Stone Cut Bodies

Live healthy, live vibrant, and fall in love with your body.


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Spice is the Variety of Life

           Herbs

Everyone loves rich, decadent meals like fettuccine alfredo or a bacon blue cheeseburger with fries, and these are great as a rare treat, but if they become a habitual indulgence, your waist and heart will suffer, not to mention you’ll feel sluggish and lackluster. Luckily, a few simple swaps can leave your meals healthy and dang delish, sans bacon. Herbs and spices can take the place of heavy creams and oils to flavor your meals if you know how to use them. These healthier ingredients are also loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, so not only do they help you to cut calories, they also give your meals a nutritional boost in addition to being low calorie.

Some of my clients have confided in me that they’d like to cook, but they don’t know where to begin in terms of what seasonings and flavors go into what types of dishes. Here is a basic list to get you started. And once you are familiar with which herbs to use when, and how these herbs affect your dishes, you can begin to experiment and try new combinations. And many fresh herbs are now widely available and inexpensive at grocery stores, especially specialty stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Happy Health!

Basil

This flavorful herb is used in many Italian dishes like Caprese salad and also lots of Thai stir-fries and soups. It can be mixed into salads as well to lend a fresh zest. Basil is loaded with iron, calcium, potassium and vitamins A and C. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Fennel

Fresh fennel is fantastic chopped into salads, but it has a very strong flavor so many prefer it to be cooked. It adds deep flavor to tomato sauces, stews and I love to use it in bouillabaisse. It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also fantastic for digestion and helps to relieve bloating and cramping.

Rosemary

This is another great herb to use in Italian dishes or with roasted vegetables or to flavor chicken or lamb. It has a very strong flavor, so you don’t need much. Pull the needles off the stem and be sure they are chopped. This fantastic herb is packed with flavonoids, which help to neutralize free radicals. It helps to protect the brain from aging and the body from cancer, and can help to keep the eyes healthy. Additionally, it is also often used to increase alertness and memory. This stuff is great.

Parsley

Many people think of this herb as a garnish to go alongside their steak and baked potato. But this herb can be used to flavor fish and chicken, and goes great in Mediterranean dishes like tabouli. Try mixing it with chopped tomato, cucumber and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a very small amount of olive oil. Parsley is a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogen, and also helps to freshen the breath and relieve minor digestive issues.

Garlic

Garlic gives any dish lots of flavor, and is used across the board in virtually all types of cuisines. It is fantastic in a light, healthy tomato sauce, as well as mixed into dips like hummus or baba ganoush. Raw it can be difficult on the digestive system, so if it gives you stomach troubles, it is best lightly sautéed in a small amount of rice bran or grapeseed oil. Not only is this ingredient diverse it its use, it packs numerous health benefits like lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as acting as a powerful antibacterial and anti-carcinogen. I eat lots of garlic when I have minor muscle strains and it always helps me to recover more quickly.

Cilantro

While this herb isn’t for everyone, (some people have a gene that causes cilantro to have a soapy or metallic taste) for those who don’t have this gene, it can be a wonderful addition to lots of Latin, Asian and Thai dishes. It can enhance a black bean and salsa salad, or give a flavor boost to a Chinese chicken soup. This herb offers powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial protection.

Ginger

This is a root used in many types of Asian dishes. It gives a slightly sweet and spicy kick to soups and sautés. It is touted for relieving gas and stomach and intestinal issues, as well as being a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help to diminish arthritis symptoms.

Turmeric

Turmeric is less widely used in the American diet, which is a shame because it is loaded with a compound called curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic. It is most commonly used in Indian dishes, but has a mild taste that can be used to flavor everything from egg scrambles to rice dishes to chicken salad. When served with black pepper, more curcumin is available for use by the body.

Now go create!

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Kick the Flu Right in the Butt!

 

Wellness Formula

Cold and flu season is once again upon us! I have tried everything from Vitamin C to Echinacea to Zinc to chewing raw garlic (ouch) in order to ward off these nasty little creatures. I discovered this Wellness Formula by Source Naturals about a year ago, and have found it to be the best remedy to kick a bug’s butt. Ever. I pop a few capsules when I am exposed to someone who is ill, when I am traveling (especially via airplane,) when I accidentally walk through someone’s sneeze (ew,) or at the first little tickle in my throat, and in every instance I have been able to ward off sickness. This remedy includes all the usual suspects mentioned above, along with a host of additional vitamins and minerals, and herbs like Goldenseal root, Olive Leaf and Angelica root. You can find it at Whole Foods or most health food or vitamin stores. Now go kick some flu butt!  Happy Health!


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Turmeric ~ A Beautiful, Yummy Spice With Lots of Health Benefits

Turmeric

I eat eggs pretty much every day for breakfast in some type of scramble or frittata. While there is conflicting evidence about the effect of dietary cholesterol on LDL (bad) cholesterol, and egg yolks are a great source of protein and multiple vitamins and minerals, I try to limit myself to one yolk per day for several reasons. I did a quick Google search for “yolks and cholesterol” and the first four articles that popped up were “Are Egg Yolks Healthy?” “Eating Egg Yolks Almost as Dangerous as Smoking” and “Why You Should Eat More, Not Less Cholesterol.” The jury is definitely out on this stuff. Limiting myself to no more than one yolk a day seems reasonable in the face of all this conflicting information. Using just one yolk also helps to lighten up egg dishes and keep the calorie count down.

But egg whites can seem boring and flavorless. Turmeric to the rescue! This is an amazing spice that adds not only a slightly spicy, earthy flavor to eggs, but also tricks your eyes into thinking there is more yolk than there actually is because of its bright yellow color. You eat with your eyes first, and turmeric makes eggs beautiful and yolky looking.

On top of all this greatness, turmeric also has major anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, especially when mixed with black pepper which helps your body absorb the curcumin (the beneficial compound in turmeric.) It’s also wonderful for helping with joint pain and arthritis. Add a dash to your eggs every day. Happy Health!


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Tomato Flavor Boost

There are still a few precious weeks of summer remaining, which means a few more weeks of luscious summer produce. Tomatoes fresh from the garden (or for me, fresh from the farmer’s market) are juicy, sweet, and wonderful in lots of salads and dishes. Most people know tomatoes and basil go together like peanut butter and jelly, what I didn’t realize until recently is that the basil doesn’t have to actually be served with the tomatoes. Basil has such a strong flavor, it can dominate a dish, which is fantastic if that’s what you employ your basil to do, in, say, a Caprese salad. But serendipitously, I discovered another way to use this herb. At the farmer’s market, I bought both tomatoes and basil at one stand. I put them both in the same bag, and when I sliced the tomatoes for a salad and bit into them, they had the slightest hint of sweet basil that had seeped into their skins – which elevated their flavor without dominating them. Try storing your tomatoes with a sprig or two of fresh basil. You salads will love the boost! Happy Health!

Tomato Basil