It’s finally time for another 3-day holiday! Who couldn’t use a break from the normal Monday routine? Though, the holiday is no excuse to completely throw your fitness goals off track. I am re-posting simple tricks/tips I originally published for the Independence Day holiday. Adopt these simple rules and you will not have anything to regret (at least not about your health goals)! Continue reading
Don’t think that by going Meatless on Mondays is about depriving yourself of good food. There are plenty of vegetarian options available out there, you just have to look. Yesterday, I made my way to Oakland’s Eat Real Festival, held on the beautiful Jack London Square. I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the sustainable food choices available. I recognized Gather/Prather Ranch Meat Co. and made my way over to them and saw this sign:
Prather Ranch Meat Co. has a storefront in the San Francisco Ferry Building and sells humanely raised, environmentally responsible beef, chicken, buffalo, pork, lamb, and vitellone. My options are always really slim and they are usually sold out of the one type of meat I am willing to eat (chicken). So naturally, I was pretty excited that they were offering an all vegan slider. I waited in line, made conversation with the gentleman behind me about my Canon S90, asked the people if the Mushroom Slider was really vegetarian twice, and ordered the slider with a side of sweet corn salad. All while salivating.
Meatless Monday’s is about will power and mindset. There are plenty of options out there and in your own kitchen, just be open to the idea and discover new tastes and foods.
Eggs have gotten a lot of press over the years- “they are bad for you, they are good for you, nope-they are bad, well, we take that back, they are good again”. Well, eggs have always been good for me. (Of most recent, eggs have been getting BAD press because of the Salmonella outbreak- don’t blame the eggs, blame the industry.) When I was twelve, I made up my own Atkins-type diet. Everyday, I would eat a scrambled egg, tossed with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and two saltine crackers. I seriously cannot remember where I came up with this idea, but I thought it would keep me skinny. I find it amusing now, but I must have been really desperate to be skinny. Come to think of it, I have always been desperate to be skinny. Haven’t we all? It’s just not socially okay to be happy with the way you look. Anyway, I still love eggs. Actually, Satish and I eat eggs for breakfast (or a quick, power snack) four times a week. I have at least a hundred of my own omelette recipes. To make a simple omelette takes me just a little bit more time than pouring cold milk over cereal. We usually eat one egg with at least 2/3 cup of veggies and herbs.
I didn’t make it to my usual Farmer’s Market today, but did go to the Eat Real Festival. The festival’s mission is to raise public awareness about our food system, while showing ways for us to eat healthier. A zone of the festival was reserved for the “Urban Homesteading“, where everyday people can learn how to make/grow their own food in a sustainable, fun, and nourishing manner. Beautiful, live chickens were on sale for urban homesteaders to raise in their own backyards. Benefits of having your own chickens: fresh, nutrient dense eggs everyday.
3 eggs (organic, cage-free eggs)
1/3 cup zucchini, sliced thin
1/3 cup organic baby spinach
1/4 cup organic tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tbsp parmesan cheese/ fresh mozzarella
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tbsp organic Herbs de Provence
½ tbsp of any fresh, organic herbs you like (basil, thyme, mint, marjoram)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Beat the eggs in until foamy. Heat the oil in the pan and pour in the eggs, swirl to cover the pan with the eggs and let set slightly. Sprinkle the vegetables, herbs, salt and black pepper on the eggs. Let the eggs continue cooking until the liquid is almost set but still creamy and moist on top, about 2 minutes. Add salt last, as it will cause the eggs to toughen. Tip the pan over the serving plate, and gently shake the omelet onto the plate filling side first. Buen Provecho!
Eggs are the perfect protein. They also have almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans. Eggs have iron, vitamins A, E and B, folate, zinc, and phosphorus. Importantly, they contain essential fatty acids, which are necessary for proper brain and eye function, healthy skin, hair, libido, reproduction, growth and response to injury.
Zucchini has many health benefits and is nutrient dense. It’s loaded with folate, potassium, manganese and vitamin A, yet is low in calories.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is known for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. In addition to lycopene, the vitamin B6, niacin, potassium and folate found in tomatoes are potent protectors against heart disease.
Spinach is another super food. It contains a relatively high level of iron, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C and manganese. It is a great source of folate/folic acid, particularly important for pregnant or nursing women. Due to its fiber and water content, spinach is a natural diuretic and laxative.
Adding fresh herbs is a quick way to transform ordinary meals into extraordinary meals. Studies show that fresh herbs contain large amounts of antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin A.
