Posts Tagged ‘eating healthy’

Detoxify your Diet

More and more these days we hear about our foods and how they are becoming laced with synthetic ingredients.  If you want to avoid these synthetic ingredients, you need to learn how to detoxify the foods you are eating and choose healthier foods.

Here are some suggestions to detoxify and eat healthier in the New Year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Your Produce:  Before eating or cooking with any fruits or vegetables be sure to wash them very well.  Washing your fruits and veggies eliminates the chemicals and pathogens from your food’s surface and help to eliminate any harmful ingredients.

Watch Your Animal Fat Intake:  Do you know what’s in your animal fats?  They are loaded with synthetic hormones, antibiotics, organochlorine chemicals, and other harmful pesticides. Look for low-fat options when buying your foods and be sure to trim all of the fat off of poultry and meats when you buy them.  

Avoid Cans:  Cans are lined with a resin that contains bisphenol-A, a hormone-disrupting chemical.  While many companies are working to eliminate these chemicals in their products, in the mean time you can avoid these chemicals by choosing frozen, fresh or dried foods.

Think Organic:  According to a study done by the Environmental Working Group, your pesticide exposure can be eliminated by 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated conventionally grown produce including: peaches, apples, bell peppers, nectarines, celery, cherries, lettuce, strawberries, grapes, carrots and pears. 

Choose Whole Foods:  Whole foods are not processed, therefore they have their own natural ingredients.  Choose whole grains and look for food items that say “whole” on them … but be sure to check the labels, just to be sure.

Adjust Your Lifestyle to Avoid the Flu

With winter comes the holidays, colds, flus and other events that wreak havoc on our immune system.  To boost our immune systems, we need to make some minor adjustments in our diet and lifestyle to help curb the impact the season has on our body.  Try these small adjustments this year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjustment 1:

Get your Essential Fatty Acids

Because essential fatty acids are the key to building super hormones, make sure that you get enough of these fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fish, cold pressed oils and supplements.

Adjustment 2:

Eat Enough Protein

Protein is important for your optimal health no matter what season it is.  Nutritionists suggest .75 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight depending upon your physical activity.  But, because our body can only absorb 30 to 35 grams per meal, we need to spread our protein intake throughout the day.  Be sure to eat some sort of protein in every meal and in every snack.  Getting some of that protein through soy-based products is also recommended by many nutritionalists.

Adjustment 3:

Choose low GI carbohydrates

GI or glycemic index, is the measure of how fast blood sugar rises after eating.  One good example is that white sugar has a glycemic index of 100, where peanuts have a glycemic index of 15.  That means that peanuts raise the blood sugar levels at 15% of the rate of white sugar.  Fast rising blood sugar means the pancreas produces and sometimes overproduces insulin.  These spikes in insulin can weaken the immune system and interferes with the production of super hormones.  By choosing low GI carbohydrates, combined with eating the appropriate levels of protein you can better control your insulin.

Overall, the best way to adjust your immune system this winter is to avoid too much supplementation, get enough protein and essential fatty acids, and avoid those sugary carbohydrates to make your way through these next couple months illness-free.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Salmon

  • Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat.
  • Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat.
  • Salmon is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon

1 scallion, minced

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into four portions

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce. Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.) Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

To toast seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Recipe: Smoked Salmon Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 oz. smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudités or crackers.

Spinach – Muscle Builder and More

Mention the word spinach and images of Popeye chomping down on a can of this vegetable instantly comes into the mind of children. Well, this might not be far from the truth as spinach is definitely one of the healthiest sources of nutrients and protein for building muscles.

But spinach is more than building muscles. This vegetable is also an excellent minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.  Aside from being a rich protein source for building muscles, spinach also helps improve eyesight, keeps the heart healthy, promotes optimum child growth and keeps the skin healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Brain Functioning

Spinach is a potent antioxidant, contains potassium and folate all of which contributes to keep the brain healthy. Folate helps reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Potassium on the other hand helps improve blood flow to the brain. More blood flow means more energy and oxygen is sent to the brain for optimum functioning.

Stronger Bones

Spinach contains Vitamin K which helps the bones retain calcium. Improved calcium retention leads to bone mineralization. Spinach also contains copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese. This keeps our bones strong and healthy and reduces our risk for developing osteoporosis.

Optimum Child Growth

Protein is an important building block of the body. This is why parents are encouraged to include spinach in their growing child’s diet. Spinach is also rich in minerals and phytonutrients all of which is essential for a growing child’s body.

Cancer Prevention

Spinach contains tocopherol, folate and chlorophyllin. These are currently being studied as a possible treatment for prostate, lung, bladder and liver cancers. Spinach is also being studied as a method for reducing tumor activity and preventing the spread of cancer in the body. However, one sure thing is that spinach contains antioxidants which are very effective in eliminating cancer-causing toxins in the body.

Reduces Inflammation

Painful conditions such as arthritis and gout are caused by severe inflammation. Instant relief for these conditions can involve taking anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pressure. Spinach is a rich source of natural anti-inflammatory compounds which helps reduce inflammation in the body. This is not only effective against arthritis and gout but also protect the heart from inflammation.

Ulcer Prevention

Vegetables in general has been proven to keep our digestive system healthy. It helps prevent colon cancer and prevents gastric ulcers by protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach.  Various compounds found in spinach has also been found to strengthen the digestive tract lining. Its anti-inflammatory properties also prevents harmful conditions from developing in this area.

