happy meals: improve your mood with what you eat
eat | think | move eat | think | move
Healthy, Yummy, Fun: Homemade Pizza p. 16
A Cut Abo ve Red Meat Makes a Comeba ck p. 29
6 Family Snow Sports; Zero Lift Lines p. 43 Food of the Decade p. 10
Next Move Sidelined with a knee injury, the world’s best skier is helping today’s young athletes become tomorrow’s champions.
Ways to Enjoy Amazing Avocados p. 14
from the founder From Average to Amazing. It’s an invigorating time, a month or two into your New Year’s best intentions. How are you doing? Are you more enthusiastic than ever or have your aspirations fallen flat? This year, I decided to take a stand for myself, to say “no, thank you” when an offer isn’t aligned with my personal mission and vision. I spend more time meditating and playing and less time stressing. I encourage you to do the same. This issue of Optimum Wellness is full of tools to move your life from average to amazing. Get outdoors into the fresh air and natural light. I’m excited to hop on a fat-tire snow bike and give that a try (“Dashing Through the Snow,” page 43). If the winter blues have crept up, you’ll want to read “Food for Thought,” page 23; it’s true that what we eat can have a powerful impact on how we feel. For the record, avocados are at the top of my list when someone asks what one food I would want if I were stranded on a desert island. They’re delicious, healthy and they go with everything, as we show you starting on page 13. And we set the record straight on red meat. You can incorporate it into a healthy and ethical diet (“Meat Your Match,” page 29). We’d love to hear about your stranded-on-a-desert-island foods and how you’re keeping your sunny disposition during these snowy spring months, so connect with us on Facebook, Pinterest and optimumwellnessmagazine.com. Finally, I’m excited to announce that Debra and I are releasing a new book this fall called Think, Eat, Move, Thrive: Reclaim Your Awesome Self for Your Best and Longest Life (Atria/Beyond Words, 2014). It is available for pre-order on Amazon.
“This year, I decided to take a stand for myself, to say ‘no, thank you’ when an offer isn’t aligned with my personal mission and vision.”
Peace and blessings,
Dr. James Rouse, N.D.
Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
volume 02, issue 01: spring 2014
29 c arnivorous consumption
What’s more American than a juicy steak? We are unapologetic meat eaters. And that’s OK because red meat can be part of a healthy diet. By Deborah williams
05 F orced to sit out this ski season and what
would have been her fourth Olympics with a knee injury, Lindsey Vonn is proving she has some serious business chops. Plus, get your kids to eat their veggies; and explore the wide world of yogurt from Australia to Iceland and a lot of places in between.
eat. 13 creamy dreamy avocados
A handful of interesting facts you probably didn’t know about this fruit, like, it’s a fruit.
14 dish it up
Morning, noon and night, avocados are always on the menu.
16 fit kitchen
Ditch the delivery, and make your own pizza.
19 make it. buy it.
A handful of ingredients and five minutes are all you need to make your own hummus dip. Not in the mood? Buy it premade.
think. 23 mood food
Learn how your diet affects your disposition.
move. 43 splendor in the snow
Spring in Colorado is no time to hide indoors. Warm up with these cold-weather activities.
chat. 48 eat local
Locally sourced and locally made, Noosa Yogurt blends a bit of Aussie culture with heaps of Rocky Mountain love.
special section. 38 supplementS: the informed consumer
There’s a lot of information out there about vitamins and supplements. Where can you turn for credible data and trustworthy intel?
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY by DON CUDNEY
copy editor Kellee Katagi
editorial director Debra Rouse, N.D.
Creative Director Tom Visocchi
Publisher Deborah Juris
Project Manager Susan Humphrey
Editor Deborah Williams
2 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
Contributing Writers Chrystle Fiedler, Kellee Katagi, Radha Marcum, Vicki Martinez Contributing Artists Don Cudney, Steve Glass, Gary Neill, Annette Slade
spring 2014 | volume 02 issue 01 optimumwellnessmagazine.com
Founder James Rouse, N.D.
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begin. “As an athlete, I know how important it is to pay attention to nutrition—and nutrition is especially important for children whether they’re athletes or not.“
A Conversation with Lindsey Vonn about nutrition, training and the next generation of champions
Courtesy of Red Bull
At 29, Lindsey Vonn is arguably the greatest American ski racer in history: She’s won Olympic gold and bronze medals, two gold and three silver World Championship medals, and four overall World Cup titles. And though a recent injury has forced her to sit out the rest of this ski season—including an Olympics where she was heavily favored to win several events—Vonn continues to add impressive titles to her rèsumè. Most recently: businesswoman. Vonn is a founding partner and spokesperson for Playmaker Nutrition, which makes supplements for active kids and teens. Discover why Vonn has put her superstar power behind Playmaker, her best nutrition advice for young athletes (and their parents) and why—to the chagrin of parents everywhere—if kids have dessert they should eat it before dinner.
BY kellee katagi
Optimum Wellness: You could partner with many companies—why Playmaker? Lindsey Vonn: As an athlete, I know how important it is to pay attention to nutrition—and nutrition is especially important for children whether they’re athletes or not. But if you look at the supplements out there for kids, they’re all gelatin and corn syrup. These are gluten-free, vegan and don’t have gelatin or corn syrup—it’s the only thing out there like it.
Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
begin. OW: Given what you know now about nutrition, what would you tell your younger self? LV: I was pretty clueless about nutrition as a kid. Diets have changed a lot too, because back when I was a teenager people were telling me to load up on carbs. I’d tell my younger self that mac and cheese was not the best meal … plus, I ate a ton of the sugariest-possible cereal—that’s like eating solid corn syrup! I’d also get myself to eat vegetables—I’m still not the best at eating them now; I try hard, but I’ve tended to rely on vitamins and supplements. OW: What tips do you have for parents who are trying to get kids to eat well? LV: Kids can be so picky, but it’s important for them to get enough of the right calories, so you have to be creative. Sometimes you can puree vegetables and sneak it into mashed potatoes— there are a lot of ways to stealthily mix nutritious foods in. For example, my friend’s son doesn’t like to eat a lot of protein, but he’ll eat fried rice, so we cut up little, tiny pieces of chicken or scrambled eggs and mix it in with the rice. Then, he’ll only eat it with ketchup, so we
6 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
give him sugar-free ketchup. Also, obviously, Playmaker supplements are a great way to get all the necessary vitamins that they might not be getting in their daily routine. A gummy in the morning really helps get kids going.
