Summer Fruit and Vegetables

cherriesSummer is a wonderful season with long days and lots of sunshine. We like to spend more time outside – walking along the beach or park, playing summer sports or watching our kids play, swimming or watching others swim, and eating outdoors either at our backyards, balconies or forest preserves picnic areas.
Our body needs food to cool off when it is hot outside. No wonder we like to have fresh salads, cold summer soups. Out of sudden long cooked dishes lose their attraction. We enjoy raw fruit and berries. They are delicious and ripe with the abundance of sun.
The color of vegetables also shifted to more bright warm colors like yellow, red and all in between.
It is time for fresh berries – strawberries, blueberries, cherries, sour cherries.
It is time for summer fruits – watermelon, peaches, apricots, and plums.

We enjoy newly harvested vegetables – radishes, carrots, daikon, and beets.
Red color is dominant 🙂 though green vegetables are always good for you. Green vegetables help keep our diet balanced and not to overload on glucose which could be tough on our liver.

Because we naturally get more sugar from summer vegetables, berries and fruits, our body is craving pungent even bitter taste to balance it out.
Radish, daikon, arugula, dandelion, and ginger are great veggies to keep us healthy while we indulge ourselves with sugary freshly grown summer produce.

Summer food is sweet. Most of the recipes are raw or quickly cooked.

Corn on the cob takes 5-7 minutes to cook. Corn
Cucumber zucchini Polenta soup takes 10 minute to cook. cucumber soup
Red Cabbage, Daikon pressed salad takes 10 minutes to prepare (plus 1 hour under press) pressed salad

Health Tip** The higher the temperature that food is cooked, the longer it stays in your gut and the more difficult it becomes for your digestive mechanisms to digest it.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We all have heard some form of this saying. Another popular wisdom says: “Eat your breakfast, share your lunch with a friend, and give your dinner to an enemy”. These are old sayings but what is the basis for paying a special attention to a breakfast?

We all have busy schedules – whether you need to get to work in the morning, get your kids to schools, take care of your elderly, pray Shacharit or all of the above…

where to find time for breakfast?! and why bother?!

Some people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but that might be not such a good idea. It can backfire. Skipping meals, especially breakfast can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal, or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger.

While adults need to eat breakfast each day to perform their best, kids need it even more. Their growing bodies and developing brains need regular refueling from real food. When kids skip breakfast, they don’t get what they need to be at their best.

Short on time? Eating a wholesome, nutritious morning meal will probably save you time in the long run. By recharging the brain and body, you’ll be more efficient in just about everything you do.

Breakfast is setting our bodies for the day. If we do not have a proper breakfast, it is difficult to manage the rest of the day. Some of us suddenly feel low on sugar and start eating cookies or chocolate, and continue snacking throughout the day. Some of us have uncontrollable cravings for bread or sweets or salt or spicy or meat. Some of us sleepy, some are irritated, some are anxious or depressed.

Millet Veggies

Your day could be much different only if you had a proper breakfast.

  • Breakfast should be about one hour after you wake up.
  • Breakfast should be enjoyed sitting down and chewed well.
  • Breakfast should be balanced and rather plain – not too sweet, not too spicy, not too salty.

If the breakfast is too sweet, your taste buds will call for something salty and vs versa later in the day.

Oatmeal Broccoli

Healthy nourishing breakfast consists of complex carbohydrates (whole grains), freshly cooked vegetables or seasonal fruit and a small portion of protein. Light warm vegetable soup could be a nice start of the breakfast to promote healthy digestion. It brings relaxation if your condition is too tight. A warm cup of organic green tea or kukicha tea is a perfect satisfying conclusion to the breakfast.

Carbohydrates are macronutrients needed for optimal brain function and energy through the course of the day. Whole grain porridge contains a high amount of complex carbs, which gets digested at a slow pace, unlike simple carbs. This gives you lasting energy and balances blood sugar.

Those who start the day with vegetables may experience higher energy, improved mental clarity, and reduction in crazy food cravings, loss of pesky pounds and more. Starting the day with green vegetables will not only keep you satisfied for many hours, it will also gently cleanse your body and set a fresh, healthy tone for your day… and your life as whole!

Are all vegetables born equal? 

The majority of people know that eating fruits and vegetables is very important.

Vegetables are essential to our health because they are whole foods, created by nature and are rich in large amount of nutrients. The processed foods that we so commonly eat, can never compare to the health benefits provided by broccoli or carrots which have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.

By eating variety  of vegetables, one can get the best all-around health benefits. Different color vegetables contain unique health components that are important to our health.

Vegetables have many common properties – vitamins, minerals and fiber. One might think that it doesn’t matter which vegetables to eat; that they provide equal benefits. It is fascinating how different they actually are, even just  by looks – size, taste, shape, and color

Green vegetables

Green vegetables contain chlorophyll  (a protein compound that aids in creating healthy Kale Green 300x400red blood cells), fiber, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion, support health of our eyes and vision, and boost immune system activity.

Green vegetables have fewer calories, less sugar. They are cleansing and provide light uplifting energy. They are good throughout the year but especially during spring – natural time for body cleansing after winter when our system was collecting and storing to keep us warm.

