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Steer Clear of Artificial Sweeteners

 Image result for artificial sweeteners

Artificial sugar (AS) substitute was created for those who are looking to cut calories for weight loss or cut carbs/sugar to obtain blood sugar control (BSC). It seemed like a simple solution. Eat the same foods replace sugar calories in foods (soda, cookies…) with a sweetener that has no calories and weight loss or BSC should occur. Sounds good and maybe true on paper but when it comes to real life, it may not necessarily be so simple.

Saccharin was the first artificial sweetener made available for mass consumption in the early 1900’s and it is safe to say that it has not done its intended purpose as a weight loss aid. We continue to face a diabesity (obesity and diabetes) epidemic.

A  recent study, http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1111%2Fjgs.13376?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=onlinelibrary.wiley.com&purchase_site_license=LICENSE_DENIED_NO_CUSTOMER , published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that drinking diet soda may contribute to “cardiometabolic risk” factors (obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance etc..). The authors concluded that there is an association between drinking more diet soda and gaining more belly fat.

Belly fat is associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease and much more. But, if this is not enough to make you drop the diet soda right out of your hand then take a look at these:

·         “Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-Term Weight Gain” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18535548

·         “Artificial Sweetener May Disrupt Body’s Ability To Count Calories” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040630081825.htm

  • “Consumption of Artificially and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Incident Type 2 Diabetes in the Etude Epidemiologique Aupres Des Femmes de la Mutuelle Generale de l’Education Nationale-European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23364017

These discuss the other ingredients in diet soda if you are interested:

One explanation for the association between AS and weight and health is due to its sweetness. Normally, consuming sugar would trigger a signal communicating that with sweetness comes calories and then satiety. AS are 200-8,000 times the sweetness of natural sugar  but there are no accompanying calories with the sweetness. The body is confused, it expects calories but is not getting them and therefore appetite increases as the body wants the calories it is not getting from the AS. Increases in appetite increases the likelihood of  eating more.

Another reason is that the brain’s “reward system” dictates an individual’s response (motivation, drive, incentive)  to a particular “reward” (food, sex, drugs, medication). The intensity of the AS engages the reward system at greater than 200 times that of natural sweetness creating an addictive response to these foods containing AS.

Of course, you cannot discount the “cheater” instinct. When you think you are consuming less calories by eating foods with AS, you may just choose to eat more because you think you can get away with it.

Despite these findings, “The global market for Artificial Sweeteners is projected to reach US$1.7 billion by the year 2018, primarily stimulated by widespread weight reduction efforts, development of low sugar food for diabetic and diet conscious consumers, growing preference for diet beverages, rising concerns over dental caries and the growing need to reduce risk associated with volatility in sugar prices,”  http://www.prweb.com/releases/artificial_sweeteners/sucralose_aspartame/prweb10121807.htm.

Get the message these science studies are sending. Artificial sweeteners are chemistry experiments that may have been a good initial idea but as a test with years of human guinea pigs it seems AS add risk to your weight and health.

Steer clear of AS. There are better, less addictive, healthier ways to lose weight and control blood sugar.

 
 

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“Kids Eat Right” is Wrong!

Image result for kids eat right kraft

Raise your hand if you see the irony and blatant hypocrisy of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) lending their “Kids Eat Right” logo for Kraft to slap on the label of their processed cheese singles “product”.  You may have seen the buzz this week, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO-0UAHYX_8.

Last week new research shed light on what happens when you implicitly trust big pharma. My blog focused on the popularity of statins and how current research may explain why they (one of the most popular categories of cholesterol lowering medications) should NOT be so popular, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/a-statin-standoff-or-much-more/.

This week it is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has crossed the line and this is not the first time.  The AND is an organization that proclaims its mission is to empower members to be food and nutrition leaders” and its vision to “optimize the nation’s health through food and nutrition”. I personally and professionally see so many things wrong with these positions when they team up (accept monetary funding) with companies { Abbott Nutrition (Ensure, Glucerna and many more unhealthy products), The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Unilever} including Kraft cheese singles, that do not reflect the groups health mission.

I believe real cheese should be part of a healthy diet. Yet I would be questioned and likely ostracized by AND about the type of fat (saturated; http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/practice/position-and-practice-papers/position-papers/dietary-fatty-acids-for-healthy-adults) and sodium (http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/media/press-releases/positions-and-issues/decrease-in-sodium-intake-supported) content of my recommendations. You may already have heard their message or position on low fat diary and other fat foods:

  • “The Academy recommends a food-based approach through a diet that includes regular consumption of fatty fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.”
  • “Reduce excessive sodium consumption by setting federal standards for the amount of salt that food manufacturers…can add to their products, since the vast majority of people’s sodium intake comes from salt that companies put in prepared meals and processed foods. The goal is to make it easier for consumers to eat lower, healthier amounts of salt.”

