A Recipe for Your Valentine

by Linda DeStefano

February includes the romantic holiday of St. Valentine’s Day (also known simply as Valentine’s Day). Sweets are a common gift. Here is a recipe for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, which is easy and should please anyone who loves sweets and loves chocolate. It also is a gift for the animals as it contains no animal ingredients (no eggs, no dairy). Dairy cows and their babies suffer a great deal, and egg-laying hens do too (and the male chicks are killed as they can’t produce eggs).

I won’t pretend that this recipe, especially with the frosting, is healthy – too much sugar and fat – but it is a satisfying, occasional treat. The next time I make it, I’m going to try using date sugar instead of cane sugar because, according to Michael Greger, M.D., date sugar and molasses are the only two healthy sugars. Molasses flavor would be too strong for a cake, but I think date sugar (which has a mild flavor) would work well. I buy date sugar at Green Planet Grocery on W. Genesee St. in Fairmount. See nutritionfacts.org for health tips from Dr. Greger.

My friend Lisa Dwinell brought this recipe to my attention.

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup of sugar (try date sugar)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (plain – no sugar or other ingredients in it)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup canola or other mild-flavored vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 teaspoonful of vanilla or almond abstract

Mix all ingredients at the same time except the vinegar. A whisk works nicely. Then add the vinegar and stir. IMMEDIATELY put in over preheated to 350 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes. Place cake tester in middle of cake to see that it is not liquid in the middle. The batter fills one square tin (about 8 1/2 x 8 1/2) or one round tin. Grease the tin with oil or vegan margarine (such as, Earth Balance).

I use chocolate frosting from The Compassionate Cook.

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup hot water (start with cold and then heat in kettle or pan rather than using from the hot water tap)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Over very low heat, melt the chocolate and margarine together. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the water. Slowly stir in sugar until creamy.

Allow the cake to cool before frosting it.

This cake is an example of tasty vegan cooking. Vegans eat no animal flesh or animal products (particularly dairy and eggs) but do eat veggies, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and all the many dishes made from them.

Vegan eating is good for the environment, the animals, the reduction of world hunger, and for your health. If you want to learn more and even have free personal counseling as you try vegan eating, go to veganoutreach.org and find the Vegan Mentor Program.

There are many sources of vegan recipes online, such as, findingvegan.com

There are also many cookbooks. Here are a few below, all of which can be ordered at barnesandnoble.com. If you are like me and don’t like to order online, you can order directly from the Barnes and Noble in Syracuse at (315) 449-2948.

Dairy-Free And Delicious by Bryanna Clark Grogan & Joanne Stepaniak. Besides recipes, there’s a lot of information about how to eat a healthy diet without dairy. Even for those who are not vegan, this is helpful for people with dairy allergies.

The Compassionate Cook: Please Don’t Eat the Animals by Ingrid Newkirk

The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak

For those who want both vegan and gluten-free recipes, there is The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O’Brien.

If want to join a local organization which has vegan socials (vegans and non-vegans welcome), contact Syracuse Vegan Meetup, https://www.meetup.com/Syracuse-CNY-Vegan-Meetup/, and/or People for Animal Rights.

You’ll find Syacuse Vegan Meetup on Facebook and Instagram Or contact Marybeth at mfishman4282@gmail.com

You can contact People for Animal Rights at (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., people4animalrightscny@gmail.com or PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 133215-0358. PAR also has films and speakers on a variety of animal rights and environmental protection issues and puts out a physical newsletter twice a year.


Eating Disorder

by Ria Pal

For most Americans, the typical patient with an eating disorder is a thin, wealthy Caucasian female. In reality, there is a tremendous range of patients, and this stereotype causes families and medical providers alike to overlook symptoms and treatment for a potentially devastating disease with psychological and physiological consequences.

Information about the prevalence of eating disorders in ethnic minority groups, particularly Latinos, is virtually unknown — several studies on eating disorders have left out Latinos as a group entirely. Yet, several studies have reported higher rates of eating disorder symptoms and body dissatisfaction among Latino groups than among non-Hispanic whites or among other ethnic minority females. For example, studies have reported a higher and more severe prevalence of binge eating among Latino females compared to White, African American, and Asian American women. Population-based surveys of adolescents found that rates of dieting and using laxatives were highest among Latinas. Studies of body image found that unlike some other ethnic groups, who idealize very thin bodies, Latinos often idealize bodies that are simultaneously thin and curvy.

