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Recipes & Nutrition

Mushroom, Roasted Chile, Salsa Fresca Vegan Tacos

Why is it that the food tastes so much better when you eat at a restaurant? What is the special magic that chefs use to get the food to taste so wonderful? And can it really be healthy AND tasty?

Chef Janos Wilder, Tucson’s James Beard award-winning chef, reveals the secrets to one of his tasty and healthy dishes in this demonstration video. Chef Wilder and our Tucson Medical Center Wellness team have collaborated to create a program that helps even the most reluctant cook to create meals that are delightfully sumptuous and healthy to boot. From demonstration lunch and learn sessions with Chef Janos at The Carriage House, Chef Janos-inspired dishes on TMC patient and public menus, to easy to follow recipes and videos with Chef Janos we’ve got you covered. Today we share Mushroom, Chile and Salsa Fresca Tacos.
Recipe Card – Tacos with Mushroom, Roasted Chile, Salsa Fresca (1)

Mushroom, Chile, Salsa Fresca Vegan Tacos

Yield: 8 Tacos

Ingredients

1 Yellow onion, sliced into medium strips
¾ lb Portobello mushrooms, gills removed and sliced
2 Tsp Garlic finely chopped
2 Anaheim chiles, roasted seeded, peeled and cut into 1/4” wide strips 1 Tbsp Canola oil to coat bottom of sauté pan
1 Cup Salsa fresca
1 Cup Shredded cabbage
3 Radishes, sliced into small strips
1 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
8 Corn tortillas

Salsa Fresca

1 ½ Cup Garden tomatoes, medium diced
½ Red onion, small diced
4 Scallions, small diced
1 Fresh Anaheim chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced small
1 Fresh Poblano chile, roasted, peeled and diced small
2 Tbsp Cilantro, washed and large stems removed, roughly chopped
2 Tsp Finely chopped fresh garlic
2 Tsp Balsamic vinegar
2 Tsp Red wine vinegar
3 Tsp Olive oil
Freshly ground Pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat with the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook about 7 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions are quite soft but haven’t browned.
  2. Add the mushrooms and a little more oil if needed and sauté with the onions another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are soft.
  3. Add the garlic and the Anaheim chiles, stirring occasionally for another 3-4 minutes
  4. Refrigerate for use later or hold warm

Prepare Salsa Fresca

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate and serve within 8 hours.

 To Assemble the Tacos:

  1. Warm the corn tortillas over a grill, in a pan, or in the microwave.
  2. Toss the cabbage and radishes in the lime juice.
  3. Divide the onion, chile mushroom mixture among the warm tortillas.
  4. Spoon 2 teaspoons of salsa fresca over the vegetable mixture.
  5. Top each taco with the cabbage radish slaw.

More healthy living tips and recipes.

Eat Well – Janos Wilder’s Lentil Rice Salad

Why is it that the food tastes so much better when you eat at a restaurant? What is the special magic that chefs use to get the food to taste so wonderful? And can it really be healthy AND tasty?

Chef Janos Wilder, Tucson’s James Beard award-winning chef, reveals the secrets to one of his tasty and healthy dishes in this demonstration video. Chef Wilder and our Tucson Medical Center Wellness team have collaborated to create a program that helps even the most reluctant cook to create meals that are delightfully sumptuous and healthy to boot. From demonstration lunch and learn sessions with Chef Janos at The Carriage House, Chef Janos-inspired dishes on TMC patient and public menus, to easy to follow recipes and videos with Chef Janos we’ve got you covered. Check out this tasty and easy to prepare Lentil Rice Salad.  Click here to download the Lentil Rice Salad Recipe Card

Lentil Rice Salad

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients:

¾ Cup Toasted blanched slivered almonds
1 Cup Green lentils, cooked, available at Trader Joe’s
½ Cup Uncle Ben’s long grain rice
1 Cup Chicken broth or substitute water if needed
1 Cup Grated, peeled carrots
¼ Cup Finely diced red onion
¼ Cup Finely chopped parsley
¼ Cup Crumbled feta cheese

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

½ Cup Olive oil
5 Tbs Lemon juice
2 Tbs Whole-grain mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Cook rice in chicken stock or water 20 minutes until rice tender and all liquid absorbed.
  2. While rice is cooking whisk Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette ingredients together.
  3. When rice is done cool it on a sheet pan.
  4. Toss cooled rice and lentils with toasted almonds, carrots, onions, parsley and enough dressing to liberally coat the ingredients. Reserve remaining dressing for a simple green salad or other use.
  5. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

For more recipes, videos and information about The Carriage House partnership check out the Tucson Medical Center website.

