Optimum Wellness Spring 2017

Page 1




eat | think | thrive














from the editor Trend Talk IF THERE’S ONE THING I’VE DISCOVERED

as the Optimum Wellness editor, it’s that food is a dynamic topic. Food trends are constantly changing. Chefs are always working to create that next great dish. There are always food brands poised to launch the next big product. Lucky for us, the public’s desire for more natural, healthy options continues to grow. I recently attended Natural Products Expo West, the Super Bowl for natural and organic foods, where companies from around the world gather to share their latest products and innovations. Here are the most interesting trends I spotted: SHORTER INGREDIENT LISTS. This is evident in everything from prepared foods to beauty and cleaning supplies. The reason? Consumers want more transparency of ingredients, with clean and clear labeling. They also want an easy-to-trace supply chain that shows where ingredients are actually coming from. ELIMINATING FOOD WASTE. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is thrown away. To reduce food waste, innovative companies are upcycling byproducts of certain processes to create healthful products. Examples include tea made from the leaves of coffee plants, a vegan jerky using discarded coconut meat at a coconut water company and snack bars made from spent craftbrewery grains. PLANT-BASED FOODS. Beans, lentils and peas continue to garner attention, and research shows that eating more plantbased protein and less meat will help you live longer. In response, a growing number of companies are making pasta from plants like lentils and chickpeas. And pea protein is appearing in everything from smoothies to baking products. KOMBUCHA AND DRINKING VINEGARS.

Although it’s been around for more than a century, kombucha is gaining popularity, with a wide variety of companies creating

dynamic flavors—citrus fruits are the rage. Read more about it on page 30. With its numerous health benefits, vinegar is popping up as a main ingredient in drinks, too. OTHER TREND HIGHLIGHTS include more cold-brew coffees, added protein in ice cream and cookies, and probiotics in everything from supplements to popcorn, chips, hummus…and even lollipops! SPEAKING OF PROBIOTICS, check out our feature story on the many benefits of healthy gut bacteria (see pages 56–60). And, as always, we’re happy to share A WEALTH OF HEALTHY RECIPES, including dishes using leafy greens (pages 40–43), pastas (pages 52–55) and bowls you can make in a half-hour or less (pages 45–50). If you haven’t visited us online lately, we have some FUN NEW WEBSITE FEATURES. Now, when you click on a recipe, you can save it to your personal recipe box. You can also create a shopping list from recipes. Visit optimumwellnessmagazine.com/ recipes and give these features a try. Don’t forget to download our app, too, so you’ll always have our recipes in the palm of your hand when you’re at the grocery store. Enjoy this issue. As always, we aim to share the latest news on trends and foodand health-related topics. Feel free to drop me a line with questions or comments. We love to hear from you!

Rebecca Heaton, Editor editor@livenaturallymagazine.com

VISIT US ONLINE optimumwellnessmagazine.com CONTACT US editor@livenaturallymagazine.com  FOLLOW US

contents spring 2017

departments begin 09 MEET A SPICY VEGETARIAN PLUS  Celebrating Earth Day, transitional grains, best snacks for sleep, all about zinc and incorporating epigenetics.

kitchen 25 FROZEN MEALS & PROTEIN SNACKS PLUS  Healthiest nuts, purple foods, the lowdown on kombucha and the best ways to cook rhubarb.

eat 39 GO GREEN Leafy greens are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Try them in our medley of tasty recipes, courtesy of the budding chefs at Johnson & Wales University.


52 HEALTHY KITCHEN Pasta is a must for every kitchen. Try our delicious creations, including one that’s dairy-free. By Kimberly Lord Stewart

family 62 COOKING WITH KIDS Trust us—it can actually be fun for both kids and adults. By Bevin Wallace

home 64 SPRING CLEANING Tips and tricks for giving your home a top-to-bottom buffing.

boost 67 VALERIAN This herbal sedative might help you sleep better. By Kellee Katagi



recipe index



By now you’ve heard the news: Healthy gut bacteria make for healthy digestion. But there’s so much more—here’s the science. PLUS  Great recipes for your gut, including Brine-Ade. By Lisa Marshall


Natural ways to survive allergy season. By Karen Morse

try 72 SRIRACHA AND PEANUT BUTTER These two ingredients partner for a peanut sauce with oomph.

4 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness


Baked Black Bean Tostadas 62 Basic Sauerkraut 60 Brine-Ade 59 Creamy Dreamy Spinach Lasagna 54 Dairy-Free Penne Bake 54 Garden Chickpea Bowl with Marinated Mozzarella 50 Herbed Mushroom and Mustard Green Veggie Rolls 42 Homemade Ranch Dressing 63 Kale Chips 42 Maple Mustard Salmon Bowl 48 Mediterranean Chicken Bowl 47 Mini Wedge Salads with Corn & Tomatoes 63 Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich 43 Roasted Pepper, Fontina and Arugula Salad 42 Salami, Kale and Olive Orecchiette 54 Spiral Spring Vegetarian Pasta 55 Sriracha Peanut Sauce 72 Swiss Chard & Pear Pastry 42 Tempeh Taco Bowl 45 COVER PHOTO: AARON COLUSSI STYLING: ERIC LESKOVAR



Meals just seem more enticing when served from a bowl. Cook these four yummy dishes in 30 minutes or less. By Genevieve Doll

Part of the Live Naturally family of Kroger magazines

Spring 2017 optimumwellnessmagazine.com CO-FOUNDERS Drs. James and Debra Rouse V.P./GROUP PUBLISHER Deborah Juris EDITOR Rebecca Heaton

Recipes ct and produ help reviews to you shop!




• Create your own personal recipe box • Save your favorite recipes, and • Make shopping lists from recipes with our checklist feature.


ART DIRECTOR Charli Ornett ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR Lindsay Burke ASSISTANT EDITOR Kellee Katagi COPY EDITOR Julie Van Keuren MARKETING OPERATIONS MANAGER Susan Humphrey DESIGNER Shannon Moore NATIONAL BRAND MANAGER Sue Sheerin CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Genevieve Doll, Kellee Katagi, Layne Lieberman, Sophia McDonald, Karen Morse, Debra Rouse, James Rouse, Kimberly Lord Stewart

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begin Vegetarian Vavoom Bravo TV star Kristen Doute puts her spicy attitude to work in the kitchen with fun rants, recommendations and vegetarian recipes on her “Vegiholic” blog. BY REBECCA HEATON


risten Doute has multiple personalities: I enjoy creating sauces using garlic, oils like She’s a star on Bravo TV’s Vanderpump olive and grapeseed, and vinegar. Many Rules, a member of an all-women comedy people think veggies are boring, but with the sketch group and a committed vegetarian. right seasoning or sauce, they’re delicious. On her new food and lifestyle blog, Vegiholic.com, Doute showcases Tell us about your role on favorite recipes and stories Vanderpump Rules. O TUNE INT P about her day-to-day life as a In the first three seasons, I M U P VANDER vegetarian. We caught up was known as “crazy Kristen,” RULES with her to learn more. on Bravo, going through a bad breakup How long have you been a vegetarian and why?

at Mondays . 9 p.m. ET

I grew up in Michigan and am the only vegetarian in my family. When I was 11, we visited my grandparents in Florida, where I fell in love with dolphins and other marine animals. But when I found out dolphins were in canned tuna, I couldn’t stand the thought of eating animals, so I went cold turkey (pun intended!). Luckily, my mom was very supportive and made vegetarian meals for me. Why did you start your Vegiholic blog?


I believe in a good diet, and I want to inspire people that what you put inside your body affects your outside, too. We live in an age of convenience, so it’s easy to get fast food. I want to spread the message with fun content and vegetarian recipes—with help from my co-blogger and chef, Jeanine Carter—that eating healthy doesn’t have to be a hassle or be expensive. I want to teach people that even if you’re not looking to go 100 percent vegetarian, you can incorporate more veggies in your diet and make healthy lifestyle changes. It’s a fun project; Jeanine is all about presenting and plating the dishes, and my boyfriend does the food styling and photography.

and having issues with friends. But I think the crazy is gone as I’m in a great place with a new boyfriend and my best friends—I’m feisty now! Fans often ask me about how we party so much and how unhealthy that is. Yes, we like to drink and go out. But because I eat so well and stay healthy away from the show, I feel okay about putting “empty calories” in my body sometimes because I balance it with my overall

healthy lifestyle. We can all live well and still have some fun. If you read some of my blog posts, when I’m cooking, I may add a funny quip about a drink recommendation with the recipe, or that I’m sipping on a glass of wine that I’m also using in a recipe while cooking! You also do comedy?

Comedy has such a lift when you’re in a damper mood. I’m in a comedy sketch group with three friends that will air on a Vanderpump Rules episode this season. I haven’t mentioned anything about food in our routine yet…but I’m working on some material.

Visit optimumwellnessmagazine.com for Doute’s Goat Cheese Balls with Mango Sauce recipe. And get more of her recipes at vegiholic.com.

Kristen Doute, right, and her Vegiholic blog partner, Jeanine Carter, work together to create fun, healthy, easy-to-prepare vegetarian meals.

Do you have any go-to ingredients?

Garlic is my big go-to. I like its flavor and proven medicinal properties. Jeanine and optimumwellnessmagazine.com


King Soopers Highlights presents

Garden Shed Organization Provided by Maxwell Ryan and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

MATERIALS & TOOLS Shelves Large S-hook or bracket for hose Small hook for watering can Thin nails to hold tools Small bucket for miscellaneous tools (or tools with no hole in the handle) INSTRUCTIONS A shelving unit, like upcycled pallet shelves, is the perfect base for your organization.* Simple hooks allow our garden tools to hang freely and in sight. In the case of our watering can, the water ring perpetually on our garage floor is now long gone. A few thin nails hold our smaller shovels in place and allow for easy taking and replacing, even while wearing garden gloves. A wall-mounted thermometer helps us monitor seasonal shifts, so we can know what to plant when, and when to bid sad farewell to our tomato plants. A small white bucket holds the rest of our odds and ends.

TIP: We love our upcycled pallet *shelves as-is, but we also contemplated white-washing them. Of course, any shelves will do, as long as you can easily wipe them clean or if you’re okay with them getting dirty.

Making Millet Cool I

n 1980, the Cunningham family started RollinGreens, a food truck that offered organic and local food around Boulder for three years before the family moved on to other pursuits. Fast-forward to 2011, when the youngest Cunningham son, Ryan, and his wife, Lindsey, revived the truck, serving healthy street food around Boulder and Denver for five years. Today, the truck is officially retired, but RollinGreens continues to provide natural, organic food via its yummy Millet Tots. Available in the frozen section, Millet Tots are a good-tasting, good-for-you

alternative to traditional tater tots. “We describe them as an American classic with a Boulder twist,” says Lindsey Cunningham. The company is proud to use locally sourced millet from Sterling, Colorado. “Millet is a very healthy, alkalizing grain that is easily digestible and full of protein and fiber,” Lindsey says. Available in three flavors—Original, Italian Herb and Spicy-Sweet—the crispy bites are organic, vegan, non-GMO, and soy- and gluten-free. Learn more at rollingreens.com.

MORE THAN JUST A DRINK Inner-ēco Fresh Coconut Water Probiotic was a mission before it was a business, says cofounder Niki Price. Price started the company in 2008 with fellow Denver elementary school teacher Barb Vogel, who had experienced digestive issues for much of her life and found coconut water to be of great help. During their time teaching, Price and Vogel helped their students conduct a letter-writing campaign to stop slavery in Sudan. The effort resulted in creation of the STOP (Slavery That Oppresses People) educational campaign and garnered a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for the kids. To this day, Price and Vogel donate proceeds of their profits to benefit numerous causes and organizations. “When you support companies that support others, you can help change the world,” Price says. Visit inner-eco.com to learn more about their products and charitable efforts locally and around the world.


Gardening is something near and dear to our heart. Whether you store your garden tools in a shed or the corner of your garage, here are a few ideas to help you get them arranged and organized just in time for planting season.

Good for Your Gut




here are few feelings worse than a bad tummy. Enter GoodBelly, makers of dairy-free and vegan probiotic drinks since 2006, with the mantra "Food is the best medicine." “Gut health is so important,” says Virginia Williams, a consumer-relations representative for the Boulder-based company. “There are a lot of pharmaceuticals out there, but the roots of our mission are to help people in natural ways with functional foods.” GoodBelly products are all USDA Organic and non-GMO certified, made with natural ingredients including the well-researched Lactobacillus plantarum 299v probiotic to improve digestive health. Available in quart-sized juices and shot sizes, each serving of GoodBelly offers up to 20 billion CFUs. The drinks come in eight flavors, with more flavors and products on shelves soon. Visit goodbelly.com.



Cucumbers Are Cool


Healthy Whole Milk

And the Winner Is…

ids who drink whole milk tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) score and higher vitamin D levels than those who drink any other kind of milk (or no milk at all), according to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And the difference is striking: Among the 2,745 kids who participated in the study, those who drank whole milk had a 0.72 lower zBMI score (a standardized children’s BMI score, adjusted to account for varying norms for kids’ ages) than children who drank 1 percent milk. “That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s nearly the difference between being normal weight or overweight—or between being overweight and obese,” says lead researcher Jonathon Maguire, M.D., a pediatrician and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The hypothesis, Maguire says, is that whole milk is more satisfying, so kids who drink milk with less fat seek out calories elsewhere, often with less healthy foods. As for the higher vitamin D levels, it’s surmised that because vitamin D is fat soluble, milk with more fat allows kids to absorb more. As Maguire puts it: “Vitamin D comes in on the coattails of fat.” —K.K.

