Food Is Medicine Interview

Chef Mark Reinfeld
Author, Vegan World Fusion Cusine

[ Q&A ] Food is Medicine Interview
by Dr. Devin Ryerson of Pure Prescriptions

DR: Mark, to continue with our discussion about the ‘Food is Medicine’ treatment in your new e-book, 7 Minute Chef, can you please highlight a few of the foods and ingredients you recommend as particularly healthful?

Well, there are a lot of ingredients to choose from! Let’s focus on these 5 items we can include in our diet to assist us in achieving optimal health.

1. Sea Vegetables: Vegetables from the sea, (a.k.a. sea weeds) such as arame, hijiki, wakame and kombu, to name a few, have been consumed by the Japanese and other cultures from around the world since ancient times. They contain the widest range of minerals of any food. They are rich in iodine, which is vital for proper thyroid function. They are also great sources of folic acid and magnesium, which are essential for good heart health. They impart a salty, fishy flavor to dishes. For some tasty ways to include these superfoods, please check out our e-book or cookbook.

2. Avocado: The avocado is actually a fruit that provides more then 25 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. Avocados are an ancient food- an archeological dig in Peru found avocado seeds dating back to the 8th century. They are a wonderful addition to salads, sandwiches and spreads. For a delicious dairy free creamy frosting, try blending avocado with melted chocolate chips- you will be amazed at how yummy this is.

3. Nutritional Yeast: This is perhaps our favorite condiment. It’s a delicious vegetarian source of protein, containing essential amino acids. It’s rich in B- Vitamins. Look for those brands that our enriched with Vitamin b-12, for a wonderful source of this essential nutrient. It’s also rich in folic acid, which is necessary for the formation, growth and reproduction of red blood cells. It’s great to sprinkle liberally on a many foods as it adds an incredible nutty and cheesy flavor. Kids will love a pasta dish with olive oil, nutritional yeast and a bit of sea salt or soy sauce.

4. Flax seeds: These small seeds are a superfood that has been used since ancient times. Flax is one of the original ‘medicines’ used by Hippocrates and was used extensively in the Roman Empire. It contains high quality protein and is rich in soluble fiber. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Flax seeds are high in the phytonutrient ‘lignan’ which has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. To include this amazing food in your diet, try sprinkling the ground up seeds or pouring the oil on salads, grains, cereals and smoothies.

5. Kale: This delicious dark leafy green is a member of the cabbage family and is one of our favorite veggies. A vegetarian source of protein, this nutritional powerhouse is high in vitamins C, K and A, folic acid and calcium. Kale is great lightly steamed with a splash of olive oil, fresh lemon juice and some high quality sea salt. Please see below for another delicious kale recipe from our e-book.

DR: Any favorite recipe from the book you could share with us?

Here is one of our favorite recipes.

7 minutes prep / 20 minutes cook / 4-5 servings

1 pound tofu, extra firm, cubed
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbl mirin (optional)
2 Tbl toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup filtered water
1 large bunch kale
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup cucumber, quartered & sliced; sprinkle crunchy bean sprouts (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh minced
3 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp rosemary, dried
1 tsp oregano, dried
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Loving Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400. Stir soy sauce, oil and mirin in a baking pan with tofu cubes. Roast until golden brown, approximately 15_20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place in a large bowl.

2. While tofu is cooking, bring a small pot of water to boil. Pull the leaf of the kale from the stem in small pieces. Discard stems and place leaves in pot with water and stir until kale becomes bright green and just tender.

3. Drain, place in bowl with tofu and remaining ingredients and mix well.


~ add 1/2 cup kalamata olives, tomatoes and 2 Tbl balsamic vinegar for a Greek flavor.
~ prepare tofu and veggies as directed and toss with favorite salad dressing.
~ replace cucumber with thinly sliced carrot, radish, tomato or beet.
~ if you prefer raw kale, prepare 1 hour ahead of time and refrigerate to allow the oil to soften the kale.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Reinfeld is the founding chef of the Blossoming Lotus Restaurants and a recipient of a 2006 Platinum carrot award given by the Aspen Center of Integral Health to ‘Americas Top Healthy Gourmet Chefs’. He is a recognized authority in the field of healthy cuisine. Mark is the coauthor of Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, winner of 9 national awards.

None of the above is intended as medical advice. Since every individual’s health condition and circumstance are unique, we recommend seeking the services of a qualified health care professional before using any of this information for medical purposes.

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