Food for Kids

Today we’re talking about food for kids. Some years ago a friend from medical school, Julie Kardos, joined forces with another pediatrician, Naline Lai, to launch an award-winning blog for parents called “Two Peds in a Pod.” All three of us have serious concerns about the food-like products that are marketed to young ones. I had mentioned to them that when my adult patients used to show up with children in tow, I would often see the little ones’ rounded bellies shrink to normal size as their families began to purchase, prepare, and eat more nourishing food. When Dr. Julie heard that, she said “The adults you treat are the ones packing the lunches of the kids that I treat.” Right. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Conner’s Own Spectacular Granola

Karma is when you discover that the yoga course for which you registered (how silly to think that it was solely in order to learn yoga!) brings you to Conner Speigner, a gifted chef from Cleveland, Ohio. 

Conner learned her craft at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC. She is proud to share that her world travels and adoption of a plant-based diet led her to discover her personal mission: to heal with food, and to prove that nutritious is delicious! You won’t find any arguments from me. This granola really is delicious. Try sprinkling it on coconut milk yogurt the way Conner does, or feel free to use it however you like.

1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 apples
1 orange, peeled
all the zest of that peeled orange
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup

1. Soak the walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds for 8 to 12 hours (overnight is good). Drain the nuts and seeds, blend in a food processor until you have a minced texture (do not overblend or you’ll end up with nut butter), and remove to a large bowl. Set the mixture aside.
2. Place the fruits, lemon juice, and maple syrup in the food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Add the fruit mixture to the nut mixture, and combine well.
4. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a dehydrator tray, and dehydrate 36-48 hours at 115F.

If you do not have a dehydrator, use your oven as follows: Spread a thin layer of mixture on cookie sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silpat (silicone mat). Bake at 200 F (or the lowest temperature) for at least 2 hours. Leave the oven door cracked open for approximately 6 more hours. If you do this right before bed, the granola should be perfect by morning!

Conner is currently employed as a chef at The Root Cafe, located in Lakewood on the west side of Cleveland, where she serves up organic, local, vegetarian, vegan, and raw vegan fare. If you’d like to learn more about what Conner can do for you, you can reach her at connerspeignerAToutlook.com.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Lemon-Sesame Kale Salad

A kale celebration for kale lovers everywhere (!). If you don’t happen to have any kale right now, you can still make this salad with any other greens growing in your garden or sitting in your fridge. Radicchio is a good addition, too. Do I post a lot of recipes for kale? Maybe. But I know hardly anyone who eats enough green, leafy vegetables. What’s the deal with green leaves? They’re basically a nutrition powerhouse, with loads of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, you name it. Exactly like taking a multivitamin. But without the constipation.
  • 1 head of kale
  • 1 cucumber (peeled, seeded, and diced)
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced 
  • 2 cups (1 can) chickpeas, rinsed well and patted dry
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds (shelled) for garnish
Dressing:
  • 1 /2 cup tahini 
  • 3 /4 cup water
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove (med-large), minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare the veggies and beans, and toss into a large bowl.  Set aside.
2. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, adding a bit of water drop by drop (one teaspoon at a time) if necessary. Remember the water in the veggies will thin the dressing further.
3. Pour the dressing into the vegetables, mix gently, and serve immediately.  Garnish with sunflower seeds.
A prior version of this recipe comes (with many thanks) from Angela at vegangela.com.

Fun is Fine, But it’s Not Food

There’s a big difference between nutrition and entertainment. Food is nourishing. It’s what we’re eating when we choose stuff that’s loaded with color and fiber, such as vegetables and beans, nuts, fruits, seeds, and whole grains. Fun, on the other hand, is nothing like food. Fun items (which we tend to call by interesting names like “junk food” or “fast food”) are made with products like white flour, white rice, corn syrup, corn starch, commodity oils (soy, corn, cottonseed) and, of course, sugar, which you find in practically everything that’s ultraprocessed. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Celebrate the Season!

It must be November because, once again, my counter is covered with pumpkins and onions. Here are two relatively simple but unusual (dare I say extraordinary?) recipes to use them up. Both are fantastic not just for any old day of the week, but also as impressive contributions to holiday celebrations. Make the onions the day before you need them, if possible, because no matter how great they turn out, they taste even better the next day! Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Hot Peppers

A while ago I received a container of hot peppers of various interesting shapes and sizes. One day I selected a smooth, green jalapeno, chopped it into tiny bits, and added it to a stir fry. Another time, I sliced a thin, 4-inch, bright red pepper into 1/2 inch segments, marinated it in some olive oil for an hour or so, and then poured the oil over roasted eggplant sprinkled with curly parsley. That gave the sweet eggplant a pleasant bite. No further inspirations were forthcoming, and the rest of the hot peppers sat on the second shelf in the refrigerator, moving closer to the back with each passing day. Continue reading



YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Red Pepper Bisque

If you’ve been looking for a way to branch out and eat more different vegetables, this is it. Every color in your diet represents a different phytonutrient, and every phytonutrient is like a building block for your good health. That’s why it’s important to eat the rainbow, to maximize the number of different colors on your plate, to spread your bets. If you have been feeling like you could use a little more on the red side of the spectrum, make this.
It takes just a few minutes to whip up this Red Pepper Bisque and IT IS GOOD. The original version comes from Food Babe, who has been generating terrific buzz on the subject of cleaning up our food supply and putting pressure on BIG COMMODITY FOOD to do the same. She has got it all figured out, and she’s on your side.

Continue reading


2016 Memorial Day Menu

Company’s coming! and I thought it might be nice to share the menu. 🙂

My friends and family inspire me so much every day, and I am grateful beyond words. Chief-cook-and-bottle-washer is making a trip to the grocery store today to gather the necessary provisions. Judith, a fine cook if ever there was one, is bringing her extremely fine baked beans. Lori has a tomato-watermelon salad (feta optional). And there is more, much more. We will raise a toast to the magnificent new garden envisioned and then built by the team of T&J. The new bride and groom will be here. And my parents will celebrate their 60th, yes, sixtieth(!), wedding anniversary. They were actually married (in the middle of the week) on May 30th, 1956, in the years before Memorial Day was moved to Mondays! Continue reading


The Salad Dressing Situation

The last time I stopped at the local supermarket to investigate salad dressings, I learned some very interesting things. Here’s a warning: After you read today’s post, if you haven’t already done so, you’re going to start making your own salad dressing, even if it’s simply olive oil and salt (my fav), or a squeeze of lemon. Continue reading