“When I was a teenager, people were telling me to load up on carbs. I’d tell my younger self that mac and cheese was not the best meal.“ OW: How early do you recommend kids start taking supplements such as Playmaker vitamins? LV: As early as 3 or 4. If they’re eating regular meals, they can be taking vitamin supplements. OW: How did your nutrition affect your performance as a kid and teenager? LV: When I was younger I traveled a lot just with my team so my parents weren’t with me, and I was under the impression that Häagen-Dazs vanilla fudge ice
cream was the best pre-race meal ever … not a good idea. Over time I learned that oatmeal is a better choice. OW: What other advice would you give young athletes? LV: I know kids don’t like to drink water, but it’s so important to stay hydrated, so get as much water down as possible. But not sodas—stay away from sugary drinks and foods as much as you can. If you do have ice cream or other sugar, it’s best to have it in the late afternoon, just before dinner, because the protein in your dinner will offset your body’s insulin response from the sugar. And athletes expend more energy, but all kids need good nutrition so this advice applies to all of them. OW: What is your current nutrition strategy? LV: I ate Paleo [no grains, legumes or added sugar, and minimal dairy] for two and a half years, but now I’ve added more low-glycemic carbohydrates in the morning and afternoon for more energy and more protein and vegetables in the evening. Some low-glycemic carbs I like to eat are quinoa, Thai rice noodles or
begin. pumpernickel bread—they don’t give me as high of an insulin response. OW: What does a day look like for you meal-wise? LV: Breakfast is three scrambled eggs, a piece of pumpernickel bread with butter (no jam), coffee with agave, and vanilla Greek yogurt or plain with a little agave. No coffee on race days though—it’s too much up and down; I need steady energy levels. I also have more carbs on race days—maybe two pieces of bread, or I add oatmeal and fruit. Lunch is a large salad with quinoa and chicken and maybe some grilled vegetables on top, as well as pine nuts or sliced almonds. Dinner is a healthy protein—I have a lot of fish because it has tryptophan in it, which helps you sleep well—plus maybe a small salad and a sweet potato or asparagus— always low carbohydrates at dinner. OW: What’s your favorite indulgence or “cheat” meal? LV: I’m really diligent during the season, but sometimes in the summer I’ll have a little frozen yogurt for an afternoon snack. During the season, with racing
all day and then media, working out and getting therapy, I have to prepare snacks and meals beforehand, so there’s not even an opportunity to sneak in any cheat foods. Frozen yogurt isn’t as great in the winter anyway, right? OW: What supplements do you currently take? LV: Vitamin C is the main one, especially when I’m traveling. And then a women’s multivitamin—or I actually eat the kids’ gummy; I don’t know why they’re just for kids and teens, because those things are delicious! I also take glucosamine for my joints and amino acids to process the proteins when I’m lifting weights. OW: When you’re on the road, do you make your own food? LV: It depends; when I’m on my bus, I usually prepare all my food—or my sister does. But it’s difficult to eat well when we stay in hotels. We don’t usually have kitchenettes, so we have to rely on hotel food. I usually go back and talk to the chef about my meal plan. Usually they’re really considerate of that, but it’s still difficult to make sure you’re getting what you need.
OW: Is it harder to eat well when you’re competing in Europe? LV: Definitely. It also varies from country to country. In Italy, they serve pasta with every meal. In Germany, it’s a lot of meat of potatoes. Obviously I’m stereotyping, but it’s definitely not the same as it is here in the U.S., and things aren’t as easily accessible. Supermarkets are closed all day Sunday, open for three hours on Saturday and then they close at 5 p.m. every day. When am I supposed to go to the grocery store? It’s just not as easy to eat the way you want to when you’re in Europe. OW: Do you eat energy bars and the like or do you rely solely on whole foods and supplements? LV: I used to drink a protein shake in between my runs in GS or slalom, but I found that if you have too much protein while you’re working out, it takes too much energy for your body to process it, which is energy your body then can’t use for fuel. So now I’ll have a pumpernickel sandwich with almond butter and apple or banana, so I get carbs, proteins and fat all together.
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Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
begin. Know Better. Do Better. Feel Better. Easy ways to improve your life and your world.
The Plastic Pandemic 1 plastic Trillion bags used every year worldwide
3plastic billion bags used daily in China
$4 billion annual cost to U.S. retailers of single-use plastic bags
What’s in a Name? According to researchers at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, children increased consumption of vegetables when they were called exciting names such as “Dinosaur Trees” (broccoli). Turn the next mealtime battle with your kiddos into a creativity challenge by encouraging them to give their veggies fun pseudonyms.
plastic bags the average family accumulates in four trips to the grocery store
Lactobacillus acidophiles Lactobacillus casei Bifidobacterium lactis According to the FDA’s official “standard of identity,” any product labeled as yogurt must contain Streptococcus thermophilus or Lactobacillus bulgaricus, better known as good bacteria or probiotics. Check ingredient labels for these tongue-twisters—and other bacteria strains used in the fermentation process—that are sometimes listed under the catch-all phrase “live and active cultures” to ensure you’re getting the full benefits of probiotics. For more about yogurt, turn to page 10.
8 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
Fat-astic What do coconuts, olives and avocados have in common? They are the only fruits that contain monounsaturated fat, which boosts HDL (good) and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol. They are also gluten-, dairy-, and cholesterol-free and very low in sodium. For other fun facts about avocados, turn to page 13.
pieces of floating plastic in every square mile of ocean
plastic bags that can be replaced annually with one reusable bag
plastic bags that can be replaced by one reusable bag in its lifetime
855pounds million of bags recycled in 2009
Streptococcus thermophilus Lactobacillus bulgaricus
years it can take for a single plastic bag to degrade
100% Natural No Added Sugar No Additives No Nonsense No Fat
FAGE Total 0% is a yogurt like no other. From its unique velvety texture to its unsurpassed taste, itâ€™s the embodiment of true Greek strained yogurt. ÂŠ 2014 FAGE USA Dairy Industry, Inc. Trademarks are used with the permission of FAGE Luxembourg S.a.r.l. All rights reserved. usa.fage.eu
begin. Yogurts You’ll Love
Once relegated to a small, inconspicuous corner of your grocer’s dairy case, yogurt is enjoying top-shelf status these days. Yogurt comes from a Turkish word meaning “condense” or “intensify” and is made by adding good bacteria to dairy, soy or nut milk. The organisms ferment the milk, which coagulates and creates a thick, creamy consistency. Countless varieties— most claiming the gut-healthy, disease-preventing benefits of live and active cultures, aka probiotics or beneficial bacteria—now pack the shelves. Here are a few of the options. BY Radha Marcum
Yogurt is the the “food of Harry ed ar cl de decade,” ief ch d Balzer, VP an at t ys al an ry indust D P N t an research gi gurt yo ta pi ca er Group. P n has consumptio nce si ed bl u do 2003.
10 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
Kefir can be used to m ake sourdough bread or as a buttermilk substitute in baking. A dd it to smoothies, pour over cereals or si mply drink a cup for a satiating sn ack.
Made popular by brands such as Noosa and Wallaby, Australian-style yogurt is similar to Swiss-, French- or custardstyle, cultured in large batches and stirred to achieve a silky-smooth consistency. Unlike Greek and Icelandic, they aren’t strained, so they’re not as dense. Some use only skim milk; others have a combination of skim milk or whole milk and cream.
Similar to yogurt but with a thinner, drinkable consistency, kefir is fermented with a greater variety of bacteria as well as yeast, boosting its volume of beneficial microorganisms. Like yogurt, kefir’s cultures break down lactose, the dominant sugar in milk, making it more digestible.
: Benefits: Australian yogurts often have higher protein content than traditional yogurt but less than Greek or Icelandic.
Icelandic Dense and velvety Icelandic-style yogurt (called skyr) is more than a thousand years old, yet it has been available in the United States for less than a decade. Similar to Greek yogurt, it is made thicker and smoother by straining, and it requires three to four times the amount of milk of traditional yogurt. It also contains two to three times the protein content. : Benefits: Usually made with skim or nonfat milk, Icelandic yogurts are an easy choice because you won’t have to scrutinize fat content as much as with Greek varieties. Flavored skyrs also typically contain less added sugar than other yogurts.
Greek Greek yogurt is much denser than traditional yogurt because it is strained to reduce its liquid content after fermentation. Less liquid means more fat per serving, so read labels carefully and opt for low-fat or nonfat varieties. Even nonfat Greek varieties have a thick consistency. Straining liquid from yogurt requires expensive machinery, so expect to pay a little more for high-quality Greek varieties. With fewer calories but a similar texture to sour cream, Greek yogurt makes an excellent sour-cream substitute and does not curdle as easily as regular yogurt while cooking. : Benefits: High-quality Greek yogurts contain twice the protein of traditional yogurt and provide greater satiety and sustained energy release.
