6 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

From Healthline  | by Kris Gunnars, BSc

Excerpt: For centuries, vinegar has been used for various household and cooking purposes. It is also an ancient folk remedy, claimed to help with all sorts of health problems. The most popular vinegar in the natural health community is apple cider vinegar.

It is claimed to lead to all sorts of benefits, some of which are supported by science. This includes weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes and even cancer prevention.

Here are 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar, that are supported by scientific research.

For the complete article, click here.

Paula Recommends ...Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Reduction

A wonderful selection of vegetable sides completes any  feast and this one is perfect for the fall. It's simple and oh, so delicious! Brussels sprouts and fresh pomegranate seeds are also both rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants which help protect the body against inflammation. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist


1 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
1 cup pomegranate juice
1⁄4 cup sugar (can be maple, brown, date, coconut or granulated)
Pomegranate seeds*

1. Position the baking rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with oil and a few pinches of salt.
3. Spread the Brussels sprouts over a shallow baking pan and roast for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sprouts are lightly browned and crispy.
4. While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, in a small saucepan combine the pomegranate juice with the sugar and set over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. When the liquid comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer until the liquid is reduced to one quarter of the original amount and is thick and syrupy, about 25 minutes.
5. Toward the end, watch the reduction carefully – it can go from thick to burned in a matter of seconds. Transfer the reduction to a cooling rack and let it come to room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
6. Drizzle the reduction over the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Makes 4 servings.

*Note: To remove the seeds from the pomegranate: Cut fruit in half, not through stem end; fill large bowl with cool water and submerge the pomegranate, skin side up/seeds facing bottom of bowl, and gently push on the skin sides with your thumbs, dislodging seeds into the water. As you gently use your fingers to nudge seeds out of pod, they will drop to the bottom of the bowl, pith will float to the top, and no messy red spots all over the kitchen! Skim the pith off the top of the bowl of water before draining seeds into colander.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 170; Fat 5.5g; Sat Fat 0.5g; Carbohydrates 30g; Protein 2.5g; Dietary Fiber 2.5g; Sugar 22g (2/3 comes from natural sugar provided by the fruit and juice); Sodium 60mg



The Macro on Microgreens

From Healthline

They may be small but they pack a huge nutritional punch and offer a range of aromatic flavors to add to just about any dish. Presenting microgreens which, at one to three inches tall, fall somewhere between sprouts and baby greens.

Excerpt: "Microgreens are packed with nutrients. While their nutrient contents vary slightly, most varieties tend to be rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. Microgreens are also a great source of beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants.

"What’s more, their nutrient content is concentrated, which means that they often contain higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels than the same quantity of mature greens."

For the complete article, including ways to incorporate microgreens into your cooking, click here.


Paula Recommends ...Parsnip Carrot Soup w/ Tarragon

Hello Autumn! Parsnips contribute sweetness and texture to this fragrant, nutrient-packed soup.  Parsnips are high in vitamins and minerals (especially potassium) along with antioxidants and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Carrots get their characteristic, bright orange color from B carotene, and are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist

1 Tablespoon extra virgin oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green part only, halved length-
wise, cleaned and sliced or chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
1 lb parsnips, peeled, quartered, cored and diced
2 quarts water, chicken stock or vegetable stock
A bouquet garnish made with a bay leaf and a couple of sprigs each tarragon, thyme and parsley
Plain yogurt for garnish
2 Tablespoons finely chopped tarragon

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, leek and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 min.
2. Add the carrots, parsnips and a generous pinch of salt, cover partially and cook for another 5-10 min, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant.
3. Add the potatoes, water or stock, salt to taste, and the bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender and the soup is fragrant.
4. Remove and discard the bouquet garni.
5. Blend the soup in batches in a blender (cover the top with a towel and hold it to avoid hot splashes), or through a food mill fitted with the fine blade. The soup should be very smooth. Return to the pot.
6. Stir and taste. Adjust salt, add freshly ground pepper, and heat through.
7. Serve in small bowls or espresso cups with a drizzle of yogurt swirled over the top and a sprinkling of tarragon.

You can make this a day or two ahead and reheat. The soup can be frozen but you will need to blend it again when you thaw it.

Makes 8 (1 cup) servings.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 116; Fat 2g; Sat Fat 0g; Carbohydrates 24g; Protein 2g; Dietary Fiber 6g; Sodium 57mg

Paula Recommends ...Tomato Beet Salad w/ Peaches, Mint & Walnuts

Take advantage of the last of summer's sweet produce with this vibrant salad. Gem-colored peaches and beets boast healthy amounts of fiber, potassium and vitamin C, as well as anthocyanins and polyphenols and their potent antioxidant properties. Plus, this recipe is easy, quick and delicious. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 


2 medium cooked red beets, sliced  ½-inch thick
2 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups diced peaches without skin (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts
¼  cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta)

1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons minced mint leaves (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
1 teaspoon minced thyme (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey

