Friday, October 19, 2012

Making the Best Out of Pomegranates this Season!

It's pomegranate's season in Lebanon now, and it's by far the best fruit of the season! Pomegranates come in both sweet and sour flavors - sour being my favorite. 

Nutrition Facts

To start with, the crown-like structure on the top of the pomegranate before you crack it open is called calyx, the seeds are called arils and the white, rather bitter, outer layer surrounding the arils is called albedo.

Now that you cracked it open, pick your arils, ditch the albedo and you're in for about a 100-calorie treat, with vitamin C, vitamin K, folates and a tiny bit of vitamin A, potassium, copper, manganese and iron!

Health Benefits

  • Because of its high content of antioxidants such as phenolic acids, anthocyanins, punicalgins and ellagitannins, its juice has been associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer tumor growth as well as metastasis in breast cancer.
  • Studies have been also analyzing pomegranate's hypoglycemic effect, such that it may benefit diabetes type 2 and metabolic syndrome by increasing insulin sensitivity and affecting glucose transporters.
  • Pomegranate juice can aid in decreasing LDL's oxidation which further helps in decreasing plaque formation and atherosclerosis overall and aid in better blood pumping to the heart.
  • Pomegranates may also help in decreasing blood pressure.
  • It's also associated with a decreased risk of total body inflammation.
  • Pomegranates possess antibacterial and antiviral characteristics.

Pomegranate sprinkled on Baba Ghannouj 

Quick Eating Tips

  • Arils can be eaten as such, yummier with your hands - but beware, they sure stain everything around!
  • Added to any salad type, fattouch and tabboule.
  • Best part, sprinkled on hummus and baba ghanouj!
  • They can be added to yogurt or labne, and fresh mint.
  • Mixed with boiled whole rice/oatmeal/whole wheat grains, blossom water and raw nuts (almonds, walnuts and pine nuts being my favorites)
  • Added to melted chocolate buttons, nuts fit in there too.
  • Mixed with cakes, cookies, granola bars, pies, mhallabiye, apple or banana crumbles, brownies, ice cream and cheesecake toppings.
  • Can be squeezed into a juice by blending arils or hand pressing them and then straining the juice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

3 Food & Health Events I'm Attending this Month

There are 3 events I will definitely be attending this upcoming month - all about food, nutrition, health and cooking!

To start with, the In Shape Fair is in just couple of days. You can find diet companies, healthy programs and fit outings that have to do with nutrition, health and exercise! The best part in this fair, for me of course, is Radical's 3 hours of exercise that will take place on Saturday form 2 till 5.30 pm! Sure the live cooking is yum in this fair, but during this event, you actually exercise with Radical's team, with your friends and with everyone there! This takes place every year and is super fun! Just make sure to go dressed very sporty from head to toe, you'll burn off tons of calories on their excellent beats!

** You can check more about this fair on their website, its program and In Shape's facebook page as well!

The 2nd event I'm looking forward too is Pasta Making!!
Well we usually get our pasta dried and packed, straight from the supermarket so this will be the excellent opportunity to actually make this delicious meal from scratch!
I think Souk El Tayeb and Mira aim to celebrate World Pasta Day that happens to take place on the 25th of October, so it's a great idea to barge in, make me some pasta and have it too!

** You can check more about Souk El Tayeb and their delicious events on their facebook page and their website.

The 3rd yum event this month is the Beirut Cooking Festival! Here you'll get to know more about fine dining, exquisite cooking and super talented chefs in Lebanon! Needless to say, this festival gathers celebrity chefs who give you workshops on delicious recipes and show you how the pro's do them! They also offer wine and olive tasting sessions. The fun part are the cooking competitions they hold and the best one is the beautiful cookbooks corner they have!

** You can check more about this yum festival on their facebook page, their brochure and their website!

Food and Nutrition Blogs in Lebanon

We made it to the top 101 blog list in Lebanon based on Blog!
Now the best part out of all this is the enormously beautiful list of Lebanese Blogs these peeps have gathered in one place - even describing every single blog and the topics it tackles.

Nevertheless, we at Paty M's Nutrition World know many Food, Cooking, Nutrition and Health Blogs that haven't been mentioned there and that are even better than this blog, humbly! So we decided to make our own tiny list of interesting, delicious, healthy [sometimes not - but still yummy] blogs that love food in any way whatsoever!

Nutrition and Health Blogs

Strawberry Blu

Health n' Horizons
Point a la ligne
Nourish Body and Mind
Eat Like Mira
Eat Light Tonight
Tea Calls
Ghi Nutrileaks
Eat like a Dietitian
New Trends in Nutrition
Pearl's Powder
Dietitian Sara

Delicious Cuisine Blogs

Dirty Kitchen Secrets
The Food Blog
Taste of Beirut
Anissa Helou
Phatima's Box
Cook in 5 square meters
No Garlic No Onions
Confetti Blues
Rose Water and Orange Blossoms
Leelouz World
Permanent Hunger
Maya' s Ingredients
Chicho's Kitchen
My Culinary Journey through Lebanon
My Fresh Levant
Mama's Lebanese Kitchen
Dima Sharif
Alice's Kitchen Cookbook
Will Travel For Food
Hommus w Tabbouli

** The list is in random order. It will start modest and will expand with time, so fill us in with any food blog, written by a blogger from Libano, so that we can give them credit for loving and appreciating good food!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy 2nd Blog-aversay to Us!