File this under “We Didn’t See That Coming”: Researchers recently tested both industrially processed and homemade TOMATO SAUCES to see which retained more antioxidants, and the industrial variety came out ahead, even when using tomatoes from the same source. The research, published in the journal Food Chemistry,


12 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

found that industrial processing actually increased antioxidant levels and made them more bioavailable, while home processing decreased the amount of antioxidants. Researchers speculate that the higher heats used in commercial processing may break down tomatoes’ cell walls, releasing more antioxidants. —K.K.


ith its mild, refreshing, melon-y aroma and taste, the humble cucumber has risen to the top of the flavor chart. Firmenich, the world’s second largest company in the fragrance and flavor business, declared cucumber as the 2017 Flavor of the Year. According to Chris Millington, president of Firmenich’s Flavor Division, the growing demand for refreshing, clean, and healthy food and beverages is driving cucumber’s popularity surge. “Our trend insights show that consumers are really enjoying lighter, refreshing ‘green’ flavors, such as cucumber.” Although cucumber may appear to be just a simple salad staple, Firmenich reports a 392 percent increase in the use of cucumber as a flavor globally between 2011 and 2016. With the growth of healthy drinks over recent years, cucumber adds a touch of sophistication and a twist to standard flavors such as apple, mint, lemon and lime. Cucumber is also appearing in products from potato chips and confections to yogurt and dumplings. And it’s a key ingredient in another popular trend: fermentation and pickling. —R.H.



GO GRAIN-FREE WITH COCONUT AND CASSAVA Tropical staples stand in for grains in baked goods, wraps and snacks. BY KARA NIELSEN

RICE PASTA WHEAT FREE/GLUTEN FREE Al Dente! for the Gourmet and HealthOriented


WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?  Designed in 1924



hanks to the ever-growing grain-free trend, versatile ingredients like coconut and cassava root are being transformed into innovative products that cater to today’s dietary lifestyles. Paleo fans, ketogenic dieters, clean eaters and vegans can enjoy baked goods, wraps and snacks that fit into their eating plans and offer good nutrition. Coconut in its many forms has become a mainstay for the health-minded eater. Good fats, vitamins and minerals, plus an indulgent, sweet tropical flavor make coconut beloved in everything from beverages to baked goods to crunchy snacks. High-fiber coconut flour is rising in popularity as a gluten-free option. Home bakers use it in pancakes, sweet baked goods and wraps to replace tortillas or flatbreads. Baking mixes, like those from Sim-

ple Mills, and paleo-friendly products including English muffins and pizza crust, feature coconut flour blended with almond flour for added moisture, flavor and texture. Less familiar is cassava root, a staple carbohydrate for millions of people living in tropical climates where the plant grows well in poor soil. Cassava tubers provide high levels of vitamin C, calcium and potassium, as well as beneficial dietary fiber. The raw roots are peeled and cooked to remove toxins in the plant. Tapioca starch extracted from the root is the most common form of cassava in the United States. In Brazil, tapioca starch comes in bitter and sweet forms; both are used to make the popular Brazilian cheese bread, pão de queijo. These glutenfree cheese rolls are available frozen for home baking from brands such as Brazi Bites, a 2015 Shark Tank

to treat epilepsy, the keto diet has reemerged as a healthy way to lose weight. How? This low-carb, high-fat diet encourages production of ketones in the liver to be used as energy. When you eat something high in carbs, your body produces glucose and insulin. The keto diet lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and helps the body burn fat efficiently. Studies show that this diet may also protect against diseases such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. winner. Cassava flour made from the dried tuber has more of a wheat-flour feel, yet still provides elasticity and moisture. Both coconut and cassava make for tasty, nourishing grain-free snacks. Coconut chips in sweet and savory flavors offer satiating fats and fiber as well as crunch. Smoked coconut chips are a new bacon substitute for non–meat eaters. Cassava root chips are rich in potassium, iron, manganese and dietary fiber, providing a chip experience without corn, rice or soy.


1 to 2 minutes in boiling water.

• Switch

off stove. Cover pot for about 20 minutes*. Ready to share.

good texture of Tinkyada© can withstand quite a bit of over-cooking.

• The

Follow Kara on Twitter @trendologistk.




MISSION-BASED BRANDS It’s nice to know when food companies are doing good things for the planet. Here are a few of the growing number that value sustainability.

Earth Day Every Day

Applegate uses 100% grassfed beef and was Non-GMO Project Verified in 2016.

Incorporate sustainability into your daily life. BY REBECCA HEATON

Cascadian Farm spearheads Bee Friendlier, an education and support program to help bees thrive.

In 1970, Earth Day was born with the help of a U.S. senator in Wisconsin who saw it as an opportunity to celebrate “an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all” living things. This year’s worldwide Earth Day celebration is April 22.

Driscoll’s works closely with its independent farmers as well as communities on water-quality and conservation issues. Hellmann’s Organic Mayonnaise uses 100 percent cage-free eggs in all products. Kashi supports farmers transitioning to organic crops by using transitional grains in products (see page 16 for more).

Get a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Bottled water consumes fossil fuels during production and transport, and most recyclable water bottles end up in landfills. Use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags at the store. Start composting. Your leftover food will turn into healthy soil for your garden.

Plant a tree, or support the U.S. Forest Service’s Plant-A-Tree program, in which a tree is planted on national forestland in your name. Consider making your yard an oasis for birds and/or bees. Put in a bird feeder, or install birdhouses or beehives. Make your home more energy efficient; update lightbulbs to energyefficient LED and compact fluorescent options.


Become a better grocery shopper; buy only what you need to avoid food waste. Try to use more ecofriendly transportation when possible, such as buses, trains or bikes. Go paperless; switch your bills to autopay. You can help save millions of trees each year. Get outside and enjoy nature.

SUSTAINABILITY LIVES HERE  Find out how King Soopers is celebrating Earth Day with ideas and coupons. Visit sustainabilityliveshere.com through April 22.

14 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Stonyfield Organic sources milk from CROPP Cooperative (aka Organic Valley), with 1,800 family-farm members, plus other local, organic dairy farms, and it provides farms with customized technical assistance for growth and sustainability. Tom’s of Maine reviews all product ingredients for natural, sustainable and responsible standards via the company’s Stewardship Model. Vita Coco gives its farmers coconut palm seedlings to renew palm groves, as well as tools for composting and mulching via the Vita Coco Project. WhiteWave partners with the AgWater Challenge, a collaborative initiative to raise awareness of the important role food companies play in addressing food and water security.



Pure Leaf uses teas from Rainforest Alliance Certified tea estates that meet the social, economic and environmental criteria of the Sustainable Agriculture Network.

T gether we can create

a #brightfuture Take action at brightFuture.unilever.us

Š2017 Unilever KRG17063

Whether it’s planting trees, recycling plastic bottles or choosing sustainable brands, your choices help to create a #BrightFuture for all.





Vegan Superfoods Formula

Supporting a Movement Kashi is using transitional grains in products to assist farmers making the move to organic.


ith a continued demand for organic foods, some farmers across the U.S. are looking to transition their crops to organic. But the process isn’t easy. Last year, Kashi partnered with leading certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI) to create a protocol that supports farmers in the three-year period of transitioning to organic. Kashi uses transitional ingredients in two products currently on the market. Recently, the Organic Trade Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a similar government program to support farmers transitioning to organic. “Our team visited a Michigan farm that is working on transitioning to organic, and it was an aha moment for us,” says Louise Cotterill, Kashi’s associate director of communications. Cotterill explains that farms face financial challenges during the transition period, often taking out loans to make investments in their land and equipment. “So we wanted to show farmers our support by connecting their story to consumers and using the grains in some of our products.” Kashi’s first product using certified transitional ingredients was Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits cereal. It also created Chewy Nut Butter Bars that are 55 percent transitional, 40 percent organic. “We’re excited to be a part of this movement to support farmers and take an active role in the food system,” says Cotterill. “Lending a helping hand to farmers and educating consumers through our products benefits everyone.” Learn more at transitional.kashi.com. —R.H.

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That less than 1 percent of U.S. farmland is organic?

Kashi team members at a farm in Michigan to learn about transitional grains.


CFUs represented are at time of manufacture. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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Living Above Your Genes

How epigenetics can enrich your life. BY DR. JAMES ROUSE



o you want to be rich in vitality, rich in years lived and rich in contributions made? Focus on epigenetics and be public with your self-care. Here’s how.

The first step is to recognize if you’ve been feeling any sort of discontent—physically, emotionally or spiritually. We often internalize feelings of discontent, but keeping them in doesn’t serve your wellbeing or inner peace. One of the greatest things we can do is to focus on something called epigenetics, which literally means “living above your genes.” The idea behind epigenetics is that environmental factors, such as diet, lifestyle choices and behaviors, even stress, can change the health of not only the people who are exposed to them, but also the health of their descendants. We all come into the world with a DNA blueprint from our parents. Mine is heart disease, cancer, alcoholism and depression. But what I love about epigenetics is that I have the choice to either build my life on this blueprint or live above it. I choose the latter, because how you eat, how you think, and who and what you surround yourself with all

offer an epigenetic opportunity. We all have the ability to positively affect our genes— and, in turn, pass these better genes off to our kids, grandkids and beyond. The next thing to do is ask yourself what does your highest expression of living look like? Evaluate your inner and outer environments. What did you come into the world with via your DNA, and what would you like to build around it? Good friends, loving relationships, healthy food, going outdoors, daily exercise, interesting reading, volunteering: All of these factors tremendously impact your epigenetics. So don’t be afraid to express all of this in the world. When you make your positive self-care public, you enrich both yourself and those around you. When we augment positivity and create a life that we love versus wallowing in discontent, it’s wonderfully contagious.

The cofounder of Optimum Wellness, Dr. James Rouse has a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. He is an inspirational speaker, personal coach, author and the cofounder of Skoop, a line of powdered superfoods.

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Zinc About It Don’t skimp! Nearly every system in your body uses this mineral. BY KELLEE KATAGI


he facts are clear: Your body needs zinc. This essential trace element is vital for immune activity, proper growth, wound healing, digestion, male fertility and many other key biological functions. Severe zinc deficiency—which can cause malnourishment, slow growth, diarrhea, eye and skin problems, and much more—is rare in the United States, but even a very small deficiency may impair digestive function, according to a recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition.

How Much Do You Need?

ATTENTION VEGETARIANS!. You are at greater risk for low zinc levels for two reasons: 1) Zinc is most abundant in meats (especially red ones) and seafoods; dairy products also have relatively high amounts of zinc, although calcium can hinder absorption. 2) Phytates— compounds found in whole grains, nuts, legumes and seeds (all of which contain zinc)—hamper zinc absorption. The effect is minimal if you regularly eat meat, but it can put vegans and vegetarians at risk. Some experts recommend that vegetarians offset this effect by taking in 150 percent of the RDA of zinc.

Adult males and older teens should aim for 11 mg per day; females, 8–9 mg daily. Regular consumption is important, because your body has no mechanism for storing zinc.

Where to Get It Experts recommend getting your zinc from food rather than supplements, especially over the long haul. That’s because zinc works best when combined with other nutrients in foods; plus, excessive zinc consumption (regular intake over 40 mg per day) can cause its own set of problems, including low copper levels, poor immunity, skewed iron function and possibly a higher risk of prostate cancer. Below is a rundown of the best foods for zinc.


mg in % of one recommended serving daily intake

Oysters, cooked, breaded and fried, 3 ounces (about 5 average-sized oysters)



Beef chuck roast, braised, 3 ounces



Beef patty, broiled, 3 ounces



Lobster, cooked, 3 ounces



Pork chop, loin, cooked, 3 ounces



Baked beans, canned, plain or vegetarian, ½ cup



Yogurt, fruit, low-fat, 8 ounces



Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce



Source: National Institutes of Health

18 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Source: National Institutes of Health




1979 •




I • S

Best Snacks for Sleep








Great news: Nighttime eating can actually help you get your zzzzs.

remedies for active lifestyles



or better sleep, you can sideline the advice not to eat at night. In fact, the right snack before bed may actually improve the quantity and quality of your shut-eye. Here’s how.

Strike the right ratio.

Think small. Stick to 150 to 200 calories. A 2015 study published in Nutrients concluded that healthy snacks of this size may actually help you build muscle and maintain a healthy metabolism. Another study out of Florida State University found that men who ate a 150-calorie snack before bed had a higher resting metabolism in the morning than participants who ate nothing.


1 small apple + 1 tablespoon nut butter

½ cup jasmine rice + a few bites of tofu or chicken

Eat smart all day. High caffeine, alcohol or sugar intake earlier in the day can sabotage your sleep. Conversely, regularly eating foods high in omega-3s (fatty fish, nuts, seeds), vitamin D (fatty fish, fortified dairy, eggs) and magnesium (dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, beans) can improve your rest, studies show.

This is one of the rare times you should go heavy on the carbs. They’ll raise your blood sugar slightly, which in turn releases sleep-inducing tryptophan. Balance whole-foodbased carbohydrates with a bit of protein (about a fourth of your total calories). Try these researchbacked combos, which contain key nutrients to help you drift off to sleep.

¼ cup granola + ¼ cup milk 4 ounces tart cherry juice + 1 stick string cheese

6 ounces plain yogurt + 1 tablespoon honey + ½ banana

½ ounce walnuts + ½ ounce raisins

Available in stores with Optimum Wellness Centers SERIOUS • NATURAL • RELIEF



Smart Recovery Foods Let science guide your post-workout approach to nutrition. BY KELLEE KATAGI

It’s tempting to use a workout as an excuse to binge-eat afterward. Or to go to the opposite extreme and not eat at all to avoid sabotaging your exercise gains. Both are a mistake. Here’s a better strategy, courtesy of science.


Consider your timing. Many experts

20 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness



Choose your fuel.

The most common recommendation for post-workout fuel is to select a snack or meal with a 3:1 or 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio, but in reality, the research isn’t so black and white. The best approach depends on your type of workout and your goals. For example, if you do a resistance-training session and your goal is to build muscle, protein alone (especially whey protein) is adequate after your workout, according to a 2013 JISSN study. In general, longer or more intense cardio efforts require more carbohydrates to replenish stores of glycogen, which fuels your muscles.


