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Heart-healthy cooking oils are a delicious way to love your heart

Vegetarian lasagna cooked with Nutrioli.

Have you ever wondered how a simple change in your kitchen can lead to a healthier heart? Enter the world of heart-healthy cooking oils. These culinary champions not only add a burst of flavor to your dishes but also play a crucial role in promoting cardiovascular health1.

Imagine sizzling stir-fries, crispy roasts, and flavorful salads, all brought to life with oils that love your heart as much as your taste buds. Sounds good, doesn’t it? So let’s dive in and explore these culinary gems!

The heart of the matter: choosing the right oils

From soybean to canola, avocado to flaxseed, walnut to grapeseed, and sunflower to olive, the selection of heart-healthy cooking oils is vast. Each oil is a little bottle of heart health, offering unique flavors and health benefits.

Oh, the wonderful world of cooking oils! Have you ever stood in the grocery store aisle, gazing at the array of oils, and wondered, “Which one is the healthiest for me?” Well, today, let’s shine a spotlight on a culinary champion that deserves praise – soybean oil.

Now, you might be thinking, “Soybean oil? Really?” Absolutely! This humble oil is a hidden gem in the world of heart-healthy cooking.

Why, you ask? Well, let’s dive into the nutritional profile of soybean oil. Rich in polyunsaturated fats and packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, soybean oil helps to lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels while boosting beneficial HDL cholesterol. It’s like having your own personal health warrior right in your kitchen.

Not only that, but soybean oil is also a great source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage. Plus, it’s versatile enough to be used in a variety of dishes, from sizzling stir-fries to scrumptious salads.

And guess what? Despite its impressive health benefits, soybean oil doesn’t compromise on flavor. Its neutral taste lets the flavors of your ingredients shine through, making your dishes not only healthier but also tastier.

Variety is the spice of life. Why not mix things up and experiment with different oils for different dishes? A drizzle of avocado oil on a salad, a splash of grapeseed oil in a stir-fry, or a spoonful of walnut oil in a dessert can open a whole new world of flavors.

So, the next time you’re in the grocery store, why not pick up a bottle of soybean oil? It’s a small change that could make a big difference to your heart health. Healthy cooking isn’t just about eating right; it’s about discovering new flavors, experimenting with new recipes, and finding joy in every bite. And the best part? You’re doing your heart a favor with every delicious bite!

Cooking with love using heart-healthy oils

Incorporating heart-healthy oils into your everyday recipes is easier than you think1. Use them for sautéing, grilling, roasting, or even as a salad dressing. Remember, while these oils are healthier, moderation is key as they are still high in calories.

From pouring to spraying: the rise of aerosol oils

Aerosol oils, or spray oils, are a game-changer in the kitchen. They’re like having a magic wand that lets you control exactly how much oil you use, reducing unnecessary fats in your dishes without compromising on flavor.

Think about it. You’re making a batch of your favorite cookies. Instead of greasing the baking sheet with a brush or pouring oil, you simply spray a fine mist of oil. Easy, isn’t it? Plus, it’s a surefire way to ensure an even distribution of oil.

And did you know that spray oils come in heart-healthy options too? Olive, avocado, canola, soybean – you name it! One of these heart-friendly sprays is soybean oil spray.

So, why not start today? Experiment with these oils, explore new recipes, give soybean oil a shot and embark on a journey of delicious and heart-healthy cooking. After all, a happy heart begins in the kitchen!

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5 of the Best Healthy Food and Wine Pairings

Pairing red wine with cheese and charcuterie.

Food and wine pairings are an important skill to master. You have to know the right type of wine that will enhance the flavor of a dish. The proper pairing can help achieve the right balance of flavors that would complement each other beautifully. But aside from achieving the correct balance of flavor, it is also important to choose a healthy pairing. You can indulge in good flavor without compromising on health. So, these are the best food and wine pairings that won’t make you feel guilty or damage your diet.

Turkey Chili and Red Wine

Turkey chili is a recipe that offers a ton of flavor and comfort. While beef chili is a common recipe, you can create a healthier version by using turkey meat instead. Turkey is much leaner and is just as flavorful as beef when it comes to this recipe. This hearty meal is the perfect way to cap off your day or to fuel you before an intense workout. It is a great meal option if you run out of vanilla flavored protein powders to energize you ahead of a good workout. It is also ideal for a lazy night in and you need to serve up a hearty meal.

This dish is loaded with nutrients and flavors as it uses ingredients such as beans, vegetables, and lots of spices (aside from the lean turkey meat). It is bold and complex, so you need to pair it with a red wine of your choice. In particular, Cotes du Rhone and Zinfandel are perfect with this dish. It adds a spicy kick to your palate without causing too much heat. 

Grilled Salmon and Red Wine

Another excellent dish that is hearty and healthy is grilled salmon. Salmon is a very tasty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. It is, therefore, one of the healthiest kinds of fish you could consume as part of your diet. In fact, health experts recommend that you get at least two servings of salmon per week.

