YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Chef Ira’s Fresh Strawberries

My dad had a long and successful career in the perfume business, but he once confided to me that if he had it all to do over again, he would have become a cook. To tell the truth, I think that’s exactly what he did.

My dad is a great cook. A master in the kitchen, his wonderful recipes always demonstrate respect for flavor, texture, seasonings, and most of all the food itself. You might find him making a perfect omelette for two at 7 in the morning, or an exquisite lunch for five a few hours later. He’s just as happy making a celebration dinner for a dozen or twice that number. I like to work by his side, serving as his sous chef, learning as I go, and following his instructions on how exactly to cut the vegetables.

Here’s a little treat of a recipe he sent me once:

1. Juice 4 lemons, and then juice 2-3 oranges. Mix together the juices.
2. Sweeten with a few tablespoons of strawberry jam (preferably Trappist Monk brand).
3. Add in a quart of washed, chopped strawberries (green heads removed), and mix well.

Serve for dessert (in small stemmed glasses) as is, or spoon over yogurt or ice cream or scrambled eggs or anything else your heart desires. Bon appetit!


When it’s Not Really Fruit or Vegetables

If I had just ten seconds to share nutrition advice, I know exactly what I would say: Eat more fruits and vegetables. And I don’t think that would surprise anyone. We all know that fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, rich in not only fiber but also phytonutrients, and everyone knows it’s a good idea to eat more of them. Especially since most of us don’t eat enough produce to begin with.

Now, the brand managers in the food industry know that we know we should eat more fruits and vegetables. This is why there are so many processed food items containing fruit-related words, or some version of the actual word “fruit.” Vegetables, too, to a lesser extent. Like vegetable oil. And which “vegetable” would that be, please? Continue reading


Everything You Need to Know About Your Cholesterol

Every once in a while, a friend thrusts their latest cholesterol lab results in front of me and asks a barrage of questions:

“What do you think of these results, are they okay?”
“My doctor said the HDL is too low.”
“Why are my triglycerides so high?”
“What should the LDL be?”
“And why is the total so high if the individual numbers are good?”

This week we’re talking about what your cholesterol profile results mean, and how to make them better. Continue reading


Fruit: Friend or Foe?

Here is how this all got started:
Last month I received an email from a friend asking about whether it was okay to eat a lot of fruit every day. She had seen an article in the NYTimes, “How to Stop Eating Sugar,” in which she read that fresh fruit is a good way to satisfy a sweet tooth without resorting to processed items with their excessive (absurd even, I would say) amounts of added sugar. Without specifying exactly how much was too much, the author included a warning… … Continue reading




YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Breakfast Blueberry Scones

You may not have realized, but scones don’t need to be made with wheat flour. These gorgeous scones, made from nut flour, are flavorful and sweet, gentle and crumbly on your tongue, and full of nourishing ingredients. Whether you’re wheat-sensitive or simply curious, these scones are the perfect treat if you’re looking for a sweet, nutritious something to enjoy with your morning tea or coffee. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Citrus Chicken

Something about winter cries Vitamin C(!), and I’m pretty sure that C stands for citrus. Oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit, kumquats, pomelos, tangelos, clementines, mandarins, and navels all start to call my name ’round about now, and here’s a great way to get some more! This simple recipe is a great choice, whether for company or a Sunday dinner at the end of a busy weekend, and it serves four easily. You’ll be happy to have this recipe up your sleeve when you need it.  Continue reading


Sugar: Fructose and More

I recently read an article about high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the inexpensive sweetener that is used extensively in highly processed products, like ketchup, barbecue sauce, breakfast “cereals,” soft drinks and sports drinks, muffins, cookies, cakes, and tons of other products that you might not even think of as sweet, like bread and baked beans. This week, a few random musings about sugar, mainly fructose. Continue reading


Building Blocks

Nutrients are like building blocks.

Fat molecules are composed of fatty acids, three per molecule, and usually different. So even olive oil, which is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, is not composed ONLY of monounsaturated fatty acids. There are some saturated ones, and some polyunsaturated ones. But they’re mostly monounsaturated. Continue reading