Cucumber – The Jesus Fruit

Just remember this – cucumber is not a pointless garnish. It is not just something you throw into water in a hotel lobby to look chi chi.

  • They have “high levels of bioactive phytochemicals such as cucurbitacins, lignans and flavonoids. Many of these compounds have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, painkilling, wound-healing and laxative properties, making cucumbers an ideal cure-all.”
  • “cucurbitacins could block the signaling pathways that are essential for cancer cell growth and survival.”
  • “Cucurbitacin B’s ability to inhibit tumor growth and induce cancer cell apoptosis may lead to new and efficient cancer treatments to fight pancreatic cancer.”
  • “Cucumbers contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol and secoisolariciresino – three lignans associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as several types of cancer. These include breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers.”
  • “A 2010 study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, found that these three compounds could protect your heart by lowering vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.”


As a child I remember spending nights at my grandparents. In the morning I’d wake up very early to be at the kitchen counter to watch my Grandpa John make scrambled eggs with breakfast sausage. While the whites and yolks bonded together in the butter and sausage grease turning into a nice yellow color, and the aroma filled the kitchen air, Grandpa John would tell me stories of growing up during the depression;about working in the CCC’s, how he learned to box in barn houses as a teenager with other boys while growing up too quickly in Long Island during a scary time. Listening to his stories was better than the movies about those times, it was his life and I learned about it while being mesmerized over the frying pan.

Countless times I sat listening to his stories and watched him fry the eggs and sausage, practically drooling over them. Few memories of my grandparents are so profound. Mostly now, my love of eggs is not about these memories, and my personal dish is a bit more complex than Grandpa’s were.

Nearly every day I eat eggs for breakfast. Usually I throw in sautéed spinach/kale/chard or some other leafy green, olive oil (with the greens), butter, fresh ground black pepper, sea salt, salsa, black beans, hot sauce, and / or whatever other random mix in. That all makes things sound complex, forget them for now. I’m here to talk about eggs, and why I will probably eat at least one egg per day, 5-6 days a week for the rest of my life, except in extreme circumstances while traveling.

And just for clarification. I only eat “happy eggs” none of this hens house avian flu stuff. I expect the chickens producing my eggs to have walked around eating off the land throughout their life. I hope they watched the sun rise, and felt the breeze, and ate natural organic food living in a lot of ways, as I do. This life ensures their eggs contain all the nutrients and proteins I expect to get from them. When shopping for eggs, never buy anything less, the happy kind are much more expensive, but the extra $2-3 is the price you pay to be healthy and know your chickens are just as happy as you are. Anything less if basically an investment in an unsustainable world – a horrible life for chickens and eggs – which aren’t as good for you as they can be. Think happy eggs – happy egg eater 🙂

For more information on how to know what kind of life was lived by the chickens who laid your eggs visit this page on the Humane Society’s website.

Back to eating eggs… as I was saying I think they are perfect food, here’s why:

Name anything that should be in your diet, especially in the first meal of your day, and eggs probably contain some of it. And it’s all in the right portion of one egg. Not too big, not too little, and not too much of anything.

For starters they are full of nutrients including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B2
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium (anyone worried about eating too much Kale benefits from this)
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B6
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Trace Minerals

For protein, all essential eight can be found, in fact eggs have over 40 different proteins. Many of which end up helping your body to produce antioxidants.

As for fat, and whether you believe it or not, fat is important in your diet, and eggs contain all the right fat: poly and mono-unsaturated, along with and saturated fat all inside that little shell.

If you’re going low-carb, you can’t get much lower than an egg, you’ll have to eat some bread or drink some OJ should you want them, because a typical egg is about 1% carb (<2grams).

On an pure nutritional facts label basis, depending on the size of your egg, you can expect to find that all together one egg (lets say a 100 gram egg) contains round about 150 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 13 grams of protein, and 11 grams of those aforementioned healthy fats.

As for high cholesterol, some people may be stuck on the past, but the days of fearing the cholesterol in eggs are long gone. If you have high cholesterol, many studies have shown eating up to two eggs per day reduces your cholesterol, not increase. Remember that’s because there is good and bad cholesterol, eggs contain the good kind…

If you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes or burning fat / weight loss is on your agenda, eggs help with this too. A study found up to 4 eggs per week helped reduced risk of T2D.  This is in part because eggs help your liver to metabolize glucose, thus producing less storage fat cells from the food you’re eating.

