Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Memory of Steve Jobs

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
~ Steve Jobs

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kindle Cafe

I posted a review of Kindle Cafe on The Blog That Ate New Jersey. I would like my Health Fare readers to know about the restaurant but also wanted to open it up to the general population, as it is a great restaurant regardless of whether you're a vegetarian or vegan. Anyway, read and enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

The Princeton Public Library is hosting a screening of "Gabriel Cousens' Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days." It will be at 2:00 on April 9th in the community room. Lana Jay Spencer, who is the co-founder for Living Suppers in Princeton, will lead a discussion on the raw vegan lifestyle and they'll be whipping up an assortment of green smoothies after the screening.

There is no charge, but they'll happily accept it if people chip in to help pay for the smoothie ingredients.

For more information, go to the Princeton Public Library website.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can Mom Have a Piece of My Birthday Cake

My friend Rochelle Stern has written a children's book based on her experience of being diagnosed with diabetes after she had her daughter. It's called "Can Mom Have a Piece of My Birthday Cake." She wrote the book in response to questions her young daughter had about her diabetes. The book explains the complex illness in simple language that a child can understand.

Rochelle Stern is currently working as a medical librarian for a local pharmaceutical company. She has worked as an editor and writer. She was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes at age 32.

For more information and to order the book, visit Diabetes in the Family.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Derek's Dreams

I just received an announcement in my mailbox about another Derek's Dreams fundraiser for ataxia telangiectasia. This terrible disease is a degenerative neurological disease suffered by a sweet young man in the Princeton community. If you would like to support a worthy cause, please consider attending the dinner at Nanina's in the Park in Belleville, NJ or donating if you can't make it. Derek's disease is progressing, and we need to fund research to discover the cure for this terrible condition. Some recent research on Huntington's disease has broken new ground in the search for a treatment for Huntington's (another incurable neurological disease), proving yet again that the most useful action in curing disease is to fund the research, and that we must not give up hope.

More information can be found at Derek's Dreams.

Women Aware

Last week I had the pleasure of accompanying Shutterbug to the SmartTalk series, which featured speaker Barbara Corcoran. The SmartTalk series invites famous women such as Jane Goodall and Maya Angelou to share their experiences in enlightening conversations held in theatrical venues around the country. Women Aware, Inc. is a charity partner with the SmartTalk series currently running at the State Theater in New Brunswick, and I thought that you should know a little bit about their work.

I spoke with Phyllis Adams, Executive Director of Women Aware, Inc., before Barbara Corcoran's speech on February 15.  She was proud to inform me that Women Aware, the domestic violence agency for Middlesex county, is celebrating 30 years of service. Gloria Steinem was a keynote speaker at the 30th anniversary fundraiser and gifted $5,000 in matching funds as a result of her talk "Moving Beyond Abuse".

Gloria Steinem stated in her talk the necessity of moving beyond words in describing what we need to do about domestic violence. She said that "Thirty years ago, domestic violence was just called life."

Phyllis told me that Women Aware is committed to ending domestic abuse for all men and women. Women Aware, Inc. is the only domestic violence agency partnering with SmartTalk and is in a pilot program for permanent housing acquisition. Housing has proven to be essential for clients because it removes the client from the harmful relationship s/he may be in.

It is one of the first agencies to issue housing vouchers and in 2009 started the "Esperanza Domestic Violence Project," which raises awareness of domestic violence in the Latino community. Their work is supported through the Jessica Gonzales grant, whose three children were killed because the police didn't enforce a restraining order against her husband.

A person in crisis should first call the domestic abuse hotline. S/he might be referred to a shelter and eventually be supported through nonresidential services.

