If you have a home garden, chances are you are flush with raspberries right now!
I don't eat much fruit because as far as I'm concerned fruit is only good when it's in season and close to the source. Living on the North Coast means we have a small window in time to enjoy fresh berries, cherries, apples and pears.
I grow two varieties of raspberries - red and yellow - and plan to add a black raspberries next spring. Our berry vines are overflowing with summer bounty right now, so every night I'm out picking fruit...and shoving it right in my mouth!
Raspberries bring something special to the table - more than just deliciousness. They are the best source of ellagic acid, a polyphenol (antioxidant) nutrient that has potent anti-cancer activity. In animal studies, ellagic acid has slowed the growth of cancer cells and helped make them inactivate1.
Ellagic acid also shows up in research on beauty and aging, showing some promise for reducing wrinkles and skin damage caused by UV-B rays (that will make my mom happy)2. Can you imagine your esthetician advising you to eat more raspberries for your skin health? Best. Homework. Ever!
The power of plants continues to awe and amaze me.
While I love fresh raspberries more than anything, I just cannot keep up with the volume of raspberries coming in from my backyard (can I just say what an awesome problem that is to have?!). I'm not much of a baker and try to limit my sugar intake anyway, so this week I worked on a new smoothie recipe that combines a couple of my all-time favorite anti-cancer ingredients. For fun, I made it a little thicker than you can slurp through a straw.
Hope you like it!
Matcha Berry SmoothiE Bowl
Alia Crum, PhD is this genius of a human who has cracked the code on "mind over matter." Dr. Crum researches the placebo effect and how mindset influences human experiences.
In one study, she measured ghrelin - the "hunger" hormone - after research participants drank milkshakes. One group was told that their milkshake was indulgent while the other group was told their milkshake was good for them. Ghrelin was lower in the group that thought their milkshake was a yummy treat, meaning that they were more satisfied by it than the other group.
In another study she conducted, Dr. Crum educated housekeepers at a hotel that their job was physically exerting. Prior to that conversation, the housekeepers really just thought that everyday they went to work, not that their work was exercise. After their mindset shifted, they lost weight.
If thoughts can change hormones and promote weight loss, what else can they do? Can changing your mindset be the piece missing from your wellness plan?
Could your thoughts be the root cause of your dis-ease?
If you have an autoimmune disease, how you can mute your inner critic?
If you suffer from constipation, what do you need to let go of?
If you have acid reflux/heartburn, what are you forcing yourself to swallow? What are you not saying/expressing?
If you have heart disease, how can you free the emotions you have repressed?
If you have eczema/psoriasis/acne, what experience have you had that you need to talk about? That thing you went through that's trying to get out?
If you experience any physical symptom, what mindset do you need to adapt to change it?
To watch a 5 minute video from Dr. Crum, follow this link.
I love me some dinner in a bowl.
One of my favorite memories from traveling in China was eating with a bowl of rice in one hand and chopsticks in the other, serving myself bite after bite of spicy green beans and crispy tofu. There may be fewer chopsticks in my weekly meal plan, but the principle of rice paired with a few flavorful dishes has persisted.
This recipe highlights my favorite things about summer eating: seasonal veggies and lots of herbs. Shop at the farmers market for the best ingredients.
*Soaking whole grains for 6-12 hours provides two nutritionally beneficial gifts:
1) It starts breaking down phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that has anti-cancer properties, but also binds to zinc and other minerals in our food, prohibiting their absorption in our digestive tract, and
2) It shortens the cooking time by almost 50%! That means you might be more likely to choose brown rice and other whole grains over their refined counterparts. To soak: Measure your rice into a large bowl or saucepan and cover with 1-inch of water. Cover and leave on your countertop for up to 12 hours. Longer soaking is fine, but you'll want to rinse and refresh your water after 12 hours and/or move the soaking mixture to your refrigerator.
**Soy is one of the most heavily engineered crops in the US, making buying organic soy products a priority.
With meatballs and a good broth, a simple and delicious soup is steps away from perfection. This recipe brings together ingredients of my favorite Thai wonton soup in a gluten-free and Paleo fashion.
For this recipe, you will need:
This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled for the freezer. Plan ahead and leave out the Mediterranean spices (bay, basil, etc.) of a broth recipe, swapping cilantro and ginger in instead.
