How to Clean Leeks

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Nothing is worse than biting into a meal with leeks and feeling sandy grit between your teeth. Leeks have layers, similar to onions, and as they grow up through the ground they gather dirt in-between those layers.

The easiest way to clean leeks is to cut the tough green parts off and discard and cit the white part of the leek into 1/2 inch rounds. Separate the layers and plunge them into a large bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough so that no leeks are forced to the bottom, they all need to float.

Aggravate the water a little and let the dirt settle to the bottom. When you’re satisfied that all the dirt is settled, skim the leeks off the top and dry on paper towels.

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11 Tips for a Sensational Salad

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  1. Include in your salad: leafy tops (celery, radish, carrot), hearty bottoms (broccoli and cauliflower stems), and fresh herbs.
  2. Add the dressing last. The oil makes it soggy. Plant cells allow water from the vegetables to pass through into the oil of the dressing, making the salad wilt.         (oil & water don’t mix)
  3. Reuse empty spice jars to take your healthy dressings with you wherever you go.
  4.  Soak greens in cold water and gently agitate the water until the dirt and grit settles on the bottom.
  5. Dry greens completely using a salad spinner or laying them flat on paper towels. Dressing does not stick to wet greens.
  6. Tear lettuce leaves instead of chopping with a knife. The metal from the knife can cause bruising on tender leaves.
  7. Use baby spinach, kale, and mustard greens instead of lettuce to boost nutrients in your salad.
  8. Immerse your vegetables in an ice water bath to crisp them for an irresistible crunch.
  9. Add an egg to your salad for a quick protein kick.
  10. Toss the dressing in the salad in a separate bowl before serving to allow for an even coat.
  11. Add leftover cooked veggies from the previous night, hot or cold to your salad.

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6 Healthy Herbs and Spices

Metabolic Medical Center Weight Loss tipsHealth experts are coming back to earth. We owe much of modern day medicine to the benefits of centuries old herb and spices. I’m certainly not advocating going back into the dark ages with healthcare, but what the ancients new about the healing power of certain herbs and spices should be considered.

While they have not been shown to cure diseases, they have been shown to improve symptoms.

Gathered here are 6 powerful herbs and spices that you can enjoy everyday without interfering with your weight loss.

1) Sage
Active Ingredient
: extract
Improves: sore throats, upset stomachs, memory, learning and mood
Serve With: pork and beef, drink sage tea
Due to the delicacy of the sage leaf, it is best added at the end of the cooking process. Gently rub the leaf between you hands to “bruise” and release the extract.

2) Turmeric:
Active Ingredient: curcumin
Improves: inflammation, arthritis pain
Serve With: garlic, curry powder This is best used as a powder and served as part of curries in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. It does stain so wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

3) Rosemary:
Active Ingredient: rosmarinic acid
Improves: mental focus, concentration, fights bacteria
Serve With: chicken, citrus flavors, garlic and onions
Rosemary is a tough herb and can handle everything from a long roasting process to a quick saute. The small leaves can chopped and added to a dish or the whole sprig can be tossed in the pot.

4) Chili Pepper:
Active Ingredient: capsaicin and capsinoids
Improves: pain, inflammation, boosts metabolism
Serve With: fresh meat, soups
Handle chili peppers with care. Its active ingredient will cause a severe burning sensation if you touch any sensitive skin. These can be eaten raw or cooked. You can reduce the heat by removing the seeds and white membrane.

5) Ginger:
Active Ingredient: ginerols
Improves: upset stomachs, arthritis pain
Serve With: citrus, soy sauce, garlic, peppers
Ginger is a root and has a thick skin that must be removed to expose the white flesh underneath. It can be grated, sliced, chopped, etc and added to food. Add it at the beginning of the cooking process for a subtle flavor and at the end for a strong flavor.

6) Cinnamon:
Active Ingredient: cinnamon powder
Improves: blood sugar spikes, relieves indigestion
Serve With: coffee, teas, fruit, nuts, cloves
Simmer whole sticks in your next cup of tea or sprinkle this over your next Middle Eastern inspired meal.

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