Phyllis Adams had some suggestions for anyone who is a victim of stalking/abusive behavior:
  • Document every incident with date and time. Think like a lawyer in recording harassing or abusive activity. The police will need to see the whole picture of the stalker rather than one or two extreme incidents.
  • If possible, invest in surveillance equipment to record the stalking activity around your house or apartment.
  • Carry pepper spray.
  • Modify your routines: try to change your route to work or school.
  • Get a large dog to accompany you when you go out.
  • Don't ever be ashamed about the situation and keep it to yourself! Make sure your neighbors know about it and show them a photo of the stalker if you have one.
  • If you are ever followed in your car, immediately drive to your local police department and put your hand on the horn. Do not get out of the car.
  • If possible, get the stalker/abuser's own family and friends to confront him about his aberrant behavior.
  • Even if the stalker is not in your town or county, make sure to file a complaint and get a restraining order from your local police department.
Women Aware is a 5013C nonprofit agency with state, federal, county aid and corporate and foundation grants. For further information, visit Women Aware to view a copy of their annual report.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Follow Your Coconut Bliss

Imagine my joy last week when I received some gift certificates from Coconut Bliss to review their product for Health Fare. Coconut Bliss is an organic coconut milk ice cream company started by Luna and Larry, a couple in Eugene, Oregon who have sworn off dairy products. Not only are they concerned with the ecological impact of dairy farming, they just plain didn't like the way dairy products made them feel.

In 2004, they discovered a hand-cranked ice cream machine at Goodwill, and decided to make ice cream with coconut milk. Friends and family had an extremely "blissful" reaction to this frozen treat, and before you knew it, they were selling their product to local natural food stores the Sweet Life Patisserie and the Red Barn Natural Grocery. A perfect example of the old adage "Necessity is the mother of invention," and lucky for us, too!

Now Coconut Bliss is available in thousands of natural food stores and supermarkets. I was able to buy a pint of Vanilla Island and a pint of Cappuccino from Whole Earth Center in Princeton, and according to their website, you can also buy Coconut Bliss at Wegman's.

According to their product literature, their coconut milk is shipped by boat from an organic family-owned farm in Thailand. The wonderful thing about coconut is that they tend to grow on their own without much human (and pesticide) interference.

Coconut milk has been "discovered" in recent years by nutritionists, doctors and naturopaths, who now believe coconut oil to be the healthiest oil for human consumption, and beneficial for cardiac health. The Coconut Bliss literature states that it is superior to the polyunsaturated vegetable oils that have been promoted by health organizations. According to World's Healthiest Foods, the saturated fat in coconuts is not long chain but medium-chain fatty acids, and that coconut oil contains between approximately 55-65% 62% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), including the healthy fats, lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid.  The website also states that MCFAs have been used for many years as dietary supplements in situations where absorption of nutrients needs improvement, including situations involving premature infants, and adults with compromised bowel function, perhaps suffering from digestive ailments such as ulcerative colitis and Krone's disease.

The antiviral characteristics of lauric acid are much touted on the web but according to George Mateljan of World's Healthiest Foods , the research is not as definitive as one would think. The most neutral desciption I've found so far is the terse lauric acid entry in Wikipedia, which also subscribes to its antiviral properties.

One thing we can be sure of, however, is that Coconut Bliss is aptly named. I am a sucker for coconut milk, it is a staple in our household, and I was pleased to see another use for it besides the Thai curries I cook weekly. The sweet, creamy flavor of the coconut-based ice cream is apparent immediately upon the first bite, and it is something else. You have to be a fan of coconut milk to enjoy this product, and I am, so it was extremely appealing to me.

I tend to like cappuccino ice cream and found this flavor to be solid with the robust, cinnamony flavor of a good cappuccino (but without being overpowering). It was very layered, with the coconut milk base making its presence known and the coffee flavor as an overlay. Perhaps the more you eat Coconut Bliss, the greater the melding of the two flavors. I found that the vanilla flavor of the Vanilla Island Coconut Bliss lent itself a bit more to the coconut milk base, and it was scrumptious. However, I truly enjoyed both the Vanilla Island and the Cappuccino flavors.

Flecks of bean permeated both flavors, vanilla bean in the Vanilla Island and coffee bean in the Cappuccino. Coconut Bliss lacked the smooth, rich aftertaste that milk-based ice cream has but it also didn't fill you up or give you that bloated feeling you might experience after consuming a bowl of ice cream.

