March 7, 2013, Vol. 11, Issue 5
When I first met Rebecca Katz and was introduced to her first two books, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and One Bite at a Time, I was smitten. As I wrote then, I’d never really sat down and read a cookbook before. These books, though, were engaging, and fun, as well as full of enticing, healthy, yummy recipes.
Well, she’s done it again, with her newest book: The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying BIG-FLAVOR RECIPES Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods. The writing pulls you right into her kitchen, and from there it will lure you into your own.
Cooking healthy with whole foods has never sounded or looked this good — the pictures are mouth-watering. Aromas almost waft off the pages, as Rebecca’s enthusiasm for healthy, yummy food oozes through the descriptions and stories that accompany every recipe.
The book was released last week, and I just got my copy. So I haven’t tried any recipes yet, but I’m preparing my shopping list for this weekend! I can’t wait to dive into the kitchen.
More YUM from Rebecca Katz in —
The Longevity Kitchen
Based on her two previous books, I’ve arranged for Rebecca to speak at several events for cancer audiences, and the feedback has always been gratifying and enthusiastic. (You can see what I mean if you click here and watch the second video down, which shows her cooking and speaking at the same time.) So she and I are both excited that the topic of this new book opens up the field for all types of audiences craving yummy food that supports their health. After all, who doesn’t want to live a long, happy and delicious life?
Rebecca’s emphasis on putting the “power of yum” into her cooking started when she returned from a sojourn to Italy — which is where and how she got inspired about making delicious, healthy food accessible. It stemmed from the wisdom of the elders — the nonnas who mentored her in the kitchen and on daily trips to the market. As she experienced their wisdom about the connections between food and longevity, she also realized the responsibility for not only nourishing oneself, but for also sharing this culinary expertise and traditions with one’s family and community.
When she first started cooking seriously, many of her fellow cooks and other colleagues in the field of wellness had the notion that great-tasting food exploding with nutrients could also act as medicine – something they believed based on their own upbringing and the way so many cultures use food for healing — i.e. chicken soup! Even though that wasn’t long ago, they didn’t have much science to back up their beliefs.
That’s changed. Since the 1980’s, the number of nutritional studies published in peer-reviewed science journals has doubled each decade. In all, serious researchers at the top academic medical centers in the United States and around the world have published nearly 250,000 nutritional studies, including more than 100,000 since the turn of the millennia.
“From my stove-front viewpoint,” Rebecca says, “this means that I can point to almost any food and know that someone with a long string of credentials has studied how that food affects health and specific body systems, from head to toe, inside and out.”
And herein lies the connection to the theme for this book — longevity. “The fact that I’m now able to write about the links between food and longevity, relying not on speculation but on thousands of published scientific studies, gives me so much confidence that I’m practically bursting at the seams,” she continues. “It’s as though scientists all over the world have confirmed what Grandma instinctively knew when she said, “Eat this. It’s good for you.”
“I often conduct workshops teaching people how to reconnect with healthy foods,” she said. “It thrills me to know that while I’m grabbing them by the taste buds and watching their hands create foods that make their voices sigh with pleasure, I can fill their minds with example after example of how specific foods can nourish all of their cells, organs, tissues, and other physiological systems that keep their bodies purring with contentment.”
You have to love Rebecca’s philosophy as she eases the most reluctant cook under her wing. “Learning to eat for longevity, and moving toward cooking healthfully (and deliciously), is a gradual process, and it benefits from positive reinforcement,” she says. “It happens almost on a subconscious level. It can be really helpful to start with foods you already enjoy, like the Super Sixteen [revealed in the book]. It’s easier to try a new ingredient, say an herb or spice, when it’s combined with a food you naturally crave.”
It’s not just about recipes. She has also written an entire section about how foods affect the body, based on how the body works and how it metabolizes food. And another whole section about the healing power of food, including her culinary pharmacy — a list of many of the recipe ingredients along with their health benefits based on research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Her wide range of expertise qualifies Rebecca to speak to many different types of audiences, in depth, and yet delivered with her fresh, upbeat, and fun approach.
A nationally-recognized culinary translator and expert on the role of food in supporting optimal health, Rebecca has a Masters of Science degree in Health and Nutrition Education, and received her culinary training from New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. She is the founder and director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal, which is dedicated to transforming lives through nutritional science and culinary alchemy.
Best of all, you can bring Rebecca’s culinary enthusiasm and expertise to your community and attract your best audience of the year, by calling me at 503-699-5031. Find out more about her credentials and background on our website.
Sample it Yourself
As a teaser, here are a couple of my top two picks from the book that I’m anxious to try: Brownies and Asparagus. Oh, woops, no, that’s not one recipe. Those are two recipes. Chocolate lover that I am, and newly gluten-free, I’m especially looking forward to trying the brownies. And asparagus is just starting to come into season. Here’s the intro to each with a link to the recipe.
As described by Rebecca in the book:
“Jumbo shrimp. Airline food. Boneless ribs. Fuzzy logic. Some words just don’t seem to belong together. I’m betting you’d say healthy brownie falls into that category. Au contraire! How do I know that isn’t the case? Because there was a lot of “yumming” in my kitchen as a gaggle of brownie aficionados devoured these. Refined white sugar out; Grade B maple syrup in. See ya white flour; hello almond flour and brown rice flour. Fare-thee-well butter; come-on-down olive oil! Add dark chocolate, walnuts, and cinnamon, and the result is a decadent culinary oxymoron for the ages. Makes 16 brownies.”
To get the recipe direct from her web site, click here.
We’re just starting to get asparagus in the stores, at a little over $2 a pound (instead of $4). I absolutely LOVE asparagus, and it will be regular on my table until the last stalk disappears from the fruit stand in July. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Arugula (another favorite) and hazelnuts (an Oregon crop!) are on this weekend’s grocery list.
“You can learn a lot sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck. That’s where my buddy Chris, from Zuckerman’s Farm, used to sit me down and teach me about all things asparagus. Chris worked hard—awfully hard—as a farmer. He was true salt of the earth, and as generous as they come. Normally, there’s an invisible line: farmers behind their wares and buyers on the other side, but Chris always insisted I ‘step into his parlor.’
“Both of us were always so excited when the first asparagus of the season showed up. He’d put aside a bunch for me, and then we’d both hop up on that tailgate and talk—about recipes, how amazingly nutritious asparagus is, and, a lot of the time, about life and family. Chris passed away not long ago, and I felt the best way I could honor him was to create a recipe featuring his favorite veggie. I think he would have enjoyed this, and I hope you will too. Makes 4 servings.”
To get the recipe for yourself, click here.
You can get the book at any major or independent bookseller. Booksellers are listed on Rebecca’s own website. She can also provide books to sell and autograph at your event.
Now take care of yourself and your loved ones with some yummy, healthy food. I hope you’ll join me in trying a healthy new recipe for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they know how to connect with women and give them life-changing information served on a silver platter of joy, camaraderie, with a side of sauce (spicy, of course).
Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me endless joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.