This delicious fish can be served grilled as this adds a smoky element to the flavor. You can pair it with a delicious sauce or fresh herbs to boost the taste. When it comes to pairing it with wine, varieties such as Gamay or Pinot Noir go perfectly with salmon. The fruits that were used to create these wines complement the rich flavor of the fish beautifully. If you are a white wine fanatic, then you can also pair it with some Chardonnay.

Citrus Vinaigrette Salad and Sauvignon Blanc

If you are a fan of salads, then you’ll be pleased to know that there is a perfect wine pairing for that–Sauvignon Blanc. This particular type of wine is known for its hints of grassy and citrusy flavors. It goes perfectly with a salad that is made with citrus vinaigrette, particularly lemon. While some types of wine might be overwhelmed by the citrus notes of the salad, the case is not the same with Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, both salad and wine complement each other beautifully. 

White Fish and White Wine

Whitefish is another healthy kind of seafood you can indulge in. Not only is white fish healthy, but it also comes with a mild flavor. For this reason, it is best paired with white wines because it won’t overpower the flavor of the fish meat (which is the case with red wines).

Whitefish is also low in fat content, so it is a good choice for health-conscious individuals. To make it healthier, white fish is best served grilled or baked. Make sure to sprinkle fresh herbs such as dill on top along with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. Whatever type of white wine you pair it with, it is sure to be a winning combo!

Grilled Vegetables and Red Wine

Grilled vegetables are another healthy meal option that you can try for your next food and wine pairing. This is a delicious combination that will make you forget just how healthy it is! The best thing about grilled vegetables is that you can use any type of vegetable that is available. Put them on a grill and season them, and you are all set.

Grilled vegetables are best paired with red wines like Merlot or Grenache. But if you want to add a bold sauce to your grilled veggies, then you might want to pair it with Syrah. There are plenty of wine pairings that will go well with grilled vegetables, so have fun experimenting!

Enjoying your next wine night at home can be healthy and delicious. You can choose from any of the above wine pairings to indulge yourself without the guilt!


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Whey protein

Muscle helps with stability and balance. Are you looking to increase your muscle? Many try whey protein.

When it comes to building muscle, the most important part of the diet is protein. It is a building block of muscle tissue. If you want to build strong and lasting muscle, consider the benefits of whey protein.

Whey protein pros and con

Protein is one of the staples of a strong diet along with carbohydrates and fats. Eating them in the proper proportions will help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. As you get older, the body loses muscle mass. Building muscle becomes even more crucial for stability, longevity and proper body functioning.

Consider whey protein

Do you remember the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme? She sat on her tuffet eating curds and whey. Whey is produced when you are making cheese. It is the top layer that is separated out. This is a pure kind of protein that has many benefits to the body, especially for those who are trying to build muscle.

Now whey protein is not just for body builders. Muscle is important at all stages of life. To help muscles recover from a workout, whether cardio or a strength training routine, it needs protein for the repair and rebuild. Whey protein provides the most branched-chain amino acids for optimum return.

Well, you might be saying that protein is not hard to come by and you’d be right. Of all the nutrients in your diet, protein is the one that is most often not lacking. You find protein in many sources: meat, dairy, eggs, green leafy vegetables and seafood. But, the quality of protein is what differs. Animal protein contains a measure of fat as well as the protein.

What are some other benefits of whey? Think about how hard it is to lose weight. As you age, it doesn’t get any easier. Whey protein as a daily protein source can help with that.

Adding protein at every meal helps to balance your blood sugar. It eases those cravings for sweets and other unhealthy foods in the middle of the day. Your blood sugar is more even, just like eating complex carbs but without the added sugar intake. You can concentrate on eating healthier and getting the exercise you need to increase your weight loss.


There is a downside to just about everything. As far as whey protein goes, it may be the intake. The average intake is about 25 grams a day for the average athlete or person working out consistently who wants to lose weight and tone their muscles. Bodybuilders increase that six-fold to make great muscle gains in the least amount of time.

Consuming too much protein can cause problems with the liver. It will have a hard time breaking it down. If you use whey protein, use it wisely and compensate by lowering other protein sources in your diet.

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Volumetrics and Fat Resistance diets

Volumetrics, the diet of more food and more weight loss, which focuses on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and the Fat Resistance Diet, the diet of counting 1, 2, 3 to lose weight, which includes foods high in carotenoids, flavonoids, fresh herbs and spices. Weight loss does not mean to stop eating at all. It is more a change of habits and the food that encourages weight loss it is also healthy. There are different strategies to induce people to eat better and lose weight at the same time, both the Volumetrics and the Fat Resistance Diet seem to encourage good habits, so it could be worth to give one of them a try, if it suits your lifestyle.

Volumetrics, the diet of more food and more weight loss

The Volumetrics Eating Plan is based on the simple fact that people like to eat. And, if people are given the choice between eating more and eating less, they’ll take more almost every time. It has been burned into our society and culture. Just look at meal sizes over the last thirty years and you will notice that not only have the portions increased, the size of the plate has increased too.

