Food Trucks: A Thriving Entrepreneurial Frontier

In addition to serving fast and delicious meals, food trucks have created a new market for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Easily accessible, these mobile restaurants can be found at breweries, music venues, or on a busy street corner outside of office buildings. I stopped by the Peruvian Brothers food truck parked in front of the Peruvian Consulate for a Saturday brunch tasting. The brothers, Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone, titled the experience “Gastro-Diplomacy.”

Meet the Peruvian Brothers

I was able to meet these hermanos and ask why they decided to trade captaining yachts (Mario) and competing on the U.S. Olympic rowing team (Giuseppe) for life in a food truck.

The brothers were separated for almost thirteen years pursuing two different careers. The food truck was a chance for them to reconnect and build a business together.

3 Reasons Why Food Trucks Are Good Business 

  1. Low-Overhead: Food trucks require relatively less investment than a traditional kitchen which requires restaurant space, expensive appliances, and a large number of staff. For the brothers this was a selling point. Giuseppe says, "starting with a food truck allows entrepreneurs to try out their product without a huge investment but the possibility to grow."
  2. Specialized Cuisine: Chefs can narrow in on one type of cuisine they enjoy cooking. Giuseppe and Mario were raised in Peru and wanted to showcase some of the authentic Peruvian flavors they grew up eating. Dishes such as  pan con chicharrón, which is a pulled pork sandwich topped with sweet potato and a vinegar based criolla sauce traditionally paired with grilled meats,  are among the brothers' favorites.  
  3. Flexibility for Customers: Giuseppe and Mario watched their father and uncle manage  a small restaurant out of a boat in Peru. “Mobile eateries are in our blood,” says Giuseppe. The “mobile” part of their business gives them an advantage over traditional restaurants. Food trucks can move to their customers versus their customers coming to them. 

I tasted their light and healthy quinoa salad. Giuseppe and Mario shared the recipe with me to try at home. The salad was muy delicioso!

The Peruvian Brother’s Quinoa Salad Recipe

Ingredientes

One box of quinoa

Green, yellow, or red peppers

Cucumbers

Tomato

Avocado

Salt

Garlic

Parsley

Direcciones

Sauté quinoa with olive oil, Salt and Garlic for 2-3 minutes.

Add water.

Bring to a boil.

Let it cook covered for 15 minutes. 

Let it stand covered to cool for 5 minutes.

Refrigerate overnight.

When cool, add finely diced rainbow peppers, carrots, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes.

Add fresh lemon juice and olive oil.

Garnish with parsley and fresh avocado.

¡Salud!

Quinoa Salad

If you are looking for food trucks in your city, the internet and social media are two great resources for finding delicious meals on wheels. For updates on the location of your favorite food truck, follow them on social media such as Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

Food trucks provide customers with convenience and creative eats. In addition, entrepreneurs like the Peruvian Brothers are able to showcase food they are passionate about and find success through small business.

HaleyFulford-TheWiseLatinaClubA food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently interning in the office of Congressman Sanford Bishop, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting “from stress to success in the city.” Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.

Edited by Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What type of food would you like to see in a food truck?

Women’s History Month: The Importance of Female Mentoring with Chef Amy Brandwein

Any professional will tell you that a key to career success is mentoring. This is even more the case for women, especially those working in competitive, male-dominated fields. For Women's History Month, I decided to ask Top Chef Amy Brandwein of Alba Osteria in Washington DC on the role that female mentoring has played in her career. One of the first women named executive chef in the nation's capital, I sat down with her to dish on mentoring and her list of ingredients to "make it" at work.

Chef Brandwein is an accomplished woman in the culinary industry. The professional advice she shared with me can be applied to any workplace.

Women’s History Month: The Importance of Female Mentoring with Chef Amy Brandwein

Chef Amy Brandwein "Dishes" On Being a Female In the Culinary Field

During my Q & A with Chef Amy Brandwein, I zeroed in on the importance of women challenging and mentoring each other to reach success in their careers.

