RECIPE: Sunrise Nori Wraps


Text excerpted from EATING CLEAN, © 2016 by AMIE VALPONE. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.  Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 2.55.53 PM

Sunrise Nori Wraps with Spicy Tahini Drizzle   Serves 4

If you like California rolls, you’ll love these nori wraps (though personally, I think they’re so much better!). The tahini dressing is truly addictive—you’re going to want to dress everything in it—and the cabbage provides a nice crunch. If possible, use a food processor to slice the cabbage so you can get it super thin.

Also, make sure the vegetable strips are all the same width and length so that they don’t hang over the edges of the nori sheets; this will make rolling up the wraps easier. Use leftover tahini drizzle as a dressing for salads or as a dip for crudités.

Sunrise Nori Wraps 

4 nori seaweed sheets

¼ small head red cabbage, very thinly sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and julienned

1 small yellow summer squash, julienned

1 small cucumber, julienned

1 large ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

1 recipe Spicy Tahini Drizzle

Spicy Tahini Drizzle 

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ¼ tablespoons chickpea miso paste

1 tablespoon raw tahini

2 medjool dates, pitted

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Water, as needed to thin the drizzle

Place the nori sheets on a flat surface. Divide the cabbage, carrot, squash, cucumber, and avocado among the sheets. Top each pile of vegetables with a heaping tablespoon of the Spicy Tahini Drizzle, and then roll up the nori sheets into a tube shape.

Make the tahini: Combine all of the ingredients except the water in a blender. Blend, adding water 1 teaspoon at a time as you go, until the mixture becomes a thin sauce.

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How Eating Like Your Ancestors Can Help You Lose Weight


Blog Photo FastingBy Mary Gocke, RDN, CDN

The key to losing weight in 2016 might be found by going back in time and eating like our ancestors.

What if fasting was a part of your healthy lifestyle and offered the benefit of weight loss? Please, don’t get nervous and don’t go anywhere. Keep reading. This is the real deal.

We’re talking about intermittent fasting and it’s how our ancestors ate – think feast or famine. When there was food available, they ate; when they didn’t have food, they didn’t eat. They couldn’t run to a fast-food restaurant or pop a frozen-food entrée in the microwave.

Intermittent fasting does not mean you have to starve yourself. It does ask you to look at your lifestyle, notice how often you eat and especially observe late-night snacking – you know, when you’re stressed and watching late night television to take your mind off things and unconsciously eating the bag of potato chips or pint of ice cream.

What if you stopped eating after dinner and didn’t eat again until breakfast? There you go – intermittent fasting! 8pm to 8am – 12 hours of intermittent fasting. Maybe your schedule is 7pm to 7am; not a problem. There’s flexibility here. It’s not the time that matters; it’s the timing – setting yourself up for a period of 12-14 hours when you are not eating. And giving your body a chance to detoxify and rejuvenate itself.

The benefits of intermittent fasting are well-studied and vast, including:

  • Improve metabolic efficiency and metabolic flexibility
  • Reset your body to use fat as its primary fuel source
  • Boost enzyme production to facilitate digestion and weight loss
  • Generate production of human growth hormone
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Reduce markers of chronic inflammation

Intermittent fasting is one aspect of the revolutionary weight loss program offered at Blum Center for Health this month. We want to help you lose weight and we want you to keep it off with a healthy lifestyle plan.

Learn more and join our Group Weight Loss Program.


5 Tips to Eat Mindfully During the Holidays


By Susan Blum, MD, MPH

1.  Stick to your healthy diet during the day if you know you have a holiday party at night.  It sounds logical, but it’s easy to start indulging during office parties or grabbing unhealthy snacks while you’re on-the-go. If you stick to a healthy diet all day like veggies and lean protein, you can treat yourself at night. 

2.  Never leave the house hungry.  Have a healthy snack like carrots and hummus around 4-5pm before you leave for your festivities and you’ll be less likely to fill your plate at the party. 

3.  Taste Everything!  Try bites of all the food offerings but leave the rest on your plate.  If you ate a snack and you’re not starving, you will be able leave your plate full but still enjoy indulging in the holiday fare. 

4.  Swap water in between cocktails to stay hydrated and full. 

5.  Reset on Monday!  I always tell my patients to enjoy themselves during special occasions and plan to reboot on Monday with a full day of healthy juices and foods that detoxify the body. It takes the stress and guilt off holiday eating and guarantees to soothe the digestive system and replenish the body with vital nutrients and antioxidants.  At Organic Pharmer, we offer a 1 – Day Reboot cleanse just for this purpose! 

Wishing you happiness and health this holiday season!

Healthy Thanksgiving Side: Whipped Sweet Potato Bake


Healthy Thanksgiving Side: Whipped Sweet Potato Bake

Untitled designChef Amy gives us a healthy, dairy-free version of a Thanksgiving favorite.

She chose healthy fats, like coconut oil,  as an alternative to butter, and used coconut milk to give sweet potatoes a creamy, thick consistency.  Warm autumn spices and a touch of maple syrup add a rich flavor the whole family will love!

