Category Archives: Health/Nutrition

The First U.S. Grown, 100 Percent Stoneground Cereal

A novel new cereal.

A novel new cereal.

 

I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’m in awe of the two guys behind Back to the Roots.

Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez had just graduated from the Hass School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley when they turned their backs on lucrative job offers in investment banking and business consulting. Instead, they turned their attention to starting their own business — creating DIY mushroom-growing kits using spent Peet’s coffee grounds.

That single product launched them at Whole Foods and other major retailers. Next, their Back to the Roots company devised a Water Garden, a self-cleaning fish tank that grows fresh herbs in a compact aquaponics system.

Now, they’ve set their sights on the cereal industry. The result is Organic Stoneground Flakes ($4.99 for an 11-ounce container), which bills itself as the first U.S. grown, 100 percent stoneground cereal on the market. It’s made with only three ingredients: organic, non-GMO stoneground whole wheat from California, sea salt from the San Francisco Bay, and a touch of organic cane sugar from Florida.

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Roasted Asparagus Soup to Feed the Mind and Tummy

A rich pistachio cream gets stirred into this asparagus soup just before serving.

A rich pistachio cream gets stirred into this asparagus soup just before serving.

 

In today’s harried world, there’s a lot to be said for eating foods that nourish our body and our brain.

Wellness chef and speaker, Rebecca Katz, certainly thinks so. Her cookbook,“The Healthy Mind Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, includes more than 120 recipes designed to optimize brain health, boost memory, improve your mood and strengthen the central nervous system. It was written with Mat Edelson, an award-winning health and science writer.

I can’t say that her “Roasted Asparagus Soup with Pistachio Cream” caught my attention solely for those reasons. Mostly, I was intrigued by the cream made of pistachios, broth, mint and lemon juice that gets blitzed in a blender until thick and luscious, before being stirred into this velvety soup, which is a puree of roasted asparagus, onions, leeks and garlic. Plus, in spring, I can’t get enough of asparagus. I buy it every week at the grocery store or farmers market, and enjoy every single spear until the season ends all too abruptly.

HealthyMindCookbook

Asparagus are loaded with vitamin B1, Katz writes, which boosts mood and energy levels, as well as vitamin B2, which reduces fatigue. Leeks are a good source of Vitamin K, which can improve memory. Pistachios also contain a lot of vitamin K and vitamin B thiamen, as well as folate, which may help prevent dementia.

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Umpqua — Oatmeal with a Funny Name and a Great Taste

Umpqua oatmeal contains a generous amount of custom-milled oats.

Umpqua oatmeal contains a generous amount of custom-milled oats.

 

Umpqua. Say it with me now, “ump-kwah.”

Not that you need to be able to pronounce it to enjoy this premium single-serve oatmeal product.

Named for the valley of the same moniker in Southern Oregon, it’s where this oatmeal product was developed by a couple of moms who were tired of feeding their kids mass-produced oatmeal packets that contained a whole lot more than good-for-you oats.

What makes their oatmeal different is that it’s made with custom-milled oats. So much so, that they’re actually groats — the whole hulled grain — that cook up more chewy rather than mushy and include more fiber.

Because the oatmeal is made in a manufacturing plant that also produces wheat products, it is not certified gluten-free. However, the makers say that the oats consistently test within the acceptable tolerance level for gluten-free certification.

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EXO — An Energy Bar With A Little Something Different

There are about 40 crickets in each bar.

There are about 40 crickets in each bar.

 

Unwrap an EXO protein bar and you’ll find something unusual lurking inside.

Crickets.

Yes, these bars have an unlikely ingredient — flour made from ground crickets.

Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz got the idea for these unusual bars when they were in their final year at Brown University after discovering the health and environmental benefits insects have. Indeed, according to them, insects are a source of protein in 80 percent of the world. Moreover, crickets are low in saturated fat and contain more iron than beef.

They figured the easiest way to entice people to eat insects would be to put them in a form they readily understood — a bar. So, they enlisted the help of Chef Kyle Connaughton, former head chef of R&D at The Fat Duck in England and former culinary director of Chipotle, to develop the bars.

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Take Five with Cheryl Forberg On Being the Nutritionist For “The Biggest Loser”

Nutritionist and chef, Cheryl Forberg, has had anything but a one-track life. (Photo courtesy of Forberg)

Nutritionist and chef, Cheryl Forberg, has had anything but a one-track life. (Photo courtesy of Forberg)

 

You may know Napa Valley resident Cheryl Forberg as the nutritionist for NBC’s smash hit, “The Biggest Loser.’’

What you may not know is how she got that coveted job, or how superstar Chef Jeremiah Tower played a pivotal role in her making a dramatic career change, or how Darth Vader’s creator played a part along the way, too.

A few months ago, I had a chance to chat with Forberg about all of that and a whole lot more.

Q: You were a flight attendant in 1986 when Jeremiah Tower happened to be on your flight – and that experience totally changed your life?

A: Yes, it was a flight from New York to Nice. I was working economy and he was sitting in first class. I was crazy about Stars. I had his cookbook and cooked all the recipes. He was my idol.

I heard through the grapevine that he was on the flight. When I went up to meet him, he was sleeping, so I didn’t even get a chance to meet him. I had wanted to change careers for so long. It planted the seed. I couldn’t sleep that night. When I got back to New York, I went to a pay phone outside customs at the airport and called the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. And that was that. I quit my job to go to cooking school.

Q: Years later, you wrote him a thank-you note?

A: Over the years, I’ve been interviewed by so many people who ask why I became a chef. Every time, I tell that story. And each time I do, I think that I have to tell Jeremiah Tower since I never even really got to meet him. He wrote back that it was one of the nicest notes he’d ever received.

Q: After cooking school, you landed an impressive first restaurant job.

A: I was on the opening team of Postrio. That was before Wolfgang Puck had so many restaurants, so he was actually there. I trained with him on the sauté and sauces stations, before going to the pasta station, which was very, very busy, because we made everything in-house.

I learned a lot and he greatly influenced my style of cooking. But I had no aspiration to own my own restaurant. Instead, I started moonlighting for private clients in San Francisco who could afford a private chef.

Q: That led to you getting hired by someone quite famous?

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