Showing posts with label Nutrition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nutrition. Show all posts

Monday, July 31, 2017

All The Nuts - Health Benefits of Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Etc.


 I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, home of Diamond Walnuts. As a matter of fact, nuts of all kinds grew there, in addition to any fruit or vegetable you can imagine. It was a wonderful place to grow up. We used to work in the walnut orchards owned by Diamond, as a volunteer project for our church youth program. The trees went on endlessly, as far as the eye could see. Who would have thought that 30 years later, the very existence of the almond and walnut orchards would be on the verge of collapse?

I've been so sad to hear about the conditions recently in northern California and the affect they have had on the nut crops, especially almonds. First it was the extreme drought conditions in 2014 that brought on the necessity for almond farmers to destroy thousands and thousands of acres of almond trees. Now in 2017, it's the opposite. Record rainfall is killing or has already killed the state's almonds. A record 27 inches of rain fell this last winter, the most ever recorded! And it's ironic that water is responsible for killing the trees, because almonds consume huge amounts of water and have even been accused of depriving other resources of adequate water! 

Being as it may, the health benefits of eating those water-greedy nuts is huge! I would urge anyone not to make their dietary plans so constrictive that they can't fit in a handful of some kind of nut into their daily food plan! By the way, peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes. Consider the benefits of eating a handful of nuts!
1) Great source of healthy fat! Of course we know that some fats shouldn't be consumed and other fats should be consumed in moderate amounts. Nut fats are helpful for weight loss, heart health and for brain health!

2) 20% less likely to die for any reason! That is huge! Studies found that a person who ate a small handful of nuts 7 times a week or more, were less likely to kick the bucket!

3) People who eat nuts have better cardiovascular health, lower risk for diabetes, lower mortality rate which then raises your longevity!

Sometimes you want something a little more exciting than just a handful of nuts. There are a lot of ways to dress up those nutritionally-loaded nuggets. 

Maple Cinnamon Pecans
2 cups raw pecans
1/3 cup maple syrup (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2  Tbsp. cinnamon
Cinnamon Sugar for sprinkling

Combine pecans, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat in a skillet for 6 - 8 minutes until thickened. Spread onto wax paper to cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired, and store in an airtight container.

Rosemary Garlic Almonds
2 cups raw almonds
1 Tbsp Coconut oil
2 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients and cook in a medium sauce pan, stirring regularly until toasted and fragrant. Spread and cool on wax paper. Store in airtight container. 

Either recipe is gluten free, vegan, and paleo! I'm such a fan of all the nuts and this is one obsession that I don't feel a shred of guilt for! So enjoy some nuts, and here's to your health!

sources: Grub Street 
Mercola.com
AgAlert 
CenterCut Cook 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

5 Surprising Benefits of Rosemary + Healthy Rosemary Salad Recipe

When you've got a benefits list as impressive as this herb, you probably want to have more of it in your life! Rosemary is one of the most beneficial herbs for prevention of diseases such as diabetes, and cancer.  It is also great for memory enhancement! Back before big pharma, there were herbs. Now science is picking up the slack in terms of research in the herb realm and finding astonishing benefits.  From these scientific testing results, here is a quick list of the benefits of rosemary:


1. Heightened memory and concentration - Scientists have found that rosemary fragrance seems to have a positive effect on future memory, as opposed to present and past memory. The part of the brain that makes and remembers to-do lists for future reference is an important cognitive skill. For instance, "when you come to a yellow sign that says 'Breaking Point', you should stop at the first gas station and pick up 3 cans of diet coke and a hogie." Those landmarks are meant to signal other actions in a healthy cognitive system. The best way to pick up the pungent aroma of the herb is with rosemary essential oil. You can use it in combination with other oils to create a scent that is both advantageous and pleasant. Combine them in a diffuser and use it to increase your cognitive abilities.

2.  Diabetes Protection - Among several other herbs, rosemary is found to be a natural way to keep glucose levels at a normal level. You can use the needles to brew into a tea. Take 1 1/2 tsp. of the needles, bring water to boil, steep in one cup of hot water for 5 minutes, and drain.

