Gardening, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Summer, Vegetables, Wellness

Behold the Lowly Turnip

By 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.

 

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Turnip Mash

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.

Did you know?

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’

And that…

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!

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Beautiful turnips from my garden!
Eat well,

Cynthia

Grilling, Health, Health Food, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Meat, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Summer, Vegetables, Wellness

To Grill or Grill Not…

Beef steak with grilled vegetables

By Cynthia Hill, NTP

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.

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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).

Author Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, “The Naughty Nutritionist” states “it’s a myth that HCAs are mostly found in fried or grilled beef, poultry and fish.”  Her post “Barbecue Meat a Safer Choice than Packaged Protein Foods” explains why we are more likely to get more carcinogenic HCAs from processed and fast foods than from the grill.

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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!

The following suggestions from the The National Cancer Institute may reduce HCA and PAH formation while grilling:

  • Avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times (especially at high temps) can redue HCA and PHA formation.
  • Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often.
  • Removing charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings.

 

Trimming the fat, and using marinades with herbs/spices and an acid component  like vinegar or citrus offers protection also.

Avoid overcooking and processed meats as they already contain cancer causing preservative substances.

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So will I be firing up the grill this Summer?  You betcha!

 

Sincerely in Health,

Cynthia

 

Note:  This site contains affiliate links.

Farming, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Meat, Nutritional Therapy, Wellness

Springtime Rack of Lamb

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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

4 servings

 

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.

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By Cynthia Hill, NTP

 

CSA, Detoxification, Farming, Gardening, Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Soup, Vegetables, Wellness

Carrot Soup

Healthy vegetarian soup puree

By Cynthia Hill, NTP

“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.

Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

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

To make:

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).

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Recipe adapted from Jennifer Dillman, NTP

 

CSA, Detoxification, Farming, Gardening, Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Vegetables, Wellness

Get Your Veggies On!

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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!

1446167307_d8acf70ad403By Cynthia Hill, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at Antidote Wellness Therapies

 

Detoxification, Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Wellness

Put a Little Love in Your Heart This Valentines Day

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By Cynthia Hill, NTP

Did you know that the health of the heart reflects the health of the entire body?    This is why it is so important to address and balance what we as Nutritional Therapists call the foundations of optimal health including diet, digestion, blood sugar balance, fatty acid balance, mineral balance, and hydration.

Each of these foundations contribute to heart health and together achieve optimal health. So what can you do to support these foundations?

Diet – Fuel your heart!  Choosing a properly prepared whole foods nutrient dense diet rich in vitamins and minerals is the single most important thing you can do for your heart and your health.  Ditch the processed and convenience foods (heart disease is a processed food disease!) and opt for fresh organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, and full fat organic and grass fed unprocessed dairy products (if you tolerate dairy).

Digestion –  Improve digestion!  Good digestion of proteins is essential to make amino acids like taurine (aids in heart rhythm) and carnitine (lowers blood pressure and cholesterol).  Proper stomach PH ensures digestion and absorption of calcium and B vitamins.  Good liver/gallbladder function is important to digest healthy fats and fat soluble vitamins.  Appropriate bowel flora is required to make vitamins B1, B2, B12, and K2  which help convert our food into fuel and reduce elevated homocysteine levels – a cardiovascular risk.  Dietary changes along with addressing food sensitivities and detoxing can heal the gut and promote optimal digestion.

Blood Sugar Balance – Balance blood sugar!  High blood glucose levels can make it more difficult for blood and oxygen to move in and out of the heart.  Blood sugar imbalances can lead to an overproduction of cortisol leading to insulin resistance which compromises mineral uptake by the cells.  High Insulin blocks the PG-1 pathway for prostaglandin  anti-inflammatory pathway production (hormone involved in the healing process). Inflammation is a common factor in heart disease.  Reduce consumption of processed high carbohydrate and sugar laden foods to help balance blood sugar.  B vitamins are especially important in the conversion of glucose into energy for cell utilization and blood sugar regulation.  Some good sources of B vitamins include liver, turkey, tuna legumes, and whole grains.

Fatty Acid Balance – Eat heart healthy fats!   Did you know that good healthy fats are the preferred fuel of the heart?  It’s true!  Fatty acids in the right proportion are critical to managing inflammation in the body. Fatty acids are a fundamental part of the cell membranes that make up the tissues of the heart and the coronary arteries.  Cold water fatty fish, & small amounts of raw sprouted nuts and seeds are good sources of fatty acids.  If you are eating processed food, you are most likely consuming considerable amounts of highly processed (rancid & free radical prone) omega 6 vegetable oils (throwing off the critical omega 3 omega 6 fatty acid proportion/ratio) and artery clogging artificial trans fats (margarines, hydrogenated fats).  Choose healthy  oils like coconut, avocado and olive oils and animal fats (lard, tallow, poultry fat) from healthy, antibiotic free, grass-fed, free range animals.

Mineral Balance – Increase mineral intake and absorption!  Calcium and magnesium are imperative for a healthy heart.  Both minerals work together to regulate contracting and relaxing of the heart and muscles. Calcium prompts the contraction and relaxation of the heart.  Magnesium is needed  for absorption of  calcium along with Vitamin D and K2.  An appropriate calcium-magnesium ratio is critical or the calcium will not work.  Low sodium levels can increase insulin resistance raising heart disease risk.  Eat the rainbow for plenty of mineral rich vegetables.

Hydration – Drink plenty of water!  Staying hydrated is key to good lymphatic flow and proper blood viscosity. (The thinner the blood, the less it resists flow, moving smoothly throughout the body). Dehydration causes the vascular system to selectively close some of its vessels, leading to hypertension and heart disease.  Proteins and enzymes depend on hydration to function properly in the body.  Reduce diuretics (coffee, tea, soda, juice) and increase pure water intake.

Maintaining  normal weight, cholesterol and blood pressure levels are also paramount in supporting the health of the heart and finally – exercise!  The heart muscle loves and benefits from regular movement!

So put a little love in your heart this Valentines Day.  Fuel your heart with the nutrients and love it desires and needs to be truly heart healthy!

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Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Wellness

February is National Cherry Month!

cherries

By Cynthia Hill, NTP

From the dark black cherry to the delicate yellow Rainier, these heavenly little bite size jewels are unquestionably one of my favorite fruits!

Evidence suggests cherries have been eaten since prehistoric times.  Cherry trees were brought to America in the 1600s.   In 1912 Japan gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington DC to honor a lasting friendship with the United States. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates this event.  A cherry tree in full  blossom is a sight to behold!

Michigan produces 75% of the nation’s tart cherries.  The average cherry tree produces enough cherries for 28 pies.

The word cherry is popular in catch phrases like “cherry picking”, “cherry on top”, ” “life is like a bowl of cherries”… and in song Neil Diamond sang “Cherry Cherry”.

Aside from their long history , beautiful blossoms and delicious taste, cherries boast a strong nutritional profile worth getting excited about!  Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants (especially high in melatonin – think healthy sleep!) Tart cherries are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. They also contain fiber and anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve arthritis and gout pain. The vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins in cherries help fight cancer and heart disease. So many good reasons to include cherries in your diet!

You won’t catch me eating fresh cherries in February, (I try to eat seasonal) but I do eagerly await cherry blossoms  in spring, and  fresh picked cherries in mid July.  I will eat my fill of these juicy little orbs during the summer and freeze some to enjoy in smoothies until the next cherry season!