Monthly Archives: August 2011

Angelica Home Kitchen’s Same Day Bean Recipe

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Conventional wisdom has it that you should soak your beans overnight before cooking them. This method works, of course, but here is another way to do it. This same day method is certainly a good way to cook beans if you forgot to soak them overnight, and the Angelica Home Kitchen Cookbook suggests that cooking this way is more effective in breaking down the complex sugars in beans that cause gas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried beans (black, kidney, pinto, Great Northern)
  • 1 quart plus 5 cups cold water
  • 1 (3-inch) piece of dried kombu
  • sea salt

Directions:

  • Sort through beans and discard pebbles.
  • Rinse beans under cold running water
  • Place beans in 1 1/2 to 3 quart heavy-bottomed sauce pan with 1 quart of the water. Bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow beans to swell for one hour.
  • Drain and Rinse beans; place them in a pot with kombu and 5 cups cold water.
  • Bring to a boil, cover pot, lower the flame and simmer gently for 50 minutes or until the beans and kombu are tender.
  • Add sea salt to taste and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  • Your beans are ready for use in another recipe!
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Bring Your Lunch

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Here are  five  of my favorite easy lunches to bring to work:

1. Leftover anything. It is easy to make extra the night before and then pack up the leftovers in your favorite storage container. Favorites of mine are chili, lentil stew, risotto, roasted veggies, whole grains with tomato sauce, and leftover sauteed greens. To keep your lunch fresh, a refrigerator is great, but you can also use a cold pack from your freezer.

2. Nut butter and jelly on california protein style bread or whole grain tortilla, carrot, and piece of fruit.  Sometimes I substitute nut butter and banana. Sometimes plain nut butter . It is pretty tasty and keeps you satisfied until the end of the day. Other sandwich ideas: lots of greens, leftover meat, pickles and mustard; mozzarella, tomato and pesto; avocado spread like butter, lettuce, and any bean made into a bean spread (whizz it in a food processor with a teeny bit of olive oil and salt.)

3. Cleaned salad greens, sliced chicken or beef with home made vinaigrette, some nuts, and piece of fruit.

4. Black beans (or any kind of bean), corn, edamame, cherry tomatoes, and leftover grain (rice, barley, quinoa etc…) Mix, add a little vinaigrette, a little yogurt if you  like for creaminess – voila!

5. Hard boiled eggs (2), cottage cheese, whole carrots, fruit.

Here is an easy prep step:

On Sunday make a bunch of hard boiled eggs, cook a pot of beans, bake some sweet potatoes, and wash some carrots. When I cook easy stuff in bulk, and store them in the refrigerator,  I can just grab things on my way out, ensure that I have something pretty healthy to eat, and I know that I’m not going to take a lot of time to prep in the morning. It isn’t always glamorous, but, if you can grab your lunch and head outside away from the computer, chances are your body will feel much better than if you go out for Chinese food or a burrito. You will certainly save money, and you might even have the energy to get a little walk in before you head back to work.

Sleep Hygiene

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Avril Swan, MD

If your physician tells you that you need to improve your sleep hygiene, don’t take it as a personal insult. Sleep hygiene has nothing to do with cleanliness. Instead, it is the term that physicians and sleep specialists use to describe sleep habits. Many sleep problems are due to suboptimal sleep hygiene. Here is a list of some simple things that you can do to optimize the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Good Sleep Hygiene Practices

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day
  • Make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, and an optimal temperature.
  • Use the bed only for sleep and sex. No eating, no TV,  no computer games or iphones.
  • For some people reading delays sleep, for others it brings it on quickly. Know your relationship between reading and sleep and use the relationship to your advantage.
  • Don’t eat big meals or exercise within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine within 8 hours of bedtime
  • Limit alcohol to 1 drink with dinner. Even this may be too much for some and cause waking during the night.
  • Avoid stressful activity such as work or watching the news an hour before bed.
  • Establish bedtime rituals. For instance:  read a book, take a shower, meditate, and then go to bed.

If you find yourself waking in the middle of the  night with your mind racing, try not to lay there and clock watch. Watching the minutes tick by helplessly leads to a vicious cycle that results in more worry because you aren’t getting back to sleep. Instead, get up, move to another room and do some relaxation exercises. When you are feeling tired go back and try again. Sometimes moving to another sleep space can help, especially if a partner is tossing, turning, or snoring.

Like any change of habit,  improving sleep hygiene takes commitment and practice. Is it worth the trouble? Yes. Lack of sleep isn’t just a quality of life issue.  Poor sleep quantity and quality has been correlated with increased inflammation and risk of chronic disease, increased risk of obesity, and increased risk of mental illness. Children and adolescents with suboptimal sleep are more likely to have problems in school and social relationships. We have all heard that driving after sleep deprivation is equivalent to having a dangerous blood alcohol level.

If you are having trouble with insomnia or daytime fatigue and you have tried the above strategies, please seek help from your primary care doctor. There are many options and alternatives once we have an understanding of what is causing the problem.

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