Q. Is raw salmon OK to eat?

I recently received this nutrition question which I thought would be good to share, especially since so many people seem to have a passion for sushi.

Question:  “There are hundreds of differing views on consuming raw fish.
PLEASE, let me know what you think. I freeze fresh,wild caught Alaskan Salmon and slice it thinly for sushi. I’ve gotten a lot of flack for it.
Thanks for any help you can offer.”

My response:  Thank you for your question.  Typically, if you are buying your fish from a reputable source and it is truly wild caught, your process will be fine.  Freezing is what sushi restaurants to to ensure that there are no parasites on the fish.  Salmon eaten in it’s raw form allows you to benefit even more from it’s rich omega content.

If you are still concerned, you can also go an extra step and “cure” the salmon.  It will give your salmon a bit of a different taste.  Here are a couple of methods.

Basic Salt Cure
1- 1 1/2 block of organic, wild caught pacific salmon
1/2 cup kosher or coarse sea salt
any other spices you would like – lemon peel, fennel seeds, black pepper, etc.

Put about half of the salt/spice mixture on the bottom of a baking dish (or anything that will accommodate the size of the salmon.  Lay the salmon on top of the salt/spice mixture and top with remaining salt/spices.  cover with parchment paper and weigh it down with heavy cans, jars, or bricks.  Place in the refrigerator for approximately 2-4 days, turning every day.   (pieces less than 1 1/2 inches thick will take about 2 days and larger pieces will take up to four days).  The salmon will be firm when done.  When it is done, remove it from the dish and rinse with filtered water and pat dry.  Slice to serve.

Ceviche – citrus acid cure
Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces (you want the marinate to have more surface area to work with ) Marinate the fish in lemon or lime juice until the salmon changes color from orange to a pinkish color.  Once it is done, season it to your liking.

Have a great day!

Finally – The Highest Quality Organic Food Straight From the Source to Your Door

I have to say that I am typing this post with great excitement.  With the term “organic” being watered down and misused, it is more and more important to know exactly where your food is coming from and now it will be a reality.

Jordan Rubin, author of The Makers Diet and owner of Garden of Life Supplements has started a new venture, called BeyondOrganic that will bring the highest quality, most nutritious foods directly to the consumer.  The products will be available in October 2011 but they are allowing you to sign up NOW in order to get priority when the products are launched.  Just go to www.beyondorganicinsider.com/becomeaninsider.aspx?enroller=5932
 to enroll.

Here is more information from BeyondOrganic:

Company Overview
Beyond Organic is a food and beverage company with products of unequaled quality and efficacy. Our mission is to transform the health of this nation and world one life at a time. We are vertically integrated farming 9,000 acres, thousands of cattle and produce millions of gallons of water per day from our pristine springs.
Our official company launch is scheduled for October 2011. Rather than using a traditional retail strategy to distribute the Beyond Organic products, we have chosen a “mission marketing” (network marketing) model to reach as many people as possible with our unique, nutrient rich foods and beverages. As part of our Beyond Organic “Insider” program, you can begin learning more about our mission and products, reserve your spot in the network and begin building your own organization between now and the official launch in October 2011.

How to Purchase our Product
Beyond Organic food & beverages will be available exclusively through our virtual farmers market and will be conveniently delivered to your door! (Coming in October 2011)

Initial Product Offering – to watch a short video on each, click here 

Beyond Organic’s GreenFed™ Standard
Beyond Organic offers GreenFed™ beef and dairy products. A GreenFed™ diet is ideal to create health for ruminant animals such as cows, goats and sheep. Our cows are raised on pastures that are pesticide, herbicide and chemical fertilizer free. They consume grass and other forage such as forbs, legumes, and herbs. When consuming GreenFed™ beef and dairy you can be sure you are getting the proper balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. Beyond Organic’s GreenFed™ meat and dairy products are loaded with probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids and CLA.
Reign – Supreme Mountain Spring Water From our spring producing International Award Winning Water for Best Taste Reign Supreme Mountain Spring Water originates from the pristine mountains of North Georgia surrounded by 130 certified organic acres. This clear blue spring is a renewable resource naturally free of contaminants. The supreme purity of Reign provides maximum hydration and utilization of the body’s most important resource, water.
Reign supreme mountain spring water is up to 20 times more pure than other leading brands, which makes it the ideal vehicle for nutrient transport and detoxification. Reign spring water contains the highest percentage of H2O and the lowest percentage of solids else making it the cornerstone for proper hydration.
Reign Botanical Infusions
Reign Infusions combine the purest mountain spring water with clinically studied botanical extracts to support your good health. Reign Botanical Infusions supercharge the body with all natural extracts such as Winter cherry, Indian gooseberry, and Maitake mushroom.
Infusion Varieties:
Reign Energy Infusion
Reign Diet Infusion
Reign Beauty Infusion
Reign Fitness Infusion
Probiotic Water
For the first time, pure hydration and probiotics are combined! Beyond Organic has combined the purest water with a clinically studied probiotic that can survive high heat and moisture and is safe for all ages to consume. Probiotic water can be consumed every day to hydrate your body and support your digestive and immune systems.