It is apparent to me that this is a terrific product and should not be limited to the lactose-intolerant or vegan market.  There is no reason anyone should feel committed to eating dairy all the time, as coconut milk has a great many nutritive properties, as well as being quite high in the YUM factor. The coconut is indeed, as the Coconut Bliss literature calls it, "The Marvelous Drupe."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Food Corps

Food Corps, a new national service program designed to improve childhood nutrition while cultivating a new generation of farmers and public health leaders, is now accepting applications from potential Service Members. Spend a year (August 2011 - August 2012) of paid public service building and tending school gardens, developing Farm to School programs and conducting hands-on nutrition education in communities of need. Application deadline: April 10. You must be 18 years or older at the start of service

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roasted Turkey with Raspberry Salsa, Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Stew

Have you ever had the experience of attending a luncheon or supper in honor of someone? It's an exciting event, all friends and admirers gather from near and far with the intention of honoring this fine individual.

But what do you do when your guest of honor never arrives?

We were supposed to have as our guest of honor, Dr. Bonnie Camo, former Monday Suppers attendee, current resident of Trebisacce Marina, Calabria, Italy. She is an MD who now practices homeopathy and holistic medicine, and she has written a number of articles for the Suppers program. Brain Health explores methods of maintaining your brain function against the onslaught of memory loss, Alzheimer's, mental imbalance and other ailments. Biotypes of Alcoholism was presented at the National Council on Alcoholism in 1982. She has served as a medical adviser to the Suppers program before her move to Italy.

Unfortunately, despite the turnout of over a dozen members, Dr. Bonnie was unable to make it. She didn't have a car and since we were unaware of this fact until after the meal, no car (or limo) arrived to take her to the Suppers luncheon. 

However, she might (hopefully) be happy to know that the Monday group created and enjoyed another successful Suppers meal. Since it was February 14, the theme was "red" foods, so we had a raspberry salsa, roasted butternut squash soup (with its orange-red carotenoid) and as a special Valentine's Day treat, living foods carob coconut candy. As much as we missed Dr. Bonnie's presence, everyone had a great time catching up with old friends. It seems she brought Suppers members together just by the possibility of her presence, which certainly is a good thing.

I helped chop vegetables and fruit for the raspberry salsa. This salsa was an intriguing mix of savory vegetables, herbs and sweet fruit, not committing itself to any one category, and subsequently a refreshing harbinger of spring/summer without being too cloying. I can't recommend this salsa enough. Not only is it a healthful, nutritious choice, it is positively addictive. I asked Dorothy where the recipe was from, and she said, "There's no recipe, I just made it up, like I usually do!" It really is a gift to be able to throw together ingredients that seem so disparate and to end up with something so scrumptious. Inspired by Marcia Willsie's flavor demo, I recently purchased "The Flavor Bible" with the intention of developing this talent. The book is a reference point for experienced cooks who want to take their cooking to another level. I was pleased to see that the couple who started Vij's in Vancouver were contributors to this book, along with other noted chefs such as Alice Waters and Eric Ripert.

This salsa was intended to be served with roasted turkey or chicken, but it certainly can hold its own as a side dish. I can't wait to make it when the pertinent vegetables, herbs and fruits are in season in New Jersey. I imagine farm fresh raspberries, greens and orchard apples would create an even more delectable and unforgettable raspberry salsa.
The vegetarians ate the Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Stew, which was also a nice, hearty dish. Even though Monday was warmer than usual, this stew was fine even in the milder weather.

Butternut squash is sweeter and not as low carbohydrate as spaghetti squash, so you must be aware of this fact if you have any tendency toward high blood sugar. However, squash is rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red cancer-fighting carotenoid.

For dessert, one of our members arrived with some living food Death By Chocolate macaroons made with carob. She owns a dehydrater and put them in the dehydrater at 100 degrees for 24 hours. I am not sure what the oven equivalent would be. I would bake them for the same amount of time as any macaroon.

As you can see from this Valentine's Day bounty, our luncheon was a sweetheart deal. I'm just sorry that Dr. Bonnie was unable to savor it, but she is returning to Italy, which is certainly no hardship when it comes to fresh, healthful and delectable food choices.

Roasted Turkey with Raspberry Salsa


  • 1 turkey breast, 6 – 8 pounds
  • High quality, coarse salt
  • olive oil

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 3 bell peppers, red, yellow or orange
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 apples, unpeeled
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 orange
  • ½ - 1 whole bunch parsley
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • juice of one lemon


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry.

