Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Wellbody Recipe: Sugar-free, Fat-free, Dairy-free, Gluten-free Cranberry Sauce

cranberry200Tangy gems of the holiday season, cranberries are outranked only by blueberries in protective antioxidants. High in vitamin C and fiber and low in calories, these tart red treats can add a festive and healthy zest to your diet.

Trouble is, cranberries are often paired with unhealthy amounts of sugar. Traditional cranberry bread and cranberry sauce recipes call for almost as much sugar as they do cranberries, and in the past couple years, scientific research has found that even a few extra teaspoons of daily added sugar can be toxic to our bodies. (A recent study found that relatively modest amounts of sugar negatively impacted the life spans and sex lives of mice.)

That’s why we’re thrilled to share this recipe for an insanely delicious and refreshing sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free cranberry sauce from Kathy Abascal, the Vashon Island biochemist and herbalist who developed an anti-inflammatory diet to quiet the immune system (TQI).

Abascal’s research, along with that of countless other scientists and doctors, points to sugar as a top inflammatory trigger that erodes health. When sugar or other triggers (gluten, dairy and chemical additives are common culprites) flare the immune system, people can suffer all kinds of inflammation-related health woes: weight gain, frozen shoulder, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, sinus congestion, poor sleep, acne, eczema and rashes.

Eliminate the triggers -- and pounds and problems can melt away. Why not replace sugar and other inflammatory foods with nutritious fruits and vegetables high in vitamins. fiber and antioxidants? The USDA recommends half your plate be filled with fruits and vegetables; Abascal suggests fruits and veggies comprise 2/3 of each meal and snack. 

But what about holiday desserts?  Not to worry, you can still enjoy delicious treats! 

Whip up a batch of this cranberry sauce, spoon into small bowls and indulge with toppings: pomegranate seeds (whack-y de-seeding trick), orange zest, coconut flakes , chopped nuts, shaved dark chocolate. Think of it as an Antioxidant Sundae -- Happy Holidays!

Kathy Abascal’s Moderately Sane Cranberry Sauce

(Makes about 3 cups)
 
7 1/2 ounces fresh, organic cranberries
2 organic apples
1 cup organic red grapes
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, to taste
1 teaspoon good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 organic orange
 
Core the apples, but leave peels on, then chop or grate. Cut grapes in half.
 
Combine cranberries, chopped apples, and grapes in a saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover, and heat gently until cranberries have popped and apple is soft, about 15-20 minutes.
 
Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Add the cinnamon and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Grate the zest from the orange (a microplane grater does a fantastic job with this), making sure to only remove the colored part. Add to bowl.
 
Peel the orange, remove any seeds, and finely chop. Add, along with any juice that accumulates, to the cranberry mixture and stir to combine. Nice warm, even better chilled until cold. Also delicious added to a tossed salad!

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Guest Wednesday, 30 July 2014