Unlike diets that are based on deprivation, the Volumetrics diet doesn’t try to fight this natural preference. Its creator, nutritionist Barbara Rolls, PhD, argues that limiting your diet is not sustainable; you will just wind up hungry and unhappy and revert back to your original eating habits. Let’s take a look at the basics of the Volumetrics Eating Plan.

The Volumetrics approach

The approach Dr. Rolls takes is to help people find food they can eat lots of while still losing weight. The diet revolves around the feeling of fullness, or satiety. The theory is that people feel full based on the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories or nutrient density.

So, the trick is to fill up on foods that aren’t full of calories, which allows the dieter to stick to the main principle of calorie restriction. Dr. Rolls claims that in some cases, following a Volumetrics diet will allow you to eat more than you do now, while still slimming down.

Dr. Rolls has excellent credentials. She a professor of nutrition and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State University. She is also the author of more than 200 research articles. Volumetrics is based, in large part, on the work done in her laboratory.

What you can eat on the Volumetrics Diet

Since the diet doesn’t revolve around differences in body types or “good” foods and “bad” foods, Dr. Rolls doesn’t ban food types as part of the Volumetrics diet. She does, however, urge people to evaluate foods based on their energy density which is a critical concept for the diet.

Energy density is the number of calories in a specified amount of food. Some foods are more energy dense than others, like fats, which have a lot of calories packed into a small size. Water, on the other hand, has an energy density of zero.

Basically, this diet is a game to see how you can eat more food while eating fewer calories. Here is a short break down to give you some idea of what Volumetrics is all about.

Very low-density foods include: Non-starchy vegetables – Nonfat milk – Soup broths

Very high-density foods include: Crackers – Chips – Cookies – Chocolate and Candies – Nuts – Butter and Oils

Since water is the ultimate zero-density food, Volumetrics relies heavily on foods with a high water content, such as many vegetables and fruits, which are 80 to 95 percent water. These will fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Dr. Rolls also suggests eating lots of foods with filling fiber, along with adequate portions of lean protein and healthy fats from fish and other sources. Of course, energy-dense foods, like sweets, fats, and alcohol, are still allowed, but only in moderation.

Is Volumetrics the diet for you?

Anyone who loves lots and lots of food, will enjoy the Volumetrics diet. You will still have to do some simple math to calculate the energy density of foods, but at least you don’t have to track calories or deny yourself a small bite of that delicious chocolate mousse. If endless bowls of soup and piles of veggies and fruit appeal to you, dig into Volumetrics and watch the weight come off.

The Fat Resistance Diet, count 1 2 3 to weight loss

The Fat Resistance Diet was developed by Dr.Leo Galland who is recognized as an expert in the field of nutritional medicine. It is based on the concept that hormones, which include leptin and adiponectin, control the appetite and body fat levels in the body. When fat levels become too high in the body, inflammation occurs that subsequently alters the body chemistry and balance of these hormones. The idea behind the diet is to reduce inflammation which restores the body’s chemistry, reducing cravings, promoting fat burning, and helping the dieter to achieve a healthy weight.

3 stages of weight loss and control

There are three stages to the Fat Resistance Diet. In the initial stages carbohydrates such as grains and starchy vegetables are avoided, but as the dieter progresses through the three stages the amount of carbohydrates is gradually reintroduced.

Stage 1 concentrates on reducing inflammation and restoring blood sugar levels. This is achieved by an abundance of super foods and nine to ten servings of fruit and vegetables every day along with a relatively high intake of quality protein. The high nutritional quality of the this phase will help to re-balance body chemistry and cut your cravings for carbohydrates. This stage also provides a jump-start to the fat loss process.

Stage 2 increases your choice of foods so that the diet is suitable for long-term fat loss. After completing Stage 1, the insulin levels in the body should have decreased which allows for tolerance of more complex carbohydrates in the diet. Stage 2 allows for reintroduction of legumes as well as some whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice.

Stage 3 is the maintenance stage. In this stage the variety of foods increase further to include healthy grain-based meals like carrot raisin muffins, blueberry flax pancakes, and even whole grain pasta. The inflammation reducing foods are still emphasized while the caloric content of the diet is slightly higher to allow for maintenance of weight loss.

Recommended foods

The foundation of the diet is fresh fruit and vegetables in abundance, as these contain phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids which act as anti-inflammatories.

Foods which are high in carotenoids include: carrots, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, papaya

Foods which are high in flavonoids include: blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, citrus fruit, dark grapes, green tea, onions, dark chocolate

Fresh herbs and spices can also be used during the diet because they have important nutritional factors which reduce inflammation and improve the taste of foods without adding calories.

The diet also emphasizes increasing the intake of foods that are high in good fats like the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and dark green leafy vegetables. These fats play an important role in reducing inflammation as well as improving general health.

