Monthly Archives: August 2014

The BEET: Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Basil Summer Salad

Tomato-Peach-Basil-Summer-Salad

At the Foodbank, we pride ourselves in teaching others the importance of and value in preparing seasonal recipes that nourish our body. And late Summer time is all about sweet and juicy tomatoes and peaches. The sweetness of the peach perfectly balances the acidity of the tomato, and lucky for us, they are both in season together. The colors alone will make your mouth water.

Tomatoes are an antioxidant powerhouse, their most famous antioxidant being lycopene. Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C and beta-carotene, and a good source of potassium, vitamin K, and manganese. Due to these powerful nutrients, tomatoes do a great job of protecting us from oxidative damage, reducing our risk for heart disease and certain cancers. Some studies also suggest that tomatoes help protect our bloodstream as well as our bone and kidney health.

With the peach’s beautiful coral and golden orange colors, you can be sure you are eating a great source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is famous for promoting healthy vision, especially in low light. Vitamin A also helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, and skeletal and soft tissues. It’s a dynamite nutrient.

Please indulge in this delicious and colorful salad as you embrace the last few weeks of Summer. Your body will thank you!

Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Basil Summer Salad

Prep Time: 5 Minutes Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 heirloom tomatoes (any color), cored and thinly slicedTomates and Peaches
  • 2 ripe peaches, cored and thinly sliced
  • ¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup torn or julienned fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine the tomatoes, peaches and red onion in a bowl and toss with the basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper until evenly mixed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to two days. Enjoy in the sunshine with family if possible!

Substitute:

  • Nectarines for peaches if you prefer smooth to fuzzy skin
  • Apple cider vinegar for Balsamic vinegar for a milder taste

Add:

  • A sprinkle of creamy feta or goat cheese for cheese lovers
  • Pistachios or walnuts for a sweet crunch
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The BEET: Meet Rhianna King, RD

Rianna KingRhianna King is a clinical registered dietitian at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, and works with cancer patients at the Mission Hope Cancer Center to provide appropriate nutritional counseling, information and recommendations. She currently serves as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Marian. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Sciences in Nutrition. She completed her Dietetic Internship through Cal Poly as well. She encourages patients and clients to focus on eating mostly plants to optimize their health and prevent/fight disease. She embodies what it means to be a connected and caring nutrition professional and registered dietitian, whose focus is to provide evidence based nutrition information throughout Santa Maria.

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“To me being healthy means feeling your best both physically and mentally to enjoy life to its fullest. This includes engaging in activities like healthy eating and regular physical activity that keeps your body functioning as it should.”

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“Our health directly impacts our quality of life. Living healthy means a longer life, less time spent in the hospital, and less time spending money on medications and procedures that have the potential to be prevented through proper nutrition and physical activity. Food fuels our body and has everything we need in it for optimal health. If you look at the composition of a tomato for example versus a human being you might be surprised at all the similarities; water, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc. Our body is capable of so many amazing things and proper nutrition is the required fuel.”

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“My motivation comes from my desire to have a positive impact in the lives of the people around me. I have knowledge in a particular field that can improve health, prevent and treat disease, and that knowledge needs to be shared. I want to help people take charge of their health and improve their lives.”

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“I think food insecurity can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health. Inadequate nutrition can also cause social anxieties and behavioral changes all leading to poor quality of life.”

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“Food First! I try to instill in everyone that consuming a variety of foods is the best way to achieve optimal nutrition, NOT through a pill. There is no “magic” single food or dietary supplement that creates the perfect diet. The FUNdamentals with Food class I started at the cancer center serves to be educational about healthy diet practices by exposing our patients to the variety of healthy foods we talk about through cooking demonstration and lecture. I always comment that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or taste bad and its part of my job as nutrition professional and advocate to prove that to you.”

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“Enjoy a diet that is 2/3 plant based and experience great health for yourself!”

For more information about the FUNdamentals of Food Class and other health and wellness classes run through the Mission Hope Cancer Center, please click here.

