Friday, July 27, 2012

Pick(s) of the Day: Lemon and Basil!!!!

Lemons:  As you may probably already know, are a great source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The juice of one lemon contains over 100% of the RDA  (Recommended Daily Allowance) of vitamin C. Vitamin C is not only essential to retain a strong immune system, it is also a wonderful antioxidant. Vitamin C also plays a critical role in repairing the body tissues that is needed for wound healing. In addition, vitamin C is also necessary for the production of collagen in the skin, bones, and teeth. Lemons are also a wonderful source of potassium. Potassium balance is critical for organ, tissue and muscle function in the body.

Basil: Is an herb typically used for Italian dishes and is known for its very unique sweet flavor. Basil is also packed with nutrients. It is high in fat soluble vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a vital role in body functions, including blood clotting (it is required for the coagulation of blood – this is a very good thing) as well as participates in bone mineralization. Basil also has antimicrobial capabilities against many strains of bacteria, including e. coli.

One of my biggest problems with many commercially sold lemonade today is that they are not only loaded with way too many sugars (such as high fructose corn syrup), but they never taste fresh. I sometimes forget just how easy it is to make homemade lemonade.
A great way to serve beverages is in reusable containers. I like to use mason jars because not only are they green and BPA-free (bisphenol A is an organic compound commonly found in plastics and canned goods that have been linked to certain cancers), but they have a wonderful rustic look.

Sweet Basil Lemonade
Makes 2 servings.


2 cups of water.
2 Tbs. of organic cane sugar (or to taste).
4 basil leaves, chopped into strips.
2 large lemons.
You will also need (optional):
2 mason jars.
A fruit muddler (or some sort of pestle to mash the basil).


Part 1: In a liquid measuring cup, pour in drinking water. Add the sugar. Heat on stove until the water is warm (frequently stirring). Once the water is warm and the sugar is fully dissolved, cool for about 20-30 minutes. Pour the liquid back into measure cup and place in the refrigerator for about an hour.

*Use my friend Catherine's great tip on lemons here:

Part 2: In the mason jar, add the basil and 1 cup (half) liquid mixture. Using the fruit muddler, gently crush the basil. Squeeze the juice of one entire lemon into the jar and stir.  Repeat part 2 with the second jar. Serve and enjoy!

Label is for one serving of Basil Lemonade. 

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sweeteners 101: Know your Sugar Substitutes, Part 2: Zero Calorie Sweeteners

Nonnutritive Sweeteners aka zero calorie sweeteners have been sold commercially for almost three decades. I am often asked if these sweeteners are carcinogenic (cancer causing). However, the truth is, it much more difficult to determine than many would assume.  First, based on all of the clinical studies to date, there is very little direct evidence that these sweeteners are harmful to humans. However, I won’t go running to cosco to stock up on Sweet-n -low™ just yet...

Let’s investigate; here is (a brief summery) of the most popular artificial nonnutritive sweeteners:

Aspartame (NutraSweet™ and Equal™): 180 times sweeter than sugar. Was discovered by accident in a lab in the 60’s. The sweetness of aspartame is derived from the synthetic combination of the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine.  

Saccharin (Sweet-n-low™): is 500 times sweeter than sugar.  Like aspartame, saccharine was discovered by accident in a laboratory in 1879.  Saccharin, the most controversial of the artificial sweeteners, was banned in the 70’s due to a Canadian study that linked saccharin to bladder cancer in rats.  However the rats were consuming exceptionally high quantities, the equivalent of a human drinking 800 diet sodas per day! Yikes!!

Sucralose (Splenda™):  Is 600 times sweeter than regular sugar was approved by the FDA in the 80’s.  Sucralose is manufactured as a chemical alteration of sugar cane.  Splenda™ become popular through its initial ads where it claimed that it came from real sugar. Soon after, the makers of saccharine sued Splenda for not making an accurate claim in their ads. Later, Splenda removed this claim from their advertising campaign.

Although the FDA generally recognizes these as safe (GRAS), there is also a cap to the daily-recommended consumption. In conclusion, like any other food, especially any artificial foods, moderation  (my personal mantra) is my best suggestion. 

Eat Mindfully,

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Little Soya Giveaway!!!

We are giving away an amazing box of Little Soya Gluten-free Soy Sauce!! Entry is a  SUPER easy 2 step process!

How to Enter: There is ONE (2 step) process to enter the Contest

Step 1: Click in the “Like” button to “like” nutritionfixation blog’s Facebook page for the first step for submission ( If you already “like” us on facebook, you are halfway there!

