Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Archive for the ‘onion’ tag

Watercress Salad

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Watercress SaladDespite how North Americans may classify them, weeds like watercress can be healthy and can offer medicinal properties. In fact, watercress is listed as an aphrodisiac in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica from 77 A.D. Ancient Egyptians knew its benefits before it spread to Europe and Asia.

According to Food Plants of the World by Ben-Erik van Wyk, Persians, Greeks and Romans used watercress as a medicine, eating the leaves raw in salads and on sandwiches. Asian recipes often add watercress to soups and sautes.

Young watercress leaves and stems have a piquant, somewhat peppery flavor that adds zest to the rich complement of vitamins and minerals: vitamin C, folate, magnesium and iron. It is the best vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids for reducing inflammation.

Watercress’ medicinal uses have expanded through the years. Ancient cultures employed it as a digestive stimulant and tonic, as well as an anemia remedy. Externally, Matthew Biggs, Jekka McVicar and Bob Flowerdew write in Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit, it served as a hair tonic and was used on skin to remove rashes. Poultices of watercress were used to heal glandular tumors and lymphatic swelling.

Current research is focused on the antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties found in this relative of the radish. Watercress’ isothiocyanate compounds make it an excellent plant for juicing by people who want to minimize abnormal cell growth.

To purchase watercress, look in the produce section for a sealed plastic bag with a hydroponically grown cluster of stems and leaves.

You can snip off just enough for mixing into yogurt to serve over grilled salmon.

Or enjoy this vegetable, which has more vitamin K (250mcg in about 3 1/2 ounces) than broccoli (205mcg) and green cabbage (145mcg), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture database, as I do, in a watercress salad that tantalizes the taste buds.

Watercress Salad

2 to 3 cups watercress
2 cups broccoli florets
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup chopped scallion or onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dried juice-sweetened cranberries

Trim thick stems off watercress and chop into bite-sized pieces. Steam broccoli florets just until crisp. Cool. Combine garlic, scallion, vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes for flavors to blend. Toss watercress, broccoli and vinegar mixture together. Top with cranberries.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 34 calories, 1g protein, 5g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 18mg sodium.

Written by PFAdmin

October 19th, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Vegetable Stir Fry

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Vegetable Stir FryThe highlight of the Institute of Food Technology (IFT) meeting in July was meeting Karla Chambers, Vice President of Stahlbush Island Farms. Her book, Farming, Food & Fine Art is filled with easy to prepare fruit and vegetable recipes with full color photos that make your mouth water. A Recipe & Coloring Book – The Color of Nutrition is just what is needed to encourage better eating habits. Both can be ordered from Stahlbush Island Farms at or Amazon.

The IFT conference also featured corn as a whole grain that food processors like Kellogg, Post and Pepperidge Farms will be using in cereal bars, crackers, baby snacks and baking mixes because it is gluten-free.

Stevia plants take too much land for growing this alternative sweetener so Cargill (makers of Truvia) and Evolva, a synthetic biology pioneer will be converting corn into steviol glycosides via a fermentation process that begins with genetically engineered baker’s yeast.

Another low calorie sugar called ” allulose” added excitement for beverage, yogurt, ice cream and baked goods manufacturers. It has the bulk, texture and taste of sugar with no calories and 70% of the sweetness. Whether it can be labeled as “natural” is yet to be decided. Allulose is found in small amounts in some fruits but the manufactured product is produced via the enzymatic conversion of corn, sugar or other materials containing fructose.

Cricket powder was a show stopper. Dr. Aaron Dossey, founder and CEO of bug ingredients and research firm All Things Bug, stated that many producers roast and then grind crickets to make a dark, coarse powder. He grinds crickets for heat-treating them, creating a paler, firmer powder with a more neutral flavor with a shelf life of 12 months that could be used in muffins, pancakes, or protein powders.

Aquatic plants could be the next source of healthy oils according to Mark Brooks, senior vice president of Solazme. Algae oil does not contain trans fats and is a monounsaturated fat like olive oil. It could be used in mayo, salad dressings and fried foods in the future.

Vegetable Stir Fry

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag (2 cups) frozen sweet corn
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 bag frozen spinach or 2 packed cups fresh spinach
Toasted sesame seeds
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions. Saute 3 minutes before adding garlic and corn. Saute 5-10 minutes longer until onions are tender. Add red pepper and spinach. Saute until spinach is fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Top with toasted sesame seeds before serving. Makes 4 servings.

One serving = 72 calories
Protein 2 g
Carbohydrates 15g
Fat 3g
Sodium 53 mcg

Written by PFAdmin

October 19th, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Eye Health & Butternut Squash

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Eye health is the subject of mounting research as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), glaucoma and cataracts become the main causes of vision loss/blindness in the U.S. today. The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that ARMD has resulted in blindness for over a million people worldwide yet it is unclear how and what triggers the disorder.

