Nutrition

Paula Recommends ...Pan Roasted Tomato & Chickpea Salad

This savory and slightly sweet salad fits the bill. The peppery arugula and fresh basil served with warm citrus dressing and pan roasted tomatoes provide a hint of summer and plenty of comfort, along with protein, vitamin C, lycopene, fiber and potassium. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups baby arugula
2 cups basil leaves
One 15 oz can no salt added chickpeas, drained

Directions
1. In a large non-stick pan, sauté the tomatoes, cut side down, in 1 Tablespoon of the oil until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and reserve.

2. Add the remaining oil and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds. Stir in the orange juice and simmer to reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar, salt and plenty of black pepper.

3. Toss the arugula and basil leaves with the dressing and top with the tomatoes and chickpeas.

Note: Makes 4 (2 cup) servings

Nutritional info: Per serving: 230 calories, 12g total fat (1.5g saturated fat), 25g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 5g dietary fiber, 270 mg sodium.


Paula Recommends ...Celery, Sunchoke, Green Apple Salad with Walnuts & Mustard Vinaigrette

Crispy and refreshing, this delicious salad is loaded with complex tastes and flavors that will delight your family or guests. The ingredients will hold up well if made ahead and dressed just before serving. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients
1⁄2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
4 large celery stalks, peeled and thinly sliced, and 1⁄4 cup leaves chopped
1 head fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise, fronds reserved
1 large sunchoke (5 oz) peeled and thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly
sliced
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
1 garlic clove, grated through a fine grater or minced
2 tablespoons honey
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions
1. Toast walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. (Be careful not to burn.)
2. Place sliced celery, fennel, sunchoke and apple in a bowl of cold water. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and refrigerate.
3. In a small bowl, combine remaining lemon juice, mustard, garlic, honey and salt. Whisk in oil and season with pepper.
4. Drain chilled celery, fennel and sunchokes and dry in a salad spinner or blot with a paper towel.
5. Combine celery, fennel, sunchoke, celery leaves, walnuts and apples.
6. Toss with dressing before serving.
7. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Nutrition information: Serves 6. Per serving: 170 calories, 15g total fat (1.8 g saturated fat) 8g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 2.5g dietary fiber.


The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Not only is cayenne pepper a popular spice that can be used to jazz up a variety of meals, it also offers a great number of health benefits, ranging from better digestion to improved immunity.

Cayenne pepper, a type of chilli pepper brought from Central and South America to Europe in the 15th Century, has been used medicinally for thousands of years, per Healthline. Cayenne contains a variety of antioxidants and vitamins. Its active ingredient, capsaicin, is what gives the peppers their healing properties -- as well as their fiery taste.

Cayenne pepper has been used for its ability to boost digestion and help avoid stomach aches, gas and cramps. Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine from India, both recommend cayenne to stimulate the flow of stomach secretions and saliva, per Organic Foods. It also facilitates the production of digestive enzymes that help break down food and toxins, per Dr. Axe, citing reputable sources.

As for weight loss and weight management, many studies show that cayenne pepper may reduce hunger, and help individuals eat less and feel satiated longer. One study found that individuals who drank a beverage with capsaicin ate 16% less than those who didn’t, while another found that it reduced the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Cayenne has also been shown to increase metabolism, through a process called diet-induced thermogenesis.

Various studies indicate that capsaicin may serve as an anti-cancer agent. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper may reduce the risk of cancer by attacking different pathways in the cancer cell growth process, per Healthline. Studies have demonstrated that the active ingredient can slow the growth of cancer cells and in some instances cause cell death for a range of cancers including prostate, pancreatic and skin. It’s important to note however, that human studies are needed before any conclusion can be made.

Other findings support cayenne’s use in lowering blood pressure and improving blood circulation, reducing pain including headaches and arthritis, boosting the body’s ability to protect itself against sickness and disease, alongside other healing properties. 


Paula recommends ...Smoothie with Pineapple, Arugula, Greens and Cashews

This smoothie was a hands-down favorite among members at the Mission Training Center, our incubator for best practices in programs for survivors. It is delicious, nutritious, and oh-so-quick-and-easy to prepare. The pineapple's sweetness can stand alone as a fruit to combine with the pungent greens. The cashews add protein, healthy fat and a creamy-ness that makes this seem decadent. A slice of ginger also adds valuable nutrients and really pumps up the flavor. With orange juice as a base, this is dairy-free and gluten-free. It’s best to use the pungent, feathery wild arugula. We used a baby greens mix that included a herb mix. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients
1⁄4 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks (about 6 ounces peeled and cored pineapple)
3⁄4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or the juice that accumulates after cutting up the pineapple mixed with enough orange juice to equal 3⁄4 cup)
2 Tablespoons raw cashews (about 3⁄4 cup)
1⁄2 teaspoon chia seeds
1⁄4 cup tightly packed arugula (about 1⁄4 ounce)
3⁄4 cup tightly packed baby mixed greens (about 1 1⁄2 ounces)
1 quarter size slice ginger, peeled
2 or 3 ice cubes

Directions
1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 minute, or until smooth.

