Disease Proof

Healthy Cooking Tips: Hit and Miss

Do you watch cooking shows? I do, mainly because I have a crush on Rachael Ray, but that’s beside the point. Now, have you ever heard the host call something healthy, when in fact, it’s just the opposite. It usually sounds a lot like this, “The great thing about these smoky chicken cheese fritters is not only do they great taste, they’re good for you!” Yeah—not so much.

But given the amount of nutritional misinformation out there, this isn’t all that surprising. Heck, before I learned about Dr. Fuhrman even I thought a bag of pretzels was a “healthy” snack—needless to say I’ve come around. But sadly, many people in the culinary industry are still hit or miss when it comes to healthy recipe recommendations.

Take Brandy Rushing of CookingLight for example. She offers up 20 Tips to Make any Dish Healthier. As you’ll see, you’ve got to take the good with the bad here. First some good:
Study the recipe. Closely examine the original to see where changes can be made. "You can't just wing it, no matter how familiar you are with the recipe," says Test Kitchens Professional Kathryn Conrad. "Look at each ingredient to see where you can take away, add, or substitute…"

…Puree vegetables to add body. For example, mash some of the beans in a chili or the potatoes in a chowder.
And now some bad:
Reduce portion sizes. When plating, start with a smaller amount and see if that satisfies you…

… Opt for leaner meats, such as center-cut or loin meats and skinless, white-meat poultry. "For example, a slice of center-cut bacon has slightly less sodium and fat than regular cured bacon," Assistant Food Editor Kathy Kitchens Downie, R.D. says. In some cases, pork can be a leaner option than chicken.
Yeah, you won’t exactly find Dr. Fuhrman lending his support to the portion-control theory any time soon. More on this from Eat to Live:
It is meaningless to compare foods by weight or portion size. Let me provide and example why this is the case. Take one teaspoon of melted butter, which gets 100 percent of its calories from fat. If I take that teaspoon of butter and mix it in a glass of hot water, I can now say that it is 98 percent-fat-free, by weight. One hundred percent of its calories are still from fat. It didn’t matter how much water or weight was added, did it?
And he doesn’t think chicken is all its cracked up to be either. A little more from Eat to Live:
Red met is not the only problem. The consumption of chicken and fish is also linked to colon cancer. A large recent study examined the eating habits of 32,000 adults for six years and then watched the incidence of cancer for these subjects over the next six years. Those who avoided red meat but at white meat regularly had a more than 300 percent increase in colon cancer incidence.1 The same study showed that eating beans, peas, or lentils, at least twice a week was associated with a 50 percent lower risk than never eating these foods.
Okay, I don’t need to talk about bacon, do I? So if you’re looking for healthy recipes, that are truly good for you, check out DiseaseProof’s recipe archive. You’ll find things like these:
Portobella Mushrooms and Beans
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, chopped
2 large portobella mushroom caps, sliced thin
1/3 cup red wine (or vegetable broth)
1 large tomato, diced, or 8 halved cherry tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can garbanzo beans, juice reserved
Heat oil and spread to cover the bottom of a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and the red wine or broth. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and garbanzo beans, plus half the juice from the can. Cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Tomato Barley Stew
1 cup celery juice
1 medium onion
2 carrots, diced
1 zucchini
1 baked or boiled potato (no skin)
¼ cup unrefined barley
6 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
8 oz. white mushrooms, chopped
Heat 1 cup of water and the juice on a low flame. Add the onion, carrots, zucchini and potato. Let simmer about 1 hour and then blend in blender or Vita-Mix. Return pureed mix back to the pot and add the barley, tomatoes, dried tomatoes and mushrooms and simmer for another 45 minutes.
1. Singh, P.N., and G.E. Fraser. 1998. Dietary risk factors for colon cancer in a low-risk population. Am. J. Epidem. 148: 761-74.
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