: Benefits: With ample calcium, protein and potassium, kefir has similar health benefits to yogurt and has been used to improve digestion, prevent infections from harmful gut bacteria and boost immunity. Evidence shows that kefiran, the polysaccharide produced by the kefir grains, may have health benefits, including helping to reduce blood cholesterol.
Nondairy Vastly improved in taste and consistency over the last few years, nondairy options are excellent for those who are lactose intolerant or allergic or sensitive to dairy. You’ll get all of the same beneficial bacteria in varieties made with soy, almond, coconut or rice milk as you do from dairy yogurts. However, nondairy alternatives may lack some of the other nutritional benefits—such as protein and calcium—and they often require thickeners to mimic the consistency of dairybased formulas. Coconut-milk yogurt is creamy and highly satiating, but contains lower protein content than most yogurts. Some new varieties of coconut- and almond-based yogurts contain added protein and fiber as nutritional perks. : Benefits: Most brands enrich nondairy products with calcium and vitamin D. Soy- and almond-milk yogurts have higher protein content than other varieties. Because regular dairy contains naturally occurring sugars, unsweetened nondairy yogurts may be significantly lower in sugar.
Traditional There are two types of traditional yogurt: Set yogurts, which are cultured directly in the cup, and stirred yogurts, made in large batches and then poured into individual serving cups. Set yogurts, such as fruit-on-the-bottom varieties, have a firm texture until mixed; stirred yogurts are blended for a silky, creamy consistency. To reduce calories, choose low-fat and nonfat varieties—and opt for plain yogurt to which you can add your own fresh fruit, honey or vanilla, to taste.
: Benefits: Ounce for ounce, yogurt packs more protein, calcium and vitamins than plain milk. Because of the fermentation process, yogurt is usually more easily digested than plain milk.
Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
in every spoonful.
Live & active probiotics
eat. all about.
Although it’s native to and largely associated with Mexico and South America, the avocado is inching its way out of its guacamole pigeonhole in the United States. There are the obvious uses—sliced and stacked on sandwiches or diced and tossed in green salads—and reasons to love the creamy, heart-healthy treat, but here are a few things you might not know and a handful of unexpected ways to incorporate avocados into your diet. Nutrient Dense Not only are avocados loaded with 20 essential nutrients including fiber, potassium (more than a banana), vitamin E and folic acid, they also help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from other foods when eaten together.
Below the Surface The carotenoids that give avocados their green color and provide cancer-fighting antioxidants are most abundant in the dark-green flesh closest to the skin.
It’s the Pits
When Hass avocados—the most popular variety grown in the U.S.—are ripe, the alligator-like, darkgreen skin will get darker (almost black) and the flesh will become slightly pliable. Encourage ripening by placing hard avocados in a brown paper bag at room temperature for two to five days. Add an apple or banana to the bag to speed up the process.
There are two good ways to remove the seed. Beginner: Slice the avocado in quarters, working around the seed. Pull the segments apart, and use your fingers to remove the exposed pit. Advanced: Slice the avocado in half lengthwise around the seed, and then twist the two halves apart. Swiftly tap the blade of a sharp knife squarely onto the pit so it wedges in securely. Gently twist the knife until the pit releases.
All the Ripe Moves
Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
dish it up.
Ten Ways to Enjoy Avocado
From first food to last (hello, dessert!) the creamy, green superfood never ceases to surprise. Smart Swaps Creamy, ripe avocados and their monounsaturated fats make ideal substitutes for animal fats such as butter or shortening in baking recipes, as well as mayonnaise, sour cream, salad dressing and cream cheese. Plus, avocados’ relatively high water content means your breads and pastries will be extra moist. Substitute avocado for butter or oil in a 1:1 ratio. You might have to reduce your oven temperature and increase baking times, so be ready to experiment. Also try these healthy swaps: : Blend one avocado with a cup of plain yogurt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and an assortment of spices to taste (try cumin, paprika, cayenne and garlic) until smooth, and use in place of ranch dressing. : Blend one avocado with mustard, a couple tablespoons of nut milk (almond or coconut), mustard to taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch each of salt, sugar and paprika; use the mixture in place of mayo in your tuna, chicken or egg salad. : Trade one or two avocados for the tahini in a hummus recipe to save calories and fat (saturated and unsaturated). See page 19.
Oh, Baby! Oil About It When pressed, avocados render oil that is ideal for more than cooking. Like olive oil, it contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may lower cholesterol. Its green color, buttery flavor and high-temperature smoke point (500 degrees) make it a tasty choice for roasting and sautéing vegetables and a healthier option for frying foods like potato chips and French fries. You’ll also find avocado oil in personal care products such as moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners, hair and face masks, under-eye puffiness reducers and lip balms.
14 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing babies to solid food between 4 and 6 months of age. Thanks to its smooth texture and mild flavor, not to mention its nutrient density and the fact that you needn’t cook it, avocado is an ideal first food. Mash it thoroughly with a fork or immersion blender or puree it in a food processor with breast milk, formula, pears, or bananas until it reaches a desired consistency.
Not-So-Bad-For-You Foods Although it would still be a stretch to call potato chips or french fries health foods, they’re getting a boost from companies like Boulder Canyon and other natural food manufacturers who are cooking the snacks in “good-fat” avocado oil rather than the more common vegetable oils that are loaded with saturated fat.
Cado Pockets Avocado slices have a way of slipping and squirting out of sandwiches onto your hands, your plate or the floor. A neater delivery option: Pita pockets that keep all your fixin’s tucked safely inside. Try this: 2 avocados 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco green pepper sauce 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 cup chopped tomatoes 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped 1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds 4 small whole-wheat pita breads 4 pieces red leaf lettuce
1. Cut avocados into quarters and remove pits. Place wedges in bowl. Add orange juice, green pepper sauce, and coriander. Toss gently to coat avocado. Add red bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber and sunflower seeds and toss again. 2. Cut top part of pita bread (about 1/3 of the circle). Gently stuff with 1/4 of the avocado mixture. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Add 1 red lettuce leaf and enjoy.
Avocados Around the World Avocado for dessert? It isn’t an obvious combination for us Yanks, but cultures around the world know better. Filipinos, for example, puree avocado with sugar and milk for a dessert smoothie. In Brazil, it’s added to ice cream. Try this recipe created by Dos Caminos chef Ivy Stark for the California Avocado Commission.
Avocado Ice Cream
4 large egg yolks 2/3 cup pure honey 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 cups half-and-half 1 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons lime zest 3 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and pureed
1. Whisk together eggs, honey and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. 2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the half-and-half, buttermilk and lime zest to a full simmer. Once liquid begins to bubble, remove from heat. Cover and let steep 2 hours. 3.O nce cream mixture has cooled, strain into another medium saucepan. Over low heat, bring to a simmer again. 4. Temper the egg and honey mixture by adding the simmering cream to the mixture in a ladle a little bit at a time while whisking. Then, return the mixture to the saucepan. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens enough to coat a spoon and the thermometer reads 170°F to 175°F, about 4 minutes (do not allow mixture to boil). 5. Strain mixture into a clean bowl and allow the steam to escape. Cover and chill mixture until cold (at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day). 6. Process the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add avocado puree halfway through freezing. 7. Transfer to a bowl or tub and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 3 days.
