Amazing Anti-Inflammatory Super Ingredients to Incorporate When You Cook

The health and wellness trend is here to stay.  As a personal chef it will therefore become ever more important for you to know how to prepare healthy meals for your clients that also taste delicious.

I bet even now many of your prospects and clients are requesting you to prepare healthy meals for them.  In addition, you are likely being asked to make meals that will help your clients to lose weight, lower cholesterol, improve digestion and more.

The topic of healthy food and nutrition is a vast one, but a quick way to easily improve the health quotient of your meals is to regularly add anti-inflammatory ingredients when you cook because a growing amount of evidence suggests that inflammation may be the root cause of many common diseases and conditions.

Below is a list of some of the favorite, anti-inflammatory, super ingredients I frequently recommended to my clients when I was a health coach that you can use too.

Turmeric:  A wonderful, peppery, warm spice that may be linked to the low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in India.  Many studies also suggest turmeric can destroy cancer cells and prevent their spread.   I add a little of the spice to my whole grain brown rice to enhance its flavor and add a rich, yellow color.

Ginger:  Yum!  Ginger can add sparkle to any dish.  It’s also a great digestive aid, induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells, and boosts the immune system.  I like to add it to a Carrot-Apple soup that I make.  It’s also a wonderful addition to fruit salad and vegetable stir fries.

Seeds:  Such seeds as pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia, and flaxseeds contain a lot of either anti- inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin E.  I like to use pumpkin and sunflower seeds to add crunch to cooked whole grains, sauteed kale or a salad.  I grind chia and flaxseeds and add them to smoothies.  I make my own hemp milk from hemp seeds.

Cooked Asian Mushrooms: My favorites include shiitake mushrooms which appear to protect the cardiovascular system and maitake mushrooms which seem to have a positive effect on the immune system.  Although not proven, many believe Asian mushrooms to have anti-inflammatory properties as well.  I love Asian mushrooms added to a sesame broccoli stir fry or a rice nut loaf that I make.  They are also great cooked on their own with a little olive oil and garlic or incorporated into a meat dish.

Garlic:  Most everyone loves garlic.  It’s an ingredient that seems to make everything taste better.  It is also a powerful anti-oxidant and has amazing health benefits when it comes to the cardiovascular system. The one catch is that garlic should be eaten chopped and raw to take advantage of its health benefits.  When I cook, I add some garlic to the pan and cook with it, but I also reserve some fresh garlic to add to the dish later.

I’d love to hear from you about a healthy cooking challenge  you may have faced and how you handled it.  I would also love to answer any questions you may have about healthy cooking if you have them.

We All Scream for…Kale? – How to Get Picky Eaters to Eat Healthy

I thought I’d share with you today how I inspired a very picky eater to eat vegetables because I know for many personal chefs they often struggle with clients who desire to be healthy but who refuse to eat vegetables and other healthy foods.  If you can find a way to help the picky eater eat better and feel better, they will rave about you, and this in turn will help your business to grow.

So what are you to do to get picky eaters to try new foods?  Perhaps my successful experience with one little girl who was a very picky eater will give you some inspiration.

First, let me paint a picture of just how picky this child was.  She literally ate nothing but the following:

  • Milk and cheese
  • Bacon
  • Cinnamon toast
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Cheese pizza (only one brand)
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Grapes

That’s it.  This child’s mom was beside herself.  She asked me for my help, and I gave it.

Make it Fun and Ask them What they Want to Try

The first thing I did was choose a venue that was going to be fun and low pressure.  That venue was a cooking class for her daughter at her home.

Prior to the cooking class, I had her daughter fill out a questionnaire so that she could share with me in her own words (not her mom’s) what foods and flavors she currently liked and which ones she currently hated.  I also asked her what new, healthy food she wanted to try.  This turned out to be a very important question.

By simply asking this question, I found out a healthy food that she did eventually try and like.  The food she wanted to try was blueberries.  I told her mom, she went and bought the blueberries and left them out in a bowl on her kitchen counter with no fan fare.

Here is another really important point.  Don’t make a big deal about food in a positive or negative way because it will likely backfire.  Her daughter started eating the blueberries.

Build Your Recipe with the New Food around a Food that They Already Like

Next, I decided to modify a Turkey Bacon Kale recipe (see attached) to incorporate her favorite bacon.  Now the bacon she loved wasn’t at all healthy, but I figured it was better to start with something she liked and that she was familiar with in order to have any chance of her eating the kale.

So when you are looking to get a picky eater to eat something new, consider building the recipe with the new food around a food that they already like.

Consider Having the Picky Eater Participate in the Food Preparation

I also made sure she got a chance to participate in washing the kale, cutting it up, and cooking the bacon.  She loved getting a chance to cook herself.  Once we were done, she expressed concern about trying the recipe, but I told her that a good chef always needs to know what her food tastes like.  And guess what?  She ate the smallest amount she possibly could with great trepidation and….

She thought it wasn’t so bad!

Now from her that was a ringing endorsement.  She even said that for now she may need to eat the kale with a little more bacon, but she thought that over time she could slowly reduce the amount of bacon she was eating and increase the amount of kale.  Wow!

I was so excited!!  I think what helped make this all effective was that she was the one in control and making the decisions.  She was the one who made it.  She was the one who could give the recipe thumbs up or thumbs down.  The recipe incorporated an ingredient of her choosing.  Her mom wasn’t part of the cooking class so there were no battles of will going on in the kitchen.  It was all just for fun.

So do you have a picky eater success story?  Please share!