The Wise Latina Club's Haley: What are the challenges of being a female in the male dominated culinary field?

Chef Amy: The kitchen runs like the military. It does not work on consensus. There is someone at the top of the food chain and all other staff fall into the hierarchy. This reality comes with a two-fold challenge. That is, women face a harder time gaining respect in the kitchen. The other challenge is that men and women in the kitchen also have preconceived cultural ideas about a woman's role in society.

A woman is easily placed in the kitchen at home but is not often seen handling sharp knives, hot pans, and hot tempers. 

The Wise Latina Club's Haley: What is beneficial about being a woman in the field?

Chef Amy: We are very perceptive and our feelings are in tune with others. We pick up social cues well which can be helpful in the management field. We also communicate well with others. Maybe a little too well. Because of our strong communication skills, networking come naturally.

The Wise Latina Club's Haley: How often are you asked about being a female and in the culinary field? Does this bother you? Do you feel separation between you and your male counterparts?

Chef Amy: In the past, I was rarely asked about being a female chef. These days I get asked all of the time. I love working with men in the kitchen and the camaraderie that develops from it.  I grew up with a brother and three male cousins.

I learned fast how to survive, even thrive, in a mostly male environment.

The Wise Latina Club's Haley: You have two women in the kitchen that you mentor. Tell me a little more about these relationships.

Chef Amy: Building these relationships has allowed us to push each other past where we are currently in our careers. I encourage them in their abilities as chefs. Like, "Of course, you can do it!" or "I don’t know why you doubt yourself." They both struggle with male chefs giving them a hard time. The field can be a very bossy environment. Men who can perceive what is going on in a social situation have the upper hand in management.

The Wise Latina Club's Haley: How have women in the culinary industry made history?

Chef Amy: One thing I’m proud of contributing to is being a leading female executive chef in Washington, D.C. Milestones like these instill confidence in me to move on to whatever challenge I have next.

The Wise Latina Club's Haley: If you have any advice for professional women in the work field, especially the culinary field, what would it be?

Chef Amy: My advice would be not to cry. I had a tough boss at one time and I would cry when I was frustrated. My boss was not a fan of crying. At one point after that job I just stopped crying.

Crying is a natural expression but one to be controlled.

Over time it has to come out of your repertoire. On another note, as long as you put in your hard work and do well on the job, the culinary industry is fantastic. The industry does not care who you are as long as you put your best foot forward.

Women such as Rosa Parks, Hillary Clinton, Ellen Ochoa, and Beyoncé have paved the way for other women to succeed in any field. In the culinary field, executive chef Amy Brandwein is also an example of the power and potential women bring to the table. Confidence plus a strong work ethic is a recipe that all women should put in the recipe book of professional success.

HaleyFulford-TheWiseLatinaClubA food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently interning in the office of Congressman Sanford Bishop, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting “from stress to success in the city.” Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

Which women in your life inspire you to greatness?

Restaurant Review: ¿Did Someone Say Ham-Infused Tequila?

As I walked through the door into Oyamel restaurant , I left the streets of Washington, D.C. behind and was enveloped in a cultural experience infused with the biodiversity of the Monarch Butterfly and the urban touch of Mexico City street markets. The icy chill left itself at the door as the Spanish trio band and unique cocktails warmed reception attendees weary of a long, bitter winter. This DC Penn Quarter resto owned by celebrity chef and food advocate José Andrés is preparing to transform into a large Mexican market for the seventh annual Tequila and Mezcal Festival. I was invited to preview the featured food and drinks.

Delicioso needs no translation. Miramar tequila cocktail at José Andrés' Oyamel Restaurant. Courtesy: @fulfordhe

The festival will be a chance to escape city life and enjoy eating foods focused around traditional Mexican ingredients--but with a culinary twist.

José Andrés, the mastermind behind the festival, stopped by the preview and delivered an impromptu speech explaining this celebration's vision and grandeur. Always a showman, his joyous personality infused this food and drink preview with life and sabor.