3. Prevents Brain Aging - In a Japanese study, rosemary was found to prevent aging of the brain. It may protect neurons from free-radical damage because it contains a substance called carnosic acid. Benefits can occur in food form, tea, and fragrance.

4. Cancer Protection - Studies show that rosemary can prevent tumor growths in leukemia and breast cancer. It is also beneficial against inflamation and tumor protective. Use in food, tea, and fragrance form.

5. Protects Eye Degeneration - Macular degeneration is the most common age-related, eye-related problem in the U.S. and rosemary's carnosic acid prevents this. Best results when used in food form or tea form.

Because of all this goodness, I put a bit of rosemary in my salads (usually 1/2 tsp. of chopped leaf is sufficient), use it in a garnish or bouquet to flavor my food, and use rosemary essential oil in a diffuser! Here's a tasty and simple example of how you can use rosemary in your food!


Rosemary Chicken & Bacon Salad:


Ingredients:
4 slices of bacon, diced
2 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. chopped rosemary
3 cups spinach
1 cup other greens of your choice (I used arugula)
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp. chopped green onions
2 tbsp. white onion
1 small avocado, sliced

Rosemary Vinaigrette:
1 tsp. dijon mustard
4 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. fresh minced rosemary
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
1. Cook bacon then drain fat, leaving enough to coat the pan. Set aside.

2. Season uncooked chicken with salt and rosemary, cook over medium high heat until golden brown and cooked through.


3. Make a bed of the greens. Scatter tomatoes, onion, and bacon on top. 

4. Slice the avocado, season with a pinch of salt and add the avocado and chicken to the salad.

5. Add together the ingredients to the vinaigrette, whisk, and pour over salad. Serve immediately.

Note: Along with the rosemary vinaigrette, I also used a healthy commercial raspberry vinaigrette to give it more body. Totally optional of course! 

 Yield: 2 servings. Serving size: 1/2 salad. Calories: 350.
Sources: Medical News Today, Feb 28, 2012; ACS July 23,2014;
 Cell J 2011, Spring; Medical News Today; Oncol Rep, Jan 2007; Biosci Biotechnol Biochem

Medical News Today, Sept 2015;

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Don't Go Too Big Up Front! What??

As you know, I love to blog about health and wellness.  I've got a great guest post for the kinds of food your body needs when you are trying to get in shape for whatever reason!  I do especially agree with the last quote in the last paragraph of the article!  You've only got one body, so treat it with respect!  Oh, and the first paragraph explains the title of this post more clearly!  lol!
Thanks to author, Whitney Hollingshead

If you are training for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, an extreme athletic event, or even just hoping to get in shape, your diet will play a crucial role in your success.
Depending on how long you have been training, you may have already made a lot of key improvements to your diet. If you are just starting, however, it’s really important to phase into changing your diet gradually. Brad White of Sole Fitness has been participating in races and athletic events for years. Here’s his advice on changing your diet: “Don’t go too big upfront because if you go too big upfront you will quit next week.”
So how do you know how to change your diet? Let’s take a look at the foods that will benefit you the most and compare them to the foods you need to avoid.
Here are the foods/beverages that will help:
Whole Grains

 Oatmeal: contains a surprising amount of protein
Whole Grain Cereal with Protein: can contain up to 40% of daily fiber
Brown Rice: very high in fiber and known to drastically reduce the chances of illness
Whole Grain Bread: make sure it’s 100% whole grain
Whole Grain Pasta: quick carbs with more fiber to fill you up
Lean Protein

Eggs: one equals 10% of daily protein
Canned Black Beans: 60% of daily fiber
Chicken: versatile, easy to cook
Kidney Beans: rich in iron and protein
Fish
Salmon: high quality protein, essential omega-3 fatty acids
Tuna: also a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids
Fruits
Oranges: help with muscle soreness
Frozen Mixed Berries: powerful antioxidants
Lemons: one has more than 100% of daily vitamin C
Bananas: high in potassium
Vegetables
Sweet Potatoes: excellent source of vitamin A
Mixed Salad Greens: various phytonutrients (help keep your body working properly)
Frozen Stir-Fry Vegetables: contain beta-carotene & vitamin C
Broccoli: contains vitamin K & vitamin C
Snacks
Dark Chocolate: boosts heart health
Almonds: excellent source of Vitamin E
Low-fat Yogurt: provides protein and calcium and aids with digestion
Beverage

