Robyn O’Brien and the Connection Between Food and Inflammation

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch 

I just realized today that I never shared this video with you guys!

I watched Robyn O’Brien a few years ago talk about the changes in our food system here in the U.S., and it was the first time I had really listened to someone that was more of an analyst who actually dug deeper to find the reasons behind the crazy things that were happening in the health of our country’s children and adults.  It’s an outstanding explanation of how we got to where we are.

Fast forward a few years, and today the topic that is starting to get more attention in the health arena is inflammation – in particular, silent inflammation.

Silent inflammation is the inflammation that you may not necessarily feel or can’t see, but it is going on inside your body and causing damage at the cellular level.  It is now believed to be the root cause of a number of ailments, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

You see, when our bodies come in contact with a “foreign invader,” its natural response is inflammation.

Watch the video and the light bulb will go on for you!  You will also be equipped to educate others about the importance of choosing your foods wisely.

 

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The Foodie Bitch Orchard

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Mike and I recently went back to Michigan for a quick visit with family and friends.

I had to stop by and see our apple orchard to see how our trees were fairing the cold weather.  The cold weather is actually really good for the trees.  It keeps them dormant, and will help keep bugs and disease at bay this spring and summer by thickening their bark.

Currently all the trees have been pruned and will be ready for the spring – a time I will be sure not to miss! Spring time in an apple orchard with all the trees in blossom? I’m tearing up thinking about it I’m so excited!

Anyway, check out the video.  We’re a long way from spring yet, but his gives the trees a chance to “rest” and store their energy.

Enjoy!

Garlic and Sea Salt Kale Chips

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Kale is all the rage lately in the health, fitness, and nutrition world.  It seems people can’t get enough of this “superfood!”

I remember only a few years ago when I did my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that every single week we had kale in our box.  At the time, I had never tried kale, didn’t know much about it, and had absolutely no idea what to do with it to make it taste good.  So each week when I would pick up my CSA box, I was always disappointed to see it filled with more darn kale.

I’m sorry, kale, I had no idea what your story was! My ignorance at the time prevented me from experimenting and learning just how nutritious and delicious you could be!

Now I grow an abundance of it in our garden and make everything from sautéed kale and sweet potatoes with brown rice to sautéed kale and onions in eggs, to even sautéing it to add to various lettuce salads.  I even found a flat leaf kale here in Ocala that was actually sweet enough to eat plain!  And I’ve been known to tear up some of this sweet kale, and put it into a glass container along with some lettuce and red pepper and carrot slices as a snack to take in the car when I’m in a hurry and need some nutrient-packed food!

What are some of these nutrients packed into kale?  It’s loaded with calcium, iron, Vitamins K, A, C, B1, B2, and B6.  It’s also very high in chlorophyll.  For the amount of calories, it’s a nutritional powerhouse.

Kale does, however, contain naturally occurring substances called goitrogens, which can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland when present in high amounts, or when it is eaten in high quantities and there is an iodine deficiency.  Cooking helps to inactivate these compounds.  That’s why you may hear of some people recommending that you don’t juice your kale. If you have any of these issues, do not juice your kale, and as a rule, you should alternate juices anyway. Not using kale repetitively can help you avoid problems, and you should check with your doctor if you suspect any thyroid or iodine issues.

Even with my new found love of kale, I have to admit, kale chips were just not my thing.  I kept hearing about how great they were, but all of the packaged kale chips I bought tasted disgusting (well, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but they weren’t good at all!).  Then I had people telling me how easy they were to make and how I had to try them.  As added motivation, I kept seeing recipes for kale chips everywhere.

So the other day when another friend was talking about kale chips again, I thought, you know, it’s my duty as a Foodie Bitch to give these kale chips a try and to make them myself.

So this morning, that’s what I did.  And I have to admit, everyone was right – they were delicious!

I know there are a ton of different recipes out there for kale chips, but here’s what I did:

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Instructions:

Separate the kale leaves from the hard stem

Tear up the leaves into bite size pieces (1 big bunch will do) and put them in a large bowl.

Drizzle about 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over the torn kale

Add 1 garlic clove (finely chopped) and sea salt to taste

Use your hands to toss it all together and make sure to “massage” the olive oil into the kale, covering all the surface area.

Put the kale on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and making sure the pieces weren’t overlapping

Bake it in the oven at 170 degrees F for about 1 hour

It didn’t take long for them to disappear!  I usually buy the flat leaf kale, but now I will be buying extra curly leaf kale because this is a super easy snack to make, and tastes especially good if you are having cravings for something a little crunchy and salty.

What is a Foodie Bitch?

Watch the video and find out.  If for no other reason, you should watch the video to remember what green grass, warm weather, and sunshine look like – hang in there – it will be back soon!