Living Lite

Asparagus Already?

April 1, 2012

If any food says spring loudly and clearly, it's asparagus. Asparagus season is earlier than usual because of the record-setting warm winter weather, and I, for one, am grateful. As someone who almost exclusively buys my produce from the farmers' markets, I've been feeling a bit bored with winter's kale, potatoes and beets... Kale and potatoes and beets, oh my!

I have several luscious asparagus recipes I've been dying to get into. Before I share them with you, let me tell you why asparagus is so good to eat (besides being uniquely delicious).

Asparagus is packed with nutrients. Low in calories, it's an excellent source of folic acid, thiamin, vitamin C, and B6. Asparagus, like other fruits and vegetables, is sodium- fat- and cholesterol-free. It is an important source of potassium and nutrients important for boosting your immune system, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and preventing heart disease and cancer. Asparagus is especially high in glutathione, one of the body's most potent cancer fighters, according to the National Cancer Institute. It's also high in rutin, which is valuable in strengthening the blood vessels.

When buying asparagus, it should be bright green with tight, firm tips. And you'll need to get to the farmer's market early, as it goes fast! I'm not the only one eager for change...

My favorite asparagus recipe is one I developed with my client, Rebecca. We made a mess in her kitchen with several bundles of asparagus at different stations. We roasted it, steamed it, and sautéed it. We tried a variety of dressings and accompaniments.

The result? "Chilled Asparagus in a Creamy Tarragon, Shallot, and Roasted Walnut Vinaigrette." How delicious is it? Let me just say my friend Cindy Mize, who I immortalized in my book, Diet Simple, as having just lipstick and fingernail polish in her refrigerator (during her younger days in Washington), says she can't sleep knowing it is in her refrigerator. In her new life as president of Miami Capital Properties in Key Biscayne, Florida, she has many dinner parties at which my asparagus recipe is featured. After her dinner guests leave, she sneaks to the refrigerator at midnight to scarf up the leftover. I can hardly believe this transformation: but I guess you should say that's the power of a great recipe!

A few of Katherine's favorite asparagus recipes...

Cindy Mize during her non-vegetable eating days in Washington, DC (Photo by: Washington Woman Magazine) Cindy Mize during her non-vegetable eating days in Washington, DC

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Jazzed Up About Juicing?

March 27, 2012

Juicing is about to have a comeback with Starbucks opening its first juice bar and juice cleanses all the rage. I will be discussing juicing with a few experts on today's Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU - FM, 88.5.

Personlly, I love juice. I've been drinking orange juice every morning of my life. You'd think I'd be sick of it by now. But every morning, I look forward to my "sunshine in a glass," and it never disappoints. Especially on those occasions when it's fresh-squeezed. I could live on the stuff. Just thinking of it makes me salivate!

But I save my juice for 8 ounces in the morning because, while, it packs a huge nutritional punch and thinking of it makes me salivate, it also puts on the weight, and fast! Here's how...

My client, Caroline, who was successfully losing weight, was disappointed one recent week that she didn’t lose weight as usual. It didn’t make sense to either of us. Her food intake was stellar. She was even a little more physically active than usual. It wasn’t until we reviewed her food diary thoroughly that we discovered the culprit was liquid calories, and they added up in a way that surprised her. In her case - as is the case with many of us  – that extra glass of wine or mixer, juice as a snack here and there, can add up in ways we don’t expect.

Liquid calories in just about any form, whether alcohol, juices, or sodas, are stealth calories. They come in undetected under the radar screen but have an impact that can be enormous. Scientific evidence is confirming that though these liquids count as calories, our bodies don’t detect them the same way they would if we were eating solid food. When we eat calories in the form of solid food, we naturally compensate by reducing the rest of our meal’s or day’s food intake. But when people ingest liquid calories, studies show, they don’t compensate for them by eating fewer calories.

Learn more about juice, and listen to me on the Kojo Nnamdi Show discuss Juicing...

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Fruit Reduces Diabetes Risk

March 26, 2012


People are always asking me if fruit is too high in sugar to eat, especially if you have diabetes. My answer: It is the perfect food! In fact, people who eat high levels of fruit have a lower incidence of Type 2 Diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, according to a recently published Harvard study.

Fruit is high in water and fiber, which help you feel full with fewer calories, and why fruit-eating is correlated with weighing less. Even though it contains simple sugars and carbohydrates, most fruits have a relatively low glycemic index, that is, when you eat it, your blood sugar raises only moderately, especially when compared with refined sugar or flour products.

Fruit is loaded with nutrients scientists believe protect people from major chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and more. The potassium in fruit helps lower blood pressure and actually helps neutralize the blood pressure-raising affects of sodium.

Eating more fruits and vegetables – as high as 5 cups per day or more – is a habit which could help you stabilize and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes. Yes, it is possible!

And, the best part of fruit? It’s delicious! It’s easy to eat, to pack in your lunch box for the office or school, and it’s such a refreshing snack or dessert. What could be better?

For more details about fruit and this Harvard study...

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