A new study comfirmed what I’ve experienced about exercise: Cardiovascular exercise (walking, dancing, skating, rowing, etc) reduces appetite, but, strength training does not.
Objective: To investigate the effect of 12 weeks of aerobic (AER) compared with resistance training (RES) on perceived hunger and fullness, together with appetite-related hormones in both the fasted state and postprandially.
Method: Thirty-three inactive, overweight and obese men (age 49±7 years; BMI 30.8±4.2kg/m2) were allocated to either AER exercise (n=12), RES exercise (n=13) or a control group (CON; n=8). AER and RES completed 12 weeks of training (3 sessions per week), while CON continued their sedentary routine. Perceived hunger and fullness, together with appetite-related hormones (active ghrelin, leptin, insulin, pancreatic polypeptide (PP), and peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY)) were assessed pre and post-intervention in the fasted state and in response to oral glucose consumption (1284kJ; 75g carbohydrate).
Results: Both AER and RES training elicited a decrease in fat mass (p<0.05), while CON did not. There was no difference in perceived hunger either in the fasted state (p>0.05) or in response to caloric consumption (p>0.05) following the intervention in any group. In contrast, both fasting and postprandial perceived fullness was higher following AER exercise (p<0.05), but not RES exercise or CON. These observations were not associated with alterations in fasting or postprandial active ghrelin, PP or PYY, although fasting and postprandial leptin was reduced following both AER and RES training (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Aerobic exercise training is associated with an increase in satiety, while an equivalent period of resistance training is not.
For more information about exercise’s physiological benefits…
For the full study…
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Every day I notice that conflict, confusion, and isolation are familiar feelings for so many of us. We are over-scheduled, multi-tasking automatons running from one appointment to another—when not glued to our computers, smartphones, televisions, and cars.
And we are too busy. Too busy to exercise, eat right, sleep enough, relax, or socialize with family and friends. Too busy to spend time enriching our lives with new subjects to study, engaging in creative hobbies, or volunteering in our communities. Too busy for living lives of balance and fulfillment. Our lifestyles are wreaking havoc with our health, happiness and the very fabric of our society. What to do?
I, for one, have turned to the 6th century wisdom of Benedict of Nursia because “Life is a teacher of universal truths” whether you live in the 6th or the 21st century,” writes Joan Chittister, OSB*, a Benedictine nun, in her book, The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages. The hard-won wisdom passed down from Benedict is as alive and applicable today as it was when it was written 1,500 years ago, as evidenced by the scholars who have studied Benedict and his wisdom through the ages.
Benedict—Saint Benedict as we now know him—was living in Italy at a time of chaos, in a society ravaged by war. Tired of the decadent culture surrounding him in Rome where he was studying, he sought meaning and purpose in his life (sound familiar?). He left to live a simple life in the countryside where other spiritual seekers found him. He eventually founded 12 monasteries, which resulted in his Rule of Benedict, a succinct manual (just 93 pages), described by Chittister in her book’s introduction as a guide to “the logic of daily life lived well.”
“Benedictine spirituality is the spirituality of the 21st century because it deals with the issues facing us now—stewardship, relationships, authority, community, balance, work, simplicity, prayer, and spiritual and psychological development,” writes Chittister, who formerly headed a Benedictine monastery. “Its currency lies in the fact that Benedictine spirituality offers more a way of life and an attitude of mind than it does a set of religious prescriptions.”
Embracing this wisdom, Benedictine communities, monastic and non-monastic, have sprung up all over the world. In fact, one such organization, The Friends of Saint Benedict, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is offering its First Annual Symposium on Benedictine Spirituality on November 16 & 17, featuring Sister Joan*, and a roundtable discussion with other Benedictine scholars.
She notes, “The Benedictine way of life is credited with having saved Europe from the ravages of the Dark Ages. In an age bent again on its own destruction, the world could be well served by asking how.”
Join me and learn more about how the ancient wisdom of Benedict can be used to help us to create calm in a world of chaos, offering love and acceptance in a world of hate and violence at the Friends of Saint Benedict’s Symposium on Benedictine Spirituality on November 16 & 17.