Is this the diet for you?

The Fat Resistance Diet is a solid weight loss plan based on nutritional science. Besides losing weight, this diet has an added bonus of helping to reduce inflammation within the body and supplying high levels of antioxidants to help control hormones and keep your body healthy and happy. If you like the idea of a diet plan based on scientific study, you might want to give the Fat Resistance Diet a try.

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Buying a spice rack

Spice racks are an integral part of keeping the kitchen organized.

If you’re unhappy with the current way you store spices, consider what to look for when buying a spice rack. These tips will help you find the best spice rack for your kitchen and your budget.

What to look for when buying a spice rack

Three of the most important things to look for when considering spice racks are what types are best for your home, how much space do they require and how much will they cost you

There are a variety of types of spice racks. You can get some that are magnetic. They can be hung on any metal surface which will keep them handy while you cook. Carousel spice racks require more space than the magnetic kind, but they often hold more of the spice for the amount of space it needs. Hanging spice racks will keep spices up off your cabinet but they often don’t hold the amount of spices as other types.

Next you’ll want to consider how much space you have in your kitchen. If you have plenty of counter space, a carousel rack might be the perfect choice. However, if your kitchen is smaller than you would like with minimal counters, one of the other types would be a better choice.

Finally, you’ll want to consider the price of spice racks. There are so many to choose from and they range in price from under $25 to well over $100. Of course, only you know how much you can afford to spend.  You can find some relatively inexpensive spice racks at local department stores or larger malls. They can also be found online at a variety of locations. Consider how much you are willing to spend and then find the best rack to meet your budget.

Features to consider when shopping for a spice rack

  • Number of jars – Spice racks will have a different number of filled and sealed spice jars included. Look at the pre-filled spices and think about foods you normally prepare. This will help you decide which spice rack is going to suit your needs best.
  • Easily identifiable – You’ll want to find a spice rack that makes it easy to identify which spice is which since so many look similar. This may be possible either by a label on the cap or around the jar itself.
  • Amount of spices – Most spice racks provide some spices in the jars or containers. The better spice racks will have more jars of pre-filled spices. They range in number from four to 48.
  • Construction – Spice racks can be made from anything from plastic to metal and nearly everything in between. Consider the décor of your kitchen to help you decide which spice rack is best for your kitchen.
  • Size – Overall, how much space does it take up on your countertop or in your cabinet? Or does it use non-traditional means to store your spices such as magnets or a hanging rack which can be placed under a cabinet?
  • Rotates – Some spice racks will revolve or rotate to make finding the right spice easier.
  • Easy cleaning – Depending of the construction materials, the spice rack can clean easily.

Making a comparison table is always a good idea when there are many options to choose from.

BrandSpice Stack Super SpicestackKitchenArt Pro Auto-Measure Spice CarouselKamenstein 16-Jar Beechwood
Jar count271216 jars
ConstructionPlasticStainless SteelWooden
Size8.5″H x 11″W x 10.75″D9.6 x 9.6 x 7 inches6.6 x 6.6 x 10.9 inches
Spice labelsNoYesYes/Pre-filled

Now that you have seen some of the types of spice racks available, determined how much you’re willing to spend and how much space it will take in your kitchen, you have the tools you need to choose the best spice rack to suit your needs.

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Buying a tortilla warmer

A tortilla warmer will keep your tortillas moist, soft and warm to enjoy Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine at their best.

Tortillas are an important part of Mexican cuisine. When served properly, they are versatile and quite delicious. If you’ve ever tried adding ingredients to a dry or cool tortilla, you know they tend to break apart and can affect the taste of the dish. Fortunately it’s easy to keep your tortillas moist, soft and warm with the help of a tortilla warmer.

What to look for when buying a tortilla warmer

There are quite a variety of warmers available so here are a few things to consider before buying a tortilla warmer.

Price – Tortilla warmers are not expensive. The price of tortilla warmers can range from $5 to $25 depending on the construction material, size / capacity, heat source, and the amount of heat the warmer will handle.

Construction – Warmers are made from a variety of materials such as high-temperature polyester, acrylic, and stoneware. The most common tortilla warmers are either in the form of bags or bowls with lids.

Size and Capacity – The standard tortilla sizes are 8-inch and 12-inch so you’ll want a warmer of comparable size. While tortillas can be purchased in large quantities the warmers compared here hold 12 tortillas, no matter the size of the tortilla. Although you may be tempted to get a warmer that holds more tortillas if you a large family, it’s better to use multiple warmers rather than a larger capacity warmer.

Heat Source – Most people warm their tortillas in the microwave; however some prefer to use the oven. Depending on your needs, you may find a warmer that can be used in both appliances is beneficial.

Product Care – Since the warmers rarely have stuck-on or burned foods, the quickest way to clean them is by hand washing. However, if you like the convenience of using a dishwasher, there are dishwasher safe tortilla warmers to choose from.

