In my early 20’s I would regularly eat a crab salad made with imitation crab meat. I was not a big fish lover and this convenient and mild tasting “crab” was one of my favorite “healthy” ways to get fish into my diet (or so I thought at the time). I often enjoyed crab Rangoon and crab cakes from our local Chinese takeout too.
Chances are if you have dined on seafood from a Sushi, Chinese restaurant or grocery store, you have probably eaten imitation crab meat. So what? some of us might say – Wikipedia states “Crab sticks, imitation crab meat or seafood sticks are seafood made of starch and finely pulverized white fish, shaped and cured to resemble the leg meat of snow crab or Japanese spider crab.” Um, YUCK!
Imitation crab meat contains more starch and carbohydrate than protein (almost 2/3rds of the calories come from carbs) and is not a vegan or vegetarian food as is commonly believed. Real crab meat in contrast is 85% protein and 1% carbs. Real crab meat is an excellent source of protein and contains heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, C, and B including B 12, and the minerals phosphorus, zinc, copper, calcium, selenium, and chromium.
Low nutrition profile aside, imitation crab meat may contain additional additives including MSG, gluten, sugar, hydrolyzed corn, soy & wheat (gmo’s), unhealthy vegetable oils and other possible allergens. None of which is in real crab meat (unless you have a shellfish allergy).
Dr. Axe sums it up well in his recent article Imitation Crab Meat May Be Worse Than You Think: “Because of its sparse nutrient profile and long list of additives, many people consider it to be the seafood equivalent of the hot dog, made of fish parts and questionable ingredients that have been ground up into a cheap, highly processed convenience food.”
Whole food in it’s natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state is always best, so I’ll take a pass on imitation crab meat…and stick with the real thing!
-Cynthia Hill, NTP
Behold the turnip! It’s time to elevate the lowly turnip to royal status! From my own personal experience growing turnips here in the Midwest, they are super easy to grow, thrive in less than ideal soil and weather conditions and don’t appear to suffer from pests and disease. Turnips prefer cooler temps, full sun and well-drained soil. The Old Farmers Almanac states “Turnips like a dry bed but a wet head”. I love that turnips mature in just 55 days, being one of the first vegetables to enjoy from the early garden. Turnips are a good storage vegetable as well.
Turnips are a member of the brassicaceae family and are nutritional powerhouses. You can eat both the root and the green tops. According to Dr. Mercola, low calorie turnip roots are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. The turnip tops or greens are even more nutritious than the roots! The greens are even richer in Vitamins K,C,A, B6, Folate and minerals including copper, manganese and calcium. Turnip greens also contain cancer fighting glucosinolates (sulfur-containing compounds), fiber and antioxidants.
Harvest turnip greens by cutting just a few of the stems at a time (tender, young greens will be less bitter). Enjoy the greens in salads or lightly steamed or sautéed. Turnips have a pungent flavor that pairs well with milder vegetables. You can roast them by themselves, but I prefer to roast turnip root with other vegetables including carrots, beets, potatoes, etc… and some aromatics like garlic and onion. Simply cube the veggies, place on a baking sheet and toss with a good healthy fat such as coconut oil, duck fat or avocado oil, drizzle with a little honey or maple syrup and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour or until veggies have softened and caramelized, stirring occasionally. A turnip mash or smash is easy too – boil or steam turnips until soft, drain, add butter or ghee, season, mash and enjoy. Furthermore, add some garlic and bacon for additional flavor. Mash turnips with potatoes and add some sour cream for a real treat! Try with sweet potatoes too.
If you don’t have an inkling to grow your own, look for turnips and turnip greens at farmers markets in the Spring and Fall or at your local supermarket. Look for firm roots and fresh unwilted bright green tops. Store in the crisper of the refrigerator and consume the greens as soon as possible. Scrub turnip roots when ready to cook. Peel when roasting or if turnips are large (more mature) in size.