And with a satiaty index of 150%, eggs leave you feeling more full than yogurt, that means you will be less hungry after eating eggs compared to other common breakfast meals and eggs contain fewer calories. Kind of like having your egg and eating it too 😉

Last but not least, for avoiding the common cold and the harmful effects of free radicals, eggs offer a helping hand. A number of antioxidants can be sourced to the common chicken egg. A recent study even has found two specific nutrients Lutein and Zeaxanthin found in eggs will reduce risk of and counteract macular degeneration and cataracts.

A word of advice too, though some have turned to the slightly more convenient (and I can barely avoid cringing when I saying that) liquid eggs, steer back to the original version. Tests have proven some of these benefits are lost when the egg has been processed ahead of time. Eat the whole egg, from the shell!

Eggs also typically come in a cardboard carton, completely recyclable in most places of the world these days, and the shells are totally biodegradable. The same probably can’t be said for the plastic that most other breakfasts come in.

So there you have it, all of that, and we’re really just looking at the highlights. But isn’t it enough? Yes everything is best in moderation. I skip my daily eggs from time to time. But I always go back. You can buy them anywhere in the world, they are not expensive, even the happy kind. You can mix them into any number of other dishes for lunch, dinner, or dessert.

Give eggs a try, or try going back. You’ll feel better, you’ll be healthier. And they are nearly as easy to prepare as anything else.



Is Kale Killing You?

Kale is everywhere these days, and I make sure to have some just about any place that I am staying at long enough to prepare a meal.

If you cruise health blogs on the inter-webs you have seen the craze for the wild stiff leafy green that has been heralded a superfood. While in LA last month, I noticed nearly every restaurant offered a kale salad, that is new, and not normal in other cities! But truth be told, kale is old news, in case you hadn’t noticed. Google trends shows a world wide spike mid 2014, and since then it’s popularity has fallen back 10% to mid 2013 levels. I suspect it could just be a decline in popularity for kale chips.

But since I eat kale almost daily, and have an addictive personality, if it’s possible to overdue kale, I’m probably on the speedway for kale poisoning. So I figured it was time to look this up and see if the dark days of kale have come.

As an idea of where the world stands with kale, there are presently 7.9 million web pages (according to google) mentioning “kale” and “kale benefits” (in 2012 it was 2.3 million). In 2013 and 2014 farmers and kale seed distributors claimed there would be a kale shortage. But when it comes to the dark side of kale, just 395,000 search results appear related to “Dangers of Kale” appear. While that is no scientific survey, it gives you a glimpse into that state of kale.

Looking into the nay sayers of kale; quite easily I discovered that since the hay day when kale could do no wrong circa December 2013, around January 2014 just in time to catch the wave of kale love, Dr Oz and the New York Times came out with an argument for why too much kale can become a bad thing. Apparently some studies found if you have an iodine deficiency, too much Kale or just about any leafy green and other foods can lead to production of goitrin which blocks thyroid hormone synthesis.

Of course you can find a study to make just about any claim you like. And if Dr Oz or NYT were trying to catch a popular keyword at the right time with some controversial news like “your kale juice is going to kill you” they certainly knew when to strike. But if nothing else it is just a small warning that even kale along with many other veggies can cause issues when you don’t change up your greens from time to time. So, I guess it’s time to learn to like a beet salad occasionally, or some sautéed zucchini. Lesson learned.

If you are worried about too much kale or iodine deficiency, the solutions are simple, though it’s still probably a good idea to mix up your meals from time to time (I can definitely work on that). To counter act the deficiency simply eat some iodine rich foods such as seaweed. Also the selenium in  brazil nuts can support proper iodine levels.

And now that I’ve taken advantage of my own fear mongering, I wanted to just re-earn some kale karma, if you will. During my research of kale I didn’t actually see a complete description of what is so great about kale. So here is my own improvement on that.

So what does kale have? How about protein and omega 3 fatty acids? It contains vitamins A,C, and K, minerals phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc. When consumed raw it’s is considered to be a precursor of glutathione (the mother of antioxidants). It fills you up and is loaded with fiber and iron helping your blood and digestion. It wont hurt your low carb or low fat diet, it certainly isn’t going to add many calories if counting is your game. You can eat it raw, cook it, juice it, chop it up fine and add some sauce. Kale’s health benefits may prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Is that enough?

If you ask me, while there are many foods out there in the veggie family with similar benefits, kale takes first prize for availability, cost, and health benefits. Sure I’ll have to cut down to a few meals a week instead of a salad every day. But kale isn’t going anywhere for me. I’ll just make sure to eat some brazil nuts with it. 😉