Makes 2 servings
Shrimp + Pork Meatballs
These meatballs can be easily frozen for a quick weeknight meal.
Makes 8 servings
Assembling Wonton-less Soup
For each person, serve:
Make this recipe and post a pic! Tag @jessehaasnutrition on Facebook or Instagram.
Recipe from Vegetarian Times
I've been holding onto this recipe since it was published in 2009 and just finally got to making it today. I LOVE green burritos. I wish to the vegetable gods that they weren't so painstaking to make. I feel so fresh and nourished when I eat them.
I ate my first green burrito in Nevada City, CA with my bestie. It wasn't too different from this version, actually: sweet potato puree and lots of ginger (always a winner). We used Swiss chard for our wrapper, stuffing thinly sliced carrots, bell pepper and cucumber in for a veggie-packed meal.
This recipe can be used to build a formula for green burritos of the future:
Ginger-Miso Yam Wrap ingredients (serves 4)
For the complete recipe, go to the Vegetarian Times.
One step I would encourage you to add to the instructions is blanching the collards before wrapping the filling in them. Collards are dense, bitter greens that are awesome for detoxification and hormone balance, but not super duper pleasant to eat raw. Blanching them for 30 seconds or so has no negative impact on their health benefits, while promoting greater enjoyment of the meal. Insert this step after instruction #2.
For a greens-blanching and green burrito-wrapping tutorial, check out my colleague Amber Hanson's Instagram highlight on the topic.
Word to the wise: double or triple this recipe. A) It's delicious and you'll want more, and B) maximize the time you spend blanching and wrapping.
As soon as the weather cools, I grease my roasting pans and get to work.
Every Sunday I do a big food prep. I spend 2-3 hours chopping, marinading, washing, blending and roasting so we're set up with food for the week.
Roasted veggies are a staple in my house and something my family never really tires of. We switch out the veggies, spices and sauces to keep the flavors fresh and fun.
This recipe could easily turn into a formula - get creative!
Makes 4 servings.
The first time I cooked brisket was for a New Year's Eve party (I always test recipes when I'm having company over for dinner - probably not the best time to get adventurous in the kitchen!). It was delicious but dry and rubbery.
Then I met the Instant Pot and Melissa Clark.
Everything that I have cooked out of her Dinner in an Instant cookbook has been a hit. Flavorful, simple and perfectly suited for a pressure cooker. In her intro she says,
The key to successful pressure cooking is choosing recipes in which softness and succulence is the goal, and which traditionally take hours to get there. It (an Instant Pot) can't cook a whole chicken very well, and it doesn't do crisp or crunchy. So don't ask it to and you won't be disappointed.
In essence: just because you can cook something in a pressure cooker (ie. cake) doesn't mean you should.
Well this Korean Brisket recipe she has sure highlights the strengths of the Instant Pot. It was melt-in-your-mouth good.
Beef is one of those ingredients that my clients love and fear. For decades it's be touted as an artery clogger, sure to shorten the lifespan of anyone who indulges in it due to the saturated fat content. As it turns out, we haven't gotten the whole story.
For one thing, we know now that the sugar industry suppressed data about how sugar is the foodstuff most closely linked to heart disease, not fat.
Additionally, not all fats are created equal.
You know how proteins are made up of individual amino acids? Fats are made up of fatty acids. Whether it's a saturated fat or an unsaturated fat is determined by what kinds of fatty acids are found in the fat. Each of these fatty acids has unique characteristics, including whether it promotes or protects against heart disease.
What determines what kinds of fatty acids get laid down in the fat tissue of a cow? Just like humans, animals are what they eat. Diet and environment determine the health of the animal and the benefit - or harm - eating that animal might cause.
A Tale of Two Beefs
Animals raised in an industrial food system are fed grain and silage, fuel that makes them gain weight more quickly but is generally lacking in nutritional value. Additionally, ruminant animals (bison, cows, goats and sheep) cannot digest grains well. Their digestive systems were developed to harvest nutrients and energy from grass and other plants found in a pasture. We moved these animals off pasture and into confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs or feedlots) in the 1950s when we started engineering grains and got really good at it. We needed an outlet for this bounty and livestock was an easy diversion.
