Madrona Nutrition and Fitness: Recipe and Nutrition Guide

Madrona Nutrition and Fitness:
Guide to Wellness through Holistic Diet
and Lifestyle

Rachel Fiske
Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant,
Certified Personal Trainer

Friday, May 27, 2011

Why Buy Organic?

Someone recently asked me the reasons to go organic considering the price difference, so I thought I would post a (slightly modified) copy of a simple educational handout I give to my clients. Yes, organic can be more expensive, but you are getting way more bang for your buck, so to speak, in terms of nutrient density. Also, local farmers markets and buying seasonal produce makes organic far more affordable. However, see the bottom of this slide for the EWG's (environmental working group) list of the top 12 foods that are most contaminated with herbicides, pesticides, and other toxins. If you are only able to buy certain organic foods, opt for these first and foremost.

Why Buy Organic?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that even the smallest amounts of certain pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, and be toxic and cause lasting damange to our health.

Top Reasons to Go Organic:

Reduce Toxic Load

Supporting organic agriculture reduces the toxic load on the environment and our bodies. Prevent illness while also keeping harmful chemicals out of our air, water and soil.

Higher Nutrient Density

Various studies have been done that prove organic foods have significantly higher amounts of critical vitamins and minerals. This means better nutrient status, which leads to greater satiety (feeling of fullness) and prevention of degenerative disease.

Avoid Dangers of “Frankenfoods”

GM (genetically modified), cloned, refined, packaged, processed foods pose serious health risks. Today, 30% of our cropland is set aside for GM foods, and not only are all of these non-foods nutrient depleted, but most are so new that we are still learning the harmful effects they have on our short and long-term health

Buying organic can be more expensive. If you are on a budget, here is the EWG’s “dirty dozen” list, which includes the top 12 chemical-containing foods:

Celery                                                                       Nectarines
Peaches                                                                   Bell Peppers
Strawberries                                                           Grapes (imported)                        
Kale/Collard Greens

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Raw Versus Cooked


There are many varying opinions are eating raw vs. cooked foods. As with most “rules” of nutrition, a healthy dietary balance and understanding of nature is important. To make it a little easier, here is a more comprehensive list of some key foods that are best either raw, coked, or both, and why. Also important to note is that some foods simply have different benefits in either form and there is still much debate, so strive to eat at least 5-7 servings of vegetables per day (1 serving raw=2 cups, 1 serving cooked=1 cup) of both.

Rosy fruits such as watermelon, papaya, and red bell pepper: Great to eat raw due to the presence of lycopene, which has been found to lower risk of cancer and heart attack. Lycopene is a very potent antioxidant.

Tomatoes: While beneficial in both cooked and raw forms, cooking actually boosts the amount of lycopene by 35%, according to a Scientific American study.

Carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, peppers: Cooking these vegetables supplies more antioxidants, particularly carotenoids. Steaming is best, as this preserves the antioxidant properties.

Cruciferous Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brusselsprouts: Should be eaten both raw and cooked. These vegetables are all high in Vitamin C, which is broken down in the heating process (as are most vitamins, but not minerals), however the phytonutrient indole is formed by cooking, which fights cancer.

Broccoli: Numerous studies have shown that broccoli (despite the above mentioned Vit. C loss), may be better cooked, as an enzyme is damaged in heating which blocks the proliferation of precancerous cells. Also, folate is more available in raw broccoli

Starchy Foods: Foods like grains, tubers, legumes as well as nuts and seeds, are all enhanced by sprouting and cooking, which makes them more digestible. Grains, nuts/seeds, and legumes should all be soaked for 12-24 hours before cooking.

Garlic: This superfood is beneficial in both its’ raw and cooked form, however, raw has by far the highest immune-boosting properties. Chop raw garlic and allow it to sit 10 minutes before eating. Then put over a salad, in a dressing, or however you prefer it.

Quickly Steaming Is Best Cooking Method: The cooking method matters most. Steaming, as opposed to other methods, helps retain water-soluble B and C vitamins. High cooking temperatures and long cooking times destroy heat-sensitive nutrients such as B and C vitamins and folate, so it's best to keep cooking times to a minimum (10 minutes maximum).