Chef’s Corner: Heart Health

Women today are faced with chronic health challenges, resulting in a heightened awareness of our diet and lifestyle. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. We must ask ourselves what we can do to help reduce these odds. Lifestyle, diet and exercise are areas we can control. It’s taking control of our health and making choices to change and create better habits. Genetic heart disease is out of our control, but awareness and knowledge are necessary in defeating this disease. Almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease. We are our best advocate, and must inform ourselves and ask lots of questions when visiting our healthcare providers.
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Certain foods have a positive effect in helping up the odds against heart disease. Look for foods high in fiber (farro), omega-3 and amino acids (salmon), antioxidants (berries), flavonoids (citrus fruits), potassium (bananas), vitamin E (nuts), resveratrol (red wine), carotenoids (kale) monounsaturated fats (avocado, olives). Enjoy your coffee or green tea, and of course, dark chocolate (in moderation). Be aware of what you eat, and find ways to incorporate these foods into your diet and stay away from processed foods. Stay active by being disciplined and committed. Find a friend who will walk with you, take a Pilates class, bike or swim, but make the time – don’t just find it.
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Enjoy this amazing salad; it’s my absolute favorite!

Kale, Mint and Farro Salad with Salmon


3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup avocado oil
1 salmon filet
1 cup farro
2 cups water
2 cups Tuscan kale, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
Juice and zest from one whole lemon
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat 3 tablespoons avocado oil in a pan over medium to high heat.

Add salmon and pan sear for 4 minutes, carefully turn over and cook for another 3 minutes. Time should be adjusted if using a thicker cut of fish.

Transfer to a plate, flake salmon with a fork and set aside.

Cover farro with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until grains are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain and let cool completely.
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Transfer farro to a large bowl and add salmon, kale, mint, lemon zest and juice, 1/4 cup avocado oil, Parmesan cheese and almonds. Toss until farro is well coated.

Season with salt and pepper.

Let stand 30 minutes before serving,

Leftover salad can be stored in refrigerator up to two days.

Makes six servings.

Lucia Schnitzer and her husband, Ken, own Pomelo (a full-service restaurant), Luci’s at The Orchard and Splurge
(a candy and ice cream shop), all at The Orchard Phx, 7100 N 12th Street, Phoenix. They also own Luci’s Healthy Marketplace, 1590 E Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, which they opened in 2009 in Lucia’s honor after her successful battle with breast cancer.

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