Five Whys to Motivation and Weight Loss

Okay, okay, so you want to lose weight because it’s causing chronic health issues, or you can’t be as active as you’d like, or when you look in the mirror someone else stares back, someone who can’t be you.

Your motivation is what sustains you, but still you keep stumbling. How do you get past the stumbling blocks? Our Wellness crew shares how you can take the ‘Five Whys’ problem solving approach used in businesses and apply it to your weight loss journey.

Our “why” is the essential motivation that can sustain us as we try to make healthy changes. In the case of weight loss, it isn’t some transitory desire, like wanting to look good at the beach this year. Rather, it is something related to our sense of self. Perhaps we want to feel like the active person we believe ourselves to be, or a wish to grow old without the burden of a chronic disease. We can also use “why” to find the essence of something undesirable, such as the root cause of a behavior we would like to change. In business, this is known as “Five Whys.” You look at a problem to be solved and analyze the contributing factors layer by layer, until eventually you find something at the base that can be changed. It may actually take you more or fewer than five steps to get there.

The ‘Five Whys’ process with a sample problem in health:

  1. Write down the problem.

    Be as specific as you can.
    ex. Problem: I have a habit of eating half a bag of potato chips when I get home from work.

  1. Ask why you take this action

         Why? Because I am starving.

  1. What is this a symptom of?

    At this stage you probably uncover a symptom, not the real problem. So…

         Why am I starving? Because I skipped lunch.

  1. Again you have a symptom or a contributing factor

          Why did I skip lunch? Because I didn’t have time, or I thought I was saving calories.

  1. Aha! You may have found your answer.

    Your body needs fuel, and because you are tired at the end of a day, you grab what is easy and comforting.

Possible Solution: Eat a healthy lunch.

Finding the root cause of a problem does not guarantee an easy solution. You may need help finding or creating a solution. This is where sitting down with a supportive friend or family member or even a medical professional can help.

TMC Wellness Programs have nutritional and activity consultations available to support you in your journey, as well as a Weight Loss Support Group. Check our weight management programs out today.

Eat Well – Mary Kmak’s Cucumber Salad

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares a cucumber salad to add to your repertoire Mary’s Promise reflects her experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary care physician before embarking on an exercise regime.

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Hello Readers,

One way to make sure your diet is healthy and doesn’t break the bank is to make sure you buy in season. Right now, cucumbers are in season and super cheap! If you’re a vegetable gardener in Southern Arizona you are probably overrun with cucumbers.

This cucumber salad is one of my favorite go to recipes for the family BBQ. Cucumbers are the forgotten veggie that most people use only in their salad toppings, but their crunchy, refreshing taste can be the spotlight in your dish, not just the trimmings.  This recipe not only tastes great, but is quick and easy.

Ingredients

1/4 cup low-fat greek plain yogurt

2 TBSP white wine vinegar

2 stalks celery thinly sliced

1 large seedless cucumber halved and sliced

1/2 small purple onion diced finely

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tsp Fresh or dried dill

In medium mixing bowl  put the sliced celery, cucumbers  and purple onions then set aside.

In small mixing bowl whisk together the white vinegar to the Greek yogurt and add the black pepper and dill. Then pour the mixture into the cucumber and veggies and toss together.

This recipe has many options that you can add to it and bring out more flavors. Use your imagination.  I often add grape tomatoes cut in half or whole along with crunchy  walnut pieces. I have also tried  fresh sliced peeled orange slices which gives it a sweet favor. Eating is all about liking the foods you choose. Be adventurous. Trying a variety of veggies or fruits along with cucumber salad to make it a hydrating summer staple.

Many days I take just plain sliced cucumbers to work to munch on as my snack and of course there is gazpacho!

Mary Kmak

Health Warrior

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Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results?Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically-based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

How about alcohol? Is it healthy?

health benefits risks alcohol

We wouldn’t want to call alcohol a healthy beverage choice, but it does have some benefits (and risks).