Step 2: All you have to do is comment! Go to (here) and submit a comment on either the New Product Review: ( OR Healthy Recipes:(  

**Note: If you have trouble, you may also comment anonymously, just make sure to sign your name so we can ID you if you are the winner! 

Winner Chosen via random selection!

Giveaway closes at midnight Monday August 6th, 2012! Don’t miss out!!!!

Good Luck!!!

Little Soya Gluten-Free Salmon with Zucchini

Little Soya Gluten-Free Salmon
Makes four servings.

1 ½ lbs. of salmon (cut into four filets).
7 Little Soya Packets (56 mL.).
1/3 cup Coconut Nectar or brown sugar (You can buy evaporated Coconut Nectar as a lower calorie to sugar option at your local health food store).
1 lemon (juice).
½ Tbs. Garlic powder or Garlic Salt.

You may also need (optional):
Grill pan or grill.
A large Ziploc Bag.


In a medium size bowl add soy sauce, garlic powder, lemon juice, and coconut nectar. Wisk ingredients together.  Place the salmon into the Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over the salmon and seal the bag.  With your hands massage the marinade into the salmon. Marinate for about 10-30 minutes. For optimal results, marinate in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hour(s). Place salmon on the grill (medium flame). Cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, flip over and repeat on other side.  Arrange on plate and enjoy!

Simple Grilled Zucchini


2 medium size zucchini squash, sliced.
½ Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Salt and Pepper (to taste).


Using the grill pan or grill, place the zucchini slices neatly on grill. Cook on each size for about 1-2 minutes. While cooking, brush on olive oil. Flip over to cook the other side.  Remove zucchini from the flame and arrange on plate. Add the salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts for one serving of salmon (3oz).

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012 also in association with

Friday, July 20, 2012

Product Review: Little Soya Gluten-free Soy Sauce

Allergen Info: Gluten-free.
Other info: GMO-free and MSG-free.

Product Overall Rating: A

Sometimes it is easy to forget about those things that many of us take for granted in life. In some cases, it may be the gift to live a life without making constant compromises when it comes to food.  In the case of the Celiac and gluten intolerant community, it is the simple ability to go to a grocery store or a restaurant and not have to worry about the food making them sick. Something as little as a preservative may contain ingredients such as gluten (a protein found in wheat) that can cause an adverse reaction in those who are intolerant.
Luckily, they are many products that are currently being developed to accommodate the gluten-free community. Little Soya Gluten-Free Soy Sauce has introduced the new innovative soy sauce to the world. First off, as you may have already gathered, it is gluten-free. Second, it comes in an awesome fish shape package. It is a lower sodium sauce at 270mg per packet. In addition, if you are anything like me who only uses just a drop of sauce, these packets come with a reusable screw-on cap so the sauce can be reopened and used later on.   Best of all, it tastes exactly like regular soy sauce!  No compromises here! I think there may be a giveaway coming in the very near future!

Would I purchase again: YES.
Palatability grade: A
Potential for improvement: I would love to see these sold locally!
Dietetic Profile: A
Overall Grade: A

Where to buy: Order here with free-shipping:

Eat Happily,

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pick of the Day: Apricot

Apricots are both delicious and nutritious. They are a wonderful source of vitamin A (beta-carotene). They are a good source of potassium and fiber. In addition, they contain the amino-acid tryptophan (associated with increased serotonin levels, aka “happy chemicals”).  

Apricots taste amazing when cooked, which is why I made this amazing salad!

Grilled Apricot and Walnut Salad


4-6 Apricot halves.
1 cup fresh arugula.
1 Tbs. goat cheese.
1 ½ Tbs. walnuts.
2 Tsp. balsamic vinegar.
1 Tsp. extra virgin olive oil.
Salt and pepper (to taste).

You will also need (optional):
Grill pan (pictured) or grill.


Using the grill pan or grill assemble apricots face down onto a medium flame. Cook apricots until brown (3-5 minutes) and rotate and repeat on the other side. Remove from flame and let the apricots cool for about five minutes. While the apricots are cooling, assemble arugula and goat cheese onto a plate. Add the apricots. Sprinkle the walnuts followed by the oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper (to taste). Enjoy!!!!!

