Don't say good-bye to summer yet. There is still plenty of summer's most lovely seasonal produce, particulary heirloom tomatoes - my favorite - to entertain with, as evidenced by Four Seasons' beautifully prepared Greek Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, and other recipes from Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes. My recipes were uniquely and beautifully interpreted by the Four Seasons Hotel Executive Chef Douglas Anderson for my presentation, "Four Steps For Strengthening Muscle and Bone - Some Surprises!" exclusively for Four Seasons Health Club members.
Every vegetable in the recipe - the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, sweet onions, and garlic - can be found at the local Farmers Markets at Rose Park on Wednesday or Dupont Circle on Sunday or any other Fresh Farm Market locations. The possibilities are endless! This is a naturally vegetarian recipe. But for the meat lovers, it's great with grilled chicken or seafood on the side.
"Katherine's Market Recipe," is designed to be delicious, easy, quick, family-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local Farmers Markets this week. At your Farmers Market, you'll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture and nutrition. You're also helping save the environment when you buy at your Farmers Market. Here's how ...
Greek Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes
By Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.
From "Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes: 50 New Reasons to Cook in Season!"
2 Tablespoons Freshly Harvested Extra Virgin Olive Oil (All Things Olive)
2 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (1 Lemon)
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Oregano or Basil (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Clove Garlic, Minced (optional)
Salt and Pepper to Taste (Salt is not necessary with the cheese and olives)
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced into a half-moon shape
1 onion, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 medium yellow, purple or green bell pepper, cored, seeded, chopped into large bite-size pieces
1 cup pitted Kalamata or other Greek Olives
4 Heirloom Tomatoes, quartered, and cut into large, bite-size pieces
4 ounces Feta or Goat Cheese, broken into small bits
Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a large salad bowl and whisk until blended. Add the cucumbers, onion, pepper, and olives and toss into vinaigrette. Let sit for twenty minutes to marinate. Add the heirloom tomatoes and cheese when ready to serve.
Tomatoes are one of the "superfoods." Men who consumed 10 or more servings of tomato products a week had a 35% decrease in risk of prostate cancer relative to those who consumed 1.5 servings or fewer per week. This is largely attributed to “lycopene” in the tomatoes, which is also in other red fruits such as watermelon, pink grapefruit and guava. Men with lycopene levels in the top 20% had a 46% decrease in risk of heart attack compared to those in the bottom 20%. Lycopene is a potent scavenger of gene-damaging free radicals. But don't expect to get it from a supplement. You must eat the tomato as you need the whole food to receive the benefits! Here's an explanation...
Lycopene (Red fruits such as tomatoes, watermelon, guava): Many studies have shown that lycopene-rich foods reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but the mechanism behind that reduction was not well understood until now. A recent study found that lycopene has a substantial protective effect against prostate cancer by interfering with the genes that would allow the prostate cancer cells to grow and survive. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that men take advantage of lycopene’s cancer-preventing effects and fill their diets with foods such as tomatoes, watermelon and guava.
Bottom line: Fill your diet with lycopene-rich foods such as tomatoes, watermelon, and red grapefruit. Remember—the cancer-fighting properties of lycopene in tomatoes are much stronger when the tomatoes are cooked, such as in marinara sauce or tomato soup.
September 26 is the final "Jazz on the Lawn," from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, on the serene and beautifully landscaped Grace Church Georgetown lawn, 1041 Wisconsin Avenue. Last Thursday's performance by the Larry Brown Quartet, to which I brought several friends, was simply sublime.
"Jazz on the Lawn," held every Thursday in September, is an annual tradition at Grace Church Georgetown and on September 26, the final performance, Marshall Keys, alto sax; and Herman Burney, bass, will be playing. "Bring a picnic supper, a bottle of wine if you like, or just come - enjoy great jazz in a beautiful setting," says The Rev John Graham, Rector (Pastor) of Grace Episcopal Church. "There is no charge but donations are gratefully accepted," said Graham, one of the most popular ministers in the area, known for his dedication to helping the homeless, his open-mindedness, and his intellectual - yet spiritual - sermons.
Music on the lawn began in the summer of 2009, and Grace has offered it every year since. It has two purposes: to feature top-flight local musicians, with a special emphasis on jazz, and to introduce the neighbors to Grace Church by inviting them to enjoy the beautiful gardens and grounds.