Now, cattle and other ruminates can't eat grain without antibiotics. Ruminates ferment their food to digest it. They chew their cud. When a ruminate animal eats corn it produces more acid, which can wear away at the protective mucosa in its digestive tract. Over time this can cause major problems for the animal. Antibiotics keep infections in a feedlot down. They also make the animals gain weight more quickly. The use of growth hormones in food production also promotes more rapid weight gain. Where we once raised cows for 4-5 years on pasture, we can now get them to market weight in 14 months or less in a CAFO.
The engineered feed grains we grow in this country don't have much nutritional value to offer. Grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle produce beef that's higher in omega-3 fats, vitamin D, carotenoids (forms of vitamin A) and lower in saturated fat overall. The saturated fats found in grass-fed beef are comprised of fatty acids that protect against heart disease: palmitic, stearic and oleic acids.
Cows fed corn - and inevitably raised in an unsanitary and stressful environment characteristic of a feedlot setting - produce beef that is higher in omega-6 fats. These aren't inherently harmful but become inflammatory when out of proportion to omega-3 fats. Since corn-fed beef - and a standard American diet - is deficient in omega-3 fats, this is easily attained. Corn-fed beef is also higher in saturated fats that promote heart disease: lauric and myristic fatty acids.
This is a long-winded way to say: when it comes to eating beef and other meat, the source matters. Buying grass-fed beef and pasture-raised meats, dairy and eggs delivers the most nutritious food to your table. You can find these products at your local food co-op. My favorite source is direct from the farmer. I buy a meat CSA from Sunshine Harvest Farm.
Back to the brisket.
Melissa combines Korean spices with the home-down goodness of a savory roast. If you make this recipe, be sure to serve it with the kimchi coleslaw she recommends. Get the complete recipe here.
Tag me in a post if you make this brisket - I want to know how much you love it!
I incorporate plant proteins into my weekly meal plan to ensure I'm meeting my nutrition needs with a variety of sources, while also making food choices that have a positive impact on the environment. I always have nuts around for snacking, seeds to top salads, and an assortment of beans and lentils to throw in a pot of soup or make into a veggie dip.
This recipe has become a staple and one that I double whenever I make it. The patties can be frozen on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet for a quick meal on the fly. These are also great to share with friends and family members who are facing hardship, illness or have welcomed a new babe to their household.
Lentil Walnut Burgers
Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
Makes 4 servings
In my early twenties, I was working for a gardener who took me to her CSA* farm for a volunteer shift. Instead of toiling in urban backyards, we got our hands dirty in rural Wisconsin for the day. I can't pretend to remember what we farm chores we did, but the experience had an deep impact on me. I became a member of that same farm the following season and have been one every since.
I had been introduced to local foods while working at the Birchwood Cafe. Farmers delivered fresh veggies, meat, milk, cheese and eggs for seasonal menu items at the restaurant, stopping by the counter for a coffee on their way back to their farms. I got to chit chat with them there, learning about their farms and philosophies. This sneak peek at the farm-to-fork experience changed how I thought about food. Honestly, it was a catalyst for repairing my relationship with food. After raging my internal food fight for more than a decade, I welcomed the paradigm shift with open arms.
Slowly, the role of food in my life became more than calories or nutrition. It became the invitation to relationships and community. I changed my buying habits, shifting my priorities in the grocery store from cheap to local. The investment was worth it to me - I knew that with every dollar I spent I was supporting people. I fed my body well with locally grown, seasonal produce, pasture-raised meats and eggs, and in so doing also financially invested in small, family farms in my community. I sat down to meals knowing where every ingredient came from.
I fell in love with food with a face.
I couldn't have made the transition from a I-can-have-anything-I-want-whenever-I-want-it diet to one based on local foods without From Asparagus to Zucchini. When I got my first CSA box, I didn't know what half of the contents were...much less how to store or prepare them! My dog-eared copy of From A to Z got me through the learning curve, and is still a cookbook I reference today.
This cookbook is a guide to seasonal produce, grown in the Midwest. Organized by vegetable in alphabetical order, the authors give tips for choosing the best product at the farmers market, storing for lasting quality, and several recipes centered around the ingredient.
Here's another reason why I love From A to Z: every recipe comes from a farm or CSA member, NOT a chef. That means that each recipe is totally doable to cooks of all skill levels.
If you signed up for a CSA for the first time, you need this cookbook.**
If you're committed to shopping farmers markets, you need this cookbook.
If you're trying to eat more vegetables, you need this cookbook.
If you're committed to supporting small, family farms like I am, you need this cookbook.
