February is American Heart Month! Get Your Heart Pumping with These Healthy Foods

By Jane Poretsky

Have you given up on your resolution already? Dropped the idea of becoming a vegan and thrown out the gluten-free bread from your pantry? If you’re sneaking a piece of dark chocolate as you read, have no fear. We aren’t hear to reprimand you. Au contraire, we want to applaud you for making a choice that’s actually good for your little pumping heart. Oh wait, you didn’t know? Chocolate is really good for your body (in small doses). So is anti-oxidant rich red wine. Bottoms up, friends!

Today, we uncover 4 healthy foods to keep on hand at all times and recipes that they can be incorporated into. Check out the hot gossip below!

1. Salmon
Studies have shown that replacing your meat intake twice a week by substituting fish can prevent heart disease by 30%. Salmon is one of the more popular varieties, and for good reason. In addition to being uber tasty, it is marbled with healthy fats. Make sure that you buy fish that was sustainably sourced. This helps protect the natural habitat and prevent overfishing.

Recipe: Salmon Wild Rice Cakes

Salmon Wild Rice Cakes
Salmon Wild Rice Cakes (Photo Credit: Sulav Darnal)

How to Make: In a large bowl, whisk together the juice of half a lemon, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1 egg and a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of pre-cooked or canned salmon (drained) and 2 cups of cooked wild rice. Taste the mixture to make sure it is properly seasoned. Form the salmon mix into small patties and place in the freezer for 20 minutes to get them firm. Rub each one with 1 tsp of sesame oil and bake at 450 degrees until golden and cooked through. 

2. Almonds

In case you haven’t heard by now, almonds are a god send. These teardrop shaped nuts are loaded with Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and magnesium, which helps produce serotonin. Serotonin is what makes you happy and brings smiles to those chubby cheeks. Just 1/4 cup of almonds every day is a guaranteed healthy energy boost that your heart will thank you for.

Recipe: Blueberry Almond Flour Pancakes

1.5 cups blanched almond flour
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup of buttermilk
1/4 cup of water
1/3-1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

How to Make: Whisk the eggs with a handheld mixer. Add flour, water, vanilla and buttermilk. Keep whisking the mixture together until it resembles a pancake batter. And if you want a heart healthy boost, add a tablespoon of ground flax to the pancake mixture. This will make the cupcakes even healthier and nuttier! Preheat a small griddle or nonstick pan with just a few drops of light oil. Pour pancakes of desired size onto the pan once it’s hot enough and sprinkle a few blueberries into each pancake. Cook for about three minutes per side and serve immediately. We like ours with organic maple syrup!

fortmillscliving.com Pancakes
Blueberry Almond Pancakes (Photo Credit: Fortmillscliving.com)

3. Beans

Beans are a great addition to any healthy diet, and a great replacement for a meal that might normally have meat. They are high in carbs and protein, so you’ll feel full for a while after chowing down on them. They are also abundant in iron and calcium, which your body needs a daily dose of.

Recipe: Avocado Lime Black Bean Salad

1 avocado, skin + pit removed, cut into small cubes
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of minced vidalia onion
extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of dried cumin
1/2 lime
2 tbs chopped cilantro

Black Bean & Avocado Salad (Photo credit: Oh She Glows)

How to Make: In a large pan, saute onion with olive oil on medium heat until it is golden brown. Add beans, cumin, and a generous sprinkle of salt. Cook the beans for 3-4 minutes. Add the juice of 1/2 lime and taste for acidity. If the flavor is to your liking, empty into a clean bowl. Add the chopped avocado and cilantro. Serve as a salad or in tortillas for yummy soft tacos.

4. Kale
Dark leafy greens are nutrient powerhouses. Kale, which has only gained a cult-like following in the past 4-5 years, contains B6 and folate. These two team up to keep homocysteine levels down, which may help prevent heart disease, dementia, and osteoporosis bone fractures.

Recipe: Parmesan Kale Chips
1 bunch of kale, stems cut out and leaves roughly torn
2-3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (about a 1/3 cup)

Parmesan Kale Chips (Photo Credit: Babble)

How to Make: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl toss kale with oil, sea salt and parmesan. Spread the kale out on a large tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes. It should be dry and crisp when you remove it from the oven.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com


Mike ‘N Willie’s Fish Tacos

The memorable green and orange truck started by two guys from Brooklyn named Mike and Willie has always been a safe bet for lunch. Sliders and tacos are more popular than ever, and the truck keeps expanding its options with more vegetarian fillings and even rice bowls for those looking for a less messy meal. But it wasn’t until I tried their fish tacos that I realized what a winning recipe Mike ‘N’ Willie’s has, with huge chunks of flaky battered fish with a fresh slaw and tasty cilantro sauce.

