Healthy Bytes 

Healthy Bytes by Ezio Garritano

Hi and welcome back to this segment of the Leap Blog where I share with you some tips I’ve put to use in my own daily eating habits, to help bring more health and vitality to living! And I think it starts with what we are consuming on a day-to-day basis. I hope you’ve taken a look at my previous posts where I’ve provided some easy but nutritious recipes that are tasty, simple and healthy!

So here we go once again with another easy option for preparing a nutrient-dense mea! You know eggs have gotten a beating (pun intended) for a long time, just like a lot of other foods where we’ve seen the scales tip from being bad, to then good, and ending up bad again, only to leave us more confused and questioning where we stand! Well, let me say that most research has concluded that consuming eggs, even on a daily basis, can provide a wide range of nutrients, including a great source of protein, with little or no adverse effects for most of the adult population (up to 70% according to some estimates). Eating the whole egg is preferred, though one caveat I’ve come across for those who may be dealing with high cholesterol to begin with, is that their egg consumption should be monitored a bit more closely, keeping watch on the cholesterol levels.  But let me point out that the whole egg contains a balance of both types of cholesterol, HDL and LDL, both the good and the bad.  And as I always mention, get the best source of whatever you’re eating; in this case we look for eggs from free range chickens. They are higher in all of the nutrients as well as the healthy omega fats, another plus for those with higher cholesterol levels.

So with all that said, if there’s any concern, take a look at all the information available on the safety of egg consumption. There’s a lot out there. I’m also providing a couple of links for you to go to at the end of the blog as a good guideline. Now to the making of a traditional Italian dish called frittata. Similar to a quiche or an omelet, but a bit thicker, it makes for a great anytime meal.

Let me start out by saying that the frittata lends itself very well to variety and your own creativity. Whatever vegetable or other main ingredient used is totally up to you and your preferences and food delights! I’ve enjoyed many a potato filled frittata, with red peppers and onions. But have also had rice frittata as well. Love to also throw in mushrooms! Let your own tastes guide you as you try different foods that you already enjoy eating. Taste buds, lead the way!

A 5 egg frittata can provide up to 3 good sized servings. So as you increase the number of eggs used, you get an idea of how many more people it can serve. So, an 8 egg frittata will feed 3 adults and have one or two leftover servings. Depending on the vegetable(s) being used, I begin by sautéing each in olive oil and a little grass fed butter. It’s important to amply coat the bottom of the frying pan being used so as to avoid any sticking which can be a problem towards the end of the cooking process. So begin with the vegetable that may take the longest to sauté. So for instance, after getting an onion cooked, I would add the red pepper next, since it will take a bit longer than let’s say mushrooms. So vegetables are added accordingly based on their individual cook time. And we are adding salt to these as we begin the cooking process. Once you have all the vegetables just about ready, then it’s time to prepare the eggs. We’re going to beat the eggs until mixed well and have become frothy and light. I add salt as well as black pepper, and have found a pinch of curry powder adds an interesting flavor to the mix. Add each according to taste, and once everything is combined well, make sure the bottom of the pan still looks well-coated with the olive oil and butter mix. Otherwise add a bit more butter. Use a frying pan with a tight fitting lid, and set the heat to low with the cover on. You’ll notice the egg begin cooking along the sides and edges. I periodically check the bottom of the frittata with a spatula gently lifting the egg mixture which has begun to take shape, making sure it’s not sticking to the pan. Once the underside has lightly browned, then it’s time for a little bit of a tricky maneuver, but stay calm. It’s not difficult. What we’re going to do is flip the frittata so that the cooked underside becomes the topside and vice versa. What works well is a large dinner plate that is wider in diameter than the pan. Place the plate over the pan, pressing it firmly onto the pan, and while holding it there, use the other hand to turn the frying pan over while you rotate the plate to have the frittata end up on the plate with the cooked side facing up. Not hard at all, but sometimes a little messy. Now we slide the frittata off the plate and into the pan again to finish cooking the other side. Cover and within a few minutes, we have a beautifully shaped and lightly browned frittata! Depending on your choice of vegetables, you can add a side dish to complement the meal. The frittata also does very well as a leftover, taking only a minute or so to reheat in a microwave or a few minutes in a lightly coated pan. Tasty and a great way to incorporate some very healthy foods into the meal! A salad, such as the beet and dandelion salad mentioned in the last blog post, can be a great companion to the frittata!                                                                 And remember, healthy eating leads to healthy living!

Tip of the Day

Normally, I end each post with the mention of an herb, usually of the adaptogenic variety, that I’ve found to be particularly beneficial to maintaining health and increasing lifespan. This time around, however, I’m going to share with you information regarding the importance of the breath and what effects proper breathing has on optimizing body/mind performance.  Just the simple procedure of bringing your attention to the breath, and then slowing it down can be immensely beneficial. We use the ujjayi (victorious) breath with nostril breathing to help us focus on, as well as slow down and control the flow of air. And by using a 5 second count on both the inhale and the exhale, we bring the breath to that rhythm which naturally results in deeper states of consciousness, producing alpha and even theta brain waves. What occurs on a physiological level is that the parasympathetic nervous system becomes activated, and we naturally enter into a state of rest and relaxation. Here, we not only function more efficiently on a physical level, from improved digestion to better sleep, but our capacity to use our mental abilities is vastly improved. We increase our problem-solving capabilities and are able to more easily access our innate creativity. It’s no surprise that functioning from a place of calm can be so much more effective than trying to be productive while experiencing  stress and anxiety.  The breath is the key, as the ancient yogis have known, and with the yoga tradition we have been handed down techniques to teach us to gain better breath control.

I want to share with you some of these pranayama exercises, along with learning to incorporate the breath, into a gentle and restorative series of yoga poses, in a workshop called

Mindfulness Yoga by Candlelight. This will take place on Friday, Aug. 30th, from 6:30-8:30pm. The emphasis will be on the proper use of the breath to bring us to that place of calm, and to give us the tools to carry that over into our daily lives. Take a look at some of the details on this upcoming workshop, and come experience the power of the breath, and begin to experience more of the fullness of life!



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