*Joan Chittister, OSB, former prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania and a leader among women monastics, is an internationally known speaker and writer, author of 45 books, and a voice of clarity on spirituality, women’s empowerment, justice and the search for meaning. Her ideas—carried in books, columns, and Internet platforms– have encouraged people inside and outside the church, people in prisons, people in work and out of work, and people facing every conceivable life transition. She serves as Co-Chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the UN, facilitating a worldwide network of women peace-builders.
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My very luscious version of a “flan,” a custard dessert, is lighter and simpler than most, and highlights one of the most nutritious seasonal foods – the sweet potato, and a favorite flavor: Vanilla. The vanilla’s quality is essential to the flavor, so I buy special plump, juicy California vanilla beans – the kind top chefs use – from Cook’s.** Sprinkle the flan with toasted pecans for a bit of crunch. Make in six or eight “personal” soufflé dishes, or in one large dish. Perfect as a holiday dessert!
Today is the 12th “Katherine’s Market Recipe,” all of which are designed to be delicious, easy, quick, family-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local Farmers Markets this week. At your Farmers Market, you’ll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture and nutrition. You’re also helping save the environment when you buy at your Farmers Market. Here’s how…
For my “Light Sweet Potato Flan with Vanilla Bean,” I recommend you buy your sweet potato at the Glover Park – Burleith Farmers Market on Saturday, or Dupont Circle’s Fresh Farm Market (open year-round) on Sunday.
And don’t forget the Cook’s Vanilla for your Flan and other holiday baking. I first discovered this special vanilla in Georgetown’s Griffin Market (now closed). It peaked my interest because former Washington Post food reporter (and longtime Georgetown resident), Walter Nicholls, endorsed it and provided it to Griffin. Apparently, Walter has teamed up with Paso Robles, California’s Cook Flavoring Company, a family-owned business. “They personally monitor the cultivation and harvest of its vanilla beans in a way that few can match and no one can exceed, extracting the flavor by the same slow, cold extraction method the family has been using for almost a century,” said Walter. The best pastry chefs in town seem to use it: Baked & Wired, Dolcezza, Black Salt, CoCo Sala, CityZen, the Hay Adams hotel and all of Jose Andres restaurants, to name a few. Beans and extract are available locally at Rodman’s on Wisconsin Avenue.
Katherine’s Light Sweet Potato Flan with Vanilla Bean
Serves 6 – 8
2 Cups 1% Lowfat Milk
2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
½ Vanilla Bean, halved lengthwise
¾ pound Sweet Potato (1 large)
1 Egg Yolk
1Tablespoon Warm Molasses (Optional)
1 ounce (1/4 cup) Chopped, Toasted Pecans or any favorite Nut (Optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sweet potato on the oven rack and let cook for about 45 to 60 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Use long tongs to pull out of the oven. When warm to the touch, remove the peel. Mash the potato flesh and measure out ¾ cup.
Turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter or spray the insides of 6 or 8 ½-cup ramekins* or a 6-cup glass Pyrex bowl or soufflé dish.
In a medium saucepan, bring milk, sugar, and vanilla bean slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat. Pull out the vanilla bean and scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk mixture. Return the pod to the pot and let sit for 15 minutes to let flavors blend.
Meanwhile, puree the 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk with the mashed sweet potato (I use a Cuisinart Smart Stick immersion hand blender). Add the sweet potato mixture to the warm milk mixture and puree until well blended – most easily done (and less messy) with an immersion hand blender. For a smooth custard, try not to create too many bubbles.
Pour the liquid into six or eight ramekins, or into the 6-cup soufflé dish. Set the soufflé dish(es) into a large baking pan and add boiling water until it is halfway up the sides of the soufflé dish(es). Place in the center of the oven and bake until slightly wobbly in the middle – about 40 to 45 minutes for the individual ramekins or 1 hour if you’re using the larger soufflé dish.
