Superbowl Eats the Slow Way

February 1, 2012

When I heard about Tosca Reno’s new book, Just the Rules for Eating Clean, I got curious. Given the Super Bowl is coming up on February 5, 2012, I thought it would be a good thing to provide some of her recipes as a healthier option to the empty, salt-ridden snacks we tend to fall prey to. She offers several rules for “eating clean”, a term I had never heard before. But it makes sense. We often pollute our bodies with things they can’t handle well. The result is sluggishness and an overall sense of puff.

Here are some of the rules she outlines for the best Super Bowl party ever:

Super Bowl Party Rule #8 – Color Up: Super Bowl junk is often a sea of fatty beige foods. Colorful foods are filled with more nutrients and flavor than bland, monotonous, processed foods. Opt for a rainbow of colors on your plate, which offers numerous health benefits.

Rule #12 – Smaller Portions, Smaller Pants (remember my Why We’re So Fat post? Portion size means everything!): A festive atmosphere can often create an eating frenzy, which leaves you feeling blah. It’s okay to enjoy an array of foods, just eat smaller portions. Remember one serving of lean protein is the size of your palm; one serving of complex carbohydrates from whole grain is the size of your cupped hand; and one serving of complex carbs from fruit and vegetables is two hands cupped together.

My power of slow favorite is this one:

Rule #13 – Fletcherize and Swallow: Do you ever fill your plate, only for the food to disappear moments later? Gobbling food is a common disorder in our fast-paced society. Remind yourself to sloooooooow down: eating is not a race. Eating slowly will not only allow you to enjoy your food, but will help you determine when you’re full and help aid in digestion.

Rule #23 – Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Carbs can be confusing, and are often given a bad rap! Stay away from ‘bad’ grocery store, processed carbs and stick to ‘good’ carbs like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grain.

Consider Baba Ghanoush (click the title for your copy of the recipe). Doesn’t this look savory?

Photo Courtesy of Donna Griffith

Or how about BBQ Chicken Pizza? You thought I was going all holistic, holy-than-thou on you, didn’t you? Well, you can still have food fun and eat well. Look at this image. I’m getting hungry as I type.

Photo Courtesy of Donna Griffith

A Super Bowl Party wouldn’t be complete without Vegetarian Chili — warming, filling and de-light-ful!

Photo Courtesy of Donna Griffith

If none of these convinces you, Tosca has generously provided many more eat clean recipes on her Web site. Eating clean is not a diet. It’s a way of life.

What recipes would you like to share?


I love “leaving Corporate America” stories. Perhaps it’s because I did and I can really relate to those who say “Sayanara!” to the stressful spirit spiral.

Julie Pech hopped out of Corporate America to write in a book in a field in which, according to her, she had “zero experience”. She had been in the corporate apparel industry for 18 years, but at the same time she had always loved health and nutrition and chocolate. Doesn’t seem like it goes together? Read on!

When several studies touting the “health benefits of chocolate” were released, she decided to take a leap of faith and write about it. Her book The Chocolate Therapist: A User’s Guide to the Extraordinary Health Benefits of Chocolate was released in 2005 as a self-published title, but last year it was picked up by Wiley Publishing. She rewrote it, thereby doubling its length. It was release late last year.
After taking that leap of faith, Julie has started speaking up to twenty times per month about the health benefits of chocolate. She also teacheschocolate & wine and chocolate & tea pairing classes, hosts corporate and charity events and even travels internationally as a guest lecturer speaking about chocolate.

An entrepreneur at heart, she ended up buying a chocolate shop where they make all-natural chocolate with nuts, berries, spices and organic flavoring oils to support the concepts in her book.

“It’s been a very interesting journey!” she says.

Now, I wonder if she could get Johnny Depp to star in the sequel to Chocolat? Knowing Julie, she just might!

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The Nature Conservancy: Protecting nature. Pre...

Image via Wikipedia

You are what you eat, and how you eat it. Locally grown produce, also known as Slow Food, is not only good for you, it’s good for the environment, too.

On this Earth Day, I pose the question about agriculture because the food industry is an enormous one with a huge lobby behind it. Reducing the need for food transport alone by shopping at our local farmer’s market instead of big chain food stores can have an impact on the Earth.

Nature Conservancy is working with various groups to ensure sustainable food for us all. Here are some of the top stories I’d like to share with you.

1.     Grass fed beef in Arizona

An Arizona beef cattle rancher saves millions of gallons of water by switching to native grasses. Something as seemingly simple as planting native grass is actually part of a paradigm shift for the Mercers. Not only is it a change in how they operate, but also who they work with. (TurfMutt would be so proud of this shift! His children’s plat science education program supports the notion of native plants over imports to sustain the natural habitat and surroundings.)

