Homie Digest: A series in which I visit with Hawai‘i's movers and shakers. We talk shop, inspiration, and process over good food and drink.
This is the first installment of HOMIE DIGEST! - I am so lucky to have such talented friends and can't resist telling their stories right here. In exchange for their shared knowledge, I feed them yummy food, or in this case with my girl Lianne, we make the food together.
Lianne is both brains and beauty. Only she could roll up to my place at 10 am on a Sunday with NO MAKEUP and still look amazing. She literally woke up like this... meanwhile I was still trying to shake-off the puffiness in my face from a long night of dancing at The Manifest.
After graduating with a master of science degree in clinical nutrition, she moved back home to Hawai‘i to pursue her career in paradise. Although Hawai‘i does not rank the highest in the nation for obesity, Lianne told me that our state comes close to the national average and surpasses the average for cases of diabetes and pre-diabetes!
For the past two years, Lianne has been working as a bariatric clinical dietitian. The main purpose of her job is to change an individuals relationship with food - a relationship that can be complex and difficult to alter. Since Lianne primarily works with overweight and obese individuals, she counsels patients on diet choices, habits, learned behaviors over time, genes, and many other factors.
Lianne's favorite part of her job is being able to see an individual's health improve over time. Bariatric surgery helps significantly with the patient's weight loss, but maintaining the weight loss comes from choosing nutritious, unprocessed foods, exercising on a regular basis, and understanding her or his own eating habits. The downside is when a patient is unable to associate diet quality with health and revert back to their old ways of eating. We are always told "you are what you eat," and Lianne lives by the mantra food is medicine... which brings me to our little project.
SKIN SAVER: THE TOMATO
For 24 years of my life I was blessed with clear skin. Puberty, sun exposure, and teenage make-up experimentation couldn't phase my golden brown skin. Then I turned 24 and all of that went downhill. My cheeks turned into a primitive Pacific Plate trying furiously to create the pimple versions of the Hawaiian and Marshall islands. For two years I tried different creams, washes, and electric brushes with no improvement - and finally decided to focus on my diet.
Lianne helped me pinpoint foods that if incorporated into my diet, could provide certain vitamins and minerals that may help to improve my skin. Note that this is not a claim that eating this food will eliminate skin problems... this is more of a personal exploration into foods that encourage healthier skin.
Your skin is the largest organ in the body, and just like all other organs, aging is influenced by genes, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Something called "oxidative stress" causes inflammation that contributes to the overall aging of our organs and the development of chronic diseases. Phytonutrients can help reduce the process of oxidation and essentially improve skin health.
Tomatoes are great because they are rich in lycopene!
Lycopene is a carotenoid that can help protect the skin against sunburn (but does not replace sunscreen), think of it as a fighter against wrinkle formation! The good news is unlike other nutrients, the more you cook tomatoes the more lycopene becomes available!
SUPER DELICIOUS TOMATO JAM
Recipe derived from the original posted here: Food Network
Yields about 12 oz.
4 large ripe organic tomatoes
1 t lemon zest
juice of two lemon juice
½ C light brown sugar, packed
½ C coconut sugar
1 ½ t kosher salt
2 t ground cumin
1 t red pepper flakes
½ t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1 inch fresh ginger, skinned and sliced
Don't blink or you'll miss this. Seed tomatoes and dice into 1/2 inch pieces. In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, add everything and stir. Cook until the mixtures thickens, stirring occasionally, and almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. To eat, slather over anything and everything and let your body absorb all that good lycopene!