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Baked Caprese Chicken

  • Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the March 2019 issue of TotalHealth Magazine.

    Charles K. Bens, PhD, in “The Biochemistry Of Smoking: Helping the Brain To Live Without Nicotine” gives us an explanation on the effects of nicotine on the brain, showing why it is so difficult to quit smoking. Bens goes on with his experience with several individuals who were able to change their lifestyle through diet and exercise, and lead healthy lives. This is not to say one shouldn’t quit smoking but changing one’s lifestyle is a big influence on one’s health.

    In “Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Protectors for Your Children,” Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG), enlightens readers on blue light, especially from digital devices. It has the potential to damage retinal tissue and cause a variety of eye-related problems, including eye strain, eye fatigue, headache, visual impairment, psychological stress and poor sleep quality. This is particularly true in children since their eyes absorb more blue light than adults.

    How Smart Fats Reset Your Hunger Hormones,” Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, focus is on Adiponectin; a real hormone game changer that you may not be very familiar with. It is a big player in firing up belly fat burn and is known as the body’s “fat burning torch.” This special super hormone that flips your body’s fat burning switch is already circulating in your bloodstream because it is made in your fat cells. Adiponectin is balanced by monounsaturated omega-rich foods and oils as: olives and olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, and macadamias and macadamia nut oil.

    Jacob E. Teitelbaum, MD, offers “X-Rays Meaningless for Arthritis and Back Pain?” We’ve known for decades that spinal X-Rays, MRIs and CT scans add very little information about back pain. They most often DON’T tell doctors whether the pain is coming from the spine or from disc, arthritic or bone disease. (Though they MAY reveal if the problem can be fixed with a chiropractic adjustment.)

    Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD, contributes “One Dish Baked Caprese Chicken.” Another of Gilbère’s fabulous recipes from her test kitchen in Ecuador. In addition to this recipe Gilbère offers two recipes to use for leftovers. Included is background on the health benefits of organic chicken.

    Shawn Messonnier’s, DVM, topic this month is “Pinellia Combination in Pets.” Pinellia combination is a Chinese herbal mix. This formula contains ginseng, ginger, jujube, Coptis and Scute, along with pinellia, and is for vomiting in pets. Because of the Chinese diagnosis and classification of diseases, the ingredients in each formula may vary. Individual Chinese pharmacists include herbs in their tented formulas based upon their experience. However, they can compound formulas to the needs of an individual pet.

    Best in health,

    TWIP—The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full March 2019 issue.

    Click here to read the full March 2019 issue.

  • Something to cackle about

    Chicken is the most common type of poultry in the world and Ecuador is no exception. That being said, there is no lack of organic free-range chickens (Pollo de Campo) here in Ecuador.

    Chicken has been domesticated and consumed as food for thousands of years. There are many varieties of chicken, including free-range chicken, organic chicken, and conventional chicken - the difference is the basis of their breeding. Let's take a quick look at the differences:

    • Free-range chicken, as the term implies, is allowed to roam freely in the pastures;
    • Conventional chicken, which is also the most controversial, is kept in cages and not allowed to move freely. Conventional chicken is injected with hormones to speed its growth and make it unnaturally big. In addition, non-organic chicken is generally injected with antibiotics to avoid disease in crowded cages - these chicken varieties are usually kept in unhygienic and unhealthy conditions and should be avoided at all cost.
    • Of the three, organic chicken is the most expensive because it is bred freely and is allowed to eat only organically prepared food, as per USDA standards. It is kept in healthy and clean conditions and allowed to grow naturally without any medications to disturb its hormone cycle.

      "USDA Organic" chickens are allowed access to the outdoors; they are given antibiotics only to prevent pain or death, after which they are no longer considered organic. One study found that organic chicken contained 38 percent more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

      The health benefits of organic chicken include its ability to provide a good supply of protein, essential vitamins, and minerals. It also aids in weight loss, regulating cholesterol and blood pressure, and reducing the risk of cancer.


    3 tablespoons olive oil

    2 tablespoons Italian seasoning or Mix your own*

    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

    2-3 cans sour/tart cherries (drained), use fresh cherries when available or**

    6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)

    1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

    6 medium slices of Mozzarella cheese (for topping each chicken breast)

    10 fresh basil leaves, torn/chopped into medium pieces

    Baby arugula, for serving

    Crusty bread, for serving (optional) - I like to serve it on a bed of lightly steamed zucchini noodles.

    * Combine equal amounts of dried - rosemary, marjoram, thyme, savory, sage, oregano, and basil - then measure the amount in the recipe. Pulverize to a powder either in a mortar and pestle or in a spice/coffee grinder. If using fresh herbs, you'll have to use about double the quantity in the recipe. NOTE: I make several spice blends in advance and keep in air-tight spice containers or jars to save time. In future issues, I'll share some of my other nightshade-free spice blends.