Place breast up in a roasting pan.

Rub it with a little salt and drizzle on a little olive oil.

Roast the turkey, basting a couple times, for about 3 hours or until the thermometer registers done for turkey.

Let it sit for 20 minutes before carving.  Serve with pan juices.

Salsa Directions:

Juice the lemon and put it in a mixing bowl and toss the following ingredients as you add them.

Finely chop the peppers, onion, apples and orange. 

Mince the herbs.  Toss in raspberries and serve.

Serves 10 – 12.

Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Stew


  • 1 pound dried chick peas, prepared according to package directions, or two large cans
  • olive oil or coconut fat
  • 2 butternut squashes
  • 2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bunches collard greens, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • water
  • salt, pepper, and/or hot sauce to taste


Clean and peel the squash and cut into thick rounds, at least an inch thick.

Coat a cookie sheet with olive oil.  Lay each round on the sheet and flip it so that there is a film of olive oil on top.

Roast the squash at 400 for about 25 minutes and flip.  Continue roasting until it’s fork tender.  Allow to cool enough to handle.

In enough oil to coat the bottom of the soup pot well, sauté cardamom and cumin for a minute, then add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes.

Add the collards, chick peas and vegetable broth and just enough water to cover the greens. 

Simmer until the greens are tender enough.

Cut the squash into large chunks and add them to the stew.  Heat through and serve.

Makes 8 – 10 dinner portions.

Death by Chocolate Macaroons

  • 2 cups dried coconut flakes
  • i cup carob powder or chocolate powder
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands or a spoon.  
Form the mixture into one-inch balls and place them on Teflex-lined dehydrator trays.  
Flatten the cookies with your hands or a fork and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 20 to 30 hours, depending on the size of the cookie.

Suppers Program on Television

Just a brief note to post the Health & Healing link to Dorothy Mullen and Karen Tank describing the Suppers program on television.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Siggi's Icelandic Skyr

Yesterday in the mail I received some gift certificates from Siggi's yogurt. The full name is Siggi's Icelandic style skyr. I love that name, "skyr". It invokes visions of a white-grey sky over a craggy, rocky Nordic mountainscape, the harsh land below riddled with snow and melting glacial ice caps.

Of course, I'm being unreasonably poetic, since skyr translates to "strained non-fat yogurt". However, my curiosity was definitely piqued, so  the next time I saw Siggi's in Whole Foods, I used my certificates to take home a few of these skyr yogurts to sample.

I chose to try the orange and ginger, plain, and pomegranate and passion fruit flavors. Other flavors include blueberry, acai, vanilla and grapefruit (!), but unfortunately Whole Foods either wasn't carrying these flavors or they were out of them. I would love to try a grapefruit yogurt, I would imagine that it would be fairly interesting to have such a citrus flavor in yogurt, but they do make lemon yogurt, so why not?

Acai reminds me of those incessantly annoying popup ads about the acai berry phenomenon (as seen on Oprah!), so that right there is a turnoff, but it might be nice to try the acai flavor without being forced to subject oneself to a dieting scam.

The skyr that I brought home were all delicious. I opened the pomegranate and passion fruit and was surprised by its pale color. I stirred it around but there was no syrupy, gelatinous fruity glop to stir up from the bottom, what you saw was what you got:

A virtually blinding white skyr, like the blinding white sky, or whatever. Anyway, the taste was quite unusual and difficult to describe: the mouth feel was unlike any yogurt I'd ever tasted - although it was a nonfat yogurt, it had a thick, creamy and almost cheesy consistency (slightly like farmer's cheese), in a sinfully delightful way (I go for that kind of thing, sorry to say) along with a nicely tart bite. The pomegranate and passion flavor was a delicious tangy combo and quite strong considering the paleness of the yogurt. The fruit flavors sprang out at you, and they were so unusual - by golly, I can't remember the last time I had a pomegranate (or passionfruit, for that matter) yogurt! So here we have unusual texture and quite different flavor, subtle yet significant.