The menu, meant to be paired with tequila and mezcal drinks, kept the crowd coming back for more. The staff served a total of about ten different dishes ranging from handmade guacamole to Hawaiian Ono, a sweet fish named after the Hawaiian word meaning "delicious." It was served raw on a bed of slaw with peanuts, mango, cucumber, onion and lime--sweet and savory ingredients.

The BBQ Pork Tacos were the dish I savored most. I could not get enough of them! The pig from which the tacos are stuffed was the centerpiece of the preview. Perched on a table slightly above the crowd, it seemed to preside over us, later to tantalize our taste buds. 

The food was delicious but the drinks, which are the focus of the festival, were created with the guidance of a sophisticated palate and visual mastermind. Each drink was crafted to pay tribute to the spirits that hail from Mexico. 

From unique geographical regions, each spirit boasts its own distinct taste. If we were to conduct a genetic analysis of tequila and mezcal, tequila would be the recessive gene and mezcal the dominant gene.

Tequila is smooth, light, and refreshing; it is meant to lightly compliment the food with which it is paired on the menu. The festival will introduce ham-infused tequila which is a spin-off of chicken-infused tequila, flavors added to give this spirit depth. Unfortunately, it did not arrive in time for the preview. But José Andrés who requested it assured us it will arrive in time for adventurous festival goers.

I had never tried mezcal before the preview. Smoky and strong, it brings depth to any cocktail. As the "dominant," it is the main show in every featured drink with the other ingredients merely supporting and complimenting its flavor. The Rosa de Oaxaca, infused with raspberry, lemon, and hibiscus, is the mezcal drink to try!

Live far from the nation's capital or have a demanding schedule that won't allow you to make it to the festival? I've got your covered with a cocktail recipe to try at home. The recipe is my favorite drink of the night--the light, refreshing Miramar.

The Wise Latina Club PSA: Remember your ID that proves you're 21 and over when buying your spirits.

Oyamel's Miramar Tequila Cocktail Recipe

Serves 1

Ingredientes

1 cup hot water

1 teaspoon Oaxacan sea salt

2 ounces tequila blanco

½ ounce yellow chartreuse

1 ounce lime juice

1 ounce pineapple juice

¾ ounce simple syrup

2 pineapple leaves, for garnish

Direcciones

Combine the hot water and sea salt. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Allow to cool and then place in the refrigerator. Place the salt in a spray bottle for use.

Combine all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake for 35 seconds. Strain the cocktail into a highball glass filled with ice.

Garnish with the salt water mist and pineapple leaves.

¡Salud!

Oyamel is hosting the Tequila and Mezcal Festival from March 10th through Sunday, March 23rd. Paying tribute to Mexico’s thriving street food culture, on Monday, the restaurant kicks off its festival by transforming its traditional setting into a giant marketplace. More festival details on Oyamel’s website.

HaleyFulford-TheWiseLatinaClubA food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently interning in the office of Congressman Sanford Bishop, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting "from stress to success in the city." Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.

What are your favorite tequila cocktails?

Dominican Independence Day Meatless Monday: Mangú Recipe

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of all Americans with Latinos being particularly at risk. ¿Por qué? Latinos have high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and excess weight. Fortunately, healthy eating can reduce your risk of heart disease. Many traditional Hispanic dishes are as healthy as they are delicioso. For the final week of American Heart Month and in celebration of Dominican Independence Day, serve a heart-healthy traditional Dominican breakfast dish, mangú.

The Dominican Republic celebrates its Independence Day on February 27, commemorating the end of the Dominican Independence War in 1844 which resulted in the nation's independence from neighboring Haiti. This day culminates a month of carnival celebrations complete with parades, costumes, and fiestas with friends and familia

My favorite way to honor culture is through good food. A Dominican amiga recommended I try her favorite dish from home, mangú. This dish is hearty yet simple--mashed green plantains topped with pickled onions. I immediately loved the complex sabor: tart onions balance the natural sweetness of the plátanos.

