About Lenny Variano

About Myself: Lenny Variano I am a certified Holistic Health Counselor, a member of The Association of Drugless Practitioners and a graduate of The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Martial Arts has been a big part of my life for almost 30 years. I believe strongly in the fact that everyone is an individual and that all of our bodies operate differently. Developing a strong mental attitude (through meditation and exercise) a strong spirituality (by caring for all that surrounds you) and a healthy body (through proper diet) are key to complete nutrition. Coaching clients to explore, accept and prepare intelligent food choices is my passion.

Moldy Food…

moldy cheeseMold on certain foods can be safe to cut away and use the un-moldy portion. For example, hard cheeses are much safer than soft cheeses if mold appears. Soft cheeses make it easier for the mold to penetrate the food whereas in hard cheeses the mold is usually visible and can be cut away. With firm fruits and vegetables simply cut off about 1 inch below the moldy area and the rest of it is safe to eat. Foods such as jams or jellies as well as soft fruits, breads and yogurt should be discarded. When mold is allowed to penetrate it can in some cases become toxic.

Mushrooms and Vitamin D…

Most Americans seem to be deficient in Vitamin D. The cure seems to be easy enough. It Mushrooms _sunis a matter of taking in the suns’ rays for at least 20 minutes a day. Here in the northeast it becomes a little difficult for at least six months out of the year. Rich sources of Vitamin D are egg yolks, salmon and liver. Mushrooms are not often mentioned as a high source of this vitamin. In fact it is one of the few vegetarian sources of Vitamin D. It seems a little strange that a fungus that grows in the dark should be a rich source of the so needed vitamin. Interestingly enough, if you were to let mushrooms lie in the sun for a couple of hours before you use them the potency of Vitamin D will greatly increase. Actually, just 5 minutes in the sun increases their potency to more then the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D.

Roasted Broccoli Salad With Pine Nuts, Dried Cherries and Feta…

Broccoli salad

 

 

 

 

Salad:
4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup raw pine nuts
2 tablespoons avocado
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dried cherries
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large mixing bowl, tool broccoli,
pine nuts, oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Spread in an even
layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or
until broccoli and pine nuts begin to brown. Transfer to a large
bowl and cool fro 10 minutes. Stir in cherries and feta cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, garlic,
nutmeg and pepper. Add to broccoli mixture and toss to
combine. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours prior to serving.
Makes 6 servings.

A recipe from Taylor Farms

What About Olive Oil…

Olive Oil is still one of the healthiest fats available. Even more so if eaten in its natural state olive oil 1instead of heated. However, the new trend in restaurants is to line up a tasting menu of different olive oils with a basket of bread as you await your order. We are all aware of how easily we can empty a basket of warm bread. Add to this dipping each piece into a bath of olive oil and you may be setting yourself up for unnecessary additional calories, 120 calories a tablespoon to be more precise. Should we avoid this taste bud sensation? Maybe it is better to have both the bread and the oil brought to the table while the meal is being served. Chances are you will consume less then when you are sitting at a table on an empty stomach.

Good News for Diabetics…

Adding sweeteners is a major concern for people trying to limit sugar consumption andbakers yeast especially for those with medical concerns such as diabetes. Stevia is one option. It is made from a leaf related to popular garden flowers like asters and chrysanthemums and has no effect in raising blood sugar levels. There is however a new option. Since many claim that stevia has a bitter after-taste a new product called “Eversweet” promises to deliver a more pleasant after-taste. “Eversweet” is produced by the fermentation of yeast. When simple sugars are added to Baker’s yeast, the yeast will digest them and in turn will convert them into a calorie free sweetener.

Dried Plums formerly known as Prunes…

PrunesFormally thought of as an aid to the digestive tract, prunes/dried plums have now taken on a more important role in health. Dairy always comes to mind when we think about filling our calcium needs and building strong bones. However, this dried fruit is extremely rich in both boron and selenium, two very important minerals for bone density. The fiber in prunes/dried plums can be of benefit to cholesterol levels and can help diabetics by slowing the digestion of carbohydrates. A great way to enjoy them is by soaking them in orange juice overnight until they return to looking more like plums (My 100 year old Mom’s credo).

Chuno (CHOON-yoh)…

The Incas faced problems with having to take long journeys and having a food productChunothat would travel well and sustain them for a long time. Chuno is an Inca discovery which is still a part of the culture of the population that inhabit the area surrounding the Andes. It is essentially freeze-dried potatoes that can be stored for years. The process is simple. Potatoes are sun-dried and then frozen at night and then stomped on to remove the water and skin. Inhabitants of both Peru and Bolivia lean on Chuno, which can last for decades. When there is a long lasting drought and there is little in the way of vegetables and meat to survive this is what they lean on. Many who have tried it say it is bad-tasting and foul smelling. However, it is abundant in carbohydrates while being high in iron and calcium making it a necessity for energy, strength and strong bones when little else is available.

Dragon Eyes…

Dragon EyesLogan fruit is the actual name of this fruit. It is also referred to as euphoria fruit in China where it has been part of traditional Chinese tonics for anti-aging and sexual health. It is native to Southeast Asia and is not grown in the Americas. After the thick skin is peeled, it resembles a peeled grape and has a flavor similar to a lychee. The interior has a shiny dark lacquered brown pit which is where it gets its name “Dragon Eye”. The fruit is more easily found in Asian markets. Dragon eyes are rich in Iron, Magnesium, phosphorus, potassium as well as a rich source of Vitamin A and C. It has been used for centuries as a cure for reducing fevers and the leaves are rich in quercetin which is used to treat allergies.

Fiber and Knee Arthritis…

Arthritic kneeThe reduced risk of knee arthritis may be another benefit of fiber rich foods. Two studies with over 6,000 participants were published in the “Annals of Rheumatic Diseases”. With the increase of fiber in the diet there was a noticeable decrease of arthritic pain in the groups by as much as 30%. Some smaller studies produced results by as much as 60%. There was no noticeable difference in results even when age, sex, race, education, caloric intake, physical activity or types of fats were taken into consideration. How fiber reduces inflammation is unclear. Considering how it has been proven to reduce weight, improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of diabetes, it is probable that there are many more benefits that have not yet been discovered.

Be Selective on where you choose to Eat Out…

There is enough information to support the fact that eating out may cause over-eating and excess calories. However, the “where” may be the biggest factor. Baroom brawlResearch from Brigham and Colorado State Universities have shown that eating in a local sports bar with blaring televisions, screaming fans and all around loud noises can have a large effect on the amount we are consuming. The reason being that we are simply not able to hear the sound of our own chewing. Awareness of the crunching and chewing that accompanies eating may have a great effect in promoting satiety.