The next  yogurt to try was the orange-ginger skyr. With this flavor, I have to say: YUM! I like orange and ginger just fine, together in a yogurt I'd had my doubts, but this yogurt had flecks of fresh ginger throughout the container. It was a spectacular combination, I never thought I'd like orange yogurt but it was really delicious and unusual. How often do you taste fresh ginger in anything processed? The ginger flecks were tiny exclamation points in a cup of creamy, tangy yumminess.

The plain yogurt was fine but without the fruit flavoring, it was excessively tart. It still had the dense, cheesy consistency, but was too tart to eat on its own. However, most people eat plain yogurt mixed with fruit or grain because it's too tart, so this wasn't atypical. I tend to mash banana into it, from a health food breakfast recipe that my sister served me years ago. Her version included a European skim ricotta that isn't available here, into which you mashed a banana and added the juice of one lemon, then topped with ground flax seed. It was quite yummy and kept the hunger dogs away until lunchtime. I've varied this recipe with nonfat Greek yogurt, banana and occasionally wheat germ or granola sprinkled on top. I mashed a banana into the plain skyr, and it was perfectly fine.

So my review of this yogurt is that it is unique, flavorful, filling and healthful. Compared to FAGE yogurt, it has a carbohydrate of 6g with FAGE 9g, sodium is 70mg with FAGE 85mg. However, protein is lower (17g vs 20g) and so is calcium (20% vs.25%). So the gain is mostly in a lower carbohydrate and sodium content.

Siggi's skyr is also more expensive than other yogurt, roughly double what you might pay for Brown Cow or Stonyfield Farm yogurt.

Siggi's skyr has some flavor selections, however, that you won't find in any other brand of yogurt. While Siggi's does carry the usual blueberry, vanilla and plain, the other flavors are atypical. I give it a thumbs up and suggest you try it, whether you are a yogurt fan or not. You will be in for a treat with an unusual consistency and flavor, satisfying and fat free.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Egg Drop Soup, Celeriac Slaw and other Delicacies

Our cup runneth over on Wednesday at the Suppers luncheon with some delicious choices: egg drop soup, celeriac slaw, sauteed broccoli and bok choy and antibiotic and hormone free flank steak stir fry. As an added treat, Karen dropped by with some almond flour cheese bread, a boon to those of us who have gluten sensitivity.

We started by chopping up the shitake mushrooms to add to the soup.

That is my work, slivering the mushrooms so they are thin but will still be a presence in the egg drop soup. I used Dorothy's kyocera knife and extremely sharp and efficient it was too. I have some terrific Henckel knives from William-Sonoma that weren't as sharp as this knife.

Meanwhile, thinly-sliced  beef was stir frying on the stove with a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil and some olive oil.

Along with the beef, broccoli and bok choy were stir frying in some coconut fat and grated ginger.

One of the surprising treats was the egg drop soup - surprising in how easy it was to make. If you are in the habit of only eating this soup in a restaurant or as takeout, you will be pleased to know how quickly you can whip up a batch of this soup.

We boiled up some organic Better than Bouillon chicken broth (you certainly can use vegetarian broth as well) and then got a lesson from Dorothy on how to best make the egg drop "flowerettes" in the broth. Beat the eggs until they are completely blended and slightly frothy, then pour a bit of the beaten eggs in a steady stream into the hot broth:

Keep making different "flowerettes" by pouring intermittently until all of the beaten egg mixture is finished. Voila, egg drop soup!

And if that wasn't enough, we also had a fennel, celeriac and daikon slaw with Amy's delectable vinaigrette.

Plus we also had some gluten-free almond bread that Karen brought to the luncheon:

Another delicious and nutritious Suppers luncheon!  Next week we will be making our own curry paste according to Dorothy's recipe and taking some home to create our own healthful concoctions.

Egg Drop Soup

This recipe can be made vegan or ovo-vegetarian.
Following is the basic recipe with chicken stock.

4 cups chicken broth (we used Better than Bouillon organic)
4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal and using much of the green
1 egg, whipped

    1. Heat the stock and simmer the scallions for about 3 minutes.
    2. In a slow, thin stream, add the egg to the gently simmering stock and gently stir so that threads of egg form. 
    3. Serve immediately.

