Living Lite

Taste Strawberry Granita at the C.H.O.P. Farmer's Market Friday

May 17, 2012

Visit this Friday, May 18th at the Capital Harvest on the Plaza Farmers Market (13th & Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.) noon to 2:00 pm for a free sample of one of the most popular recipes at the market: Strawberry Granita! Excerpted from my book, Diet Simple, a granita is an Italian frozen treat, made with any seasonal fruit. The basic recipe was provided to me by long-time Georgetown resident and friend, Carol Cutler.

I hope to see you at the C.H.O.P. Market, where the mission is to demonstrate just how delicious seasonal, local fruits and vegetables can be. You see, when you buy from local farmers, you're buying fruit picked that very morning, so it is at its peak ripeness, and has maximum flavor and nutritional value. It also means you are buying a superior variety of fruit or vegetable, a variety which may be more tender, flavorful, and juicy, a variety more unique to the region. This saves precious resources using less water, energy, and pesticides - and that's good for the environment.


Strawberry - or Any Fruit - Granita

(excerpted from "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations" LifeLine Press, 2011)

The best ice cream in the world can be found in Italy, hands down. But much more typical of Italian fare is granita, the wonderfully fresh, flavored ice that is so refreshing after a meal. Here is a granita you can whip up in a flash, and at any time of the year. Even though it is based on frozen strawberries, the taste says "fresh" thanks to the helpful addition of orange flavoring.

8 servings

grated peel and juice of 1 orange (or 1/4 cup of another juice)
2 teaspoons orange liqueur or another liqueur (optional)
20 ounces frozen sweetened or fresh strawberries (or other fruit in season)

Optional: 1 Tablespoon Sugar (if using fresh strawberries), or Splenda
Optional: 8 mint sprigs

Put eight small sherbet dishes in the refrigerator to chill. If using fresh berries, place them in the freezer until frozen. Cut the frozen sweetened or unsweetened berries into large-sized chunks and put into a food processor. Add the orange juice, peel, and liqueur. Add sugar or Splenda, if using fresh strawberries and they aren't sweet enough. Pulse for about 30 seconds to break up the chunks, then process on high until the mixture is smooth. When the mixture has been pureed, spoon immediately into the chilled dishes and place in the freezer. If the granita has been frozen for more than six hours, remove it from the freezer 10 minutes before serving time. If desired, decorate with the mint sprigs.

(Muffin cup liners can also be used. Fit each one into a cup in the muffin pan and fill to the 3/4 level, the frozen ice will expand. Place immediately into the freezer.)

Per serving: 80 calories, 0 grams fat, 20 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 0 mg sodium, 0 grams protein

There are few foods which match the intense color and flavor of berries. Fortunately, they are nutrition superstars. Learn more about the nutritional benefits of berries...


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Eating to Save the Planet

May 14, 2012

For those of you who want to make a contribution toward saving the planet, you may want to consider changing what you eat.

What you eat profoundly affects not only your health, but the environment, too. This is important news because when it comes to environmental issues and halting global warming, many of us feel overwhelmed and helpless. So it’s amazing that something as simple as making better food choices can reduce global warming by lowering greenhouse gases, saving land, and conserving diminishing water and energy supplies.

Your protein choice will make the most significant difference on the environment (and your health). Producing meat requires six to seventeen times more land than growing vegetable protein, 26 times more water. And producing vegetables is up to 50 times more energy efficient than meat production, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating vegetable protein will also save your health. Decades of research has found that plants contain compounds (phytochemicals) with potent powers of healing. People who eat a plant-based diet are leaner, have less cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

But when eating more fruits and vegetables, it’s important to consider how and where they’re grown. Environmental resource conservation is reduced if food is transported long distances and grown in large industrial farms which specialize in only one or a few foods. Locally, organically produced food saves water, energy and encourages a region’s unique varieties of fruits and vegetables. Heirloom varieties, for example, have been passed down through generations, have natural resistance to pests, disease and are better able to tolerate local conditions without too much extra energy, pesticides or water.

How you can protect the environment through your food choices:

* Buy seasonally and locally at farm stands and farmers’ markets,
* Eat a plant-based diet,
* Reduce meat consumption,
* Use heirloom varieties, whenever possible,
* Buy organic whenever possible.

I'll see you at the Rose Park Farmers Market on Wednesdays, Capital Harvest on the Plaza Farmers Market (13th & PA Ave) on Fridays and the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sundays!

This article was excerpted from: The Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2007; 107: 1033 - 1043 "Position of the American Dietetic Association: Food and Nutrition Professionals Can Implement Practices to Conserve Natural Resources and Support Ecological Sustainability"

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Healing Nutrition

May 6, 2012

I'm running a tight ship here in Westlake Village, California, with my mother, to quicken her recovery from knee-replacement surgery. My "Healing Diet" worked beautifully after her hip replacement surgery five years ago; she healed quickly, and without the weight gain she dreaded. So I'm here to give her my special Healing Diet treatment program again. What you eat profoundly affects your ability to recover from surgery or heal from any injury. Everyone's nutritional needs are different, but there are general rules of thumb for maximizing your body's ability to heal through foods.


Protein is one of the most important nutrients in the human body, second only to water. Protein is critical for healing, and immune function is impaired without enough. The antibodies essential to protecting your body against pathogens are made of protein. Protein is necessary to repair and build  tissue and muscle, broken down after surgery or injury. So without enough protein, your body has no chance to heal.

Certain vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, children, and those who already have compromised immune systems, should be particularly careful to eat enough protein – in fact, even more than the recommended dietary allowance – for maximized protection. Your protein needs should be individualized and, to maximize your body's ability to absorb and use protein, it should be eaten in small amounts through the day.

Fats and Oils

The type of fat you eat can improve the effectiveness of your body’s immune response because fat ends up in all of your body’s cell walls. It acts as a cell lubricant, improves flexibility and communication between cells. If the fat you eat is saturated – solid at room temperature – as in butter or animal fat – this decreases cellular flexibility and functioning. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Studies show all nutrients are involved in your immune response but taking high doses of certain nutrients in supplements can cause imbalances, backfire, and actually suppress your immune response. So it’s ideal to get your vitamins and minerals from nutrient-rich foods and a balanced diet. Your immune system especially needs foods high in Vitamins C, D, E, B12, Zinc, Beta Carotene, and Magnesium.


The good bacteria in the gut, which aids aborption of important nutrients, is reduced as we age. There is some evidence that eating more of the good bacteria, such as lactobacillus in yogurt, may help your immune response and healing.


Learn more about immune nutrition and my mother's special healing diet program...

Katherine staying in shape while visiting Mom in Westlake Village, CA ...

Westlake Village at Sunrise May 5, 2012 (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Westlake Village at Sunrise May 5, 2012

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