1. On individual plates, arrange beets and tomato slices in a stack. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine shallot, mint, thyme, oil, lemon juice and honey. Stir well to combine. Add peaches and gently toss to coat.
3. Arrange peach mixture over beets and tomato stacks.
4. Top salad with walnuts and cheese.
5. Garnish with mint and thyme sprigs and serve.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 197; Fat 11g; Sat Fat 2.5g; Carbs 21g;  Fiber 2g; Sodium 58mg; Protein 6g

6 Tips to Boost Your Mood and Metabolism

From  |  By , Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass, III, MD, MPH

Did you know some foods can actually boost your mood? Think bananas, avocados, dried apricots, walnuts and other foods high in the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan has been found to increase levels of feel-good serotonin in the brain, which adds to feelings of optimism and calm. Talk about comfort food!

Excerpt: 'By making a few simple adjustments to your diet, you can elevate your mood and boost your metabolism. The benefits are potentially huge: Maintaining a good mood will help you stick to a healthy diet, be more productive, and increase your self-esteem."

For the complete article including six simple tips to help you eat to boost your mood and metabolism, click here.


Make Room For Mushrooms

From Medical News Today  |  By Megan Ware RDN LD

What’s not to like about mushrooms? They add a savory, meaty bump to nearly any dish for very few calories. While they are classified as vegetables, they are not technically plants. Rather, they belong to the fungi realm, but still pack a hefty nutritional punch that can help protect you from a wide range of diseases and health conditions including cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

That’s because mushrooms contain high levels of phytochemicals, antioxidants and beta-glucan (a fiber), all of which help reduce inflammation, which adds to their disease-fighting properties. Mushrooms even help your complexion and hair and energy levels.

For more on the many health benefits of mushrooms, click here.

Paula Recommends... Risotto with Scallions, Fresh Peas and Mint

This delicious dish combines wonderful fresh green bounty with a nourishing simple risotto ...dotted with sweet peas, pleasantly pungent scallions and refreshing mint. Peas are rich in high-quality amino acids providing a surprising amount of plant-based protein. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

2 cups of blanched freshly shucked peas
8 cups warmed chicken broth
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 bunch of scallions, light-colored portion of scallions finely chopped about 1 1⁄4 cup
Large pinch of sea salt
1 large clove garlic, grated
2 cups Aborio rice
1 cup white wine
Green portion of scallions finely chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped mint, plus whole mint leaves for garnish Freshly grated parmesan, to taste.

1. Heat salted water in a small pot and blanch peas. It takes about 1 -2 minutes and they will float to the top. Drain and submerge peas in ice water and set aside.
2. Warm chicken broth in small saucepan.
3. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium high heat. Add shallots, light- colored portion of spring onions and a large pinch of sea salt. Saute until alliums are translucent, about 4 minutes. Don’t allow them to brown, lower the heat if necessary.
4. Add grated garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds then add rice and sauté for another 4 minutes. Again, avoid browning.
5. Add white wine and allow to cook off and absorb into rice. Using a ladle, add broth one ladle at a time until absorbed. No need to constantly stir, but it is a good idea to keep an eye on it and stir frequently.
6. While rice is cooking , take 1 cup of peas and blend in blender with a few ladles of warmed chicken broth. Set aside, and when you have finished all of the broth in your sauce pan add the green pea broth and allow the rice to absorb it. It takes about 40 minutes for the rice to absorb the liquid.
7. At the 40 minute mark, check the rice for doneness, it shouldbe creamy and slightly al dente. Also add salt to taste at this time. If you are using homemade broth, it will likely need more salt than store bought broth.
8. Stir in chilled blanched peas, chopped scallions and mint.
9. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Nutritional info: Calories 320; Fat 8g; Sat Fat 1.8g; Carbs 46; Protein 9g; Fiber 2.7; Sodium 196g

Paula Recommends ...Cucumber Melon Soup

This light summer soup served cold is low in calories and fat, but high in protein and phytochemicals, which research shows boosts immune function and fights disease. It’s easy and delicious!  Perfect for when the weather’s warm.  - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

1 large seedless cucumber, or a medium peeled
2 cups of sliced or chopped cucumber (about 1 regular-sized cucumber)
1 and 1/2 cups honey dew melon, cubed
¾  cups greek style yogurt
Cilantro - about a dozen sprigs, including stems
Mint - the leaves from about 4 sprigs of mint
Salt and Pepper

1. Cut the cucumber into large chunks – about 5 or 6 pieces.
2. Put all ingredients into a blender and process.
3. Serve soup with a few small mint leaves as a garnish and a sprinkling of sea salt over the top.

Note: Taste will vary a bit according to the sweetness of the melon, the tartness of the yogurt etc. You may like more mint or cilantro or salt. Adjust the amounts to your taste.

Makes 4 (1 cup) servings

Nutritional information per serving: 64 calories, 2g fat,  8.5g carbohydrate, 3g protein; 1.5g fiber