Eat Egg, It’s the Most Nutrient Dense Food: Part 1

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In celebrating National Nutrition Month, may I suggest all you beautiful people to incorporate more pastured eggs in your diet, to help get your mind and body in shape for professional and personal success?

My mom used to tell me “Eat Fish, It’s a brain food. Eat Egg, it’s the most nutrient dense food”. My typical childhood breakfast was composed of 2 hard-boiled eggs, a papaya smoothie, and sometimes a small bowl of fish congee. It was at a time when I saw chickens roaming in the backyards, eating bugs and worms.

Then, people thought eggs were bad. I learned about all the fancy labels of eggs that I didn’t know about. Some eggs are Conventional, Cage-Free, Vegetarian-Fed, etc…AKA, eggs from over-crowded chicken factory. Later, I heard about the Egg Beaters, a processed product that is fortified and supposed to “make a healthy lifestyle easier”.

Not all eggs are created equal. Let’s look at the ingredients:

Real eggs

  • Ingredients: Eggs
  • Pros: nutrition-packed
  • Cons: Bad reputation due to cholesterol content

Egg Beaters:

  • Ingredients:  Egg White, (99%). Less Than 1% Natural Flavor, Color (Includes Betacarotene), Spices, Salt, Onion Powder, Vegetable Gum, (Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum), Maltodextrin. Vitamins And Minerals, Calcium Sulfate,Iron (Ferric Phosphate), Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E),Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, (Vitamin B12), Riboflavin, (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Mononitrate, (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3.
  • Debunked:
    • Natural Flavor- faux flavor, possible MSG, and GMO source
    • Maltodextrin- processed sugar
  • Pros: Less calories, fat, cholesterol
  • Cons: Highly Processed. Missing key nutrient: Choline

What is Choline? 

Dietary intake of choline has been shown to be associated with lower plasma homocysteine levels (tHcy), which may reduce chronic inflammation (leading to cardiovascular disease, dementia, and osteoporosis). Recent studies support a protective role of choline against the development of some types of cancer. Choline deficiency may increase risk of muscle damage and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (Fatty liver is linked to obesity and insulin resistance).

Choline is an essential nutrient for prenatal and breastfeeding women. Similar to folate, choline plays a critical role in the healthy development of the fetus’s brain and nervous system. Deficiency in pregnancy may increase incidence of neural tube defects and impair cognitive function.

Although some choline is made within the liver, we require dietary source to maintain good health.

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the adequate intake (AI) for choline to prevent liver damage is 550 mg daily for men and lactating women, 425 mg daily for women, and 450 mg daily for pregnant women. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for adults is 3500 mg/day.

Good Sources of Choline:
?Egg yolk- 147 mg per yolk
?Wheat germ- 202 mg per cup
?Beef- 97 mg per 3oz trimmed, cooked
?Scallop- 94 mg per 3oz steamed
?Salmon- 56 mg per 3oz cooked
?Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, bok choy)- 65 mg per cup cooked
?*Please note that prenatal vitamins don’t usually contain Choline, it’s important to nourish your body through whole foods.

Peppery Arugula Omelette with Sweet Fruits
Peppery Arugula Omelette with Sweet Fruits

If you are worried about the high cholesterol level in egg yolk, read my related post on Instagram here Dietary Cholesterol. You can learn more about cholesterol with Professor Fred Kummerow’s latest book at 99 years of age Cholesterol is not the Culprit. Kummerow was the scientist who pushed the FDA to ban Trans Fat and he eats an egg daily. The 100 years old Nutrition Scientist.

Not all fish are created equal

The American Heart Association recommends to consume at least two servings (~8oz) of fish per week for heart health. You are studying the restaurant menu at length, couldn’t decide between the Tilapia or Sea Bass? Use the following nutrition tips to cut through the confusion and enjoy your seafood meal. If you would like to expand your ethnic culinary repertoire, check out my recipe for Chinese-Style Steamed Strip bass

Nutrition Tips:

  1. Choose a variety of fatty fish and focus on wild-caught species (ex. Pacific sockeye salmon) instead of farm-raised species if possible.
  2. Choose steamed/baked seafood over fried/smoked seafood.
  3. Choose seafood with a high omega-3 FA to omega-6 FA ratio, such as Pollock, Sea Bass, Cod, Caviar (roe), and King Crab.
  4. Limit seafood with a high omega-6 FA to omega-3 FA ratio, such as Tilapia and Catfish.

Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids ratio?

