SWIHA Blog

The Perks of Plant Protein With Two Quick & Easy Organic Lentil Soup Recipes

Posted by Melanie Albert on 11/5/14 2:42 AM

By Melanie Albert

Protein, alongwith fats and carbohydrates, is an essential macro nutrient which we must eat everyday with every meal. Protein is a building block of our body and helps to buildthe foundation of our bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.

No Meat for 25 Years

I stopped eating red meat 30 years ago because my body could not digest it. I was a runner and felt like the meat made me sluggish. Then 18 years ago when my Mom was diagnosedwith breast cancer, I learned about antibiotics in poultry and stopped eating chicken and turkey, which I loved at the time.

My family was worried for years that I was not eating enough protein, but while I was studying nutrition, I learned so much about good plant protein, and now I’m honestly not worriedabout eating enough protein. Today, I love educating people about good sources of plant protein, including beans, whole grains and even vegetables.

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Topics: Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, SWIHA, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Nutrition

Experiment With Green Tea & Matcha

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/29/14 2:35 AM

Discovering Green Tea

I began drinking green tea ten years ago when I started working with best-selling author and integrative medicine pioneer, Dr. Andrew Weil, who has been a long-time advocate for drinking green tea. At first, green tea was a little odd to me. I was not accustomed to the green, grassy taste of high quality green tea. Over time, I’ve grown to enjoy drinking it. Now the ritual of preparing and drinking high quality green tea and matcha tea are part of my daily life. I’m sure many of you at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) campus see me drinking my matcha tea throughout the day.

Why Green Tea is Good for You

  1. ECGC, the antioxidant in green tea, is an anti-inflammatory.
  2. Research has found that green tea benefits heart health, brain health and cancer prevention.
  3. Full of catechins and polyphenols, which help the brain to relax and stimulates dopamine levels.
  4. Theanine in green tea helps improve mood and a sense of relaxation.
  5. Known to increase memory and concentration.
  6. Has less caffeine than coffee.
  7. Tastes delicious, so enjoy a few cups every day!

Most Popular Green Teas

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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Nutrition

Eat Omega-3s Today with 2 Simple Wild Alaskan Salmon Recipes

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/22/14 8:26 AM

Fats Are Essential

While the media has made us afraid of fats, they are actually required in order for our bodies to function properly. For years during the low fat, no fat craze I thought fats were bad and I stopped eating some of my favorite foods, nuts and olives. Now I’ve learned that fats are good for us and that our bodies require about 30% fats in our diet each and every day, for each and every meal.
Plant based fats like nuts, seeds, avocados and olives are a healthy fat source. Today, we are focusing on cold water fish, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Whole Foods, Nutrition

Why We Need Carbohydrates

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/15/14 7:53 AM

Like many in my generation, for most of my life I only knew white rice. Although I heard about whole grains I did not incorporate them into my daily eating until I was learning about whole grains about eight years ago. At that time I decided to get tested for food sensitivities and found that I’m sensitive to gluten, the protein in whole grains including wheat, barley and rye. I stopped eating most food with gluten and now find that when I do eat gluten, I almost immediately get hives. Last year, I was also tested for celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition in which our body does not absorb nutrients. Fortunately, I do not have celiac disease. I’m glad that I’ve had these experiences as I can now share gluten-free eating with my clients and in my writing.

Why We Need Carbs

People are confused about carbs and about whole grains. Many diets are no carb or low carb, but in reality our bodies need about 40-50% carbs every day at every meal. The problem is that people eat low quality carbs, like cookies, cakes, crackers and bread. Other carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables are good for us.

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Topics: Holi, Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition

6 Culinary Tips to Enjoy Whole Food S.O.U.L. Food with 2 Simple Recipes

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/8/14 4:05 AM

When we cook and enjoy eating real whole foods we have the opportunity to create a wide variety of tasty, beautiful, colorful, local, in-season dishes.

  • Cook with variety. You can cook the same foods different ways – raw, steamed, roasted, blended - and enjoy very different, delicious meals.
  • Eat with the Season. When we eat real whole foods, we have the opportunity to eat in tune with what’s in season, and enjoy the food that nature naturally creates for us in the geographic area where we live.
  • Eat with Color. By incorporating whole foods into our life, we easily enjoy the infamous "rainbow of fruits & veggies" that we hear about so often, getting a variety of nutrients and phytonutrients (natural plant chemicals).
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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition

Buy Local, Eat Healthier: Shop at Farmers’ Markets

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/1/14 7:44 AM

Eat Local. Shop at a Farmers’ Market. Buy a CSA. Enjoy a Simple Roasted Roots Recipe

In Arizona where the Southwest Institute of Healing Art (SWIHA) campus is located and where I live, many of the local farmers’ markets will be re-opening for the season after our “dry heat, hot summer”. Fortunately, we do have a few farmers whose produce is available during the summer, so I’ve been having fun shopping from a few farmers for our Whole Foods Cooking Classes at SWIHA this summer.

