Tomato Power…

Tomatoes now come in all shapes (plum, beefsteak, grape) and in a variety of colors (purple, green, yellow, red, orange). However, all contain the powerful phytochemical lycopene. Lycopene, an antioxidant, plays a role in cancer prevention, heart disease as well as many other diseases. A study in Cancer Causes found that men who consumed a diet that included a regular consumption of tomatoes had a 28% less chance of developing prostate cancer. Lycopene has also been connected to protecting the skin from overexposure to sun as well as maintaining bone mass in women. Lycopene is more accessible when tomatoes are cooked. Cooking breaks down the cell walls and increases the potency of the vitamin. Combining cooked tomatoes with olive oil or avocados increases the absorption, since lycopene is fat soluble. Think red sauce, gazpacho soup, or salsa. Yellow tomatoes have a stronger concentration of beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is extremely important for eye health. The belief that tomatoes should be avoided for people with arthritis has little proof to back it up. In fact, tomatoes are anti inflammatory if anything. Experiment with all the different ways you may consume this fruit and enjoy them especially in the summer when sun ripened tomatoes are available,

The Potato Good or Bad?

Americans consume about 50 lbs. of potatoes per person per year. Potatoes have an extremely high level of Potassium an important mineral for the heart. A substantial amount of this mineral is contained within the potato skin. A small potato contains about 23% of the daily requirement of potassium, along with B6 (neurological health), iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber. Despite the fact that potatoes have a high glycemic value, they contain what is known as resistant starch. Resistant starch acts in the same way as soluble fiber by providing food for the microbes in our gut as well as helping with blood sugar control. Eating potatoes is also associated with weight gain however they are quite filling and can even curb hunger pains. There is evidence that a certain protein in potatoes Proteinase inhibitor 2 (P12), can curb hunger. Fried potatoes do have a high level of saturated fat and salt and a baked potato is usually topped with an excess of butter and sour cream. Although a potato is a vegetable, it should not be viewed as a replacement for a green vegetable. It should be looked upon as the starch portion of your plate (rice, pasta). How about mashing potatoes with olive oil and spices? Make use of all the different colors that potatoes are available in. Each color is richer in a particular vitamin. There is always the much more tasty, Sweet or Japanese potato which need very little to enhance their flavor. Moderation is always key (make fries a sometime food) but elimination of the potato from our diet may be more detrimental then beneficial.

Middle Eastern- Spiced spinach and lentil soup with garlic yogurt…



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot finely chopped
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp sweet paprik
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 6 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 3 vined ripened tomatoes chopped
  • 16 oz. spinach chopped
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges

For the Garlic Yogurt:

  • 3 oz. natural Greek yogurt
  • 2 small garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil



  • Heat oil in a large pan, then add, onion, carrots, garlic, chili flakes, some salt and pepper. Stir, cover, cook for 7-8 minutes until soft and lightly golden.
  • Uncover pan, add cumin, paprika. Stir a few seconds, add puree. Add lentils and stock, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for garlic sauce, add salt and chill.
  • Add diced tomatoes to soup and simmer for 5 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bunch up the spinach leaves and slice them thin (fine shreds). Stir into soup until wilted.
  • Serve with yogurt sauce on top. Sprinkle paprika on top
  • Serve with a lemon slice

Courtesy of Anarosa Nazario

Serving Size vs. Portion Size…

Understanding the difference between serving and portion size could mean the difference in consuming extra calories especially if you are concerned about overeating. A survey by the International Food Information Council found that only 49% of Americans understand the difference. Portion size is either the amount of food you choose to eat or are given to eat by an establishment. This can vary according to what each individual decides. One third of people surveyed confused the two terms. Serving size is a determined amount set on a food label which has been determined by the FDA for nutrition purposes. A serving size is usually a minimal amount of a particular food that contains a certain number of calories. Many unconsciously assume that a portion size is the number of calories listed on the label without reading what the company considers a serving size. As a result, you may be consuming 2 or 3 times the number of calories. Example, if a ½ cup of ice cream contains 300 calories and you assume a portion size is a cup you may innocently consume twice the number of calories. It is important to read your labels carefully. You may be surprised at how little a serving size actually is.