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Category: Food

Nuts About Nuts

Nuts About Nuts

Americans love nuts. Their passion has led to an increased consumption by almost 40 percent in the last 15 years. Contrary to the belief that nuts are fattening, nuts are nutritious foods categorized as superfoods.  Nuts offer a wide variety of nutrients especially protective of the brain and cardiovascular system. A trio of nutrients in nuts — healthy fat, fiber, and protein — make them a satisfying snack that won’t affect your waistline, assuming the portion size is a handful…

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The Holidays: A Time for Comfort Food

The Holidays: A Time for Comfort Food

The term comfort food can be traced back to 1966, when the Palm Beach Post used the term in a story:  “Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort foods.’  These foods are associated with the security of childhood, the relief of stress, and euphoric feelings.” Although the identification of particular items as comfort foods may be unique to an individual, patterns are detectable.  In a study of American food choices, males preferred warm, hearty,…

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The Best Pizza in Town

The Best Pizza in Town

One of my favorite comfort foods is pizza. Locally, there is one restaurant that puts out a superior product. It is a small bakery-café called 54 Mint Il Forno, 1686 Locust St. in Walnut Creek.  It is the brainchild of Claudio and Daniele, who operated a white tablecloth restaurant of the same name at Treat Blvd. and Oak Grove for several years.  Their current Italian rendition is much more informal. Outside of operating a coffeehouse-like destination in the morning, 54…

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More Healthy Bread, Maybe Not

More Healthy Bread, Maybe Not

The vast variety of breads available in supermarkets and bakeries reflects the unquenchable appetite of Americans for this grain-based food.  Breads labeled as “whole grain” appear to be a smart way to add fiber to your diet. Whole grains improve regularity, slow digestion, reduce appetite, improve cholesterol, and prevent spikes in blood sugar — a major driver of obesity, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. A whole grain bread uses the entire grain seed:  the bran (an outer layer…

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Chocolate: A Smart Food?

Chocolate: A Smart Food?

There is universal agreement that chocolate is a feel good food.  Chocolate melts in your mouth, releasing its sweet, creamy, cocoa flavor, and the brain follows with a burst of “happy” chemicals.   Beyond the sensory joy of eating chocolate, there are claims that chocolate is a healthy food for the brain.  Most of us would gladly eat more chocolate if proven to benefit the brain.  Several ingredients in cocoa have been proposed to explain the possible cognitive benefits of…

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Dynamic, New Korean Restaurant Opens

Dynamic, New Korean Restaurant Opens

As Korean food seems to be on the endangered species list in Orinda, it is necessary to venture all the way to Concord to experience the gourmet offerings of the Gen Korean BBQ House, which recently opened its doors at 1353 Willow Pass Road on the corner near the Water World Amusement Park. Once inside this small Southern California chain eatery, one is transformed into an art deco environment where blue lighting sets the mood for an extraordinary dining experience. …

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The Party’s Over

The Party’s Over

Holiday food and spirits may have disappeared, but those extra calories can stubbornly remain as body fat.  With each new year, an array of diets emerges, promising to restore your former shape. My suggestion?  This year, follow a new plan called Intermittent Fasting, that has captured the interest of both dieters and researchers.  Intermittent Fasting is a structured program without the drudgery of daily calorie deprivation. Although traditional reduced-calorie diets are certainly science-based, intermittent fasting is a sensible alternative.  Studies…

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Drink Coffee, Live Longer?

Drink Coffee, Live Longer?

A coffee plant can live 100 years.  Could humans extend their lives closer to a century by enjoying a cup — or more — of the brew each day? Coffee beans are seeds of a red fruit called the coffee cherry.  Like all plant foods, coffee beans contain more than a thousand healthful chemicals. The benefits of drinking coffee are pretty impressive.  The roasted bean has been shown to enhance brain function, increase metabolic rate, and improve exercise performance.  Used…

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More Sugar Please

More Sugar Please

Love sugar?  This innate desire for sweets can be traced to an ancient part of the brain — the reward circuit.  The sweet, sensory experience is recorded as a rewarding one as endorphin molecules (natural opioids) bathe the brain.  A long-lasting memory of the tasty experience is stored deep inside the brain.  There is purpose to the “feel good” experience resulting from sweetness.  You will search for, and continue to consume, the ideal fuel for your mind — the simple…

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The Oasis Cafe

The Oasis Cafe

When it comes to fast food restaurants in the Lamorinda area (Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda), there is but one place in Lafayette where a “golden arches” sighting can be found.  As a matter of fact, such culinary genre (as golden arches) could be placed on an endangered species list there.  “Bun and Run” places serving low-quality fair just don’t cut it in this sophisticated market. So where do residents of Orinda and their nearby neighbors go when they want a…

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