Note: Makes one generous serving or 2 medium sized servings (cut the numbers below in half if serving 2).

Nutritional info: 328 calories; 12 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 53 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 16 milligrams sodium, 8 grams protein. 


Paula Recommends ...Black Bean & Barley Salad

Looking for creative ways to use healthy fats like those in olive or canola oil? Packed with vibrant colors and contrasting textures, this hearty salad makes a tasty, nutritious and economical side dish. The optional avocado (one of the few fruits that provide healthy fats) adds 3.3 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat per serving. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients

3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
1 cup water
1 and 1/4 cups frozen corn niblets
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tobasco, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 and 1/2 cups cooked dried black beans OR 15 ounce can black beans, dried and rinsed
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped  fresh cilantro or  parsley
2 avocado
1 lime

Directions
1. Combine barley and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until barley is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Fluff with a fork; let cool. (Pearl barley can also be used -- allow 50 to 60 minutes for cooking.)

2. Meanwhile, cook corn according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

3. Combine orange juice, vinegar oil, cumin, oregano, garlic, hot sauce and salt in a small bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid; whisk or shake to blend.

4. Combine barley, corn, beans, bell pepper, scallions and cilantro or parsley in a large bowl.

5. Add orange juice dressing and toss to coat well. (Salad will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.)

6. Just before serving, garnish with avocado, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.

Nutritional information: Makes eight servings. Per serving: 283 calories; 15 grams total fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 188 milligrams sodium; 34 grams carbohydrate; 9.85 grams fiber; 6.4 grams protein.

If dividing into eight servings. Per serving: 377 calories; 20 grams total fat; 2.7 grams saturated fat; 250 milligrams sodium; 45 grams carbohydrate; 13 grams fiber; 8.5 grams protein.


Intermittent Fasting: Key Points You Need to Know

One of the hottest topics in the health and fitness space is intermittent fasting, a lifestyle choice wherein individuals choose to halt their intake of calories for specific periods of time. Many studies now show that the practice can not only drastically improve mind-body health, but can increase longevity, per Healthline, citing various evidence-based sources.

As opposed to traditional diets, which create boundaries around what one can eat, intermittent fasting emphasizes the when. The most common methods include daily 16-hour fasts and an 8-hour window of eating, or fasting for a full 24-hours twice per week.

Despite what we’ve been told about the importance of three meals a day, eating constantly may be further away from our nature than we think. Throughout evolution, humans have typically gone long periods without eating, and many of our health issues now come from a world where endless options are available to most of us at the touch of a button. More Americans struggle with obesity than ever, and the epidemic is spreading worldwide. Meanwhile, big food and beverage corporations and weight loss companies continue to have a hold over the media that we consume. Since there are very few products and services for purchase tied to fasting, many of us have only just heard about the topic through the web or word of mouth.

It’s important to note that proper intermittent fasting means one does not overcompensate in the windows of eating to “make up for” the skipped meals, and therefore all of the methods typically result in weight loss due to lower calorie intake.

Mind-Body Benefits

The less obvious benefits of fasting include what it does to the body on a cellular and molecular level. For example, levels of growth hormone rise as much as 5-fold, aiding in fat loss and muscle gain. Insulin sensitivity improves, lowering blood sugar by 3% to 6%, and fasting insulin levels by as much as 31%. Additionally, studies show that fasting leads cells to initiate cellular repair processes, and increases the function of genes related to longevity and fighting off disease.

Short-term fasting contributes to weight loss not only due to lower calorie intake, but also from the release of the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine. Studies show intermittent fasting can increase metabolic rate by 3.5% to 14%, and reduce harmful belly fat which can build up around organs and cause disease.

Inflammation, a primary culprit of may chronic diseases, has also been shown to be reduced by short-term fasting. Various animal studies demonstrate that the practice can significantly prevent cancer. In studies involving rats, the animals who short-term fasted lived 36% to 83% longer. As for brain health, short-term fasting has been shown to increase levels of the brain hormone BDNF, and may aid the growth of new nerve cells, and protect against Alzheimer’s. Additionally, fasting has been shown to reduce bad LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance, which all contribute to heart disease.