This receta is as nutritious as it is delicious. Main ingredient plantains are rich in potassium and vitamins A and C. Low in fat, calories, and cholesterol, this fruit is a smart choice which will help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.  Also, plantains are full of fiber which keeps you feeling full longer, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Healthy Tips: Cook with olive oil instead of butter. If you crave more flavor, skip the salt and add a chopped jalapeño pepper into the plantain mash.

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Mangú Recipe

Ingredientes Mangú

  • 5 green plantains
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Onion Topping

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instrucciones

  1. Peel the plantains with a knife and cut into small pieces.
  2. Bring water to a boil and add the plantains. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. As plantains are cooking, peel and cut the onion into small rounds and place in a bowl and mix in vinegar and salt. Heat olive oil in a small skillet then add the onion vinegar mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. When plantains are soft, turn off the stove and pour about 1 cup of the plantain water into a measuring cup. Strain the remaining water from the pot, then gradually pour the cup of water back onto the plantains while mashing with a potato masher until smooth.
  5. Serve mashed plantains with onions on top. Enjoy!

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Dominicans traditionally enjoy this breakfast dish with fried cheese and salami or bacon. I keep my meal vegan and serve mangú with sautéed spinach and whole-grain toast.

Craving more plantain dishes? Try the savory fried green plantain tostones recipe which I share in Meatless Monday: Colombian Independence Day Patacones with Hogao Sauce. My all-time favorite Hispanic dish is sweet fried ripe plantains which I share in Meatless Monday: Hispanic Heritage Month Plátanos Maduros Recipe.

Check out more Dominican recipes here and here.

We can impact our life-long health by making smart choices on a daily basis, starting with what we eat. This Meatless Monday, serve sabroso mangú to celebrate Dominican Independence and your commitment healthy living. It is easy to reduce your risk of heart disease when healthy recipes are this delicious!

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What are your favorite Dominican dishes?

Black History Month Meatless Monday: A Day of Healthy Foods

Health disparities still exist among racial and ethnic minorities despite our nation's strides in pursuit of equality such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act which integrated schools and prohibits discrimination in employment and public places. For example, African Americans are at a higher risk for heart disease--the number one cause of death in the United States. This Black History Month, I want to shine a spotlight on the health inequalities and the smart lifestyle choices which can reduce them.

 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women suffer from heart disease. African American men are at nearly twice the risk of having a first stroke and are 30% more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic white men. Why? African Americans have the highest rates of heart disease risk factors including high blood pressure and obesity. Also, African Americans are 55 percent more likely than whites to be uninsured which can limit access to preventative screening and health education.

Fortunately, we can all reduce our health risks without even stepping foot into a doctor's office by healthy eating, regular exercise, and not smoking.

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The first step to healthy eating is knowing which foods are best for you. I share 5 healthy food tips in American Heart Month Meatless Monday: 5 Food Choices to Keep Your Heart Healthy, including eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and skipping sugary snacks and animal products.

Not sure where to fit in extra frutas and verduras? Try these healthy options for each meal of the day:

A Day of Heart-Healthy Foods

Meatless_Monday_Black_History_Month_Healthy_Day-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Collective change begins with individual action. For Black History Month, honor the struggles and achievements of those who fought for racial equality by working to eliminate remaining inequities, including health disparities.

I teach my students about healthy eating so they have the tools and knowledge to make smart choices for themselves and their families, now and in the future. Increase your intake of healthy foods and reduce your risk of diet-related disease. But don't stop there--encourage your loved ones to do the same.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What do you eat each day to protect your health?

Valentine's Day Meatless Monday: 3 Tips to Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Show your amor how much you care this Valentine's Day by making both of your health a priority and plan a healthy date for February 14th.