Grace Church was founded in 1866 by Christ and St. John's Episcopal Churches, Georgetown, as a mission to the dock workers and canal workers of lower Georgetown. "As the neighborhood of lower Georgetown changed, so has Grace," said Graham, "But it's kept its focus on the least among us. The informal, welcoming atmosphere that's characterized this community from the beginning."
Don't waste your workout! One of my 50-something clients, who lost twenty pounds with a few “Diet Simple” tricks, increased pedometer steps, and weight training, confided in me that she feels sexy for the first time in years! On the tennis court, she performs better, is more flexible, stronger and quicker. Who could ask for more in your 40s, 50s, 60s – or even older?
My clients regularly ask me, "How do I maximize my workouts to gain muscle as quickly and effectively as possible?"
My answer: "What you eat and when you eat it profoundly improves your ability to build muscle mass and strength, and new surprising studies show an ancient beverage and a simple stretching routine can make a huge difference, too. Let me explain..."
1. Your Workout
While nutrition is important, the quality of your strength training workout is a key factor for building muscle mass. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends strength training all of your major muscle groups at least two times a week. I encourage all my clients to get some kind of strength training so that when they lose weight, they not only look more toned and have more strength (who wants to be a flabby skinny person?), they're healthier. This can be accomplished by working with a skilled trainer, but also through vigorous yoga and pilates - whenever there is resistance and you work your muscles to exhaustion - that is, you can't do just one more pushup - you're building muscle.
It's also important to build muscle because the more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body burns because muscle mass increases metabolism. That’s why a man who weighs the same as a woman can eat so much more, and will lose weight more easily. He has relatively more muscle so he burns more calories, even at rest!
Studies of 80-year-olds show muscular strength can mean the difference between independence and a nursing home... it improves balance, walking, and reduces falls.
But it's not easy to build muscle for a variety of reasons.
First, muscle mass declines as you age, starting in your mid 30s. An average person will lose five to seven pounds of muscle between age 35 to age 50 due to disuse. For every pound of muscle lost, you lose the capacity to burn 35 to 50 calories per day. That means if you’ve lost seven pounds of muscle by the age of 50, at 50 calories per muscle, that’s 350 calories you can’t eat just to prevent weight gain, let alone lose weight.
Second, weight loss causes muscle loss. When you lose weight, about half of what you lose is muscle -though you can minimize muscle loss by eating right (so read on!). This makes it even harder to keep the weight off because you’re reducing your muscle and therefore your metabolism as you lose pounds.
This brings us to the obvious: Building muscle as you age, eating the right kinds of foods to make that happen - and to minimize muscle loss as you lose weight - is essential to keeping lean.
Now for the nutrition...
Protein is essential for healthy living. It is one of the most important nutrients in the human body, second only to water. Bone health, muscle function, muscle strength, muscle mass and immune function -- all are impaired with a low protein intake. But how much protein do we need?
New research has found that eating the right amount of protein - and at the right times - is essential not only for your health, but also for effective muscle gain and weight loss. Eating enough protein while losing weight is more likely to minimize muscle loss and maximize fat loss. Keeping muscle stores high is critical as losing muscle decreases resting metabolic rate, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat.
The National Academy of Sciences, in a recent report, recommended Americans eat at least 15% of their calories as protein but never exceed 35 percent, as that may be when adverse symptoms begin to appear (Low carb diets are often as high as 80% protein, and have many adverse health consequences).
If you're losing weight or are worried about muscle or bone loss, consider increasing your protein.
3. Timing is Everything!
Eat a food or beverage high in protein 20 minutes before, and again, immediately after your strength training workout or after a vigorous cardiovascular workout, such as tennis, swimming, or kayaking, or even just a long walk. When you work out, you break down your muscles. Taking in protein when your muscles are being broken down and are metabolically active will build your muscle mass and strength more effectively. You also need to make sure you hydrate yourself properly!
My personal regimen includes drinking some skim milk before my workout - all you need is about 1/2 cup - and eating yogurt immediately after my workout or after yoga. If I forget the yogurt, I'll run to the nearest coffee shop after my workout and buy a skim latte for my protein, which contains milk, or soy milk. But, I like yogurt the best: It contains important probiotics which keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy. It also contains high quality protein, carbohydrate, calcium, potassium and magnesium - important nutrients which you need to replenish your muscles. Eating immediately after your workout could have other benefits: It prevents the "extreme hungries" some people feel after heavy exercise, and it could prevent muscle cramps, according to a client who used to have muscle cramps regularly until she started eating yogurt after her exercise.