To serve: Leave the custards in the water bath until they are not too hot to handle or until ready to serve. Slide a knife around the inside edge of the individual dishes and turn them onto serving plates. Or scoop out 6 or 8 servings from the large soufflé dish. Over each serving, drizzle the warm molasses and sprinkle chopped, toasted pecans.
**A “ramekin” is an oven-proof ceramic or glass serving dish, usually round, but sometimes in novelty shapes, ie, hearts or ovals.
The entire recipe = 1,000 calories (1,242 calories with molasses and pecans). Divided into 6 servings = 167 calories per serving (207 with molasses and pecans). Eight servings = 125 calories per serving (155 with molasses and pecans).
Katherine’s “Light Sweet Potato Flan with Vanilla Bean” was adapted from award-winning cookbook author, Deborah Madison’s “Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America’s Farmers’ Markets.”
Sweet Potatoes, considered one of the “Super Foods,” are loaded with Beta-Carotene, the orange pigment which is a potent anti-oxidant. It is important for your immune system, your skin, your vision, bones, reproduction, and may reduce cancer risk. But sweet potatoes provide so much more; they’re also high in fiber, vitamins C, E, the B vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, manganese, magnesium and iron. Sweet potatoes’ origins date back thousands of years in Peru, became a favorite of Christopher Columbus once he landed in America, and grow particularly well in the American South, where they have become a staple.
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First Course Options:
Side Dish Options:
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“Experts Read the Tea Leaves” is published in the November 1 Washington Post.
A tea timeout is my favorite way to de-stress a day. It feels so civilized to relax with a warm cup of jasmine-scented green tea or perhaps the traditional English treat, black tea with milk – “white,” as they say. No wonder the fathers of our country took up arms for their right to drink it. Still, with all the myths we hear about nutrition, I’ve always wondered, is tea as healthful as many people believe?
Although tea has been enjoyed around the world for some 5,000 years, it wasn’t until relatively recently that scientists started searching for the facts.
From the 1970s to the 1990s, epidemiological studies – the kind following large populations’ eating and disease patterns – found tea drinking might be associated with better health. But no clear cause-and-effect relationship between health and tea was established.
Recent studies have been promising. What did they find? Just about every cell in the body could potentially benefit from tea – with virtually no downsides. Read more about the health benefits of tea and my “7 Tips for Tea Drinkers” in the November 1 Washington Post…
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Today is the 11th “Katherine’s Market Recipe,” all of which are designed to be delicious, easy, quick, family-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local Farmers Markets this week. At your Farmers Market, you’ll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture and nutrition. You’re also helping save the environment when you buy at your Farmers Market. Here’s how…
For my “Autumn Apple Crisp with Nuts, Dried Fruits, and Ginger,” I recommend you buy the apples or pears at Georgetown’s Rose Park Farmers Market (your last chance this year) on Wednesday, or Dupont Circle’s Fresh Farm Market (open year-round) on Sunday.
Katherine’s Autumn Apple Crisp with Nuts, Dried Fruit & Ginger
By Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.
This will become a favorite holiday dessert – delicious, but quick and simple, too. And, heart healthy – using predominantly whole grains and nut oil instead of butter – and filled with fruit and nuts.* This Apple Crisp is very versatile with its main ingredients. Use a crunchy, tart Fall Apple, an Anjou Pear, or a combination of both. Use any dried fruit, your favorite nut, and a nut oil for maximum flavor.
½ Cup Pure Maple Syrup
½ Cup Raisins, Dried Cranberries, or a mix of both
2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Minced Candied or Crystalized Ginger, or less if you like it less strong
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
3 pounds crisp, tart Fall Apples, or any apple or pear, peeled and thinly sliced
1-1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
½ Cup Chopped Walnuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts, any favorite Nut – or a mixture**
½ Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour*
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Walnut Oil, any Nut Oil,** or Canola Oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare filling: In a large bowl, mix the maple syrup, dried fruit, lemon juice, ginger, and flour. Add the apples and mix well. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Prepare Topping: Mix the oats, nuts, brown sugar, whole wheat flour, and cinnamon. Add the oil and mix until the topping is moist. Pour over the filling in the baking dish.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crumble is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes until serving
300 calories per serving.
