Living Lite

A Final Tribute to Nora Pouillon Benefits the Environmental Film Festival

June 7, 2017

On June 7, Nora Pouillon was celebrated at a reception benefiting the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capitol, the largest and longest running film festival of its kind in the United States, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017. The reception was one of the final events at Restaurant Nora before it closes its doors this June 30th. It featured tribute remarks by Thomas L. Friedman, Pulitzer Prize Winner and Foreign Affairs columnist for The New York Times; Ken Cook, President and Co-Founder of the Environmental Working Group; and Flo Stone, Founder of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capitol.

The evening celebrated Nora (a Georgetown neighbor) as a trailblazer in organic, seasonal, local, and environmentally responsible food, and Restaurant Nora becoming the first certified organic restaurant in 1999. Nora was recently recognized with the 2017 James Beard Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award, which produced a video worth watching of Nora's life and career in her honor.

Nora's most recent book is: "My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today,"(Knopf, 2015), co-authored by Laura Fraser. Nora also wrote "Cooking with Nora: Seasonal Recipes from Restaurant Nora - Healthy, Light, Balanced and Simple Food With Organic Ingredients," a cookbook I use often that is personally signed by Nora. I highly recommend it, but there are only a few copies left in print!

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The Right Amount of Alcohol Can Improve Health

May 21, 2017

Nutrition is a complicated science. Some of what we know makes complete sense, but often the science seems counter-intuitive. For instance, most people know that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but they don't know that alcohol can be good for you, too. The confusion often stems from the fact that nutrition isn't usually an "all or nothing" matter. It's also dangerous to assume that "if a little is good, more is better." Nutrition science is more like a "Goldilocks" situation: It's unhealthy to have too little or too much of anything. In nutrition, the amount of a food or nutrient needs to be "just right" in order to benefit your health.

Alcohol is a perfect example. Through the decades, most studies have shown that light to moderate alcohol intake is connected to a reduction in all causes of death (except for breast cancer). But drinking zero alcohol, or too much alcohol, in many studies, have been associated with increased death rates. Your cardiovascular system particularly benefits from the right amount of alcohol. A recent study published in the journal, Clinical Nutrition, found that only light drinking (1 to 7 drinks per week) was associated with a reduced risk of heart failure. Previous studies have also found light drinking to be beneficial for metabolic syndrome, the cluster of conditions that occur together that increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes (high blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides and excess belly fat). But too much drinking is clearly associated with increased death rates. And all scientific experts agree, if you don't drink, this is not enough of a reason to start. Simple healthy living surpasses benefits of light drinking.

To learn more about wine's and alcohol's health effects, read my article about it.

Most health experts agree: Women should maximize their alcohol intake to 1 serving daily, and men to 2 servings daily. One serving of alcohol = 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of spirits.

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Strawberry and Rhubarb Soup

May 15, 2017

At your farmers market, you'll find strawberries and rhubarb picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture, and nutrition. You're also helping save the environment  when you buy at a local farmers market.

Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbe
(Strawberry and Rhubarb Soup)

excerpted from Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes

Serves 4


1 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 stalks Rhubarb, pealed and cut into 1.4 inch chunks
2 cups hulled and sliced fresh Strawberries
4 ounces fresh Orange Juice
1/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Nonfat or Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt
4 fresh Mint Leaves


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Add the rhubarb and saute about a minute. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. Add the strawberries, orange juice, sugar and 1/2 cup of the yogurt and blend with an immersible hand blender (I like the Cuisinart Smart Stick). Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until it is well chilled.


Pour the soup into four small chilled bowls. Place a 1 Tablespoon dollop of yogurt and a fresh mint leaf on each bowl.

Did you know that there are 200 seeds on each strawberry?

Strawberries are members of the Rose family and there are over 600 different varieties. Choose freshly picked, ripe berries, as they will be the tastiest and will have the most nutrients. “Look for berries fully formed, bright red, without bruising or soft spots and with fresh-looking green caps,” says Janie Hibler in “The Berry Bible.”

Strawberries are considered a “superfood.” They have one of the highest antioxidant and nutrient contents of all foods, yet they are low in calories, so you can eat them in unlimited quantities. In fact, for your health, the more the better! “A serving of eight strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange. Strawberries are also rich in folate, potassium, and fiber. They’re especially high in cancer- and heart-disease-fighting phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds) called flavonoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechin, and kaempferol.

Soupe aux Fraises et Rhubarbeis adapted from "The French Culinary Institute's Salute to Healthy Cooking" (Rodale Press, 1998), one of my favorite cookbooks, which I highly recommend!

For more of my fantastic spring recipes...

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