For more avocado recipes visit optimumwellnessmagazine.com.
Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
Itâ€™s time to break up with your delivery joint and fall in love with these homemade crust-and-topping combos that come in under 200 calories a slice. Week-night dinners can be healthy, fun and easy as pie for kids of all ages. 6 tablespoons Simple Truth Organic Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/2 cup figs, chopped 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction 2 teaspoons dried rosemary Per slice: 143 calories, 13g fat, 2g protein, 7g carbs, 6mg cholesterol, 31mg sodium
2. Hippy Pie
1/4 cup Simple Truth Organic Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/2 cup chopped Simple Truth baby kale, sautĂŠed with chopped onions and garlic 3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese Pinch of sea salt Per slice: 85 calories, 9g fat, 2g protein, 1g carbs, 7mg cholesterol, 45g sodium
3. Mediterranean Chicken Pie
1 1/2 cups Simple Truth Organic Tomato Basil Sauce 3/4 cup fat-free crumbled feta cheese 1/2 cup shredded or chopped grilled chicken, seasoned with garlic, dried oregano and dried basil 1/2 cup fresh spinach 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes Per slice: 62 calories, 1g fat, 10g protein, 5g carbs, 24mg cholesterol, 288mg sodium
4. The Fun Guy Pie
1/2 cup basil pesto 1/2 cup assorted mushrooms (white, button, cremini, shiitake, chanterelle, portobella 1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese 1/2 cup fontina cheese 1 handful arugula Per slice: 108 calories, 9g fat, 4g protein, 2g carbs, 13mg cholesterol, 299 mg sodium
5. Mediterranean Veggie Pie
1 cup hummus (see page 19) 1 cup chopped or sliced zucchini, yellow squash and red onion 3/4 cup goat cheese crumbles Per slice: 90 calories, 7g fat, 4g protein, 6g carbs, 13mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium
6. Garden Pie
1 1/2 cups Simple Truth Organic Tomato Basil Sauce 1 1/2 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup sliced button mushrooms 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper 1/4 cup diced red onion 1/4 cup sliced black olives Per slice: 95 calories, 2g fat, 2g protein, 7g carbs, 0mg cholesterol, 145mg sodium
16 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
1. Sweety Pie
A pizza is only as good as the foundation on which it’s built. This Simple Truth crust recipe makes enough for two 12-inch thin-crust pizzas or two 10-inch pies with thicker crust. Make them both now, or freeze one for later. 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 3/4 cup warm water 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 t ablespoon Simple Truth Organic Blue Agave Syrup 2 tablespoons Simple Truth Organic Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 cups Simple Truth Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water. 2. Add to food processor and combine remaining ingredients. Pulse until a ball starts to form. 3. Remove dough from the processor and dust lightly with flour. Place in a lightly floured bowl and cover with a damp cloth. 4. Let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes. 5. Punch down dough. Divide dough into 2 separate balls. 6. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat to 475° F. 7. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough on a separate sheet of parchment paper until it is about 10” in diameter. 8. Let rest 5 minutes while you roll out the second pizza base. 9. Using a flat tray or cookie sheet without edges, transfer the first base with parchment directly onto the upper-middle rack. 10. Bake 6 minutes. 11. Carefully remove the crust from the oven using the tray. 12. Top the crust as desired and finish in the oven for 8–10 minutes or until golden brown. 13. Slice and enjoy. Per slice (10-inch pie): 70 calories, 2g fat, 2g protein, 7g carbs, 0mg cholesterol, 145mg sodium
Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
make it. buy it.
Hummus. Humos. Houmous.
No matter how you spell it, keep this creamy treat on hand for snacking and healthy recipe substitutions day and night. The countries of the Middle East have their differences. Hummus is not one of them. The savory spread made from a base of chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil and garlic is a staple in Israeli, Syrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian and North African cuisines, and for good reason. You may know it as a heart-healthy; gluten-, dairy-, trans fat–, and cholesterolfree dip or spread. But it can be oh-so-much more. Here are tips for making your own, plus a few brands you can feel good about serving your family.
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. For a lower-fat option, swap half an avacado for the tahini in this recipe.
make it. Traditional hummus is a combination of just a few basic ingredients. This recipe yields a nice base consistency, but there’s no such thing as exact proportions. If you prefer an earthier, nutty flavor and a thick consistency, add extra tahini. For a smoother, thinner spread, increase the olive oil and/or liquid from the chickpeas and process the mixture longer. Lemon juice, garlic, salt and spices are also a matter of personal preference.
Traditional Hummus 1 cup well-cooked or canned chickpeas, liquid reserved 1/4 cup tahini 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
r see page 21 fo
Add-Ins 1. P uree the first five ingredients in a food processor or a medium bowl with an immersion blender to desired consistency. 2. Season to taste. 3. For a smoother texture, slowly add more chickpea liquid, olive oil or water.
• 1 whole or 1/3 cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped • 1 teaspoon paprika • 1/2 cup assorted, chopped olives • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts)
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eat. these ste test of cipes. ta a d te c u We cond s’ classic hummus re alates six brand hat our discerning p Find out w had to say.
Falafel King Hummus falafelkingboulder.com
Tribe Organic Hummus
BUY it. Hope Hummus
With deep Greek roots, Athenos keeps things simple with traditional Mediterranean flavors: Black Olive, Roasted Garlic, Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke. Walking the straight line, Athenos is our pick for veggie cruditès and healthy sandwich and wrap spreads.
Made in Boulder from all-organic ingredients, Hope’s roster includes Spicy Avocado and Thai Coconut Curry. The original recipe includes all the standard ingredients, plus cumin, black pepper, and cayenne to give it an extra kick. Swap Hope’s Sweet Potato Hummus for cheese in homemade ravioli.
Tasting Note: “Yum! It tastes authentic and natural, with a punch of garlic.”
Tasting Note: “It’s thick and chunky, as if the garbanzo beans weren’t mixed as thoroughly, which I like. It’s heavy on the lemon and garlic.”
Each of its 15 flavors are made from allnatural ingredients, but its organic line goes a step further with only USDAcertified organic products in its Classic, Roasted Garlic and Sweet Roasted Red Pepper flavors. Mix any of Tribe’s flavors into mashed potatoes in place of the butter and sour cream.
Tasting Note: “This looks the most like the hummus I make at home, thick and dense, but the flavor is much tangier and it has a very smooth, almost silky mouth feel.”
Sabra Hummus sabra.com
If your favorite ingredient in traditional hummus is the tahini, you’ll like Sabra’s Tahini Hummus that ratchets up the nutty flavor. Other flavors include Asian Fusion Garden—with ginger and bell peppers— and Spinach and Artichoke Hummus. Use your favorite flavor in place of the mayonnaise in chicken or tuna salad or deviled eggs.
Tasting Note: “Very aromatic with strong earthy and nutty notes to the smell and flavor.”
Eat Well Enjoy Life Hummus eatwell-enjoylife.com
Remember what we said about all hummus being made from the same basic ingredients? We lied. EWEL makes hummus from other non-garbanzo beans, including Tuscan white beans, black beans, lentils and edamame, and swaps the tahini for Greek yogurt in its low-fat line. Combine the Wasabi Edamame Hummus with Greek yogurt and rice vinegar, and toss with sliced cabbage for a healthy coleslaw.
If you’ve dined at any of Falafel King’s four restaurants in Denver and Boulder, you know its traditional hummus reigns supreme. Giving a nod to our New Mexican neighbors, the King created a Roasted Hatch Green Chili Hummus, which is only available at grocery stores. Also try Falafel King’s allorganic line, sold as Sababa Hummus.