The Bloat Blog


By Mary Gocke, RDN, CDN


C892C2EF-7610-4971-802D-FD7AE558D4E4Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

Your stomach looks like you’re in the third trimester and you’re not even pregnant.

You have a beer belly and don’t drink beer.

You produce gas that could be lethal?

You’re always searching for an Altoid to fix wicked bad breath?

These are all signs of a gut gone bad! 

Honestly, the causes can come from a variety of offenders.  It could be gluten, dairy, fructose, stress, or an overgrowth of bad bugs in your gut.

As nature would have it, gas is produced in the large bowel and for the most part does not cause any problems.  But when bloating and gas happen in the small intestines, it can become problematic and produce a distended, fermenting belly.

It’s embarrassing, but the good news is that it is fixable.

Usually, the biggest gas producer is DAIRY and the reasons are twofold.  Dairy contains lactose and most us are missing the enzyme that breaks it down, so it forms gas.  The other reason is the protein in dairy, casein, is highly allergenic.  A reaction to casein can cause inflammation in the gut that results in bloating.

So first, remove the dairy from your diet.  Then join me on November 16th for a free talk on how you can Beat the Bloat by changing your diet.  We’ll also discuss the medical tests that can help identify the cause of your bloat and the supplements that help reverse your chronic big belly.  Register Online

On The Farm with Dr.Yee: Parsley (with recipe)


In 2006, after moving from NYC to Rockland County, I started growing my own food on less than 1/10th of an acre.  In 2 years my husband and I became one of 9 official farms in Rockland County and we called ourselves Hook Mountain Growers.  It has transformed my life, how I approach food as medicine and impacts the way I provide treatment for my patients.

Below is an excerpt about one of my favorite herbs to grow, parsley.

Parsley is a packed powerhouse of health.  Oftentimes it’s added to detox regimens because it is high in chlorophyll and acts as a mild diuretic and laxative.  Its volatile oils contain high amounts of Vitamin K, C, thiamine, riboflavin and carotenes, in addition to the flavonoids and antioxidants apigenin, apiol, and myristicin.  Some of these have anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.  Many cultures use parsley as a digestive aid and in combating garlic breath. Try eating a sprig of parsley the next time you consume a lot of garlic – it neutralizes the odor!

One classic parsley salad is Tabbouleh.  I like the authentic Lebanese version where parsley dominates the salad rather than the Americanized version that has a higher proportion on bulgur or cracked wheat.

And now that I have gorgeous heirloom Boothby Blonde cucumbers and a bounty of tomatoes, this was the perfect recipe of the day.

Lebanese Tabbouleh


1/2 cup bulgur, fine or medium cracked wheat (don’t use the large variety)

Juice of 4 lemons

3 bunches fresh parsley, finely chopped (leaves only)

Handful fresh mint, thinly sliced

3 medium tomatoes, diced

6 green onions, thinly sliced (with green stems)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Optional addition: though the authentic Lebanese recipe does not call for cucumbers, I couldn’t resist adding them in for another texture and crunch in the salad.  Plus I had an abundance of beautiful heirloom Boothyby Blonde Cucumbers.

  1. Soak bulgur in the juice of 2 lemons until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  If you are using medium grade bulgur you may need to soak it in hot water but make sure the final product is DRY.
  2. Combine chopped parsley, slivered mint leaves, scallions and tomatoes with the bulgur.
  3. Add remaining juice of 2 lemons and add olive oil, salt to taste and mix once again.

Eat with romaine or cabbage leaves or just by itself.  Delish!


*Visit Dr.Yee’s website to learn more about her micro-farm and practice of food as medicine.

In The Kitchen with Amy Bach


In The Kitchen with Amy Bach

BCH: Welcome to BlumKitchen!      Amy's picture

AB:  Thank you!  I am excited to join the Blum Center For Health Kitchen and share my passion and knowledge of healthy cooking with your patients and clients.

BCH:  Tell us about yourself and your background.

AB:  My background in cooking has been very diverse and has helped evolve my craft over the years.  For 5 years I was the Executive Chef at a private college, and then became an hors d’oeuvres chef for one of Westchester’s premiere catering companies.

I then started my own catering business and specialized in weddings and private parties.  I even won an award from Westchester Magazine for best dinner delivery service!

At present, I am Chef Manager at Organic Pharmer and a personal chef specializing in gluten free baking, vegan meals and healthy family dinners. I have three families that I cook for in Westchester.

BCH:  We’ve noticed the food you prepare not only tastes delicious, it always has a beautiful appearance.

AB:  One of my favorite quotes is “you eat with your eyes first”.  Back when I was in art school I would host big dinner parties and invite all my hungry artists friends over to feast. As with art, the presentation and visual factor of food is very important to me.

BCH:  What’s the biggest misconception about cooking without gluten, soy, corn, dairy and egg?