Olive oil has a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. Extra virgin olive oil contains polyphenols that can reduce inflammation and may help to prevent some forms of cancer.
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San Francisco’s heat wave lasted a good two days, now it’s time to get back to your normal routine! Escape the fog and explore the North and South Bay. “The Marin Headlands has more points of interest than an iPhone app, and one of the best ways to see them is via a 3.5-mile hike from Rodeo Beach to Point Bonita Lighthouse. The views just keep on coming as you cross Bird Island overlook, go in search of an old shipwreck, detour to the lighthouse, and pass one of Marin’s best barbecue spots.”- Weekend Sherpa
Thursday August 26th • The Real L Word Wine • 7PM
Escape your reality by meeting some of the reality stars at the most exclusive launch party of San Francisco as we dance the night away with DJ Russell Vargas & Laron a.k.a SWAN, enjoying fabulous “the real L word wine” gaze out over the San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz at sunset.
Friday August 27th • Camp-In Movie Night • 5-9PM
Together with Sports Basement, Alite be projecting Stand By Me in the Grotto (1st floor, by the cycling department) which will be all decked out like we’re camping. No admission, free beer and snacks, a raffle to win day packs, trail maps, a Wild Food Walk from Forage SF, a campsite reservation, and other cool stuff! Also, now’s your chance to stock up on those sexy bib shorts and swim goggles you’ve been needing; everyone gets 20% off everything in the store from 5 to 9. Kindly RSVP.
Fri-Sun August 27-29th • Eat Real Food Festival • Ongoing
“Putting the food back in fast.” Eat it. Make it. Grow it. Why choose when you can do all three? Truck loads of great food, tons of exciting demos that show the necessary food skills to survive the urban wild, performances, pop-up gardens, and more. Eat Real’s success will be measured by increased public awareness of and respect for the craft of making good food and by the growth of green collar jobs in America’s growing regional food economies. Eat Real’s vision is of an America where food’s crucial importance to the health of our bodies, communities and economy is universally recognized, and where access to healthy and affordable real foods is a right, not a privilege. Also, in our ideal America, food tastes a whole lot better.
Saturday August 28th • 18 Reasons’ Block Party • 12-5PM
Our 18th Street friends are closing the street this Saturday for a neighborhood party with great food and fun for all ages. Best of all you can party while raising much-needed support for Nextcourse and other Mission neighborhood organizations.
Sunday August 29th • Honey Tasting • 7PM
What does the Glen Park neighborhood “taste” like? Is it different from the Mission? What flowers grow in the Sunset and how will the honey taste? Sample the “terrior” of neighborhoods as gathered by bees. City Bees has bee hives all over town collecting nectar and making honey for the feeding of the young. Luckily, their hard work will result in honey with amazing flavor and texture variations . Come find out what your neighborhood “tastes” like!
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The sun is finally out- finally without a cold, bone chilling breeze or a cloud in the sky. It’s actually hot. I don’t want to rejoice too soon, but I feel like a kid in a candy store. Hot weather means plumper, juicier tomatoes and grapes also! There is no excuse to not go to the FM and load up fruits and snacks. No one wants to be cooped up in a small apartment when the temperatures are just right. Here are some of my favorite outdoor places in San Francisco to hang out and take in the warm rays!
1. Dolores Park Cafe- the scene is vibrant, friendly, peers into Dolores Park, free WiFi, and situated across from Bi-Rite Creamery. There are a few outdoor seats, but you will not find a power outlet anywhere.
2. Samovar Tea Lounge Yerba Buena- Zen! Situated on top of the gardens, and a few feet away from the waterfalls. They have a huge patio and the lounge has floor to ceiling windows. Though, there is no internet or power outlets available. Unplug and read a book!
3. Radius Cafe- beautiful cafe with free WiFi and all locally sourced food and beverages.
4. South Park- has wonderful eateries (Butler and the Chef, AMGCK) and a couple of cafes as well as a picturesque park with slides and swings.
5. Sit at the backside of the with a refreshing fresh juice or iced Blue Bottle coffee with a book/iPad.
1. Magic Flute- an unassuming restaurant on the outside has a large, beautifully manicured patio. The brunches are excellent!
2. Tipsy Pig- you would think Bar Food, but think again. Delicious Southern food, perfectly executed and changing with season. Service can be slow, really slow.
3. Marengo- oh the retractable roof and sliders speaks for themselves.
4. Ferry Building- Take it to go and sit on the patio overlooking the ferries and Bay Bridge. Il Cane Roso for sandwiches, OTD for cooling salads, Blue Bottle for iced coffee, Miete for a sweet treat!