Increasing omega-3s through fish or shellfish intake is preferable. The most beneficial omega-3s are EPA and DHA. Read more about the anti-inflammatory benefits of EPA and DHA on my Instagram post here The box of dreams .

Unlike omega-3s, consuming too much omega-6s can lead to inflammation, which increase risk of rheumatoid arthritis, blood clots, cancer, and Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It’s essential to maintain proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in our diet.  Studies found that a ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 of 4:1 to 1:1 is considered healthy. Unfortunately, most of us are consuming a ration of >20:1 in modern diet.

Omega-6 fatty acids are loaded in vegetable oil  (sunflower, safflower, corn, grape seed), peanut oil, salad dressing,  margarine, fried food, and chips.

Not all fish are created equal. Farm-raised tilapia and catfish has a high ration of omega-6 to omega-3 (11:1) compared to the Wild-caught trout and salmon (1:1). Choose cold water fish such as Wild-caught trout, salmon, tuna, sardines for the benefits of EPA and DHA.

Avoid/limit imported fish/seafood as they may be contaminated or loaded with antibiotics that are banned in the US.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, a high quality, purified fish oil would be the safest source of EPA and DHA.

Chinese-Style Steamed Strip Bass

Yield: 2-4 servings
Ingredients:
1 Wild-caught Strip Bass or Sea bass, cleaned and scaled by fishmonger
2 inches ginger, julienned
2 sprigs of scallion, chopped
2 Tbsp white wine
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp salt
Instruction:
1. Rinse and pat dry fish.
2. Make a few diagonal slashes on both sides of the fish.
3. Season both sides with salt and white wine.
4. Cover and Steam fish for 8-10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, sauté ginger, scallion, soy sauce, and sesame oil over medium heat for two minutes.
6. Pour mixture over fish and serve.

Poon Choi: Sea Cucumber and Cancer Prevention Potential?

“Poon Choi” (pot of goodness) is a Chinese New Year dish filled with layers of seafood delicacy, such as abalone ?, sea cucumber ?, giant sea prawns ?, and dried scallops ? + shiitake mushrooms, vegetables.

Poon Choi was invented during the Song Dynasty, in Walled Village, Hong Kong. The Walled Village residents focus on eating hearty dishes and fresh food in season.

Kay Hing Wai- photo source:  ilovehongkong.com
Kay Hing Wai- photo source: ilovehongkong.org

Sea cucumber and Abalone are my favorite seafood. According to Memorial Slogan Kettering Cancer Center, “In vitro studies have shown that the saponins and fatty acids present in sea cucumber are responsible for its anti-angiogenic, anti-tumor, antiproliferative, and antiviral properties”.

Another study published in Plos One indicated that an organic compound in sea cucumber may be able to inhibit angiogenesis!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23308143/

More studies are needed to support claims of sea cucumber and cancer prevention. However, no adverse effects have been linked from its use (unless you have seafood allergy). Leap into the year of Monkey and prosperity with Poon Choi! Enjoy!

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Green Tea Noodle Bowl

When you crave for something warm and light, noodle soup can be a quick meal option that’s satisfying, fresh, and grease-free. Making your own Noodle Bowl at home is surprisingly easy, all you need are 4 elements: soba noodle, broth base, veggies, and protein. Soba, AKA, Buckwheat Noodles are good source of fiber, manganese  and contain high quality protein (6-9g per 2 oz serving). They are uniquely rich in the essential amino acid Lysine, which is lacking in many grains. Manganese and Lysine are involved in the creation of collagen and absorption of calcium, maintain bone health. Keep your noodle portion small (1-2 oz soba) and pair it with lean protein choices (tofu, tempeh, edamame, fish, shrimp, chicken) and steamed/sauté veggies of your choice.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 6 oz soba noodles
  • 2-inches ginger, grated
  • 6 oz Tofu Cutlet, sliced
  • 8 pieces of shrimp wonton, boiled
  • 8 cups rainbow veggies, steamed
  • 3/4 Tbsp Brown Rice Miso

Directions:

  1. Boil a pot of water over high heat. Add ginger and  3/4 Tbsp of Miso.
  2. Cook soba noodle with tofu cutlet for 5 minutes.
  3. Top with steamed rainbow veggies.
  4. Garnish with scallion or a dash of sesame seeds.
  5. Smile and serve.