Consider your timing. Think big

picture. Unless you’re a high-level athlete, a consistently healthy diet is more important than exactly what and when you eat before and after a workout. Instead of relying on specialized sports drinks or foods, which are often packed with added sugars, opt for fresh, whole foods at every meal and snack to keep your body happy before, during and after every workout. When you are hungry after a workout, these food and beverage combos will provide the nourishment you need.

3/4 c up coconut water ½ cup yogurt ½ peeled orange 1/3 cup frozen strawberries ½ frozen banana 2 t ablespoons whey protein (optional) Splash of lime juice • Combine all ingredients in a blender.

HEALTHY OATS 1 cup cooked oatmeal 1 ounce walnuts 1 tablespoon honey ¼ cup blueberries

EASY LUNCH OR DINNER ¾ cup cooked brown rice 4 ounces ground chicken 4 large broccoli florets


published in Plos One found that drinking alcohol after exercise impairs muscle growth and recovery, even when combined with carbs or protein.


say it’s imperative to eat either immediately or up to two hours after exercise, but the research allows for more flexibility. In a review in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN), researchers analyzed 85 studies and concluded that it depends on when and what you ate before the workout. In short, there shouldn’t be more than three or four hours separating your pre- and post-workout meals. Other factors to consider: the length and intensity of your workout (longer, harder workouts call for more replenishment) and how soon you plan on exercising again. If you plan to do another hard workout within eight hours, aim to eat within an hour or two. If not, as long as you get a reasonable amount of carbs and protein over the next 24 hours, your muscles should recover adequately.

The Dental Diet Best foods for healthy teeth and gums. BY KELLEE KATAGI It’s no news flash that sugary foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay. But certain foods and beverages can actually strengthen oral health. For a dental boost, incorporate these key consumables into your diet. DAIRY.


Multiple studies point to dairy products— especially cheese and plain yogurt—as being pro-tooth. The calcium, phosphorus and casein in dairy seem to inhibit tooth decay. Plus, a 2013 study in General Dentistry found that cheese increased participants’ oral pH levels, which can protect against cavities. Probiotics in yogurt may enhance the “good” bacteria in your mouth.

Drinking one to four cups of tea per day fights against tooth decay and gum disease by reducing levels of harmful oral bacteria. Research suggests positive effects from black, green and white teas.

CRUNCHY. PRODUCE . Apples, carrots, celery and other fiber-filled fruits and veggies with a crunch can aid your teeth, and here’s why: Biting on these crunchy foods increases saliva production, rinsing food particles and bacteria from your mouth. Plus, the food itself acts as a toothbrush of sorts, removing debris and stimulating your gums.

m the Tips fro ental D n a c ri Ame imize n to min o ti ia c o ects Ass ff e d a b sugar’s r teeth. on you foods, sugary you eat liva If a   s T r u H o RIG ny TIME IT ith meals whe ugary snacks. id s do so w igh; avo tion is h or acidic produc sugary the   Drink T S A im F in ize GULP IT s quickly to m er in your e g beverag f time they lin ey’re th to amoun ; the less time t effec s mouth s le e there, th l have. they’l

DARK LEAFY. GREENS. Nutrient-dense greens such as kale, spinach and collards are jammed with vitamins and minerals that strengthen your teeth, including calcium and folic acid, a B vitamin that has been shown to diminish gum disease in pregnant women.

NUTS. As with crunchy produce, nuts stimulate saliva production. Also, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which are prevalent in nuts, squelch harmful oral bacteria and combat periodontitis.

WATER. Good ol’ water is one of your best dental-health defenses. Drink it throughout the day to rinse away stray bits of food. Also, most U.S. water contains fluoride, which protects your teeth.



Women and Stress BY DR. DEBRA ROUSE


s we step into Stress Awareness Month this spring, it’s a good time to examine how stress can damage our health, particularly for women. Why? Women consistently report higher stress levels compared with men, and that gap appears to be widening, according to the American Psychological Association. Work pressure, financial issues, strain in relationships, lack of sleep, poor nutrition and health challenges top the list of stressors. Stress prevents us all—women and men—from living well and thriving. Continued or prolonged stress can rob the body and mind of their ability to balance. The body’s stress response can exhaust our adrenal system and create lowered resistance to diseases, including type 2 diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, obesity, heart disease, asthma and gut problems. It can also increase symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances. The body’s response is geared to deal with everyday pressure. Extreme or unrelenting stress can become harmful. The remedy? A proactive plan that aligns nutrition and lifestyle strategies with belief systems. This approach allows us to react to stress more positively, and move and balance through stressful life situations. The best starting place for developing such a plan is to examine the nutrients you take in. Under stress, the body can lose valuable stores of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, especially magnesium and vitamin C, which your adrenal glands require to function properly. Foods rich in these nutrients can keep your system strong under stress and possibly offset the damage it can cause. I recommend a daily multivitamin as one part of your

Dr. Debra Rouse is a licensed naturopathic doctor and member of the Institute for Functional Medicine. She is also cofounder of Optimum Wellness. drdebrarouse.com

22 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

preventive medicine strategy. I am also a fan of certain adaptogenic herbs, such as holy basil, licorice root, astragalus and ginseng, for stress prevention and treatment. Adaptogens support and revive the adrenal response to stress. Daily exercise, meditation, journaling and yoga are also proven methods for preventing and decreasing stress.

EAT BETTER, BUST STRESS ∞ Decrease caffeine It weakens your adrenal response to stress and compromises sleep.

∞ Decrease alcohol  It can change the way your body responds to stress, making it more difficult to handle adverse events.

∞ Decrease refined carbohydrates and simple sugars  They cause hypoglycemia, which can affect how the brain gets its primary food source, glucose. Stress hormones can also starve the brain of glucose, interfering with brain chemistry and deregulating your moods. Refined carbs include soda pop, most packaged cereals, and baked goods and pasta made with white flour. Simple sugars include cane sugar, corn syrup and fructose.

∞ Eat more complex carbohydrates  They help raise serotonin levels. Stress lowers our serotonin stores, which can dampen your mood, or even lead to anxiety and depression. Complex carbs include greens; most vegetables; whole grains; plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt and legumes.


How stress affects our health—and what we can do to manage it.


Fight Depression with Omega-3s The verdict is in: These fatty acids are a potent weapon. BY KELLEE KATAGI



regular dose of omega-3 fatty acids can relieve symptoms for people suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD)—so says a meta-analysis of 13 scientific studies, including 1,233 participants, published in 2016 in Translational Psychiatry. The analysis found that omega-3s delivered benefits to most participants but yielded the best results if the following two criteria were met: 1) The omega-3 supplement contained a higher ratio of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); and 2) The person had actual MDD versus just some depressive symptoms. Researchers also found that omega-3s helped even when taken in conjunction with antidepressant medications. MDD affects about 7 percent of American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The Institute defines a major depressive episode as “a period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.”


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kitchen +

Freezer Pleasers


Forget the TV dinners of old—modern frozen meals are far healthier, tastier, easier and more international. BY KELLEE KATAGI


stroll down the frozen aisle is a multicultural experience. Today’s freezer meals feature creative, palate-pleasing cuisine from all over the globe. And what’s more, many of them are made with natural, healthy ingredients that are loaded with nutrients. Not bad for entrees that can be ready in a handful of minutes. Here are a few of our favorites.





According to Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine, sales of natural frozen items jumped 10.6% to $5.47 billion in 2016. The popularity of globally-inspired products, particularly frozen meals, likely attributes to this growth.



Our pick

CedarLane Quinoa & Vegetable Enchiladas

Healthy Choice Café Steamers Simply – Creamy Spinach & Tomato Linguini

Luvo Orange Mango Chicken

Saffron Road Chicken Tikka Masala

Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese

Why we like it

Quinoa and poblano cream sauce star in this flavorful comfort food that contains a whopping 170% of your daily vitamin A requirements. It also provides nearly a third of your necessary fiber, 15% of your iron and calcium and 12 grams of protein.

All the flavor of Italian, without the heaviness. A mildly creamy sauce complements al dente pasta, with nutrition and flavor boosts from organic tomatoes and spinach. You’ll also get 20% of your daily fiber, 20% vitamin A, 15% iron and a mere 3 grams of sugars.

Yum! Tangy-sweet citrus sauce and cubed mango tops white-meat chicken, flanked by broccoli, kale and a wholegrain blend of jasmine rice, quinoa and wheat berries for a perfectly proportioned meal. The daily value numbers are favorable, too: 70% vitamin A, 50% vitamin C, 34% protein.

The meat is tender, the sauce is creamy and the spices are just right in this Indiancuisine standby served over basmati rice. It provides 15% of your daily iron and vitamin A and C needs; plus, the chicken is wellsourced: humanely raised, with no antibiotics and a 100% vegetarian diet.

Crusty breadcrumbs and genuine truffle sauce (from truffles sniffed out by trained dogs in Italy) set this dish apart from other versions of the American classic. Health bonus: It’s made from dye-free cheese from cows not treated with rSBT hormones and produced without animal rennet.

Bonus points for

gluten-free, vegetarian


whole grain

gluten-free, halal


Also try

CedarLane Three Layer Enchilada Pie

Amy’s Bowls – Pesto Tortellini

Evol Teriyaki Chicken

Saffron Road Lamb Saag

Amy’s Bowls – Brown Rice, Black-Eyed Peas and Veggies





Nuts for Life


All nuts are good for you, but here are five of the healthiest—all of which are easy to find on store shelves. Stock your pantry with them for a longer lease on life. BY KELLEE KATAGI

One simple diet change—eating more nuts—could give you a better shot at a longer, healthier life. So say an international assortment of scientists whose work was published in BMC Medicine. In a meta-analysis of 29 studies, they concluded that by eating about 1 ounce of nuts a day (28 grams, or roughly a handful), you can slash your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer, as well as your likelihood of death from respiratory disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, infections and, well, any cause at all.

CASHEWS.  HIGH IN  vitamin K, phosphorus, copper and iron A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry suggested that cashews might boost mood and alleviate depression, probably thanks to a combination of tryptophan, magnesium, vitamin B6 and omega-3s.

PECANS.  HIGH IN  manganese, B1 (thiamin), copper and omega-3s THE SCIENCE  A study at Texas A&M University found that a pecan-rich diet raised participants’ levels of dietary fiber, thiamin, manganese, magnesium and copper. They have also been found to reduce certain heart-disease markers.

WALNUTS. HIGH IN  omega-3 fatty acids, copper and manganese (nearly half of your daily needs) THE SCIENCE Walnuts have extremely high antioxidant levels, which makes them a potent fighter against heart disease. They also contain tryptophan and melatonin, which can improve sleep (see “Best Snacks for Sleep" on page 19).

THE SCIENCE  An ounce of almonds serves up 37 percent of your daily vitamin E; research has associated higher vitamin E intake with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. Some studies indicate that almond consumption can improve diabetes markers.

26 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness


ir t” is in the While “nu in fact e ar ts u an name, pe They grow legumes. sed , as oppo d n u undergro w ro g h ic h to nuts, w in trees.

HIGH IN  vitamins B6, B1 (thiamin) and K, as well as fiber, copper and potassium THE SCIENCE  A 2010 study at the University of Pennsylvania found that pistachios can raise blood antioxidant levels, tempering the effects of high cholesterol. The same researchers previously found that pistachios can lower lipid and lipoprotein levels, which in turn may reduce the risk of heart disease.


ALMONDS.  HIGH IN  fiber, vitamin E and the B vitamin riboflavin




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Eat Purple Filling your plate with purple foods may be the smartest diet move you make this year. BY KELLEE KATAGI


ood trends aren’t always worth your time, but one of the latest—eating purple plant foods—is an exception. That’s because the purple-food craze—hailed by trend trackers such as Sterling-Rice Group and Whole Foods analysts—has substantial science behind it. A wide range of studies show that anthocyanins (or anthocyanidins), the antioxidant compounds that make foods purple (or blue or red), abound in health benefits. Here are some of their bestresearched qualities.

SUPPORT THE CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM. Numerous studies indicate that regular anthocyanin consumption may normalize blood pressure, reduce heartattack risk and help prevent cardiovascular disease. FIGHT CANCER. A variety of research has shown anthocyanins could help prevent or inhibit the growth of cancers such as breast, colon, liver and prostate. ENHANCE COGNITION. Some evidence suggests that anthocyanins, specifically those in berries, may improve mental function and reduce cognitive decline, especially in older adults. SQUELCH INFLAMMATION. High anthocyanin intake has been linked with lower inflammation levels. For example, a study in The Journal of Nutrition found that women ages 18 to 76 who consumed the most anthocyanins tended to have the lowest inflammation markers.

REVERSE UV DAMAGE. Purple foods may also help keep you looking young. A few studies, including one from Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, hint that high anthocyanin intake may inhibit the aging effects of UV rays on the skin.

28 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness


ral, the In gene the e color, darker th anin y c o e anth higher th in d n a , ation concentr e th r te a gre turn, the t. s o o b nutrition


BLOCK DIABETES. The same study that demonstrated reduced inflammation levels showed that women who consumed more anthocyanins had better insulin resistance. Other research on both people and animals has also found that anthocyanins may protect against diabetes.

