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Menestra de Lentejas

  • Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the February 2019 issue of TotalHealthOnline Magazine. We wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day.

    Charles K. Bens, PhD, in “Changing Your Age Equation” gives us a heads up with general strategies and to be adjusted based on factors such as age, sex, general health, metabolism, genetics and income. We all can only do the best that we can given our personal circumstances. Bens is clear on there being no excuse for not paying attention to the scientific facts that are included in this article.

    Stress Hormone #2—Insulin,” by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS. Long-time weight loss, detox, and anti-aging expert alerts us that insulin is the one hormone that you have the most control over. It is controlled primarily by what you put in your mouth. All foods trigger a hormonal response. Gittleman shares details on how excess production of insulin can result in too much blood sugar being stored as fat, interfering with weight loss efforts. Another reminder on the influence of stress on the body.

    Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, in “An Overview of Vitamin C.” This is one vitamin the human body is unable to make. The source of vitamin C is your diet and supplements. Broccoli and potatoes (not French fries) in addition to orange juice and grapefruit juice are good sources. There are some exceptions based on prescriptions you may be taking. Bruno also discuses dosages of supplements and where there may be restrictions. We always recommend consulting with your healthcare provider.

    BEMER For Circulation Health,” by Ross Pelton, RPh, CCN, recommends and discusses a product, which helps blood circulation, including even the tiniest vessels in the body. BEMER stands for Bio-Electro-Magnetic Energy Regulation. BEMER Pro is an FDA-approved Class 1 medical device that dramatically improves circulation to micro-capillaries throughout the body. BEMER is not a “therapy” for any disease or health condition. However, many functions in the body start to improve when cells receive more oxygen, more nutrients and generate more energy.

    Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD, offers “Menestra de Lentejas (Lentil Stew).” Another of Gilbère’s fabulous recipes from her test kitchen in Ecuador. “If you visit this unforgettable country (my new chosen homeland) of amazing people, spectacular scenery, celebratory festivals, diverse music, and colorful ancient customs, the one thing you’ll find everywhere is the national dish—menestra.” Menestra is made with lentils, you may also see it with chickpeas, red or pinto beans, it can be made with or without meat for vegetarians.

    Shawn Messonnier’s, DVM, topic this month is “Liver Disease in Pets.” Beginning with, “liver disease is the catch-all term that is applied to any medical disorder affecting the liver and usually causing elevated blood levels of liver enzymes. It can be divided into both acute and chronic disease.” Read on for a thorough discussion of liver disease in pets. Thanks to you our readers, the authors and advertisers.

    Best in health,

    TWIP—The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full February 2019 issue.

    Click here to read the full February 2019 issue.

  • Last month I promised to share my recipe for Ecuadorian menestra adapted from the original potato-version. In South America lentils are used just about daily in one dish or another. The most common is called “Menestra,” which is like a veggie stew and means a mix of vegetables—usually containing lentils along with other spices, vegetables (usually potatoes) and broth—it’s one of the irreplaceable dishes in Latin America—served as a main dish or an accompaniment. It is so satisfyingly filling (true comfort food) that I often make it my main meal. I was raised in California eating lentils as a main dish in a Latin family. But since relocating my Health Sciences to Ecuador, I’ve become not only more fond of them but have come to appreciate their health-enhancing qualities and versatility. I hope you will too! If you visit this unforgettable country (my new chosen homeland) of amazing people, spectacular scenery, celebratory festivals, diverse music, and colorful ancient customs, the one thing you’ll find everywhere is the national dish—menestra. Most often made with lentils, you may also see it with chickpeas, red or pinto beans.

    You will only find it made from scratch (NOT in a can or frozen), and it often accompanies meat, rice and fried plantain. For vegetarians, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for it with an egg instead, and vegans will find that Ecuadorians have no problem serving it without meat or egg and instead give you a bit of extra menestra and rice—I find them very accommodating for even the most sensitive allergies or food preferences; it just takes a positive respectful attitude and a little education.

    types of different lentils



    • 2–3 TB. coconut or avocado oil
    • 1–2 red onions, diced
    • 1 large white sweet potato or 2–3 parsnips (peeled and cut in small cubes)
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tsp. cumin powder
    • 1 tsp. achiote (annatto) powder (a wonderful substitute for paprika without adding an ingredient known to cause inflammation)
    • 4 TB. chopped cilantro
    • 7 cups chicken or vegetable broth or until broth covers lentils by about an inch
    • 1 lb. lentils (brown, red or any color available), well rinsed and soaked—preferably overnight
    • Salt/pepper to taste (DO NOT add salt until lentils are soft)
    • Green plantain—optional (see notes at the end)
    • Fresh lime juice for serving


    • Heat the oil on medium heat in a large saucepan.
    • Add the onion, garlic, cumin, sweet potato/parsnip, salt, achiote and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro to make a sauté for the stew.
    • Cook, stirring occasionally until all the ingredients have softened.
    • Add the broth, increase heat, bring to boil.
    • Add the previously soaked and well-rinsed lentils and reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and cook until lentils are tender. Taste. If salt is needed DO NOT add until lentils are soft or it will delay their cooking. Stir in the remaining 2 TB. of cilantro, remove from heat.

    Serve with your choice of rice or quinoa, carne or pollo frito (stir-fried thin beef or chicken strips), fried ripe plantains or fried green plantains, and a small salad or avocado slices.

    Dr. Gloria's Kitchen Notes

    • To add a green plantain, peel and grate it using a fine grater, stir the grated plantain into the menestra during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, mix it well so it integrates into the stew—you will notice how it thickens the dish and adds a slight plantain flavor. This is a great way to thicken a dish without corn or flour. Plantain does not have flavor, per se, but rather takes on the flavor of what it's added to.
    • If desired, and you love limes as much as I do, squeeze the juice of a lime into each dish when serving—Kit adds a delightful savory punch.
    • Lentils come in a variety of colors, mix and match, each has a bit of a slightly different flavor.

    From my Ecuadorian Health Sciences 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

    AND 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!