Awesome Asparagus -- Quick & Easy

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Asparagus is at its peak right now. Enjoy it fresh from local farms and markets.

Asparagus, like most veggies, is low in calories (27 per cup) and high in fiber, making it the perfect addition to any healthy diet or weight loss plan. A bonus – it is a natural diuretic, a treasured secret among those of us are battling the bloat!

Crispy yet tender, bitter yet sweet, and always satisfying, asparagus is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to keep you healthy. It’s a superb source of vitamin K (important for bone density and blood clotting), folic acid and other B vitamins, iron, vitamin C, and the minerals zinc and selenium. It’s also an impressive source of prebiotics, which serve as a food source for healthy bacteria in our digestive tract. Asparagus has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal food, perhaps because it helps to reduce inflammation in the body, fights high blood pressure, and has detoxifying and anti-cancer properties.

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What about that weird odor of your urine after eating asparagus? Interestingly, some people have the ability to detect the smell, and some do not. It’s normal and perfectly harmless, and can emerge within 15 minutes of eating the asparagus and last up to 2 days. It comes from asparagusic acid, which breaks down into several smelly sulfur-containing compounds when digested. These very components are protective against disease, so if your pee is pungent, rest assured your body is reaping great benefits!

Asparagus, which is in the same veggie family as onions, garlic, leeks, and turnips, is in its peak season right now, so enjoy it fresh from your local farmer’s market or store. You can also get it  year-round thanks to modern agricultural techniques and mass transport, but of course fresh, locally grown asparagus is a real treat. You’ll enjoy it at its peak of flavor and maximum nutritional punch, and reduce your carbon footprint too.

Choose  firm, healthy-looking green/purple or white spears with plump, compact buds at the tips. (Old asparagus is yellowed, bendy, and the tips will look dry or wilted.) Stalk thickness is a matter of personal preference; sometimes the fatter ones are tougher, but not necessarily. When the bunch is squeezed, it should squeak.

Store asparagus in the fridge, with the stalks’ base wrapped in a damp paper towel to extend freshness. Just before using, rinse under cool water to remove dirt, and trim 1-3” of the base with kitchen shears.

Ditch any temptation to boil it — elevate your asparagus to new heights. Try it marinated and grilled; roasted and tossed in a salad; topped with a tangy or spicy sauce; or sautéed with pasta and fresh veggies. Enjoy asparagus in tasty dishes from all over the world — from curries to omelets to pizza to sushi to stir fries.

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Here are 3 variations on 3 basic asparagus cooking methods.

You will need:

  • 1 pound of asparagus spears

  • 1 tbsp good quality olive oil

  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper


SAUTÉED

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add in trimmed asparagus and sauté over medium heat for 5-10 minutes (depending on thickness) until it starts to brown. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and serve.

ROASTED

Trim the asparagus and toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast at 450°F for 8-12 minutes (longer for fatter asparagus) until tender.

GRILLED

Trim the asparagus and toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for 4-6 minutes.


Variation 1: The “Triple A” — Asparagus-arugula-avocado salad with citrus dill dressing

For the dressing, mix up 1/2 cup orange juice, the juice of 2 lemons, 4 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil), and 1 tbsp dried dill or 2 tbsp fresh chopped. Slice up cooked asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Place in a big bowl with a 5-ounce bag of arugula and one large ripe cubed avocado. Gently toss salad with dressing and serve immediately. Serves 4.Per serving: 272 calories, 23 g fat, 2.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrates, 4.4 g fiber, 5 g protein

Variation 2: Asparagus tossed with whole wheat or sprouted penne, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts

Boil 8 ounces of penne according to package directions. Meanwhile, slice up cooked asparagus into 1-inch pieces, roughly chop 1 cup packed sun-dried tomatoes (in oil), and shred up a cup of basil leaves. When pasta is done, drain, place back in hot pot, and add the prepared vegetables. Stir and add 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and 1/3 cup pine nuts. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6. Per serving: 355 calories, 21 g fat, 2.7 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 35 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 10 g protein

Variation 3: Asparagus with Miso Glaze

For the miso glaze, combine 3 tbsp natural sweetener, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp hot water, and 2 tbsp miso. Slice a large red onion into eighths. Slice 8-10 ounces mushrooms of your choice. In a large sauté pan or wok, heat 1 tbsp canola or safflower oil. Stir fry the onion and mushrooms in the oil until cooked, about 8 minutes. Add the sauce. Cook over low heat for several more minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Add the asparagus and toss to coat. Serve over brown rice or rice noodles. Serves 4. Per serving: 335 calories, 15.5 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 44 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 28 g sugar, 12 g protein.




References:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-asparagus-makes-your-urine-smell-49961252

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2824

Diet ID acquires Foodstand

As previously mentioned, we are proud to announce the acquisition of Foodstand, an innovative online platform for health- and nutrition-related behavior change. Together, DietID and Foodstand’s complementary technologies will work together to finally bring to the world the first of its kind solution to help you navigate the journey of reaching dietary success, one day at a time.

Read more about the acquisition in Crain’s: https://www.crainsdetroit.com/mergers-acquisitions/backstage-detroit-accelerator-participant-foodstand-acquired-digital-health

Read the announcement on Foodstand’s Platform: http://blog.thefoodstand.com/2019/04/10/big-news-foodstand-is-now-a-part-of-diet-id/

Letter from Dr. David Katz, Founder and CEO

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Welcome! We are Diet ID, and our mission is to help individuals around the world add years to life, life to years, and help save the planet in the process.

Diet ID is a cutting-edge digital solution that revolutionizes the way people assess and improve their diet. It is the first and only dietary assessment method that does not require tedious calorie counting, logging and tracking, or remembering what, when, and how much you ate. Diet ID embraces the theory of pattern recognition in its unique, quick, and accurate image-based pattern-matching system. Behind our beautiful food images is a science-based, densely populated map of dietary patterns. These are completely analyzed for nutrition content and scored for nutrition quality. Using the best available science, technology, and innovation, we empower people to make faster, smarter, sustainable, and healthier diet choices.

Our team of culinarians, dietitians, developers, product experts, and panel of independent, multidisciplinary nutrition experts and I have brainstormed and developed this exciting new product that is designed to significantly decrease the preponderance of diet related disease.

Getting to a better diet is a journey. Like a GPS, you need to know where you are (Diet ID), where you want to go (Diet Ideal), and the best way to get there (Navigation). We’re with you on every turn, and will keep up if you want to go quickly, or stand by you if you prefer taking it slow. We even help re-route you if you get stuck, hit traffic, or change your mind.

Over the past few months, the Diet ID team has been working to develop, test, and refine the product so that it’s ready for market. We are proud to announce the acquisition of Foodstand, an innovative online platform for health- and nutrition-related behavior change. The merged assets of DietID and Foodstand allow for the introduction of a whole new behavior change concept: Behavioral Navigation. Whereas behavior 'modification' suggests things aren't right and need to be fixed, behavioral navigation says: we can help you get exactly where you would like to go.

Stay tuned for exciting customer deployments and improved product features. We welcome your questions and feedback.

 -Dr. David Katz