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Fresh and Fermented Why kombucha—the ancient “Tea of Immortality”—is a good bet today. BY REBECCA HEATON


ombucha may seem like a recent fad, but this effervescent, fermented tea originated as far back as 220 B.C., when the Qin Dynasty dubbed it “The Tea of Immortality.” And its health benefits have endured to today. “ Made from a scoby (see “What’s a Scoby?”), sugar, tea and water, kombucha contains live probiotics, B vitamins and natural acids that detoxify and improve the efficiency of your digestive system, which in turn can bolster immunity and combat chronic inflammation. “Study after study has shown that fermentation makes essential vitamins and minerals easier for your body to absorb, and we need good bacteria to thrive,” says Hannah Crum, coauthor of The Big Book of Kombucha (Storey, 2016). “Kombucha helps get healthy live What’s a Scoby? organisms into the body It’s actually an acroand into your gut that you nym for "Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria can easily utilize.” and Yeast." A scoby is Crum explains that the sour the living home for and bitter flavors of kombuthe bacteria and cha also aid digestion. How? yeast that transform Research has shown that sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha. A although bitter foods or scoby looks like a drinks are often perceived as small, flat jellyfish. unpleasant, the interaction between the bitter in foods and our bitter taste receptors stimulates gastric acid production in the stomach. This primes the stomach for the food it’s about to encounter. The longer you drink kombucha, the more benefits you receive, says Crum. “I had a physiological reaction the first time—it stimulated my nerve endings,” she shares. “I used to have cold hands and feet, but not anymore. And my digestion and circulation improved, too.”

30 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Try These Brands GT’S ENLIGHTENED SYNERGY ORGANIC AND RAW KOMBUCHA – GINGERBERRY This USDA Organic antioxidant powerhouse stars blueberry and ginger juice, combined with GT’s organic scoby. Host to 4 billion CFUs of live probiotics per bottle and 20 percent of the daily recommended value for five B vitamins. Per 8 ounces: 35 calories 4g sugar | 10mg sodium

KEVITA MASTER BREW KOMBUCHA – GINGER Spicy and energizing, this blend is stevia-sweetened, with a big pop of ginger. Get a gentle kick from 80 mg of caffeine, about 25 percent less than a cup of coffee. Certified organic and non-GMO, one bottle contains 4 billion CFUs of probiotics and a healthy dose of B vitamins. Per 8 ounces: 35 calories 8g sugar | 20mg sodium

SIMPLE TRUTH KOMBUCHA – BLUEBERRY GRAPE Fermented over four months per batch, this blend may remind you of drinking a healthy grape soda. One billion CFUs of probiotics are added to each organic-certified bottle. Per 8 ounces: 40 calories 8g sugar | 0mg sodium



Variety with Vinegar That bottle of apple cider vinegar in your kitchen cabinet is capable of so much more than adding flavor to a salad.



pple cider vinegar (ACV) in a raw, unfiltered form offers up a plethora of health benefits, from soothing a sore throat and aiding in weight loss to helping heartburn and acid reflux, promoting healthy cholesterol levels and improving nutrient absorption. You simply need to drink a tablespoon a day—diluted in a glass of water, of course. This trendy, fermented liquid has many other uses, too,

MIX UP A BIG B’S GINGER SWITCHEL 4 cups cold water ¼ cup maple syrup ¼ cup Big B’s apple cider vinegar (or your favorite ACV) 1–2 tablespoons minced ginger root Juice and zest from ½ of a fresh lemon Let sit in fridge overnight for best flavor. A touch of bourbon or whiskey is nice, too.

according to Seth Schwartz of Big B’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Along with being a flavorful addition to salad dressings, ACV is popping up as a mixer in cocktails (known as “shrubs”). You can also use it as a cleansing and conditioning treatment for your hair, as a household cleaner and fabric softener, and even as a weed killer. —R.H.


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Raring for Rhubarb Best known as a pie ingredient, this tart plant can be used for much more. BY SOPHIA McDONALD


he reappearance of ruby-red rhubarb is a signal that spring has finally arrived. The plant is a favorite for pies. But are there other ways to cook with it? How can you make it edible without adding endless amounts of sugar? We explore these questions, plus one that never seems to go away: Are the leaves really poisonous?

WHAT IS IT? Rhubarb is often considered a fruit but is actually a vegetable. Its high acid content gives it a tart flavor that contrasts nicely with sweet ingredients. Rhubarb is naturally high in vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, calcium and fiber. The best-quality rhubarb stalks are pink to bright red, although the green ones can be quite good, too. Look for stalks that are small to medium-sized in girth; thick ones tend to be stringy. Harvest season can last from March to mid-June, depending on local growing conditions.

Also called pieplant, rhubarb is best-known as an ingredient in pies and crisps. But what else can you do with it?

>> Try making a rhubarb syrup to flavor soda water, punch, cocktails or other drinks. Boil the stalks with sugar and water until thick; then store in the refrigerator.

>> Rhubarb is terrific in quick breads and muffins. Adding blueberries or a sprinkling of cinnamon-laced streusel will lend sweetness to lowsugar recipes that use this pungent ingredient.

>> Tart rhubarb provides a nice contrast to rich meats. Embrace its sourness by using it (without sweetener) in stews, braises and baked dishes.

>> Rhubarb can also be cooked as a compote that’s delicious on yogurt, cheesecake or chia seed pudding, or in jams and jellies that are perfect for topping toast, biscuits and pancakes.

32 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

PREPARING AND PRESERVING Rhubarb can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Before cooking it, dispose of any leaves. They contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can be poisonous to people and pets. (They are, however, safe to put in compost bins.) Because rhubarb is high in acid, it should be cooked in a nonreactive pan (best options include ceramic, stainless steel, glass or nonstick materials; aluminum, unlined copper and cast iron are all considered “reactive” metals because they react chemically with foods and can alter flavor and color of the food cooked). To extend the rhubarb season, cut stalks into halfinch pieces and freeze them on a baking sheet. Place the frozen slices in a bag, push out the air, and store for up to six months. SHUTTERSTOCK


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The Mediterranean Diet…and Beyond How to be health conscious without giving up the pleasures of fine food.


hen put to the scientific test, the Mediterranean diet consistently comes out at or very near the top among various eating approaches. The diet derives from the healthy, locally sourced foods and slow-paced, stress-free lifestyle enjoyed by people living near the Mediterranean Sea. Scientific studies have shown that the diet may reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have also found that people who closely follow a Mediterranean diet may live a longer life and be less likely to put on weight. Here are the diet’s five basic guidelines:


Eat plenty of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables; dry-roasted

34 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness


nuts and seeds; legumes like chickpeas and lentils; potatoes; whole grains including bread and pasta; and local seafood—and use fresh herbs, spices and cold-pressed, fresh olive oil.


Enjoy local eggs, poultry, fresh cheeses and yogurt in moderation.


Drink wine in moderation, and with meals.


Choose red meat occasionally.

Eliminate added sugar and sugarsweetened beverages, refined grains, processed meat, refined oils and other highly processed foods.



May is Interna tional Medite rranea n Diet M onth.

But it’s not just a diet—it’s a way of life. When the concept of the Mediterranean diet was first developed in the 1960s, fast-food restaurants were nonexistent, and there were few processed and packaged foods. It’s quite different from the U.S.’s current grab-and-go, obsessively-reading-food-label-ingredients lifestyle. So how can we incorporate the Mediterranean philosophy with our contemporary society? By employing the modern lifestyle and dietary practices of today’s healthiest European countries: Switzerland, Italy and France. People in these countries walk the line between staying healthy and enjoying decadent foods. For example, the Swiss




enjoy outdoor activity along with a diet high in dairy from grass-fed cows. Italians use fresh, local ingredients but never give up their pasta. And the French eat small portions of high-fat cheeses, with meals centered on farmers’ market produce. Here are five ways to go beyond the Mediterranean diet without giving up our beloved chocolate, pasta and cheese:

The Simple Things Little changes can make a big impact in the kitchen. BY KELLEE KATAGI


hefs often cook a bit differently at home than they do at work, given that the kitchen is usually a lot smaller, as is the crowd they’re working for. Even so, many tricks they’ve learned in their trade translate quite nicely to the home front. Here, Nathan Crave of Seattle’s Palace Kitchen lets us in on the tools and tips he uses at home for a happier and hassle-free cooking experience.

>> C ut back on sugar, and opt for whole fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth. Bake an apple or poach a pear instead of digging into a store-bought cake. >> Break the habit of emotional eating. Enjoy noncaloric activities that make you feel better, like sipping herbal tea or connecting with a friend over a cup of coffee. >> Avoid oversized portions; use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. >> Fill half of your plate with lightly dressed vegetables and salads. This will make the plate look fuller while reducing portions of starchy foods and protein. >> Be mindful about quality and quantity. When you choose one square of good-quality dark chocolate, your waistline will reflect your change in size, and your taste buds will be satisfied, too.


Layne Lieberman, R.D., C.D.N., is an award-winning educator and entrepreneur, and author of Beyond the Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets of the Super-Healthy. Follow her blog at worldrd.com. Visit optimumwellnessmagazine. com for more Mediterraneaninspired dishes, including dishes from Layne as well as Barilla pasta.


Invest in a new peeler.

Use a horizontal plastic peeler, instead of the old metal ones your mother had— they’re the worst! Having a new, sharp peeler really helps. I use one from Kuhn Rikon—it’s the only kind I’ve used for the past 15 years.


Freeze wisely. I make a

big batch of chicken stock and then freeze it in quartor sandwich-size bags—gallonsize is usually too big. Cool the stock first; then fill the bags and lay them flat. If you make chili or soup, then you might want to use a gallon-size bag.


Opt for parchment paper or Silpat nonstick baking mats. They’re great for roasting

vegetables and baking. Silpat probably works out a little better than parchment paper, and you only have to buy one—those things last forever, as long as you don’t cut on them. I also recommend silicone cake molds: Nothing sticks, so you can bake in them, you can freeze things in them, and cleanup is easy.


Roast vegetables in batches. If you

completely fill the pan, they don’t cook well. Vegetables roast more evenly when the pan isn’t as crammed. Aim to fill about three-quarters of the pan.

Nathan Crave is the executive chef at Palace Kitchen in Seattle, a Northwest fine-dining favorite. Crave’s nearly two-decade-long career has also included stints at Seattle’s TanakaSan, Etta’s and Seatown Seabar, as well as a few high-end restaurants in Boston.





* Bars, Bites and More


It's specific to both your age and gender. To calculate your protein RDA, visit optimumwellnessmagazine.com.

Need something for energy? Or to carry you through the afternoon? These healthy snacks are chock-full of protein to keep you full longer. BY REBECCA HEATON


10g protein

Certified-organic, raw and gluten-free, this bar is full of flavors, from sunflower-seed butter to sprouted flax, natural vanilla, cinnamon, a sprouted brown rice and pea protein blend, and chunks of organic fair-trade chocolate.

OUR REVIEWERS SAY Rich and chewy, with little crisps in every bite.”

OUR REVIEWERS SAY Love the flavors and texture; so many healthy ingredients.”

SERVING: 1 bar | Calories: 210 | Fat: 10g | Sugars: 15g | Sodium: 150mg | Fiber: 5g

SERVING: 1 bar | Calories: 260 | Fat: 8g | Sugars: 9g | Sodium: 80mg | Fiber: 3g


10g protein

Made with slow-roasted, humanely sourced free-range turkey, plus a blend of quinoa, chia, flaxseed, maple syrup, natural hickory flavor and dried blueberries. This bar is paleo-friendly, and nut-, dairy-, soy- and gluten-free.

OUR REVIEWERS SAY Nice texture, not greasy. Like the flavor combination.” SERVING: 1 bar | Calories: 130 | Fat: 5g | Sugars: 6g | Sodium: 290mg | Fiber: 1g


21g protein

With a peanut butter coating on the outside, this bar gets even more protein from a blend of soy, whey and milk, plus almond meal. That explains the whopping 40-plus percent daily requirement of protein in just one bar.

OUR REVIEWERS SAY Dense and filling; good energy bar option.” SERVING: 1 bar | Calories: 210 | Fat: 8g | Sugars: 7g | Sodium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g

36 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness


13g protein

Free of soy and gluten and developed by a team of registered dietitians, this non-GMO vegan bar is reminiscent of peanut butter cups, minus the sugar and fat, and double the protein from a whey protein blend.


Fuel Your

Coated in dark chocolate, a serving of these tasty little non-GMO and gluten-free bites packs serious nutrition, with 20 percent of your daily needs for fiber and magnesium, and 10 percent for vitamins A and C, plus several B vitamins. 10g protein

OUR REVIEWERS SAY Like the small-bite option versus a full bar.”

CLIF BAR – SIERRA TRAIL MIX Simply put, this is trail mix in a bar form. Made with 70 percent organic ingredients, this bar gets its chew and crunch from rolled oats, raisins, peanuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds. The chocolate bits come from Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa. 10g protein

Flavor selection varies by store


OUR REVIEWERS SAY A go-to snack for walks or bike rides.” SERVING: 1 bar | Calories: 260 | Fat: 8g Sugars: 22g | Sodium: 220mg | Fiber: 4g

SERVING: 8 pieces | Calories: 170 | Fat: 8g Sugars: 7g | Sodium: 160mg | Fiber: 5g

KIND – SWEET & SPICY CHIPOTLE HONEY MUSTARD ALMOND BAR Full of almonds and seeds (pumpkin and hemp), this savory bar gets an added protein boost from pea protein. Spiced with a blend of salt, onion, chipotle, ancho chili, garlic, mustard, turmeric and paprika. Non-GMO, and gluten-, soy- and whey-free. 10g protein

UPOONF O C 0 $1.0 E BACK INE N I TH MAGAZ THE TURKEY PERKY JERKY – MORE THAN JUST ORIGINAL A peppery, subtly sweet soysauce marinade flavors this tender, all-natural turkey jerky, free of nitrites and preservatives. A nutrition plus: It’s low in calories and fat. 10g protein

OUR REVIEWERS SAY Nice spicy flavor.”

OUR REVIEWERS SAY Really like that this is practically fat-free; I could eat a lot.”

SERVING: 1 bar | Calories: 230 | Fat: 16g Sugars: 6g | Sodium: 115mg | Fiber: 3g

SERVING: 1 ounce | Calories: 80 | Fat: 0.5g Sugars: 7g | Sodium: 350mg | Fiber: 0g

When you’re in the car, at the office or wherever you’re grazing, you need a bar this ama

zingbars.com The only bar created by professional nutritionists

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© 2017 Potatoes USA. All rights reserved.