Amasai™ is a drinkable cultured dairy beverage that provides vitamins, minerals, probiotics, proteins and healthy fats to your body. Amasai™ is similar to a yogurt or kefir and with its unique makeup, contains powerful nutrients and provides amazing health benefits. This traditional beverage contains CLA and Omega 3 fatty acids and can be consumed every day to support your immune system and digestive functions. Great for those who are sensitive to traditional products. Now available in the United States for the first time!
Really Raw Cheese
Really Raw Cheese is an artisanal, hand-crafted, never heated, cheese infused with probiotics. Our cheese is created by our own award winning cheese maker. Made fresh on a family owned farm from raw milk produced by GreenFed™ cows, and infused with a powerful clinically studied probiotic, Really Raw Cheese is amongst the purest and healthiest cheese in the world! Our Really Raw Cheese provides high quality protein, calcium and vitamins and is easy to digest.
Really Raw Cheese Varieties:
Cheddar Blue
Dark Chocolate with Probiotics & Omega 3’s
Certified organic dark chocolate that is hand crafted by a fourth generation Italian chocolatier and is infused with probiotics and the super food flax seed. Our chocolate is a healthy treat containing fiber, antioxidants and Omega 3 fats.
GreenFed™ Beef
GreenFed™ beef is high in nutrients, and loaded with great taste.
This Beef contains powerful nutrients such as CLA, carnitine, carnosine and vitamins B6 & B12. Finally, a GreenFed™ beef using biblically kosher slaughter methods for animal welfare and human health.
GreenFed™ Beef Selections:
Ground Beef
Ground Beef Patties
Hot Dog
Summer Sausage
Probiotic Flax Oil
Our very own probiotic infused flax seed oil that supports the health of your skin, joints, immune system and overall wellness. Our Flax Oil is certified organic, 100% pure unfiltered, unrefined and high in Omega 3 content.

Just go to www.beyondorganicinsider.com/becomeaninsider.aspx?enroller=5932
 to enroll.

Packable Lunch Ideas

Here is a video to show you how versatile and healthy lunches can be.

I always get questions about packing healthy lunches for kids.  This is a unique challenge for parents, especially if these are new changes for children.  Here is a list of some ideas to get you started.

Getting your kids to eat and to LIKE what you make them may be difficult at times but don’t give up.  Keep trying and you will be surprised how quickly they make changes.

I have found that using something like a bento box (what Japanese children use – it has several different small containers that keep lunch components separate and makes for a presentation kids love.  Plus…it cut’s down on plastic bags which are toxic and bad for the environment anyway.

MLNP= Maximized Living Nutrition Plans Book (contact me for a copy)

•    Chicken Salad –   Organic chicken, homemade mayo or avocado oil mayo, and any combination of:  celery, onions, curry powder, lemon juice, nuts, grapes, raisins.  Recipe in MLNP.
•    Cold Meatloaf – Recipe in MLNP
•    Cold Meatballs on skewers with Fruit or Cheese)
•    Turkey–Melon Wrap –  Organic deli turkey with thinly sliced melon wrapped in a sprouted grain tortilla.
•    Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Basil with Balsamic & Olive oil
•    Chicken Wings –  Just bake organic chicken wings with hot sauce (check ingredients)

