EatingWell – May/June 2009

EatingWell has released their May/June 2009 issue. Featured in this month’s magazine are articles on making seasonal, farm-fresh produce the center of your diet, grilling healthy, 5 healthy and quick weeknight meals, High fructose corn syrup, HFCS, and kitchen tips.

Eatingwell in Season
If you could do just one thing for your health, says this doctor, it would be to make seasonal, farm-fresh produce the center of your diet.

On a sunny Friday, Preston Maring, M.D., the associate physician-in-chief at Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland hospital, leaves his office to go food shopping. Just downstairs, on the sidewalk in front of the hospital, a farmers’ market is in full swing. Roberto Rodriguez is arranging flats of organic strawberries so fragrant you can smell them from 10 feet away. In the stall next door, stalks of rhubarb and artichokes are piled high near bouquets of garden roses. On a table, paper bags are overflowing with a potpourri of market produce and flowers. “Pick-of-the-market bags,” Maring explains. “If you are too busy to shop, you can just reserve one of these.” Everywhere, people are smiling and saying, “Hey, Preston!”

If it seems as if Dr. Maring, a tall, graying man, knows everyone at this farmers’ market it’s because he does: he started it. In 2003, Maring helped to get this market off the ground and then persuaded Kaiser to start farmers’ markets at 30 other hospitals. Says Maring: “If we can just get people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, we can really impact people’s health.”

He also set about revamping the hospital food system by getting the health-care company to buy more fresh produce from local farms. In 2006, Kaiser Permanente purchased only 25 of the 250 tons of produce served in 20 Northern California hospitals from local farms. In three years, that amount has risen to 74 tons. The Kaiser project now serves as a model for hospitals around the country and is part of a worldwide initiative to make health care more sustainable, called Health Care Without Harm.

Healthy In A Hurry
Enjoy succulent beef tenderloin, roast chicken and more without ever turning on your oven.

Does anything inspire more “oohs” and “ahs” than golden, juicy cuts of meat hot off a grill? Hardly. We wanted in on this game, so, never ones to be shy, we bought a testosterone-doped grill that arrived at our house in Connecticut on a flatbed truck and had to be off-loaded with a forklift.

For a time, we lived in grill bliss: seared steaks, jerk-rubbed pork chops, oohs and ahs aplenty.

Then we realized we were going to have to haul that behemoth in and out of the garage at the beginning and end of every grill season. Getting it indoors last winter was no problem. It was all downstairs. Yeah, somebody’s back bore the brunt of it, but two Advil and the job was done.

For months, we missed the grill fare, but summer comes inevitably, even in New England. And then came the epic struggle. Upstairs to the deck, six steps that might as well be six flights—the two of us struggling under the grill like the middle-aged oafs we are, the dog barking, the rail bulging as the thing knocked against it.

What we’ll do to get back to those oohs and ahs. Yes, we’re now ensconced in the usual fare from the grate: chicken and chops, caramelized right over the heat. But to bring out the best in the grill—and the most admiration from an audience—we like to break out the big cuts of meat: the pork loins, the legs of lamb. Cut into a crispy, brown turkey breast and get ready for your big bow!

5 Budget Friendly Weeknight Meals
The other day I heard my mother-in-law, who was visiting, yell at some corporate bigwig on the evening news to “Give us our money back!” Like many of us, she’s thinking about her finances these days. Eating at home more often is one easy way to cut costs. But by how much? We started calculating the price tag for recipes in EatingWell a couple of months ago. It turns out that eating healthfully at home can be pretty affordable compared with going out. And we’re not talking about converting to a strict beans-and-rice diet every night of the week. We’ve even included New York steak and wild Alaskan salmon in this lineup of weeknight meals and they all come in at $4.50 or less a serving—a fraction of what they would cost in a restaurant.

These meals are so affordable, in part, for the same reason that they’re so good for you: we don’t overdo it on meat. Eating less meat or even vegetarian meals occasionally is healthy. When we include meat or fish in our recipes, we recommend a reasonable-size portion of 3 to 4 ounces per serving. That may seem small if you’re used to plate-size porterhouse steaks, but we promise that these recipes won’t leave you hungry. We make sure they also include plenty of whole grains, veggies, fruit and flavor. Besides the New York steak (on kebabs with potatoes and peppers) and the salmon (with a spicy red pepper sauce and grilled zucchini) we’ve also got a pizza topped with arugula and fresh tomatoes, huevos rancheros with green salsa and oven-fried fish-and chips. I definitely can’t fix the stock market for my mother-in-law. But I can offer these five recipes as a personal financial stimulus plan that’s both tasty and healthful.

Nutrition Watch

What’s So Bad About High Fructose Corn Syrup
“It’s natural, nutritionally the same as table sugar and has the same number of calories,” say ads for high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Others call the sweetener “a growing health hazard,” “naturally evil,” and worse. For now, the naysayers seem to be winning: the number of foods flaunting “No HFCS” labels is rising steadily. Even Snapple and Pepsi recently launched new beverages sans HFCS. But what’s the truth about HFCS? Here’s what we found when we looked at the science.

Is HFCS the main culprit in the obesity epidemic?
The theory sounded logical in 2004, when an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proposed it. The study’s authors—including Barry Popkin, Ph.D., director of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Interdisciplinary Obesity Center—pointed out that from 1970 to 1990 Americans’ intake of HFCS increased by more than 1,000 percent. The researchers also noted that, during that same time, the proportion of Americans who were overweight or obese increased from about half to two-thirds.

Singling out HFCS turned out to be unjustified, Popkin now admits. “Dozens of human studies on HFCS and energy intake and weight change show that our hypothesis was wrong.” The American Medical Association came to a similar conclusion last June, when it announced: “High-fructose corn syrup does not appear to contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners.”

Kitchen Tips & Techniques

How to Make Fruit Jams, Butters and Chutneys
Freeze or Can Ripe Summer Fruit for the Best of the Season All Year Long.

Can’t get enough of ripe summer fruit? Preserve it for the rest of the year in a batch of fruit butter, jam or chutney. Think of these recipes as basic guidelines that leave you plenty of room to experiment. Just prepare the fruit as directed and let your imagination run wild. Try chutney, a spicy-sweet-sour condiment made with fresh and dried fruit, sugar, vinegar and chiles. Serve it alongside simple roasted meat or pan-seared tofu steaks. Fruit butter and jam are similar; both are sweetened fruit spreads, but fruit butters are made by cooking down the fruit mixture until thick and sticky instead of adding pectin to set the mixture as you do with a jam. Both are delicious spread on whole-grain toast or stirred into plain yogurt. These recipes work with any fruit in any season. Give jars of peach chutney as a summer party favor or wrap up homemade apple butter for the winter holidays. Whether you have a marathon picking session at your local berry farm or stop by a farmstand for a flat of cherries, spend a little time in your kitchen preserving the best of summer.


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