Observational studies, which look at what different groups of people eat and drink, have seen that people who drink a moderate amount of alcohol have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke. Other potential health benefits have been observed, but there is not strong enough evidence to say that alcohol deserves the credit.

What is a moderate intake of alcohol?

If you are a woman, that means one drink or less per day. For a man, it is two or fewer drinks per day.

What counts as one drink?

Of course, if you’re pouring your wine into a pint glass and calling that one drink we may have a problem! Try measuring out the volume of one drink into a glass. Perhaps start with pouring yourself a drink of water to the volume you usually pour your alcoholic drink and then measure how many fluid ounces you’re actually drinking.

12 oz. beer (at 5% alcohol by volume)
or  4-5 oz. wine (12-15% alcohol by volume)
or  1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits
or  1 oz. of 100-proof spirits

Remember, the limits stated above are for each day, not a weekly average. So you cannot abstain for six days, then drink an entire bottle of wine (which is more than five servings) on the seventh day, and say that you have only had one drink per day this week.

Wahoo! There are benefits to drinking alcohol?

Yes, in theory, the benefits from alcohol could come from its ability to (slightly) raise HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and reduce the likelihood of clot formation. Wine and beer contain polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant, and antioxidants help protect the human body from cardiovascular and other diseases.

If you don’t already drink, please do not take up drinking for its alleged health benefits. #SavorTheFlavor… Click To TweetOf course it is possible that the healthy attributes seen in people who drink alcohol may come from other lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, diet, stress management, social connectivity or something else for which the study did not account.

But wait…we know there are risks to drinking alcohol too

Consuming alcohol is known to have risks. Alcohol raises triglycerides, a type of “bad” fat in the blood. It can increase your risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, several types of cancer and alcohol dependence. It can also lead to accidents, injuries and mental problems.

Benefit – Risk Assessment

So you might ask yourself, “Are the possible benefits of drinking alcohol worth the risks?” You can get your antioxidants from other foods, like fruits and vegetables. You can do other things to protect your heart and your overall health: be physically active, eat healthy foods, control your response to stress and build a good social network. If you don’t already drink, please do not take up drinking for its alleged health benefits. If you do drink, please remember to do so in moderation.

P.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that some people should not drink any alcohol, including those who are:

·         younger than age 21,

·         pregnant or trying to become pregnant,

·         taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that may cause harmful reactions when mixed with alcohol,

·         recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink,

·         have a medical condition that may be made worse by alcohol,

·         driving, planning to drive, or participating in other activities requiring skill, coordination, and alertness.

Are you struggling to make healthy? Or not seeing the desired impact? Make an appointment today to connect with our register dietitians and they will analyze and make a scientifically based plan specifically for you and your special needs. 

Get the skinny on healthy fats and unhealthy fats – Savor the Flavor

Low fat, non-fat, full fat – Fat is a three-letter word when it comes to health. That’s right, three letters, not four. Fat isn’t all bad, at least some dietary fats aren’t all bad. Our body actually needs some fats for basic functions, but all dietary fats aren’t created equal. Some fats are, as Laurie Ledford RD shares below, just plain dangerous for your health. Get the skinny on dietary fats and what you should be looking for when you eat.

Unsaturated vs. Saturated

All of the fats and oils we eat are made up of a combination of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids, but we usually talk about them in terms of the major type of fatty acid they contain. For example, olive oil is referred to as an unsaturated fat, because more than 80% of its fat is made up of unsaturated fatty acids. Butter is called a saturated fat, because more than 60% of its fat is saturated.

Unsaturated fats are the “healthy” ones. People who eat unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Saturated fat is generally considered “unhealthy,” because studies show that it raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which contributes to hardening of the arteries and blood clots. These conditions increase your risk of heart disease, peripheral artery disease and stroke.

But wait, there’s an even more evil fat out there – trans fat. Eating trans fat causes two unhealthy effects: it raises your LDL cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Certainly not good news for your heart and arteries.

Where do you find each of these fats?

Using common sense when deciding what to eat will usually steer you toward the healthier fats. Check the lists below to see some examples of each type. Also remember this: the healthy oils usually come from plants. One exception to this is fish oil, which is healthy. Another exception is tropical oils, such as coconut oil and palm oil. Even though they come from plants, they are very high in saturated fat, and despite what you may read on the internet, there are no good studies to prove they are healthy.