Tasting Note: “Super creamy and smooth with a delicate flavor at the finish; not too bland, not too strong.”
Tasting Note: “Garliclover’s dream!”
Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
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“Junk food creates a junk mood.”
Food for Thought
find your happy place with just the right mix of protein, fats and carbs.
By kellee katagi
Feelings may seem a matter of the heart, but biologically speaking, it’s your brain that generates your moods. And research confirms that which mood it produces—happy or depressed, anxious or content—largely depends on what you eat. The relationship between food and mood is complex, but studies affirm one truth: The key to good moods is maintaining proper ratios of all
three macronutrients—proteins, fats and carbohydrates. “A balance of these nutrients is essential to good mental health,” says Julia Ross, M.A., author of The Mood Cure (Penguin, 2002) and executive director of the California-based Nutritional Therapy Institute Clinic, which treats mood disorders. “Aim for moderate amounts of each in every meal and snack.”
Mood problems can arise when you get too little of any one macronutrient—or consume too few overall calories. “Never go on a lowcalorie diet,” Ross says. “When you go low, you feel low.” Sedentary adults should take in from 1,600 to 2,400 calories daily, depending on age, gender and size; you’ll need more if you’re active. Keeping calories up is especially important for women, who tend to produce less Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
think. serotonin and endorphin, brain chemicals necessary for positive moods and dependent on the food you eat for their creation. Of course, the quality of your calories is just as important as the quantity. Whole, natural foods should make up at least 75 percent of your calories, or three out of four bites you take, says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Happiness (Harlequin, 2009). “The more processed foods you eat, the higher your risk for depression,” she explains. “We’re putting the equivalent of sawdust in our bodies, and we wonder why we’re not happy.” Or as Ross phrases it: “Junk food creates a junk mood.” Here we highlight the best sources of each macronutrient and explain how each affects your brain, your body and, ultimately, your happiness.
phins, which produce feelings of pleasure and comfort. Protein also steadies your blood sugar levels, preventing the roller-coaster mood swings that rapid blood sugar spikes and dips can cause, Somer says. To keep levels stable, consume protein throughout the day; shoot for 20 to 30 grams—a palm-size portion of meat or fish, two eggs and a cup of milk, or a cup of beans and two handfuls of nuts—at each meal. Oatmeal is a great breakfast choice: When cooked in milk and sprinkled with a few nuts, it provides one-third of a woman’s daily protein requirements. Also, the more you exercise, the more protein you need. “Your body prioritizes your muscles over your brain for energy consumption, so your brain tends to lose out and your moods suffer,” Ross says.
For mood maintenance, make protein intake your top priority, Ross suggests. Proteins are made up of 22 different amino acids, many of which are critical for mood. Your body needs 19 of them just to manufacture endor-
Turns out, when your big brother called you a fathead, he was right: Fat makes up 60 percent of the human brain. Your brain thrives on healthy omega-3 fats, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is found only in fish,
For a moodenhancing meal, fill your plate with:
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Proteins and fats (lean meats, beans, salmon, nuts)
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think. fish oil and algae—not flaxseed, nuts or other plant sources. “The fat in fish is extremely fluid, so it’s ideal,” Somer says. “If the body doesn’t get omega-3s from your diet, it has to use lower-quality fats like trans fats, which reduce brain function.” Adequate omega-3 intake can reduce depression by 50 percent, even in people who are difficult to treat, Somer says. The verdict is still out on the optimal dose, but studies showed results with 900 mg daily for adults and 600 mg daily for kids. The minimal recommended dose is 220 mg of fish oil daily or two or three weekly servings of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines. Monounsaturated fats such as those found in nuts, vegetable oils and avocados also benefit the brain, research shows. Small to moderate amounts of saturated fats (found in meats, dairy products, palm and coconut oils) are OK, but excessive consumption undermines brain health, contributing to depression and fatigue. Avoid added trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) that don’t occur naturally—even small amounts restrict blood flow to the brain and replace the “good” fats the brain prefers.
Carbohydrates Carbs are the trickiest of the three macronutrients, but the research is clear: They’re a must for good moods. You need them to produce serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical (people with low serotonin levels tend to be fearful, anxious and depressed, Ross says). Unfortunately, many people suffer from carb confusion. “Often, people are eating too many carbs, so then they cut them all out,” Ross says. “But when you reduce carbs too low, your cravings get out of control and then you eat too much, and you’re bouncing between excess and semi-starvation.” When you slash carb intake, your body turns to protein to generate energy—protein that should be fueling your brain instead. But, consume too many carbs and you’ll end up with blood sugar imbalances, which disrupt the manufacture of serotonin. Escape this cycle through portion control and choosing the right carbs. “Carbs are important, but we’re not talking about platters of pasta here—more like 1 cup of whole-grain pasta, or maybe 3 cups of popcorn or a piece of fruit,” Somer says. Combining the carbs with
“We’re putting the equivalent of sawdust in our bodies, and we wonder why we’re not happy.” healthy fats and proteins will reduce carb cravings and help you keep portions in check. Also, be sure to choose nutritious sources. “We tend to self-medicate with carbs when we’re down in the dumps, but we turn to all the wrong ones,” Somer says. Avoid refined sugars, white flours and other processed foods; instead choose whole foods such 100-percent whole-grains, fruits and vegetables. Two recent British studies found that people who ate more fruits and vegetables—especially seven daily servings or more—were happier, calmer and more content than those who ate less.
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26 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
Meat Your Match Ours is a nation of unapologetic carnivores. From ground chuck used for backyard burgers to dry-aged tenderloin medallions, beef is what’s for dinner … and lunch and breakfast. Thanks to improved ranching and production methods, we have even more reasons and ways to love every cut. By Deborah Williams
According to the USDA, that’s how much beef the average American consumes each year. That’s more than a pound a week. But a closer look at the statistics and headlines shows that we’re trying to amend our carnivorous habits. “Instead of so much meat, we should eat better meat,” says James Peterson, author of Meat: A Kitchen Education (Ten Speed Press, 2010). Americans are getting that message. We are paying closer attention to the quantities we consume and demanding higher quality. In response, the meat industry is producing more organic, grass-finished, hormone-free beef—a win for ranchers, consumers and the environment. So, as it turns out, your red-blooded affection for red meat and your green-leaning conscience can coexist. If it’s been awhile since you’ve perused your grocer’s meat department, it’s time to make a visit and see what you’ve been missing. To that end, we present this overview of America’s favorite protein, from the various cuts of beef to the best prep methods for each, plus a few helpful tips and hints sprinkled throughout. Go ahead—dig in.
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Meat Your Match
This is the largest section of the cow after the initial stage of processing. A 1,000-pound steer will yield about 108 pounds of chuck meat. Located near the neck and shoulder bones, chuck meat contains a lot of connective tissue that melts during cooking, and it is one of the less-tender portions. These cuts are best for braising and broiling—in other words, slow-cooking.
Dressed to the Nines
Vast improvements and efficiencies notwithstanding, meat processing and packaging remains largely unchanged since Philip Armour invented the “disassembly line” during the industrial revolution. According to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, a steer that weighs 1,000 pounds “on the hoof” will weigh, roughly, 610 pounds after it’s dressed (head, hide, hooves and organs removed), and it will yield about 430 pounds of meat once it’s divided into these nine sections or “primals”:
A relatively small section of boneless beef taken from the cow’s pectoral muscle, the brisket can take many forms. Texans smoke it over hardwood for Texas-style barbeque. Farther north in Kansas City barbeque pits, it’s smoked twice to make burnt ends. The Irish turned it into corned beef by curing it with a salty brine. “Brisket is a cross-cultural wonder—a Jewish dish cooked in a Dutch oven with Sicilian sauce served in North Dakota,” says Stephanie Pierson in The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes (Andrews McMeel, 2011).