Water: drink water in its pure form for the best hydration and no calories

Here are the foods/beverages to avoid:
Sugary Food: Most sugary foods contain a lot of calories, as well as a lot of fat without giving you the key nutrients you need. On the flip side, natural sugars like those found in fruit are much better for your body.
Fast Food: Again, most fast foods contain fatty proteins and steal your calories while robbing you of good nutrition. If you have to eat at a fast food restaurant try alternatives like grilled chicken, or a baked potato with chili, and a side of fruit or yogurt.
Fried Food: Fried foods contain tons of calories and fat grams and usually taste so good that it’s hard to stop eating them after just a small amount. Try baking or steaming these foods instead.
Soda, Sugary Drinks, & Sports Drinks: These are full of sugar and a lot of calories with little to no nutrition. Sport drinks are really only helpful when you are working out for a really long period of time. When you are thirsty, grab some water instead.
Caffeinated Beverages, Energy Drinks, Coffee, & Alcohol: All of these will cause dehydration and can affect your workouts, as well as your sleep cycles.
Protein Bars & Energy Bars: The key here is to limit your consumption of these bars as they are highly processed. Focus on fresh fruits and nuts instead.
Remember, phase into these changes gradually. Start making a substitution or two each day until you can ease into changing everything. For example, plan dinner with brown rice instead of white rice tonight. Tomorrow you can have mixed salad greens instead of iceberg lettuce. If you can transition to making one key change each day, it will be easier to get to the point where all of the changes stick.
Also, do a lot of research online to find fun, fresh, and tasty ways to prepare the good foods listed above so that you don’t get tired of them. The key is to make sure the recipes aren’t adding a lot of additional fat. Also, pay close attention to how these foods are prepared when you are eating out.
Brad White also cautions that you need to prepare for the financial implications: “The other thing that is really hard is that eating healthy is not cheap. When you are talking about price per calorie, the price per calorie is a lot cheaper in bad foods.” So make sure you budget for the increased cost of groceries.
While making healthy and training-friendly changes will be expensive, time consuming, and at times even challenging, your body is well worth the sacrifice.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A New Flavor! Honey Bunches of Oats now with Greek Yogurt! {Review}




I have GOT to get my rave on about this particular new Post Cereal that I tried - Honey Bunches of Oats, Greek Honey Crunch, the operative word being Greek, as in Greek Yogurt!  I've always liked Post Cereals for their great taste, yet nutritious feel to them.  My favorite cereal used to be Post Spoon-Size Shredded Wheat.  Now it's hands-down Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Style!  It's made with Greek Yogurt, which gives it a distinctive sweet flavor that isn't too heavy!  
   I have two strapping boys over 16 years old and both over 200 lbs. They each could eat a box of cereal in one sitting.  But of course, I try not to let that happen 'cause I really like cereal too!  Now, if you could picture this scene at our house -  I casually mention I've got some cereal that I'm trying out and they can sample it too, if they'd like.  They ask me what kind. I tell them it's a new flavor of Honey Bunches of Oats. That's all I need to tell them. They're on it like shingles on a roof! They each pour themselves a huge bowl and at least a quart of milk on top and plop down on the sofa. I ask them how they like it and I get a few grunts and nods. That's about it. But in teen-age boy speak, that's a thumbs up! Did they care how nutritious it is, that it has 33 grams of whole grain per serving, that it has 0g of trans fat, 0mg of cholesterol and provides 12 essential vitamins and minerals, and 5g of protein? Not really. It's all about the taste and texture for them.
 For me, I do care.  I don't like super sugary, sweet cereals, either.  If I want it sweet, I want to be the one to be able to regulate it to my taste, with the kind of sweetener I want.  I actually did add a teaspoon of brown sugar to my bowl and I was in heaven.  It was delicious!!  I Love the texture, kind of dense with smaller flakes and bigger greek yogurt covered chunks of granola.  And really, if I had to choose between say, apple pie or this cereal, I'd pick this cereal.  It's that good!  So maybe instead of dessert, I'll eat Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch, and then I could eat it at least twice a day, rationalization being a top trait of mine!
I enjoyed learning about how Vernon Herzing, a long-time employee of Post decided to experiment by combining a few of Post Cereals together and then gave it to his daughter to try.  When he saw her face light up, he knew he was on to something and really, that is how Honey Bunches Of Oats Cereal was created!   With this newest addition of Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal, the collection of wholesome goodness is ever-growing.  I'm wondering which one is your favorite of the 12?   You can also find out about your favorite cereals along with cool contests and deals on their Twitter site, @HBOatsLook them up on Facebook too!



Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. Mom It Forward and Honey Bunches of Oats partnered in support of this campaign. Honey Bunches of Oats compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.



Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Winter Nutrition Fact Check by a Nutritionist

I'm no nutritionist!  There is no R.D. beside my name, but that doesn't deter me from delving into the mysteries of nutrition and what it can and cannot do for the body.  I happen to believe that the most excellent nutrition is extremely hard to achieve and accomplished only with working extremely hard at it, maybe at the risk of neglecting other life experiences.  So I can only do the best  I can with the time I have and try to not hit myself over the head for imperfect nutritional days and weeks, even months.  

I find winter to be the hardest for me.  Right now, here in Utah we are in the single digits, which compared to some parts of the country is quite warm, I know.  But I'm not going out of my house or car unless it is above 30 degrees!  So exercise does suffer, as does nutrition.  I don't feel much like drinking cold smoothies, or salads, or anything refrigerated.  I feel like baked goods, soups, casseroles and hot cocoa!  I like to think that we have at least one characteristic in common with the grizzly bear--hibernation.  I wish that winter hibernation was as accepted as siestas are in Mexico.  In my world it would be totally acceptable to say, "I'm sorry, I can't be at work this next week because I'm in WHiM (Winter Hibernation Mode.)"  But alas, that isn't what our society does and so off I go at 7 am each morning to greet another chaotic day, without even a siesta.  


Here's the thing--I just read an article in BYU publication, 'The Real Woman' Magazine by BYU Professor, Susan Fullmer, PhD, RD, She had some interesting things to say about what is and isn't accepted as nutrtional fact.  She gave 10 nutritional myths.  Some of these myths were hard to distinguish from fact.  

For instance, People With Lower Body Weights tend to be more healthy.  Well, actually, no they don't tend to be.  As a matter of fact, several studies show that the people who live the longest and with the highest quality of life are the fat relatives of the slender people!  Generally speaking, those people who are considered to be overweight are living longer than thinner people.  I've always noticed that as soon as an elderly person starts to lose significant weight, severe health problems shortly ensue.  To me, having some meat on the bones serves as insurance for stressors inevitably showing up along the way. "Striving to maintain an unnaturally low body weight by under-eating, or over-exercising is associated with greater risks of osteoporosis, infertility, gastrointestinal disorders and poorer outcomes when experiencing major trauma or illness." -S. Fullmore, PhD, RD

Here's one that threw me--Organic foods are more nutritious and healthier than non-organically grown foods!  Not necessarily, according to Dr. Fullmer.  I only recently  begrudgingly got on the organic-is-better bandwagon because I hate paying so much more for it it's good for me.  Since Organic refers to how the plants are grown (pesticides, herbicides and GMO's)  versus what soil they are grown in, the nutritional content of the non-organically grown plant could be just the same, or better than the organic plant, just by virtue of the soil content.  The SOIL is what determines the nutrition of the plant!  So I suppose if you are not bothered by what residues from fertilizers might be on your vegetables (you can always rinse them and scrub them with a vegetable scrubber), non-organic might be the better route if you'd like to save some money.

And the last example here today is Fresh Fruits and Vegetables are nutritionally superior to frozen or canned.  Well, duh, of course they are, I said!  But silly, un-informed me!  By the time one buys fresh produce from the supermarket, it has probably been days since it was harvested, had to be sorted, packaged, transported, and then put onto shelves to wait until purchase. In the meantime, nutrients are decreasing each hour it is picked.  By contrast, produce is usually immediately canned or frozen after harvest, thus locking in much of the original nutrition! Now I can't use the old "there's no nutrition in that can of peas" excuse anymore.  (I hate canned peas and my husband likes them).