The most common eating disorders are anorexia (avoiding eating altogether) and bulimia (overeating and then “purging” to get rid of the food through forced vomiting or laxative use). Among Latinos, however, the most common diagnosis is called OSFED, “Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder.” OSFED is equally serious, but does not fit into a definition as easily. Behaviors that would be categorized as OSFED include binge-eating, excessive eating at night, and purging without overeating.

Regardless of age, gender, weight, or immigration status, people who think they may have unhealthy eating behaviors deserve help. Beyond the initial challenges of recognizing the symptoms and breaking the stigma, affording eating disorder treatment is hard. But there are alternatives to pocket-draining residential treatment programs that average at $30,000 a month. Often just an inquiry and application away, some treatment facilities do offer scholarships and grants. Teaching hospitals or mental health facilities, which often offer free services, might also be an option. Then there are support groups, online and offline, which exist to both help guide people in their search for assistance and act as an inexpensive and effective way to talk and help one another deal with the variety of concerns and challenges that come with disordered eating.

It can be helpful to think of eating disorders as a chronic disease, one that may become better but is at a risk for relapse. It is important for people to take precautions against relapsing, especially when they are doing better. People with eating disorders can benefit from a wide range of options for help, which include support groups (which can be found at http://www.anad.org/get-help/find-support-groups-treatment/), therapists, dieticians, treatment centers, dentists, physicians, psychiatrists, and art or yoga therapists.

Another harmful aspect of the stereotype that eating disorders affect only white people is that few resources have been developed for Spanish speaking patients. It can be difficult and intimidating to seek out resources in Spanish, especially in rural areas. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-espanol is a web site with basic information and a confidential, toll free hotline (1-800-931-2237). Not all of the volunteers on the hotline are Spanish speaking, but if someone who only speaks Spanish calls, they can still be assisted. If you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, take the first step to seek help.

Ria Pal is a medical student and aspiring pediatrician at the University of Rochester. She hopes to work in community health as an advocate for Spanish speaking patients. She is on the board of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) who are committed to contribute educational articles relevant to the Latino community.

CONGRATULATION Ria Pal on your graduation from the Rochester University. CNY Latino wishes you success in your medical career and we THANK YOU for your contribution to our bilingual publication…

Heart on Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States. Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for many forms of heart disease. February is American Heart Month! It is a great time to take control of your weight and waist line to promote heart health.

There are many factors to consider if you are trying to lose, maintain or gain weight. Factors that influence the number of calories you need are age, height, gender and your activity level. It is important to balance calories in with calories out! When we eat more than we need our bodies store the extra calories as fat. Balance the foods you eat with the activities you do. Try to be active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.

Use these tips to stay active, eat healthy and feel your best!

• Make little changes! Try just 10 minutes of activity at a time. Take a brisk walk, pass a soccer ball, or do some push-ups. Exercising doesn’t have to be stressful. Have Fun! Do activities that you enjoy. Dance, play basketball at the gym, go sledding, or walk the mall with friends.
• Move throughout the day! Park the car further away, take the stairs, walk to a different bus stop or do yoga stretches while you watch TV! It all adds up!
• Be an active family! Get the whole family moving. Kids need at least 60 minutes of activity every day. Play catch with your kids, visit the park or go for a family bike ride. Remember, you are their greatest role model!
• Limit Screen Time! The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends limiting screen to 2 hours or less each day. This includes: TV watching; playing video games and watching movies.
• Make healthy choices! Choose whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole grain breads. Whole grains keep us full longer and give us the energy to be active! Drink water, low-fat milk or seltzer with a splash of 100% juice! Limit soda and juices. Soda and sugar-sweetened beverages have added sugars that can slow us down and cause weight gain.
• Balance Your Portions! Pay attention to how much food is on your plate! Taking too much food can cause us to eat more than our bodies need. Use smaller plates, cups and bowls. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables first, then add meat and grains. Listen to your body! Notice body cues letting you know when you’re full or hungry.
• Eat slowly! Wait it out! It takes twenty minutes for your mind to realize you’re full after eating.
• Track your progress! Super tracker is a free online tool where you can get a nutrition and physical activity plan. You can also set a goal and track your food, activities and weight. Visit, www.ChooseMyPlate.gov., for tips to help you make healthier choices and plan ahead.