Tropical oils, such as coconut and palm are very high in saturated fat. There are no good studies to prove… Click To Tweet

Examples of unsaturated (healthy) fats:

  • olive, canola, safflower and sesame oil
  • most other nut and vegetable oils
  • olives and avocados
  • nuts and seeds
  • fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout

Examples of saturated (unhealthy) fats:

  • fatty beef, lamb, pork
  • poultry skin
  • lard
  • butter, cheese, ice cream
  • coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil and cocoa butter
  • cream and higher fat milks (you can’t see the fat, because it’s blended into the liquid)

Examples of trans (very unhealthy) fats:

any product containing “partially hydrogenated oil,” such as

  • shortening
  •  some microwave popcorns
  •  some peanut butters
  • some fried foods
  • some cookies and crackers

Laurie Ledford RD

Are you struggling to make healthy choices? Or not seeing the desired impact? Make an appointment today to connect with our register dietitians and they will analyze and make a scientifically based plan specifically for you and your special needs. 

How healthy is that cup of coffee?

It’s National Nutrition Month and our TMC registered dietitians love the Savor the Flavor theme! Throughout the month Laurie and Mary are sharing tips to help you make healthier, tastier choices. If coffee is an integral part of your day this post is for you! 

coffee healthyDo you start off every morning with a cup of coffee? How do you take your coffee? Expresso? Cappuccino? A Caffè latte.

Like many things, coffee is OK in moderation. In this case, “moderation” means three to four 8-ounce cups of home-brewed coffee. We are not talking about a couple of enormous, creamy, sugary, flavored coffee concoctions. Just the coffee. Several large studies have found that people who drink coffee daily have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver disease. Protective effects have been seen with both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

How does coffee work this magic? It could be the antioxidant compounds in there, or it could be something else that all coffee drinkers in these studies did or had in common. Since the studies were not looking specifically at the effect of coffee, other research on this subject is needed to confirm the findings.

Athletes who love their coffee fix will be happy to hear that a number of good studies have shown better physical endurance and delayed fatigue in exercisers who consume caffeine. However, you might want to find out how your stomach handles caffeine plus exercise before you use it on the day of a big race.

We also urge caution with caffeine for the following people:

•       children

•       pregnant women

•       people with a history of heart disease or heart attack

•       people who have high blood pressure

•       anyone else who is sensitive to caffeine

These people are advised to avoid caffeine by taking the decaf route or avoiding it altogether. If in doubt, check with your medical provider to be sure.

Are you struggling to make these changes? Or not seeing the desired impact? Make an appointment today to connect with our register dietitians and they will analyze and make a scientifically based plan specifically for you and your special needs. 

Do I need to limit the amount of sugar I eat?

It’s National Nutrition Month and our TMC registered dietitians love the Savor the Flavor theme! Throughout the month Laurie and Mary are sharing tips to help you make healthier, tastier choices.

Yes, you do. And the less you eat the better. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you eat to 25 grams (or about 6 teaspoons) per day, if you are a woman. For men, the limit is 37 grams (or about 9 teaspoons).

Realize that we are talking about added sugars – any sweeteners not naturally present in food. They go by many names, such as sucrose, corn syrup, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, honey, agave, brown sugar, raw sugar. These are just a few of sugar’s aliases. You may see many more names on food ingredient labels or on the package of stuff you add to coffee, tea, baked goods and anywhere else you want to add a little sweetness.

limit sugarThe problem with added sugars is their lack of nutrition. They are just empty calories, sneaking into your food to tempt your taste buds and then damage your teeth and help you put on extra fat pounds. Over time that sugar and extra body fat can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Naturally occurring sugars, on the other hand, are a normal part of fruit, dairy and other unprocessed foods. These sugars are accompanied by essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Think of these as calories with a purpose.

Does this mean you need to completely eliminate added sugars from your diet? No, because most of us want a touch of sweetness now and then. However, you should be aware of when, where and how much added sugar you are eating. Read those ingredient labels! Added sugar doesn’t only appear in sodas, candy and desserts. It’s also present in things we normally think of as healthy (or healthy-ish) foods – flavored yogurt, soy milk, almond milk, smoothies, cereals, peanut butter, salsa and other sauces. Once you learn to spot added sugars, avoid them whenever you can.