4 Great Reasons to Eat Local

  • Locally grown produce is fresher, tastes better and lasts longer.. Most produce in conventional grocer stores is picked well before it's ready to be picked. Some of the methods used to ripen the food in warehouses and in trucks include methane gas. Food that is allowed to ripen on the vine absorbs many of the flavors and nutrients they are intended to. Local produce shortens the path traditionally traveled from farm to table and the result is better tasting more nutrient dense food.
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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition, Farmers Market

Top 5 Healthy Dessert Ideas: Tasty Recipes Included

Posted by Melanie Albert on 9/24/14 5:23 AM

Plus tasty recipes: Experience Nutrition™ Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding & Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownie

What do Sweet Potatoes, Bird Seed, Grass Seed, Dark Chocolate & Avocados have in Common? Healthy Dessert Night at Whole Foods Cooking Class!!!

Within the Whole Foods Cooking Class at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts we really enjoyed “Healthy Dessert Night” creating delicious whole foods gluten-free and dairy-free desserts with special unique ingredients. The students passionately and creatively cooked desserts including Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding, Millet Cake, Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies, Agar Agar Gelatin, Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie and a Spicy Apple Crisp.


Top 5 Ways to Create Tasty Healthy Desserts with Unique Ingredients

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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Healthy Desserts, Urban Farming, Nutrition

The Vegetarian Way of Eating: Easy Recipe Included

Posted by Melanie Albert on 9/17/14 12:07 AM

Plus an easy recipe: Experience Nutrition™ Roots & Greens Stir-fry

What Does a ‘Vegetarian Diet’ Look Like?

Last week we focused on the ‘Vegan Way of Eating’ a Whole Foods Diet, this week, it’s ‘Vegetarian’. Vegetarians primarily eat fresh produce, grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds. Vegetarians, for the most part, do not eat meat, fish or poultry, but however may consume dairy and eggs. They enjoy their food both cooked and raw.

33% of Americans Eat Vegetarian Meals

According to a 2011 study conducted for The Vegetarian Resource Group by Harris Interactive®, seventeen percent of Americans indicated that they “don’t eat meat, fish, seafood, fish or poultry at many of their meals (but less than half the time)” and sixteen percent don’t eat these foods at more than half their meals. Thus, one-third of Americans are eating vegetarian meals a significant amount of time.

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Topics: Vegetarian, Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition

The Vegan Way: Easy Recipe Included

Posted by Melanie Albert on 9/10/14 6:25 AM

Plus an easy recipe: Experience Nutrition™ Avocado Salsa Recipe

Let’s take a Look at the 'Vegan Way' of Whole Foods Eating

Several different dietary theories may be considered as whole foods, including vegan, vegetarian, raw and Paleo. While each of these dietary theories is different, they are all based on eating real non-processed whole foods, which are close to their natural state. Today we will take a look at the 'Vegan Way' of Eating.

What does vegan look like?

A vegan diet consists of eating only plant-derived foods. Vegans do not consume or use any animals (land or sea) or animal products, dairy, milk, eggs, or honey. Vegans eat fresh produce, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

2.5% of the US is vegan

A 2008 national survey conducted by The Vegetarian Resource Group found that 2.5% of the US say they never eat meat, fish, seafood, poultry, dairy or eggs which means they are vegan. And, the vegan trend is growing.

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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition

What is Whole Food Cooking? Easy Recipe Included

Posted by Melanie Albert on 9/3/14 8:37 AM

Plus an easy recipe: Bamboo Steamer Carrots with Cumin & Walnut Oil

We often hear the term whole foods or whole food cooking, yet do we really know what the terms mean?

The ‘Whole Food’ way of eating is enjoying as many “whole foods” as possible – that is, eating foods as close to their natural form as possible, with very minimal processing. This is the way people were eating a hundred years ago prior to the age of fast food restaurants, manufactured processed foods, convenience foods. It was when people actually spent time in their kitchen cooking, and less time eating out or eating on the run.

Simply, Whole Foods Cooking uses S.O.U.L. Foods: Seasonal. Organic. Unprocessed. Local.

Many health experts believe eating more whole foods improves health and helps prevent disease. Whole foods – like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes – retain their fiber and beneficial phytochemicals and nutrients that are often removed in processed foods.

Eating organic, whole foods, and shopping at farmers’ markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and food co-ops is something many people have had to re-learn. Our intention with the Whole Food/ S.O.U.L Food Wednesday BLOG is to get you as excited about cooking and eating real whole foods as we are.

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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition

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