Tortilla Roll-Ups- Makes 12 servings; ½ tortilla= 1 servings

6 large whole wheat flour tortillas

6 large whole wheat flour tortillas
1 Cup grated low fat cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
1 Cup mild salsa (8 oz.)
1 Cup black beans, drained (½ can)
1 avocado, mashed (optional)

1. Put the tortillas on a plate, cover with a paper towel, and microwave on High for 1 minute (optional).
2. Mix cheese, salsa, and black beans.
3. Spread a thin layer of mixture on each tortilla.
4. Top with a spoonful of avocado (optional).
5. Roll up, cut in half, and serve.

Yield: About 12 servings (½ tortilla each)

Nutrition information: Calories- 140, Total Fat- 4.5 g.,
Sodium-290 mg., Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber- 3 g., Sugar- 1 g.,
Protein- 6 g.

Source: Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness, Cornell University 2015, recipe from Linda Tripp, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia County. Visit our website for recipe, tips and more at www.southerntieresny.org

Emotional Intelligence

Use Emotional Intelligence to Establish Boundaries in Your Relationships
by Tyrone Dixon
Copyright © November 2017 All rights reserved.

Boundaries reflect how we love ourselves and what we value. Knowing when you want to say yes to something, when you want to say no to someone, self-respect, and knowing when your own needs start and end are the basics of setting boundaries in our relationships. Most us have trouble with establishing boundaries in our relationships because it is not something we discuss in our society as often as we should. When was the last time you sat down with someone who you are in a relationship with and set boundaries? Recently I spoke with a married couple and the woman explained that there are times where she is not in the mood for sexual intercourse with her spouse, but since he is her husband she feels obligated to please him. That is a perfect example of not having established healthy boundaries in a relationship.

While I agree with the fact that a wife should look to please her husband, and vice versa, when pleasing someone comes at the expense of your very own agony it is not worth it. Because we are not having conversations that center around boundaries and self-love we put ourselves in positions where we compromise our boundaries to please others. In most cases our boundaries are at extremes, either we are hyper vigilant about our needs and wants to the point we are not taking other people’s needs into consideration or we are dormant about our own needs and wants, allowing other’s to assert themselves while we “go along with it.”

Examples of someone with hyper-vigilant boundaries in a relationship would be the man/woman who knows that no matter how many times their significant other says “if you continue to do… I am going to leave/break up with/file for divorce”; they know that person is not going to follow through on those words with action. Another example of a person with hyper-vigilant boundaries would be that person who is always “my way or the highway” uncompromising, and uninterested in trying to do things anyone else’s way. Dormant boundaries in a relationship could be nonexistent, shaky, and/or inconsistent. The individual with dormant boundaries has usually experienced a history of disappointment in his/her relationships, struggles with establishing connections, has trust issues, and is in a relationship for FEAR of being alone.

I invite you, the reader to start setting boundaries in your relationships going forward. If you struggle with setting boundaries in your relationships and are constantly feeling taken advantage of, start by spending time getting to know yourself. What do you like? What don’t you like? What are you willing to tolerate? Where do you draw the line?

Peace and love

Tyrone Dixon works as a Certified Professional Coach in the Syracuse Community through his business ArozeThrough Concrete Coaching. He was born and raised on the South and West Sides of Syracuse. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from SUNY Buffalo. It is his pleasure to be a “writing contributor” for CNY Latino, and write about the topic of Emotional Intelligence (EI). He loves the City of Syracuse and believes that exposure to Emotional Intelligence can help change the direction of the individuals living in some of our “high poverty” areas. Can you imagine how much better our city would be if people were taught how to manage their feelings without hurting someone? Or if we could teach people to be proactive in identifying situations they are not comfortable in?.


