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Josh Levy

Kris Henriksen, Reindeer Bridge Herbs

Kristin Henriksen — Photo by Ralph Stewart
Kristin Henriksen — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Laryngitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, or overuse. Where no clear cause is found, skilled diagnostics should be pursued. If the cause is bacterial or viral, Echinacea, and Goldenseal, with a little added Osha Root in the form of tincture, tea, or powder are specific for laryngitis. These herbs are bitter, so I find tincture is easiest to ingest. The main action of Echinacea, besides its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action is enhancing the immune system’s white blood cell production and the macrophage-mediated defense system. It is now known that Echinacea is not useful as a preventative and should be taken at the onset of an illness. Goldenseal is a very effective antimicrobial and is specific for the mucous membranes in the body.

For direct application, demulcent herbs such as slippery elm in the form of lozenges or tea can soothe the throat and be used throughout the day as needed, and/or gargling with anti-inflammatory herbs such as sage and chamomile, in the form of a very strong tea/infusion, (steeped 20 minutes) can be used as needed also.

If the cause is overuse, gargling with an infusion of astringent herbs such as oak bark or raspberry leaves can be effective, although some quiet time might be the best remedy.

Josh Levy, Vineyard Nutrition

 — Photo courtesy of Josh Levy
— Photo courtesy of Josh Levy

Losing your voice can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience. Luckily, there are a few simple things to help you feel better. The most important step is to drink plenty of fluids, which will help keep you hydrated. This can be from water or from a soothing herbal tea. You may find extra relief by adding a small amount of honey to your tea. Avoid coffee, caffeinated tea, and alcohol, all of which can dehydrate you. Another strategy is to moisten your throat by sucking on zinc lozenges; one brand we like is Zand. Avoid foods that may irritate your throat such as spicy foods like chili, or acidic foods like tomatoes. Lastly, eat foods that boost your immune system, like plenty of organic fruits and vegetables (9 servings a day), legumes, whole grains, and lean protein while avoiding processed foods, and foods high in added sugar and fat.  And remember, get plenty of rest.

Holly Bellebouno, Vineyard Herbs

— Courtesy Holly Bellebuono
— Courtesy Holly Bellebuono

From someone who has frequently experienced laryngitis, this is the best herbal remedy: licorice. I generally recommend local wildflowers, native herbs, or common weeds, but in this instance I always go with the smooth, delicious root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, which is native to southern Europe and the Middle East. Thankfully it’s easy to find in the United States; get the dried root at your favorite herbal supplier and brew a tea: 1 teaspoon chopped dried root for each cup of boiling water, steep 8-12 minutes, and sip slowly, allowing the sweet thick tea to coat and soothe the throat.

Sheila Muldaur, Homeopath, Integrated Health Care

 — Photo Courtesy of Sheila Muldaur
— Photo Courtesy of Sheila Muldaur

In Homeopathy we ask, why did you lose your voice? And we ask what are your symptoms? Then we match a remedy with the answers. Here are some recommendations for homeopathic cell or tissue salts available at health food stores that will help heal and relieve symptoms of laryngitis. Dissolved in warm or cool water, sip or even gargle before swallowing as per package directions.

  • Ferrum Phos 6X – Why? Infection or overuse of the voice. Symptoms? Redness, swelling, burning pain, a dry throat and worse at night. Note: Alternate with Kali Muriaticum 6X when laryngitis is accompanied by a cough or sore throat with painful swallowing and there is white expectorant.
  • Calcarea Phos 6X – Why? Overuse or stressing the voice. Symptoms? Laryngitis is the main symptom of sore throat, no pain and voice is gone completely.
  • Kali Phos 6X – Why? Sore throat with cough. Symptoms? Throat is very dry with constant swallowing and cough hurts into throat.
  • Calcarea Fluorica 6X – Why? Acute sore throat becomes chronic. Symptoms? Mucus at back of throat comes up in lumps and warm drinks make it better.

For a treat, nutritionists Prudence Athearn-Levy and Josh Levy cook up a great breakfast for each other. — courtesy Josh Levy and Prudence

Prudence Athearn-Levy and Josh Levy

What do we cook for each other to celebrate?
When we want to cook up a treat, it is usually breakfast. We both love big, healthy and hearty breakfasts. This always involves eggs, most likely 2 over-easy farm eggs with lots of sauteed fresh-picked greens (either from our garden or winter greenhouse, or from Morning Glory Farm fields or winter greenhouse), beans and/or sweet potatoes, spicy peppers like poblanos (that we roast and freeze in the summer to use all winter), cilantro from our greenhouse and sometimes avocado on top. Josh gets his with salsa and/or hot sauce (our own salsa in the summer, or Mr. G’s hot sauce all year). On the side of the plate we’ll arrange fresh fruit- berries and/or melon in the summer, and Florida oranges or pears in the winter.

