Thursday, June 29, 2006

cherry tomatoes

Bite-sized tomatoes?! That's it. One bite, one tomato, but I bet you won't stop to only one! Tomatoes are well known for their powerful antioxidant, named lycopene, responsible for this deep red appealing colour. It has been shown to be very helpful in prevention and even treatment of prostate cancer. But for all the women out there, you should know that lycopene can do more than that! As an antioxidant, it is potentially beneficial for all kind of diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and various cancers.
Nutrition facts for 1 cup: 31 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibers, 1 g protein, 19% vitamin A, 65% vitamin C.
Here's a little starter that is definitely a hit. These skewers are easy to make ahead, and actually they're even better that way because it allows the flavor of the pesto to deeply penetrate into the tomatoes and cheese. Moreover, they really are a pinch to prepare, it is perfect to serve to your guests, and it's deliciously healthy....! Mmmmm!
Cherry tomato and bocconcini skewers
Nutrition facts for 1 skewer (3 half cherry tomato, 1 cocktail-size bocconcini, and 1 tsp basil pesto): 66 calories, 3.5 g fat, 1.7 g saturated, 5.3 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g fibers, 3.6 g protein.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mmmmm! STRaWBeRRieS!!!

This is my favorite time of the year - strawberries' season!!! What's better than freshly picked strawberries? I've always loved them! Even though I buy them quite regularly during the winter (god bless California for growing them all year long!!!), there's nothing like locally grown strawberries, perfectly ripe and sweet!
In addition to be a very good source of vitamin C, this fruit is also loaded with health-protective phytonutrients such as phenolics and ellagic compounds as well as flavonoids which all have powerful antioxidant properties. Mmmm!

Nutrition facts for ½ cup of strawberries: 28 calories, 0.3 g fat, 6.7 g carbohydrate, 2.0 g fibers, 0.6 g protein. My comment: Strawberries are a fabulous healthy treat everybody should enjoy. It's low in calories, high in fibers and antioxidants, and therefore constitute a wonderful dessert or snack. It can also be added to salad, layered in a yogurt parfait or in a shortcake, mixed in a fruit salad or in your breakfast cereal, simply dipped in yogurt or even a little whipped cream, and my favorite above all, dipped in dark chocolate...! Delicious!

Above: a beautiful fruit salad including diced watermelon, blueberries and slices of strawberries.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

silken tofu

Do you shudder at the thought of eating tofu? Well, you shouldn’t! This uninspiring white block made of soy is a true chameleon because it just absorbs the flavor of the ingredients you cook it with. Moreover, even if there have been a lot of controversies about the real benefits of isoflavones and soy proteins, there's one thing that remain sure: it is not harmful! Indeed, even if we'd learn that tofu's protective benefits only come from its low saturated fat and cholesterol content compared to meat, which it can easily substitute, it would still be a marvelous food to include in one's diet.Therefore, if you have a sweet tooth, why not begin by a tofu-based chocolate dessert…? You can actually buy one of these at the grocery store, but it’s so easy to do that it'd be a shame no to do it yourself!

Soy-chocolate pudding

  1. First, you’ll need 1 silken tofu block.
  2. Then, puree it in a blender.
  3. Add about ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
  4. Mix until the texture is smooth.
  5. Refrigerate and serve cold (makes 4 sevings).

Nutrition facts for ¼ recipe (about ½ cup): 113 calories, 3 g fat, 0.8 g saturated, 0.7 g monounsaturated fat, 1.3 polyunsaturated fat, 17.6 g carbohydrate, 1.9 g fiber, 6.9 g protein, 1.6 mg iron, 34 mg calcium. My comment: What a nice delicious little treat! It’s packed with protein and nobody could guess there’s tofu in it. If you want to boost the calcium content, you can add 2 tbsp per serving, and you’ll benefit from about 100 mg extra calcium, 3 g protein as well as vitamin D for only 31 calories!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

black beans

Legumes constitute such a beautiful hidden treasure waiting to be discovered! Black beans are among my favorites and suits perfectly every mexican dish. It can be added in salads, fajitas, chilis... everything! If it's new to you, try to substitute half or all of the ground meat of your favorite mexican recipe for any kind of beans. Whether you cook them yourself (which could take about 2 hours plus an overnight soaking) or whether you choose the canned version, you will benefit from an abundance of nutrients. Beans and legumes can replace meat with their high protein and iron content. However, by contrast to meat, beans and legumes are practically fat-free and they don't contain saturated fat neither cholesterol. But the biggest advantage of integrating this vegetarian protein to our diet is that it is plentiful in fibers, phytochemicals, and antioxidants... things that are definitely lacking in the actual North American diet!