ARMD results when light sensing cells in the back of the eye or retina malfunction and tissues are deprived of oxygen and nutrients needed to keep the eye healthy leading to gradual deterioration of vision.

The central part of the retina contains a yellow pigment that serves to protect the eye from sunlight and harmful effects of blue light from computer screens. Reduction of this protective pigment is linked to poor diet and air pollutants like cigarette smoke, vapors from cleaning products and ionizing radiation according to Dr. Walter Pierpaoli, M.D., president of Interbion Foundation for Basic Biomedical Research, Zurich, Switzerland.

Most treatments for both wet and dry forms of ARMD rely on nutritional supplementation of lutein and zeaxantrhin to slow down progression. Dr. Changxian Yi in the Annual New York Academy of Science reports improvement with melatonin, zinc and selenium supplementation. Melatonin is an extremely effective antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the body.

A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Seddon et al listed vitamins E and C, Carotenoids, zinc, selenium and krill oil along with lutein and zeathanin as protectors of eye health.

Once damage is done to eye tissue, it is hard to repair so food becomes the best medicine for eye health. As far back as 1977 in Science, quercetin in fruits and vegetables was hailed as important for healthy vision. Today, anthocyandins from bilberry and wild blueberries are added to dietary supplements for vision health.

Vision changes can cause alterations in mental status especially since most people are visual learners. Ant thing worse that 20/40 can influence cognitive function according to Chung et all in the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology Therapy. Those with cloudy vision of cataracts or the three million with glaucoma or 25 percent of the population over 75 suffering from ARMD can all benefit from a healthy diet of carotenoids found in wi nter squash, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, radicchio and kale.

My favorite way to enjoy carotenoids is Butternut Squash & Chopped Pecans.

Butternut SquashButternut Squash & Chopped Pecans

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter
! medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel squash and remove seeds. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Melt butter in skillet. Add onion. Saute until onions are tender. Add Squash cubes. Stir to coat squash with butter and onions. Cover and cook over medium heat until squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in pecans. Top with parsley just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Calories per serving 122
Protein 2 g
Carbohydrates 14 g
Fat 7 g
Sodium 46 mcg

Written by PFAdmin

September 28th, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Seafood = Brain Food

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The secret to immortality comes from the sea according to Shin Kubota at Kyoto University. He tends jellyfish and reports they contain apoaequorin- a protein proven to support brain function like memory and learning.

Japan has the world’s oldest population and also enjoys the culinary delights of sea cucumbers and sea urchins. Both of these marine species are able to change the elasticity of collagen within their bodies so researchers are considering they may hold the key to maintaining youthful skin in humans, according to Professor Maurice Elphick in General and Comparative Endocrinology. Peptides within these echinoderms cause rapid stiffening and softening of the collagen in their cell walls which may provide the secret to preventing wrinkles.

Most Americans have become aware of omega 3 fatty acids from seafood sources like wild Alaskan salmon, but few realize that it also contains a healthy dose of astraxanthin to support the cardiovascular system and joint health. Findings reported in Atherosclerosis recommend daily supplementation of 0.5 to 4.5 grams omega 3 fatty acids to improve a blood vessel’s ability to relax. Higher doses were not effective.

We need to start looking to other sources for marine-based fatty acids and minerals in the diet. In December 2012, the New York Times featured a whelk and potato chowder on the front page of the food section. Whelks are a by-catch of the fishing industry that can be boiled in salt water and served as an Atlantic sea snail with garlic butter. Whelks, conchs, and murexes contain concentrated amino acids which have been enjoyed by other cultures to boost libido, increase energy, and improve muscle tone.

To get in the spirit of enjoying the fruits of the sea, try a classic dish called Bouillabaisse or fish soup. It is more of a stew than a soup which originally was cooked on the beach by fishermen using any of their catch that had little market value. Today, Bouillabaisse can be found on some seafood restaurant menus featuring tomatoes, potatoes, onions and saffron to complement an assortment of seafood choices. It fits into the MIND diet (Mediterranean Intervention Neurodegenerative Delay) and the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension). Fish and seafood really is brain food. Try adding various assortments of seafood to this recipe for a quick and tasty meal.


1 small onion or leek, chopped
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 cups water or fish stock
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Large pinch of saffron
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 1 fresh sprig
1 1/2 pounds fish, cut into bite-size chunks
2 potatoes, peeled & sliced thin
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes, water, tomato paste, saffron, bay leaf and thyme. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Add fish and potatoes. Simmer until fish and potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes over low heat. Season to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Calories per serving 246
Protein 24g
Carbohydrates 13g
Fat 4g
Sodium 232mcg (No salt added)

Written by PFAdmin

September 28th, 2015 at 3:03 pm