around the beautiful city may just cancel it out? Definitely not promoting smoking – less smoking, more walking. And remember, Paris is always a good idea.

One Healthy Breakdown: travel, learn, drink, and eat your way around the world!

 

Healthy Holidays with Lifeway Kefir

Lifeway Kefir is helping to keep us healthy this holiday season! Kefir, sometimes called the “champagne of dairy” is a cultured probiotic dairy beverage that’s been around for more than two thousand years. With the consistency of drinkable yogurt and a tart and tangy taste, kefir’s versatility ranges from granola to smoothies, salad dressing, to holiday treats.

Here are the health benefits of kefir plus a delicious recipe for “Strained Kefir with Fresh Pear, Nuts and Seeds,” brought to us by Lifeway Kefir.

  • Kefir contains live and active probiotics, live organisms that provide a myriad of health benefits. Like other fermented foods, including miso, sauerkraut and kimchi, kefir supports a healthy gut, where 70-80% of the cells that make up the immune system are located.
  • Kefir may help to maintain a healthy weight. It is high in protein, which increases satiety and reduces hunger cravings throughout the day.
  • Kefir can improve your skin, as it contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), a popular ingredient in skin care products.
  • The live and active probiotic cultures found in kefir may help support healthy digestion.
  • Not all brands of kefir are lactose free, but Lifeway Kefir’s unique fermentation process and specific cultures ensure their kefir is 99% lactose-free. Unlike other dairy products, it is suitable for most people who are lactose intolerant.
  • Kefir can improve mood, as it contains tryptophan, the amino acid that helps raise levels of serotonin in the brain.
  • Kefir supports bone density, as one serving provides 30% of your daily calcium needs.

Strained Kefir with Fresh Pear, Nuts and Seeds by Lifeway Kefir

Kefir_parfait_pear_nuts_fbIngredients:

  • 1 32 oz bottle Lifeway Plain Whole Milk Kefir
  • 1 ripe pear, sliced*
  • 1/4 cup mixed nuts and seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste
  • Ground nutmeg, to taste
  • Honey, to taste
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

The night before, or up to three days in advance, line a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth or coffee filters. Rest the strainer over a deep bowl, careful to make sure the bottom doesn’t touch, and pour in the kefir. Cover the bowl and strainer with a lid and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least eight hours, to strain. After the kefir has strained, transfer the thick cream to a container with a lid and place in the fridge until ready to use. Discard the liquid whey, or save for use later. You will have 2 – 2 1/2 cups of thick kefir cream. To prepare the pears: clean, slice and remove the core of the pear. Add to a bowl with lemon juice and toss to coat. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

To serve: add 1/2 – 3/4 cup strained kefir to a bowl or parfait glass. Top with sliced and seasoned pears, nuts and seeds of choice. Drizzle with honey, if desired, and serve cold. Feel free to use sweet or sour apples, plums, bananas or berries – whatever is in season and you have on hand!

One Healthy Breakdown: a super healthy sweet treat – the best of both worlds!

Colorful Veggie Frittata

photo(91)This veggie frittata was a huge hit here among my Labor Day house guests! Made with eggs, egg whites, lots of veggies, and a touch of cheese, it’s tasty, savory, and satisfying. Best of all, it only takes about 30 minutes! (Feel free to sub your favorite veggies.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs plus 2 egg whites
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 5 whole white mushrooms
  • 1 bunch baby broccoli (cut in small pieces, discard stems)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 zucchini
  • A few tablespoons chopped scallions
  • spices to taste (basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons chevre cheese (optional, sub for favorite cheese or leave out)
  • Pan spray

In a pan, cook broccoli and mushrooms with half of scallions. Turn off heat and add arugula to flash sautee. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add spices and remaining scallions. Mix in veggies and cheese. Pour mixture in a greased oven-safe dish and cook for 20-30 minutes (test with a fork to ensure eggs are cooked through.) Let cool and serve!

One Healthy Breakdown: this better breakfast packs protein, fiber, and frittadeliciousness!