Here's a look at my lunch. A mix of salsa, black bean, avocado, and shredded cheese wrapped up in a whole-wheat tortilla... yummy!!!

Nutrition facts for 1 wrap (8-inch whole-wheat tortilla, 1/3 cup black beans, 1/5 avocado, 1/2 cup salsa, and 1 oz mozzarella part-skim milk): 339 calories, 13.0 g fat, 4.3 g saturated fat, 41.3 g carbohydrates, 11.2 g fibers, 16.6 g proteins, 329 mg calcium, 4 mg iron. My comment: This makes a really delicious, fast and easy, vegetarian nutritious meal! Customize the recipe as you wish to fit your own tastes.

Another good idea to use those beans once the can is opened is to throw them on your pizza dough with grilled corn, red onions slices, and cheese... Scrumptious! Finally, if you still didn't manage to use all the black beans in your can, don't forget that any leftovers can easily be frozen until you need it... and hopefully, this time will come soon!
Nutrition facts for 1/8 pizza (12 oz whole-wheat dough, 1 cup salsa, 1 cup black beans, 1 cup grilled corn kernels, and 8 oz mozzarella part-skim milk): 221 calories, 6.4 g fat, 3.2 g saturated fat, 35.2 g carbohydrates, 5 g fibers, 12.9 g proteins, 243 mg calcium, 1.12 mg iron. My comment: 2 slices make a healthy, balanced, and filling meal... believe me, i've tried it!

Last thing... Lots of people are afraid to eat beans and legumes because of their well-known unpleasant side effects. To avoid bad smell, it's a great idea to rince them thoroughly and to begin by small quantities and gradually increase the serving size and the frequency to allow your bowels to adapt. In brief, the best solution is to have beans regularly on your menu...!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

PB&J sandwich

Is this picture bringing back memories from your childhood? In my opinion, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with slices of banana will definitely always have a place in my top 5 comfort food! However, my recipe has changed a little along the years. I now used whole grain bread to boost the fiber content. Also, I use natural peanut butter (PB). I confess that the first time I tasted it, I didn't like it much, but now I would never switch back to regular PB. After trying it a couple of times, I realized that natural PB is the one that really tastes like peanut. Actually, peanut is the one and only ingredient used to make it, unlike regular PB that also contains oil (often hydrogenated and loaded with trans fat as a result), sugar, and salt.... Why try to hide the delicious real taste of peanut under all these additives? If you feel like giving a try to natural PB, start with that beloved PB&J sandwich. Warning: you could soon become addicted to it...!
Nutrition Facts for 1 sandwich (2 slices WW bread, 2 tbsp natural PB, ½ banana, and ½ tbsp strawberry jam): 428 kcal, 18.5 g fat (3.1 g saturated fat), 52.2 g carbs, 7.5 g fibers, 14.1 g protein, 2.4 mg iron. My comment: This is perfect for breakfast or as lunch, or make half a sandwich for a satiating snack. Don't be afraid of the high fat content, since most of the fat is monounsaturated good-for-you fat from peanut butter. Moreover, it contains enough fiber and protein to fill you up for a couple of hours.

Monday, June 12, 2006

salmon and omega-3

What an inspiring and healthy meal! A salmon fillet served over basmati rice with a side of mixed vegetables. Salmon is among the best sources of hearty polyunsaturated fatty acids known as omega-3, and it shares this feature with other fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna. Shrimp also contains this beneficial fat, but since its fat content is so low, it is not counted among the best sources. The omega-3 in fish [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] are the most powerful, and can provide protection against cardiovascular disases and could as well benefit any disease involving inflammation (e.g. arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn disease, etc.). Therefore, your best bet to set your sights on lifetime health is to make the commitment of having your 2-3 servings of fish weekly, as recommended by the acknowledged American Heart Association.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Mmmm.... pancakes! This sounds like a pretty good reason to get up! Why not take advantage of the opportunity to fill your pancake recipe with whole grains (e.g. subsituting half or all the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat or any other whole flour, adding flaxseed, oat, etc.) and submerge it with fresh fruits and a little mapple syrup! Scrumptiously healthy! However, some people, like my boyfriend, prefer to have their fruit inside the pancake to allow the flavor of the fruit, hereby blueberries, to burst and then melt in the mouth. Therefore, I'll have classic pancakes with fruits on top on Saturday and blueberry pancakes sprinkled with mapple syrup on Sunday... sounds like cloud 9 to me!!!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I first tasted sushis last winter. I never dared to try it since I just don't like raw and smoked fish. But, then I discovered that not all sushis were made that way! I decided to give it a try, starting with vegetarian sushis made mostly of vegetables and fruits, and I also tried shrimp and omelette sushis, which were all a real pleasure for my taste buds. My passion for sushis was born!
Fortunately, a friend of mine knew the techniques to make these delicious bites, and I then started to make my own sushis with my favorite fresh ingredients. Among my favorite ingredients are spinach, carrot, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, mangoe, red pepper, and shrimp. There are as many possibilities and combinations as there are cooks! Since the appearance of sushi is just as important as how it taste, take delight in your meal made of these inspiring pictures... but be careful not ending up licking your screen!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