I guess that even this winter, as I try to hibernate and end up eating way too many carbs and sugar, I don't have to beat myself up as badly as I might.  I have a papered and certified nutritionist telling me that things aren't as bad as I thought!


DisclaimerNo compensation or promotional product was received for this post.  

 


Monday, December 31, 2012

Great On-The-Go Breakfasts and Lunches

I am someone who rushes out the door at 7 am every morning. I often miss getting and preparing nutritious breakfasts and lunches, ending up with less than ideal food choices during the day. I thought this idea from the Today show was great!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Green Smoothie Experience


I really wish I could have taken a picture before I downed the first green smoothie concoction I ever made a few hours ago, but it was so good and I was so excited to drink it that I didn't even think about it until it was down the hatch.  I never imagined I would be a fan of green smoothies.  I thought it was some fad for the extremists, the ones who went way overboard in their quest to be healthy.  Seriously, who in their right mind would blend raw spinach, and other vegetables together with fruit and other healthy stuff in a drink?  Not me!!!  I take supplements and I drink V-8 occasionally.  But I have a great friend, Diane, who has benefited greatly from her smoothies.  I think the main reason green smoothies are good is that you get all that concentrated raw food in an easy-to-take form.  (Just plug your nose and down it quick, if nothing else!)  Fresh enzymes are so important for health and well-being.  You can only get enzymes from raw food, not processed foods, cooked foods, or food supplements.  I learned how important good nutrition was from taking some really good nutritional supplements for 20 years.  I experience first-hand how getting nutrients your body needs is the key to health, beauty, energy and disease prevention.  The problem is that even those great nutritional supplements I take aren't doing the trick like they once did.  I have become more and more lethargic and have not been able to keep the weight off despite being extra careful and taking my nutritional supplements religiously and exercising 40 minutes per day on average.  No, I haven't been sick in over 3 years, but it's my metabolic functions that are sluggish.  I feel like they just got stuck and are in need of repair.  Some might say that is what happens when you get to be "a certain age", but I'm not ready to slow down yet.  There are so many more things I would like to do.  So I borrowed my gal pal Diane's high-powered blender (on her insistence), went to the store and bought some raw stuff and just started blending.  My first improvised recipe was:  

  • 2 cups water/ice
  •  3 cups mixed greens including spinach
  • 3 leaves red chard
  • 2 apples
  • frozen banana cubes to equal 1 1/2 bananas
  • 3/4 cup frozen berries
  • 1/3 cup Xagave sweetener
  • a chunk of  melted-together Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate chips from a bag that had been left in the car on a hot day, which I had no use for until today.   
Yield: about 8 cups of smoothie
I drank it all except for 3/4 cups which I gave to my dad.
  
I felt that my first attempt was quite successful because it tasted great!  I felt
extremely full and satisfied.  I have no idea how many calories I consumed, but I know I consumed a lot of raw nutrition with maybe a tad too much sweet to get it down. 
About an hour later, though, I had to use the restroom.  I won't go into it, but let's just say I must have been clogged up, judging from the experience.  Maybe too much raw stuff in one shot?  Maybe I over-did it, I don't know. Suffice it to say, I am definitely not constipated this evening.  Oh, excuse me I'll be right back....
_____________

This experience has not deterred me.  I will forge ahead and maybe try less sweetener tomorrow.  After all, I have 3 containers full of various greens that need to be used up and only time will tell if raw food in the form of smoothies is a good option for me.  
Not the smoothie I made, but a close likeness
Update:  It has been a year and 3 months since I had my first green smoothie.  I have been quite consistent  and got my own high-powered smoothie maker.  I certainly don't follow the recipe that I first made.  Basically I try to use at least 3 fruits along with 1 - 2 cups of greens.  I flavor it with coconut oil, peach-flavored fiber, and protein.  Sometimes I add cinnamon and other flavorings, but I try to stay away from sweeteners in general.  I feel much more healthy and my skin, hair and energy have benefited.  Unfortunately, I haven't lost the weight I wanted to, but I definitely feel more healthy overall!