Below is a comparison chart of features and consumer performance ratings.

BrandCameron’s Product Tortilla WarmerImusa Tortilla WarmerRSVP Stoneware Tortilla Warmer
ConstructionHigh Temp PolyesterAcrylicStoneware
CapacityHolds 12 12” tortillasHolds 12 8” tortillasHolds 12 8” tortillas
Microwave/Oven SafeMicrowave onlyMicrowave onlyMicrowave & Oven safe (up to 325 F)
How to CleanHand WashHand WashDishwasher safe

Soft, warm, moist, tortillas play a big part in the success of many Mexican dishes. If you’re tired of your tortillas cracking and all the ingredients running onto your plate – or worse, your lap, a tortilla warmer may be just what you need.

Since there are a variety of warmers available, knowing what to look for when buying a tortilla warmer will help save you time, money, and even your taste buds. This tortilla warmer comparison chart will help you get started.

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Home wine making resources

Information comes first, so read a book or two about wine technology and home wine making. Learn about vines and vine growing if you want to make wine from grapes, Jeff Cox’s book “From Vines to Wines” is a good start.

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If you have decided to make your own wine at home, even if it is wine from other fruits than grapes, you will need some equipment and tools. The most expensive equipment includes a home distiller to make spirits from wines.

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Once you have chosen your basic equipment, you will need the ingredients and the bottles. You can collect your own. For the rest of us, there are kits for any type of wine you would want to make.

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Cholesterol Down

The following is an excerpt from the book Cholesterol Down by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN.

Ten Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in Four Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs.

Published by Three Rivers Press; December 2006;$13.95US/$17.95CAN; 978-0-307-33911-9
Copyright © 2006 Janet Brill, Ph.D.

Great recipes from the cholesterol down book

Mia’s Veggie Omelet

This recipe is named for my daughter Mia, who often makes this colorful and nutritious omelet. Serve with two soy sausages, whole-wheat toast, and margarine with plant sterols.

Yield: 1 serving

 ¼ cup asparagus, chopped
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons canola oil
¼ cup jarred sweet red peppers (found in the condiment section of most supermarkets)
½ medium Vidalia onion, chopped
6 egg whites
1 ounce soy cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste, optional

Cut tough stems off asparagus. Chop the tender portions of the spears into small pieces. Microwave in microwave-safe bowl with water until soft, about 2 minutes. Heat oil in frying pan. Add vegetables and sauté over medium-high heat until cooked (onion is transparent). Whisk egg whites together until a froth forms. Add in egg whites and fry until omelet has reached desired consistency. Top with shredded cheese, cover, and continue heating until cheese has just melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired and serve warm.

Nutritional information per serving (1 omelet):
Calories: 261, Fat: 13 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 840 mg, Carbohydrate: 8 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 2 g, Protein: 29 g

Four-Mushroom Barley Soup

Warm and comforting, this soup is just the thing for a cold winter’s day.

Yield: 10 servings

9 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
½ ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
¼ cup canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
8-ounce package baby bella or cremini mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned, and diced
12-ounce package white button mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned, and quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup whole-grain barley
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Shredded soy or regular part-skim mozzarella cheese, optional

Heat 1½ cups chicken broth. Add porcini and shiitake mushrooms to broth and soak, covered, until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms from broth and chop into small pieces; set aside. Strain soaking liquid and set aside. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and shallots and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the baby bella and button mushrooms and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and garlic, stir, and cook an additional minute. Add remaining chicken broth, porcini and shiitake soaking liquid, porcini and shiitake mushrooms, barley, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil, stir, and cover; reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour. Remove and discard bay leaf before serving. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese before serving, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving (1/10 of recipe, 351 grams or approximately 1½ cups soup):
Calories: 157, Fat: 6 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 744 mg, Carbohydrate: 20 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 2 g, Protein: 7 g

Deli Club Sandwich

Yield: 1 serving

2 slices 100% whole-wheat bread
4 slices Smart Deli roast-turkey-style soy deli slices
1 ounce Lifetime cholesterol-reducing cheddar cheese
½ avocado, peeled and sliced
¼ cup chopped spinach
2 slices tomato
1 slice red onion
Mustard to taste

Toast whole-wheat bread. Combine all ingredients into sandwich and add condiments to taste.

Nutritional information per serving (1 sandwich):
Calories: 353, Fat: 10 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1134 mg, Carbohydrate: 40 g, Dietary Fiber: 10 g, Sugars: 14 g, Protein: 29 g

Spinach Salad with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Yield: 2 servings

4 cups washed spinach leaves, preferably organically grown
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
2 large portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Balsamic glaze (available commercially such as Gia Russa from Italy)

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Chop spinach into small pieces and divide spinach between two salad plates. Top each with chopped tomatoes. Wash and dry mushrooms, removing stems. In a small pot, heat olive oil and sauté garlic with lemon juice, salt, and pepper until garlic is browned. Brush mushroom caps (both sides) generously with olive oil mixture. Grill mushrooms over medium heat, stem side down, for about 8 minutes. Turn and grill tops for 6 to 8 minutes more. The mushrooms should be browned and tender. Remove from grill, cut into quarters, and arrange over spinach salad. Add seasoning to taste. Drizzle salad with balsamic glaze and serve.