Check out these blogs for practical tips on reducing your sugar intake.

Bust that sugar habit in 4 easy steps

Stop the sugar addiction


Are you struggling to make these changes? Or not seeing the desired impact? Make an appointment today to connect with our register dietitians and they will analyze and make a scientifically based plan specifically for you and your special needs. 

 

Good carbs? Bad carbs? Making good decisions – Savor the Flavor

It’s National Nutrition Month and our TMC registered dietitians love the Savor the Flavor theme! Throughout the month Laurie and Mary are sharing tips to help you make healthier, tastier choices.

Are “carbs” bad?

Awwww… poor carbs. Carbohydrates (a.k.a. “carbs”) are not bad. They haven’t misbehaved or broken any rules, but they have gotten a bad rap because of the way food manufacturers and some of us consumers have abused them.

making good choices about carbsCarbohydrate is one of the macronutrients in food, along with protein and fat, that provide energy for our bodies. Foods that are high in carbohydrates include grains, fruits and vegetables. All of these foods can be included in a healthy diet, as long as you make smart choices within each food group. That means choosing minimally processed grains, fruits and vegetables.
For example:

* whole grains rather than white bread, pasta, rice (and especially cookies and pastries, etc.)
* whole fruit (whether fresh, frozen or dried) rather than juice or smoothies
* real vegetables rather than Veggie Stix, potato chips or any snack food with nice pictures of veggies on the front of the package but no actual veggies (or only vegetable powders) listed among the ingredients.

These good carbs provide more of the nutrients your body needs without the potentially harmful additives, such as extra fat and salt. By choosing foods that are less processed, you can also cut added sugar from your diet. Sugar is the real “bad guy” when it comes to carbohydrates, and we will cover that subject in more detail in our next post. You can also look forward to discussion of another source of carbohydrates – dairy products – in a future post.

One thing to keep in mind, even when eating good carbs, is to watch your portion sizes. Eating too much of these foods, or any food, will give you more calories than you need, causing you to gain weight. And we can’t blame the carbs for that.

If you’d like more information about crafting a healthy diet that meets your specific needs or a private consultation with our nutrition experts make a nutritional assessment appointment today. 

Quinoa Cabbage Rolls – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way.

Hello Readers,

How about trying something different this year for St. Patrick’s Day? This cabbage roll recipe is a keeper and also great to have on Meatless Monday.

Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

Makes approximately 12 cabbage rolls, about 6 servings

quiona cabbage rolls #NoMeatMonday #Vegan #GlutenFree Ingredients:

1 large green cabbage head

1 cup quinoa

1-1/2 cups of water (To enhance the flavor use vegetable broth)

1 small Granny Smith apple, cored & chopped

1 TBSP fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup chopped tomatoes

3 green onions, thinly sliced

(OPTIONAL: 6 chopped pecans and/or 2 TBSP raisins)

SAUCE:

1 TBSP olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

Directions

Sauce:

  • To a large skillet add one tablespoon of oil and place on medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic and pepper, stir until soft about 4 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened about 10 minutes.
  • Place half of the sauce on bottom of large casserole pan and save the other half to put on top of the cabbage rolls.

Cabbage rolls:

  • Cut core out of cabbage and bring to boil for about 10 minutes. Remove and pat down the leaves and place on dry cloth after cutting out the center vein from the leaves so they will be easier to roll up.
  • Bring the quinoa and water (or vegetable broth)  to a boil in saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender about 25 minutes.
  • Toss the chopped apples with the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and green onions. Fold in the quinoa. (Add optional choices here if you choose)
  •  Taking one leaf at a time place 1/4-1/2 cup of filling (depending on leaf size) in center of the cabbage, fold the sides in and roll up to enclose the filling. Place seam size down in casserole pan side by side until all your rolls are made and top with the balance of your sauce. Makes approximately 12 cabbage rolls.
  • Preheat oven to 350° and bake for 30 minutes.

This is a great dinner change that you will enjoy. I tried adding raisins and pecans together and it tastes great! The apples blended together gives the roll a unique taste.

I experiment with different choices throughout my journey to keep my food tastes exciting.  Each time I surprise myself with new ones I like that in the past I would never have tried. Be open-minded, think and try healthy different foods and you may find yourself being surprised too!

Mary