Made with organic soybeans, fresh and local Ingredients

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Keep It Down - Your Blood Pressure, That Is

My muse
We probably remember as children hearing our parents or grandparents saying to one another, "Be careful, watch your blood pressure." Elevated blood pressure comes from many things--anger being only one of many. Plenty of genetic factors come into play, biological changes in our bodies, outside factors such as being stuck in traffic with someone behind you blowing the horn, too much salt in our diets. . . etc.

Here are few tips for what you can do to help keep your blood pressure in check, courtesy whole living magazine.

1) (My favorite) Hang out with your animal pal(s). When we give a cat or a dog or any other creature (including human, for that matter) a hug, lots of nice things happen. One of them is that we "slow down." Try standing for a minute or so while holding a purring cat. You'll find yourself slowing down to match their breathing pattern.

2) Enjoy some berries. As little as a cup of raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries can cut your chance of developing hypertension by 8%. Now if that isn't a pleasant prescription, we don't know what is! This is according to a study of 156,000 people, so we shouldn't take the results lightly.

3) Watch a silly (even stupid) show on TV or video. Now there's a prescription for you! But it makes sense. The key here is not the idiocy of what you're watching, but it's your laughter. "A few good belly laughs can improve blood-vessel function," according to the whole living article.

4) Be loving. Hold hands with your partner. Give each other hugs (just like with your animal pals). Do this especially after completing a stressful task, like a long, hard day at the office, or figuring out your taxes. Daily affection is just plain good for us!

5) Listen to other people's stories. The idea here is that when you listen to someone else talk about their blood pressure issues and how they deal with them, your blood pressure tends to lower. It may have something to do with what is essentially a calming effect from knowing that other people have the same problem and that they too are finding ways to deal with it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tofu Scramble--Mix it Up!

photo from
You can't really make a mistake when it comes to how to make a tofu scramble--unless you do the basic kitchen no-nos like overcook, undercook, or just add flavors that you don't even like! So think eggs and then think 'tofu instead.' In other words, go for what you like and throw it in! Now remember tofu doesn't really need to be cooked. It just needs to be heated (for a scramble). But that said, the longer it is contact with other foods and flavors, the more it will pick those up.

So try this one (serves 3 or 4):

What You'll Need:
1 lb. tofu
several handfuls of spinach (equivalent of a bunch)
1 onion, peeled and diced (or sliced)
2 tomatoes (diced or sliced)
garlic (to taste), minced
salt and pepper to taste
oregano or herbes de Provence
olive oil
pita bread

What You'll Do:
Put the tofu in a bowl and mash it up with a fork. Put it aside.
In a skillet, heat up the oil and then throw in the garlic and onion. Once they start to get golden brown, add the tofu, herbs, and finally the tofu. Toss in the skillet until the tofu is warm and has picked up the colors and aromas of its skillet companions.

Heat up the pita bread. Slice in the middle and fill each pocket with your tofu scramble. Add your own touches. Maybe some olives? Eggplant? The possibilities are just about limitless. . .


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Natural Companions--Children and Soy

We want to do our best for our children and often this is just as difficult as it is to do for ourselves amidst all the conflicting information.  "A growing child needs meat." "Humans don't need meat at all." "Tofu doesn't have the nutrients kids need." Etc., etc. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) performed several years ago looked at the most common soy foods that children and adolescents eat--namely soy burgers, soy-based energy bars, and soy milk. In an article published in, Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, LDN reports that in 2011 ". . . 37% of Americans reported that they consume soy foods or soy beverages at least once per month in comparison to approximately 32% in 2006." He goes on to assume that if the adults are eating these amounts, it's very likely that they are serving their children soy products as well.

image from
So let's take a look at some of the other points Dr. Mangels makes in his article devoted to issues related to children and soy. Apparently the phytic acid and protein in soy can inhibit zinc and iron in children. Now at first glance that seems like a good case for skipping the soy and giving your child just meat, which happens to be an excellent provider of zinc and iron. But that's not actually the case. "Iron bioavailability from soy may be higher than expected, however, the majority of iron in soy is in the form of ferritin which appears to be highly bioavailable."And over time 'partial' substitution of soy for meat did not appear to compromise iron absorption at all. And don't forget that although meat is truly high in protein, iron, etc., it is also high in fat--and not the good kind like the one found in nuts, avocados, olive oil, etc.

Soy protein has repeatedly been shown to be a major benefit when it comes to fighting dangerous cholesterol levels--not just in adults, but in children as well--promoting healthy levels of HDL (where we want to see the numbers high), LDL (where we want to see the numbers low), and triglyceride levels (where low figures are also what we're after). Many adults are under the impression is a concern only in later years, but is not the case, particularly in families where cholesterol issues are genetic.

Here's a statistic to take note of: "Soy intake during childhood and adolescence is associated with as much as a 60% lower risk of breast cancer later in life."In fact, Mangels goes on to say that this positive effect of eating soy as children appears to be even stronger than eating it as an adult, but that studies still need to confirm this.

Soy products are allowed in the National School Lunch Program and the USDA has approved the substitution of soy-based beverages that meet specified nutrient level.

Read more: Soy Can Supply Key Nutrients to Children and Adolescents