Nutritional information per serving (½ of recipe):
Calories: 220, Fat: 15 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 236 mg, Carbohydrate: 21 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 5 g

Soy Chicken Patties

Yield: 1 serving

2 frozen soy-based chicken patties (such as Morningstar Farms), defrosted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried dill
Commercial gravy, optional

Preheat broiler. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place chicken patties on foil, drizzle with lemon juice, and sprinkle with dill. Broil about 2 minutes each side, until no longer pink. Serve with commercial gravy if desired.

Nutritional information per serving (2 patties):
Calories: 308, Fat: 13 g, Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 1028 mg, Carbohydrate: 19 g, Dietary Fiber: 7 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 19 g

Mashed Potatoes with Chickpeas

Yield: 6 servings

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup light soy milk
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup Take Control Light margarine
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Commercial gravy, optional

Place potatoes in large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and return potatoes to pan. Add chickpeas and mash using a potato masher. Add soy milk, chicken broth, margarine, and salt and pepper and stir. Cook an additional 2 minutes, until heated, stirring constantly. Serve warm. Top with commercial gravy if desired.

Nutritional information per serving (1/6 of recipe, 293 grams or approximately 1 cup):
Calories: 255, Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 751 mg, Carbohydrate: 46 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 7 g

Garlicky Broccoli

Yield: 2 servings

2 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

Place broccoli in a microwave safe bowl, add water, and cook in microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes (I like it very well done, about 10 minutes). In a saucepan, combine olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice and cook over low heat for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden brown. Pour garlic sauce over drained broccoli, toss, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Nutritional information per serving (½ of recipe):
Calories: 88, Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 20 mg, Carbohydrate: 5 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 0 g, Protein: 2 g

Copyright © 2006 Janet Brill, PH.D.

About the Author

Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist, exercise physiologist, and certified wellness coach. She has been published in the International Journal of Obesity and the International Journal of Sport Nutrition, as well as in the popular press.

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Serotonin power diet

The Serotonin Power Diet explains how the easiest way to lose weight is to use your brain.

Serotonin is the body’s “feel good” brain chemical. It increases feelings of well-being and calm–and it also turns off the appetite. Eating your favorite starchy and sweet snacks, in carefully calculated amounts and at specific times, causes your body to increase its natural serotonin production, turning off your appetite. The result? Easy and painless weight loss.

Great recipes from the serotonin power diet

Shrimp and Fennel Stir-Fry 
This dish also tastes good cold. If you don’t like fennel, substitute white mushrooms. 

2 teaspoons olive oil 
2 cups fennel bulb, cut into ¼” slices 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or hot sauce 
Large shrimp, uncooked, peeled and deveined 

  Women: 4 ounces/Men: 7 ounces 
2 tablespoons lime juice 

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. 

Add the fennel, pepper, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the fennel is tender but not mushy. 

Add the red pepper and shrimp. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink. 

Add the lime juice and serve. 

Makes 1 serving 
Per serving (women): 296 calories, 29 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 12 g total fat, 7 g dietary fiber, 515 mg sodium 

Per serving (men): 389 calories, 47 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 14 g total fat, 7 g dietary fiber, 645 mg sodium 

Fast Creamy Broccoli Rice 
Two kinds of cheese give this recipe a savory taste.

2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth or water 
1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli spears 
Instant rice, white or brown, cooked according to package directions 

  Women: 1½ cups/Men: 2 cups 
2 slices fat-free American or Swiss cheese singles 
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese 
Ground white pepper 

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the chicken broth and broccoli spears until the broccoli is thawed. Add the rice and stir to mix. Top the rice with American or Swiss and Parmesan cheeses and heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is melted. Season with pepper to taste. 

Makes 1 serving 
Per serving (women): 430 calories, 32 g protein, 71 g carbohydrates, 2 g total fat, 10 g dietary fiber, 562 mg sodium 

Per serving (men): 512 calories, 34 g protein, 90 g carbohydrates, 3 g total fat, 10 g dietary fiber, 565 mg sodium 

Pasta Shells with Smoked Salmon 
This recipe creates a sophisticated dish worthy of guests. 

Small pasta shells or orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta), cooked according to package directions 
  Women: 1½ cups/Men: 2 cups 
½ tablespoon butter 
1 cup thinly sliced Savoy or green cabbage 
¼ cup water or chicken or vegetable broth 
½ cup frozen peas 
Chopped smoked salmon (for lower sodium, use cooked salmon) 

  Women: 2 ounces/Men: 4 ounces 
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream 
Salt (optional) 
Ground black pepper 
½ cup snipped fresh dill 

Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl. 