Sardines with Jamaican Callaloo and Green Bananas
by: Suellen Pineda, RDN, CDN

This is an inexpensive yet delicious, well-balanced, easy-to-make and nutritious meal. Sardines can be part of a healthy diet. They provide about 17 grams of protein, 23% of daily recommendation for calcium—mostly from the edible soft bones—and 10% of daily recommendation of iron. Their fat content may be slightly higher than other types of leaner fish, however, sardines are also a good source of omega 3s.

Callaloo also provides protein (about 6 grams in ½ cup), fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

1 18.3oz can Callaloo, liquid drained (Look for low sodium 140mg/serving OR LESS)
1 15oz. can Sardines in tomato sauce
1 small onion, julienned
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
½ cup pitted black olives (green olives are ok)
1 8oz. Low sodium tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth or water
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 green bananas

Step 1 Prepare the bananas
• Peel each banana with the help of a sharp pairing knife. Cover with water and bring to a boil with a dash of salt.
• Cook until fork tender and reserve. (To avoid dryness, do not drain the water until just before serving).

Step 2
• While bananas are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and cook the onion for about 2 minutes.
• Add garlic, olives, callaloo, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
• Add sardines, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, granulated sugar, cumin, salt and pepper.
• Continue to cook until all ingredients are fully incorporated. (About 5 minutes). Remove from heat.

Step 3
• Drain the bananas and serve sardines mixture over. Enjoy!

Suellen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in the Rochester, NY area. Connect with her at suellenpinedaRDN@gmail.com or follow her on Instagram at @Suellen_Pineda.


Human Trafficking
by Carolyn Gonzalez

What is human trafficking and why is it important to educate ourselves about it?

The Department of Homeland Security defines it as a modern day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Globally the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims. In 2015 the FBI uncovered and dismantled a sex trafficking ring in Rochester, NY so this is both a global and local issue that can impact any vulnerable population. So what can we do about human trafficking and how may we help its victims? First we need to look for red flags so we can determine who might be a victim in danger of human trafficking.

According to the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking there are many potential signs that can indicate a person is a victim of human trafficking. First, their work and living conditions may appear suspicious. If they are not free to leave and come and go as they wish or have very strict work restrictions with high security measures they might be in danger. Second, if the individual has poor mental health or abnormal behavior where they appear fearful, depressed, anxious about law enforcement, and avoid eye contact that may also be a red flag. Third, their physical appearance may offer clues as to whether they are malnourished, physically abused, or even sexually abused. Lastly, if the person appears to have a lack of control over their whereabouts and has few to no possessions, including identification that may indicate they are a victim of human trafficking.

So what can you do if you suspect human trafficking in your area? You can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 for help if you are a victim or to report about possible human trafficking in your area. There are also numerous internet resources as to how to volunteer and donate to victims of trafficking abuse. If you are a health care provider consider registering for the University of Rochester’s Anti-Human Trafficking Conference on January 27th, 2018. For more information about the conference please visit the site https://ursmdahtc.wordpress.com. Together we can spread awareness about this issue, help people currently in danger, and help those who are survivors heal from their past.

Carolyn Gonzalez is a native of Rochester, NY of Puerto Rican descent. She is finishing her second year at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. She completed her B.S. in Biology and Society with a double minor in Policy Analysis and Management and Inequalities Studies from Cornell University in 2011. Her medical specialty interests include primary care and psychiatry. She is on the executive board of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) who are committed to contribute educational articles relevant to the Latino community.

Chancletas de Pataste: Honduran Egg-battered Chayote Squash (English)

Type: Main dish

Difficulty: Not too tricky

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4


This is a nice meatless dish, low in calories and carbs, especially suitable for diabetics, given that tayotas have very little starch.


2 Patastes (Chayote/tayota Squash), peeled, cut into 4 slices (lengthwise)

2 eggs, whites and yolks separate

1 cup of AP flour

3 medium Roma tomatoes

2 Tbsps. olive oil

2 garlic cloves

½ onion, roughly chopped

1 small bunch cilantro

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper tt

8-10 oz Mozarella cheese, shredded (optional)

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