•    Salmon Cakes – Recipe in MLNP
•    Hummus – Recipe in MLNP
•    Chili in a thermos – Recipe in MLNP
•    Guacamole with veggie dippers– Recipe in MLNP
•    Organic Egg Salad on Ezekiel Bread or Wrap
•    Organic Hard Boiled Eggs
•    Dried Fruit
•    Plain Grass Fed Organic Yogurt with fruit.  Make sure you check ingredients!  Yogurt is a common hiding place for lots of sugar.
•    Cookie Cutter Sandwiches – just cut out shapes of sprouted grain bread, organic deli meat, cheese, hummus, almond butter, banana.
•    Trail Mix – nuts, coconut flakes, chunks of chocolate bark (recipe in MLNP), seeds
•    Smoothies in an insulated container.
•    Kale Chips – Recipe on this blog.
•    Organic Deli Meat Rollups – Organic Deli Meat spread with organic cream cheese or hummus, dill pickle, etc.
•    Ezekiel Bread French Toast Sticks with Strawberry Syrup (organic strawberries boiled down until forms a syrup – make ahead of time)
•    Sliced Leftover Organic Chicken
•    Raw Cheese Cubes
•    Tamari Almonds – soaked almonds sprinkled with tamari and lightly roasted
•    Pickles
•    Frozen Grapes
•    Organic GMO Free Popcorn popped in coconut oil with organic grass fed butter and sea salt
•    Grass Fed Beef or Turkey Jerky Recipe in MLNP
•    Soup in a thermos…put hot water into your thermos and let stand for 5 minutes, remove water and refill with the soup – this will keep it warm even longer
•    Salad – get creative!
•  Rainbow fruit skewers – just place colorful fruit (in rainbow order) on a skewer or make mini ones on toothpicks.

Menu Planning Tips

Here is some great meal planning information from one of our makeover success stories, Kathy Patell.  She has lost over 60 pounds and has really figured out some great ways to make it work for her and her family.  She was gracious enough to share them with us!  Thanks Kathy.

From Kathy…

Although some patients would like you to hand them a week of menus and a shopping list, there are too many likes and dislikes to really be successful in the long term.  I think the real stumbling block is creating menus.  I would like to help facilitate your patients to come up with their own menu with their likes and circumstance.  (Cooking for family vs individual). Teach them the skill to make menus.  Establish a few rules like: you must try one new entree recipe from the book each week; no salad can be repeated until the fourth day;  there must be at least 3 different colors on your plate; you must have 2 beef, 3 white meat and 2 fish for the week; and so on.   For the advanced plan I choose one meat, one hot vegetable, and one cold salad.  I then add grains for my daughter, who is not on the advanced plan, like brown rice or sweet potatoes.

I first started by looking at the food lists in the book and checking off all the things I already liked.  I could then see how much variety I could choose my menus from.  Menus need to be written down and posted on the cabinet or fridge.  When I come down in the morning and see what to defrost for dinner, I read:

Mon:  Stir fry coconut chicken and snow peas, tomato-mozzarella salad
Tues:  :  Teriyaki salmon, green beans almandine (mine are Green Giant brand), spring mix with raspberry vinaigrette and walnuts
Wed:   Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, Caesar salad
Thurs:  Grilled chicken, broccoli cranberry salad, cottage cheese with chives (from my garden)

I think I just made my menus for the next few days!  The point is, when I see what is coming at the end of the day I say to myself YUMM!  I am not being deprived.  I’m eating from a restaurant menu.  The added benefit is that when my husband comes home he can jump right in to help prepare.  It’s written down.  If you are trying a new recipe each week, the pantry items will gradually change.

For breakfast and lunch you could do it like the hospital does.  Write several options and alternate each day: eggs (scrambled, fried, omelet), smoothie, grainless pancakes, grainless granola with almond milk.

One more strategy that must be considered when making menus; the activities commitments that interfere with meal times.  I always consult my calendar and jot down on the menu  which nights I have a class or Steph has to work.  If I need to be somewhere at 6pm and she needs to be somewhere at 7pm and Dan may or may not be home, that’s Taco night!  A meal that can be prepared ahead and hold.

Kathy Petell

Dinner Challenge – Good Meals FASTER than Eating Out

This is my dinner challenge to people who tell me they don’t have time to cook and that it is just faster to go out.

Let’s challenge that thinking.  So…first you have to decide where to go.  That usually takes about 15 minutes of “where do you want to go” “I don’t care, where do you want to go”, “I picked last time, you pick”, etc. until finally, “OK- let’s go to the neighborhood grill”.

Once the place has been chosen, you have to load up everyone, drive to the place, wait to be seated (most restaurants have a wait, even on weeknights because everyone else is eating out these days too), try to hunt for something healthy, wait to have your order taken, wait to be served, eat, pack everyone back in the car, and drive home.  All of that takes 30 minutes at a MINIMUM!