The shank is the smallest of the nine sections, weighing in at about 17 pounds for a 1,000-pound steer, and it comes from the top of the cow’s front leg. Because this muscle is heavily used during the cow’s life, it tends to be very lean and tough, making it ideal for lean ground beef as well as long-cook-time preparations, such as stew or beef bourguignon.
30 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
In addition to the familiar back ribs, the ribeye is the bestknown and one of the most prized cuts, whether in steak or roast form. “My favorite cut of beef is a bone-in rib-eye steak, and many people in the meat industry would make the same choice,” says Craig Bolton, a meat and seafood specialist with King Soopers.
Just like the center of our back, this section does very little work during a cow’s life, so the loin tends to be extremely tender but also quite lean. Because of their location, size, quality and quantity, the tenderloin and filet from this section are always the most expensive. “Tenderloin costs are driven by supply and demand, and demand consistently exceeds supply,” says Bolton. “Restaurants compete with retailers for the more expensive cuts, which drives the costs even higher.”
Further subdivided into the top sirloin and bottom sirloin, this medium section yields some of the most highly prized cuts. A package of ground beef might contain meat from several sections of the cow, while ground sirloin only contains meat from this section and is usually very lean.
This small section that comes from the cow’s lower chest/upper belly produces tough, fatty meat that’s cut into skirt steak, hangar steak—so named because it hangs from the diaphragm—short ribs and ground beef. Salt-brining and smoking the plate makes New Yorkers’ favorite deli meat: pastrami.
Like the brisket and plate, the flank comes from the cow’s underbelly, specifically the lower abdominal. Cattle don’t do a lot of crunches while grazing in the pastures, but this is still a heavily used muscle, so the meat tends to be tough. The flank is used to make London broil and other dishes that call for long, slow and moist cooking methods.
A more delicate name for “butt” or “rump,” the round is the second-largest of the nine sections. Also a heavily used zone during the cow’s life, the rump muscle is lean and tough, so round roasts and steaks should be tenderized before being cooked.
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Meat Your Match
what the cut
When it comes to buying chicken or turkey, the options are limited and straightforward: legs, thighs, breasts, wings. But the number of options in the beef section could make your head spin. What the heck is eye-of-round? Ever heard of a Pikes Peak roast? As if that weren’t dizzying enough, many cuts go by more than one name. In general, though, cuts of beef can be subdivided into five major categories.
n his book Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World (HarperCollins, 2009), Andrew Rimas gives this insightful overview of the beef industry’s grading system: “‘Meat science’ uses numerical data like skeletal maturity, preliminary yield grades, and marbling subunits to calculate the expected tenderness of a carcass, and hence its worth. There’s art involved, as well as science. The U.S. Department of Agriculture awards grades to beef, much like figure-skating judges rank a lutz. Inspectors eye the marbling (flecks of fat within the lean part of the meat) and stamp the beef with a grade: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, or Canner. Prime makes up a mere three percent of graded beef.”
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Smaller, often individualserving–size cuts of the large roasts, steaks tend to perform best when prepared using dry heat (grill, skillet or oven). The USDA classifies 29 cuts of beef as lean; 15 of those are in the steak category. The opposite of roasts, steaks—or grilling cuts—tend to come down in price during the colder months because many people don’t go outside to grill, says Bolton.
As with prepared cuts, the less-prized pieces of meat that aren’t butchered into roasts and steaks are collected and processed to make ground meat that can be used for burger patties, meatloaf and stuffing. The leaner the ground meat (e.g. 90–95-percent lean), the better it is for recipes that don’t allow you to drain off fat drippings, such as stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage and lasagna. “Ground beef is my favorite cut because it really is whole-animal cook-
Beef back ribs are bone-in, finger-lickin’ stars of pit-barbecue joints. At market, they’re usually sold as full-racks (12) or half-racks (6). At home, you can prepare them on a gas or charcoal grill, but smoking imparts a flavor and tenderness you can’t get from a flame. Short ribs, on the other hand, should be treated more like a roast. Because they’re usually boneless and extremely tender, they’re best when braised or pot-roasted.
These are large portions of meat from the biggest sections
of a cow (chuck, round and loin). Because of their size and relatively short hands-on time, they’re ideal when you’re serving a crowd. In general, they favor low-and-slow cooking methods, such as braising, broiling and pot-roasting in the oven or crockpot; although, you can also prepare them on the barbecue grill (see opposite page). When you think roast, think fix-it-and-forget-it. Buying a whole roast and cutting it or asking your butcher to cut it into smaller portions can save you anywhere from a few cents to several dollars per pound. “Roasts are cheaper in the warmer months because people are not heating up their kitchens with an oven,” says Bolton.
Increasingly sophisticated machinery allows butchers and meat-processing facilities to get more useful meat out of each cow than they used to. Quality meat that would have previously been lost as waste after the larger portions were cut can now be removed from bone and cartilage to make small cubes and strips ideal for kabobs, stews, stir-fries and tacos.
Better with Age Aging meat is simply a slower way to achieve what marinating does quickly: It improves the flavor and tenderness of meat. The same enzymes found in marinating liquids and dry rubs occur naturally in beef but take longer to break down the connective tissues that make meat. Dry aging is usually done to beef with plenty of marbling and requires a very cold, humidity-controlled environment and anywhere from 10 to 30 days, making it prohibitively expensive for all but the finest restaurants. Wet aging is a process by which large primals or sections of the steer are vacuum-sealed, so the meat can marinate in its own juices for just a couple days. Although this tenderizes the meat, it doesn’t reach the same level of flavor concentration that dry aging achieves.
beef Courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Program; opposite page; shutterstock
Making the Grade
ery,” says Lynne Curry, author of Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut (Running Press, 2012). “It’s also the most affordable. If you’ve never tasted grassfed beef, it’s the most accessible way to have it for the first time. I can cook ground beef any way I want. In winter I love Bolognese sauce, meatloaf, Indian dishes, Thai food.”
We’ve been eating meat since we were cavemen. What does that tell us? You don’t have to be a Mensa scholar to cook a steak. Meat’s simplicity is part of its appeal, but choosing the right preparation and cooking method is what really makes each cut shine. There may not be a right or wrong way to prepare meat, but there are, arguably, good and better ways.
There are two reasons to marinate beef: to tenderize it and to flavor it. The more connective tissue a cut of meat has and the stronger/leaner its source muscle was during the animal’s life, the tougher it tends to be. (Tenderloin and filet are exceptions to this rule.) Heat is one way to break down the connective tissue, but some cuts need a running start. Enzymes from oils, fruit juices, wine, beer or spices can kickstart the process of breaking down the tissue. With the exception of tenderloin, top sirloins and bone-in cuts, most flat steaks that will be prepared over dry heat benefit from a liquid marinade. Place the meat and the liquid marinade in a zip-top plastic bag in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to several hours, flipping it regularly to ensure even coverage. Dry rubs are good for larger cuts such as briskets and roasts, but use salt sparingly as it will draw moisture out of the meat during cooking.
Thin and tender cuts such as flat iron and cubed steak cook in just a few minutes in the pan. Heat a little bit of oil in the skillet and season but don’t salt the cut before adding it to the pan. Adding salt too early will dry out your meat, so wait until it’s fully cooked before salting. Ground beef cooks quickly and cleanly in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, which explains why 43 percent of Americans prepare it at home twice a week or more.
