This category will include an explanation of recipe ingredients and words relating to midlife.

The “new” words in an article will be in bold italics, to distinguish them from titles of books in italics and posting “categories” in bold.

Aduki (Adzuki) Beans- Adzuki Beans are a Japanese favorite (also known as aduki) and have a similar flavor to red beans. A good source of protein and fiber, they are delicious in soups and can be substituted for red and pinto beans in other tasty recipes. Excellent source of Folate / Good Source of Fiber, Protein, Potassium and Phosphorus.” (

Agave nectar is a liquid sweetener made from the cactus plant that the book Naked Chocolate recommends as being compatible with raw chocolate.

Anthocyanins -Eaten in large amounts by primitive humans, anthocyanins are antioxidant flavonoids that protect many body systems.

Antioxidants-a classification of several organic substances, including vitamins C and E, vitamin A (which is converted from beta-carotene), selenium (a mineral), and a group known as the carotenoids. Carotenoids, of which beta- carotene (See beta-carotene definition below) is the most popular, are a pigment that adds color to many fruits and vegetables. For example, without carotenoids, carrots and mangoes wouldn’t be orange. Together as antioxidants, these substances are thought to be effective in helping to prevent cancer, heart disease, and stroke. (Source: is the online Columbia University Health Service.) Also, in a major study on fruit and vegetable antioxidant content published in the June 9, 2004, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, berries won easily in terms of the amount of antioxidant for the price. Antioxidants are disease fighting compounds that scientists believe help repair and/or prevent the stress of oxidation, a process that occurs naturally during normal cell function. (Source: Natural

Arame- A type of seaweed (kelp) that looks like very thin threads.  When soaked and softened, they can be added to stir fries and whole grains for a nutritional punch to any dish.

Beta-carotene is the molecule that gives carrots their orange colour. It is part of a family of chemicals called the carotenoids, which are found in many fruit and vegetables, as well as some animal products such as egg yolks. Carotenoids were first isolated in the early 19th century, and have been synthesised for use as food colourings since the 1950s. Biologically, beta-carotene is most important as the precursor of vitamin A. It also has anti-oxidant properties and may help in preventing cancer and other diseases. (Source:

Buckwheat Groats – Buckwheat groats are not a true grain, but rather a seed that is cooked like a grain. When roasted it is called kasha and used in Eastern European dishes, such as Kasha Varnishkas (buckwheat with bowtie noodles, a favorite Jewish family dish of mine.)

Bulgur – (Also spelled bulgur, bulgar, or burghul. This is made by parboiling the wheat, drying it, then coarsely grinding it. At that point, the outer layers of the bran are removed — traditionally by hand — after which, the grains are cracked. It is generally available in three textures, fine, medium and coarse, and you can sometimes find organic burghul. After cracking, it is ready for steaming or boiling. (Used in tabouli , defined below.) The distinctive nutty taste is the result of the inner layers of bran that are retained. (Source: The Oxford Companion to Food by Davidson, reprinted in, who explains the difference between cracked wheat and bulgur.)

Capsaicin -The chemical compound capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the active component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue it comes in contact with.(Source:

Chlorophyll -Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in most plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Its name is derived from ancient Greek: chloros = green and phyllon = leaf. Chlorophyll absorbs most strongly in the blue and red but poorly in the green portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, hence the green color of chlorophyll-containing tissues like plant leaves. (Source:

Couscous – is one of the staple foods of the Maghrib (western North Africa). Couscous is made from two different sizes of the husked and crushed, but unground, semolina of hard wheat using water to bind them. Semolina is the hard part of the grain of hard wheat (Triticum turgidum var. durum), that resisted the grinding of the relatively primitive medieval millstone. When hard wheat is ground, the endosperm—the floury part of the grain—is cracked into its two parts, the surrounding aleurone with its proteins and mineral salts and the central floury mass, also called the endosperm, which contains the gluten protein that gives hard wheat its unique properties for making couscous and pasta–that is, pasta secca or dried pasta, also called generically macaroni. Couscous is also the name for all of the prepared dishes made from hard wheat or other grains such as barley, millet, sorghum, rice, or maize. (Source:…/58/)

Cruciferous– Various plants in the mustard family (Cruciferae or Brassicaceae), which includes the alyssum, candytuft, cabbage, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc. and many weeds. (

Enzymes- (In the context of this website, food enzymes are the focus.) Ezymes are protein carriers with a vital energy factor. Metabolic enzymes run our bodies, digestive enzymes digest our food, and food enzymes from raw foods start food digestion. Proteases are digestive enzymes that digest proteins, amalyses digest carbohydrates, and lipases digest fat. According to Dr. Edward Howell’s book, Enzyme Nutrition, Avery Pub., “Nature’s plan calls for food enzymes to help with digestion instead of forcing the body’s digestive enzymes to carry the whole load.” (p. 3) Howell believes that the more uncooked foods we eat, the bigger our bank account of metabolic and digestive enzymes to run the body more efficiently, which results in better health.