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The th of the world

The role of potatoes throughout time could fill a library full of history books. We’re more excited about how they’ve filled our own library full of amazing potato dishes. Get potatoes in the produce section and find the recipe for Potato Gnocchi and others at PotatoGoodness.com/Gnocchi.

eat Green Light Leafy greens are the number one food you can eat regularly to improve your health.

COLLARD GREENS chewier texture, cabbage-like taste

BONE HEALTH Leafy greens are loaded with vitamin K. One cup of kale provides a whopping 684 percent of your daily needs. Vitamin K regulates blood clotting, and can also ward off osteoporosis and bone fractures by activating osteocalcin, a protein that helps form bones.

IMMUNITY High levels of vitamins A and C in leafy greens keep your immunity strong against bacteria, viruses and toxins.

KALE earthy flavor, needs thorough cooking

CANCER PREVENTION Studies show that consuming leafy green vegetables can defend against various types of cancers. Carotenoids in greens protect cells from mutations that can ultimately lead to cancer. Chlorophyll, responsible for the green color in plants, has been found in lab studies to pull carcinogenic substances out of the body, reduce inflammation and slow free radical damage.

CHARD beet-like taste, soft texture



Researchers have identified a wealth of antioxidants in leafy greens that lower body-wide inflammatory responses. Inflammation is one of the main factors associated with heart disease development. Greens are also host to fiber, which lowers cholesterol and may reduce risk of heart disease.

VISION Vitamin A, plentiful in leafy greens in the form of carotenoids, benefits eyesight by preserving health of the retina, macula and cornea.

MUSTARD GREENS peppery taste, mustardy smell

ARUGULA slightly bitter, peppery flavor, serve raw or sautéed

Top Vitamins & Minerals in Leafy Greens Vitamin K  •  Vitamin A  •  Vitamin C  •  Manganese Potassium  •  Phosphorus  •  Copper  •  Magnesium

SPINACH mild flavor, cooks quickly





Go Green Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, leafy greens have more nutrition per calorie than any other food in the produce aisle. So eat your greens every day. Here are some great recipes to get you started…including an ice cream sandwich!  Turn to page 42 for recipes.


FUN STUFF ✷ Brits and Aussies call arugula “rocket.”

✷ Going gluten-free? Roll your favorite sandwich fixings in a steamed collard green leaf.

✷ Spinach packs 5.36 grams of protein per cup (cooked), making it one of the most protein-rich veggies out there.

✷ Don’t be afraid to add

greens to a fruit smoothie. Spinach, arugula and kale are the best options. Swiss Chard and Pear Pastry

Roasted Pepper, Fontina and Arugula Salad

OW STUDIES SH rvings se 2 t as le eating at per ns ee gr y of dark leaf e brain th s ep ke k wee helps slow young and ine. mental decl

Herbed Mushroom and Mustard Green Veggie Rolls


No one will never know that there’s kale & spinach in these! Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich


Your kids will love these ice cream sandwiches. And they’ll never know that they’re getting nutrients such as iron and minerals from the “hidden” greens. A tasty treat for adults, too!



Swiss Chard and Pear Pastry Serves 8 7 cups (1½ pounds) Swiss chard, leaves and inner stems removed 2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese ½ cup blue cheese crumbles 2 eggs; whisked, divided ½ cup low-fat milk 1/3 cup dried currants 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted and divided 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 1 pear (any variety); peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a muffin tray. 2. Blanch chard in a large pot of boiling water for 15 seconds, or until wilted. Drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze out excess liquid; set aside. 3. Combine cheeses in a bowl. Whisk in 1 egg and milk. Add chard, currants, 1/3 cup almonds and nutmeg. 4. Cut pastry dough into 4x4-inch squares, and place into muffin tins. 5. Spoon 2 tablespoons of chard mixture into each puff pastry; then top with pear. 6. Brush pastries with remaining egg mix‑ ture, and sprinkle with remaining 1 ta‑ blespoon almonds. 7. Bake 30 minutes uncovered, until pas‑ try is golden. PER SERVING: 410 CAL; 17G PROTEIN; 27G FAT; 28G CARB (7G SUGARS); 630MG SODIUM; 3G FIBER

thermometer to check). Should be warm to touch. 3. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add sugar. Bloom yeast in the mixture, about 5 minutes. 4. Add in flour and salt in three batches. Make a loose ball and let rise in a cov‑ ered, greased bowl, at least 30 minutes. 5. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat; then sweat onion and mushroom together with garlic, rose‑ mary and thyme on low heat until ‑onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft. Remove pan from heat, stir in mustard greens, and set aside. 6. Roll pastry sheet into a large rectangle, about ¼-inch thick, and brush with re‑ maining Earth Balance. Spread greens mixture evenly on the pastry sheet. 7. Roll up pastry sheet into a log; then cut into 1-inch segments. 8. Place the segments seam-side down in a well-greased cake pan. Bake 25 minutes, until golden. PER SERVING: 220 CAL; 4G PROTEIN; 7G FAT; 38G CARB (22G SUGARS); 35MG SODIUM; 3G FIBER

Kale Chips 3 servings 1 bunch of curly or lacinato kale 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 250°. Remove kale ribs, and tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. 2. Mix all ingredients together with hands to massage kale. 3. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 30-35 minutes, until crisp. PER SERVING: 130 CAL; 1G PROTEIN; 14G FAT; 4G CARB (0G SUGARS); 650MG SODIUM; 1G FIBER

Roasted Pepper, Fontina and Arugula Salad Serves 8 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 clove garlic, minced 6 cups arugula, loosely packed 1 bulb fennel, washed and thinly sliced Salt and pepper, to taste 3 red peppers; seeded, roasted, peeled, cut into ½-inch strips 4 ounces fontina cheese, sliced into strips Salt and black pepper, to taste Toasted sliced almonds

4. Whisk together oil, vinegar and garlic in a large bowl. Add arugula and fennel; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Divide arugula and fennel mixture among eight salad plates. Divide peppers and cheese strips; arrange on arugula. 6. Sprinkle salt, black pepper and almonds over salads, if desired, and serve. PER SERVING: 120 CAL; 4G PROTEIN; 10G FAT; 6G CARB (3G SUGARS); 808MG SODIUM; 2G FIBER

Herbed Mushroom and Mustard Green Veggie Rolls ½ cup unsweetened soy milk ¾ cup Earth Balance spread (or unsalted butter), divided 1 tablespoon cane sugar 1 tablespoon instant yeast 1½ cups whole-wheat flour Pinch of salt 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ cup diced onion ½ cup cremini mushrooms, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced ½ cup mustard greens, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 2. Heat soy milk and 1½ tablespoons Earth Balance, until melted. Remove from heat, and let cool to 110° (use a food 42 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness


Serves 8

Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich 8 servings 1 bunch fresh peppermint leaves ½ cup soy milk 3 bananas ½ cup fresh spinach 1 cup cashew cream (see instructions at right) ½ cup agave nectar ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 2 ounces dark chocolate chips

1. Steep peppermint in soy milk for 2 hours. Strain out peppermint leaves. 2. Blend together bananas, spinach, cashew cream, agave and salt, until smooth. 3. Add soy milk to the mixture. 4. Put mixture in freezer (in a bowl or spread on a cookie sheet), and freeze until it starts getting solid. 5. Before serving, place ice cream in a food processor and blend until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. PER SERVING: 324 CAL; 4G PROTEIN; 15.2G FAT; 45.6G CARB (30G SUGARS); 330MG SODIUM; 2.8G FIBER

■ CASHEW CREAM Put 1 cup raw cashews in a medium pot. Cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil; then simmer until cashews are soft, about 15 minutes. Pour cashews and water into a blender; blend until smooth. ■ KALE CHOCOLATE COOKIES Makes 2 dozen cookies ½ cup coconut oil 6½ tablespoons granulated sugar 7 tablespoons light-brown sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon salt ¾ cup all-purpose flour 3¼ tablespoons dark cocoa powder ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 cup kale; shredded, blanched in hot water, and then “shocked” in bowl of ice water to hold the green color ½ cup carob or dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°. 2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together coconut oil and sugars. Add egg, vanilla and salt, and mix well. 3. In separate bowl, whisk together dry in‑

gredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to large mixing bowl. 4. Add chopped kale and chips; blend well to form dough. 5. Roll dough between two sheets of wax paper. Cut cookies with a 3-inch circular cookie mold or top of a measuring cup. 6. Place cookies on a greased baking sheet; bake 10–12 minutes. 7. Let cool. Then sandwich ½ cup of ice cream between two cookies and serve. 2 COOKIES: 190 CAL; 2G PROTEIN; 8G FAT; 31G CARB (26G SUGARS); 60MG SODIUM; 1G FIBER

Optimum Wellness is excited to partner with Johnson & Wales University. Madeleine Weitzner, Chef Adam Sacks and Sarah Rule (l to r) developed these recipes, with prep help from teaching assistants Nicole Sandor and Jake Bauer (not pictured). Known as a recognized leader in culinary education, JWU is changing the way the world eats. For info, visit jwu.edu/denver.

Go beyond the cosmetic counter to have healthy, radiant beauty from within. At NeoCell, we have always known that healthy hair, skin, and nails on the inside equals natural beauty on the outside.*

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†Based on 2014 NeoCell Collagen Study. **BASED ON SPINS DATA 06/2016 ©2015 NeoCell corp.


Multinutrient Bone-Health System

Turmeric Concentrate

Shelf-Stable Probiotic Formula

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Better Absorbed Vitamin B12

JARROW FORMULAS: SUPERIOR BY DESIGN Jarrow Formulas’ mission is to promote optimal health with effective dietary supplement formulations. Products are based on sound scientific research data with a focus on innovation– leading to unique, cutting-edge products. Products are manufactured with strict compliance to cGMP processes to ensure the highest levels of quality.

Product selection varies by store. For more information visit us:

www.Jarrow.com *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.




Balanced Bowls Here are four flavorful options that load healthy foods in one compact, delicious dish. Cook ’em up in 30 minutes or less. BY GENEVIEVE DOLL

Tempeh Taco Bowl Tempeh is an excellent and versatile vegetarian protein, made from whole, fermented soybeans. In this recipe, tempeh is sautéed with taco spices, creating a final product surprisingly similar to ground beef. The purple cabbage and avocado bring a beautiful pop of color and complementary flavors. Serves 4


Avocado slices add a decorative touch to this beautiful bowl.

Tempeh 2 (8-ounce) packages tempeh ¼ cup coconut oil 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon coriander 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon salt Juice of 1 lime Cabbage Slaw 3 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 1 tablespoon olive oil Juice of ½ lime ½ teaspoon salt


Guacamole 1 large or 2 medium avocados Juice of ½ lime 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno 1 garlic clove, minced ¼ teaspoon salt

1. Dice tempeh, or use your hands to crumble. In a medium skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add tempeh, and stir to coat. 2. Add spices and salt, and sauté for 5 minutes, adding more coconut oil if needed to prevent sticking. Use lime juice to deglaze pan. 3. In a medium bowl, combine slaw ingredients. 4. In a small bowl, mash avocado. Add remaining guacamole ingredients. 5. Divide tempeh among four bowls, and top with slaw and a dollop of guacamole. PER SERVING: 511 CAL; 24G PROTEIN; 40G FAT; 24G CARB (3G SUGARS); 917MG SODIUM; 7G FIBER

Tip  Don’t have time to make guacamole? Buy your favorite prepared version from the store.



Goodnight, phone. Goodnight, screens. Goodnight, goals and hello, dreams. Goodnight, day. Goodnight schedule. Hello blanket and bedtime ritual. Goodnight workout. Goodnight, light. Goodnight, Skoop—so you sleep tight.

Get a Good Night’s Skoop A protein shake... before bed? You bet your zzz’s. Healthy Skoop Sleep Protein can help you break the cycle of restlessness and spark a better night’s sleep with the whole foods and plant-based protein your mind and body need at night. Find it in stores with Optimum Wellness Centers, and get the full Skoop at healthyskoop.com.

3% of sales support fruit and veggie grants for K-12 schools. Healthy Skoop & Chef Ann Foundation Initiative




Mediterranean Chicken Bowl Enjoy flavors of the Mediterranean in this hearty bowl. The rice is reminiscent of manestra, a classic Greek dish of orzo and tomatoes. Serves 4

Double the chicken, and use extra in a salad later in the week.

Chicken 2 teaspoons dried dill 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil Zest of 1 lemon 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds) Rice 2 cups water 1 cup long-grain white rice 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced ½ teaspoon salt 1½ cups packed baby spinach, stacked and thinly sliced


Toppings ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced ½ cup crumbled feta

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Combine dried spices, salt and pepper. Stir in olive oil and lemon zest. Rub spice blend on both sides of chicken breasts. Place in an 8x8inch baking dish, cover, and roast 25–30 minutes, until chicken reaches 165°. Let cool slightly, and shred. 2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add rice, sundried tomatoes, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a sim‑ mer, and cover. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, until rice is ten‑ der. Keep covered, and don’t stir throughout cooking process. Remove from heat, add spinach, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. Stir before serving. 3. Divide rice, chicken, olives and feta evenly among four bowls.

Tip  For additional fiber, use brown rice instead of white. Note that additional cooking time is needed, about 45 minutes total.