Heat the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add water or broth and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the peas. Stir the mixture into the pasta. 

Add the smoked salmon and sour cream, then salt (if desired) and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with dill just before serving. 

Makes 1 serving 

With smoked salmon 
Per serving (women): 456 calories, 25 g protein, 68 g carbohydrates, 10 g total fat, 10 g dietary fiber, 1,275 mg sodium 

Per serving (men): 604 calories, 38 g protein, 84 g carbohydrates, 13 g total fat, 8 g dietary fiber, 2,409 mg sodium 

With fresh salmon 
Per serving (women): 491 calories, 28 g protein, 68 g carbohydrates, 12 g total fat, 8 g dietary fiber, 170 mg sodium 

Per serving (men): 672 calories, 44 g protein, 84 g carbohydrates, 17 g total fat, 8 g dietary fiber, 200 mg sodium 

Curried Thai Sweet Potato and Chicken Soup 
Look for fat-free coconut milk and curry powder in the ethnic-foods section of your supermarket. Cilantro can be found in the herbs section of the produce department. 

Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” chunks 
  Women: 8 ounces/Men: 12 ounces 
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth 
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil 
½ medium onion, chopped 
1 1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional) 
2 teaspoons Thai curry powder 
4 tablespoons canned fat-free unsweetened coconut milk 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
Cooked chicken breast, shredded 
Women: 2 ounces/Men: 4 ounces 
Ground black pepper 
1 sprig fresh cilantro or 1 teaspoon dried coriander 

In a large soup pot over medium heat, simmer the sweet potatoes in the broth for 15 minutes until tender. 

Heat the oil in a skillet over low-medium heat and sauté the onion and ginger (if desired) until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the curry powder. 

Add the curry-onion mixture to the sweet potatoes and broth in the soup pot. 

Add the coconut milk, lemon juice, and chicken and heat until the soup is just about to boil, approximately 2 minutes. 

Season with pepper to taste. 

Pour the soup into a bowl and garnish with cilantro. 

Note: Do not use canned sweet potatoes in syrup. To save time, try frozen skinned sweet potatoes instead. 

Serve with steamed spinach. 

Makes 1 serving 
Per serving (women): 435 calories, 20 g protein, 76 g carbohydrates, 6 g total fat, 10 g dietary fiber, 259 mg sodium

Per serving (men): 699 calories, 52 g protein, 104 g carbohydrates, 8 g total fat, 14 g dietary fiber, 370 mg sodium 

Casablanca Onions 
This dish is so tasty you will want to make extra. 

Cooking spray 
1 teaspoon olive oil 
2 sweet or Vidalia onions, thickly sliced 
½ teaspoon coriander 
¼ teaspoon cumin 
¼ teaspoon cinnamon 
4 ounces jarred tomato sauce (optional: low-sodium variety) 
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth 
1 tablespoon raisins or dried currants 
1 bay leaf 
½ teaspoon brown sugar 
Ground black pepper 

Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat over low-medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Remove the onions from the skillet. Add the coriander, cumin, and cinnamon to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute. 

Return the onions to the skillet; add the tomato sauce, broth, raisins or currants, and bay leaf; and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the onions are very tender. 

Remove from heat and remove the bay leaf. 

Stir in the sugar and season with pepper to taste. 

Makes 1 serving 
Per serving: 108 calories, 3 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 2 g total fat, 4 g dietary fiber, 18 mg sodium 

Reprinted from: The Serotonin Power Diet: Use Your Brain’s Natural Chemistry to Cut Cravings, Curb Emotional Overeating, and Lose Weight  by Judith J. Wurtman and Nina Frusztajer Marquis © 2006 Judith J. Wurtman and Nina Frusztajer Marquis. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling at (800) 848-4735.

About the Author

Judith J. Wurtman, PhD, has been recognized worldwide for decades of pioneering research into the relationship of food, mood, brain, and appetite. Dr. Wurtman received her PhD in cell biology from MIT and took additional training as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in nutrition/obesity. The author of five books for the general public, she has written more than 40 peer-reviewed articles for professional publications.

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Feel good diet

Designed to balance brain chemicals, keeping dieters happy and motivated while shedding pounds.

The Feel Good Diet is an eating plan based in the latest neurological research. Designed to balance brain chemicals, keeping dieters happy and motivated while shedding pounds. The book includes scrumptious recipes.Dieting depletes neurotransmitters, as a result most people feel moody, hungry, with low energy levels and generally unhappy. Lacking will power to go on, they quit. The Feel Good Diet is an eating plan designed to keep brain chemicals balanced, making possible to shed pounds while replenishing stamina and enthusiasm.

The following is an excerpt from the book The Feel-Good Diet by Cheryle Hart, M.D., and Mary Kay Grossman, RD
Published by McGraw-Hill; January 2007;$22.95US/$27.95CAN; 978-0-07-145378-3 – Copyright © 2007 by Cheryle Hart and Mary Kay Grossman

Easy Beef and Bean Soup 

Use canned beans to make this soup a snap. 

