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Nutrition and wellness is tasteful

  • Exercise

    Exercise is a benefit to every part of the body--mind included.

    Exercise makes you look better, lose weight, and lowers your risk of many chronic diseases, and slows down aging.

  • Healthy children, healthy life

    "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces--just good food from fresh ingredients."
    --Julia Child

    "If we're not willing to settle for 'junk living,' we shouldn't settle for junk food."
    --Sally Edwards

  • Food is medicine

    "Let medicine be thy food, and food be thy medicine."

    "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
    --Michael Pollen

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Slowly enjoy your bite at a time

Slow Food. While this movement has been around for 25+ years, many people are still slow to learn what it really is and how beneficial it would be in our approach to how we eat and how we view the health of our world in general.

To tell you the truth, I myself did not know about the Slow Food Movement until quite recently. But, if you are interested in learning about good, clean and fair food, Slow Food is where to start! In short, Slow Food goes against everything that Fast Food is by honoring home cooked meals, caring for our environment, eating and shopping locally, buying organic and so much more!

Here are 10 salient points to know and recognize anytime you hear the words, "Slow Food":

1. Start out by knowing what Slow Food means...

Slow Food is not only about food, but more about a lifestyle -- a healthy lifestyle by which to follow. This healthy lifestyle change is meant to join us to the way we see/consume our food socially, politically, environmentally and more. This movement is all about "Sobre Mesa", literally meaning "above" "table", but it actually means more than that. Sobre Mesa is all about enjoying your meal thoroughly and getting caught up in after dinner table talk. Fast food just does not do this, period!

2. You can Join a Slow Food group in your region

Although the Slow Food group is growing slowly, it is growing nonetheless and at this point it has over 80,000 members in 120 countries. If you want to get involved, do a google search for a group in your neighborhood. It is always great to find other like-minded people!

3. Get cooking

The healthiest way to get on the healthy bandwagon is to start cooking yourself. That means being creative in the kitchen and yes, looking at old family cook books, get curious about ingredients and just do it! There is nothing better than knowing you are responsible for knowing how to prepare a delicious and nutritious meal!

4. Shop locally

Just as it says, shop locally, like farmer's markets or local fruit and veggie stands. Knowing that you actually know where your food is coming from is so empowering and it helps the environment at the same time!

5. Avoid genetically modified food

Yes, while foods have been modified for hundreds of years, there still is a mysterious element to what the nutritional properties and wholesomeness is of these types of products. Many questions yet unanswered!

6. Buy organic

Buying organic really speaks to what Slow Food is trying to do by really honoring food choices that have no pesticide use as well as chemical use. These artificial means of caring for conventionally grown foods may even stunt the natural nutrients contained in the fruit or vegetable.

7. Grow your own food

In growing your own food, you can truly be proud of a great accomplishment! It would be so nice to go out into your yard and pick fresh fruits or vegetables for a meal that is about to be prepared. If you have kids, there is no better educational tool than to have them understand where the food came from in the first place...Have you eaten a store-bought tomato as opposed to a home-grown tomato -- big difference!

8. Share your home-cooked meals

Home-cooked meals are memorable and so appreciated by those who eat out a lot or just don't like to cook at all. It may even inspire them to take some cooking classes or find other alternatives to choosing foods more wisely.

9. Cook with the kids

Once again, getting kids in the kitchen at an early age is the best way for them to learn and get excited about food.

10. Pack a healthy lunch

No doubt, going to a restaurant or eating out once in a while can be fun or a nice change of pace, but if you made that time limited and concentrated on eating a healthy packed meal from home, you will be giving yourself good fuel to conquer the day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The latest in health guide devices....

The good thing about health guide devices -- is that technology has allowed for people to become more interactive with their health devices and hence more accountable for their health and wellbeing. The following article on mHealth devices, specifically:
  • Fitbit
  • The Shine
  • Basis Watch

gives a panoramic view of what these devices can do and how they keep people interested and engaged.

You can read about these three devices, here.

On another note, Kolasa's Guide to Healthier Living which was written about in a web magazine called the Daily Reflector based out of Greenville, Pitt County and eastern North Carolina, had an interesting comment from a reader.

The comment in the article for healthy living asked if wearable health monitors really worked and were good to have. Advice was given from a medical student who stated that they can indeed help with the improvement of one's nutrition.

A staggering statistic: 85 to 90 percent of positive health outcomes are the result of an individual's own behavioral change. These mHealth gadgets allow people to work with technology more to balance their busy lives in healthier ways.

Check out the article to learn more here....

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Be SMART by eating SMART

There are numerous benefits of what it takes to eat “Smart”. We all know this, but how do we ensure that we do so? That is the million dollar question, isn’t it?

If we can think about eating like we do about strategizing, that would be a great start, wouldn’t you agree? After all, if we want to be productive human beings, we need to plan our actions, as we do our food choices. It is to easy to say we are in a hurry, then drive through the drive through of a fast-food restaurant to pick up something quickly. How can we expect to be successful in writing a proposal or business plan or even planning a trip if we do it in the same way we do going through the fast-food window by fueling our bodies with nutritionally poor choices?

The objective? Eat SMART

·      S=Specific
·      M=Measurable
·      A=Attainable
·      R=Relevant
·      T=Time-bound

How can we do this? Start out with Specific. Be specific about the types of foods you put in your body meaning skip the donut or bagel with an extra shmear of cream cheese, have an egg-white omelette instead. 

Be Measureable. Be precise in what you eat, if you want to lose weight or you want to get stronger abdominals, or you just want to eat better, don’t you need to be precise in your food choices? Of course you do. 

How about Attainable? In order to reach your goal or on the road to achieving a closer range to the goal you want to meet, make your choices ones that you can achieve. It may take a little work, but if you want to achieve something, it needs to first be attainable. 