Thick-cut boneless fillets like tenderloin are ideal for this method. Browning the fillets in a heavy, ovenproof, nonstick skillet for a couple minutes on each side before transferring the pan to the oven ensures the outsides and insides of the meat get cooked evenly.
Braising or pot-roasting—cooking with moist heat—tenderizes meat and is ideal for large roasts and tough bone-in cuts from the chuck, loin and round. Another benefit: It’s relatively labor-light. After briefly pan-searing the meat in a heavy pan, you can place it in a large pot with flavorful liquid—beer, wine, broth or stock—and leave it alone while it cooks for an hour or more on the stove or in the oven.
A common alternative to grilling and a good option when you can’t or don’t want to go outside to the grill, broiling uses direct heat to cook thin, tender steaks that stand up to this method without drying out. A few tricks: Always place your meat on a preheated broiler pan that allows the grease and fat to drip off, leave the oven door slightly open while cooking, use tongs or a spatula rather than a meat fork to flip the steak without losing any juices.
Gas or charcoal grills are ideal, but a stove-top grill pan works too. And you wouldn’t be American if we had to tell you that everything from burger patties to flank steak to ribeyes are show stoppers when cooked this way.
Bet you thought grilling only worked for steaks and burgers, but that isn’t true. You can turn your charcoal or gas grill into an outdoor oven to cook larger cuts such as ribeye and sirloin roasts with this method. Marinate or season your meat as desired Fire up the barbecue like you normally would, but don’t place the meat directly over the flame. Instead set it to the side of the flame and close the lid. In 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the roast, dinner will be ready, almost. Remove the roast from the grill when it’s about 10 or 15 degrees below your desired temperature (see right) and let it rest under an aluminum-foil tent for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice and enjoy.
When making cookies with this method, it’s called baking. When preparing meat, it’s called oven-roasting. The heated air inside the enclosed oven circulates around the food to cook it evenly on all sides. Using a low-temperature allows you to slow-roast meat, so it’s ideal for preparing large cuts that need plenty of time to tenderize. A higher temperature speeds roasting time, so it is best for cuts of meat that are naturally tender.
Get Saucy “Sauces on a steak are a controversy. Latin recipes favor acidic ones like Argentine chimichurri—a mash of parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper—that contrast with the richness of beef. French sauces are the opposite. They rely on reductions of stock, cognac, or red wine to augment the meat’s natural flavor, or on emulsions of butter and egg yolk like béarnaise sauce to smother it. Purists, of course, use none of them. Good meat is enough in itself. If you want tarragon and shallots, order a salad.” —Andrew Rimas, Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Mean, and Muscle Shaped the World (HarperCollins, 2009)
1 How Do You Like It? Using a meat thermometer ensures you’ll always get the internal temperature just right, whether you like it bloody, slighly pink or twice dead.
h Rare: 115–130º Medium Rare: 130–135º Medium: 135–140º Medium Well: 140–150º Well Done: 155–170º Ground Beef: 160º Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
Meat Your Match Cattle on feedlots eat a mix of grain and other non-grassy feed. Anyone can claim, and many have, that their cattle are grassfed because they all start that way. “So people have started to use terms like grass-finished to make the distinction,” says Curry.
Hormone-Free “There isn’t substantiated proof that growth hormones have any negative human health effects; people just really don’t like the idea of it,” says Curry. “I’m just personally suspicious. I like my food as wholesome possible. It just seems like, if you’re doing it for profit, is it in the consumer’s best interest?”
Antibiotic-Free “In terms of public health, [the antibiotic issue] is coming to a crisis,” says Curry. To preempt disease and infections and improve digestion, some cattle operations inject confined animals with antibiotics. But over time, that can lead to antibioticresistant bacteria that end up in the meat and in our water system by way of runoff from feedlots.
With his seminal work The Jungle, Upton Sinclair pulled back the curtain on America’s meat processing industry, which led to the passage of food safety laws and a culture of informed consumerism in the United States. The upside: Our beef is among the most highly regulated, scrutinized and safeguarded of any food product in the world. The downside, says Pure Beef author Lynne Curry: Variety and variability of flavors are the unintended casualties of homogenized meat that is designed to look and taste consistent no matter where or from whom you buy it. Curry, a longtime vegetarian, became a born-again carnivore when she tasted organic meat from a local rancher near her home in rural Oregon. The reason that beef was so delicious, Curry contends, is because the cow spent its whole life grazing on grass and was raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. In recent years, Curry’s and Americans’ attention has shifted from the later stages of meat processing to the cattle ranching practices on the front end of the beef supply chain. In short, we’re more aware of and concerned about what our cows are eating than ever before. But our conscious consumerism can backfire on us by creating more confusion than clarity. We asked Curry what labels like “hormonefree,” “antibiotic-free,” “grassfed,” and “organic” really mean.
Grassfed vs. Grass-Finished Every cow born in this country eats grass and mother’s milk for the first several months of its life, at least, Curry explains. At six or seven months, the cow is weaned from the mother. It will either continue to eat grass for the rest of its life right up until it’s slaughtered or it will be transferred to a feedlot for “finishing.”
34 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
Curry is quick to point out that she and other natural beef proponents aren’t out to demonize the industry. “What gets lost in the newsflashes about grassfed beef is that all beef is a power-packed source of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, and it always has been,” she says in her book. “Any beef you buy today contains a third less fat than it did before the lowfat revolution. With the plunge in beef sales [in the 1970s], the industry reacted quickly and decisively to change breeding and feeding practices to produce leaner beef. In total fat and saturated fat counts, a 3-ounce portion of most retail beef cuts is on par with the same amount of chicken (on a range between a boneless breast and thigh).”
you are what you EAT eats
Organic In 2002, The Organic Food Production Act mandated that beef labeled as organic come from cows that eat only certified organic feed (which can include grain), are never given growth hormones or antibiotics and have access to pasture—though they may be confined for specific reasons.
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Supplemental Health Care
Confused by the cross-flow of information about dietary supplements and natural medicine? Here’s how to find credible information from trustworthy sources. By chrystle fiedler
Maybe you’ve heard conflicting news reports recently about nutritional supplements preventing, reducing or curing chronic disease. This, after years of advice from doctors urging us to take a daily do-it-all supplement, is an example of the constant mixed information about the value of dietary nutritional supplements. The information can certainly be a mixed bag and sometimes confusing to wade through. Does this mean supplements are ineffective? No. Will a new report next week or next month or next year contradict today’s headlines? Probably. Can you trust what you see online, hear on TV and read on product labels? No doubt you’re confused. As always, being an informed consumer and advocate for your health means doing your own research. Here are a few places to start.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports on the latest academic research: which conditions can benefit from supplements, contraindications, etc. NIH’s three main sources of information are the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and Nutrition.gov. Visit the Dietary Supplement Label Database (dsld .nlm.nih.gov) to learn about the ingredients, dosages, health claims and cautions for thousands of dietary supplements. If a supplement company sponsors research to promote its product, it 38 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
doesn’t necessarily mean that the information is suspect. But for your own peace of mind, you can fact check its claims by visiting NCCAM (nccam.nih.gov) for researchbased information on topics from acupuncture to zinc. Or visit NIH’s PubMed to access studies from the institute’s database (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed).