Other Factors to Consider

Other benefits of fasting include positive lifestyle changes, aiding to simplicity in routine and making meal prep and planning less time consuming, costly, and thus more manageable and easy to maintain.

Those who are currently underweight, have a medical condition, or have a history of eating disorders should consult with a health professional before fasting.

Ultimately, there is no one size fits all for a health and wellness regime, and individuals should continue to focus on quality sleep, healthy foods and exercising regularly. For those interested in trying out a new system with proven health benefits, and which also serves as a powerful weight loss tool, intermittent fasting may be a great option.


Paula Recommends ...Quinoa with Orange and Avocado

Quinoa is a species of the goosefoot genus, a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is similar in some respects to buckwheat. It is rich in the B vitamins, high in fiber and provides all the essential amino acids which is rare for a plant. Add some avocado (vitamin E) and navel orange (fiber, vitamin C ) and you end up with a great tasting, great for you side dish that is ready to hit the table in 30 minutes or less. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients
3⁄4 cup quinoa*
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 large navel orange
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1⁄2 avocado, diced
1⁄4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt

*You can use bulgur or whole wheat couscous instead

Directions
1. Pick a firm but ripe avocado. (for Hass avocados, the most common variety, the skin should be black and it should yield just slightly to gentle pressure)
2. Prepare the quinoa according to the package instructions, then allow to cool.
3. Combine the onion and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside until the onion turns pink, about 5 minutes
4. Cut the peel, pith, and outer membrane off the orange, then slice it. Cut the Slices into bite size pieces
5. Toss all the ingredients except the salt in the large bowl with the onion, then season with up to 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt

Nutrition information: Makes 4 (1 cup) servings. Per serving: 260 calories, 13g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat) 30g carbohydrate, 7 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 250 mg sodium 


Paula Recommends ...Honey Mustard Salmon with Feta Yogurt Sauce

The salmon in this dish is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids that research has linked to cardiovascular health, cell signaling and vitamin absorption benefiting many body systems including the heart, brain and skin.

The sauce contains yogurt, rich with gut-healthy probiotic bacteria. Garlic, from the onion genus Allium has been linked in research to a decreased risk of several cancers. For vegetarians or those who do not eat seafood, the Feta Yogurt Sauce is a delicious accompaniment to spicy Indian dishes.  - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients

Honey Mustard Salmon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Honey
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 six-ounce salmon fillets
¾ cup Feta Yogurt Sauce (see recipe below)

Feta Yogurt Sauce
2 cups low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped mint or parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
¼ teaspoon of salt (may be omitted for those limiting salt in their diet)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Makes 2¼ cups.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine the garlic, mustard, honey and pepper and brush on the salmon.
3. Cook the salmon for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish just flakes with a fork.
4. Serve each salmon fillet with three tablespoons of feta yogurt sauce.

Nutritional information: Makes four servings. Serving size: 4 oz salmon & 3 Tablespoons feta yogurt sauce: Per serving: 337 calories; 14 grams total fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 258 milligrams sodium; 9 grams carbohydrate; 0 grams fiber; 42 grams protein.

 


Paula Recommends ...Herbed Chickpea Wraps

Red grapes, a good source of resveratrol, a phytonutrient with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, are the sweet, juicy surprise in this delicious wrap. Satiating plant-based protein comes from chickpeas and walnuts, which are also high in cancer-preventive fiber.

Chickpeas, like other dry beans and peas, contain folate, resistant starch and antioxidant photochemicals that qualify them as a "Food That Fights Cancer." Walnuts, known for being a good source of the plant form of omega-3 fat, alpha linolenic acid, make these wraps wonderfully crunchy and their roasted savory flavor is a pleasing contrast to the grapes. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

Ingredients
1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved*
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted walnuts
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1⁄2 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper
8 (8-inch) whole wheat or GF tortillas

Directions
1. In large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, except tortillas, and gently combine. (For more cohesive mixture, first gently mash chickpeas with potato masher just to break skins before adding remaining ingredients.)
2. On bottom half of tortilla, spoon 1⁄2 cup mixture in broad line.
3. Fold left and right sides toward center until almost touching. Fold bottom edge toward center. Roll wrap firmly upwards and place toothpick 2 inches from each end.
4. Slice wrap diagonally and place cut side up on plate or platter. Repeat.
5. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to serve later in the day.

*Large lettuce leaves can be substituted for tortillas and used to “wrap” the salad.

Nutrition information: Makes 8 servings (2 halves per serving. Per serving: 367 calories; 10 grams total fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 58 grams carbohydrates; 15 g protein, 10g dietary fiber, 425 mg sodium.