5. South Park- see above
6. La Mar Cebicheria- lunch or dinner, the redone patio is the place to be.
7. Cafe Flore- vibrant Castro scene, lush patio
8. Passion Cafe- haven’t been but they have a rooftop and it’s French food!
9. Starbelly- seasonal pizzas on the patio
10. Contigo- tapas + cava + outdoor patio= happy
11. Foreign Cinema- a SF institution, eat, drink and watch a foreign film playing in the background, under lines of pretty lights
12. Bar Bambino- have the cooling watermelon-basil salad
1. Marengo- urban modern retractable roof, blocking all wind, is perfect to nosh and imbibe.
2. Tipsy Pig- an urban-zen patio is large and relaxing, except for when the loud guys in oversized Flannel shirts and Marina Girls in seeking attention are there
3. Unwind- a large patio, but it’s more of sports bar feel
4. Bar Agricole- quality, hand crafted drinks, airy-modern architecture
5. Morac- Street patio in the Mission, hookah lounge
Just remember to keep it healthy, safe, and fun!
I could go on and on, but I want to know your favorite outdoor places in San Francisco?
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The weekend just flew by and it’s Monday, the start of a busy work week. It’s also the first real day of summer in San Francisco, with temperatures in the 80′s. I definitely do not want to spend a minute more than I have to in the kitchen so I can work fr0m cafe with a big patio! *Remember, it’s Meatless Monday, a nation-wide campaign to encourage people to give up meat one day out of the week to increase health, ecology, and economy.
Simple, nutritious breakfast:
I cooked a lot last week, almost every single day! (I usually cook every two days). This week, I have a super tight schedule and I don’t want to think about making meals like I did last week (Saag Paneer, Roti, Chicken Curry, Baked Stuffed Tomatoes, French Toast, Pizza, Salads, Lentils). We have a ton of leftovers too. So I kept it light at the FM today and really restrained myself from going “gaga” over all the fresh, colorful summer produce. It was truly melon madness at the market- at least 10 different types were spotted. The most surprising and unique find was Stevia! Stevia is a native South American plant grown in desert like conditions. The sweet plant does not thrive in moisture and is 30-45 times sweeter than table sugar and has been touted as safe for those who want a healthy alternative. I am going to experiment this week to see how I can use the leaves, as it’s typically found in powder and liquid form at stores. It can’t get more natural than having Stevia leaves! I don’t normally add sugar to anything I make, except in the occasional homemade lattes and chai. If you have tips, suggestions, or opinions on Stevia let me know!
Farmer’s Market Finds:
-Heirloom Tomatoes, mixed salad greens with edible flowers, Padron Peppers, Butterball Potatoes- $11.50 Happy Boy Farms
-Stevia Leaf Stem and marigold- $2.50 Hollie’s Homegrown
-Squash blossoms- $2 Serendipity Farms
*I will make one grocery run this week to pick up organic chicken breasts typically costing me $8
I hope you checked your egg cartons to see that they weren’t one of the 380 million recalled due to a Salmonella contamination and I hope you don’t know any of the thousands sickened by the habitual offender. A single producer is responsible for distributing eggs to at least 17 states under 143 different brands, packed in boxes of six, 12 and 18 eggs. Salmonella is spread most often by the consumption of food contaminated by animal fecal matter, according to health experts. FYI, millions of chickens are locked up and raised in battery cages, with no room to roam or defecate. Therefore, they end up biting and pooping on each other, which significantly increases chances of food-borne illness (amongst other ethical issues.) These unsafe eggs are just the beginning of the problem with how our food is brought to our tables. A nation of unsafe eggs is a nation of unsafe food, controlled by a few large agricultural factory farms. Factory farms raise livestock in complete confinement by “packing” in as many animals as possible per square foot. The result is cheap meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. The results are also human health dangers, animal health dangers, pollution, and destruction of biodiversity. Cheap food comes with a high cost to peoples’ health and the environment.
Images and videos highlighting the bigger issue behind recalled food and food security:
Michael Pollan, author Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules, talks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the global issue here.
How Hens Are Confined- NYT visualization
Factory Farm Production Exposed -video, is this the kind of food you want to eat? Does this seem normal to you?
Egg Production Details- short read on how eggs are produced on a factory farm
How to find non-recalled or safe eggs:
-Farmer’s Markets- most farmer’s will even let you come to their farm and pick your own eggs or give you a tour!