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Product Review: Fruitzio® Kiwi

Allergen Info: Gluten-free, wheat free, nut free.
Overall Product Rating: B
Have you ever tasted something expecting it to taste a certain way, yet it ended up turning out to be something completely different? Well, that was the case for this product. As you may know already (if you read my kale chip review), I am not a huge fan of freeze dried foods. However, freeze dried items seem to be one of the biggest new fads at Whole Foods, especially freeze dried fruit. I guess I can see why they are so appealing to some. It’s like a fruit chip with a cooler astronaut feel. It has a longer shelf life than fruit chips or dried fruit and it dissolves quickly in the mouth.
 I was intrigued when I spotted this product. I have seen the typical freeze dried strawberries, blueberries, even bananas, but never kiwis.  So, as you can probably imagine, I was very excited to try Fruitzio® Kiwi. I suppose maybe I was expecting the flavor to taste exactly like a fresh kiwi. However, that was not the case. These freeze dried kiwis were tart, very tart. Now, when I say tart, I am not saying the tartness of a sour green apple, I am talking Warhead tart (those famous sour candies). Just to give you an idea, even when placing the kiwi onto my tongue, I could actually feel a burn on my taste buds.  It wasn’t necessarily bad; it just wasn’t what I was expecting.
In terms of dietetic profile, they are not terrible. After all, it is fruit with some added sugar. They make a great replacement to candy and there is only 100 calories per bag. They are not at all filling, so I would not recommend these to someone who wants a hardy snack.

Would I purchase again: Maybe.
Palatability grade: B
Potential for improvement: YES.
Dietetic Profile: B
Overall Grade: B

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pick of the Day: Avocado

Avocado:  If you live in California, you know how fortunate we are to have this amazing fruit in our backyards. Avocados are loaded with all kinds of vitamins and nutrients. They are a great source of the “good” monounsaturated fatty acids. They have plenty of fat soluble vitamins including vitamin K, vitamin A, and the ultra powerful antioxidant vitamin E. They are also a wonderful source of potassium and fiber. Just be mindful of your portion size, because one cup of pureed avocado has nearly 400 calories.

Fennel: Is a bulb known for its licorice-like flavor. This tasty herb can be consumed either raw or cooked. Fennel is a great source  fiber. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used in herbal medicine as a natural diuretic. It also contains a compound called anethole which has been linked to antimicrobial properties against yeast, fungi and certain strains of bacteria.  

Guacamole with Crispy Fennel


2 small-medium sized avocados, cubed.
1 ½ Tbs. of cilantro, chopped.
1 ½ Tbs. (approx. 2 small stalks) green onion, chopped.
2 Tbs. raw fennel, chopped.
1 ½ small limes.
Salt and ground pepper (to taste).
You will also need:
Mortar and pestle (optional – a fork and bowl will suffice).


Using a clean and dry mortar and pestle, add avocado, cilantro, onion, and fennel. Gently grind ingredients together to soften. Squeeze the juice from the lime and add salt and pepper. Thoroughly mix together all of the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!!

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Product Review: Green and Black’s 70% Dark Chocolate

Allergen info: Contains milk and soy. May contain traces of hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios and wheat.
Other info:  Certified Fair Trade. Certified USDA Organic.

Overall Product Rating: A

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am chocolate obsessed. I have my own personal stash hidden in the kitchen. Although I typically eat chocolate after dinner for my “dessert,” I use all of its health benefits to justify my indulgence. Chocolate, especially authentic dark chocolate is a wonderful source of flavonoid antioxidants. Many studies of also linked the flavonoids to help lower blood pressure. It also functions as a natural mood boaster by increasing endorphin and serotonin levels (what I like to call “happy” chemicals). Some studies have even linked dark chocolate to a natural appetite suppressant.

As far as Green and Black’s? There is so much to love about this chocolate. It is high quality and made from certified fair trade and organic chocolate. It is prepared from Trinitario beans which are a hybrid bean that originated in Trinidad. What I like about this chocolate is that the flavor is not overly diluted with artificial flavors such as palm and vegetable oils like lower quality chocolates. At the same time, it is rich, fine, and delicate.  What I love about this chocolate is that it is not overloaded with sugar and it contains 4g of fiber per serving. In addition, it is very low in sodium and contains no cholesterol.  Tough to beat!

Would I purchase again: Yes.
Palatability grade: A
Potential for improvement: More varieties please.
Dietetic Profile: A
Overall Grade: A

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sweetener 101: Know your Sugar Substitutes, part 1: Sugar Alcohols

Sweetener 101: Know your Sugar Substitutes, part 1: Sugar Alcohols
Today,  the sugar substitute market continues to grow exponentially. Sugar substitutes are  commonly used to control and regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics (as well as pre-diabetics). They are also are very common for weight loss and obesity prevention. As the regular sugar markets continue to be vilified by the mass media outlets as the cause of obesity in the US (believe me, high sugar diets are definitely top contributors, however, they are many other  responsible variables for the obesity crisis), sugar substitutes, especially the natural ones, are growing as household names. So what exactly are these sweeteners and where do they come from?

Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols aka polyols (can commonly be identified by the “ol” at the end ) are naturally occurring  carbohydrates that cannot be completely absorbed by the small intestine into the blood . Note: not to be confused, sugar alcohols do not contain the ethanol  that is  found in alcoholic beverages. They come from plants, typically fruits.  When metabolized, they require the use of little or no insulin. Sugar alcohols contribute fewer calories than other sugars about 2 kcal/ g compared to 4 kcal/g from regular sugars.
The USDA classified sugar alcohols as nonnutritive sweeteners (NNS)  as opposed to regular sugars as nutritive sweeters. They are regulated by the FDA as food additives or generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
Here is a list of the most common sugar alcohols:  mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH). With its growing popularity, xylitol is the most common due to its similarities to sucrose.

- Reduced carbohydrate content.
-Reduced caloric content (compared to regular sugar).
-Has been shown to prevent dental carries (does not cause cavities, but in fact, help prevent them).

-Can potentially cause adverse GI affects (including boating and diarrhea).
-Tend to be more expensive than regular sugar products.
-Many foods that contain sugar alcohols tend to have a higher fat and/ or sodium content to make up for lost flavor.
-May not be able to completely curve sugar cravings (besides, our bodies need some glucose to function optimally).
-Xylitol has been shown to be fatal to canines. Although research is not extensive, there have been studies that linked xylitol consumption to liver failure in dogs. Please be mindful!

More on sweeteners coming soon!
Be Healthy,

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review: Hugo's, Agoura

Serves gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options 

Hugo’s, Agoura as my first restaurant review has set the bar high! This restaurant was recommended by my Pilates instructor, Francine. When she told me about this restaurant, I knew that I wanted to save it for my first review.

What I love most about Hugo’s is the variety on the menu. There is literally something for everyone. They have traditional dishes such as a traditional macaroni and cheese (pictured), spaghetti and meatballs, steaks, and burgers. They also have a wide assortment of vegan and vegetarian cuisine. In addition, they have a large selection of gluten-free items on their very massive and eclectic menu. Many of the items on the menu are interchangeable so one can swap chicken for tofu or whole wheat for gluten-free bread, etc. What loved most about this restaurant however is that I do not need to feel like I would be skimped on my veggies. I sometimes feel that some restaurants utilize veggies more as a garnish or as an afterthought. Hugo’s on the other hand celebrates the vegetable in so many diverse and unique ways.

The food was great. We ordered the quinoa beet salad (pictured) which is perfect as a side salad. We also ordered the kelp noodle bowl that used the gluten-free kelp noodles in place of rice, wheat, or flour based noodles (pictured). It was a very light and crispy dish and the mango-tahini dressing definitely gave it a little kick, however I would not recommend this particular dish to a traditionalist. We also tasted the Cuban sandwich which was highly recommended by our waiter. The Cuban sandwich (pictured) came on a gluten-free bun, which in my opinion was one of the best gluten-free breads that I have ever tasted. The sandwich consists of grilled tofu (can also be swapped for chicken), honey-chipotle sauce, fried plantains, goat cheese, organic mixed lettuce, tomato, grilled red onions. They also have a huge selection of teas and fresh juices.

The prices are very reasonable, looking at an average of $10-30 per person.


Dietetic Balance: 5/5
Diet Restriction Sensitivity: 5/5
Clean Eating (food): 5/5
Service: 5/5
Palatability: 4.5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5

Rating System Key

Dietetic Balance – Offering a variety of foods that have balanced servings/portions using protein (including lean protein), carbohydrates (including fruits, vegetables, grains), and fats.

Diet Restriction Sensitivity – Restaurant caters to more than one type of limitation or lifestyle including: Kosher, gluten-free, wheat free, vegan, vegetarian and other food allergies/ limitations.

Clean Eating (food) – Food at the restaurant uses “clean” ingredients meaning that the produce used is fresh, and a majority of the ingredients are free of preservatives (homemade). The bulk of the ingredients used are not highly processed (this includes whole grain flour instead of white flour).  The majority of the meat and fish is fresh not pre-frozen. This also includes the use of organic, non-GMO, hormone and antibiotic free.

Service – Friendliness of staff, speed of service, knowledge of the menu.

Palatability – How delicious the food tastes.

