Everyone Needs a Quality Chef’s Knife!

Everyone Needs a Quality Chef’s Knife!

I adore my Shun, Wüshtof and Messimeister Knives

There’s nothing like having the right tool for the job. When it comes to cooking and preparing meals for myself, having the right tools in the kitchen are essential.

We all know cooking at home is a huge component to improving your health. When you cook at home you know exactly what you’re eating. When you cook at home, you’re eating more whole foods, wasting fewer boxes and packaging, and ingesting fewer preservatives and unknown ingredients.

For me, cooking is my time to relax and unwind. I enjoy slicing onions to throw in a hot pan, the smells and sounds of a kitchen in use, and the joy of feeding my family and friends thoughtfully prepared meals.

Preparing whole foods at home does require some chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing. How best to do these things? With a sharp knife.

Have you ever tried to cut into a tomato with a dull knife? The skin puckers and bruises. The flesh runs ragged. This experience does not make me a happy cook. Dull knives make for a dull time in the kitchen. Dull knives turn cooking into a chore, rather than the pleasant, relaxing, and creative time it should be.

What makes me happy? A sharp knife. A knife that balances well in my hand. I love the feel of the handle flush against my palm and the blade of my knife moving easily through my ingredients. The motion of a knife should be easeful, precise, enjoyable, and ergonomic.

I also have to say that I’m not just a utilitarian person. I like the tools and gadgets in my home to be aesthetically pleasing as well. This combination of function and beauty is important to me. Over the years of trying out many, many different knives, I’ve found Shun, Wushtof and Messermeister knives to deliver on both these fronts.

Shun knives with their beautiful steel, sleek handles and Japanese simplicity make me feel like a svelte samurai in the kitchen. I have several knives from Shun that I find myself reaching for every day. I’ve had many a guest in my kitchen “oooh” and “ahh” when they catch a glimpse of my Shun knives. The layered damascus steel blades make me want to occasionally weep because they’re so pretty. They’re sharp too. Most of the Shun knives require 100 individual steps to make. There is something very zen about a Shun. Their attention to detail is flawless.

I’ve also found Messermeister knives to fit my hand perfectly. I love the balance of the handle and blade. These are high-quality knives that are on par with Shun and are made with German forged stainless steel alloy. I love these knives for their strong lines and sturdy construction. I’ve found that Shun, Wushtof and Messermeister knives keep their sharp edges for a long time.

What took me a while to realize is that most home cooks won’t use 15 different knives in the kitchen. Yes, you might have the occasional need for a boning knife or a carving knife or a cleaver. But I find myself reaching for just two or three different knives for most of my daily food prep needs.

I recommend getting a high-quality chef’s knife. This is really, first and foremost, the one knife you need in the kitchen. A chef’s knife will conquer most of the tasks required to prepare a meal at home.

Find a blade length that works for your hand and body. Maybe you prefer the precision of a 6 in chef’s knife, maybe an 8 in knife makes you more efficient on the cutting board. Pick up lots of knives, hold them in your hand. How does it feel? Does the blade balance well? Is it too heavy? Too light? Is your body relaxed? Are you enjoying yourself? Does it make you happy to look at in your hand? I think these are all important questions to ask when purchasing a new knife.

The second knife I use most often is my little paring knife. For all those small tasks and delicate cutting needs, and for when your chef’s knife is just too long and unwieldy.

If you start with upgrading just those two knives I promise you won’t be sorry. If you’re at all like me, using a sharp knife over a sad, dull knife will make you happy, so very happy. You’ll be excited to enter the kitchen in the morning. You’ll look lovingly over at your knife holder, be it a wood block, or magnetic strip, or kitchen drawer and you’ll smile. Because you’ll know you have the right tool for the job. You know you won’t mash and mangle that plump, Heirloom tomato. You know that carrot will yield and your garlic will crush and mince delightfully.

Good quality knives can be pricey, but know that you don’t have to go out immediately and upgrade every single knife in your kitchen. Start small and invest in knives that fit you and your budget.

If you make cooking more enjoyable, you will cook more often. You’ll take better care of yourself, your friends, and your family by feeding them meals you made happily with real, whole ingredients.

Breast Cancer Healing Blueberry Smoothie

Breast Cancer Healing Blueberry Smoothie

There is a lot to know about how to build a smoothie that fights cancer. Red blood oranges contain flavonoids, carotenoids, ascorbic acid, hydroxycinnamic acids, and anthocyanins that efficiently counteract the oxidative damage that plays a role in the development of cancer. This smoothie is a rich blend of crushed citrus flavors and herbal fragrance.

  • 1 cup blood orange
  • 1⁄2 cup Meyer’s lemon
  • 1⁄2 cup lime
  • 1⁄2 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Combine all ingredients in a high-power blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.

Serves 2

Broccoli for Breast Cancer

Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a molecule shown to reduce the number of breast cancer cells in laboratory studies.

Sulforaphane, which is in broccoli and many other cruciferous vegetables, was found to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells by up to 50% in animal studies. Although these studies were performed on animals, not humans, correlational studies of human dietary patterns have shown that those who eat cruciferous vegetables have a lower breast cancer risk.

One of the ways that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli provide breast cancer protection is by significantly reducing excess circulating estrogen in the blood, which provides protection for those with  hormone sensitive types of breast cancer.

Both fresh and frozen broccoli contain this cancer reducing nutrient. One easy and delicious way to make broccoli is to steam it and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Also you might try squeezing lemon juice over the top or sprinkling with sesame or toasted hemp seeds. Aim for 1/2 cup of cruciferous vegetables each day during treatment and as a protection strategy in remission to prevent reoccurrence.

Berries for Breast Cancer

Berries for Breast Cancer

Berries contain phenolic compounds, which can induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells, thus reducing breast cancer development.

Blackberries, black raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, red raspberries, and strawberries were found to have an anti-proliferative effect on breast cancer cells in test tube analyses.

Always buy organic berries to avoid the pesticide residue which has been found on berries, particularly strawberries.

CoQ10, Tamoxifen and Breast Cancer

Aggressive cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, and drug therapies all have nutritional implications.  The treatments are making drastic changes to the body, which often deplete critical nutrients. Nutrient supplementation can reverse these deficiencies and enhance these types of treatment.

For example, a supplement containing coenzyme Q10, riboflavin, and niacin was found to reduce markers of breast cancer cells in those also taking tamoxifen. This supplement may help drug treatment by restoring proper mitochondrial (the cell’s energy center) function and reducing tumor necrosis factor, a tumor growth-stimulating molecule.CoQ10

Medication and supplement interaction is complex so get the advice of an expert before making decisions. Some medical doctors and oncologists are trained in nutrition. However, it is more likely that your naturopath, oncology nutritionist or integrated medical doctor will be able to help you in choosing the best nutrients to support your recovery.

Bean Flavonols for Breast Cancer

LegumesLegumes provide antioxidant flavonols that reduce breast cancer incidence, when eaten as part of the daily diet.

In a study including over 90,000 women, higher intake of legumes, which include peas, lentils and beans, was associated with lower breast cancer incidence. Scientists believe the flavonol compounds act as antioxidants reducing inflammation and microbial growth.

Aim for 1/2 cup cooked legumes per day to increase your flavonol intake.