Move aside broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, 2012 is the year of kale. Health nuts are shining the spotlight on the leafy, green veggie that is pumped with vitamins and antioxidants, and chefs are taking notice. "People are weird about Brussels sprouts and cabbage," said chef Nancy Longo, "but are willing to give kale a try."
Chef Didi Emmons says she sort of fell into the role of consultant to food businesses in a growing number of towns that have banned trans fats. Her background as a natural-foods chef first brought her to the attention of the Boston Public Health Commission, which hired her to help the city's food sellers reformulate their recipes after a trans-fat ban there took effect in 2008.
Controlling portion sizes is challenging when restaurants super-size dishes, and package labels can be misleading. For example, potato-chip serving sizes are for 15 chips, but the average consumer eats 45 chips in a sitting. Cookbooks and restaurants, too, can offer generous portions. To cope, use smaller plates, share meals or stick with appetizers, one nutrition expert says.
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that mice engineered to have lower levels of the endocannabinoid 2-AG compound burned fat calories more efficiently and showed no signs of metabolic syndrome, compared with their unmodified counterparts, despite having a high-fat diet. The findings in Cell Metabolism suggest that blocking the chemical may aid in weight loss.
The traditional green-bean casserole often is the only green vegetable on the Thanksgiving menu, but autumn offers hearty options such as kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, chef and cookbook author Kim O'Donnel writes. She recommends adding kale to mashed potatoes, turning Brussels sprouts into a slaw side dish and roasting broccoli pickup sticks in the oven.