G-d created people in balance with the nature. Signs and hints are everywhere around us. Green leafy vegetables grow during the spring. Spring is the first season when nature is awakening after the winter. New green leaves are emerged on trees and bushes, and new green grass covers the land.

Spring is the best time of the year to eat leafy greens – arugula, watercress, parsley, bok choy, mustard greens, etc.

But even among green vegetables some possess undesired properties.

Chard, spinach, rhubarb, beet leaves – are stressful vegetables. They might increase risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones since they contain oxalic acid, which binds calcium and eliminates calcium from the body.

Green paper – is one of nightshade vegetables (as tomato, eggplant, red pepper, potato) which is better to avoid. Nightshade vegetables speed up the heart rate and slow down digestion. They are high in alkaloids which block vitamin B absorption. They might contribute to arthritic and rheumatic symptoms.

List of Healthy – Healing – Good For YOU – green vegetables:

Kale Dinosaur 330x400

Broccoli,

Brussels sprouts,

Green Cabbage,

Kale (green, red, dinosaur)

Collard, Bok Choy,

Parsley, Cilantro,

Arugula, Watercress,

Dill, Mustard greens,Leek 300x400

Cucumber, Kohlrabi,

Chinese cabbage,

Romaine lettuce, 

Dandelion, Celery,

Green onion (scallion),

Leek, Zucchini, 

Sugar snap peas,

Green beans.


**Health Tip: Kale and Collard provide more vitamins, minerals and protein than meat (pound for pound)


Mother’s Day calls for a Dessert

MothersDayBouquet2015My daughter sent me this beautiful bouquet of flowers. Her love and thoughtfulness shines through the choice of unique, colorful, and every time different but always gorgeous bouquet. It touches my heart every time with realization and appreciation of our deep connection. She attached a card that speaks volume to me – loving and caring message enveloped in the refined sence of humor. I can’t help sharing it here:

Happy Mother’s Day to my greatest teacher, my best friend and my cheapest therapist! I love you! #CoolestMom #BestMom #MyMomCooksGreatFood #HealthyMom #MomIsOnInstagram #mom #MomGivesAdvise #MothersDay #Flowers #Colorful #Spring #MomAppreciation #Mommy #Mama #FunMom #WiseMom #SmartMom #MacrobioticMom #ILoveYou #Love #ChefMom

I was not into cooking, moreover into healthy cooking. 😦 at the time when my daughter attended the high school. She learned how to cook and she loves cooking since then. She used to find complicated recipes, provided me with the list of ingredients to buy (many of which I had not heard before). 🙂 and another cooking masterpiece emerged! I was amazed at her creativity. Sometimes she would call me at work to find out at what time I was coming home because she was cooking dinner. It had to be perfectly done and warm by my arrival. In addition, she was designing beautiful menus and we played roles. She was an owner of a boutique restaurant and I was a lucky guest. I got to enjoy colorful menu, delicious food, gorgeous presentation, excellent service and a great company.

Ever since then, when it comes to having a meal, she does not just start eating; she makes a beautiful arrangement on her plate and when it is decorated to mouth-watering appetizing state – it is ready to be eaten.

I believe the passion for the food decoration is passed on with genes. It runs in the family – my mom always spent time on elaborated decoration of every dish when we had guests over. Not a single dish would be served at the table unless it is fully decorated regardless of the fact that guests are already gathered and hungry 🙂

All these good memories are connected with the food I cook today. My cooking is an act of love. It is important to give love to the food while making it. The taste is totaly depends on the state of your heart while preparing food. When you cooking with passion it guarantees the delicious result (not experience or good recipe description). I am inspired to dedicate time to arrangement and decoration of my dishes. This dessert is my grateful gift to my teachers: my mom and my daughter who continue inspire me today.

Happy Mother’s Day to You and Your Mother !!!!DessertAgarStrawberryRaspberryKiwi600

What to pack for lunch to the office in 5 precious minutes in the morning?

Quinoa beans veggies

Red White Quinoa with Black Soy Beans Peas Tomatoes

My daily commute to the office is about 40 miles one way. My company is located in the Northwestern suburb of Chicago. It is a nice area with huge shopping mall and some good food stores but if I want to have a healthy kosher cooked meal, I have to bring it from home. I usually pack my lunches in the morning. If there is not enough time to cook the whole lunch in the morning, it is important to add some green leafy vegetables freshly blanched, steamed or sautéed to make it more nutritious and rich with upward energy in the morning.

Last night I cooked red and white quinoa and also I cooked black soy beans which I left soaking before leaving for the office.  Cooking grains and beans – is the easiest thing. Put it in a pot, when it starts boiling, minimize flame, remove foam, put up a timer and go rest! When the timer announces that cooking is complete, you or anyone in your household turns it off. Done!

In the morning I made a salad and packed in my glass container.

Quinoa, black soy beans, freshly minced parsley and scallion, yellow grape tomatoes and steamed green peas. Dressing is a mixture of lemon juice, umeboshi paste, brown rice vinegar, olive oil.

Please see recipe page for detailed cooking instructions


**Health Tip: Organic beans are the healthiest choice of protein.  Beans are an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, iron, and potassium and are low in fat. Beans should be soaked for 6 – 10 hours before cooking to make them easily digestible. Your body doesn’t have to work too hard to digest them. You don’t feel tired or sleepy after the meal.