Saturday, December 19, 2009

The "Clean" Food Movement

I've always found it challenging to describe my diet. It's easy to talk about what we don't eat. But shouldn't a diet be about what you actually eat? Fortunately, I'm pleased to see a new word "clean" entering our lexicon, popularized by recent two books.

"Clean" means food that is organic, local, sustainably raised. It is food that is mostly plant-based, but includes consumption of sustainably raised animal products.

The books Clean Food and Clean Plates N.Y.C. are written by fellow Integrative Nutrition graduates. I own and use both books and thought they were worth highlighting.

Clean Food is a beautiful seasonal cookbook put together by Terry Walters. If ever there was a cookbook for health counselors, this would be it! It's divided into four sections (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer) and contains easy-to-prepare recipes that use seasonal produce and whole grains. I'm currently eyeing her recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Shitake Mushrooms as well as Teff Peanut Butter Cookies. Terry does a fabulous job of introducing new healthy ingredients (like teff, an African whole grain) while keeping the recipes familiar and accessible. Check out her book and purchase Clean Food at

Clean Plates N.Y.C. is a restaurant guide to clean New York City restaurants put together by Jared Koch and Alex Van Buren, former food writer for Time Out New York. If you're concerned about what goes into your food at restaurants, and want to eat at high-quality establishments in Manhattan, this book is for you! Jared and Alex dined and met with the chefs at over 200 restaurants, getting down to what kind of salt they use on the table. The result is a great guide of hand-picked favorites. I especially love that in addition to highlighting the usual vegetarian and vegan restaurants, this guide goes a step further and includes restaurants that have macrobiotic, raw and gluten-free options as well as naturally sweetened desserts on the menu. Thanks to Clean Plates, I discovered a pizza place that serves gluten-free and dairy-free pizza (Slice), a healthy lunch spot in the wasteland of Midtown (Free Foods), and an organic taqueria that makes gluten-free burritos using corn tortillas (Cosmic Cantina). If you live and eat in New York City and want to discover more gems like these, you'll want to purchase this handy restaurant guide.

And if you haven't seen it - be sure to watch Food, Inc (now on video). It's a great documentary about our food system that will make you want to eat clean. I recommend it to everyone who eats food (i.e. you).


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Recipe: Middle Eastern Fish with Wild Rice

I've had a lot of good meals in the last month, but this one is definitely tops. It was inspired by a recent dinner at our friend Eran's house and recreated by Swati in our kitchen.

It's a great way to prepare any white fish (we used tilapia). We classified it as Middle Eastern, but it could possibly also cite influences from Mexican and Italian cuisine as well. We served this fish over a wild rice blend. But it could also work over couscous.

Feed this to others, they will be friends for life.

Serves 2

1/2 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 cup wild rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
16 oz organic tomato sauce
1 or 2 fillets tilapia
1-2 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

To make rice--
Add brown rice, wild rice and 2 cups of water to a medium sized pot. Bring to boil and let simmer for 35-45 minutes until rice is fully cooked.

To make fish--
In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium low heat. Saute onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add green peppers, cumin, coriander, oregano and thyme. Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Place tilipia fillets directly over sauce. Cover the fish in the sauce, without letting the fish directly touch the pan. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Then flip fish over and cook for another 20 minutes.

Serve fish on top of rice blend. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

Integrative Nutrition