Archive: Wellness

Farm-to-Hospital

Today I’m dishing up a feel-good story. While poring through a review copy of EatingWell in Season: The Farmers’ Market Cookbook (the source of that great spinach soup from a few weeks ago), I learned about Dr. Preston Maring, who penned the introduction. Dr. Preston Maring checking out the goods at KP farm market in Oakland, Calif. (Photo courtesy Kaiser Permanente) Maring is an ob/gyn, who’s been practicing at the Kaiser Permanente (KP) medical center in Oakland, Calif. since 1971. These days, he wears a few other hats -- as Associate Physician-in-Chief --- and farm-to-table champion. In 2003, Maring started up a farmers’ market in the hospital parking lot, making it the first of its kind. Held year-round every Friday, Maring’s market, which is run in partnership with a northern California farmers’ market association, is completely organic. It has helped to spawn markets at 29 other KP hospitals throughout California,...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 11, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Getting Granular on Whole Grains

I was in D.C. for a few days this week attending "Make (at least!) Half Your Grains Whole," a conference hosted by Boston-based think tank Oldways and its sister program, the Whole Grains Council. The very name of the conference is derived from recommendations made in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a joint effort of the Departments of Health & Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA). As part of a balanced diet, the federal government recommends three or more servings of whole grains a day for ages nine and older. Sounds easy enough, right? But as I listened to the many speakers (representing science, industry, media and nutrition, to name just a few) present their findings about public consumption and perception of whole grains, I found myself saying out loud: Now wait a second; how many of us not in this room actually know what a whole grain is...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 23, 2009; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (8)

Hearting Your Heart

Love is in the air (or at least it’s supposed to be) this week, with the love-iest day of the year coming up this Saturday. In the spirit of everything red and heart shaped, I’m taking a romantic time out for my own heart -- as in my blood-pumping ticker. I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but the fact is, we need to keep better tabs on the state of our hearts. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer among women, and stroke is number three. The good news: You can do something about it. In addition to regular physical activity and reducing saturated fats (which are found in meat and dairy), we can help our heart and overall health by eating according to the colors of the rainbow. Color-coded eating is not as corny as it sounds. Green foods contain an...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 10, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

As Daylight Ends, Please Pass the Vitamin D

When Daylight Saving Time officially comes to an end this Sunday, Nov. 2, it’s gonna be a whole lot darker around here. The egg yolk is on a short list of Vitamin D-rich foods. (Kim O'Donnel) Once we collectively reverse the hands of time on our alarm clocks, we lose an hour of precious sunlight at supper but get it back (at least for a while) at breakfast. Here in Seattle, the conversation has turned to the rapidly diminishing light, the marvels of something called a dawn simulator, and most interestingly for this native east coaster, the importance of Vitamin D. As kids growing up in the '70s, we were told to drink our Vitamin D-enriched milk because it makes our bones and teeth strong. These days, scientists say the benefits are much more far reaching, protecting us from a host of diseases, including diabetes, osteoporosis and certain kinds of...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 30, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Chat Leftovers: Heart-Healthy Lunch, Veggie Supper Sides

Food Help - out of ideas: I'm on a restricted diet because of high cholesterol and high blood pressure (I'm only 28). I'm at a loss of what to do for lunches during the day. Breakfast and dinners are fine and I don't want to bring leftovers. I've done wraps with chicken, lettuce, tomato and mustard but those get boring. What are some good heart-healthy lunches - it can't include mayo, or cold cuts, or cream based soups. Suggestions? Based on the wording of your question, I’m assuming you want easily assembled items rather than cooking from scratch. This is why you may feel bored, so I urge you to think about a wee bit of cookin’ at home to expand your lunch-able options. From the supermarket shelves, stock up on canned fish that you can season with Dijon mustard, red onions and celery, as a salad or tucked inside...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Kind-Hearted Cake

Last month in this space, I wrote about a dear friend who had undergone coronary bypass surgery and how it has forced the issue of quality of life and diet to the front burner. A little slice of heart-healthy heaven. (Kim O'Donnel) Flash forward six weeks, my buddy Pop Rocks is 20-some pounds lighter with a good report from the doc and has been given the green light to return to work. Yesterday, a group of us at washingtonpost.com celebrated his first day back on the job. The question, though, was: How to fete a hardcore cake lover with a health-appropriate crumb? Although equipped with an armory of heart-healthy cookie recipes, I realized that my heart-healthy cake repertoire is quite lean, and I had better get on the stick. After all, for the unofficial cake cutter at washingtonpost.com, there could be nothing other than cake. Without a tube pan in...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 1, 2008; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (12)

Brilliant (and Vegan) Banana Bread

Have you heard the word about agave nectar? It's a plant-based sweetener from the same plant that's used to produce tequila. Cookbook writer and food blogger Heidi Swanson raves about it in her "Super Natural Cooking" and offers Webby recipe ideas here. I've been tempted to take the agave plunge, but with a surplus of local honey, I've waited until the pantry could afford the space. A nice wholesome twist on an old classic: banana bread sweetened with agave nectar and dates. (Kim O'Donnel) Equipped with a copy of "Baking With Agave Nectar," a fresh new title by natural foods chef Ania Catalano, I can no longer procrastinate; her collection of 100 recipes using agave as the primary sweetener is too tempting to ignore. What I like is that she's taken on baked good classics -- brownies, morning muffins, fruit pies, cake frosting -- and reduces their glycemic load with...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 14, 2008; 07:41 AM ET | Comments (13)

What Do You Want to Eat This Year?

New Year's goals and determinations are on the tips of tongues this week, and the Mighty Appetite household is no exception. In addition to more exercise and a commitment to a daily regimen of vitamins and probiotics, I've got several objectives in mind to bring me closer to my broader goal of improved wellness. Here's a handful I hope to tackle: * Drink more anti-oxidant-rich tea, drink less alcohol which makes waistline expand magically before my very eyes. * Invest in a good juicer and re-introduce freshly squeezed juices into my morning routine, as I know how energized it makes me feel. * Put more green on my plate, more often. Bring on the whole grains too -- and diversify, play more with farro and millet, red rice and buckwheat. * Eat less gluten. Although not intolerant to wheat, rye and barley, I prefer how I feel when I keep...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 2, 2008; 09:54 AM ET | Comments (19)

 

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