“Katherine’s Autumn Apple Crisp with Nuts, Dried Fruits, and Ginger” is adapted from a recipe in “Eating Well” Magazine.
*A whole grain – whole oats and whole wheat flour – has three parts: bran, germ and endosperm. The bran and germ contain fiber, Vitamin E, B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid) minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, selenium and iron), protein, essential oils, antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant substances that may protect health). The endosperm contains mostly starch with a little protein and very few nutrients. When a grain is refined, turning whole wheat flour into white flour or brown rice into white rice, only the nutrient-poor endosperm is left. The heart-healthy, cancer-fighting riches found in the bran and germ are lost. Learn more about whole grains…
**Nuts – Every time a new study comes out about nuts – any nut – it’s positive news. Nut eaters around the world have fewer heart attacks, and we know that most of the protective nutrients are in the oil of the nut. While you already know each nut has a different look and flavor, each nut also has its own unique nutritional characteristics. For instance, almonds are the highest in protein and Vitamin E, and the lowest in artery-clogging saturated fat. Walnuts are the only nut with omega-3-fatty acids. Pecans have the highest antioxidant content. Pistachios contain lutein, a compound which may significantly improve eye health. ALL nuts are good for you. My favorite: Italian Hazelnuts!
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The holidays – starting with Halloween – can trip up even the most conscientious dieter. This happened to a client who had lost and kept off 20 pounds successfully. The Halloween trap caught her by surprise. She bought several bags of Snickers, her favorite candy bar, and began a binge that didn’t end until the candy was gone – long before Trick or Treat even began! That brought her up a couple of pounds. The holidays came and before you know it, she had gained almost ten pounds before winter was out.
With Halloween and the holidays looming, it’s important to determine your strategy for dealing with the temptation of sweets: what you eat, what you bring in your home, and what you serve others. My philosophy is that all foods can be enjoyed in moderation. But there are special challenges posed with some foods, particularly sweets, which have been confirmed by solid science – it’s not just in our heads! Understanding the science behind sweet craving and overeating can help us eat in a more moderate and healthy way.
People have an inborn attraction to sweets. If you don’t believe it, simply watch an infant’s response to something sweet versus, say, a vegetable. There’s an automatic acceptance, even joy, after eating something sweet. On the other hand, vegetables are an acquired taste, which may take 10 – 20 tries before acceptance. This is partly explained by evolution. We’ve been eating naturally sweet foods such as breast milk and fruit for millions of years. They contain life-sustaining nutrients, and a love for those foods helped keep us alive. Also, during evolution, an attraction to scarce calorie-dense foods, such as sweets and fats, improved our chances for survival.
But there are other explanations. The research surrounding our attraction to sweets has stepped up in recent decades. Scientists are grappling with understanding the calorie imbalances causing the obesity epidemic, which is partly fueled by eating too many sweets.
Our brain chemistry holds an important clue. Research shows that sweets, like many antidepressants, increase the brain chemical, serotonin, which helps regulate mood and appetite. Without carbohydrates, your brain stops regulating serotonin. Eating carbohydrates profoundly improves mood; which is why a handful of candy corn will make you feel better.
When we’re stressed, anxious or depressed, serotonin levels can drop, and one way people modify their moods is by eating carbohydrates. But, Halloween and holiday sweet cravings may be uniquely influenced by seasonal changes, too. Studies show that as days get shorter and we are exposed to less sunshine, serotonin levels drop and this leads to increased carbohydrate cravings in susceptible people. Women are particularly vulnerable to sweet cravings because their brains have less serotonin than men.
There have been other explanations for women’s reported increased sweet craving and indulging. Some researchers attribute the difference to the female hormone, estrogen. It’s been reported that sweet cravings change according to where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, circumstantial evidence that estrogen may play a role. But the findings are inconsistent, as some report increased cravings during menstruation, while others report higher cravings as a premenstrual symptom, a time when serotonin levels may be low.
