Monosodium Glutamate got lots of attention starting in the 60’s, when “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” was researched and MSG was named the culprit. Some, but not all people don’t react well to MSG, even though it is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies (with the largest concentration of it in our nervous system). MSG is the sodium salt of Glutamic Acid, and it naturally occurs in mushrooms, seaweed, and wheat gluten, as well.
Most manufacturers and restaurants are msg (added) “free” these days…but it is NOT reason for a hissy fit if you feel like your sinuses are swelling or you start sneezing and you find out that something you ate contained a little bit of MSG, or had naturally occurring MSG in it. In fact, salt and sugar are WAY more dangerous for you than MSG. Chances are, you’ve been consuming naturally occurring msg your whole life and have never felt a thing! Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering does not add MSG to anything we make, but we do love our mushrooms, our seaweed, and our bread. 🙂 Please enjoy this pic of our Boudin Stuffed Mushrooms above!
These gemlike spuds are about as big as a Ping-Pong ball, but don’t let their size fool you. Purple Potaotes have many times the antioxidant power of their cousins, white and yellow potatoes. Studies have found that the plant pigments that give them their lovely color, called anthocyanins, may improve memory and prevent age-related muddled thinking. Also, their high levels of folate help lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which can damage brain cells. Pretty good for such a tiny tater. Look for them in your produce section – they’re not as hard to get as they used to be! Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses them not only because they’re healthy and beautiful, but because they TASTE so good. You can see a description of them here as Banderillas …
I don’t know about you, but my body retains more sodium (and everything else) in summer rather than the cooler months when our metabolisms run at a faster rate. Your body NEEDS sodium – you cannot live without it. BUT you really shouldn’t consume more than 1500 milligrams per day or it can turn into a BAD thing. Sodium can go by a number of names, including salt, sodium benzoate, disodium or monosodium glutamate. . Read labels and be aware! To help you, here are some foods high in sodium, and below THAT are some alternatives.
Condiments, such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, cocktail sauce and ketchup
Prepared salad dressing (Lula’s are homemade so no worries!)
Foods served in a broth or with au jus
Meat, poultry or seafood that has been enhanced with a sodium solution (virtually ALL pre-cut, prepackaged protein)
Processed cheeses, such as American
Spice mixes that have salt in them
Citrus is one of my favorite ways to enhance flavor. Also, don’t forget that many prepared foods now come in low and no sodium varieties – always buy these, and add the extra tidbit of salt you may desire, OR, here are some more ways to use spices and herbs in place of sodium:
Once again, my friend and author Heidi Bright (“Thriver Soup”) has offered such a simply written and informative piece that I am compelled to copy:
“Fresh, fragrant mandarins are precious, full of flavor, and full of power. The magic lies in their peels—which are quite edible and contain potent anti-cancer properties (see links below). Also called clementines and tangerines, these citrus fruits are fresh and sitting in grocery stores now.
If you have a high-speed blender, mix two whole mandarins (peel on) with a quarter cup cranberries (at this time of year, try frozen, not the packaged sugary snacks), a little raw honey and/or stevia, a quarter cup raw/soaked-in-salt-water pecans, and coconut butter. Blend. Mmmm! Add chia seeds if desired. Taste the fragrance, ingest the power.”
I would like to add my two cents worth: Wash your fruit with a scrubbing sponge and some dishwashing liquid if you intend to eat the skins – even organic can be sprayed with color – which doesn’t taste as good!
We’re all familiar with dairy alternatives in the form of Soy and Rice Milk, and personally, since my age is now limiting my lactose intake, I’m using Almond Milk in my coffee, but yet another milk has hit the scene…it’s called Sol, and it’s made from sunflower kernels! Sol contains the same amount of calcium as cow milk – roughly 30% of your daily allowance. So if you have a lactose problem, your choices have just widened. I personally haven’t tasted it yet – let me know what you think! Let Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering know if you have a dairy problem and we’ll certainly work around it! We here at www.lulasforlunch.com wish you some Yummy for your Tummy!
…and other myths…one of my favorite finger foods, the artichoke, is in season right now, and you needn’t be afraid of it! Think of the artichoke as your well worth it high maintenance expensive girlfriend (around $2.25 each as one roughly weighs a pound). But hard? No. First, let’s talk about the benefits:
Artichokes ROCK when it comes to vitamins and minerals: they have one of the highest total antioxidant levels of any vegetable, as well as folate, magnesium and potassium, and vitamins K & C.
Evidence from research shows that artichokes decease cholesterol, increase probiotic bacteria in the gut, and help maintain a healthy liver.
Artichokes are packed with fiber at more than 10.3 grams per artichoke (the edible part!).
