Posts Tagged ‘healthy diet’

Keep those Arteries Healthy

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading health concerns today. We may associate heart disease with aging but the mechanisms that bring this condition start during the peak of our years. Being young does not excuse us from indulging in unhealthy eating habits. It might seem that we are indestructible going about our daily activities but just like a thief, all these habits creep into our body eating its way into our body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stick to White Meat

Meat is an excellent source of protein and it should always be a part a healthy diet. But if you’re planning to consume meat everyday then sticking to white meat is an excellent way of keeping our arteries free from obstruction. Chicken meat is a good alternative to red or fatty meat. But before reaching out to that piece of chicken on the table make sure that you stay away from the skin. Chicken skin has the highest concentration of fat.

White meat refers to meat which is literally white   in color. Examples of white meat are those from chicken, fish, shrimps and even alligator meat. Red meat on the other hand refers to pork, beef, veal, mutton or those that are red in color.

Keep away from Sugary-drinks

Sodas and other sugary-drinks are known to cause diabetes but this has also been proven to be a cause of clogged arteries. Consumption of sodas could lead to weight gain, a tell-tale sign that heart disease might already be setting in. Sodas elevates blood pressure which could damage the arteries. Sugar content could also coat free flowing fats in the blood increasing the likelihood of these getting embedded in the arteries and clogging it up.

Eat More Veggies

Incorporating more vegetables into your every diet serves two purposes, it helps clear your body from impurities and inadvertently reduces your meat intake. Leafy vegetables in particular contain nitrates which are directly sourced from the soil. This is converted into nitric oxide and important ingredient for healthy blood circulation. It prevents the formation of plaques, resists blood coagulation all essential for the normal flow of blood. People who include leafy vegetables for example could lower their blood pressure by 11mmHg in a few hours.

Fish and Omega 3 rich foods

Fish has two factors going for it, it’s considered as white meat and is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish meat is leaner and contains none of the fat contained in animal or red meat. While the fat it contains which is Omega 3 works to clear the arteries.

A healthy diet is one that does not starve us from the things we love to eat. But one that promotes moderation and eating food in the right amounts. Most diets fail simply because people find them to stifling. Rather than encouraging people to stick to a healthy diet, it becomes a constant struggle for people each day.

Eating is one of the simplest joys of life. And denying ourselves of these simple joy makes life less interesting. Just remember to eat more healthy foods and keep everything to a minimum. The body has an excellent system for eliminating wastes that if left uncontrolled could clog our arteries. The problem is when our body finds itself overwhelmed and unable to eliminate artery-clogging deposits.

Food for Thought: Stop the Snacking

Having a hard time dieting and resisting the urge to “snack” on everything you see? Most people struggle with this aspect of dieting the most, because in every social situation there seems to be food – in excess- and it’s usually unhealthy.

So if you are looking for a way to stop the snacking, perhaps you just need to do something to keep your mind off the fact that you are hungry. 

Here are some tried and true suggestions of things that you can do to avoid eating between meals or ways to avoid grazing throughout the day.

When you get the urge to “snack” try these ideas instead…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Clean out the junk drawer.
  • Paint your nails.
  • Play a game on your phone.
  • Pin 10 things on Pinterest… or more!
  • Doodle.
  • Do one thing on your “To Do” list.
  • Work on a craft project.
  • Read a book or a magazine.
  • Do one of your Pinterest pins.
  • Write in a journal or on a blog.
  • Color in a coloring book.
  • Write a “To Do” List.
  • Catch up on emails.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Do 50 jumping jacks.
  • Drink a full glass of water.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Take a nap.
  • Organize/edit photos.
  • Clean out your closet.
  • Walk to the park.
  • Suck on a peppermint candy.
  • Read a food journal.
  • Do 25 crunches.
  • Create a mood diary.
  • Learn 10 Yoga moves.
  • Pin a new workout routine.
  • Work on a menu plan.
  • Chew some gum.
  • Drink a cup of tea.
  • Walk around the block.
  • Clean the toilets.
  • Write out 50 blessings.

Spotlight on: Carrots

  • The beta-carotene in carrots is an antioxidant combating the free radicals that contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and a few other conditions.
  • Cooking carrots actually raises the nutritional benefits of this great vegetable. By cooking them you free the beta-carotene from the fiber, thereby allowing your body to better absorb the beta-carotene.
  • If you eat just a half cup of carrots each day you will get more than the recommended dosage of beta-carotene in your diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Creamy Carrot with Curry Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds peeled carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups half-and-half (or whole milk)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: Chopped pistachios

Heat oil in sauté pan until shimmering.  Add carrots, then onion, sauté until golden brown (about 7 minutes).  Reduce heat and add butter, sugar, and garlic; continue cooking about 10 minutes longer. Add curry and sauté a minute longer. Add broth and simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.  Using a blender, puree in a blender for about a minute.  Return to pot and add enough half and half so the mixture is soup-like, yet thick enough to float the pistachio garnish.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe: Banana Zucchini Carrot Bread

  •  2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • ½ cup grated carrots
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and pour into large bowl.  Add bananas and mash.  Add grated zucchini and shredded carrots.  Mix well. Add sugar, vanilla and beaten egg.  Sprinkle in baking soda and salt, and mix.  Add flour and mix well.  Pour in 4×8 loaf pan to two large muffin pans.  (Yields one loaf or 12 large muffins.) Bake loaf for 60 to 75 minutes.  Bake muffins for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool and serve.

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.

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.

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.

Spotlight on: Plums

  • Plums, and their dried version known as prunes, are very high in phytonutrients, which function as an antioxidant and provide much benefit to the body.
  • Eating plums helps in the production and absorption of iron in the body, thereby leading to better blood circulation leading further to the growth of healthy tissues.
  • Consuming plums on a regular basis will help prevent macular degeneration and other eye infections.
  • Researchers have also found that plums contain anti-cancer agents that prevent the growth of cancerous cells and tumors.

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Recipe: Chicken Breasts with Plum Salsa and Basmati Rice

1 ½ cups of water

1 cup uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained

¾ pound plums, pitted and chopped

½ medium red onion, minced

3 habanero peppers, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place water in medium saucepan and stir in rice. Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and fluff with fork.  In a bowl, mix the plums, peppers, onions, cilantro and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-heat. Place chicken in oil and brown 1 minute per side.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 additional minutes per side.  Serve over rice with plum salsa.

Recipe: Fresh Summer Fruit Salad

½ cup water

2/3 cup sugar

3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb

15 seedless grapes, halved

½ orange, sectioned

10 fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1 apple, cored and diced

1 peach, sliced

1 plum, pitted and sliced

15 pitted Bing cherries

¼ cup fresh blueberries

Bring water and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the rhubarb, turn heat to low, cover and simmer until rhubarb is soft, 10 to 15 minutes.  Mash and chill in the refrigerator about one hour.   To serve, mix the grapes, orange, strawberries, apple, peach, plum, cherries, and blueberries with 2/3 cup of the rhubarb sauce.  Stir gently, but thoroughly to coat.  Refrigerate for at least two hours for all of the flavors to blend well.

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.