AB:  That the food won’t taste as good or have the right texture!   In the kitchen it’s all about experimenting with alternatives.  I am especially passionate about gluten free baking.  There are many wonderful gluten free flours that give so much flavor and texture; you won’t even miss wheat flour!

BCH:  What are 5 ingredients you can’t live without?


A good olive oil

Salts, especially Pink Himalayan

Dijon mustard

Fresh herbs

Homemade stocks

BCH:  What’s the best part about cooking during the summer months?

I am a passionate organic gardener and grow over 20 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs at my home.  Working with homegrown fresh produce out of my garden makes cooking even more special.  Also, I love all of the fabulous produce available at local farmers markets and of course, grilling outside.

BCH:  How can we keep summer BBQ’s healthy?

AB:  Make room on the grill for vegetables!  Lots of summer vegetables like zucchini, peppers, and onions, are so tasty when drizzled with a little olive oil and grilled to perfection.

You can easily avoid heavy mayo filled salads by using healthy grains and beans/legumes.  Any easy summer lunch can be made using left-over grilled vegetables, quinoa, garbanzo beans, and a drizzle of lemon & olive oil with chopped parsley and salt and pepper for quick summer salad!

Join Chef Amy this Summer at Blum Center for Health for a variety of cooking demos.





Whey Better Than A Protein Bar


We know how tough it can be to get out of the door during the morning,  let alone feed yourself a healthy and satisfying breakfast. Our quick and easy alternative to a bowl of carb charged cereal or grabbing a sugar laden protein bar is a Whey protein smoothie.

Why is Whey so important?  Made from grass-fed cows, Whey protein is packed with antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients to protect the body and keep it strong.  It’s is filled with immunoglobulins, natural substances that fight infections and helps repair tissue and make new immune cells.

The protein will help you stay full and satisfied without the sugar crash and cravings, making it a great choice for those jam-packed mornings and days you’re always on the go.   It’s so healthy and delicious we bet your kids will even want to try  your grown up milkshake for breakfast!

Purchase Blum Whey Protein at the Blum Center Store.

Follow our BlumKitchen recipe or get creative with your fruits and add ins!

Eat Your Way to Sexy


MaryColorIt’s no surprise that a healthy diet can make you feel good inside and out. But there are also many super foods that can help turn on the libido. The right foods can support the adrenals, turn on sex hormones, and stimulate the excitement and satisfaction centers in your brain.

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Chili Peppers
  • Flax Seeds
  • Garlic
  • Maca
  • Oysters
  • Raw Cacao
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Watermelon

Food As Medicine: Anti-Inflammatory Foods


Part 1- Sugar

images1Inflammation is your body’s first response to an injury or a foreign bug that causes infection, and this is good because it is meant to protect you. But, if high levels of these inflammatory chemicals are released continuously, the normal functioning of your cells can be obstructed, and healthy tissue gets damaged. Not so good – especially since more and more studies link inflammation in the body to many serious illnesses and conditions, in particular autoimmune.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with an illness or, if you’d like to simply maintain general good health, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods are the way to go!

Fruits and vegetablesHere are just a few of the rewards you will reap by keeping an anti-inflammatory lifestyle:

* improved immune function

* less joint pain

* fewer headaches

* relief from stomach problems

* overall sense of well-being

* fringe benefit: weight loss due to improved metabolism! 

Glycemic Index

When it comes to sugar, you always want to choose low-glycemic vs. high-glycemic foods. The glycemic index determines how quickly a particular food raises your blood sugar level. High blood sugar causes inflammation and damages your immune system, and puts you at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

Any food processed with white sugar or white flour is high-glycemic and should be eliminated. That means bagels, breads, breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies, crackers, candy, and soft drinks.  Plus, sugars can be hidden in foods like fruit yogurts and kefirs, salad dressings, pasta sauces, ketchup, just to name a few. So be label-savvy and read the ingredients!

In the meantime, here’s a quick guide to help you choose the best low-glycemic foods:

Low Glycemic – Best Choices High Glycemic – Worst Choices
Drinks Filtered water, decaffeinated or herbal teas, seltzer, mineral water Soda, fruit juices, other drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup
Condiments Organic ketchup, mustard, vinegar, all spices and herbs including: salt, pepper, basil, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard, oregano,  parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, turmeric Anything with high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or added cane sugar, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, teriyaki sauce
Desserts Coconut milk yogurt or ice cream, unsweetened dark chocolate, carob Dried fruit, pineapple, melon, frozen yogurt or ice cream, sorbet, cookies, cakes, candy
Snacks/Breakfast Gluten-free whole-grain crackers with hummus, almond butter, or guacamole; coconut yogurt; nuts (except peanuts); fresh or frozen fruit (all berries, cherries, apples, pears, peaches, plums) Pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips, popcorn, white flour crackers, white flour & white-sugar cookies, cakes, muffins, bagels

The Blum Center for Health Team wishes you a summer filled with laughter, joy, rest, and health-promoting foods!


Our low-sugar, gluten-free granola cookie recipe can be found in our BlumKitchen Nutrition Guide and Cookbook.