You have to eat an artichoke SLOOOOWWWLY. Need I tell you the health benefits?
Now, let’s talk facts:
The artichoke is part of the thistle family – it is simply the bud before it flowers. See? (this one has flowered obviously)
A baby artichoke is not another type of artichoke, it’s just a smaller less mature choke on the same plant down at the bottom. It is fully edible as it hasn’t developed a choke yet (the only part of the artichoke you can’t eat).
The sunchoke has nothing to do with the artichoke; it is part of the sunflower family.
You can find all kinds of recipes that, step by step, will intimidate the crap out of you from acidulation to scissoring the thorns – ignore them. Do this: choose artichokes that are green – not purple or bluish – those are overripe. Take them home, slice them in half lengthwise and steam them for 20 minutes. Heat your grill while this is happening, and transfer the steamed artichokes to the grill flat side down, for about 15 minutes, then turn over (if there aren’t any grill marks yet your grill isn’t hot enough so keep on grilling on the flat side). If there ARE grill marks it’s time to lay them awkwardly on the grill on the opposite side for 3-4 minutes till the leaves are charred. Plate them (1/2 artichoke per person) and either brush them with melted butter, sprinkled with a tiny bit of sea salt (the good kind that have large crystals) on them, maybe some cracked pepper if you’d like. If you want to be fancier whip up some remoulade for dipping. Truly, you don’t really need anything. Just pluck each individual leaf off, put it in your mouth upside down and scrape the flesh from the leaf using your bottom teeth. Don’t eat the fuzzy choke in between the leaves and the heart though – it’s yucky. The heart will be your final reward. The smokey, creamy taste and texture will make you close your eyes and sigh with pleasure. Now, if you want to pay me to make the frittata you see at the top of the page just let me know! There are MANY ways that Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering incorporates artichokes into our menus, including one of our 6, to date, GREEN soups!!!
Celery does more than serve as a swizzle stick for your glass of tomato juice. The stalks are packed with a plant compound called luteolin, which calms a type of immune cell in the brain and spinal cord that works to keep the brain in good working order. Luteolin is linked to lower rates of age-related memory loss, according to a study reported in the Journal of Nutrition. Because the study was carried out in mice, more research needs to be done to see if the results can be replicated in humans.
Celery also takes more calories to chew and swallow than it contains – which makes it a GREAT diet food. Unless, if you’re like Lula, you drown it in bleu cheese. 🙂 Celery is a chief component in flavor bases used in several world cuisines – the Latin community calls it Sofrito, the French call it Mire Poix, and southerners call it the Holy Trinity! Believe it or not it is an ingredient in Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering ‘s beauty before you : our Creole Shrimp ‘n Grits!
Shelling out for a bag of almonds might not be a bad idea if you need to lower your cholesterol. Almonds are recognized as a cholesterol-lowering food; studies also show that they can reduce the risk of heart disease.
One ounce of almonds, about 25 nuts, contains 164 calories and 1.10 grams of saturated fat. That same ounce is also a good source of protein, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium, and has no cholesterol.
The “ancients” seemed to already know these facts. Ancient desert nomads combined almonds with chopped dates, bits of pistachios, sesame oil, and breadcrums and rolled them into balls. The world’s first trail mix!!
King Tut apparently knew the nutritional value of almonds. Several handfuls of them accompanied him into the tomb, perhaps to nourish him on his post-life journey.
Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering www.lulasforlunch.com uses all KINDS of nuts in every way possible. We LOVE them for their deliciousness and their nutritional value. We always label our foods that contain nuts, however, for our clients that may have nut sensitivities .
Pumpkin seeds are one smart snack. They’re rich in zinc, a mineral vital for memory and thinking skills. They’re also packed with magnesium, a mineral that fights inflammation and contributes to the creation of new brain cells.
In addition, pumpkin seeds contain a hefty amount of tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to the good-mood chemical serotonin. As if that’s not enough, pumpkin seeds contain a wide variety of antioxidants that may slow brain aging. At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering , we toast our pumpkin seeds and use them in many salads as well as garnish entrees for a satisfying crunch! This picture is of our Citrus Avocado Salad. Now, drool!
Raisins are among the top food sources of boron, a brain-boosting mineral. “Among its other benefits, boron improves mental alertness, short-term memory and focus, and even affects eye-hand coordination and dexterity,” says Forrest Nielsen, retired research nutritionist at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota. You probably won’t learn to juggle four balls at once just by eating a handful of raisins, but this fruit (and a lot of practice) will set you on the right path. If you like raisins, Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering can put them in any dish you want!!
Other foods rich in boron: chickpeas, almonds, walnuts, avocados.
In Lula's Kitchen, Love is ALWAYS our First Ingredient!