Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Anti-Aging Cafe

Welcome. We have reserved you a table at the Fountain of Youth. What’s on the menu? A delicious age-defying dinner to die for.

From time immemorial, man has yearned to discover the secret to an ageless existence. The ancients thought it resided in the Philosopher’s Stone; Count Vlad sought it in the blood of his enemies; Ponce de León endured alligators and insects, convinced it lay hidden in a Florida swamp. Needless to say, the coveted result eluded them all.

I’d like to propose that the closest thing we may ever find to the Fountain of Youth is on our own dinner table—provided, of course, we take advantage of the hidden treasures of nature. Our knowledge of the health-giving properties of our edibles has increased enormously in recent years, allowing us a glimpse of how Mother Nature in her endless wisdom has provided us with all we need to improve, restore and lengthen our lives.

And there’s no reason why healthful eating and gustatory pleasure can’t go hand in hand. Here’s a delicious dinner, “from soup to nuts” as my mom used to say, that is filled with ingredients that can contribute enormously to your well-being and longevity, not to mention your culinary reputation. So break out the tablecloth and napkins, and share with friends and family the new-found secrets from your own Anti-Aging Cafe.

The Grocery List
Let’s start with our shopping list. As we go through our ingredients, we’ll note how each one makes its singular contribution to our well-being and longevity.

Broccoli. They’re the big guns when it comes to antioxidants and cancer-fighting. The phytochemical indoles inhibit cancer growth, while the lutein has been shown to prevent cataracts and slow macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Lutein is also believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and protect against certain forms of cancer.

Dandelion Greens. Flavonoids are the hard workers here; they extend the activity of vitamin C, act as antioxidants, reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and act as anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agents. Between the broccoli and dandelion greens, we’ve covered: improved vision, heart health and cancer inhibition.

Garlic. One of the biggies for keeping your heart young, garlic has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. According to one study, it does this by lowering total and LDL cholesterol, but not HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Numerous studies have indicated that garlic can slow the development of bladder, skin and colon cancers.

Leeks. Continuing the cardiovascular benefits of their cousin garlic, leeks contain natural anti-clotting agents.

Beets. Ever forget why you walked from one room to the other? Eat your beets. Their anthocyanadins have been linked to improved blood vessel health, and maintenance and improvement of memory function. (Improved blood flow is fabulous for keeping your skin healthy and glowing, by the way.) And the lycopene found here has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant associated with a reduced risk for several cancers.

Field Greens. Another excellent source of lutein, they also contribute to stronger bones and teeth.

Pine Nuts. A nice dose here of beta carotene, which has been shown to be a major precursor for vitamin A—vital for immune function, vision, and skin and bone health.

Olive Oil. Studies indicate that regular consumption of olive oil, combined with a sensible diet low in meat and dairy products, can lower the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol levels. And research has also found that olive oil may influence body fat distribution, with less fat stored around the stomach … say goodbye to those love handles!

Wild-Caught Salmon. Studies show that the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon may increase HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol; reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke; reduce inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; help increase calcium levels in the body, prohibiting bone loss and improving bone strength; decrease the risk of depression; reduce the risk of macular degeneration; reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers. Whew!

Oranges, Papaya, Mango. All three of these orange-fleshed beauties furnish beta-cryptoxanthin, which contributes to skin and bone health.

Ginger. Another antioxidant cancer fighter.

Asparagus. One more source of beta carotene and lutein (for the vision thing).

Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries. Here’s a final blast of cancer-fighting, heart-helping antioxidants.
 

Menu
Broccoli & Dandelion Greens Soup w/Garlic & Leeks

Salad of Roast Beets, Organic Baby Field Greens, Toasted Pine Nuts & French Feta Cheese w/Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar

Oven-Roasted Wild-Caught Salmon w/Orange-Ginger Reduction & Spicy Tropical Fruit Salad, Steamed Organic Asparagus

Strawberries, Raspberries & Blueberries w/Meyer Lemon & Organic Turbinado Sugar

 
The Recipes
Now before we proceed to the recipes, just a quick aside: This makes a terrific major-event dinner, but each dish can stand alone beautifully. Pair the broccoli soup with a crunchy green salad for a light and easy supper; present the beet salad to the “ladies who lunch”; serve the salmon any time you want a healthy and delicious dinner for your family.

And then incorporate all these life-giving ingredients into your regular meal planning, and feast at the Anti-Aging Cafe as often as possible!

Broccoli & Dandelion Greens Soup w/Garlic & Leeks

4 cups chopped organic broccoli florets
2 cups chopped organic dandelion greens
1 cup chopped leeks, white part only
2 Tbsp. safflower oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 quart organic chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large heavy pot, cook leeks in safflower oil over medium heat until softened, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute, stirring. Add broth, increase heat, and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and dandelion greens, return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until broccoli is tender but not mushy, about eight minutes. Puree in blender in batches. Return to the pot, add salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm until ready to serve. Serves 4.


Salad of Roast Beets, Organic Baby Field Greens, Toasted Pine Nuts & French Feta Cheese w/Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar

2 large organic red beets
8 oz. organic baby field greens
3 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
2 oz. French feta cheese, crumbled
High-quality extra virgin olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Trim ends of beets and rinse. Lightly coat with olive oil and wrap loosely in aluminum foil. Place on baking tray and cook in 375° oven for about 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a sharp knife pierces them easily. Remove from oven, cool, and chill for a few hours or overnight.

Peel and slice beets thinly. Arrange greens on four plates, divide beet slices among them, draping over the greens. Sprinkle pine nuts and feta cheese over the salads. Drizzle each salad with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and splash on 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, plus salt & pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Oven-Roasted Wild-Caught Salmon w/Orange-Ginger Reduction & Spicy Tropical Fruit Salad, Steamed Organic Asparagus

1 1/2 lb wild-caught salmon filet, skin on, cut into 4 portions
1 quart fresh-squeezed organic orange juice
1 4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
2 Tbsp. organic unsalted butter, cold
1 ripe papaya, peeled & seeded, diced
1 ripe mango, peeled & seeded, diced
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 tsp. minced red jalapeno, seeded
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 lb organic asparagus, trimmed

Start by preheating your oven to 450°. Then make the relish: Combine papaya, mango, red onion, jalapeno and lime juice in nonreactive bowl. Set aside (it’s best if made several hours in advance).

Make orange reduction: In a deep, wide saucepan, combine orange juice and ginger. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered at a low boil until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Turn off heat and let it rest awhile.

Place salmon pieces, skin-side down, on foil-lined baking sheet (the skin will stick to the foil and make serving the salmon so easy). Salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for about 17 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish; they should be cooked through but still tender in the middle.

While salmon is cooking, remove ginger pieces from the orange reduction, reheat until just bubbling, turn off heat and swirl in the cold butter until it melts. Keep barely warm.

Steam the asparagus over boiling water until just past crisp, about three minutes. Place a portion of asparagus on one side of each plate; put a ladle of sauce on the other side. Place each salmon filet on top of the sauce, with a small cascade of the tropical relish over the center of the salmon; serve the rest of the relish on the side. Serves 4.

Strawberries, Raspberries & Blueberries w/Meyer Lemon & Organic Turbinado Sugar

1 cup each sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
2 Tbsp. fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 Tbsp. organic turbinado sugar

Combine all ingredients, and toss gently. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Divide into four bowls. (Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream if you want to be really decadent.) Serves 4.

 by: Neil Zevnik, WellBella ~ July 2010

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