Living Lite

Nora Pouillon's Ratatouille

October 22, 2017

Nora Pouillon’s Ratatouille

Adapted from "Cooking with Nora"

And Excerpted from Diet Simple


Ratatouille is an authentic aromatic Provençal ragout of onions, eggplants, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes, stewed slowly in olive oil and flavored with garlic and fresh herbs. At the Dupont Circle Fresh Farm Market, I recently found every vegetable and herb needed for this amazingly tasty and versatile dish - all from Twin Springs Fruit Farm stand from Ortanna, Pennsylvania. The farmers travel 90 miles to provide us city folks with the freshest, juiciest, most delicate fruits and vegetables to be had - not to mention the extraordinary nutrition they provide!

Cutting up the vegetables is time consuming and that is why I like to make double or more than the amount I need and use the leftovers ...

at room temperature the next day with grilled chicken or fish.

mixed with eggs and cheese for a Quiche Provencal.

heated up and stirred with beaten eggs, spiced with chilis and served with sliced ham, Prosciutto, or cooked lean sausage  as Piperade or Basque dish.

reheated and used as sauce for freshly cooked pasta, garnished with feta or goat cheese, with the addition of pitted black olives if desired.

As Minestrone, heated with vegetable or chicken stock, adding a can of drained cannellini beans and maybe a spoon of pesto on top.


The trick of a good ratatouille is not to overcook the vegetables.  They have to be added one after the other, depending on the amount of time they need to cook to be just tender.  Of course, Nora recommends all the vegetables be organic.


6 - 8 servings


1/2 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tablespoons garlic, minced

1-2 eggplants (2 lbs) cut into 1-inch cubes

2 peppers, red, green or yellow, cut into 1-inch squares

2 zucchini (1.5 lbs) cut into 1-inch cubes

1.5 lbs tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon thyme, minced

1/2 Tablespoon rosemary, minced

2 Tablespoon parsley or basil, minced


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until hot.  


Add the onions and stew for 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, then the eggplants and peppers, cover and cook slowly for 20 minutes. 


Add the zucchini, cook for 5 minutes, then lastly add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes or less.  


Season with salt and pepper and the minced herbs.


Calories 220  Percent of Daily Value

Calories from Fat 150 

Total Fat  16g 25%

Saturated Fat 2g 11%

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium  15mg 1%

Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%

Dietary Fiber 6g 22%

Soluble Fiber 1.13 g

Omega 3 Fatty Acids 0.14 g

Sugars  10g 

Protein  3g 

Vitamin A  60%

Vitamin C  160%

Calcium   4%

Iron   8%

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Yoga for Lower Back Pain

October 1, 2017

"At least 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime... In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults experienced low back pain in the past 3 months," according to the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

"Recent studies in people with chronic low back pain suggest that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may help reduce pain and improve function (the ability to walk and move). Studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might have other health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and may also help relieve anxiety and depression," according to a NCCIH article.

Yoga, meaning "unity" in Sanskrit, "unites a mind and body practice," according to a National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health (NCCIH)

Yoga is believed to have originated in the 5th or 6th centuries BCE in India. But it didn't become popular in the west until the 20th Century. Just twenty years ago, if you practiced yoga, you may have been skeptically regarded as a "hippie" or "a little too new age." But today, there seems to be a yoga studio on every corner. In fact, it's become so mainstream, that my physical therapist recommended yoga to me for healing from my particular knee and back surgeries of last year (I've been a practicioner for at least ten years), though I adapt poses to my individual needs, per her instructions (and which you should do per your doctor's instructions).

I recommend yoga or any other mindfulness meditation practices for my clients when changing their lifestyle habits. It is a simple yet powerful tool that can help you transform your health and your life. The mindfulness you can experience with yoga (or other forms of meditation) can help you become more focused and clear, for concentration to be more sustained. It can help you handle emotional situations more effectively by improving decision making and reducing impulsivity, as I relate in my article, "Mindfulness in Eating and Living," and I describe in my book, "Diet Simple." 

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An Age-Old Home Remedy for Coughs

September 27, 2017

I don't know about you, but I've noticed a lot of sniffles and coughing going on this season (and unfortunately, that includes me!). Whether it's from an allergy, a cold, an upper respiratory tract infection, post nasal drip, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), there's an age-old remedy for coughing that has been recently proven by science to be effective. The ingredient is easily available, and is often a staple in your own kitchen. 

What is it? Honey. "An 8,000 year old cave painting in Spain depicts honey harvesting, and we know it's been used for food, medicine, and more by cultures all over the world since," according to Ullman's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry.

"Coughing is a protective reflex action triggered by irritation or obstruction of the airwaves," according to this study in Pediatric Reports. "There is a high prevalance in children and it impacts a child's ability to sleep, play and eat. It is the largest single cause of primary care doctor visits."

Honey was found to be more effective than dextromethorphan, found in common over-the-counter cough medicines, according to this study reported in Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. In fact, the results found the medicine was no better than the placebo.

In another study, coughing was reduced and sleep was improved in 2-year-olds with upper respiratory tract infections when they were given 2 teaspoons of honey before bedtime. In the study, honey was as effective as dextromethorphan, according to the Mayo Clinic.

A similar conclusion was found in a review of studies published in Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, when children aged 1 to 18 were tested. 

The World Health Organization identifies honey as a potential treatment for cough.

Honey is an especially good potential remedy for children, as it could be a natural way to avoid overuse of drugs like antibiotics (but check with your doctor first!).

Honey Cough Syrup

1-1/2 Tablespoons Zest of 2 Lemons
1/4 Cup Peeled, Sliced Ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Ginger
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

In a small saucepan combine lemon zest, sliced ginger ad 1 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Then strain into a heat-proof measuring cup. Rinse the saucep and and pour in 1 cup of honey. On low heat, warm the honey but don't allow it to boil. Add the strained lemon ginger water and the lemon juice. Stir the mixture until it combines to form a thick syrup. Pour into a clean jar with a lid. This can be refrigerated for up to 2 months.

* Recipe by the National Honey Board


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