But the bottom line is clear: Females overeat sweets compared to males. A study of female rats found they even ate more rat chow when it was sweetened, compared with males, according to a study in the American Journal of Physiology. In animals, having high levels of estrogen is associated with eating more sweets. This theory has yet to be proven in humans.
Cravings and overeating are difficult to study because they can be so subjective and multifactorial. Other researchers stipulate sweet cravings are mainly determined by culture or by psychological and behavioral factors, rather than physiology.
In some cultures, people don’t crave sweets because they haven’t been exposed to them as regularly as Americans. A study of chocolate, for instance, found that American women crave chocolate significantly more than Spanish women. And while a large percentage of American women reported increased chocolate cravings surrounding their menstrual period, Spanish women did not.
Other studies confirm that exposure during childhood is the major determinant of what we crave and are susceptible to overeating.
- I copied my mother’s love for sweets and love of baking; it was a fun activity we did together. In college, to combat loneliness, and heck just for fun, I over-indulged my love for sweets (as the pounds went up and up). I would regularly bake my favorite chocolate chip bars and caramel popcorn, both of which I made in childhood. Study after study shows the importance of parental modeling on a child’s preferences.
Availability and proximity are two of the most important factors science has found influences what we crave and overeat and they probably trump all of the other reasons combined. When tasty foods, such as sweets, are around, we simply eat more of them.
Chances are, a combination of factors is responsible for cravings and overeating sweets at Halloween and the holidays. Holiday sweets are novel, they only comes around once a year. It comes in small pieces so you fool yourself into thinking you’re not eating as much. You put it in bowls around the house and eat it mindlessly.
If you have a strong desire for sweets, it may be a sign that you’re depressed, anxious or stressed. But you don’t have to indulge in sweets to raise your serotonin levels or to feel good. Physical activity, stress management, spending time with loved ones are activities which will also help reduce depression, anxiety and stress. (My client discovered a psychological basis for her binges, which she is successfully averting these days).
Using candy to feel better is not a great solution for your waist line. It is so high calorie, it doesn’t take much to overeat and forget your weight loss plans. For the same calories in a candy bar, you could eat four apples, or maybe you couldn’t – and that’s the point!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not urging you to be a Halloween Scrooge. I believe it’s possible to have fun with Halloween, and even eat Halloween candy, but still avoid some of the excesses that many of us have fallen victim to in the past. Here are a few suggestions:
- To reduce the possibility of seasonal cravings, make sure you’re getting 30 minutes to one hour of sunlight each day by taking a walk in the mornings or at lunch. You may be able to “catch up” on the weekend, if you didn’t get enough rays during the week,
- Eat plenty of healthy carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, to keep serotonin at optimum levels and reduce cravings of less healthy carbohydrates, such as refined sugar,
- If you feel driven to eat sweets, it may be a signal that you’re depressed, anxious or stressed. Reduce tension and anxiety by exercising, meditating or talking with loved ones. It’s important to understand the core of the problem and for that, you may need to seek help from a professional,
- If you want to lose weight, keep your candy – or other “extra” calories – to no more than 10% of your daily calories (that’s 200 calories for the average 2,000 calorie intake, or 150 for 1,500 calories). You may even get away with one big splurge on Halloween. But if you splurge for two or more days, it will probably effect your waist line negatively,
- If you can’t resist eating too much candy, wait to buy it on the day of the party or event (or, don’t buy it). This way, the candy won’t be sitting around as a constant temptation,
- Buy only what you need for the event and buy your least favorite candy. Give away the remaining candy at the end of the evening so that there’s nothing left,
- Try fun and healthier alternatives to sweets to have around your home and serve to family and guests, such as popcorn, roasted pumpkin seeds, sliced apples and fruit with nice dips,
- Most importantly, if you do find you overeat, lighten up, don’t dwell on the negative and get over it! Analyze objectively what you can do differently next time,
With awareness and good planning, you can have your sweets and eat them, too!