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3 Valentine's Day Tips for a Healthy Relationship

  1. Eat at home: Dishes served in restaurants tend to have more fat, calories, and sodium than home-cooked meals, which can lead to weight gain and increased risk of diet-related diseases. Eating in su casa allows you to choose healthy and fresh ingredients and control how your food is prepared. Whether you surprise your sweetheart with a special meal or spend time cooking together, make it feel like a night out with music, flowers, and candles. Linger at the table for sobremesa time talking and enjoying each other's company.
  2. Stay active: Ditch the typical dinner-and-a-movie date and choose an activity that keeps you moving such as mini-golf, bowling, or dancing as I recommend in Valentine’s Day Fitness: ¿Shall We Dance?. In addition to burning calories, shared activities are great for building memories and strengthening relationships. Extend this tradition beyond Valentine's Day and pursue a hobby together. My husband and I take a weekly salsa dance class and make a point to walk the dog walk together once a day.
  3. Skip the chocolates: Instead of sending sweets, give a meaningful gift that reminds your amor of time you spend together. My husband knows I am crazy about framed photos and handwritten notes. You will cut empty calories and show how thoughtful you are.

Meatless_Monday_Valentines_Day_Dance_Healthy-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Eating healthy foods and staying active have many benefits beyond looking and feeling fabulous. You will also increase your energy level, reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, some forms of cancer, and even add years to your life.

Although we know how important healthy living is, it can be tough to regularly make smart choices when it is so tempting to grab a bag of chips instead of chopping fresh veggies or choose the couch over the gym.

How can you help your honey stay healthy? Make smart choices yourself.

Partners often adopt each other's health habits including activity level and go-to foods. In fact, spouses of people with type 2 diabetes are 26 per cent more likely to develop the disease. In addition to setting a healthy example, talk with your amor about why your individual health is important to your relationship. Evaluate whether you are making smart choices in your time together. And moving forward, resolve to make a plan to support each other.

Need help getting started? I've got you covered. Check out my Meatless Monday tips and recipes and fun fitness ideas.

Valentine's Day is a perfect time to reflect on the health of your relationship. Make smart choices today to have more time and energy with your loved ones for years to come.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What healthy habits do you share with your sweetheart?

American Heart Month Meatless Monday: 5 Food Choices to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. More than 1/2 of Latinas have three or more risk factors which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, and smoking. Fortunately, you have the power to prevent and curb risk factors and reduce the chance of a heart attack by 80%. February is American Heart Month, making now the perfect time to focus on your heart health.

The food you eat has a huge impact on your heart. Committing to a healthy diet will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.

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Natalie's 5 Healthy Heart Diet Tips

  1. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables: The USDA recommends filling ½ your plate with frutas and verduras. Fresh produce is key to keeping your heart healthy. In addition to providing your body with necessary vitamins and minerals,  plant foods protect blood vessels by wiping out free radicals in the bloodstream. For a quick delicious dish with fruits and veggies, try the grapefruit and spinach salad I share in Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Meatless Monday: Grapefruit Spinach Salad Recipe, or my favorite snack green smoothies, which I recommend in Nutrition: ¡Go Green for your Health!
  2. Choose whole grains: Whole-grain foods are made with each part of the grain kernel (unlike multi-grain foods which use more than one type of grain) and are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants which can help lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, and keep arteries clear. Look for whole-grain versions of breads and pastas and start your day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal.
  3. Reduce meat and dairy intake: Animal products can be high in fat and calories, whereas a vegetarian diet can lower cholesterol, blood sugars, and weight. Can’t give up meat entirely? Serve smaller portions or cut the carne from one meal a day or one day a week. Click here to read my Meatless Monday recipes.
  4. Skip the salt: Reducing your sodium intake can help lower your blood pressure. Skip the table salt and add sabor with flavorful herbs, lime, or spicy peppers. Choose fresh or frozen foods over canned and processed varieties which are often higher in sodium.
  5. Don’t overeat: Even healthy foods should be eaten in moderation to prevent weight gain. Review recommended portion sizes here, and check out simple ways to maintain a healthy weight in Healthy Weight Awareness Month Meatless Monday: 5 Tips to Make Healthy Eating a Habit.

