Posted on 06/11/2010 at 04:25 PM by Madhu Gadia
Before I share my recipes and message for this month, I want to thank you all for taking The Indian Vegan Kitchen to the top of the amazon.com Indian cookbook category; it was number one for over two weeks! I also hope you had a chance to see the review in India Abroad, click here to see the review.
Spring is a wonderful time to take sometime off and hang out with your family and friends. After a long winter, it’s a great way to welcome the new season and reenergize. In March, I took my spring break by attending an inspiring conference called Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Lives (HKHL) at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Napa Valley, California. And since my mom and brother lives nearby I combined business and pleasure by spending four additional days in California with them.
This month, I’d like to share some highlights and lessons learned from the Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Lives conference. The HKHL conference is a collaboration of the Harvard School of Medicine and the CIA. The Harvard doctors presented the latest science of diet and nutrition and the CIA chefs cooked it up. Most of the attendees were physicians. They were encouraged to ask their patients about their eating, exercise, and lifestyle habits, and if necessary write a lifestyle prescription or hand out a healthy recipe.
Talk to Your Doctor: The doctors were encouraged to help patients with lifestyle choices. Next time you visit your doctor, take the opportunity to start a conversation about your overall health. Maybe you can even set up one appointment just to talk about your diet and exercise habits, or better yet see a dietitian.
Healthy and Delicious Food: I loved the fact that everything served at the conference was healthy and tasty. No compromise on taste. It was grand to be with like-minded people. My motto is “healthy and tasty foods go hand in hand.” If it doesn’t taste good people will not eat it, at least not for life. Dr. David Eisenberg, Director for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at the Harvard Medical School, who created the HKHL conference says, “if we’re going to get people to eat better we have to realize that taste trumps nutrition science every time.” I’m sure you’ll agree. And of course being in Napa Valley, there was ample of good wine to go with every meal, with plenty of research to back up its heart-health benefits.
Recommendations for Healthy Living from the Conference:
- Eat More Vegetables: Most recipes shared at cooking demonstrations focused on adding or extending the main dish with more vegetables such as chicken stir-fry with a little bit of chicken and lots of vegetables. The chefs created beautiful roasted vegetables sprinkled with a little bit of oil and salt. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables. And of course my recommendation would be, for more flavor add garlic, dried herbs, or spices to the oil.
- Make it Whole Grain: Another key message was to eat fewer processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white flour, sugary cereals, and soft drinks; instead eat more whole grains. Whole grains take longer to digest, have more fiber, thus support a healthy heart and digestive tract, and help with weight management as they keep you full longer. I have cooked with variety of whole grains but I tasted and cooked with Farro for the first time at the conference. Try it for yourself, see the recipe below.
- Eat Mindfully: Eating standing up, eating on the run, or watching TV while eating may all seem to save time, but in the long run, according to doctors and dietitians, these habits are a recipe for overeating. Mindfulness in eating is a prerequisite to weight management. “Take the time to savor and relish the flavor, color, aroma, and texture of food,” says Eisenberg.
- Physical Activity: Balancing energy intake with energy output was a no-brainer. The attached quote/cartoon presented by Daniel Rooks, PhD says it all: “What fits your schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours per day?”
April Recipes: Since I’ve bragged about the HKHL conference and how great the food was, I decided to share some of my favorite recipes from the conference with you this month. People were lined up for these Peanut, Farro, and Mushroom Burgers. This recipe was developed by my friend and colleague, Suvir Saran, author of the American Masala cookbook. The recipe, Whole Wheat Couscous Salad was presented by Dr. Eisenberg, who proclaimed, “if I can cook it, so can you.” And, Pasta “In Zemino” with Seafood, Greens, Garlic, and Hot Pepper, comes from multi-talented chef, restaurant owner, cookbook author and California Street Cooking School founder Joyce Goldstein. FYI, I have tasted but not tested any of these recipes.
Happy and Healthy Cooking!
P.S. Have nutrition questions or concerns? Frustrated and confused with nutrition information and science? Want practical healthy solutions? For more information on how a nutrition consultation can help you, see www.madhugadia.com/consultant.
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