Maple Mustard Salmon Bowl with Fennel Arugula Salad and Pickled Apples Fresh and light, this meal can be prepared quickly and offers a beautiful blend of flavors and textures. Pickled apples can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to a week. Serves 4 Pickled Apples 1 cup water 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 1½ teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon honey 1 large crisp apple, cut into ¼ inch matchsticks Salmon 1 pound salmon fillet Salt and freshly ground pepper 1½ tablespoons spicy mustard 1½ teaspoons maple syrup Salad 1 medium fennel bulb 4 cups packed arugula

48 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

½ cup crumbled feta 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted 1/3 cup currants or raisins Juice of ½ lemon ½ teaspoon honey ¼ teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, whisk together water, apple cider vin‑ egar, salt and honey. Add apples, and submerge. Pickle apples for 20 min‑ utes, or make ahead and store in the liquid in a jar and refrigerate. 2. Place salmon skin-side down in a bak‑ ing dish, and remove bones if neces‑ sary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 3. Combine mustard and maple syrup in a small dish, and brush over salmon to coat. 4. Bake 15–20 minutes, until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

5. Meanwhile, remove stalks from fen‑ nel, reserving fronds for garnish. Slice bulb in half, remove and discard core, and thinly slice. 6. In a medium bowl combine fennel, arugula, feta, pumpkin seeds and currants, reserving some pumpkin seeds for garnish. 7. To make dressing, whisk together lemon juice, honey and salt in a small bowl. Drizzle in oil to emulsify. Toss salad with dressing. 8. Portion salmon into four pieces, gen‑ tly removing skin. Divide salad into four bowls and top with salmon. Top with a small mound of pickled apples, and garnish with reserved pumpkin seeds and chopped fennel fronds. PER SERVING: 471 CAL; 31G PROTEIN; 28G FAT; 27G CARB (10G SUGARS); 1507MG SODIUM; 5G FIBER


Try extra pickled apples on your favorite salad for an added burst of flavor.




Garden Chickpea Bowl with Marinated Mozzarella A refreshing and simple salad, made especially delicious with the addition of marinated mozzarella. If you choose to use dry chickpeas, 1 cup dry will yield 3 cups cooked, equivalent to two 15-ounce cans. Serves 4 Mozzarella ½ cup olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried dill ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes 8 ounces bocconcini or ciliegine mozzarella, drained and quartered Chickpea Salad 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas 1 red bell pepper, medium dice 5 large radishes, halved and thinly sliced 1 medium carrot, thin rounds 1/3 cup packed fresh basil, thinly sliced 2 avocados, thinly sliced


Serve with crusty bread to soak up extra dressing.

50 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Dressing Infused olive oil, drained from mozzarella 3 tablespoons lemon juice ½ teaspoon salt Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt and red pepper flakes. Add mozzarella and stir to coat, ensuring mozzarella is mostly submerged. Marinate for 20 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine chickpeas, vegetables and basil. 3. Using a slotted spoon, remove mozzarella and reserve infused

olive oil. To make dressing, in a small bowl whisk infused olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 4. Combine dressing with vegetables and mozzarella, and stir to combine. 5. Top with avocado slices for serving.

Bocconcini and ciliegine are varieties of baby mozzarella. Questions? Ask an expert at the cheese counter.







©2017 Barilla America, Inc.




Noodling Around A Google food-trends report says pasta is back. We didn’t know that it ever left. This cost-friendly, versatile and oh-so-good staple is a must for every home kitchen. BY KIMBERLY LORD STEWART TURN TO PAGE 54 FOR RECIPES


Dairy-Free Penne Bake

Barilla makes several GF options, including penne and spaghetti. Tinkyada rice pasta comes in many GF forms, too, from spaghetti to spirals.

GLUTENFREE IDEA! SPIRALIZED VEGETABLE PASTA A cool kitchen gadget called a spiralizer turns green zucchini and yellow summer squash into curly threads of vegetarian pasta. Trial and error says don’t peel or boil these soft tendrils, as they can overcook and turn to mush. Try a quick sauté. For portions, one medium squash equates to one serving. For the Spiral Spring Vegetarian Pasta recipe on the next page, substitute vegetable broth for the pasta water. While broth is reducing, sauté spiral­­­­iz­­ed veggies in vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet for about 3 minutes. Toss with warm vegetables, and pour sauce over.

52 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Spiral Spring Vegetarian Pasta

The Greeks m ade flat strips of do ugh, called laganon , in the first mille nnium B.C. Explorer Marco Polo referred to th e same flat doug h as lasagna.

Creamy Dreamy Spinach Lasagna

ars, For 300 ye 800, –1 00 15 from pasta d lle Italians ca cherroni ac m er th ei or (macaroni) Fast vermicelli. forward...


...to 1790 whe n we can thank American sta tesman and presiden t Thomas Jeffe rson for bringing m acaroni to our country .

Salami, Kale and Olive Orecchiette

Historical Notes Source: Pasta and Noodles, A Global History (Reaktion, 2016), by Kantha Shelke, Ph.D.





Dairy-Free Penne Bake You’ll love this mock ricotta, made from macadamia nuts, for its rich, creamy texture. The recipe comes together quickly and will soon be a family favorite. Serves 6 12 ounces whole-grain penne Pinch of salt 2 cups raw macadamia nuts ½ cup macadamia nut milk or other dairy-free nut milk Juice of ½ lemon ½ teaspoon garlic powder 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 pound ground chicken 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs 3 cups prepared marinara sauce 2 cups almond milk grated cheese, or another nondairy grated cheese product, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Oil a 9x13-inch baking dish. 2. Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add penne and a hefty pinch of salt. Cook until just tender, 8–10 minutes. Drain, and set aside. 3. Place nuts in a high-speed or “bullet”style blender. Pulse until finely ground. Gradually add nut milk, a few table‑ spoons at a time; pulse until blended. Keep adding milk and mixing until it resembles the texture of ricotta. You may not need all the milk. Add lemon juice and garlic powder; mix well. 4. Add oil to a large skillet. Brown chicken with Italian herbs, and add marinara sauce. Bring to a low simmer. Add pasta and stir well. 5. Layer half the pasta in the bottom of the dish. Top with all the ricotta and half the grated cheese. Layer with remaining pasta. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 20–30 minutes, until heated through. PER SERVING: 806 CAL; 34G PROTEIN; 57G FAT; 46G CARB (13G SUGARS); 746MG SODIUM; 7G FIBER

Creamy Dreamy Spinach Lasagna This indulgent dish is ideal for company or to celebrate a milestone. For a less rich, but still delicious, version, leave the cream out. Serves 6 1 (16-ounce) container low-fat cottage cheese 1 egg 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided ¼ sweet onion, finely diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups baby spinach leaves 16 ounces cremini mushrooms; washed, diced

54 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness




eapolitans lay claim to the term al dente, literally translated “to the tooth” or “to the bite.” The pasta should be “neither limp nor raw, and the idea [is?] that its ‘soul’ (the innermost core) is still firm,” writes pasta expert Kantha Shelke. She suggests testing pasta as much as 3–4 minutes before it’s done, because cooking times vary by the pasta ingredients; semolina flour takes longer, while wheat pasta calls for a shorter cooking time. Vincenzo Agnesi, an engineer at Paolo Agnesi & Sons (Italy’s oldest pasta company) in 1958 developed a remarkably easy method of cooking pasta that requires little attention and seems to work every time (translated from Italian from Pasta and Noodles: A Global History).

6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped 1 cup whipping cream (optional) 2 tablespoons rice flour 2 cups 2% milk Pinch of nutmeg Salt and pepper, to taste 2 cups skim-milk mozzarella; grated and divided 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided 1 box no-cook dried lasagna noodles

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil a 9x13inch ceramic baking dish. 2. Place cottage cheese and egg in a blend‑ er; puree until smooth. Scoop into a bowl, and set aside. 3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet; add onions and sauté over medium heat, until soft. Add garlic and spinach a handful at a time. Cook until wilted; remove from pan. 4. Raise heat to high, and add mushrooms. Brown evenly, and add sun-dried toma‑ toes; cook until fragrant. Add spinach back to pan, stir well, and add cream. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Add cottage cheese mixture to the pan. Stir well, and remove from heat. 5. Heat remaining oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat; add flour and stir with a whisk for 6–10 min‑ utes, until lightly toasted. Gradually add a little milk at a time, whisking well. Stir until thickened; let edges bubble, but do not boil. Add nutmeg, one-quarter of both cheeses, salt and pepper, and stir

1. Bring to a boil in a large pot about 1 litre (1 quart) of fresh, cold water per 100 grams (3½ ounces) of dried pasta and 1½ tablespoons salt. When water is rapidly boiling, add all of the pasta at once and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon or long fork. 2. Cover the pot to bring the mixture back to a rolling boil as quickly as possible. When it starts to boil, open the pan and allow the water to boil rapidly for 2 minutes only. 3. Turn off the heat and stir well. Spread a thick cloth over the saucepan, place the lid over the cloth, and allow it to stand for the cooking time specific on the package of pasta. 4. Drain the pasta just long enough that it is dripping wet.

well. Pour this mixture into spinach, and combine. It may be a little stringy. 6. Place a single layer of noodles, edge to edge, in bottom of pan to cover. Spoon out one-third of spinach mixture over noodles; top with onethird of the mozzarella. Repeat with a layer of noodles, spinach, cheese and a last noodle layer. 7. Top with remaining spinach and chees‑ es. Bake 30–40 minutes, until noodles are soft and sauce is bubbly. PER SERVING: 395 CAL; 26G PROTEIN; 19G FAT; 30G CARB (7G SUGARS); 475MG SODIUM; 2G FIBER

Salami, Kale and Olive Orecchiette Little earlobe pastas, called orecchiette, are the perfect collection vessels to capture the bold flavors of this fast and easy pasta dish. Serves 4 Pinch of salt 8 ounces orecchiette or small shells pasta 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large shallot, diced 1 (3-inch) chunk of salami; coated in peppercorns, diced 18 cured green olives; pitted, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon dried oregano Hefty pinch of crushed red pepper flakes 4 cups baby kale leaves 4 tablespoons of prepared black garlic aioli (or 3 tablespoons mayonnaise with 1 minced garlic clove, ½ teaspoon black pepper and juice from one half lemon) 1 cup reserved pasta water


1/3 cup Pecorino Romano, grated for garnish

Spiral Spring Vegetarian Pasta

1. Bring 6 cups water to a boil; season with salt. Add pasta, and cook al dente with a slight bite, 6–8 minutes. 2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, and cook until translucent. Add salami and olives, and cook 3 minutes, until heated through. Add oregano and red pepper flakes to taste. 3. Place kale in bottom of a large, shallow serving bowl. 4. When pasta is nearly done, scoop out 1 cup pasta water. 5. Add aioli to the salami-olive pan. Stir until well coated. Add ½ cup pasta water, and bring to a simmer. Gradually add more water until you have a thick sauce. 6. Drain pasta, and immediately pour over the kale. Stir to wilt kale. Add sauce, and gently toss. Serve right away with the Pecorino.

Spring comes alive with the season’s freshest vegetables, tossed in a green pasta or vegetable spiral pasta. Serves 6


2 tablespoons olive oil 3 green onions, sliced with a few inches of the green 1 orange or red pepper, cut into thin slices 16 ounces green linguini (dried vegetable pasta) or spiralized zucchini (see “Spiralized Vegetable Pasta” on previous page) 1 cup sugar peas 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces 4 radishes, thinly sliced 1 cup grated carrot 2 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half 3 ounces herbed goat cheese 1 (.66-ounce) package fresh basil leaves, leaves torn 2 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves removed and coarsely chopped 4 tablespoons orange juice 1 cup reserved pasta water 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat a medium nonstick skillet; add












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olive oil. Add onions and peppers; sauté 3–4 minutes, until just cooked. 2. At the same time, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook al dente. If us‑ ing vegetable spirals, they will be tender in 3–4 minutes. Set aside 1 cup pasta water. Drain, place in serving bowl, and cover with towel to keep warm. 3. Add sugar peas and asparagus to pan; sauté 2–3 minutes. Add radishes, carrot and tomatoes; sauté 2–3 minutes, until tomatoes are soft and hot. Toss vegeta‑ bles with pasta in serving bowl. Break up goat cheese, and sprinkle over the pasta. Cover to keep warm. 4. Add basil, tarragon, orange juice and reserved pasta water to the same pan, over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half. Reduce heat to low; add butter a few cubes at a time, while stirring. This will thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Pour sauce over pasta, and gently toss. PER SERVING WITH PASTA NOODLES: 519 CAL; 20G PROTEIN; 19G FAT; 68G CARB (6G SUGARS); 75MG SODIUM; 8G FIBER

How your resident bacteria impact your weight, mood and immune system…and what you can do about it. BY LISA MARSHALL


56 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Ph.D., a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine and coauthor of The Good Gut (Penguin, 2015). “If you have allergies, asthma, weight issues, diabetes, or even depression and anxiety, it could mean that your gut is not in an optimal state.”

THE ENDANGERED WORLD WITHIN The average human has 100 trillion bacteria living inside her. If that human lives in the United States, her microbiota is made up of about 1,200 different species, says Sonnenburg. That may sound like a lot, but it’s far fewer than the people living in the jungles of Venezuela, who host roughly 1,600 species. Everything from antibiotics in medication and food to overuse of hand sanitizers and lack of fiber (which serves as food


y now you’ve heard the news: Healthy gut bacteria make for a healthy gut. For years, physicians have known that when “bad bacteria” overtake the “good” inside the intestines, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems can result. It’s not uncommon for a doctor to prescribe probiotics along with antibiotics to keep gut bacteria in balance. Some physicians even go so far as to perform “fecal transplants” to treat Clostridium difficile, a particularly intractable gut infection. But new research has revealed that the power of our internal critters doesn’t end there: The so-called microbiome—the universe of microorganisms that inhabit our gut and other regions of our bodies—also deeply affects our mood, cognitive function, metabolism and immune system. “Over the past decade there has been an explosion in the scientific understanding of the bacteria in our gut and how profoundly it influences our overall biology,” says Erica Sonnenburg,



Probiotic supplements aren’t the only way to bolster your microbiome.


EAT FIBER. “Increasing the amount of dietary fiber you consume is the number one step to improve not only gut health, but also overall health,” says researcher Erica Sonnenburg. Make sure to get enough prebiotic fiber, like chicory root, asparagus, carrots, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, leeks, onions and whole grains. Prebiotics are food for good bacteria, and without them good bacteria won’t survive. Supplements are also available.