    Serves 4.


    • Use a vegetarian broth.
    • Add one thinly sliced shiitake mushroom per serving.
    • Add seaweed, re-hydrated according to the package directions
    • Add diced tofu.
    • Flavor it with tamari or sesame oil.

    Vegetable Stir Fry


    3 stalks of broccoli
    1 bok choy
    Coconut fat (available at most health food stores)
    2" piece of ginger
    Toasted sesame oil

    1. Cut up broccoli and bok choy into bite-size pieces.
    2. Heat up about a tablespoon of coconut fat.
    3. Add the grated ginger. Saute until golden.
    4. Add the broccoli and bok choy and saute until done (approximately 5-10 minutes).

    Fennel, Celeriac and Daikon Slaw


    Large Celeriac (size of a grapefruit)
    Large Fennel bulb
    1 Daikon radish


    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/9 cup white balsamic vinegar (1:3 ration of oil to vinegar)
    1 TBS diijon mustard
    1/2 lemon juiced
    Pinch of sea salt
    4 drops of stevia 

    1. Shred the celeriac, fennel bulb and daikon radish in food processor.
    2. Toss with dressing and serve.

    Almond Bread (Very Low Carb)

    Note: This recipe contains dairy products but no gluten.  The result is a sliceable, toast-able loaf, like a heavy pound cake.  It can be made sweet or savory.

    2 ½ cups almond flour
    3 eggs
    ¼ cup melted butter
    1 cup ricotta or dry curd cottage cheese
    1 scant teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Place all ingredients except the almond flour in the food processor and process until thick and uniform.
    3. Add the almond flour and blend well.
    4. Butter and flour (with almond flour)  a 4 x 8 loaf pan.
    5. Use wet hands to shape the dough into a loaf and place in the pan.
    6. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until it is a little brown on top and a knife inserted comes out clean.  The top will crack a little.
    7. Allow to cool thoroughly.  You can loosen the sides by moving a knife or spatula long the sides.
    8. Remove and finish cooling on a rack. The texture will not be right if you slice it before it is done cooling.

    • For the cheese, try ½ cup plain Greek yogurt & ½ cup soft goat cheese, or goat Cheddar
    • Add a ¼-1/2 tsp dry stevia or 5 to 10 drops liquid stevia (to taste) and some lemon zest, food-grade lemon oil, vanilla or almond extract.
    • Add minced herbs such as rosemary or sage.
    • Add ½ cup chopped dry fruit like raisins or apricots. (not low carb 
    • Add caraway seeds for a result more like rye bread.
    • Add 2 TBS Chia seeds for added fiber and protein.
    Total loaf makes about 72 grams carbs with 36 grams fiber = 36 NET carbs
    For 12 slices/loaf = 3 grams NET carbs/slice

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Black Bean with Mango Stew

    At our Suppers luncheon, we had a rather unique and delicious vegetarian dish of black beans and mango stew. The stew presented a striking taste combination, the fruity sweetness of the mango and garnet yam were highlights upon a foundation of salty, earthy black beans.

    Even someone who isn't necessarily a fan of black beans (like myself) would enjoy this dish. And you can change the amount of the mango or substitute sweet potato or carrot for the garnet yam to create your own version of this dish.

    When the weather outside is frightful, my advice is to cook up a few of your favorite hearty soups and stews to fortify yourself. While I'm not a big fan of winter, I do look forward to these dishes, they are an amazing counterbalance to some seriously crummy weather.  What might be too hot or filling the rest of the year is just terrific in winter weather.

    Black Bean with Mango Stew

    1 pound of black beans
    5 TBS olive oil or coconut fat
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 sweet potato or garnet yam, peeled and diced
    1 16 ounce can tomatoes (or fresh, in season)
    juice of one lime
    1 mango, diced (or 1 cup of frozen mango)
    hot sauce to taste
    salt, if permitted
    1 bunch cilantro, chopped

      1. Prepare the black beans according to the package directions and adding 2 of the 5 TBS of olive oil or coconut fat while simmering.