In addition to healthy eating, adopt these healthy heart habits to lower your risk:

  • Keep your weight and stress levels low by getting regular physical activity.
  • Quit smoking today or don't even think about starting!
  • Schedule regular checkups to monitor cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Always call 9-1-1 at any symptoms of a heart attack: shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the chest or upper abdomen, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure, or extreme fatigue.

Nothing is as important as your health. Keep your heart strong by committing to healthy habits all year long.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What healthy choices do you make regularly to protect your heart?

National Soup Month Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Pozole Recipe

When a snow storm shut me in last week, I warmed up with hot vegetarian pozole, a Mexican hominy stew. The timing couldn't have been more on cue since January is National Soup Month, making it the perfect time to experiment with healthy soup recipes.

Sopa is not only a great way to warm up in the winter. Soups can be a smart staple of a healthy diet. Soup can help you eat less by keeping you feeling full. A study by Pennsylvania State University revealed that people who ate soup before a meal consumed 20% less calories than those who did not. Plus, soups containing vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.

Pozole is one of my favorite Mexican dishes--the lime and chile give the broth a delicious sabor. Main ingredient hominy has been a staple food in Central America for hundreds of years and is made by soaking maize in a lime solution which causes the kernel to expand. I made the receta vegetarian by replacing the pork or beef traditionally found in this stew with potatoes, beans and squash. One bowl is all you need but it is so sabroso you will want a second!

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Natalie's Vegetarian Pozole Recipe

Ingredientes

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 dried Poblano chilis
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 zucchini squash, cut in 1-inch rounds
  • 1 medium potato, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 2 15 oz cans hominy, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 2 limes

Instrucciones

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, oregano, salt, and chiles and stir until onions and chiles are soft.
  2. Add vegetable stock followed by the lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for about ten minutes.
  3. Add hominy, zucchini and potato and cook until potatoes are almost soft.
  4. Add beans and tomatoes and let simmer an additional ten minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

¡Qué rico! 

Natalie's Tips for Healthier Soups

The first step to healthy eating is knowing which foods are good for you. Armed with this knowledge, step two is making daily healthy choices to lower your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. With a few more winter months ahead, stay warm and healthy with delicious and nutritious soups.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What is your favorite healthy soup recipe?

Healthy Weight Awareness Month Meatless Monday: 5 Tips to Make Healthy Eating a Habit

69% of Americans are overweight and 35% are considered obese. This obesity crisis impacts the Hispanic community as well, with 39% of Latinos in the United States considered obese. Fortunately, we can control our weight with healthy eating and regular physical activity. This January, which is Healthy Weight Awareness Month, adopt healthy habits that will keep your body strong all year long.

Achieving a healthy weight is not about how you look, but ensuring that your body can function properly. Carrying excess weight puts strain on your heart, lungs, and joints, while maintaining a healthy weight can increase your mood and energy level and decrease your risk of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

¿So what is a healthy weight?

Your BMI, or Body Mass Index, determines the target weight for your height. A BMI of 19-24 is considered healthy, while individuals with a BMI of 25-29.9 are considered overweight (having more bodyweight than is healthy for your height), and those with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese (having excess fat).

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Of course I'd love to maintain a healthy weight, but the diets I have tried never last.

Maintaining a healthy weight isn't achieved through fad diets or skipping meals, but by committing to a lifetime of healthy eating.

Easier said than done? Not with these simple habits:

5 Tips to Make Healthy Eating a Habit

  1. Identify healthy options: Knowing which foods are best for you is key to making healthy choices. Be aware of both what is on your plate and how it is prepared. Opt for a balanced meal with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein and avoid cream or cheese-based dishes. Choose baked and steamed options over fried foods and eat your fruits and veggies raw as often as possible. Brush up on good-for-you foods here.
  2. Surround yourself with (healthy) foods you love: It is easy to make a healthy choice when you have delicious good-for-you options readily available. I always have frutas for a smoothie in my kitchen. Identify 1-2 healthy dishes you love to eat at each meal and keep ingredients on hand.
  3. Make your own: Cooking meals yourself can help you cut calories and fat as fast food and restaurant entrees often have larger portion sizes and excess salt, sugar, and butter. Don't have time to cook every night? Me neither. Set aside a few hours on the weekend and make several large dishes you can freeze for later in the week.
  4. Everything in moderation: Even healthy foods can lead to weight gain when eaten in excess. Avoid overeating by drinking plenty of water, eating slowly, and stopping when you being to feel full. Check out this link to see portion sizes for adults.
  5. Cut back on animal products: Meat and dairy are often higher in fats and cholesterol than plant foods-- it's no wonder vegetarians are less likely to be obese than meat-eaters. If giving up meat all together isn't for you, try cutting the carne out of one meal each day or one day a week. Click here to read my Meatless Monday recipes.

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In addition to eating well, regular exercise is vital to keeping your body strong. Aim to get 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and strength training twice a week. Click here for my fitness suggestions.

Any lifestyle change is easier when you focus on what you will gain rather than what you are giving up. Maintaining a healthy weight increases your chance of a long, healthy life. Make healthy eating a part of your routine this month to feel and look your best for years to come.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What do you do to keep your body healthy?

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Meatless Monday: Grapefruit Spinach Salad Recipe

11,818 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2010. Fortunately, cervical cancer is the easiest gynecological cancer to prevent through regular screening and maintaining healthy habits, including eating nutritious foods. This Meatless Monday in January which is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, I'm sharing a delicious grapefruit and spinach salad recipe full of cancer-fighting nutrients.

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Natalie's Grapefruit and Spinach Salad Recipe

Ingredientes

  • 1 medium pink grapefruit
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small jicama, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Instrucciones

  1. Cut grapefruit in half. With a sharp knife, cut around each section to loosen fruit, keeping some juice.
  2. In a salad bowl, toss the spinach, onion, grapefruit, and jicama.
  3. In a jar with a lid, combine the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, remaining grapefruit juice, salt, and pepper and shake well. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.
  4. Garnish with almonds. Enjoy!

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This spinach ensalada topped with grapefruit is an easy and delicious way to get plenty of cancer-fighting vitamin C. I also love the combination of flavors in this receta: the citrus intensifies the sabor while jicama and almonds add texture.

Spreading awareness of cervical cancer is particularly important in Hispanic communities. The incidence of death from cervical cancer for Latina women in the United States is almost twice as high as non-Hispanic white women. Why? Latinas are less likely to get screened. Encourage all of the mujeres in your life to take simple, preventative measures to reduce their risk.

4 Ways to Reduce your Risk of Cervical Cancer

  1. Get the HPV vaccination: Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be transmitted during sex. While HPV usually goes away on its own, in rare cases it doesn't, possibly causing cervical cancer. Doctors recommend a vaccine for 11 and 12 year old girls as well as women under the age of 26 who were not vaccinated. Older women may benefit from the vaccine as well.
  2. Get screened regularly: Cervical cancer is highly curable when found and treated early. Pap smears can detect cervical pre-cancer before it turns into cancer. Women 21 to 29 should have a Pap smear every 3 years then beginning at age 30, combine the Pap test with an HPV test every 5 years.
  3. Nix the nicotine: Women who smoke are about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer. Don't know how to kick this habit? Click here for tips.
  4. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: Plants are loaded with minerals and antioxidants that can help your body fight off an HPV infection, and slow or stop the process that turns normal cervical cells into cancerous ones.

Committing to a healthy diet can improve your likelihood of remaining cancer-free. Make each meal count and choose foods with cancer-fighting properties, like those I share in Angelina Jolie Inspired Meatless Monday: 7 Cancer Fighting Foods. Be sure to pack your plate with vitamin C: this power vitamina may reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.

Too many families have experienced the pain of losing a loved one to cancer. While all women are at risk for cervical cancer, we can take action to reduce our chances of developing the disease, beginning with what we eat.

 ¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What will you do to reduce your risk of cervical cancer?