(Bio)Flavonoids – phenolic compounds: naturally occurring phenolic+ compounds belonging to a large group that includes many plant pigments. Flavonoids have beneficial effects in the human diet as antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals which damage body tissue and lead to heart disease, strokes and cancer.  (Source: an adjective and a substantive (noun) that may apply to: Natural phenolics and polyphenols, two related classes of natural compounds found in plants.(

Free Radicals– Based on the free-radical theory of aging (FRTA)— organisms age because protein, lipid and nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) accumulate free radical damage with the passage of time. Free radical attack on protein, lipid and nucleic acids leads to a reduction in their respective function, thereby decreasing cell function, then organ function, and finally, organismal function. Any element that has an unpaired electron in its outermost shell is considered to possess a “free radical.” (Source: radical theory) (Antioxidants are considered important free radical fighters. See antioxidants above.)

Fructose – Fructose (or levulose) is a simple sugar (monosaccharide) found in many foods and is one of the three most important blood sugars along with glucose and galactose. Honey; tree fruits; berries; melons; and some root vegetables, such as beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips and onions, contain fructose, usually in combination with sucrose and glucose. (Source:

Glycemic Index – A method of ranking foods in terms of how quickly they affect blood sugar levels. For example, foods with high glycemic index rankings (processed foods such as white flour, sugar, etc.) can cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar.

Hydrogenation- A process in which a hydrogen atom has been added to the naturally unsaturated fatty acid molecule, making it unnaturally solid or semisolid. Trans fatty acids (see under T) and hydrogentaed oils have beenlinked tomany ailments and linked to health problems, such as heart disease. (Source: Understanding Fats & Oils by Murray & Beutler)

Irradiated (food), irradiation– Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, or insects that might be present in the food. (Source: Wikipedia) Most people in the natural foods movement object to irradiated food because research points that it irradiated food may not be safe for human consumption.

Kaempferol – Kaempferol is a strong antioxidant that helps to prevent oxidative damage of our cells, lipids and DNA. Kaempferol seems to prevent arteriosclerosis by inhibiting the oxidation of low density lipoprotein and the formation of platelets in the blood. Studies have also confirmed that kaempferol acts as a chemopreventive agent, which means that it inhibits the formation of cancer cells. Kaempferol-rich foods include kale, green tea, onions, broccoli, leks, spinach, and blueberries. Sources: and

Kasha – See Buckwheat Groats

Legumes (Also called Pulses)
A pod, such as that of a pea or bean, that splits into two valves with the seeds attached to one edge of the valves;such a pod or seed used as food. 2. A plant of the pea family.
[This word is from the from the French-légume, from the Latin word legmen, which means bean.]

Lignans Chemicals derived from flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, tea, and whole grains; have phytoestrogenic properties and are used as chemopreventives, to lower blood cholesterol, and to treat atheroscleros.


Locavore – The locavore movement is a movement in the United States and elsewhere that spawned as interest in sustainability and eco-consciousness become more prevalent. Those who are interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market, are called “locavores.” (Also spelled localvore)

Lycopene-A red carotenoid (mainly yellow,orange, or red fat soluble) pigment present in tomatoes and many berries and fruits. (Source: The Oxford American Dictionary)

Macrobiotic-Nutritionally, a diet of whole foods based on the Taoist principles of the balance of yin and yang (female/male; passive/active; moon/sun, light/dark-contrasting or opposite principles using the symbol of a circle partially black and partially white, with a white dot in the black and a block spot in the white. Also refers to a whole life style of balance.

Miso – Miso is a traditional Japanese food produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, the most typical miso being made with soy. The thick paste that results from fermenting is used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with water or soup stock to serve as miso soup. Miso is high in protein and rich in vitamins and is still very widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining world-wide interest. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory, and there is an extremely wide variety of miso available. (Source:Wikipedia)

Mole – (IPA: /ˈmo.le/) is the generic name for several sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces. In English, it often refers to a specific sauce which is known in Spanish by the more specific name mole poblano. The word is also widely known in the combined form guacamole (avocado mole).