    ** You can also use dried tart cherries and reconstitute in water overnight then drain and use as indicated.

    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
    • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil onto a rimmed baking sheet, or oven-safe bakeware, evenly spread it out and coat the bottom of the pan.
    • Along with the Italian seasoning blend, sprinkle 1 tablespoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to taste onto the same baking sheet.
    • Scatter the cherries on the baking sheet/bakeware and shake back and forth so they become evenly coated in the oil and seasonings.
    • Arrange the chicken in the center of the baking sheet/bakeware, pushing the cherries out to the perimeter, and drizzle the chicken with the remaining two tablespoons of oil.
    • Bake until the cherries are soft, blistered and begin to burst, 20 to 25 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the vinegar has reduced by half and is thick enough to coat back of the spoon, 7 to 8 minutes. NOTE: Do not leave unattended or it will become like taffy, you want it thick but not where it crystallizes - it will thicken as it cools. I make a larger batch of this ahead and keep in a jar refrigerated. When ready to use simply leave out at room temperature, or gently warm, so you can easily spread over the chicken dish or use on salads - lasts easily about 3 months refrigerated.
    • Remove the baking sheet/dish from the oven and drape a slice of mozzarella over each chicken breast.
    • Bake until the cheese melts and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast has reached 160 degrees F, 5 to 7 minutes (the chicken will carryover cook to 165 F).
    • Sprinkle the chicken and cherries with the basil and drizzle with the balsamic reduction sauce - spoon the collected pan juices over the entire chicken dish.
    • Serve on a bed of arugula and with gluten-free crusty bread to mop up the pan juices.

    Cold Chicken Salad Recipe Gloria Gilbere

    Overview of Organic Chicken Health Benefits

    High Protein Content
    Chicken breast, with 31 grams of protein per 100 grams, is one of the best foods for protein. Protein plays an important role in our diet. It is made of amino acids - the building blocks of our muscles. Generally, the recommended amount of daily protein requirement is 1 gram per 1 kg of body weight or 0.4 g of protein per pound of body weight. For athletes, the daily requirement of protein is about 0.6 g to 0.9 g per pound. For women over 60, it's recommended to consume more to help avoid loss of muscle tone, an example is 0.5 - 0.6 gr of lean protein daily.

    Rich in Vitamins & Minerals
    Chicken is not only a good source of protein but is also very rich in vitamins and minerals. For example, the B vitamins in it are useful for preventing cataracts and skin disorders, boosting immunity, eliminating weakness, regulating digestion, and improving the nervous system. They are also helpful in preventing migraine, heart disorders, gray hair, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

    • Vitamin D in chicken helps calcium absorption and bone strengthening;
    • Vitamin A helps in building eyesight;
    • Minerals such as iron are helpful for hemoglobin formation, muscle activity, and eliminating anemia;
    • Potassium and sodium are electrolytes;
    • Phosphorus is helpful in tackling weakness, bone health, brain function, dental care, and metabolic issues.

    Weight Loss
    Diets with high levels of quality protein have been known to be effective in reducing weight - chicken has been one of the main contenders in weight loss. Studies and trials show that significant weight control was observed in people who regularly ate chicken, particularly the breast - attributed to its high protein content and low calories.

    Control of Blood Pressure
    Chicken consumption has been found to be useful in controlling blood pressure as well. This was observed in people with hypertension and in many African Americans, though the diet was also comprised of nuts, low-fat dietary products, vegetables, and fruits.

    Reduced Cancer Risk
    Studies show that in non-vegetarians, higher consumption of red meat, pork/ham increased the risk of colorectal cancer, while in chicken and fish eaters, the risk of developing this cancer in later life was reduced - assuming the chicken is organic free-range. Chicken is also believed to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

    Reduced Cholesterol
    The amount of saturated fat and cholesterol found in red meat such as beef, pork, and lamb are much higher than the levels found in chicken, fish, and vegetables. Therefore, the American Heart Association advises consuming chicken or fish instead of red meat for a lowered risk of cholesterol and subsequent heart disease development.

    Treatment of Common Cold
    Intake of warm chicken soup also provides relief from common cold, including symptoms of a congested nose and sore throat. My Jewish friends know this as "Jewish Penicillin" and I couldn't agree more, it's my go-to if I feel vulnerable, extra tired or when traveling. Here's some perspective that validates why this is so effective for common viruses...AND no, it's not just old-wives-tales.

    Next Day Chicken Recipe Gloria Gilbers

    Historical Perspective:

    Jewish folklore about chicken soup is closely tied to the central European medical history of chicken soup. The Greek physician Galen, in the second century AD, recommended chicken soup as a cure for migraine, leprosy, constipation, and fever.

    A few centuries later, in the Babylonian Talmud, a story refers to the chicken of Rabbi Abba (175-247) that when cooked, served as a general remedy.

    Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the Jewish philosopher and physician, Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), recommended chicken soup for the weak and the sick; with great success.

    Chicken noodle soup is regarded as a therapeutic dish in several cultures, including Jewish-American and Chinese communities where traditional medicine is practiced.

    Although researchers have not been able to determine the cause of the alleged positive effects of chicken soup, several studies have confirmed that it DOES help unblock congested noses and throats.

    Chicken is especially rich in a compound called carnosine, and it's this that studies suggest helps reduce that stuffy, congested feeling in your nose and throat. It's thought that carnosine minimizes inflammation in the upper respiratory tract by stopping the migration of white blood cells. Studies show that a hearty bowl of chicken soup may help you clear nasal congestion and have a mild anti-inflammatory effect that can help ease cold symptoms and body aches.

    There you have it, one more way to use parts of your chicken, Naturally, From My Kitchen to Yours, Dr. Gloria

    NEWS FLASH: Ready to learn more about simple recipes that can give you what I call the Anti-Inflammation Advantage? Download your free 40+ page cookbook The Anti-Inflammation Recipe Sampler at

    Mark April 2019 on your calendar when I'll be able to literally take you by the hand and lead you step-by-step through an entire library of anti-inflammatory meals that are easy to prepare and delicious! Stay tuned!