Buy this cookbook!**
*Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a business model that allows consumers ("members") to invest in a growing season of a farm. Members share the risk of farming with the farmer. This helps to ensure that they have the income they need to make the business sustainable for them. In exchange for the investment, farmers distribute "shares" of their product. There are all kinds of CSAs now: vegetables, meat, cheese, even pie and art! The most common CSA good is vegetables. Members receive weekly allotments of the produce grown on the farm throughout the growing season. It's a win-win!
**Another way to support small, family businesses is to buy books from your local bookstore, instead of Amazon. My Minneapolis favorites are Magers and Quinn and Moon Palace. Both stores have their inventory online making it easy to see if they have what you're looking for before making the trip. You can even order books online to have shipped to you, just like Amazon.
Collagen peptide supplements have become all the rage in recent years. With claims of eliminating joint pain and smoothing skin, hair and nails, who wouldn’t want to give this versatile protein powder a try?
Collagen is a protein found throughout the body. It’s a strong molecule, making up tendons and ligaments, the flexible matrix of bone and teeth, joint cartilage, connective tissue, arteries, skin and hair. Because it can be found in all these places in the body, collagen supplementation sounds like a panacea. Do the claims – and potential – actually live up to the hype?
Before jumping on the collagen cure-all bandwagon and recommending it to all my clients, I scoured the scientific literature for nuggets of truth in the claims. Here’s is my attempt at summarizing the answers I found to my questions in 500 words or less:
Regarding joint health:
Collagen supplements increase production of hyaluronic acid, a major component of the synovial fluid that lubricates our joints and other tissues, allowing them to slide across each other. In a small study with 97 participants, collagen supplements were shown to improve joint pain. Interestingly, the longer the subjects took the supplement, the less impact it had. This suggests that taking collagen supplements may help maintain joint health, and be helpful for people with joint pain or osteoarthritis but it likely won’t resolve the issue completely (1).
Another study explored the impact of collagen supplements on rheumatoid arthritis and found that it reduced joint swelling and tenderness (2).
Regarding hair skin and nails:
In the body, collagen stimulates cell proliferation (reproduction) and accelerated cell migration to the skin (3).
After 90 and 180 days of taking a collagen supplement, women with thinning hair had more growth, volume, scalp coverage, and shine. They also found greater moisture retention and smoothness to their skin (4). Skin dryness and breaking down of the collagen matrix in the skin are hallmark signs of aging. Oral collagen increases the density of collagen in the skin after 8 weeks of supplementation (5).
Collagen cannot confer benefits when used topically, however, so save your money on skin care products listing collagen as one of the ingredients. The molecule is just too large to be absorbed through skin cells.
Collagen supplements may be helpful with nails that break or peel, or simply don’t grow. Taking supplements for 24 weeks improved nail health in a study on brittle nail syndrome. These benefits persisted even a month after supplements were discontinued (6).
If you’re interested in adding collagen supplements to your health regimen, here are a few things to keep in mind:
One thing that appeals to me about this supplement is its versatility. You can add protein powder to smoothies or roll these delicious Lemon Turmeric Energy Bites, blend it up in your bullet coffee or stir it into a glass of water. It’s tasteless and very versatile.
Have you tried using collagen? What did you notice? What are your favorite collagen recipes?
1) Clark KL1, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, Aukermann DF, Meza F, Millard RL, Deitch JR, Sherbondy PS, Albert A. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Current Medical Research and Opinion; 2008 May 24(5):1485-96.
2) Trentham DE, Dynesius-Trentham RA, Orav EJ, Combitchi D, Lorenzo C, Sewell KL, Hafler DA, Weiner HL. Effects of oral administration of type II collagen on rheumatoid arthritis. Science. 1993 Sep 24;261(5129):1727-30.
3) Lee SK, Posthauer ME, Dorner B, Redovian V, Maloney MJ. Pressure ulcer healing with a concentrated, fortified, collagen protein hydrolysate supplement: a randomized controlled trial. Advanced Skin Wound Care. 2006 Mar;19(2):92-6
4) Ablon, G. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. Journal for Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2012 Nov; 5(11): 28–34.
5)Asserin J, Lati E, Shioya T, Prawitt J. The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2015 Dec;14(4):291-301.
6) Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, Siega C, Camozzato FO, Oesser S. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 2017 Dec;16(4):520-526.