Mike ‘N’ Willie’s has a number of appetizing combination deals and daily specials, letting you mix and match between their tacos, sliders and sides. The 3 items for $10 deal is what caught my attention, especially because these tacos are stuffed with delicious fillings. Last time I tried Mike ‘N’ Willie’s they had just run out of fish tacos, so I ordered two of those and a short rib taco.


I bit right into the short rib taco first, doubled wrapped in two tortillas to make it easier to handle and topped with a smoky barbecue sauce, pickled red onion and cotija cheese. The taco was stuffed with sweet and savory meat, even better than the last time I tried it.

Each fish taco had a huge beer battered hunk of flaky fish in it, and I squeezed some lime on each one to give them even more of a kick. These were some of the best fish tacos I’ve tried, fried to perfection but perfectly complemented by the fresh slaw, sauce and lime juice. Finding tacos like this from a food truck in Manhattan seems as rare as finding a dolphin in the Gowanus, but anything can happen in New York. For a truly great lunch at a reasonable price, try Mike ‘N’ Willie’s food truck all around Manhattan and Dumbo, Brooklyn. Or cut to the chase and order online.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com


Sushi Chefs Land in Hot Water After Serving Whale Meat

Back in 2007 two California sushi chefs were first accused of selling endangered whale meat from their Santa Monica restaurant; now the issue has been brought back to light and the two chefs may face serious punishment if convicted.

The chefs, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda are believed to have sold whale meat while employed at a restaurant called the Hump, which closed down voluntarily in 2010. The whale meat in question comes from Sei whales, the third largest species of whale following Blue and Fin whales. Sei whales were aggressively hunted in the 19th and 20th centuries and the world population suffered, now estimated around 80,000.

Sei Whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the U.S. Department of Justice believes the whale meat was purchased from a Japanese official named Ginichi Ohira, who in turn purchased it from a supplier in Japan, where whales are legally hunted for ‘scientific’ reasons. The whale meat was then mislabeled in restaurant invoices as “fatty tuna” to keep attention away from the true origin of the meat. The Hump also did not print whale meat dishes on its regular menu, to avoid detection and keep concerned customers unaware that they served the endangered species.

The issue was buried for some time but came back to light when activists alerted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the group that manages the National Marine Fisheries Service. The two chefs could face prison time, with up to 67 years for Yamamoto and 10 years for Ueda. Typhoon Restaurant, Inc., the company that owned the Hump could face up to $1.2 million in fines.

When The Hump shut down in 2010, it claimed that it hoped to bring awareness to illegal whaling and the dramatic effect is has upon the oceanic ecosystem. According to its website, “Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The owner of The Hump also will be taking additional action to save the endangered species.”

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com


Global Warming Contributes to Smaller Fish Size

According to new research, the fish population is likely to significantly decrease in size by 2050 due to global warming and changing oxygen levels in the oceans. The average weight of over 600 types of marine fish including cod, halibut and flounder is expected to decrease by about 14-24 percent by from 2000 to 2050.

Rising water temperatures caused by global warming have the effect of cutting off the amount of oxygen in the oceans. This may also lead to dwindling catches for fisheries. According to William Cheung of the University of British Columbia in Canada, “The reductions in body size will affect whole ecosystems.”

Cheung is a lead author of the findings, posted in the journal Nature Climate Change. Cheung and his team believe that smaller fish sizes will have major effects upon ocean food webs and fisheries and the human consumption of fish. As human burn fossil fuels, life becomes more difficult for oceanic fish because warm water is not capable of holding as much dissolved oxygen as colder water. Oxygen is vital for these fish for respiration as well as growth.

“As the fish grow bigger and bigger it will be difficult to get enough oxygen for growth. There is more demand for oxygen as the body grows. At some point the fish will stop growing,” Cheung deduced from the study, based upon computer models.

Fish are also more likely to migrate from tropic seas towards cooler waters North and South. As water gets warmer it gets lighter as well, mixing with oxygen near the surface of the water rather than the cooler deeper levels where many fish live.

In the Indian Ocean fish size is expected to shrink the most, by an average of 24 percent, followed by a 20% decrease in the Atlantic and a 14% decrease in the Pacific. The study also predicted that most fish populations would towards the North and South poles at a median rate of 17.1 to 22.6 miles per decade from 2000 to 2050.

Marine food chains are expected to suffer from these changes most of all. In addition to over-fishing and pollution, many fish like cod swallow their prey whole, and can only eat fish that can fit in their mouths. Cod may now become less fearsome to many smaller fish, and allow these smaller species to suddenly thrive.