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“Thank you for the best soup we’ve had in ages. I love it! And I hate cauliflower!” said my neighbor Nancy Flinn. A client’s teenaged son even asked for 2nd and 3rd helpings. That’s why this is one of my favorite soups. It’s adapted from “The French Culinary Institute’s Salute to Healthy Cooking,” an inspirational cookbook for me. A “Vichyssoise,” is normally cold, but I recommend you serve this hot. A traditional vichyssoise is made with cream, potatoes and leeks, but I think you’ll love this version even more – made with the more flavorful cauliflower, a little potato lending texture, and milk making it lusciously smooth.
Today is the 10th “Katherine’s Market Recipe,” all of which are designed to be delicious, easy, quick, family-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local Farmers Markets this week. At your Farmers Market, you’ll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture and nutrition. You’re also helping save the environment when you buy at your Farmers Market. Here’s how…
For my “Cauliflower Vichyssoise,” I recommend you buy the cauliflower, leeks, and potato at Georgetown’s Rose Park Farmers Market (there are only two market days left!) on Wednesday or Dupont Circle’s Fresh Farm Market (open year-round) on Sunday.
By Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.
Cauliflower is in the species of foods called “brassica.” The brassica family of foods has extremely high nutritional values and contain high levels of antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C, selenium, calcium, potassium, folic acid and choline – important for the brain, as well as soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol and helps level blood sugar. Brassica, a huge category of foods including broccoli, cabbages, mustard seeds and greens, also contain potent anti-cancer compounds which help detoxify carcinogens in the liver before they continue to circulate in your bloodstream. These compounds also aid your immune response with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
4 to 8 Servings
1 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Head Cauliflower
1 Medium Potato
6 Cups Chicken Stock (or vegetable stock), fat removed
1 Cup 1% Milk
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
8 leaves Fresh Parsley, Chopped
Slice the white part of the leeks, cut the cauliflower into florets and set aside. Heat canola oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Add sliced leeks, stirring frequently for about ten minutes until soft. Stir in the stock, cauliflower and potato. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about twenty minutes or until vegetables are soft. When mixture has cooled a bit, puree with the The Cuisinart Smart Stick… No mess, no fuss! (or blender or food processor), add the milk. Serve hot in the cool weather, cold in the hot weather. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley.
700 calories in the entire pot of soup
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“This poem reminds me of how Autumn is a threshold—in the midst of the abundant autumn landscape of color and light, there is also a sense that the grey bare days of winter are just around the corner,” says Terri Lynn Simpson, Consultant for Contemplative Programming, Washington National Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage.
“These liminal times are like open doorways that invite us to a particular kind of mindfulness where we are aware that we’re moving from one way of being to another. One foot is in the past and one foot is in the future, and in the midst of the two is the present. We can put our weight on one foot or another, superficially living in the past or the future, but true balance comes only when we live deeply in the moment.” Learn more about the health benefits of mindfulness…
Song for Autumn
by Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems: Volume II (Beacon press)
In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.
In Spring, 2013, Ms. Simpson is leading a religious pilgrimage to Wales focusing on poetry, in the Welsh tradition, which she says is “an exhalation of an experience of the holy, the primary language of spirituality. As we explore the history and sacred sites of this thread of the Celtic tradition, the words of Welsh poets will guide us on our pilgrimage together and encourage us to reflect upon the ways our personal stories and landscapes shape our individual journeys.”
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“A ‘comfort soup’ with just the right spices to make it interesting; my ‘go to’ soup for the Fall!” says my neighbor, Constance Chatfield Taylor, president of Flying Colors Broadcasts. “Great to serve with h’oeuvres in simple demitasse cups or on Thanksgiving day.”
Winter squashes, particularly butternut, are far superior to the summer squashes and zucchini in taste and nutrition because of their deeper color and higher carbohydrate and nutrient content. The most potent squashes are the more deeply colored varieties, especially pumpkin and butternut. Their color is provided by one of the most powerful nutrients: beta-carotene.