      2. Saute the onion, pepper, and sweet potato in the remaining oil or fat until onion is a little golden. 

      3. Add the tomato, lime juice and just enough water to simmer until the sweet potato is tender.

      4. Combine black beans with vegetables. 

      5. Add the mango, hot sauce, salt and half of the cilantro ten minutes before serving and simmer. 

      6. Serve the rest of the cilantro for garnish.

      Wednesday, January 12, 2011

      An Interview with Karen Rose Tank, Health, Nutrition & Diabetes Coach

      The first post of Health Fare is about my friend Karen Rose Tank, who is a Health, Nutrition & Diabetes Coach located in Central New Jersey. In the years I have known Karen, she has always been incredibly energetic and a great source of information about health, fitness and diet.

      Karen lives and works by her motto "You can take control of your health."  She has experienced such control firsthand in her own life's journey when at age 39 she developed Type 1 diabetes. Since diabetes is a complex and difficult disease, staying healthy required she completely modify her lifestyle, with a necessary reexamination of her diet and exercise habits.

      Karen found that the medical community provided few answers to the conundrum of what kind of diet people with diabetes should be on, other than that she should "mainly eat anything you want, just count all your carbs and take the appropriate amount of insulin."  She found the standard ADA diet contained too many carbohydrates to properly control her blood sugars, and it was a constant struggle to maintain her health. While Karen discovered a faction of diabetes specialists (such as Dr. Richard Bernstein) who were promoting a low carbohydrate diet as the best method to stabilize blood sugars, such a diet was difficult to sustain without feeling deprived. However, once she became involved with the Suppers program run by Dorothy Mullen, she learned how to prepare the delicious low carbohydrate dishes that were satisfying as well as appropriate for good nutrition and health.

      The Suppers program was incredibly successful in keeping Karen healthy.  Then Karen decided along with Dorothy to start  a more specific table-based support group called Suppers for Stable Blood Sugar.  Karen has greatly enjoyed facilitating this group, whose members are not only people with diabetes but people experiencing fluctuating glucose levels and therefore at risk for future problems.

      The next natural step was to seek more information from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which is the only nutrition school integrating all the different dietary theories—combining the knowledge of traditional philosophies with modern concepts like the USDA food pyramid, the glycemic index, the Paleo Diet, the Zone and raw foods. Karen graduated from IIN in the summer of 2010 as a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach. She is currently continuing her training with IIN through their yearlong immersion program. She has grown into the position of helping others manage their blood sugars and finds it to be a fulfilling and exciting opportunity to share what she has learned in her journey. "I love working with people and showing them how to manage their diabetes/health through healthful eating. The other day I was in my kitchen with a client teaching her how to make kale chips. It was so much fun!" Karen says.

      One of the major goals for Karen has been to not only get her clients off the constant carbohydrate cycle but to give them satisfying alternatives so they don't feel deprived. She finds that her clients often need help with meal plans, so she brainstorms with her client and they devise a meal plan that is appropriate to the client's lifestyle but also delicious. "Change is small and incremental," Karen says,"And takes practice as well as support and caring." When someone feels supported and cared for, he or she will then feel empowered to change.

      Karen offers a complimentary health consultation where she and her client explore the current state of his or her health, what the struggles and challenges are and how she can be of support. Clients always leave with at least one "Aha!" moment on how to improve their health.

      She works with clients in weekly or biweekly sessions over several months.  A client did not get to his current state of health overnight, she feels, and healing involves incremental change over time. In every session she and her client discuss what the successes have been, and how he can turn his challenges around.

      Another very important part of her program is working with clients to come up with specific actions to incorporate those small, healthful changes as they work towards their goals: sometimes they cook together, sometimes they eat out together, sometimes they tour a health food or other grocery store... it is always fun.. for both of them.

      Karen says that she needed to grow into the position of helping others. She didn't work for a bit while she was raising her two boys. She was also learning how to cope and live optimally with her diabetes, while understanding what she has to offer the world in her personal knowledge of living with this complex disease along with her nutrition  background.

      She plans to continue to learn tools that will help her clients heal both their physical selves with nutrition and movement, and their emotional and mental selves through mentoring with love, empathy and compassion!

      Karen Rose Tank 
      Health, Nutrition & Diabetes Coach