Henry VIII liked his turnips roasted and the tender young leaves served in a salad. Goethe stated that ‘they are best mixed with chestnuts.’
There is 1 person in the U.S. listed on whitepages.com with the last name ‘Turnip’
California is the largest grower of turnips in the United States.
Not to be forgotten is the well known saying “just fell off a turnip truck” meaning a “simpleton”, or naïve, uninformed or gullible. Surprisingly, I could not find a consistent origin of this phrase and am left to ponder the connection of gullible and turnips…
So, considering the many attributes of the turnip – it is nutrient dense, you can consume every part of it, it is easy to grow, it tastes good, and plays well with others, it appears that the lowly turnip isn’t so lowly after all and deserves to be elevated to vegetable royalty!
As the first hint of summer makes its slow arrival in the Midwest, I step outside late afternoon to enjoy the warming temps. Immediately I begin to smell the most wonderful intoxicating scent. It takes my brain a moment to identify what it is – oh yes! someone in the neighborhood has fired up their grill – the unmistakable smoky aroma of backyard grilling, summer and happiness! I realize momentarily how I have missed the smell & taste of grilled foods throughout the long winter months. Now this tantalizing scent beckons me, beckons me to release our own grill from its winter cover and start planning a meal around it. But wait… isn’t grilling food bad for you???
Grilling in general and especially grilled meat has had its share of bad press lately. With the onset of warmer weather the warnings about the dangers of grilling and barbecuing return, and how doing so contributes to the formation of carcinogens (PAHs) and mutagens (HCA) in our food.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are present in the smoke created from fat dripping onto hot coals. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced when amino acids, sugars and creatine in meat react with heat. Does grilling generate enough of these carcinogenic compounds to pose a threat to our health and steer clear of the grill forever? Mark Sisson, primal living expert, and author of the Primal Blueprint writes he may have “overstated the danger of the carcinogenic compounds found in charred meat”. In his article “How Bad is Charred Meat, Really?” he references numerous studies that show the doses of HCA in animal testing to be 1000s of times higher than what we would get from grilling. (The National Cancer Institute also suggests that both HCA and PAH dosing in animal models is thousands of times higher than what we would consume in our diet).
This leaves me with a burning question from an ancestral point of view – man has been grilling for a very very long time. If it is so bad for us, why do the carcinogenic effects only appear to have happened in the last 150 years? We must consider our current diet of high PUFAs, processed foods, grain fed animals and environmental toxicity as contributing factors.
Would I eat grilled foods every day? probably not as with most things moderation is key. I will continue though, to eat a cancer fighting nutrient dense whole foods diet (including plenty of protective vegetables) that supports optimal health and immune function which is always our best defense!
Spring is the perfect time to enjoy fresh lamb! Rack of lamb makes an impressive presentation and its no fuss preparation requires little time in the kitchen. Serve with roasted potatoes and spring peas or fresh asparagus for an elegant springtime meal.
Rack of Lamb
1 Rack of Lamb (preferably grass fed)
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce or 1/2 TBL balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl. Olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 TBL. Fresh Rosemary
1 tsp. Sea salt
Use a food processor to process the garlic, rosemary, and sea salt until finely minced. Add the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce (or balsamic vinegar) and olive oil and process for 1 minute. Alternately, finely mince rosemary and garlic and mix together with sea salt, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil.
Place the rack of lamb on a lightly greased rack (rib ends facing down) in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Brush both sides of the lamb with the mustard mixture. Let stand for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Roast lamb for approximately 20 minutes for rare and 25 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut roast into single ribs and serve.
Give thanks for all animals and plants that nourish and sustain us.
Olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, lard, tallow, butter…vegetable oils or animal fats? What should you choose? What are good fats? What are bad fats? What are healthy? What are not? What fats are safest to cook with and what are not? To answer these questions let’s begin with a basic understanding of the composition and properties of fats and oils:
Fats are molecules consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Fats are classified as saturated fatty acids (SFA’s), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s). All fats are a combination of fatty acids and are classified by the highest percentage of either sat, mono or poly:
Saturated fats are solid or semi-solid at room temperature. Saturated fats do not turn rancid easily even with higher temperature cooking. Butter and coconut oil are examples of saturated fats.