AND publically announces, “Government agencies, health professionals and the food industry need to work together to help consumers reduce their sodium intake. ADA offers ideas for lowering salt consumption:

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, most of which contain little sodium.
  • Check food labels for terms like low sodium, very low sodium or sodium free.

Shame on you AND! Kraft Singles is a cheese “product” and not even real cheese, http://blog.fooducate.com/2012/04/25/is-this-cheese-kraft-singles-cheese-miniseries-part-3-3/.” It cannot be called cheese because less than 51% of it is actually cheese. The rest is composed of other ingredients.”

What this group is doing is sending inconsistent public messages. The public health epidemics of obesity, diabetes and many more medical conditions that plague us rest on your shoulders as  consumers are mislead to believe that the bold, colorful, eye-catching “Kids Eat Right” logo on a packaged unhealthy food goes against everything you believe.

The Eat Right Kids logo is not on a low sodium product. It is not on a fresh vegetable (Kale is naturally low in fat, has 100 mg calcium/cup and is loaded with vitamins/minerals and fiber) or a food known to be low in fat, let alone saturated fat.

Kraft says the logo “identifies the brand as a proud supporter of Kids Eat Right.” NO IT DOES NOT. Nowhere does it make claim to “support the Kids Eat Right program”.

Kari Ryan, Kraft’s director of nutrition, science, and regulatory affairs,  “is singing the calcium content is high in cheese and this is healthy for you message”.

It is no wonder this country is in such a “health mess”. AND public marketing and outreach is as big as the ginormous budget it gets from advertisers. “Advertising with the Academy is a great way for organizations to target a diverse audience of members who are the world’s acknowledged leaders in providing food- and nutrition-related health information and services.”

Registered dietitians have complained about the disreputable behavior with little success, https://www.facebook.com/DietitiansForProfessionalIntegrity/posts/766631846740026.

So I ask you to raise your hands if you are tired of being taken by food and pharma companies. Take a stand on this unethical and, in my opinion, criminal behavior by the AND party players. Be an educated consumer and make food purchases and health choices wisely.

 

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A Silver Bullet A Day Will Keep The Doctor Away!

 

Colloidal silver works as an antiviral (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22024958),  antifungal and antibacterial that destroys parasites, including both anaerobic and aerobic bugs (even the ones that are antibiotic resistant (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22324439) rendering us helpless victims to the illness du jour. For this reason, it is more versatile than an antibiotic and much more valuable than gold when it comes to staying healthy.

Silver saves the day with a superhero’s arsenal of weaponry.  When it comes to protecting us against germs it uses magnetic “force” (through positive charge) and works to:

  • blast away the oxygen capability of aerobic bugs
  • kill anaerobic germs via oxidation by demolishing enzymes that help maintain its anaerobic state

This is not breaking news. Silver is nothing new. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to preserve food and they used silver utensils to help prevent food borne pathogens from causing disease. Later in the late 1800’s 1% silver nitrate was placed into the eyes of newborns to prevent blindness from gonorrhea. Treatment dressings for burn victims and wounded soldiers contain silver as a healing ingredient. Silver has been used by surgeons and hospitals preventively against infection and even used by the International Space Station to disinfect water.

I use Silversol by American Biotech labs myself for the last 7 years and recommend it to clients for:

  • dental hygiene
  • building and maintaining a healthy immune system especially when an illness is coming on, or when I hear the flu is out and about
  • travel (before and during )
  • kids germs and cuts (faster healing), ear infections and skin lesions (molluscum)
  • jock itch
  • yeast infections (candida)
  • herpes
  • as a spray-on hand sanitizer and disinfectant for gym equipment

There are so many uses for Silversol. Typically I do not recommend brands but I am in this case because some silver products may not be for everyone. There are some silver products that interact with prescription medication: penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen), quinolone antibiotics, tetracycline and thyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid).

Silversol is a new generation product. It seems that its’ patented technology (a multi-valant silver oxide coating surrounding the silver nano-particle) gives it more bioavailability and makes it more stable because it attaches to the water solution it is carried in “Silversol”. It is a tasteless liquid.

Salt is its one kryptonite and can reduce its effectiveness. So do not use Silversol with salt or higher sodium foods.

There seems to be no risk of ” turning blue”,http://ablsilver.com/benefits.php, especially if taken in moderate amounts and not in excess. No worries about killing healthy gut bacteria or some of the concerns with medication interaction as other silver products. I found a couple of recent studies on its safety, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23811290 in, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25137296 and checked out the author, here’s what I found:

“Funding: This study was funded in part by Award Number UL1RR025764 from the National Center for Research Resources. Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest or financial interests in any product or service mentioned in this article, including grants, employment, gifts, stock holdings, honoraria, consultancies, expert testimony, patents, and royalties.”

So this should be reliable data. However, as I tell all my clients, if you take any product, food, beverage or supplement and think it affects you in any way. Use common sense, communicate with your doctor.

There is no such thing as a “magic” bullet.  But there is such a thing as a silver bullet. Save yourself from getting sick and get rid of germs (foreign body invaders) that make you ill. Silversol is a superhero when it comes to guarding against a “home invasion” of body bugs including infections, bacteria, viruses and fungi, that can knock you down for the count!

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The King of Ketosis

Dr. Atkins

 

Ketosis simply means burning fat. When your body burns fat it helps correct metabolic health and weight issues. If you are not healthy or cannot seem to lose weight, Make a change in your way of eating.

At a minimum, Dr. Atkins should be known as the “King of Ketosis”. It’s been awhile since I worked with Dr. Atkins and embarked on my own high fat, low carb journey. Back then, although we cited Keckwick and Pawan and a few others, we had NO “current” research. We barely even understood what happened biochemically in the body but we did know that our patients reaped the benefits much before the sea of results with today’s “current” research and monumental low carb following.

We understood the power of ketosis (controlling carbohydrates) and the health benefits of fat. Because eating real food and avoiding the push for commercially prepared low-fat products tainted with trans fat and high fructose corn syrup was and is healthier. We witnessed health and weight improvements. We did not need to wait for research when right in front of our eyes was this nutritional blessing of ketosis that helped improve quality of life and we would not bury our heads in the sand of denial no matter who said otherwise. It is hard to imagine what would have happened if Dr. Atkins retaliated in fear or lost his endurance to the wolves that hunted him. There were so many attacks.

I was a registered dietitian (RD), a vegetarian at the time eating low-fat foods, but Dr. Atkins hired me anyway. He was extremely bright. I think he knew what he was doing when he hired “the enemy”. He used to call registered dietitians “airheads” because he was so frustrated at the medical establishment trying to denounce what he was doing and label him a “quack”. When I reminded him I was a RD, he smiled ( a charismatic smile ) and said “not all of them”.

I, on the other hand, had no idea what I was about to experience and even explain how this job would become my life. However there were four main reasons  I switched from being a vegetarian to an Atkins for lifer!

  1. As a vegetarian, it was difficult to make creative eating suggestions for my flesh-eating clients.
  2. I was about ten pounds overweight and I wanted to experience the excitement my clients felt and, of course, the fast weight loss results.
  3. I saw patients clinical labs and they all improved: cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and all the rest, including the clients reported benefits:
  • improved energy
  • stable moods
  • mental focus
  • less gas/ bloating
  • better sleep
  • less acne flare ups and episodes
  • less appetite

oh, there were so many…

  1. As I dug through the published data and paced the shopping aisles of the grocery store. I realized this “Atkins” diet was healthier than anything I had recommended during my whole nutrition career. I realized I was brain washed by the establishment. Fast forward, while I completed the nutritional analysis of the menus in my book, “The Stubborn Fat Fix” (http://www.amazon.com/The-Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic/dp/159486828X), the less carbs the more nutrient dens the meal. As carbs were placed back into meals, not too many of course, it diluted what I call the “nutrient bang for the calorie buck”.

We did not have sexy marketing lingo like “nutritional” ketosis.  Although it is a great descriptor as being in ketosis  equates to eating nutrient dense meals. Today we may just take for granted what seems to be the obvious.

Cristi Vlad does a great job at explaining ketosis, http://cristivlad.com/ketosis-special-metabolic-state/. He describes his own weight and fat loss but the advantage of lowering carbs goes beyond what you see on the outside.

The true magic of ketosis is buried deep within at the hormonal level and hormones influence our lives (men, women and children) much more than we know.

If you want to read up on the research, Ellen Davis has a no holds barred  website, http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/ketogenic-diet-benefits.html on almost everything you may want to know about a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet and how it contributes to slowing the aging process and healing:

  • any blood sugar disorder, including diabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • parkinson’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • epilepsy
  • autism
  • fatty liver
  • stomach issues like reflux, ulcers, gas bloating

and the list goes on.

Don’t be afraid of ketosis or living low carb.  Jimmy Moore, http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com/, has been living low carb, writing books, doing podcasts, hosting cruises and even has a list of practitioners who can help you, http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com/. Burning fat to supply body energy (ketosis) is not only an optimal way of eating, it is prudent for quality of life and longevity.

 

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Te Amo Semper

 

Te amo sempre (I always love you) and will never forget Pure Power Bootcamp (PPBC). This week I am re-posting a blog as tribute for helping me get back on the road to “me”. I challenge anyone who reads this to discover the things in life that instill joy and make you feel good. Whatever they are, whatever it is,  just do it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

What you do and love can change your life forever. My choice reinforced brotherhood along with:

STRENGTH

COURAGE

DESIRE

PERSEVERANCE

INTENSITY

RESPECT

POWER

DUTY

LOYALTY

DIGNITY

 

For me the discovery was easy. I re-discovered, me. It felt and continues to feel good. I cherish the memories and refuse to believe that we will not all be together again soon! Pure Power lives on in my heart and soul, http://wp.me/pudS3-Jz. What is today and what will be tomorrow for PPBC we do not know but I have faith     !

Te amo sempre Pure Power Boot Camp.

Has anyone been as fortunate as I have been and would you like to share what “IT” was (or is) that has helped make you feel good or inspired you in any way? I’d love to hear about the “IT”.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in exercise, health, weight loss

 

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Don’t Get “Scrooged”, Get Happy For The Holidays!

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Christmas at Rockefeller Center, located in New York City, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holiday season is upon us, Christmas and New Years are here! Family gatherings and social events create more responsibilities and pressures. Holiday cheer this time of year? Absolutely!

But, the holidays also create stress and unrealistic expectations that can put a damper on things. There are many people who enjoy the season but there is a reality  of the extra task of buying gifts, hosting the traditional celebration, stressing about finances, job security, and other pressures from various sources.

Holiday occasions should be like a breath of fresh air. Do not let outside worries or circumstances interfere with one day or a few hours of joy. It is meant for you to stop and allow yourself to feel love, happiness, hope and goodness, no matter what.

If things are starting to get out of control, think about the big picture. Holidays are not forever. “What are your expectations during the holiday season?” “What are your expectations for family, friends or your job?” “Can you use this time to relax and enjoy the ones you love most?” These are loaded questions. Take time to really think about the answers and bring yourself to a good place.

Why are these questions important? Because expectations can mess with your mood and your happiness. Do not let negativity cloud your judgment. Keep your thoughts clear.  Focus on yourself: your health, your weight goals and most importantly your happiness.

If you think the holiday will be picture perfect, you know just like on T.V. , the food, the people, the gifts….think again. Don’t get blindsided by circumstance. There is often a person or event that will bring you down before you have a chance to take your next breath. Your expectations can be a huge factor for your sanity, wellness and even your weight.

An “expectation” is a belief about what might happen in the future. Keep in mind that while it is impossible to predict what will happen in the future, you can use past holidays  to gauge what is likely to happen based on previous years.  If there are things that have happened in the past, certain people or situations that have “scrooged”you out of everything including a happy holiday, just DO NOT let it get to you this year.

Know it is likely going to happen again and plan how you are going to avoid any aggravation that comes your way. Set realistic expectations knowing that the only person that can control your moods or happiness is you. Keep stress at bay. Think positive thoughts. It is about your health, happiness and the time you spend with those who you enjoy being with, not the gifts, the job or any distraction in your life.

Make this holiday season one of the best ever!

Be well, keep things in perspective, think positive thoughts, keep your spirits high, your outlook on life good and help to keep your healthy lifestyle (eating and exercising) consistent during the holidays.

If you need a little push let a song infiltrate your soul. These songs, Bob Marley, “Don´t Worry Be Happy”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poCo_7ZjYA8,  or “Don’t Worry About A Thing, ‘Cause Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mACqcZZwG0k,  work for me. Find a tune that will help straighten you out, let it get stuck in your head and sing it like you mean it for as long as you need it!

No matter what’s going on, music can make you feel good inside so sing and spread the holiday spirit and most of all enjoy life!

Anyone have a song or a plan to avoid being “scrooged”? I would be “happy” to share.

Happy and healthy holidays to all!

 

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Warming “Yang” Foods For Balancing The Cold Season

http://www.healthymasha.com/2014/04/15/chinese-food-therapy-yinization-and-yanization/

Lately my blog, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/?s=winter+warm+foods, “10 Winter Warm Foods and Beverages” has been popular. So this week I give you more to think about and more delicious warm foods to drool over from the Mediterranean while using a traditional Chinese approach to food. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an important place in health and wellness:

TCM foods have warming and cooling characteristics based on each foods “energy” characteristics regardless of its temperature when served.

Unlike the western version of the plate method, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/downloads/GettingStartedWithMyPlate.pdf, eastern Chinese medicine categorizes foods into 3 groups (yin, yang and neutral). Each food group maintains internal balance when considered as part of the external (warm or cold) environment or an imbalance with internal organs and medical conditions.

Always eat foods from each group, but during the winter, balance is shifted towards eating more warming ” yang” foods during the cold season. For example, when combining foods like pepper (yang) with chicken (yang), the meal is more yang. If chicken (yang) tops a  salad  (yin), the chicken becomes less yang and moves towards neutral or yin.

Here is a simple list, according to Chinese medical practitioners at Ping Ming Health, http://www.pingminghealth.com/article/581/warming-and-cooling-characteristics-of-common-foods/.

Yang  foods: Have a warming energy on the body

chicken, lamb, ham, prawns, goat milk, walnuts, pistachio and pine nuts; beverages (coffee, wine) and vegetables (greens, onions, leeks, chives, squash, pumpkin) spices and condiments (cinnamon, ginger, basil, vinegar, wasabi, chilli, garlic, ginseng, pepper), fat (butter).

Neutral foods:

fruits (berries, olives, plums, pineapple), vegetables (mushrooms,  pumpkin
shiitake mushroom, Chinese cabbage, sweet potato, string bean), nuts/seeds/beans (sunflower seeds, kidney beans,  peanuts, almonds), protein (beef,  cow’s milk, duck, fish, oyster, pork, scallop). Water is neutral but changes based on its temperature.

Yin foods: Have a cooling energy on the body

fruits (strawberry, kiwi, grapefruit, pear, lemon, apple) , vegetables (green leafy lettuce, seaweed, spinach, tomato, cucumber, celery, alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, mushroom, eggplant, watercress), protein (egg, crab, clam, tofu), grains (barley, millet, buckwheat),  fat (sesame oil), tea (green and peppermint tea), salt.

This winter, use TCM principles to select healthy warming foods. I have selected a few recipes from “Mediterranean Paleo Cooking” authored by a husband wife team (Nabil Boumrar, a chef from North Africa  and Caitlin Weeks; Diane Sanfilippo helped with photography and design) that contain warming yang ingredients! You can almost taste the food as you browse through the pictures that look so yum, http://bit.ly/medpaleoflip. If you like what you see, you may want to purchase the cookbook. I know it can be purchased at Costco or amazon.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

1. Creamy Cilantro Salmon

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prep time: 5 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes | serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE SAUCE

4 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

4 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons lemon juice (2 lemons) 1 cup full-fat, canned coconut milk

 

FOR THE SALMON

4 (5-ounce) wild salmon fillets, skin on

1 pinch fine sea salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter, ghee, or coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Make the sauce: Put the cilantro, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse the herb mixture while slowly adding the coconut milk until the sauce is creamy. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the salmon: Season the salmon liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the fat to the pan and melt. Sear the salmon in the skillet, skin side down, for 1 minute. Press down on the salmon, making sure the skin is touching the pan.
  4. Transfer the fish to the oven, leaving the skin side down, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the salmon over and cook for 2 more minutes, leaving a little pink in the middle of the salmon. Be careful not to overcook the salmon or it will dry out.
  5. Remove the salmon from the oven and transfer it to a platter. Top with the sauce and serve.

 

2. Tangy Lamb Stewwith Saffron and Ginger (Harira)

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prep time:10 minutes  |  cook time: 65 minutes  |  serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or coconut oil

1 pound lamb or beef stew meat

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pinch fine sea salt and ground black pepper

1 cup diced celery

1 medium onion, diced

4 medium tomatoes, cored

4 cups beef broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, divided

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 lemon, sliced

Directions:

In a stockpot, melt the fat over medium heat. Add the meat, saffron, turmeric, ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté the meat for 5 minutes, then add the celery and onion and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until they are pureed. Add them to the pot. Add the beef broth and cook the mixture, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and set aside in a bowl. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the soup in batches to a stand blender. Pulse until smooth and return the soup back to the pot. Add the meat back to the pot and simmer the soup, uncovered, over medium heat, until it thickens, about 10 more minutes. Add half of the mint, the vinegar, and the lemon juice to the soup and stir. Adjust the seasoning to taste and ladle into bowls. Garnish with  remaining mint and the lemon slices.

Consider TCM philosophies to warm your heart and the rest of your body in the cold season using these warming yang foods with these tasty delicious Mediterranean recipes.

 

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