And check out Rhianna King’s Article The Red, White, and Blue of Summer Produce that shares the Nutrition Power of summer fruits and vegetables.

The BEET: The Power of Fruits and Vegetables

the-beet-logo-draft1F&V

Fruits and Vegetables in the News

We’ve all seen the news that eating fruits and vegetables helps us in all aspects of our lives. It seems like every day, studies emerge linking fruit and vegetable consumption to overall health and vitality like below:

 

Nutrition Headlines Graphic

 

Fruits and Vegetables are linked to reducing your risk of obesity, heart disease, and certain cancers. They are even linked to improving your optimism and reducing your risk of death! Is there truth to these claims? YES! While some of the statements are exaggerative, the truth is, fruits and vegetables help us in all these areas because they are nutrient dense and low calorie foods that the body needs and craves for optimal health.

Nutrient Dense Foods

 

 

When you eat nutrient dense and low calorie foods, like fruits and vegetables, you are maximizing the amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you eat, while keeping your calorie intake low.

Nutrition Power

Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help our bodies function properly and achieve optimal wellness. Vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables positively affect our metabolism, protein synthesis, brain function…the list goes on and on.

Auntie OxidantAntioxidants act as scavengers in our bodies, traveling through our tissues and cells, to locate the damaging free radicals that seek to harm our cells. These free radicals damage our body’s protein and fat cells, as well as our cellular DNA, increasing our risk for certain cancers and heart disease. Free radicals are unavoidable, as they are formed when we breathe in pollution or smoke, when we are stressed, or when we eat less healthy foods. We need these powerful antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables to confront these war-like free radicals and say “No, not in my body!”

Now think about what this means in terms of weight management and optimism. By eating more nutrient dense and low calorie foods, you are optimizing your health and supplying your body with what it truly needs. You can and should feel proud of yourself for treating yourself in the best possible way. I don’t know about you, but when I eat a fruit or a vegetable, I imagine my body thanking me for nourishing it. I feel healthier immediately, energized, and ready to take on the day. I feel confident that what I have just put in my body will sustain and take care of me. I feel more connected to the earth and what it provides for me, therefore, I have a more optimistic outlook on the day.

Give Peas a Chance

(I am fully aware of how hippie-like this sounds, but it’s true!!)

Good Nutrition Equals Mental Health

By feeling healthier and more connected, you can tackle depressive moments and pessimistic views. Many studies have linked depression to being overweight or obese. By incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your meals, you are foregoing more calorie “rich” foods laden with starchy carbohydrates and saturated fat which have been shown to increase your risk for obesity as well as weigh you down physically and emotionally.

Vicious Circle

In this vicious circle, overeating unhealthy foods can lead to depression, and depression can lead to overeating unhealthy foods. It’s not science.

Optimistic Circle

Putting This Into Action

So how do we do this? Fruits and vegetables have a stigma, one that desperately needs to be eradicated. As a dietitian, I hear all the time, “fruits and vegetables are expensive…they are hard to prepare…I don’t know how to use them…I know I should eat them, but…”

I don’t want to try and convince you that fruits and vegetables are cheaper than fast food, but if thoughtfully planned out, they can be a very affordable part of your diet, especially if you utilize the produce the Foodbank offers, or if you grow your own. Fruits and vegetables also are less expensive if you buy them in season, because you don’t have to pay for the cost of transportation as well as other hidden costs.

Fresh Salad PrepAnd they are not hard to prepare! As long as you have a knife and a cutting board, the time it takes to cut up a lettuce, carrot, cucumber, broccoli, and avocado salad is less than 5 minutes! That’s less time than it takes to go through a drive-through window. And at the same time, you are breaking this “vicious circle” of poor diet and unhappiness.

I am confident, if you continue to tune into The BEET: All Things Nutrition, you will change the way you think about fruits and vegetables. They will become staples in your kitchens, the center of your family dining experience, and important components of your everyday health.

Stay tuned for more of The BEET: All Things Nutrition. And make sure to sign up for the Foodbank’s e-mail newsletter to discover great new resources for our entire community.