Pure Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and solidify at 39 degrees F. Monounsaturated fats are relatively stable and do not turn rancid easily. Olive and avocado oil are examples of monounsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature or upon refrigeration and are highly unstable. Polyunsaturated fats are fragile and are easily damaged by light and heat turning rancid quickly. Vegetable oils and grape seed oil are examples of polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are broken down into two subgroups: Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
So what fats are healthy? and what fats are safe to cook with??? Animal fats and tropical oils that are high in saturated fat – yes saturated fat! Your body needs saturated fat to function optimally! Saturated fats are the most stable for higher temperature cooking (baking, frying, broiling, grilling, sautéing and roasting). Some excellent choices are lard, Ghee (clarified butter), beef and lamb tallow, chicken, duck & goose fat (from grass-fed/pastured/organic animals), coconut & red palm oil (organic, virgin, sustainably sourced). Vegetables roasted in duck fat are to die for!!!
Monounsaturated fats can be safely used for brief stir-frying, light sautéing, and slow simmering over low heat. Good choices are pure unfiltered/unrefined/uncut olive oil (contrary to popular belief, olive oil is safe for light cooking less than 400 degrees), peanut oil (occasionally as it is high in PUFA’s), avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and sesame oil. High heat cooking may damage MUFA’s resulting in free radical damage. Healthy monounsaturated fats support the immune system and joint health.
Polyunsaturated vegetable oils including flax, hemp, pine nut, pumpkin, grape seed oil and high oleic sunflower oil should never be heated or used in cooking (despite what their labels may say). They should be stored in the refrigerator. Due to their high omega-6 content, these oils should be used sparingly and must be unrefined and unprocessed/cold pressed. (Which can be difficult to find). Omega-3 rich flax oil should always be refrigerated and used sparingly in small amounts only (drizzle on salads, or in smoothies). High Oleic sunflower oil has some MUFA’s so very light heating would be acceptable.
Vegetable oils canola, soybean, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower and corn oil (including margarine/spreads made with them). All of these (artery clogging hydrogenated trans fats) oils are used in processed foods, fast food/restaurants. They are cheap genetically modified highly processed industrial oils that have only been in the human diet for a short amount of time. Our bodies do not recognize these oils as food and they are not fit for human consumption! Canola oil is a marketing ploy at it’s best – touted for its omega-3 and MUFA’s it is a highly processed rancid oil, derived from the genetically modified rapeseed plant. It is often partially hydrogenated to increase stability turning the delicate omega-3 fatty acids rancid quickly (free radicals). Soybean, cottonseed, corn, and safflower oils (also gmo) go through similar processing leaving them vulnerable to oxidation and free radical production when exposed to heat and light. Soy/Soybean oil in addition depresses thyroid function. Processed Omega-6 vegetable oils promote inflammation in the body. Best to get your Omega-6’s from vegetables, raw nuts and seeds.
Fats play a very important role in our health and bodies. Healthy fats are imperative to good health and do not make you fat. Thanks to an inaccurate study done over 50 years ago, we were led to believe that consuming fat was bad, and that saturated fat led to high cholesterol and heart disease. This theory has been proven to be completely false. We are now seeing the detrimental side effects and suffering of the low fat no fat era with countless degenerative diseases. So aim for a balance of healthy fats (sat, mono & poly) and improve your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio by consuming less polyunsaturated (vegetable oils) in processed foods and fast food/restaurants. Source fats from quality grass-fed/pastured/organic animals, and oils that are organic/unprocessed/cold pressed and unrefined. Ditch the toxic vegetable oils. Good healthy fats are the preferred fuel of the heart and provide an excellent source of long burning fuel for the body. Fat fear not!