Increasing climate change should be the cause of all of this; the study predicts an increase in world temperature of between 3.6 to 9.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com


Whole Foods Set to Ban Unsustainable Seafood from their Stores

Fishing sustainability has been a hot topic lately, so hot that natural food store chain Whole Foods has decided to no longer purchase or distribute fish and seafood considered unsustainable. As of Earth Day 2012, all “red-rated” seafood, or seafood that suffers from overfishing or capture methods that cause environmental damage will be banned from Whole Foods stores.

Several other large chain stores have enacted similar unsustainable seafood bans. Target has removed farmed salmon from its shelves, and promises to eliminate foods that are unsustainable from its stores by 2015. Wegman’s has discontinued selling items from the Ross Sea in the Antarctic, which many experts say should no longer be fished. Wal-Mart will also require its fresh and frozen seafood to be labeled as sustainable, and develop a proper labeling system to identify seafood.

However there is still a large grey area around what seafood is actually sustainable and what is not. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has the most widely used certification system, and has certified 148 wild-caught fisheries, representing about seven percent of the global supply. However out of these fisheries, studies have shown that 31 percent were still overfished. There is still a long way to go for certifiers to sharpen their criteria and establish a superior system to rate the sustainability of various fishing methods. Though experts still recommend purchasing certified seafood, the current system is far from perfect.

The implications of Whole Foods and other stores banning many sources of seafood will have a huge effect on the fishermen who have provided these chains with fresh seafood for years. Much of this seafood comes from the overfished stocks of New England, where fishermen have been selling their catches to the same large retailers for years. Many fishermen will have to find new buyers for their catches, or simply wait until a more definitive rating system come to be.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com


New Sushi-Robot is a Game Changer

Sushi-making has long been respected in Japan as a cultural expression of art because of the emphasis on appearance, as well as taste. However Japanese company Suzomo has just modernized the sushi industry with a line of sushi robots that can automatically roll sushi with ingredients pre-assembled for them.

These machines can be small enough to fit on counter-tops, and create 3,600 mounds of sushi per hours. Another machine roll about 300 medium-sized sushi rolls in an hour (larger rolls take more time to create). The machines work by grabbing a pile of rice from a rice bowl placed on top of the machine and sculpting it into a flat sheet. Then the machine adds a piece of seaweed, fish and veggies. Then at the press of a button the conveyor belt platform covers the sushi and rolls it up.

Suzumo hopes with these machines it can “precisely recreate the handmade taste and technique used by an experienced sushi chef.” No mention was given to appearance however, which many sushi-lovers know is almost as important as taste itself. It can be hard to imagine a sushi machine acutely dropping sauce on a roll, or arranging a dragon roll to actually look like a dragon. For this reason it’s hard to imagine most high-end sushi restaurants replacing their experienced sushi chefs with a sushi machine. These machines may find more use in malls or franchises that require fast output. These machines have the added advantage of standardization, letting a franchise creates a perfectly standardized sushi product that doesn’t alternate depending on the chef.

Sushi machines should cost only a few thousand dollars each, making them far more cost effective than hiring an experienced sushi chef, though these machines do require some labor to place ingredients and operate them.

Suzomo machines may ultimately drive down the costs of sushi, and thus raise demand for the pricy raw-fish food. With fish conservation efforts growing, many popular fish including bluefin tuna are being increasingly protected by environmental groups from ending up in our sushi. There is still no word on how Suzomo machines might affect the food industry, but given their low cost and high yield of output, they may have devastating effects upon fish conservation.

Watch the video below to see how Suzomo sushi machines are changing the world of sushi as we know it.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com


Kim’s Aunt Kitchen

Today I decided to try Kim’s Aunt Kitchen, a small fried food cart with a wide array of options. Kim’s is surrounded by several other food trucks and carts on Avenue of the Americas, but does well for itself with its delicious fried options. Kim’s is another Mexican-Korean fusion trucks, though the bulgogi beef platter seems to be the only truly Korean item on the menu. The rest are fried fish or chicken options, served on a platter with either rice, French fries or lo mein, or simply in sandwich form.

After seeing some sandwiches served, I went with a flounder sandwich on a hero roll, served with a salad topping and white sauce. The fish was delicious, fried to a perfect crisp and soft and flaky on the inside. It had a mild taste to it but that went well with the fried bread and sauce. The sandwich was perfect for eating on the go too, and at only $5, a genuine deal.

For me, Kim’s Aunt Kitchen represented the ideal street food; cheap, fried and delicious. It didn’t hurt that free sample were being given away as well (the bulgogi beef is not as authentic as Bapcha’s). Leaving this crowded spot on Avenue of the Americas I know that there are still many more food trucks to try, but Kim’s Aunt Kitchen left me satisfied enough to wait another day to try the others.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com