On the flip side, lets say you decide to cook at home.  You’ve used the Maximized Living shopping list and meal plans to stock your pantry and refrigerator so all you have to do is prep and chop your ingredients, cook (almost every single recipe in the book takes 30 minutes or less), eat the healthy tasty meal, and load the dishwasher (using non-toxic dishwashing detergent of course).  All of that takes about 30 minutes – maybe 40 Max.

It is time to break through the misconceptions people have about cooking and eating.  Do this challenge yourself- I’d love to hear the results.

How do I cook my vegetables?

How do I cook my vegetables?

One question we get a lot is “Why aren’t there many vegetable recipes in the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans book?”  Many people interpret this to mean that Maximized Living promotes meat consumption over vegetables.

While the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans encourage good quality, organic, free range, pasture fed meats, it also recommends a that substantial portion of you daily intake should come from fresh vegetables (and fruits if on the Core Plan).

One of the reasons there are very few recipes for vegetables in the book is simply because vegetables do not require a lot of preparation.  Typically, a light steam or sautee with some added “good fats” and seasonings is all it takes to prepare vegetables.  Therefore, no recipe is really needed.  There are many different ways to combine vegetables, spices, and sauces but it is up to personal preference.

Here are some examples of some great ways to prepare different vegetables.

Asparagus: Drizzle with avocado oil or coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt, grill on an indoor grill pan or roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Also great with a homemade organic hollandaise sauce.

Bell Peppers: Red Bell Peppers:  make sure you buy these organic but a great way to prepare them is to broil them in the oven until the skins are blistered and blackened- you will have to flip them several times.   Take them out of the oven and place them in a paper bag and let “steam”.  The skins will peel right off and you are left with the tender, flavorful flesh.  Eat plain or add to other dished.  You can also add some olive oil and place in the refrigerator for later use.   Green Bell Peppers:  great sautéed with sliced onions for fajitas or raw on salads or as “scoopers” for guacamole instead of chips.

Broccoli:  Lightly steam and add butter and garlic powder OR heat olive oil lightly (do not let smoke) in a saucepan and melt 1-2 anchovies – pour over broccoli.  The anchovies melt into the olive oil leaving a very tasty, salty, topping.

Brussels Sprouts: Cut sprouts in half – sautee in 1-2 tablespoons of avocado or coconut oil plus 1-2 tablespoons of butter.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  You can also add finely chopped shallots or onions to the sautee.  Great topped with crumbled organic turkey bacon.

Cabbage: Chop or slice thin and sautee in coconut oil or grapeseed oil and butter.  Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and celery seed.  You can also slice very thin for cole-slaw.  Just add homemade mayonnaise or vinegar, salt and pepper, lime or lemon juice and add any other vegetables you would like.   You can also use cabbage to make saurkraut or kimchi.  Great in any stir-fry or salad as well.

Cauliflower: Great sautéed or roasted in the oven with olive oil, garlic, and capers.  Cauliflower is also the perfect substitute for mashed potatoes.  Just steam the cauliflower and put it in a blender with a little organic milk or almond milk, garlic, sea salt, and pepper.

Cucumber: Perfect addition to salads.  Also good mixed with chopped tomatoes and topped with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper, and fresh dill.

Eggplant: Slice into 1/4 “ slices (longways or in rounds) and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.


Greens: Use raw in salad and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (If using swiss chard or kale, massage the oil into the leaves.  This will make them much more tender and flavorful).  Wilt lightly in a saucepan with olive oil, crushed garlic, and a small amount of apple cider vinegar.  Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper or a couple of grates of fresh nutmeg if desired.

Green Beans: (really a legume):  For crunchy, fresh flavor:  steam and add butter, healthy oil, sea salt, pepper, and crushed walnuts.  For more tender beans:  boil in a small amount of water until desired doneness and top with sea salt, pepper, crumbled turkey bacon, etc.

Raddichio: very good drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and grilled.

Squash – Acorn or Butternut:  simply cut the squash in half and place face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  When done, scoop out the insides and add sea salt, pepper, and any blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, stevia.

Mushrooms: great raw in salads or sautéed with any other chopped vegetables for a stir-fry type dish.

Zucchini & Yellow Squash: These are great cooked together.  Heat coconut oil and butter in a frying pan to medium heat.  Add chopped zucchini and yellow squash to the pan and do not stir until it is slightly browned.  Add preferred seasoning blend with sea salt and pepper.  Stir and cook until desired doneness.