LOAD UP ON FERMENTED VEGETABLES, like kraut and kimchi, which deliver a potent dose and a broad range of bacterial species, says Kirsten Shockey, coauthor of Fermented Vegetables (Storey, 2014). Chop up some kimchi in sour cream for a bacteria-fueled dip, or add kraut to your breakfast omelet. DRINK BRINE, the leftover juice from fermenting vegetables. Shockey uses it in place of vinegar to make salad dressing.



ENJOY FERMENTED MILKS, like yogurt and



LOOK FOR RAW, properly aged artisan cheeses.


AVOID antibacterial soaps, meat made with antibiotics and antibiotic medicine. GET A DOG. Pets are a wonderful way to expose yourself to good bacteria, says Sonnenburg.




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DOES THIS BACTERIA MAKE ME LOOK FAT? When a patient walks into Dr. Raphael Kellman’s integrative medicine clinic in New York City saying that he can’t lose weight no matter how much he diets or exercises, Dr. Raphael immediately thinks of gut bugs. “The gut bacteria are the gatekeepers of the calories that enter our body,” says Kellman, author of The Microbiome Diet (Da Capo Lifelong, 2014). Certain species break down protein and fat, while others metabolize sugars. One type of bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, long maligned as a cause of peptic ulcers, helps you maintain a healthy weight by regulating the production of acid (which

helps us digest food). “If you don’t have H. Pylori in your microbiome—and many of us don’t—you have more difficulty shutting off the hunger signal and turning on the fullness signal,” writes Kellman. People with high levels of the bacteria Firmicutes are more likely to be heavy, according to some studies, while people with more Bacteroidetes are more likely to be lean. Kellman points to one 2013 study, published in Science, in which the gut bacteria from four sets of human twins (one lean; one obese) were transplanted into bacteriafree mice. Despite identical diets, the mice that got a transplant from an obese twin got fat; the mice that got a transplant from a lean twin stayed lean. “There is no question: Changes in the percentages of certain bacteria can prompt the body to gain or lose its ability to maintain a healthy weight,” says Kellman, who prescribes probiotics, prebiotics and microbiome-nurturing dietary changes for people struggling with weight.

HEALTHY GUT, HEALTHY BRAIN & IMMUNE SYSTEM Perlmutter notes that gut bacteria also strongly influence mood and cognitive function, primarily by interacting with genes that turn on or off systemic inflammation, which has been linked to everything from Alzheimer’s disease to depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. Bacteria also release chemical messengers that “speak to the brain” via the vagus nerve, which stretches from the brain stem to the abdomen. And research shows that certain gut bacteria can sway levels of stress hormones, including cortisol. “Perhaps no other system in the body is more sensitive to changes in gut bacteria than the central nervous system, especially the brain,” Perlmutter says. Studies in humans have only just begun, but numerous animal studies have shown that introducing beneficial bacteria can fend off anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Sonnenburg adds that our microbial


Eight Ways to Nurture Your Gut

for bacteria) has diminished the diversity of our microbiome. Even being born by cesarean section, which prevents a baby from being inoculated by bacteria in the mother’s birth canal, can reduce bacterial diversity for years to come, says neurologist David Perlmutter, M.D., author of Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life (Little, Brown & Company, 2015). That’s all problematic, because each species of bacteria—like an instrument— plays a role in the symphony that is our body, emitting chemicals that influence our brain and immune system, help us digest food or dampen inflammation. “The more diversity you have, the more your body is able to respond to the various challenges life throws at it,” says Perlmutter. Rather than think of ourselves as a collection of human cells, influenced by our DNA, Sonnenburg suggests people think of themselves as a collection of human and bacterial cells. The good news: Unlike our genes, which we can’t do much about, our microbial self is malleable and can be influenced by what we eat and how we live. “Keeping your gut healthy is, in my opinion, the most important thing you can do to promote health and resist disease,” says Perlmutter.

Brine-Ade Serves 4 to 6

Make a gut-healthy version of lemonade using brine from sauerkraut. Try adding a splash of brine to cocktails, too, like an OldFashioned or a Bloody Mary.

Brine from sauerkraut is laden with gut-friendly probiotics. If you’re not ready to drink your brine straight up, this “lemonade” might be a way for you to dip into brine. ¾–1 cup unrefined sugar or honey 1 cup warm water 3–4 cups cold water 1 cup sauerkraut brine* 1 whole lemon, thinly sliced Grated fresh ginger, to taste (optional) 1. Make a simple syrup by combining sugar with the warm water. Mix until sweetener is completely dissolved. 2. Place syrup into a pitcher and add cold water, sauerkraut brine and lemon slices. Give lemon slices a twist to release some of the lemon juice as you are putting them into the pitcher. Add ginger, if using. 3. Let sit for about a halfhour to allow flavors to mingle. 4. Serve over ice for a refreshing drink, or serve at room temperature for a cozy healing beverage. Excerpted from Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey, photography by Erin Kunkel, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

* See sauerkraut recipe on next page. You can drain the brine for these drinks.



How to Choose a Probiotic If you’re going the supplement route, Dr. David Perlmutter offers the following advice:

• FOR GENERAL HEALTH, look for a

broad-spectrum brand with at least 10 different strains, including Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Bifidobacterium lactis and Bifidobacterium longum.

• FOR WEIGHT LOSS, try Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.

• FOR MOOD ISSUES, opt for Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum.

• PICK A BRAND you know and trust. • BUY ONLY IN SMALL BATCHES.

Potency declines on the shelf, even if it’s refrigerated.

• TAKE IT ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. • LOOK FOR A PRODUCT with 10 billion to 50 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per capsule.

60 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Basic Steps for Making Sauerkraut Makes about 1 gallon 5 lbs. shredded green cabbage 3 tablespoons sea salt 1. Rinse cabbage in cool water; transfer to a large bowl. Add half the salt and, with your hands, massage it in, then taste. You should be able to taste salt, but it should not be overwhelming. If it’s not salty enough, continue adding small amounts until it’s to your liking. 2. Cabbage will look wet and limp. Depending on the amount of moisture in the cabbage, some liquid will pool in the bowl. If you don’t see much brine, let cabbage stand, covered, for 45 minutes, and then repeat the massage. 3. Transfer cabbage to a crock or jar. Press down on cabbage with your fist or a tamper; this will release more brine. (Don’t worry if brine “disappears” between pressings.) If not, return cabbage to the bowl and massage again. 4. When you pack the vessel, leave 4 inches of headspace for a crock, and 2 to 3 inches for a jar. (Headspace is the area between the brine and the top rim of the vessel.) 5. Top cabbage with a bit of plastic wrap. This primary follower keeps the shreds from floating above the brine. 6. Top with a secondary follower and weight. For a crock the follower may be a plate that fits the opening and nestles over as much of the surface as possible; then weight down the plate with a sealed water-filled jar. For a jar, you can use a sealed water-filled jar or ziplock bag as a follower-weight combination. Cover with a large kitchen towel or muslin. 7. Set aside the jar or crock on a baking sheet out of direct sunlight, in a cool area (anywhere between 55 and 75°F; the cooler, the better). 8. Check daily for 2 weeks to make sure cabbage is submerged, pressing down as needed to bring brine back to the surface. You may see scum on top; it’s generally harmless, but if you see mold, scoop it out. 9. Using a clean, nonreactive utensil, remove some of the kraut and taste. It’s ready when: • It’s pleasingly sour and pickle-y tasting. • The flavors have mingled. • The veggies have softened a bit, but retain some crunch. • The color is that of the cooked vegetable. If it’s not ready, rinse the followers and weight, put everything back in place, and monitor brine level and watch for scum and mold. 10. When kraut is ready, skim off any scum on top, along with any stray bits of floating vegetables. Transfer kraut into a jar (or jars) if you fermented in a crock. If you fermented in a jar, you can store the kraut in it. Leave as little headroom as possible, and tamp down to make sure the kraut is submerged in its brine. Screw on the lid, and store in the refrigerator. Excerpted from Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey, photography by Erin Kunkel, used with permission from Storey Publishing.


makeup, from the day we are born, can also alter our susceptibility to immune-systemrelated illnesses, including seasonal allergies, eczema and dermatitis. That’s because many of our immune cells reside in our intestine, where they are in constant dialogue with bacteria in the area. “These microbe–immune system conversations help our body discriminate between harmless foreign entities like food and harmful ones like salmonella,” she says. The science is young. But one 2013 study showed that babies born to moms who took probiotics, or those who took them as infants, are less likely to grow up with allergies. And some research suggests that eating fermented foods that contain probiotic bacteria, like yogurt and sauerkraut, can lessen the severity and duration of colds and flus. Your best bet: Don’t wait until you get sick to start nurturing your gut, says Sonnenburg. Instead, load up on prebiotic fiber and fermented foods, ditch the antibacterial soap and take antibiotics only when you absolutely have to. Your whole body will thank you for it.

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family Cooking with Kids Making meals together can be a delicious learning experience for children and parents, but it takes patience. We can help. BY BEVIN WALLACE


ooking with kids is not for wimps. It requires a level of commitment and patience many parents struggle to muster, especially at 5 p.m. after a long day of work or an exhausting afternoon of carpooling to after-school activities and badgering kids about homework. But there are rewards. Cooking is a basic life skill that will help your children become more independent. The ability to cook can be a source of pride for kids, too, and it fosters a can-do attitude that permeates other aspects of life. Many experts believe that the single most important thing you can do for your health is to cook at home. “When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all—even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, M.P.P., lead author of a 2014 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study. Cooking together can also reduce stress, cultivate stronger family bonds and, of course, save money. For kids, these will be lifelong benefits. So take some deep breaths, and know that your patience will pay off. Here are tips to help you along the way. START NOW  Whatever age your kids are is the right age to start teaching them to cook. Little ones can rinse produce, stir pots and even use a vegetable peeler, albeit very carefully. As they get older, give kids more challenging tasks, such as chopping vegetables, peeling garlic, and eventually planning and cooking an entire meal.

SNEAK IN TEACHABLE MOMENTS  You can teach little kids to “eat the rainbow” to get a variety of nutrients from different fruits and vegetables. Have early readers look for “unpronounceable” words on packages to teach them about healthy, real-food ingredients. Tips on how to safely hold a knife are also useful.

Plan ahead  Look at the week’s calendar and plan a couple of meals with which the kids can help. Ideally, these would be on evenings when the kids don’t have multiple extracurricular activities. If you don’t ever have relatively slow nights, look at weekend breakfasts or lunches.

MAKE IT FUN  Ask kids for meal suggestions, and let them make what they want (within reason). Try not to get too hung up on nutritionally balanced meals when they first start cooking—no matter what’s on the menu, eating at home is almost always better for you than eating out. Kids think it’s fun to be in control and find it exciting to learn to make something they’re used to eating at a restaurant.

MAKE IT DELICIOUS  Just because a small person is doing the cooking doesn’t mean you have to eat canned soup or peanut butter sandwiches. Start the kids off with easy recipes your whole family will love (see at right). Not only will you enjoy the meal, but your kids will also gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment when the food they’ve prepared is devoured and praised.

62 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Be flexible  If you planned on having a kid make dinner and he comes home with a pile of homework or gets invited to a movie with friends, don’t force it. Cooking shouldn’t be seen as a chore—or a punishment.

Easy, Kid-Friendly Dinner Recipes These dishes are easy for most kids over age 9 or 10 to make, with a little adult supervision when handling big knives. BAKED BLACK BEAN TOSTADAS Corn tortillas (about 2 per person) Cooking spray 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, liquid reserved (use 2 cans if making more than 8 tostadas) ¼ cup salsa of your choice Pinch of ground cumin Pinch of salt Toppings: diced avocado, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded lettuce, salsa, sliced black olives


COOKING WITH TODDLERS Keep the cooking experience short to suit a toddler attention span. Premeasure ingredients and have them ready before you begin so your toddler can easily add to the mixing bowl. Toddlers love to mix and stir!

Preheat oven to 450°. Spray each tortilla with cooking spray on both sides, and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and crispy. Place selected toppings in individual bowls for serving. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add black beans and their cooking liquid, and mix in salsa, cumin and salt. Mash the mixture thoroughly with a potato masher, but leave some lumps. Spread beans evenly over each tortilla. Let family members top their tostadas with remaining toppings of choice.

MINI WEDGE SALADS WITH CORN & TOMATOES 1 ear fresh corn ½ head iceberg lettuce (makes about 6 mini salads) 1 pint grape tomatoes Black pepper Homemade ranch dressing (see at right)

To cut kernels from corn, get two bowls, one small and one large. Place the small bowl upside down inside the larger one. Stand the ear of corn on the smaller bowl and carefully cut down with a serrated knife. The kernels will fall into the large bowl. To assemble salads, cut the iceberg half into three wedges; then cut each wedge in half again. Using toothpicks, spear several tomatoes to each wedge (this also holds the lettuce leaves together).

Sprinkle with corn kernels and drizzle with ranch dressing. Grind black pepper over the top.

HOMEMADE RANCH DRESSING 2/3 cup buttermilk ½ cup organic olive oil mayonnaise ½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt* ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or dill, or both) 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika Salt and pepper, to taste

Put the buttermilk, mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, parsley, mustard, thyme and paprika in a bowl; whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. *Can use 1 cup of yogurt and leave out mayonnaise. optimumwellnessmagazine.com


home Spring Cleaning Ready to give your home a top-to-bottom buffing? We’ll help you get started. Think green when you spring clean. Following are tips and tricks from a number of natural cleaning products companies, including Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Method, Clorox Green Works and Seventh Generation, plus a smattering of great green products that will make your house sparkle.

Make a list. Determine which areas need the most work, and focus on those rooms first. Check your list off as you go.

Give a scuffed-up kitchen sink some love by filling it with hot water and a few sprigs of rosemary, and then letting it sit overnight. It’s like a spa treatment for one of the hardest workers in your household.

Freshen up your fridge, freezer and pantry. Spend some time sorting through—checking expiration dates, removing old food and organizing what is left. To clean shelves and bins, set food aside and wipe surfaces down with all-purpose cleaner or disinfecting wipes.