Cleanliness – A clean appearance and sanitation level of the restaurant as a whole.  This includes the tables, plates, flatware (silverware), floors, restrooms, etc.

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Product Review: Alive and Radiant Foods™, Kale Krunch, Cheezy Chipotle

Allergen info: This product contains tree nuts. Produced in a facility that processes tree nuts and soy.

Overall Grade: C

For about over a year now, kale chips have been the new health sensation. I have seen all kinds of recipes over the internet and vendors selling the homemade snacks at farmers markets. However, I have noticed very few brands sell on the grander scale of mainstream retail markets. Alive and Radiant Foods™ are the current dominating brand in the world of kale chips, or what they call, “The Kale Chip Revolution.”

Alive and Radiant Foods™, Kale Krunch are (literally) dehydrated and flavored pieces of Kale. Personally, I am not a huge fan of dehydrated anything because many of the water soluble vitamins are lost during the dehydration process. Luckily, kale is rich in other nutrients such as vitamin A, and minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium which may be not lost in major excess during dehydration.

Let me just say that I don’t have a problem with kale chips in general, in fact, I love them. They are without a doubt a wonderful alterative to fried chips. However, these just fall flat for me. My first major problem with these chips is that they are doused in that cheese sauce. It seems as though there is more of a sauce to kale ratio. My second problem is that the entire bag contains a wee 2.2 ounces, making a serving size 1 ounce. In this single ounce (that is mostly sauce), you get 130 calories per serving. So if one were to eat the entire bag (which is not hard to do because it is like eating air), they are consuming 286 calories (close to a meal) and 770mg of sodium! The final verdict: I’d say save the money, calories, and sodium and make them on your own (recipes coming soon).

Would I purchase again: Probably not.
Palatability grade: C
Potential for improvement: YES.
Dietetic Profile: C-
Overall Grade: C

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pick of the Day: Cha –Cha –Cha Cherries!

One of the things that I can’t wait for when summer begins is when cherries will finally be in season and overflowing the displays at the grocery store. Well that time has officially come!


Cherries are a very interesting fruit because they are known to have a high concentration of a chemical compound known as melatonin. Some researchers believe that cherries have the highest concentration of naturally occurring melatonin of any food. Melatonin has many functions in the body. It is known as a very powerful and stable antioxidant, particularly known for its strong DNA protecting capacity. Melatonin has been linked to a variety of studies to be a mood stabilizer and has been shown to have some preventative affects on migraine headaches. Melatonin is typically produced in our bodies around bedtime to help prepare the body for sleep. Thus, the melatonin in cherries, especially tart cherries, have been linked as a helpful natural sleep aid.

Cherries always make for great desserts; however they also make wonderful sweet and savory flavors as well. Try this simple salad dressing.

Fresh Cherry Balsamic Dressing


4-8 fresh cherries (remove pits with a pit remover).
1 ½ tsp Olive Oil.
1 ½ tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.

½ tsp fresh ground pepper.

Dash of salt.


After the pits are removed from the cherries, place all of the ingredients into a blender. Blend ingredients until smooth (add more cherries for a thinker consistency). Pour in serving dish or drizzle on your favorite salad. Enjoy!

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Product Review: Sally’s Smart, Lemon Almonds

Allergen info: This product may contain traces of peanuts, beans, cashews, or pinenuts.

Product Overall Rating: A

Almonds are always a great snack. They are a wonderful source of fiber. They are high in the “good” type of fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids along with alpha-tocopherols (vitamin E – a very powerful antioxidant). They have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. They are loaded with phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. In addition, they are a pretty good source of protein.
I love almonds and flavored almonds are a great way to mix it up. Nevertheless, I have found that it is very hard to find good flavored almonds (or any type of nut) that are not overly dry roasted and overloaded with added sodium. Additionally, many flavored nuts leave a messy residue on my fingers.
Sally’s Smart almonds finally hit the nail on the head! They come in three varieties, including Lemon (my favorite), Keylime Jalapeno, and Orange Ginger. They taste so good and they have so much flavor that I am shocked to see that they only have 35mg of sodium per serving! What I love most about the almonds is the simplicity of their ingredients, just almonds, lemon juice and sea salt. They differ from the other brands because they use a special flavor infusion method that keep your fingers clean and mess free! In conclusion, these will be regulars in my pantry!

Would I purchase again: YES.
Palatability grade: A
Potential for improvement: I would love more varieties in the future!
Dietetic Profile: A
Overall Grade: A

Where to buy: Whole Foods or check

© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012