Muscle Builder

Spinach is one the healthiest and riches sources of protein. It helps feed those protein-hungry muscles while keeping almost every part of the body healthy. Spinach is certainly a healthy and cheaper alternative to meat and expensive protein supplements.

Spotlight on: Tomatoes

Besides containing 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, it also contains 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, 8 percent of your daily value of potassium, and 7 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of iron for women and 10 percent for men.

Lycopene, what gives tomatoes their red pigment, acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells in the body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

  • 3 to 4 small ears of corn
  • 1 can (15 to 16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 large tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely minced jalapeno or poblano pepper
  • Juice of one lime, about 3 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
  • Dash salt and pepper, to taste

Grill or broil corn to char slightly; let cool. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Cut corn from cobs and add to the mixture.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving time.Great alternative to sauces, and is especially tasty on grilled fish, chicken or pork!

Recipe: Tomato Casserole with Sweet Onions

  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 large Vidalia onion or other sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, or scant ½ teaspoon dried dillweed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or scant ½ teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Place peeled tomato wedges on paper towels to drain.  Peel onions and slice into ¼-inch rings.  In separate bowl combine dill, thyme, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.  Layer half of the tomatoes and onions in a lightly buttered baking dish and top with half of the minced garlic.  Sprinkle with half of the bread crumb and seasoning mixture, half of mozzarella cheese, and drizzle with half olive oil.  Repeat layers.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until bubbly.  The onion should still be a little crisp, but somewhat tender.

Summer 101: Great Summertime Fruits

Summer is a great season to partake in the numerous delicious seasonal fruits.  Not only do these summertime fruits taste great, but they also give you many nutritional benefits.Some fruits to enjoy before the season ends include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berries: the phytochemicals in blueberries, strawberries and blackberries all boost immunity, and protect against heart diseases and circulatory problems.

Peaches and plums: full of vitamin C and beta carotene, peaches and plums help to eliminate free radicals from the body.

Pineapples: being packed with the most vitamins and minerals, pineapples are also a great digestive aid.

Papayas and mangoes: both are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene and fiber.

Spring Clean Your Diet

Now that the long, cold, endless winter is over it’s time to give up those comfort foods and trade them in for a spring cleaning of your diet!

The good news is it is possible to rid your body of harmful toxins that you may have indulged in during the winter months, just by eating better and right this spring.

These foods will help hydrate, refresh and detoxify your way into a healthier season and give you the energy you need to gear up for summer, too!

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  • Berry green smoothie – Get started with a healthy smoothie blending together a cup of greens like spinach, kale and celery with a handful of fresh berries.  The greens contain chlorophyll that eliminates toxins that can contribute to liver damage and other illnesses.  The berries are packed with antioxidants and enzymes that fight free-radical damage, plus their sweetness combat the bitterness in the greens.
  • Curry powder – Popular in Indian foods, curry gets its yellow color from a compound called curcumin.  According to holistic medicine, curcumin is used to help aid with liver issues and digestive disorders.  And because curry powder is also an anti-inflammatory it also contributes to the production of glutathione, a liver-protecting antioxidant.  You can add curry powder as an accent to almost any food including eggs, chicken, and vegetables.
  • Cabbage – Made up of nearly 92 percent water, cabbage is a natural diuretic that will help your body get rid of excess fluids. It is also jam packed with glucosinolates, organic compounds that contain nitrogen and sulfur, that help to flush out unwanted toxins in the body.  Cabbage also is loaded with many essential vitamins like C, K, E and A, plus minerals, dietary fiber and folic acid.

Water – Always start your day with a big glass of water and stay hydrated all day long by carrying around with you a reusable water bottle.  Drinking water before a meal can help curb hunger and overeating.

Healthy Picnic Food 101

It’s getting warmer and it’s almost time for picnics, barbecues, and outdoor parties! But just because you aren’t choosing all of your meals, that doesn’t mean that you have to pack on the pounds this summer. Keep these tips in mind at your next picnic:

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• Choose lean ground meat when making burgers. You should also try low-fat hot dogs, sausages and bratwurst and other grilled favorites.
• Seafood and chicken are great grilled foods and are both still healthy picnic options.
• Don’t forget your greens and mix in a salad to your picnic or party menu.
• Remember your veggies as they are also great on the grill and in side dishes, especially summer time veggies like squash and zucchini.
• Instead of chocolate desserts, think fruity desserts instead, and take advantage of a season when fruits are plenty.

Spotlight on: Spinach

  • Leafy, green vegetables, like spinach, provide more nutrients than any other food.
  • Researchers have found at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that have been known to act as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents, combating specific cancers like ovarian and prostate cancer.
  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.

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Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 egg whites
  • 26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 24 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
  • ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9-in. by 13-in.baking dish for lasagna. Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes.

Spring Eating 101: Get the Freshest Produce

Before hitting the grocery store or produce stands this season, check out what fruits and veggies you should be getting:

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  • Apricots – slightly soft, not bruised
  • Artichoke – compact head, bright green color
  • Asparagus – closed and compact tips, bright green stalks
  • Avocado – should be a little “give” when squeezed
  • Carrots – crisp, healthy tops
  • Collard Greens – dark green, vibrant color
  • Mango – more orange/red than green
  • New Potatoes – last only a few days
  • Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness
  • Rhubarb – check for bright, crisp stalks
  • Spinach – avoid dried out or yellow stems
  • Strawberries – pick fragrant, slightly soft ones
  • Sugar Snap/Snow Peas – bright green, should feel like they have a snap (not limp)