Omega Three Fatty Acids-Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as n-3 fatty acids) are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health. We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, and since our bodies cannot make omega-3 fats, we must get them through food. There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets: One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA. (Source:The Harvard School of Public Health Newsletter on the Web.)

Organic Foods -Food grown without any synthetic ingredients (ex. pesticides). This mean produce and processed foods (ex. oatmeal) that are labeled 100% organic. Just “organic” means at least 95% of the ingredients in a food package are organically produced. If a product is labeled “made with organic ingredients,” this means that 70% of the ingredients are organic and the other 30% must come from the USDA’s approved list. (Read labels to be sure you are getting what you want!) Source: My March 2006 Blog.

Osteopenia & Osteporosis – Both are related to thinning of the bones. Osteopenia is defined as thinning of the bones and a precursor to osteoporosis, when the bones have become porous and fragile.

Phytochemicals Phytochemicals are plant-derived chemical compounds under scientific research for their potential health-promoting properties, but with unproved benefits. “Phytonutrients” are plant-derived essential nutrients scientifically confirmed as important to human health. There is evidence from laboratory studies that phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer, possibly due to dietary fibers, polyphenol antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. Specific phytochemicals, such as fermentable dietary fibers, meet significant scientific agreement to be allowed limited health claims by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (Source:

Phytonutrients – Phytochemicals are sometimes referred to as phytonutrients and are said to be any chemical or nutrient derived from a plant source. (See phytonutrients above.)

Pilaf -Also spelled pilau, perloo, perlau, plaw, pilaw, and pilaff, is a Middle Eastern and Central and South Asian dish in which a grain, such as rice or cracked wheat, is generally first browned in oil, and then cooked in a seasoned broth. Depending on the local cuisine it may also contain a variety of meat and vegetables. (Source:

Proanthocyanidin – A natural antioxidant: any one of a class of flavonoids (See above)  found in many plants that can be used as a dietary supplement to enhance immunity and to strengthen connective tissue. (Source:

Quinoa- The Incas revered quinoa as “the mother of grains.” (Actually, it is a seed and enjoyed by people on a gluten-free diet.)  “The protein quality and quantity in quinoa seed is often superior to those of more common grain cereal grains…” (Jonny Bowden’s 150 Healthiest Food on Earth. ) It is also higher in the amino acide lysine, which is not plentiful in the vegetable kingdom. Quinoa is also higher in calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper,manganese and zinc and lower in sodium than wheat, corn or barley. Finally, this mother grain is higher in iron than any other cereal grain with a hefty dose of fiber.

Simmer-Saute is a term I use to describe cooking veggies in a small amount of water, stock, or tomato juice until liquid is absorbed, stirring often.

Simple and Complex Carbohydrates - Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly. Many simple carbohydrates contain refined sugars and few essential vitamins and minerals. Examples include fruits, fruit juice, milk, yoghurt, honey, molasses and sugar. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are usually packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals. Examples are vegetables, breads, cereals, legumes and pasta.

Stevia -From a South American plant called Stevia, this herb has an abundance of positive effects. The whole leaf contains numerous phytonutrients and trace minerals and is much sweeter than sugar with out negative effects. It can sweeten with no calories, no carbohydrates, no tooth decay and is diabetic safe. Stevia nourishes the pancreas and does not raise blood glucose levels, making it not only safe for diabetics but also beneficial, although lately there is some controversy about its safety. (Source:

Tabouli (also spelled taboulleh and tabouley, among other Arabic spellings)-This is a Mediterranean salad dish, with the primary ingredients of bulgur , finely chopped parsley, mint, tomato, scallion (spring onion), and other herbs with lemon juice and various seasonings, generally including black pepper and sometimes cinnamon and allspice. In Lebanon and Syria, where the dish originated, it is often eaten by scooping it up in Romaine lettuce leaves. (Source:

Tempeh -A fermented food made from soybeans, most popular in Indonesia, where it is a staple, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and eating qualities, as tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of dietary fiber and vitamins, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor. Tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue. (Source:

Trans fat –  An unhealthy substance, also known as trans fatty acid, made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils. Hydrogenation solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and the flavor stability of oils and foods that contain them. Trans fat is found in vegetable shortenings and in some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods and other foods, such as French fries. (Source:

Vegan -Refers to a vegetarian who eats no animal or animal byproducts (dairy, eggs) and uses no animal products (fur, silk, wool) or skin products tested on animals.