Nutrition Tips:

  1. If you want to try flavor soba noodles like this one, check the ingredients to make sure it is made with real green tea matcha and not food colorings. Hime’s Green Tea Noodles are light and fragrant, and a sneaky way to add a dose of antioxidant into your pasta.
  2. Try to consume at least 2 cups of veggies in each meal. Pick a rainbow selection (at least 4 colors) of seasonal vegetables and serve them on the side of the noodle bowl.
  3. Soba pairs well with mushrooms. Check out my Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Eggs and Thyme

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size: 1 Noodle Bowl | Calories: 249Kcal |Carbohydrates: 36.2g |Protein: 17.2g | Fat: 4.6g | Saturated fat: 0.6g | Fiber: 9.2| Sodium: 277.5mg |

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Eggs and Thyme

I will have Steak & Eggs… Oh I mean Mushrooms & Eggs for Brunch! Portobello Mushrooms are meaty and versatile,  rich in fiber, selenium, copper and niacin. Adding mushrooms into your diet may prevent coronary heart disease and cancer. To make it a protein-packed breakfast, serve this side dish with this protein-rich Green Tea Noodle Bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 portobello mushrooms (large, not flat)
  • 1 sprig of thyme, chopped
  • 1 sprig of watercress, chopped
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon pepper to taste
  • Olive oil spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Clean mushrooms with a dry cloth. Remove stem and scrape gills out with a teaspoon.
  3. Lightly spray both sides of the mushrooms with olive oil spray and placed on baking sheet.
  4. Crack an egg onto each mushroom.
  5. Divide the garlic, balsamic vinegar, thyme, watercress between the mushrooms.
  6. Sprinkle with lemon pepper to taste.
  7. Place mushrooms in the oven. Bake until the egg whites are set, about 20-25 minutes.
  8. Smile and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size: 1 Stuffed Mushroom | Calories: 117Kcal |Carbohydrates: 8.6g |Protein: 9.7g | Fat: 5.7g | Saturated fat: 1.6g | Fiber: 3.4 | Sodium: 150mg |

 

Healthy Cooking on Vacation- Cabin Cooking



While I love to experience local foods and new restaurants, cooking at a Rustic Mountain Cabin Kitchen can be fun and easy. Keep dinner simple with a sautéed vegetarian entree, a few simple salads/fruits and root vegetables grilled over charcoal.  If you don’t have access to a local garden/farm close to your cabin, simply buy fresh ingredients ahead of time and pack the perishables in an insulated cooler with extra ice packs.

Here are some of the dishes I made at my recent mountain cabin retreat.

High Protein Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry

Mixed Green Salad with Grilled Corn and Roasted Root Veggies

Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad with Homemade Croutons

Sesame Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry

 

 

Sesame Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Shrimp, cleaned
  • 1 bunch Asparagus, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp of Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium Tamari  (or reduced sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat skillet over medium high heat. Spray with a thin layer of coconut oil.
  2. Cook Ginger and Shrimp for 1 minute. Add Asparagus and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add Tamari and Balsamic Vinegar to mixture and cook for another minute. Top it with Sesame Seeds, Red Pepper Flakes, and serve immediately.

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High Protein Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry

 

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Ingredients:

8 oz Nagoya Organic Teriyaki TofuBaked (32g Protein, Non-GMO)
2 oz Gimme Lean Meatless Sausage
1/2 large Yellow Bell Pepper
1 large Orange Bell Pepper
6 oz Baby Bella Mushroom
8 spears of Asparagus

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Directions:

  1. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat skillet with a light spray of coconut oil. Form meatless sausage into two bite-size patties. Cook Tofu and Patties for 2 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan.
  2. In same pan, heat 1/4 cup of water or a spray of coconut oil over medium heat. Cook veggies until softened (3-5 minutes), stirring often.
  3. Serve immediately.

Mixed Greens Salad with Grilled Corn and Roasted Root Veggies

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Ingredients: 

Mixed Greens Salad

  • 4 cups Mixed Greens
  • 1 head of Romaine Lettuce
  • 1/2 large Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 4 oz Baby Bella Mushroom
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts/silvered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Grilled Veggies (Leftover)

  • 4 ears corn
  • 5 small red potatoes, sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped
  • fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

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Directions:

  1. Mix sliced potatoes and onion with basil, olive oil, and black pepper in a bowl.
  2. Wrap mixture with foil and grill over charcoal for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, grill foil-wrapped corn for 30 minutes and sweet potato for 1 hour.
  4. Top grilled corn with Mixed Greens salad and toss it with balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

 

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