oat - a wonderful grain

What's better than a bowl of oatmeal? This hearty grain is an excellent confort food! I especially like to enjoy it on its own: a big bowl of large oat flakes with a little milk and brown sugar... Mmmmm! Furthermore, this special whole grain has a special type of fiber, known as viscous fibers, that has been proven to benefit heart health, as well as diabetes, cancers, and obesity. These benefits would be attributable to beta-glucane (the predominant viscous fiber in oat) that could help lower blood cholesterol concentrations in addition to blood glucose concentrations. Moreover, whole grains abound in multiple antioxydants, and these compounds further improve health and definitely play a key role in disease prevention. Fortunately, its versatility makes it easy to use it in numerous recipes; use your imagination and creativity!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


It couldn't be any easier! Dried bread topped with a mix of tomato, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper, garnished with a little cheese, hereby mozzarella... Mmm!

Monday, June 05, 2006


I can remember the first time I saw that unappealing fruit with the fuzzy peel... I probably was around 7-8 years old and it didn't attract me a lot... especially that my mother obliged me to eat the whole fruit... Yes, you read right, she used to make me eat the hairy peel... burk!

But, since we learned to dig the delectable flesh with a spoon, it's one of my favorite fruit! I love the sunny design that is secretly hidden inside! What's more? Kiwi is an really good source of vitamin C and K, and abounds in various antioxydants that can fight diseases, such as cancer. Also, the potassium content of 1 kiwi is the same as 1/2 - 1 banana, which is considered to be one of the best potassium sources... What's so interesting about potassium? Well, besides many other important roles in the human body, it is proven that it can contribute to lower blood pressure. Moreover, a recent research conducted by the University of Oslo in Norway showed that kiwi consumption (2-3 a day) would have similar benefits as aspirin by thining the blood! So dig in, because kiwis might have other good-for-your-health secrets that you could begin to benefit right away!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Mangoes are an exotic fruit now available all-year long everywhere in North America. It invaded the market a couple of years ago, and I first bought one when I was 17. I guess I felt adventurous, so I decided to try one even though I had no idea how to eat it! Anyway, they soon became part of my weekly grocery list, and here's how I enjoy them the most:

Slice the mango so that the knife just passes over the flat surface of the stone. Then turn it over and cut across the other flat surface. With each big slice that has been removed, cut hatch marks through the flesh just down to the skin. Then, hold the slice flesh-side-up, press the thumb on the skin side underneath as if turning the piece inside out. Many bite-sized pieces of flesh will pop up and can be cut out to put into a fruit salad or other preparation. This technique is sometimes called the hedgehog method because of the appearance of the prepared fruit. An alternative to the hedgehog method is to use a spoon to scoop out pieces of the fruit from the exposed "cheeks".

In addition to being so deliciously tasty, mangoes abound with plentiful of good compounds, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, fibers, and probably many antioxydants not discovered yet... But there's something I'm really sure of, even though scientific researches haven't discovered all that has to be discovered yet: mangoes can definitely contribute to overall body's and mind's health!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


What about a whole-wheat homemade crust baked on a pizza stone topped with tomato sauce, basil, garlic, broccoli, roasted red pepper, tomato, feta cheese and boconcini... ? the possibilities with pizza are endless, and it can really be part of a healty diet when it's loaded with fresh vegetables and not burried under cheese. If you lack the time to prepare your own homemade crust, a tortilla or a pita are a nice and easy option. Just top it with your favorite ingredients, and have yourself a slice!


Watermelon is synonym of summer,
and its sweet taste is so refreshing.
It's a perfect light snack or dessert. Moreover, it is packaged with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, especially lycopene, the famous tomato's antioxidant well-known for its protective benefits against prostate cancer, and it might also prevent some other forms of cancer as well as heart disease. Take a look at the lycopene content of your favorite food at

Nutrition facts for 1 cup watermelon, diced: 46 calories, 0.2 g fat, 11.5 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g fibers, 0.9 g protein, 12.3 mg vitamin C, 865 IU vitamin A, 461 mcg beta-carotene.