Saturday, July 26, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food For Kids : Avoid Mutated Food and Embrace Gluten-free, Grain-free Flours


The other day, Cassie and I actually saw a movie!  We didn't just see a movie, we actually saw a movie  in a real live movie theatre!  We got tickets and popcorn and actually watched the previews.  And the best part was the empty seats next to us.  Colin and Cailya were fast asleep at their grandparent's house, leaving Cassie and I to enjoy the movie in blissful silence.

We watched, X-Men Days of Future Past, a cleverly named title for a very entertaining movie.  As you  probably already know, the basic premise of any X-men movie is that people fear change.  Mutations are genetic changes that occur over time.  But while it is natural to be uncomfortable with change, sometimes change can be a good thing.

Making a conscious change to eat healthy is one of the most challenging changes you can make for yourself and your kids.  Although we have become accustomed to eating processed foods, so much of these foodstuffs are so mutated that they can hardly be considered real food anymore.  One of the unnatural ways by which food has become mutated is the refinement of grains.  Most baked goods and desserts are made out of refined flour.  Such refinement can be considered a man-made mutation which is not only a bad change, but a harmful change at that.

Instead of accepting this kind of derangement to our food, I invite you to embrace a different sort of change.  Consider using healthier flours like flours made from beans or nuts.  Because beans are made out of more resistant starches than grains, they have a lower glycemic index.  To read more about this, see my previous post:

Thus inspired to make a change, I attempted a flourless chocolate cake made out of garbanzo beans:  (Incidentally, the recipe calls for 3/4 cup sugar ,but I found that 1/2 cup sugar was more than enough.)  You won't believe how good a cake can taste made out of beans!  Check out this week's featured video, X-Meal and try making your own change for the better:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food For Kids : Healthy Deconstructed Banana Split Ice Cream Sundae For the Home Molecular Gastronomist

The other day, we went to Jose Andres' molecular gastronomy restaurant, Minibar.  We were served a tasting menu described as a "food experience".  Indeed, we weren't just served fantastic food, but we were given a whole food experience that topped the charts.  From the service, to the table side dining, to the wonderfully inventive works of art served on plates, it was truly an exceptional food experience.

On the back chalkboard was a quote from Bruce Lee that read, "Simplicity is the key to brilliance."  I have always admired the creative geniuses that are able to conceptualize brilliant dishes that are inherently complex but yet appear utterly simple.  I asked one of the chefs if he went to a special school for molecular gastronomy, and he said that his schooling trained him in the fundamentals that enabled him to subsequently learn molecular gastronomy on the job.

Besides being awed by their precision, skill, and artistry, I was really impressed with their ability to take simple ingredients and transform them into exceptional dishes.  One of the things I have learned about food preparation is that it is all too easy to add loads of sugar and fat to our food.  Most of the processed foods we eat are so loaded with sugar and fat that we experience more gluttony than gastronomy.

One of the hallmarks of molecular gastronomy is the deconstruction of food.  I had a some fun pretending to be a molecular gastronomist in the following video:

You can have a little fun experimenting as a home molecular gastronomist for your own kids.  Try this healthy deconstructed banana split ice cream sundae, which is significantly lower in fat than your average banana split:

Healthy Deconstructed Banana Split Ice Cream Sundae

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • Dusting of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sliced almonds
  • Diced cherries
  • Diced strawberries
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  1. Freeze peeled banana overnight.
  2. Blend frozen banana, milk, and vanilla extract.
  3. Top with cocoa powder, almonds, and fruit.
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

What Kind of Food Culture are We Creating For Our Kids?

Cassie and I recently took the kids to the homestead resort in hot springs, Virginia.  On the surface, we were celebrating the fourth of July, but in reality we were just taking advantage of the $100 off per night deal and the opportunity for some much needed rest and relaxation.  We even took advantage of the baby-sitting service and treated ourselves to a couple of hours at their spa.  

Since it was the fourth of July, many families were dressed in coordinated red, white, and blue outfits.  Cassie said this was the norm, but I felt like it was a little much.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm as proud to be an American as the next guy.  I just can't get into the idea of putting my kids in outfits that look like they threw up the American flag and then sending them off to do a photo shoot.

But as I gazed into the night sky as the fireworks went off, I got to thinking about whether or not we can be proud of the American food culture.  What exactly is the American food culture?  Fast, convenient, processed food comes to my mind.  Over the past half century, we have moved away from preparing traditional food and moved into industrially prepared processed food.  In that same time period, we have seen a near tripling of the prevalence of obesity and a more than tripling of the prevalence of diabetes.  

Food is much more than just sustenance.  It is a gateway into people, history, and culture.  One of the most exciting culinary experiences is melding the foods from two different cultures into one delectably delicious new culinary experience.  That is the true melting pot, and that is the kind of food culture we should be creating for our kids.  Take for instance, the Korean taco, the perfect example of blending two cultures together into one dynamite bite.  I feature the Korean taco in this week's video, entitled, "Southeast Side Story."  

Here is the link to the recipe featured in the above video:


Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Ogden CL.  Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index Among US adults, 1999-2010.  JAMA.  2012;307(5): 491-497

Saturday, July 5, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food For Kids : Make Deconstructed Vietnamese Bunless Bahn Mi

Where's the Bun?

America has an addiction to wheat.  That's probably because wheat is so commonly found in so many of the foods we consume on a daily basis.  If you have or know someone who has celiac disease, you know how prevalent wheat is in the American food supply.  Wheat is found in grain products like flour, cereal, pasta, and bread.  But it is also found in surprising places like soy sauce and Twizzlers.

Books like Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health and Grain Brain: The surprising truth about wheat, carbs, and sugar--your brain's silent killers argue that wheat is not only harmful to those with celiac disease, but to everyone in general.  These books argue that as wheat has evolved, humans have developed a wheat intolerance, resulting in problems from attention deficit disorder, to joint inflammation, to dementia.

At the core of the wheat problem is the high glycemic index of wheat combined with the high prevalence of wheat in the American diet.  The result of this combination is that wheat is a significant contributor to the glycemic load in the American diet.  To read more about the health implications of a high glycemic load diet, see my previous post:

One of the most common sources of wheat in the American diet is bread.  In my previous post, I explained that all types of wheat bread--white, brown, whole, and 100% wheat are all harmful because they are all derived from a fine flour that is high in glycemic index.

Sandwiches are amongst the most common sources of bread in the American diet.  Rather than get your kids used to eating sandwiches, why not get them used to eating the goodness that lies between the two slices of bread?  Hans and Franz show you how easy it is to go bunless by making this deconstructed bunless Bahn Mi:

I based the bunless Bahn Mi loosely off of the following recipe for a traditional Bahn Mi sandwich:


Davis, William.  2011.  Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, Dr. Davis

Perlmutter, David, and Kristin Loberg. 2013. Grain brain: the surprising truth about wheat, carbs, and sugar--your brain's silent killers

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