Any advice on running a business together?
The most important thing to us, in business and at home, is communication. We would also say always stay humble and learn from each other every day.  Be true partners, both at work and home. Support each other and determine business goals clearly and together. Have a business plan — approach your business as a business and always set work and home boundaries (i.e. bringing work home is fine, but limit the amount of time you do work together at home — unless you work from home — so that you can focus on each other and family when you are home, and work when you are at work). Finally, divide the work! Each person doesn’t need to know every little detail of your work, as long as you keep each other informed and stay equal partners in decision making. Use your strengths and specialize or focus in a few areas that complement those of your spouse. Emphasize, encourage, and highlight each of your strengths and use them to your advantage to build a better business, and in our case, to serve our clients and community better.

Prudence Athearn and Josh Levy own Vineyard Nutrition.

Pete and Jenifer Smyth

Chef Smyth with his wife, Jenifer, and daughters Jocelyn, left, and Shealyn.
Chef Smyth with his wife, Jenifer, and daughters Jocelyn, left, and Shealyn.

What do you cook for a romantic evening with your wife?
(Laughs) We have two kids – there’s no romantic evenings. But I have to say that the thing I like to make if Jen and I are at home and don’t have the kids, is paella. That was the first dish I made for her when we had our first real dinner date at my apartment.

Pete’s Paella

2 lbs. chicken thighs, skin on and cut into small pieces
1/2 lb. chicken sausage sliced thin
1/2 lb. chorizo or spicy sausage
1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 lb. mussels cleaned
2 cups of short grain white rice
1 onion diced
1 tomato diced
1 red pepper
2 teaspoons of oregano
1 pinch of saffron
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of thyme chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 bunch parsley chopped (reserve some for later)
2 lemon zest (reserving one lemon for later)
1 qt. chicken stock
4 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
Lg skillet or paella pan
Reserved for later:  1 cup of peas

1. Heat two Tablespoons of olive oil in pan.
2. Salt and pepper chicken and let rest.
3. Add sausage to pan and lightly brown and drain saving oil.
4. Add chicken and brown well making skin crispy. Remove chicken and wipe pan.
5. Add two more Tablespoons of oil and cook vegetables and garlic lightly.
6. Add dry herbs, lemon zest, saffron and rice cooking lightly.
7. Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.
8. Bring to a boil and skim any stuff floating on top.
9. Cook for 5 minutes and stir rice well.
10. Add chicken and sausage and cook lightly for five minutes, skimming any thing from top of pan.
11. Cook on low to medium heat for about ten minutes.
12. Add mussels and shrimp making sure to push in rice mixture.
13. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, taste and season mixture with salt and pepper and a little heat
14. Shut off if rice is done and mussels are open. Fold in peas, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
15. Squeeze fresh lemon on top and add the rest of the parsley

This is close to what I made my wife for the first time. I unfortunately have an allergy to peppers so I had to alter it for me. This recipe is the one I use at Slice the couple of times I have made it.
– Pete Smyth, owner, with his wife Jenifer, of Slice of Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs.

Jim and Debbie Athearn

What’s your idea of the Perfect Date on MV?
Jim: Dinner at Outermost Inn or Beach Plum inn and a night in a friend’s
Chilmark camp.
Debbie: Dinner on the beach and sleep out overnight in the dunes.

What do you cook for your sweetie as a treat?
Debbie: for Jim, carrot cake.

Debbie and Jim Athearn say their idea of the perfect MV date includes The Beach Plum or Outermost Inn, and sleeping in the dunes.
Debbie and Jim Athearn say their idea of the perfect MV date includes The Beach Plum or Outermost Inn, and sleeping in the dunes.

How do you stay in business when you live with your partner?
We had identical responses. Divide the business responsibilities so each
knows who is in charge of each area, then defer completely to the authority
of the person in charge. Also, enjoy your mutual interest. When we are on
vacation we love to talk about business, say, on the highway. It’s interesting and we don’t need to deny ourselves that because we are on vacation.

Jim and Debbie Athearn run Morning Glory Farm.

Comfort food can be healthy, too. — Photos from Flickr
Josh Levy, MS, LD, and Registered Dietitian of Vineyard Nutrition gives his tips on how to cut calories without cutting comfort.
Josh Levy shares how to make your comfort food healthier.

Everyone reaches for comfort food sometimes. When you are feeling down or just need a quick pick-me-up, a bowl of hot and gooey macaroni and cheese, like the ones that got you through college, might just do the trick. Or maybe a bowl of steaming chicken soup, reminiscent of the one mom made, is just what you need. Comfort foods are simply that: comforting. They taste good, elicit memories, and warm your insides. Carbohydrate-rich foods trigger the release of feel-good hormones, and temporarily spike your blood sugar for a short-lived boost. Fatty foods help you feel full, provide a richness of flavor, and satisfy your taste buds. Salty foods also taste good, and keep you reaching for more.