One change is the market for their beef. By feeding their cattle native grass, the Mercers are tapping into the grass-fed, locally grown beef market. The Mercers sell their beef—under the name Sombrero Butte Beef—at local farmers’ markets and at a gourmet Tucson restaurant.

2.     Sustainable Seafood in California

In Morro Bay, California, The Nature Conservancy worked with local fishermen to to establish 3.8 million acres of no-trawl zones off California’s Central Coast. Historically, groundfish — species that live close to the sea floor — have served as the backbone of fisheries in this region. But the overreliance of traditional bottom trawling — a fishing method that drags nets along the sea floor — led to habitat damage habitat, harm to other marine species and a decline in local fishing income.  The partnership is now pioneering innovative ways to catch fish, and this work has already improved the environmental and economic performances of the local fishery.

3.     Texas Rice Farmer

The Clive Runnells Family Mad Island Marsh Preserve is located near the midpoint of the Texas coast. For more than twenty years, the Franzen family has leased land on the preserve to grow rice, which creates feeding and roosting opportunities for native and migratory birds. The arrangement has benefited their family, the Conservancy and the human and wildlife communities of the Texas coast.

4.     Oysters in Massachusetts

Cape Cod’s Wellfleet, Massachusetts was literally built on shellfish. A century ago, wild reefs bustling with life were so huge ships had to navigate around them, but by the 1970s wild harvesting, pollution and disease had chiseled away the last wild reef.
Now, the Conservancy, Mass Audubon, NOAA and the Town of Wellfleet are experimenting with different structures on which oyster seed can stick, with the goal of rebuilding a reef that would bolster local populations of shellfish and provide benefits like clean water and defense against rising seas.

Happy Earth Day, Ya’ll! Now go hug a tree and bow to the Mother that holds us all!

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I had an interesting twitter conversation with @wowOwow. She jokingly offered up a slow tip: one glass of wine and sluggishness sets in. She brought up a great point that warrants addressing here.

Slow does not equal sluggish. Slow is centered and energized. While I’m a oenophile (okay, so I looked it up and it means wine lover), drinking wine certainly can slow you down. As anyone who’s been to a frat party knows, drinking too much will slow you down in ways that hamper your well-being.

If you are feeling sluggish, evaluate some of the habits in which you engage. Do you stay up too late at night? Do you get up too early? Do you jam-pack your weekends, emulating the treadmill you’re on during the work week?

Taking it down a notch might seem like a daunting task. Maybe you are going at the right speed that works for you. Or maybe you are not. Select one thing that you habitually do and alter how you do it for a week (it takes 21 days to change a habit for good). See how it feels. Then let me know!

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Slow Food in Bavaria

May 17, 2009

I make a lousy tourist. For one thing I’d prefer to talk to the countrymen of the place I’m visiting than my fellow tourists with cameras strapped around their necks. My dad and his wife are visiting, and I’m finding I’m a much better tour guide, but not by much. I don’t know some of the relevant data associated with my country of residence. I can offer my prejudices (all Germans drink beer) and my affinities (they are super direct so you always know where you stand). But for the most part, I’m not on the up and up when it comes to tourist-y things.

Today we sat in two outdoor dining places – the first was an Italian café in which we had a leisurely (read: waitstaff woefully overwhelmed) breakfast. Then, a few hours later we went to a classic Bavarian beer garden. There was one waiter serving two hundred patrons. It took three hours to have lunch and dessert. I found I was fine with it, but I noticed the power of slow wasn’t everyone’s taste. I personally had nowhere to go, but my son was hungry so when he was the last to be served, I noticed the power of slow doesn’t fly with everyone, especially when you’re famished.

While I thought we might jet off to a castle, we decided the rest of the day should be a slow paced, sun-drenched afternoon.

Simply lovely and all-too-seldom!

My fork sliced the pork tenderloin so poetically on Saturday I almost wept.

pigIn honor of spring, we selected a few recipes that had been buried in the back of our long-forgotten cookbook: pork tenderloin in mango sauce. I dashed (slowly) to the local butcher shop located directly on a pig farm. The food tasted better for one simple reason: it was fresh and stress-less. We weren’t eating the stress hormones induced by mile-long commutes to the slaughterhouse. The animals were treated well, had plenty of fresh air and exercise.

It’s simple. Slow food, grown locally, is joyful. After a meal of home-grown goodness, you feel less stressed, too.