64 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

To clean the ceiling of a microwave, place a bowl of water in the microwave. Heat the water, and allow it to steam for a couple of minutes. Wipe down with a cleaning wipe.

Have dusty ceiling-fan blades? Find an old pillowcase you won’t mind washing. Wipe each blade with the pillowcase, putting it over the blade like you would a pillow, to remove the dust. Spray on an all-purpose cleaner, and wipe away any remaining dust.

Bring back the luster in a dull-looking wood floor. Sealed hardwood floors simply need to be swept of dirt and debris, and then mopped with a little all-purpose cleaning liquid and water.

Keep everything you use to clean your home ready to go in one cleaning tote, caddy or bucket. You won’t waste time gathering your necessities to start or continue—just bring it with you from room to room. If your home is large, consider creating two or more, one for each level.


Need to tackle built-up grease on kitchen surfaces? Heat a damp sponge in the microwave for 20–30 seconds. Spray all-purpose cleaner on it. Wipe greasy surface, and repeat if necessary.

Try These Natural Products Think of all the things you do at your desk: eat, type, drink, write, perhaps forget to wipe spillage between tasks. Maybe it’s time to give your work space a good rub-down with an all-purpose cleaner.

Did you know your dishwasher can wash more than dishes? Stick the following in to get them clean. Toothbrushes; put in with the silverware. You can put your toothbrush holder in, too, in the top rack ∞ Sink brushes or sponge

For streak-free mirrors or windows, use a glass cleaner without ammonia. Spray cleaner directly onto a microfiber cloth or paper towel before wiping the surface clean—and remember, a little goes a long way.

∞ Lint screen from the dryer, once a quarter ∞ Soap trays and dishes from around the house

METHOD GLASS + SURFACE CLEANER – MINT Naturally derived, nontoxic and biodegradable, this ammonia-free cleaner contains a corn-based solvent that eliminates dirt, dust and pesky handprints. Mint and eucalyptus scented.

SEVENTH GENERATION DISINFECTING MULTISURFACE CLEANER Powered by a botanical, disinfecting thyme oil, this cleaner works on hard and nonporous surfaces, such as countertops, floors, changing tables, high chairs, desks and toilet seats. Scented with lemongrass.

SIMPLE TRUTH CLEANING WIPES – FRESH MINT Remove dirt, grease and grime from kitchen and bathroom surfaces with these hypoallergenic, toxin- and ammoniafree wipes. Rainforest Alliance Certified, with a subtle mint oil scent.

MRS. MEYER’S CLEAN DAY MULTI-SURFACE EVERYDAY CLEANER – LEMON VERBENA A natural vegetable protein in this all-natural cleaner fights odors on nonporous surfaces, such as finished wood, tile, countertops, walls, porcelain and sealed stone. With a light, citrus scent.

CLOROX GREEN WORKS MULTI-SURFACE CLEANER – LEMON This lemony-scented spray’s cleaning power for a range of kitchen and bath surfaces comes from a mix of coconutbased cleaning agents, essential lemon oils and filtered water. EPA Safer Choice certified.


BOULDER CLEAN NATURAL ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER – VALENCIA ORANGE In your bathroom, if a pesky ring around the tub appears, take an old pair of nylon stockings and scrub away. For feistier stains, mix equal parts salt and white vinegar, spread the paste on spots, and let sit for up to two hours before wiping clean with warm water.

Know that it doesn’t have to be perfect. At the end of a day, a home should be lived in! Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to keep things spotless all the time.

Orange essential oil adds a crisp scent and degreasing cleaning power to this all-natural, EPA Safer Choice–certified cleaner for appliances, countertops, sinks, tile, sealed stone and washable walls.



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boost Valerian Sleep, sweet sleep…this natural sedative just may deliver it. BY KELLEE KATAGI What is it? Valerian is a herbal medicine made from the root of the perennial Valeriana officinalis. It’s been used since at least the time of Hippocrates and is generally considered a sedative, although in a few people it seems to have the reverse effect.

Use it for insomnia and other sleep troubles, calming nerves

The science A meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Medicine found that patients taking valerian were 80 percent more likely to report improved sleep than those taking a placebo, although some of the studies reviewed had evidence of bias or used faulty methods. Valerian has minimal known side effects, and the USDA classifies it as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).

How to take it Valerian seems to be most effective as a sleep aid when taken 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime, for about a month. Doses range from 400 to 900 mg. For anxiety, the recommended dose is 120 to 200 mg, three to four times daily. Some studies have suggested valerian’s effects on sleep don’t kick in for about 14 days, while other research indicates it works immediately. Don’t take valerian for more than a month without talking to your doctor.



Although valerian plants have a sweetsmelling flower once used for perfume, the root—which is the part used for supplements—can emit an unpleasant odor. Supplements often combine it with herbs such as hops or lemon balm (also sedatives) to suppress the scent.





Gesundheit! Natural ways to survive allergy season. BY KAREN MORSE, M.P.H.

very year, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Triggers can cause sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes and many more uncomfortable symptoms. Natural alternatives boost your body’s defenses against pollen and other allergens without unwanted chemicals. Get a leg up before allergy season begins by stocking your medicine cabinet with these natural supplements.

Quercetin A plant-based nutrient in the flavonoid family, quercetin delivers powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Researchers have found that it prevents the production and release of histamine and other substances that can cause allergic reactions, and protects against heart disease and cancer. You’ll find quercetin in foods such as onions, broccoli, and red- and blue-hued berries like cranberries and blueberries. 68 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

Quercetin supplements are available in tablet and capsule formulations. Optimal doses vary by condition, but a common dose is 500 milligrams twice daily. Do not exceed 1,000 milligrams per day, though, as excess quercetin could damage the kidneys.

Vitamin C Vitamin C is a go-to supplement during cold and flu season, so it makes sense that this immune-boosting antioxidant is also one of the best natural supplements to reach for when seasonal allergies attack. In addition to finding this well-known vitamin in oranges and other citrus fruits, you’ll also get hearty doses from red bell peppers, broccoli and strawberries. However, experts suggest that to lower histamine levels in the bloodstream (and successfully reduce allergy triggers), you’ll need a dose of about 2,000 milligrams per day—much more than you’re likely to get from diet alone. Vitamin C supplements come in a wide variety of formulations, including

capsules, tablets, powders and the latest—a spray.

Probiotics Research suggests that in addition to keeping your digestive system healthy, probiotic supplements can also minimize allergy symptoms. Studies show these beneficial bacteria may even reduce a person’s risk for developing allergies in the first place. In fact, an analysis and review published in a 2016 issue of the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy concluded that probiotics diminished seasonal allergic rhinitis. One of the most effective bacterial strains, according to the study authors, was Lactobacillus paracasei. Most probiotics on the market contain several strains from the well-studied Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species to support both digestive and immune health. You’ll find each included strain spelled out on the supplement’s label or packaging, if you’re curious to know exactly what you’re taking.



Although there is no recommended dose for allergy symptom relief, doctors recommend a daily dose of 1 billion to 15 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) for promoting good intestinal health.

Omega-3s Likely because of the powerful antiinflammatory properties of omega-3s, research findings suggest that a diet high in omega-3 fats is associated with reduced hay fever or allergy symptoms. Increasing the amount of oily fish such as salmon and halibut you eat, and adding flaxseeds and walnuts to your diet, may help, but a good high-potency supplement is even more effective. Your body needs both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), so look for supplements containing both of these essential fatty acids. Doses exceeding 3 grams daily should not be taken without the supervision of a health care provider.

Spirulina Spirulina is a blue-green algae known to

Herbal prep arations ar en’t safe for ev eryone. Ta lk to your docto r before yo u begin a new herb al supplem ent regimen, es pecially if yo u are pregnant, breastfeed ing or taking any prescriptio n medications .

boost the immune system, along with a variety of other health benefits. A Turkish study investigated the ability of spirulina to improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis. At the end of the study, the subjects who consumed spirulina (2,000 milligrams per day) had less nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching than the subjects who were randomized to a placebo. Spirulina is a popular superfood rich in vitamins A and B12 with naturally occurring protein.

Herbal Remedies Some herbal supplements are known for their ability to balance the immune system and block the reactions that cause certain allergy symptoms. Studies have found butterbur leaf extract (Petasites hybridus) to safely and effectively treat patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis; it worked as well as the allergy medications Zyrtec and Allegra in

treating symptoms when subjects took 500 milligrams per day for two weeks. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has been used traditionally to treat a number of conditions, including seasonal allergies. A 2009 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the anti-inflammatory activities of stinging nettle could relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms. A daily dose of 600 milligrams for one week is recommended. Astragalus has been touted as an immunity booster and used for thousands of years by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners to protect the body against environmental stressors. In addition to its uses in improving energy and preventing colds and upper respiratory infections, a 2010 study found a formulation of astragalus reduced allergy symptoms, including itching, sneezing and runny nose. Take 160 milligrams twice a day for maximum benefits.


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Save $5 on any tub of Vega® essentials shake

ANY 1 GENESIS TODAY SUPPLEMENT CONSUMER: Coupon good only in USA on purchase of brand/size indicated. Void if copied, transferred, prohibited or regulated. Not valid with any other offer. DO NOT DOUBLE. LIMIT ONE COUPON PER ITEM(S) PURCHASED PER OFFER. RETAILER: Genesis Today will reimburse the face value of this coupon plus 8¢ handling provided it is redeemed by a consumer at the time of purchase on the brand specified. Coupons not properly redeemed will be void and held. Reproduction of this coupon is expressly prohibited. Any other use constitutes fraud. Cash value 1/100¢. Mail coupons to: Genesis Today, CMS Dept. #12711, One Fawcett Drive, Del Rio, TX 78840.


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on any ONE Nature’s Way® Primadophilus® Optima product COUPON VALID AT RETAIL STORES ONLY. CONSUMER: LIMIT ONE COUPON PER ITEM. Good on the purchase of any ONE Nature’s Way Primadophilus Optima product. Void where regulated or if altered, reproduced or transferred. Any other use constitutes fraud. Consumer pays any sales tax. RETAILER: Nature’s Way will reimburse you the face value of $2.00 plus 8 cents handling, provided you redeem coupon on the Nature’s Way Primadophilus Optima product. Any other use constitutes fraud. Invoices supporting purchases may be required. Void where taxed or regulated by law. Good only in the U.S.A. Cash value 1/20 cent. Redeem by mailing coupons you receive from consumers to Nature’s Way, CMS Department #20065, 1 Fawcett Drive, Del Rio, TX 78840. Nature’s Way will send you a check for $2.08 for each coupon you receive from consumers and send to us.


** No cash/credit back. Not valid on prior purchases. Good on one purchase only. This coupon redeemable at face value only. Coupon not subject to doubling. per purchase on products indicated and must be presented at the time of purchase. Not valid for online or mail-in purchases. This Retailer: Jarrow Formulas ® will pay face value of the coupon plus $.08 handling when used in accordance with our redemption policy. Cash value 1/100 of a cent. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Mail to: PO Box 490 Dept 1262 Tecate, CA 91980. Cash value: $.001. One coupon per purchase, no doubling.



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Jarrow Formulas® Product




try Toasty Peanut Sauce with a Kick Sriracha adds heat to this easy-to-make, multipurpose sauce.

You can mix up this sauce in just 5 minutes!


he next time you’re grilling chicken satay, add a little spice to your peanut sauce. Sriracha’s sweet and garlicky heat provides oomph to the toasty peanut flavor. Or thin this spicy peanut sauce to create a tasty Asian salad dressing.* Add lime juice for a tropical-fruity tang.

Sriracha Peanut Sauce ½ cup smooth peanut butter 1 tablespoon hot water 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil Salt, to taste 1 teaspoon lime juice, optional

1. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter and hot water. Stir to combine (loosening up the peanut butter). 2. Add sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil and optional lime juice. Stir to combine. 3. Salt to taste; then serve. TOTAL: 894 CAL; 33G PROTEIN; 79G FAT; 28G CARB (12G SUGARS); 1,153MG SODIUM; 8G FIBER Recipe courtesy of PepperScale, pepperscale.com

* To use as an Asian salad dressing, add extra hot water (1–2 additional tablespoons) to thin the peanut sauce.


Try Sriracha Peanut Sauce on steamed vegetables and tofu!

72 Spring 2017 / Optimum Wellness

JOINT HEALTH Supports 5 Signs of Joint Health Plus Extra Cartilage Support*

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Proprietary controlled human clinical study of 300 mg of MegaRed for improving Omega-3 Index, Aker Biomarine, 2010.

Living Well is an advertising platform of RB, the manufacturer of Move Free, Schiff Calcium, and MegaRed.

©2016 RB REV. 090716


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Our NEW Chewy Nut Butter Bars aren’t just delicious, they’re also Certified Transitional. That means they are made with ingredients from farms in the process of transitioning to organic—no easy task. In fact, less than 1% of farmland in the U.S. is certified organic. Every time you enjoy a product with the Certified Transitional seal, you’re not only supporting farmers in transition, you’re also helping to increase that 1%.

Learn more: Kashi.com/transitional

TM ®, ™, © 2017 Kashi Company


EXPIRES 7/31/17

SAVE $100 on any ONE ® Kashi Chewy Nut Butter Bars (5 ct., Any Flavor) TM

CONSUMER: Limit ONE coupon per purchase of product indicated. Limit of FOUR like coupons in same shopping trip. Consumer pays sales tax. Coupon may not be bought, reproduced, transferred or sold. No cash value. NO CASH BACK. Void where taxed, restricted or prohibited. RETAILER: We will redeem the coupon in accordance with our redemption policy, copies available upon request. Cash Value 1/100¢. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Mail Coupon to: Kashi Company 1354, NCH Marketing Services, P.O. Box 880001, El Paso, TX 88588-0001 62005506 ®, ™, © 2017 Kashi Company