Characterized by a chubby bowling pin shape, a buff/beige color on the outside and a deep orange on the inside, the butternut is an exceptional source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant which converts to vitamin A in your body. Beta-carotene is critical for your immune system, your skin, your vision, bones, reproduction, and more. Studies show that people who eat foods high in beta-carotene and people with high blood levels of beta-carotene have a lower incidence of certain cancers. But you won’t get the same results with a beta-carotene supplement. Study after study has shown disappointing results with the supplements. So, only the food will do! But that’s a good thing for us squash lovers.
Apparently, each squash is a bustling little factory of nutrients and phytochemicals, the plant compounds with potent powers of healing. When acting synergistically in a food, these nutrients provide a more powerful health punch than the individual nutrients alone. Some of the most important nutrients in squash are antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and vitamin C, which are powerful substances believed to reduce inflammation, improve immune function and help prevent heart disease and cancers, among other benefits.
But there are other good reasons to eat butternut squash.
Butternut squash is also a great source of fiber (good for your gastrointestinal system), potassium (important for your heart and lowers blood pressure), vitamin C (a great antioxidant important for your skin, bones and healing), magnesium (important for muscle function, the heart, bones, blood clotting, and improves diabetes),manganese (important for metabolism and bone formation) and calcium (important for your heart and bones). And a big plus: it’s low in calories, only 82 calories in a cup (7 ounces) of baked squash cubes.
Today is the 9th of “Katherine’s Market Recipes,” all of which are designed to be delicious, easy, quick, family-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local Farmers Markets this week. At your Farmers Market, you’ll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture and nutrition. You’re also helping save the environment when you buy at your Farmers Market. Here’s how…
I recommend you buy the butternut squash, “candy”onion, and garlic at Georgetown’s own Rose Park Farmers Market on Wednesday, the Glover Park – Burleith Farmers Market on Saturday, or Dupont Circle’s Fresh Farm Market on Sunday. Incredibly, you can even buy locally grown ginger at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market or other Fresh Farm Market locations from Next Step Produce, Tree and Leaf Farm, The Farm at Sunnyside, Radix Farm and Mountain View Farm. It’s simple to preserve this fresh, tender and exquisite ginger so you can have it all year long. Learn how with my step-by-step instructions for Preserving Ginger…
Butternut Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger
By Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.
About 6 servings
1 Small Butternut Squash
4 Cups Water
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Cup Chopped Sweet Onion (about 1 medium)
1 Clove Garlic, crushed (2 cloves, if you like it spicy)
1 tsp Curry Powder (2 tsp, if you like it spicy)
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, about 2 inches, grated (2 Tbsp, if you like it spicy)
1 Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
Optional Garnish: A few fresh Cilantro sprigs per bowl
Cut Butternut Squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place squash face down in baking pan with 4 cups water. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until soft when pierced by a fork. (If you cannot slice a raw squash, as an alternative … Bake the squash whole, then slice it in half when relatively cool – add the water to the soup pot later…)
While the squash is baking, prepare the aromatic vegetables and spices: Place the oil in a large iron skillet or soup pot on medium-high. Add onions and garlic and fry until golden. Stir in curry powder, ginger, and a pinch of salt and simmer on low for a few minutes.
When the squash has cooled to the touch, pour all the water in which the squash was cooked into the skillet and stir to scrape up the bits of aromatic vegetables and spices. When squash has cooled, scoop out the butternut squash meat, leaving the skin, and stir into the mixture in the skillet. When room temperature or cool, puree the vegetable and spice mixture in a blender or food processor with the broth. Better yet, use my favorite immersible hand blender and puree right in the cooking pot: The Cuisinart Smart Stick… No mess, no fuss!
NOTE: Adjust seasonings by adding more salt, pepper or spices, if desired. Adjust consistency by adding more water or broth. Also, any similar winter squash will work well if Butternut is not available.
The entire pot of soup makes about 6 cups and is about 500 calories