-Smaller grocery stores that carry local, sustainable farm eggs
-Buy organic, cage-free (really cage-free), pastured eggs
-Make sure your your eggs come from small, local farms that raise their chickens outside of cages and treat them humanely.
-Avoid insanely cheap eggs, which means they were factory farmed and all of the chickens were raised in tiny cages, biting and pooping on each other and then transported to another factory to be sorted and packaged to sell at grocery stores around the nation.
Interesting/funny tweets regarding this massive egg recall:
Conan O’Brien: “The FDA egg recall has hit a total of 380 million eggs. I can’t wait till they find the tired, evil hen that did this”
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Tuesday August 24th • Ayurveda|Tea |Food • 7-9PM
Ayurveda is Sanskrit for “the knowledge of life or daily living.” It’s a lifestyle. Food is medicine as well as nourishment. According to Ayurveda, every person is made up of five elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. These elements combine to form the three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Discover your Dosha, sample Dosha-specific teas and foods, and meet other like-minded individuals. Samovar Zen Valley Tea Lounge
The sun is finally shining, which means there is no excuse to stay indoors. Bump up your physical activity by walking, biking, or running. Crissy Field is a gorgeous and ideal flat surface to get Vitamin D and just hang out.
Thursday August 19th • MATCHA: Drunken Dish • Ongoing
Shanghai is one of the most famous culinary regions in China. Its rich Yangtze Delta is a lush garden for vegetables and fruit, and its cuisine is assertively flavored, expressing a flair characteristic of the city itself. The museum has paired with the Asian Culinary Forum for a feature talk and cooking demonstration on Shanghai cuisine with CHEF NEI Chia Ji of the local celebrated restaurant Jai Yun and Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook.
Friday August 20th • Swirl | Interactive Wine Experience | Dancing • 8PM
Welcome to the premier of SWIRL, the one and only interactive wine experience that blends together wine-tasting, story-telling, multimedia (8-10 pm), and Dancing (10 pm+)! We are bringing Sonoma Valley, Nicholson Ranch wines and owner, to San Francisco.
Sat-Mon August 21-23th • Street Food Festival • 11-7PM
7 times the space, 4 times the vendors. Eat to your cart’s content San Francisco. Join La Cocina for the First Annual Street Food Conference, an exploration of food, policy and economics. Participants will engage in lively discussions about the creation of viable economic models that allow small-scale food entrepreneurs to bring the foods they love to the cities in which they live. Bring cash or buy a passport in advance to eat to your heart’s content. Details here.
Saturday August 21st • Dinner and Jazz • 6-9PM
NaJe is an American jazz singer, songwriter, and recording artist. She sings soulful, sultry ballads and sweet jazz with a sound and style that is heavily influenced by jazz greats Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’ Day, and Julie London.
Saturday August 21st • Flexitarian Foodraiser • 7-11PM
Celebrate the launch of The Flexitarian Cookbook at the beautiful and historic Meridian Gallery in Union Square. There will be music, art, drinks, foodie giftbags, and delicious food from the cookbook. The event is benefiting Slow Food USA and Yoga Bear.
Sunday August 22nd • Grounded Dinners • PM
Starting Sunday, August 22, Chef Russell Jackson brings the style of underground dining he made popular in San Francisco to Lafitte with his new “Grounded Series.” Reservations are required and can be made by calling 415.839.2134
It’s already Monday! I am looking forward to using all of my Farmer’s Market Finds, and making a beautiful salad full of vitamins and antioxidants and then digging into the Saag Paneer I made yesterday. Indian food always tastes better the next day. It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables contain tons of antioxidants that boost your body’s abilities to repair itself. Vainly, lets get to the heart of the topic, fruits and vegetables make you beautiful. All of those fancy creams, lotions and potions that you spend a good portion of your paycheck on, contain vitamins and collagen! Imagine the miracles real, unprocessed, plant-based foods can do for your looks and body. Tighter skin, shinier hair, brighter smile…all by just doing what you need to do to survive-eat (real food)!
-Saag Paneer with buckwheat rotis (non-authentic)
Traditional roti is made with whole wheat flour and rolled very thin making them light, fluffy, and soft. I have used buckwheat flour, since it nutritionally has a higher content of protein (7g) and fiber (7g). If you are used to eating traditional rotis, the taste is something you have to get used to, but the health rewards are worth it.
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1/3 cup warm water
All-purpose flour – for rolling and dusting