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Supplemental Health Care
In-Store Experts Health professionals including those who staff vitamin stores and naturals sections within grocery stores are constantly attending conferences and reading studies in journals to educate themselves on the latest news—and they have the professional knowledge to adequately interpret what is often technically complex data—so they are good advisors. The website for Dr. Mehmet Oz (doctoroz.com) is chock-full of credible, useful and usable information. Integrative physician, Dr. Andrew Weil (drweil.com) and pharmacist Suzy Cohen (dearpharmacist.com) take a broader alternative view than some traditional MDs.
International Sources In 2004, the United States government began funding research studies on herbal medicine. But other countries—such as Germany, which set up a commission to evaluate and recommend herbs for conditions such as anxiety and depression—have been doing it since the 1970s. The American Association for the Advancement of Science created eurekalert.org, which publishes studies, reports and academic news related to supplements and natural medicine from universities, journals and government agencies around the world.
Nonprofit Disease-State or Condition-Related Websites For example, if you have arthritis, visit the Arthritis Foundation’s website at arthritis.org. You’ll find a complete list of recommended supplements.
Set Your Sites
Bookmark these websites and social media sources for quick and constant access to the most recent news and data about natural medicine. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Online at: nccam.nih.gov, facebook.com/nccam, twitter.com/nccam What you’ll find: Information and research about natural remedies; up-to-date news about supplement safety Bonus features: Highlights of NIH’s recently published studies, a research blog, and a free e-newsletter
The National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) Online at: ods.od.nih.gov, facebook.com/NIH.ODS, twitter.com/NIH_ ODS What you’ll find: Tips for elderly supplement users, fact sheets, consumer updates, fraud warnings and safety information, and dietary supplement research Bonus features: Sign up for the ODS’s consumer newsletter “The Scoop,” which reviews the latest headlines and answers questions about natural products. Download My Dietary Supplements (MyDS), the NIH’s free smartphone and tablet app, to get personalized information about dietary supplements (myds.nih.gov).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrition Information Portal Online at: nutrition.gov/dietary-supplements What you’ll find: Fact sheets, user information and frequently asked questions about supplements; a link to MedlinePlus, a dietary supplement database
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Online at: fda.gov/Food/, facebook.com/FDA, twitter.com/US_FDA What you’ll find: Information about the FDA’s role in regulating supplements, frequently asked questions, definitions and labeling requirements
Dr. Mehmet Oz
Online at: doctoroz.com, facebook.com/droz, twitter.com/droz What you’ll find: Episodes, articles, videos on a variety of alternative health topics; Dr. Oz’s 3 Key Supplements; advice on various health conditions and diseases Bonus features: Quizzes to help you determine your alternative medicine IQ, book recommendations, interviews with subject-matter experts
Dr. Andrew Weil Online at: drweil.com, facebook.com/drweil, twitter.com/drweil What you’ll find: The Supplements and Herbs tab houses vitamin and herb libraries that list the common and technical names, uses, delivery method, food sources, doses, contraindications and warnings for 68 vitamins and herbs. Bonus features: Sign up for the Vitamin Adviser to get your free personal vitamin recommendations and Dr. Weil’s free e-newsletter.
Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
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Dashing Through the Snow
From the old-timey to the new-agey, these snow sports beckon you to make the most of the season. By vicki martinez If you live here, you know springtime in Colorado is a sun-and-snow wonderland calling you to “come out and play.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hit the ski slopes. Here are a few alternatives, ideal whether you’re looking to combat cabin fever for a couple of hours or craving an all-day adventure.
Anything that’s remained virtually unchanged but universally loved for centuries must be good. What started as a means of conveyance became wintertime entertainment, and ever since, families have delighted in the simple pleasure of careering down snowy hillsides. Why try it: Sledding fits every budget, age and skill level. Jumping on a sled and racing down a snowy slope requires no training and little preparation. Each
exhilarating run is followed by a journey back up the hill, so be prepared for some cardio exercise. Where to try it: Around-the-corner options include local schools and parks, such as Ruby Hill in Denver (near W. Florida Avenue and S. Platte River Drive) or Westminster’s City Park Recreation Center. Willing to travel a little farther? Try Toboggan Hill in Monument or Meyer Ranch Park in Morrison. High-country
options include Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park (a former ski slope), Carter Park in Breckenridge and Hideaway Park in Winter Park (where they even provide sleds at no charge). top tips: Choose sledding hills with a large, flat run-out free of obstacles, such as trees, fences or streets. Find out more: Visit optimumwellnessmagazine.com for more of Colorado’s top hills, plus tips on choosing the best sled. Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
This adrenaline-packed sport combines skiing or snowboarding with parasailing, and harnesses wind power to propel you. Speed competitions have clocked kiters up to 70 mph. Optimum wind conditions paired with knowledge of the “wind window” may even send you skiing uphill! Why try it: Thanks to advances in equipment and safety systems, it’s
44 Spring 2014 / Optimum Wellness
becoming more accessible to beginners. Plus, there’s no need for a lift ticket and no lift lines. Snowkiting can be done almost anywhere there’s a large, open area covered with snow (think: soccer field). Where to try it: Colorado Kite Force (CKF) provides kites, harnesses and instruction on the Dillon Reservoir. Lessons begin in the classroom, where you’ll learn the basics of kite control, plus
de-powering—likened to taking your foot off the gas—and relaunch techniques. After completing a four-hour beginner’s course, most people have enough skill to continue snowkiting on their own. top tips: Take a lesson. A harness limits the need for herculean upper body strength but calls for serious core work. Find out more: coloradokiteforce.com, kitemare.com
winter that a standard bicycle is allowed on in the summer. Enthusiasts recommend taking a seat, spinning at a comfortable cadence and just enjoying the adventure.
In 1987, winter trail riding was revolutionized when bike companies introduced specialized rims and extra fat tires. Now, fat-tire, cold-weather-loving bikes are one of the hottest trends in the cycling industry, according to Jon Cariveau, marketing manager for Moots, a custom-bike manufacturer in Steamboat Springs. Why try it: If you can ride a mountain bike, you can ride a fat bike. The snow creates more resistance, which requires more effort and slower speeds. That doesn’t mean you’re limited in where you can go. Fat bikes are permitted on any trail in the
Where to try it: Sterling Mudge with Leadville’s Cloud City Wheelers, asserts that Lake County is one of Colorado’s best areas for snow biking, with more than 50 miles of groomed trails. Cariveau suggests Emerald Mountain in Steamboat Springs, which boasts an extensive network of snowshoe trails that are also ideal for biking. top tips: Fat bikes range from $1,000 to $8,400. If you’re not ready to take that plunge, many bike shops offer fat bikes as part of their demo fleet (rates average about $50 per day). Find out more: cloudcitywheelers. com, steamboat-chamber.com for routes, as well as 303cycling.com for a list of popular Boulder-area trails.
ICE ICE, BABY
If the idea of defying gravity while clinging to the surface of a frozen waterfall seems daunting, don’t sweat the cold stuff. Thanks to advances in safety equipment and some brilliant redesigns of traditional mountaineering tools, ice climbing is a sport almost anybody can try. “I like to think of it as vertical yoga,” says longtime mountaineering guide Kevin Koprek, manager of the Ouray Ice Park (ourayicepark.com). Unlike rock climbing, ascending ice is more about balance and technique than it is about strength. If you and your kids are fit enough to do a twomile hike, then the entire family can try ice climbing, says Koprek. The best news? In Colorado we have one of the most popular ice climbing destinations right in our backyard. The Ouray Ice Park not only offers gallons of frozen ice climbing pleasure, but has multiple outfitters offering equipment rentals, lessons and guided tours. Visit the ice park’s website for recommendations.
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