Once in a while, you just need the real thing. But if you find yourself reaching for your comfort foods too often, here are some ideas for a healthier twist on some classic favorites.

Macaroni and cheese

Traditional mac-n-cheese is loaded with white flour, butter, and cheese. For your own version, try using 100 percent whole wheat macaroni pasta. The extra fiber will help you feel full sooner (causing you to eat less) and keep you full longer. You can also try using sharper cheese, which has a stronger flavor so you can use less, or choose lower fat cheese. To boost your daily veggies, try adding puréed cauliflower with the cheese, or mix in diced veggies like asparagus, bell peppers or broccoli crowns. You can also take a smaller amount and serve it with a green salad. This adds nutrition, cuts calories, and reduces the likelihood of that post-comfort food slump.

When you buy boxed mac-n-cheese, try choosing one made with whole wheat pasta and 100 percent real cheese, and aim for no added artificial colors or flavors. One brand that fits these guidelines is Annie’s 100 percent whole wheat mac and cheese.

Ice Cream

We all scream for ice cream, but the truth is the average one cup serving earns you 500 calories or more (equal to a full meal for some), and about 20 grams of saturated fat (the type of fat that clogs your heart, raises cholesterol, and contributes to inflammation). The 10 teaspoons of sugar are turned quickly into blood glucose, raising your blood sugar, making you feel happy, and then sending a message to your pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that drops your blood sugar, promotes fat storage, and causes inflammation in excess amounts. The next time you reach for a bowl of ice cream, serve it in a small bowl and eat it with a small spoon (ideally after you’ve kept your eye on the portion size). Try not to eat out of the container, and really enjoy each bite of this delicious treat. Being mindful and appreciating your dessert will help you eat less and eat more slowly. Other mindfulness tips include eating sitting down at the table, and without distractions like the TV, phone, or computer. You can also skip the typical fudge or whipped cream toppings, and try topping it instead with fresh berries (or warmed frozen berries puréed into a berry sauce). Adding a berry sauce makes you feel like you are getting more for significantly less calories, and some fiber and antioxidant vitamins too.

Chicken soup

Nothing beats chicken soup for comfort.
Nothing beats chicken soup for comfort.

Nothing beats homemade chicken soup when you are feeling down. Here are a few tips to make a more balanced soup. Try using whole wheat noodles, brown rice, barley, or farro in place of white rice/white noodles, and add green vegetables to the mix. These foods add heart-healthy fiber, which will help you feel full longer. Adding green vegetables to a soup you already love gives you a bonus dose of disease-fighting phytochemicals. Consider making homemade stock with chicken bones and lots of vegetables, including onions, garlic, and celery, in place of extra salt. If buying broth, look for low sodium versions. Eating salty foods can contribute to high blood pressure, and too much salt isn’t good for anyone. Ideally, aim for antibiotic-free and organic or local chicken.

If you are choosing a canned chicken soup, check the sodium on the label (aim for 600 mg of sodium or less per serving), and check that it is made with real chicken breast, extra vegetables, and in a carton or BPA-free can.

Chocolate chip cookies

A classic chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven is good for the metaphorical heart, but maybe not the biological one. To lighten the load, you can try using less chocolate, or look for a recipe that cuts the butter and/or sugar. Also try to avoid using artery clogging fats like lard, Crisco, or any partially hydrogenated “trans” fat.

To help satisfy you (and maybe help you eat less), try substituting half of the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour, or add some oats into the batter. You can also try white whole wheat flour, which is a naturally lighter type of whole wheat. To help you avoid the sugar crash without changing the flavor, use just a little less sugar than the recipe calls (for example use 1/4 cup if the recipe calls for 1/3 of a cup of sugar).

Like the ice cream, always watch portion size, put it on a plate, and eat it at the table. Try dipping it into milk to slow you down.

Burgers and fries

Seriously, could a burger and fries be healthy?
Seriously, could a burger and fries be healthy?

While I recently saw a one-pound burger on a restaurant menu, most of us just don’t need to sit down to 16 ounces of meat at one meal. Start off by making or choosing a smaller burger. Then, pick a meat that is at least 90 percent lean, and ideally antibiotic/hormone free, local and/or grass fed and grass finished. Lean turkey burgers are a delicious, usually lighter alternative as well. These changes will cut back on the calories and prevent the post-meal “food coma,” leaving you with some energy after you eat. Choose a whole wheat bun over a white flour bun to keep you fuller longer. Load your burger up with grilled veggies (try onions, red peppers, poblanos, zucchini, or mushrooms) in place of salt loaded condiments like pickles, relish, and ketchup. Choose just two thin slices (about ½ ounce) of a strong-flavored cheese like cheddar or Manchego in place of mild cheddar or processed American. Try oven roasted sweet-potato fries instead of deep-fried, or choose a green salad in place of the fries.

Remember, there is always a time for your comfort foods, but keep the traditional ones to once in a while so that you can enjoy the healthier versions more often.