½ pound lean (96 percent) ground beef 
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine 
1 medium onion, chopped 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
1 15-ounce can white kidney or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
1 medium carrot, sliced, or 1 cup sliced frozen carrots 
1 stalk celery, sliced 
16 ounces tomato juice 
3 cups beef broth 
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary 
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley 
Black pepper to taste 

Brown ground beef with garlic and onion in oil in a large kettle or saucepan. Add beans and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. 

Makes 6 servings 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 22 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber, 13 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 98 calories, Lo-Lo

Chicken and Kashi Casserole 

Kashi is labeled as a breakfast pilaf and is often found with the hot breakfast cereals in the grocery store. But it is a wonderful wholegrain side dish for any meal. You’ll love the chewy texture in this pilaf and the spices that are reminiscent of stuffing. 

½ medium onion, diced 
¾ cup diced celery 
¾ cup sliced mushrooms 
1 ½ teaspoons chicken flavor base 
1 ½ cups hot water 
1 6.5-ounce package Kashi 
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning 
4 chicken breasts, bone in, skin removed 
Mrs. Dash seasoning 
Salt as desired 

Preheat oven to 375°F. To a 3-quart or larger covered casserole or dutch oven, add vegetables, chicken base, and hot water. Mix well. Add Kashi and poultry seasoning and stir. Arrange chicken breasts on top, bone-side down. Sprinkle chicken with Mrs. Dash and salt as desired. Cover, and bake in oven for 1½ hours. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

Makes 8 servings 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 17 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 19 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 167 calories, Hi-Lo-Lo

Grilled Pork Loin Steaks with Rosemary 

Be sure not to overcook pork steaks. Use a meat thermometer to be sure that they stay moist and juicy. 

1 pound thick-cut pork loin steaks 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 
½ teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring (optional) 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
3 cloves garlic, crushed 
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary 

Cut pork into 4 pieces. Place all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Shake well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Grill or broil pork steaks just until they reach 170°F. Serve immediately. 

Makes 4 servings 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 5 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 24 grams protein, 15 grams fat, 248 calories, Lo-Lo-Lo 

Grilled Salmon Fillet 

Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Choose fish several times each week. The fish can also be baked in a foil packet in a 400°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes. 

1 2-pound wild salmon fillet 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
3 cloves garlic, crushed 
Juice of one lemon 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
¼ cup soy sauce 
Mrs. Dash or lemon pepper seasoning 

Preheat barbecue grill. Rinse salmon fillet and pat dry with paper towel. Cut a piece of foil 4 inches longer than the length of the salmon. Brush it with olive oil. Lay fillet, skin-side down, on foil. Curl edges of foil up around salmon to prevent juices from running out, leaving the top uncovered. Spread garlic evenly across salmon. Combine lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce, and pour over fillet. Sprinkle liberally with seasoning. Place salmon fillet on foil about 6 inches from coals or gas flame. Indirect heat is best. Cover grill. Cook 15 minutes. Do not turn. Check salmon. Salmon is done when flesh has turned paler pink and flakes with a fork. Do not overcook. 

Makes 8 servings 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 0 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 14 grams protein, 11 grams fat, 169 calories, Lo-Lo

Sautéed Vegetables 

Choose your favorite veggies. Cook them lightly to preserve vitamins and antioxidants. 

2 teaspoons vegetable oil 
2 cups of any mixture of the following vegetables: 
    Fresh or frozen broccoli florets 
    Fresh or frozen cauliflower florets 
    Onion, cut in wedges 
    Carrot, sliced thin 
    Celery, sliced into bite-sized pieces 
    Fresh or frozen green beans, whole or cut 
    Mushrooms, sliced 
    Green, red, or yellow pepper, cut in thin strips 
    Zucchini, sliced thin 
2 tablespoons water 
½ teaspoon lemon juice 
1 teaspoon soy sauce 

Heat oil in a medium frying pan with a lid on over medium heat. Add vegetables. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Reduce heat. Add water and cover. Continue cooking for 4 minutes (most of the water will be evaporated). Toss with lemon juice and soy sauce. 

Makes 2 servings

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (using a combination of all vegetables): 7 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 5 grams fat, 74 calories, insulin-neutral unlimited 

Copyright © 2007 by Cheryle Hart and Mary Kay Grossman

About the Author

Cheryle Hart, M.D., is board certified in bariatrics, the medical specialty of weight management, and in obstetrics/gynecology. She completed her specialty training at the Mayo Clinic and is now in private practice at the Women’s Wellness Workshop in Spokane, Washington.

Mary Kay Grossman, RD, is the nutritional advisor of the Women’s Wellness Workshop in Spokane. She speaks nationally on insulin resistance and diabetes nutrition. They are the coauthors of the bestselling book The Insulin Resistance Diet.

For more information, visit their website at: