Healthier Eating: It doesn’t have to be boring or bland

Healthier Eating: It doesn’t have to be boring or bland

[music]>>Marty Peterson: A few weeks ago we presented
a story on those foods we crave – barbecue, meat and comfort foods. Those dishes are great
and they’re fine for our health as long as we don’t overindulge. This time around
we’re going to discuss healthier fare and how you can make just a few changes in your
cooking habits to achieve it. Just because something is considered “healthy” doesn’t
mean it has to be flavorless and contain a lot of strange ingredients that you can only
find in certain grocery stores. Our guests say that just being aware of what you eat
– what’s on the package label, how to buy and cook fresh foods and how much salt
and fat is in the product – can go a long way toward creating a flavorful meal and a
more nutritious meal. First is Diane Morgan, an award-winning cookbook author who is a
huge fan of salmon. In fact, her latest cookbook is all about America’s third favorite seafood. It’s titled Salmon: Everything you need to know + 45 recipes.
Morgan says that salmon is one of the healthiest proteins out there, and contains substances
that protect many parts of our bodies…>>Diane Morgan: It’s considered a “superfood”.
Anytime you read articles and books on salmon, they’re talking about how it’s optimal
for your health: it’s heart-healthy, it’s packed with omega-3s, it helps lower blood
triglycerides, your cholesterol level, it’s an anti-inflammatory, and it’s really great
for your eye health. Omega-3s also significantly lower the risk of macular degeneration. So,
it’s just all around a great protein source.>>Peterson: There are two general types of
salmon found in the U.S.: Atlantic and Pacific salmon. Although they are raised in very different
ways, Morgan says that their nutritional make-ups are pretty much the same…>>Morgan: Atlantic salmon is not available
other than farmed because back in the 60’s when they used sonar, they basically fished
out the Atlantic of salmon. So, there were just not enough to head back up the waterways
to spawn, so they developed the farming practices. Pacific salmon is wild. It is wild caught
and most of the salmon coming off of the Pacific is coming out of Alaska, but there are fishing
stocks out of Washington, Oregon, and California.>>Peterson: “Wild caught” salmon doesn’t
always start out its life the way you might think. Although you can find Pacific salmon
that was born the natural way, Morgan says that wild caught salmon start out their lives
in hatcheries. They are then released into the wild as fingerlings, eating all of the
same krill that naturally-hatched salmon do and turning that lovely orange-y red color.
Morgan says that when you buy salmon it should look the way all fresh fish should – plump,
glistening, no fish smell and – if it’s a whole fish – it should have bright, clear
eyes. There should also not be a lot of liquid in the pan it’s displayed in. Salmon – both
Atlantic and Pacific – can be pricey, but she says that we don’t need to eat very
much of it to enjoy its flavor and health benefits…>>Morgan: We have this sense that somehow
we should be eating six to eight ounces as a portion of fish, and we really don’t need
to be. You know, we can eat three to five ounces. It’s perfectly satisfying for our
bodily needs, maybe not for the mouthful, but to eat three ounces of fish and call that
a portion size.>>Peterson: In her book, Morgan has recipes
for Green Curry Braised Salmon, Indian Spice-Rubbed Salmon, and Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle
Sauce. You always think of fish as having a “delicate” flavor. Can salmon really
stand up to all of those bold flavors?>>Morgan: It is strong enough to withstand
it and I am really careful about not masking the flavor of any fish I cook, in particular,
salmon. So, if there’s a recipe in the book that has the bold flavor, it’s there because
it’s complimenting the fish and not because it’s overpowering the salmon itself. So
I’m really, really particular about that, and salmon can take on, because of the high
fat levels in the fish – good fat – that it can take on some of these bolder flavors.>>Peterson: One of Morgan’s favorite parts
of the salmon is the skin, and she has a recipe in the book for Crispy Salmon Skin – which
she calls “bacon of the sea.” Who doesn’t love bacon, but oh, the fat and salt it contains!
Well, you can cut down on fat and salt and still enjoy that unctuous pork flavor. Jessica
Goldman Foung (fong) says all you have to do is make it yourself – controlling the
amount of fat it has and eliminating the salt altogether. Foung had lupus-related kidney
failure and can’t eat much sodium, so she devised recipes for people who have to watch
their salt intake and put them in her cookbook, Low So Good: A guide to real food, big flavor
and less sodium…>>Jessica Goldman Foung: It’s so simple;
it really is just sliced pork belly that you cook in the oven for an hour and that you
finish in a hot pan and you season it with all those bacon sweet, savory flavors. With
the help of cumin and smoked paprika and a little liquid smoke, if you can do it, and
it tastes just like bacon, feels just like bacon, you can use it in any recipe that calls
for bacon, and it only has the natural sodium found in the pork.>>Peterson: Foung says that we need salt
for our bodies to function, and the American Heart Association suggests that we take in
no more than 23-hundred milligrams a day, or about one teaspoon. However, most of us
take in 4-thousand milligrams a day – but not from the salt shaker…>>Foung: The salt from the salt shaker and
the sodium from the salt shaker actually only equals about five- to ten-percent of the sodium
we’re eating in a day and over 70 percent we are consuming comes from processed or packaged
ingredients.>>Peterson: Foung says that we like salt
because of its ability to enhance foods, such as magnifying and waking up flavors, balancing
other tastes and even releasing aromas in food. It also tastes…well…salty, which
is satisfying in itself. But we don’t need to add extra salt to enjoy our meals. She
even has a favorite “comfort” food that’s easy to make and contains no added sodium
– a Ramen noodle bowl in a jar. It’s called “Genmaicha (gen MY chuh) Tea Microwave Soup
…>>Foung: You basically fill a microwavable
jar, whether it’s a mason jar or something else, with a bunch of raw ingredients. So…
sliced bok choy, zucchini noodles, some cooked noodles if you are eating wheat or rice products,
sliced shiitake mushrooms have a natural umami flavor, a spice blend, some cooked proteins,
and you put it all in this jar and there’s no liquid in it and you throw it in your bag.
Now, when you get to work, you actually put in a genmaicha tea bag, which is a green tea
with toasted brown rice, has that umami flavor – a savory flavor – and you cook it in
the microwave with water. And what you end up with is this very delicate, Asian-inspired,
noodle soup that is full of healthful ingredients, it’s super low in sodium, and you will probably
never go back to the over-salted stuff again.>>Peterson: Foung says that without salt
– which, by the way, is the only seasoning besides black pepper that we’re taught to
use in this country – food can taste bland. That’s why she says you have to substitute
other seasonings in salt’s place to bring out flavors in food, such as curry, cumin,
red pepper flakes, and sumac; or trying ingredients that you’ve never used before. But it’s
not only salt we crave — we also love fat. It makes food taste unctuous and satisfying,
but too much can wreak havoc on our bodies. Not all fats are bad, though, and eating lean
doesn’t mean completely eliminating them from our diets. Allyson Kramer has figured
out how to make delicious foods with good fats that can keep a body healthy and trim.
She’s the author of Naturally Lean: 125 nourishing, gluten-free, plant-based recipes
all under 300 calories. But what the “good” fats?>>Allyson Kramer: I think the typical guideline
is around 25 grams of fat, and with those fats, you want to really seek out non-hydrogenated
types of fat – nothing that comes from a chemical processing plant. I recommend foods
that are high in fat, and also in nutrition, such as avocados or cashews – any type of
nuts is really great – and even some high quality oils in moderation: coconut oil, avocado
oil, olive oil – extra virgin is very good for you. If you eat animal products, definitely
seek out the ones that are good quality, so I really recommend, if you’re going to go
that route, go for grass-fed and know higher fat is better than a lot of the fat-free products
that have a ton of added sugars to them and that’s not a better choice, I think, than
what nature would provide. So, if you can find it growing in a garden or on a tree,
that’s probably a good indicator that the fat is good for you.>>Peterson: Kramer cooks gluten-free because
she has Celiac disease and can’t eat wheat products. But plant-based, gluten-free dishes
are tasty for anyone even if they don’t have any dietary restrictions. It also opens
up a whole new area of culinary creativity for the home cook …>>Kramer: There is such a great variety out
there besides just meat, and I don’t think that anyone needs to cut out gluten unless
they have a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. However, it is really nice to add less gluten
into your diet, or foods that are gluten-free into your diet, because you’ll really kind
of get the benefits of so many great grains that you might pass up otherwise. If you can
eat wheat, you would go for whole-grain wheat instead of whole-grain sorghum or chickpea
flour or buckwheat or millet or amaranth. All of these, they’re really great grains
that I think people should really become familiar with because they’re fun and they’re delicious
and they’re very nutritious.>>Peterson: They’re also very easy to make.
Kramer’s Summertime Quinoa Bowl can be put together in about 30 minutes; and her Zesty
Black Bean Soup is just as quick and very satisfying on a cold, rainy day. There are
also recipes for those whose tastes run to the sweeter side…>>Kramer: I love the vanilla almond granola;
I probably eat that at least once a week. I make up a big batch, and I eat it with unsweetened
almond milk. I also love the nutty butter cookies. I really do like the summertime quinoa
bowl, and one of my favorite recipes that I think is a really neat addition to people
that might not be familiar with plant-based or gluten-free eating is that magnificent
mushroom pizza because of the crust. It uses chickpea flour and it’s a really simple
crust to whip up; you don’t have to have any rising time or anything like that and
you can bake it right away and you can put whatever toppings you want on it and it’s
high-protein, pretty low fat, and the calories are very full of nutrition.>>Peterson: All of our guests suggest that
you venture out of your culinary comfort zone this year and try new flavors and ingredients
to spice up your cooking and create fresher and healthier meals for you and your family.
You can find out more about Allyson Kramer and her book, Naturally Lean, on her website
at A-L-L-Y-S-O-N To learn more about Jessica Goldman Foung and her book,
Low So Good, visit her site at sodium And for everything you ever wanted to know
about buying and cooking one of America’s favorite fish, pick up Diane Morgan’s book,
Salmon and visit her at Diane Morgan For more information about our guests, log
onto our site at viewpoints You can find archives of past programs there and
on iTunes and Stitcher. Our show is written and produced by Pat Reuter. Our production
directors are Sean Waldron and Reed Pence. I’m Marty Peterson. [music] [commercials]

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