What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

July 24, 2012

The Benefits of Breakfast

Filed under: Feature Articles, Healthy Living tips — Tags: , , , , — Sigona's @ 9:18 am

Tips for Healthy Living

Geri Wohl is our latest and greatest Tips for Healthy Living writer. Geri is a Bay Area-based Certified Nutrition Consultant and Educator with extensive training in holistic and whole foods nutrition focused on emphasizing positive lifestyle changes. Her articles are sure to educate, engage and entertain. Feel free to contact her over at Better Eating Coach. – Carmelo Sigona

The Benefits of Breakfast

By Geri Wohl

Do you start your day with a bowl of cereal? Maybe it’s a bagel and cream cheese. Some people may begin with pancakes or French toast. Perhaps your breakfast begins with a cup of coffee and nothing else. Or are you part of the 44% of the US population that has no breakfast at all?

What’s in a good breakfast? Are there ways to start our days with vigor? While some of us don’t pay attention to our morning meal either because we’re not hungry or we lack time, we all need to jump-start our metabolism by providing our bodies with the fuel needed to be more effective at work or school. Breakfast provides fuel after an 8-12 hour fast.

Eating breakfast signals the body that the day is beginning and the appropriate hormones and enzymes need to get ramped up for the day ahead. As the brain is highly dependent on glucose (sugar), carbohydrates which break down to sugars are an important component of our morning meal. But having a heavily carb-rich meal will result in blood sugar spikes. Have you ever wondered why you’re ravenous at 10:00 am after eating a bowl of cereal? Sugar is used by the body as a quick source of energy. But once it is used, the body craves more sugar, resulting in continued hunger. In addition, sugar requires insulin to bring it into the cells. With increased consumption of sugary foods, the body may eventually develop insulin resistance.

Geri Wohl

Geri Wohl, Certified Nutrition Consultant

Skipping this meal can be just as problematic as having a carbohydrate-rich breakfast. No food signals the body to go into “starvation mode.” Without nourishment,the body tries to hoard every calorie possible until the food crisis has passed. Just like bears and whales put on fat and blubber to deal with the winter months of little food, so too our bodies have an inherent mechanism to protect us from periods of minimal food. The end result is extra fat and weight which most of us would rather avoid.

Eating a balanced breakfast has been shown to help with weight loss. Wholesome breakfasts help reduce hunger throughout the day. When people eat only two meals per day (lunch and dinner), they typically will eat more calories because those hunger pangs are so strong.

So what should be in that morning meal? I always recommend to my clients to start the day with a balanced breakfast including some form of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

So what are these different pieces? Proteins are broken down into amino acids, the building blocks for cells, hormones and enzymes. Proteins also help regulate blood sugar to prevent blood sugar highs and lows. In addition, they provide us with longer periods of energy so that we don’t get as hungry. Examples are eggs, vegetarian protein like lentils or beans, tofu or tempeh, fish, poultry or meat. Carbohydrates are any food that breaks down into sugar. Complex carbs are those that take longer to break apart, and are better for you as they have more dietary fiber. Vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruit fall into this category.

Eating foods that break down into simple sugars too quickly – which is what most Americans eat for breakfast – provide little nutritional value because they are “naked” carbs with none of the necessary fiber, vitamins or minerals. Part of your meal should contain high-fiber and low-glycemic value foods so that your blood sugar remains at a relatively constant level. If you want more information about fiber-rich and low-glycemic foods, please contact me through my website, www.bettereatingcoach.com.

Finally, fat should be included. You don’t need a lot and small amounts of the right fats won’t necessarily make you fat. But you do need to choose quality fats. Some examples of healthy fats are olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.

I want to address one food that has been controversial – eggs. Some of us are very concerned about cholesterol. Some new research has shown that consuming eggs in moderation is not responsible for high cholesterol levels. According to the American Heart Association, healthy people can eat an egg per day. One egg has about 70 calories. If you buy pastured eggs, these eggs have many wonderful nutrients that are anti-inflammatory and rich in protein as well. For a delicious vegetable frittata recipe, visit my website, www.bettereatingcoach.com/recipes.

So remember to begin your day right and allow your body to be at its maximum potential! Bon Appetit!

April 20, 2011

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week: Dried Calimyrna Figs

Filed under: Dried Fruit & Nut Specials, RECIPES — Tags: , , , , — Sigona's @ 7:36 am

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week: Dried Calimyrna Figs

Excellent! Super jumbo sized!

Dried Calimyrna Figs

From California’s Fresno Valley

Reg. $5.99 (10.5 oz. container)

On sale for $3.99

Don’t miss out on these beauties. They are a delicious, scrumptious, nutritious treat and can be enjoyed in any number of ways:

  • Stuff with Your Favorite Cheese—here are two examples: Try any of our four Gorgonzolas from Italy, with walnuts, or use any type of goat cheese with walnuts or pecans
  • Figs wrapped with prosciutto and served with blue cheese
  • Fig banana smoothie
  • Fig nut sandwich
  • Goat cheese fig pizza
  • Cambazola Focaccia fig pizza
  • Out of hand
  • Chopped in cereals
  • Added to fresh fruit smoothies

Dried Figs are loaded with excellent nutritional value. The following nutritional info is from the California Fig Advisory Board:

  • Fresh and Dried Figs contain Disease-fighting antioxidants
  • Fresh and Dried Figs contain Good Amounts of Calcium
  • Fresh and Dried Figs contain Good Amounts of Potassium
  • Fresh and Dried Figs contain Good Amounts of Iron
  • And—lots of Dietary Fiber

John Sigona partners with local farmers to get spectacular prices on all your favorite dried fruits & nuts!

November 23, 2008

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s: World Famous Wicked Easy French Toast

Filed under: RECIPES — Tags: , , , , , — Sigona's @ 10:19 am

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s: World Famous Wicked Easy French Toast

Recipe courtesy of Diane Rezendes

Diane’s notes: this is my niece and nephews’ favorite sleepover breakfast (they declared it to be ‘world famous’). Michael, who wants to become a chef, helped me cook it last time and said, ‘Wow, Auntie Di, this is wicked easy!’

It’s great for Thanksgiving weekend brunch for a crowd.  You can actually eat with your family instead of standing by the stove all morning!”

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 thick slices day-old* cinnamon bread (or other bread)
  • 6-8 eggs, to your preference (more eggs will create a more custardlike texture)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a dash of salt
  • butter for your baking dish

Prep the night before serving:

Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt.  Pour into a shallow casserole dish, then place the bread slices into the dish.  Turn them over so the egg side is up.  There should be extra liquid in the bottom of the dish; it will be absorbed by morning.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a hurry?

You could shorten the soaking time to 2 hours if you wish.

*Day-old or slightly stale bread is drier and will absorb more of the egg mixture.  If your bread is fresh, you may put it in a low oven (pilot light is fine; 150 will work too) for awhile to dry it out.

Cook:

Preheat oven to 325.  Take a second baking dish and butter it well (otherwise the bread will stick).  Using a spatula, transfer each slice from the soaking dish.  Bake about 20-30 minutes.  Test for doneness:  a knife inserted will come out clean.  Serve at once.

Serve:

Top with butter and real maple syrup – add some Niman Ranch bacon or ham on the side, and set out a bowl of satsumas, berries, or other fruit in season.  Michael likes his with peanut butter and maple syrup.

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