To learn more about healthy fats and the important role they play in our health, please visit the Weston A. Price Foundation for additional information.
“March” into Spring with a quick and easy velvety smooth carrot soup! Just a handful of fresh ingredients makes this soup the perfect warm up for Spring. Aside from tasting delicious, carrot soup is packed full of nutrients too. Carrots are high in vitamin A and a very good source of biotin, vitamin K, fiber, molybdenum, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Collagen rich chicken stock/bone broth promotes healthy digestion, healthy hair and nail growth, and reduces joint pain and inflammation. Onions and garlic are rich in sulphur compounds and flavonoids. Full fat yogurt provides calcium and good bacteria (probiotics). Butter of course adds flavor (everything tastes better with butter!) and has a long list of health benefits including promoting the absorption of minerals, high in vitamin A, E, K, selenium, CLA and antioxidants. And lastly, herbs contain antibacterial/anti-inflammatory/antioxidant properties.
2 lbs. organic carrots, scrubbed and quartered lengthwise
4 cups chicken stock or bone broth (homemade, organic, free range is best)
1 cup finely chopped organic yellow onion
2 small cloves organic garlic
1 cup full fat yogurt (grass-fed or organic is best)
3-4 tbsp. butter (grass-fed or organic is best)
Fresh or dried thyme, dill or parsley
Salt chicken stock to taste. (a good quality sea salt is best)
Parboil carrots in chicken stock about 12 to 15 minutes until just tender. Let cool.
While carrots are cooling, sauté the onion and garlic in butter until soft.
Purée carrots, stock, sautéed onions & garlic and yogurt using a stick blender (or regular blender) until smooth.
Add some fresh thyme, dill or parsley (or about 1 tsp. dried), additional salt and pepper to taste.
Heat slowly over low heat until warmed through, or chill and serve cold.
For another pretty presentation, swirl a dollop of sour cream and add a thyme, dill or parsley sprig to individual bowls (optional).
We all know how good vegetables and fruits are for us. From anti-aging, disease preventing antioxidants, to vitamins, minerals and fiber, fruits & vegetables are nutritional powerhouses and the foundation of a healthy diet. Antidote Wellness Therapies is super excited to be hosting a Summer and Fall CSA with Turtle Creek Gardens. Turtle Creek Gardens is located just North of Delavan and is USDA/MOSA Certified Organic. Click here to learn more about Turtle Creek Gardens Farm.
Not familiar with a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA is a great way to purchase local seasonal produce right from the farmer. Purchasing a CSA allows you to know your farmer and how and where your food is grown, putting your dollars back into the community.
So how does a CSA work? The farmer offers a certain number of shares to the public. Shares typically include a box of vegetables but other farm products may be offered as well such as fruits, herbs, eggs, cheese, honey, meats and so on. Buyers purchase a share or subscription/membership. In return, the member receives a box of seasonal produce weekly or bi-weekly throughout the growing season delivered to a designated drop off site.
This arrangement is beneficial to both the farmer and the consumer. The farmer can market during the off-season, receive payment early helping with cash flow, and get an idea on how much and what to plant, and has an opportunity to get to know his/her customers. The consumer benefits by getting the freshest foods possible direct from the farmer, exposure to new vegetables and ways of cooking them and developing a relationship with the farmer who grows their food.
Turtle Creek Gardens CSA will be delivering right here to Antidote for easy pick up every other Wednesday from 4-6 pm. Wondering what you will receive in your Turtle Creek Gardens CSA box? View a slide show here.
*The deadline is fast approaching and shares are limited. Sign up today and enjoy fresh local produce from June to November! Contact Antidote Wellness Therapies at 262.298.5055 for a sign up form or directly with Turtle Creek Gardens here. (Make a note on the application that Antidote Wellness Therapies is your pick up location). Please join Antidote as we get our veggies on!
By Cynthia Hill, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at Antidote Wellness Therapies