Don't let his small size fool you! SnubarMan - in particular pine nuts - are nutrient dense, rich in calories (with 60 calories in just 1 tablespoon) mainly because of their high content of the good kinda fat, the monounsaturated ones. It has the highest content of proteins among the nuts kingdom & it's rich in vitamin E, vitamin K, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
It is quite nutritious so you can sprinkle some pine nuts in your salad, hummus, kibbe, fish and even with sweet snacks such as yogurt and dried fruits.

Anyhoo, point is, SnubarMan just dropped by to wish us a Happy 2nd Blog-aversary! :)
SnubarMan Illustrated by Rodrigue Harb - Left Hand Red Nose

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Healthy Green Fig Jam!

It's figs season now in Lebanon and we all know how moms and tetas rush to turn seasonal fruits into jams. Commonly jams are made with sugar, half-half. However, I found this recipe made 100 % from fruit!
Illustration by Rodrigue Harb - Left Hand Red Nose

It tastes yum, especially with walnuts and tahina! However, keep in mind that since sugar is not actually added to this recipe, its storage and expiry date are definitely different. You can store these fresh fig jam jars in a cool dry place up to one year, if still intact. Now once you open them, you better eat them in couple of days tops and store the jar in the fridge meanwhile. This is why go for smaller cuty-pie jars, you'll practice portion control!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why I'm Still Pro-Organic Food

Everybody’s asking about organic food today, especially after this all-famous study that suggested that organic food is nothing special and does not offer better nutritional value when compared with non-organic traditionally grown ones. Well, for me, choosing to go for organic food [and being able to afford them for that matter, let’s be frank, they are more expensive!] was never about more or less nutrients.

Let’s say both provide us the ‘same’ amount of nutrients, just like Stanford suggested. However, whenever I can choose organic – money-wise and availability - I go for it and here’s why:
Photo credit: 
  • To avoid questionable chemical pesticides in produce. Recent studies are even linking pesticides exposure to diabetes type 2!
  • To avoid antibiotic resistant bugs + antibiotics + hormones IF I decide to have meat.
  • To avoid human sewage, given that organic certifications ban the use of sewage sludge. And yes, in case you are wondering, organic certifications are applied in Lebanon by 2 bodies, check Libancert and IMC for more info on that.
  • No irradiation allowed.
  • Definitely no GMOs!
  • And last but now least, the advantage in Lebanon is that we all know someone who plants fruits and vegetables at the comfort of their own homes, well at least I do. Better yet, we can plant our own – my family already does that so I have no excuses not to have me some ‘better’ quality of the ‘same’ nutritious food.

The study was conducted abroad so I really don't know how much of it applies for crops and meats in Lebanon. However, it also suggested that levels of pesticides and antibiotics in non-organic foods are within safety limits. Well, no, I don't get that. If you can avoid crap then do so. Now no need to be a freak about it, it is OK not to have non-organic food from time to time; our bodies can handle cleaning crap. But with today's pollutants everywhere, I suggest we give this body more breaks - breaks from toxins, pesticides, antibiotics, dyes, additives and industrial/environmental/chemical crap!
Photo credit:
Your body is your vehicle and you gotta take care of it so bombarding the organic industry for wanting less crap in food is ridiculous.

Bottom Line
I'm one of those pro-organic, whenever possible and feasible, of course.
  • If you can afford organic food, then do so.
  • If you can choose less processed foods, less crappy, less toxins, less pesticides, less antibiotics, less synthetic additives, less dyes, no GMOs, then do so.
  • If you can grow your own in your backyard, garden, balcony - and check Vertical Veg for that matter, then do so!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Health Halo ... in 'Low-Fat' Foods

Low fat foods are a trend now - they are more available and more customers are asking for them. They are labeled as 'low-fat', 'reduced fat', 'light' or 'lite'. But what you may disregard is that foods with fat extracted from them will have to increase something during processing - whether sugar, salt and/or artificial ingredients and flavors - to compensate for any loss in taste! In fact, not only do lipids make the food taste better, but they also give a delicious slippery texture on the tongue and throat. Therefore, new flavors and ingredients must be added to get customers to buy such products - taste and mouthfeel. The highly used ingredients added are commonly high-fructose corn syrup, sodium and artificial sweeteners. So, if you want to have low-fat foods, keep in mind to assess how much you, your health, your weight loss/maintenance program and your body need that extra ingredient you’re about to have.

Photo credit:
On another hand, a study from Cornell Univeristy shows that when foods are labelled as ‘low-fat’, people were less guilty to eat them, they were encouraged to eat up to 50 % more and they took around 90 extra calories than they would have had if that claim was just not present on the food label! This trick is called Health Halo: when customers check such claims, they automatically underestimate the caloric content – consequently eating more.

Bottom line

1- Know what such claims mean for the nutrient you're looking for. 'Low, Little, Fewer' adjectives are different than 'Lower, Reduced' claims as well as they are different when describing fat, saturated fat, cholesterol or calories. So check this FDA's explanation sheet to understand more what each claim for each nutrient REALLY means. Therefore, read your food label properly – the food product might have lower nutrient or fat content than the original product and not in absolute content.

2- Don’t freak out from fats. Go for healthy ones – olive oil, olives, avocados  nuts, seeds and sunflower/corn/canola oils while ditching trans and saturated fats from fried, junk, refined and fast food! Your body requires them; they are much needed in absorbing vitamins A, D, E and K, protecting your organs, providing your with energy, producing hormones, developing your brain and in maintaining healthy cells and skin.

Don’t take low-fat foods for granted and definitely don’t treat them as free food!