Relevant. To be relevant is a bit trickier in putting into food terms, but think of sticking to food habits that are relevant to your schedule. So, if you work 10 to 12 hour days, make sure that your chosen foods are relevant to what you need to accomplish. Choose foods that will feed your brain (salmon, walnuts) and heart (berries, oatmeal) and body in general – and portion-controlled too. 

Lastly, be time-bound. You put deadlines on yourself for work-related activities, don’t you? Why can’t we be time-bound and accountable for the food choices that we make? Instead of merely focusing on losing 10 pounds for summer vacation – start slow, but hold yourself to a reasonable amount of time to reach your goal and just continue your time-bound goals every month as an example just to keep yourself accountable.

Even if you reach a goal of getting stronger in yoga or dropping weight or eating better doesn’t mean you can’t reset your time-bound goal every month just to keep yourself honest.

Perhaps I stretched these objectives to a point that may not seem particularly relevant to your food choices, but actually it is in stretching ourselves that we become better human beings and healthier too.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Beautiful & Most Beneficial Star: Star Anise

History of the amazing fruit called star anise really is amazing. The pretty star-shaped fruit that comes from an evergreen plant from the southern region of China has similar taste profiles of anise (licorice). This surprisingly pretty fruit is not only healthful, but compounds found within it have been used in the reduction or prevention of cold sores, Dementia, non-Alzheimer's, flu, Heapatits B, HIV/Aids, Mononucleosis, septic shock and even tooth decay!

Remarkably, star anise has been used for thousands of years by Chinese practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the flu in order to alleviate the disturbances that mucous can cause in the respiratory tract. It is known to act as an expectorant; but, more importantly, for those who have suffered from the many complications caused by the flu, it has been found that a compound in the fruit is used for Tamiflu. Tamiflu is by far the most commonly prescribed medicine for treating the flu and the compound name found within the star anise for its medicinal powers is called shikimic acid.

How is Star Anise used in culinarian ways? This pretty fruit goes well with certain spices like Allspice, Cinnamon, Cumin, Nutmeg, Chile, Ginger and more. It happens to go well in recipes that contain ingredients such as chicken, pork, duck, stir-fries, marinades, fruit desserts and more.

Although, a cautionary word of advisement is that the FDA -- which that considers this fruit to be pretty safe -- does advice against giving star anise tea to babies or kids for colic. Additionally, the FDA recommends that breastfeeding moms don't drink this tea for this reason. It was found that an international investigation into this tea showed that the Star Anise was being sold as Japanese star anise which looks similar, but is poisonous.

To learn more about the magical and powerful benefits of this fruit, you can also refer to the
following links:
Health Benefits of star anise
Star anise (Illicium verum)
The compound Anethole
Other spice pairings that go well with star anise

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Globalized Diet: Wheat, Soy & Palm Oil Rule

The concentration of crops such as wheat, soy and palm oil are just about everywhere -- I'm talking globally! Should this be worrisome to any of you out there? I would say so. It seems completely "wacky" to me that you could travel to Egypt or Japan or for that matter any other country and pretty much get the same foods that we do here at home in the United States. I mean, what happened to us? To me there is nothing like going to another country and eating the foods that are native to that particular area, but it seems that for pickier eaters there are no worries since you are more than likely able to enjoy pizza in Egypt or Japan.  Aside from losing the adventure of learning what is a native food in a country, you don't have to experience that culture at all -- sad. But, apologies, I got off track.

There certainly are pros and cons to globalization, but in this particular scenario, it is a bit scary. So, what does that mean for us? According to this article, a new scientific study has revealed that farmers have become more and more globalized by the crops that they grow -- in other words, the three crops mentioned in this article are pretty much taking over where there once was more diversification.

Accordingly, two trends recently were shown to be on a climb upwards. Colin Khoury, a researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture as well as others on his team analyzed 50 years of data by the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization.
The first trend?
“Hey, actually, there’s places where diets are diversifying, where they’re adding crops,” says Khoury.
"In parts of Asia, such as China, rice is a declining portion of the average person’s diet as they add in other foods that are now more available. In the U.S., meanwhile, people are eating more imported foods, like mangoes and coconut water."

The second trend?
"Those bigger menus of food also are getting more and more similar to each other, from Nanjing to Nairobi. Everybody is relying more and more heavily on a few dozen global mega-foods.
Many of those foods are part of what you’d call a standard Western diet, including wheat, potatoes and dairy. But other mega-crops come from the tropics, such as palm oil. “It’s grown on a large scale in Malaysia and Indonesia, but it’s become a global commodity in diets essentially everywhere,” says Khoury."

Learn more about how these crops (wheat, soy & palm oil) have become mega crops and be sure to read the mysterious ingredients on the back of the labels too!

Scroll in to see the 3rd ingredient: Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What "Eat the Rainbow" should really mean

In this day and age of chronic diseases and all the health issues that lead us down that path, the last thing we need is more confusion by the creator of Skittles -- The Wrigley Jr. Company, creator of the Mars bar.

We have all heard the phrase, "Eat the Rainbow," but, does everyone really know what that means? It gets to be so confusing, especially for kids who don't have the equipped understanding of really knowing what good nutrition should be.

Here is a break down of ingredients made to create a better understanding of what "eat the rainbow" really should be.

Cauliflower: Nutrition
Purple Cabbage: Nutrition
Carrots: Nutrition
Red Bell Pepper: Nutrition
Lemon: Nutrition
Mixed Greens like Swiss Chard, Dandelion Greens, Spinach: Nutrition
The Rainbow of Good Foods to Eat

"Eat the Rainbow" of dangerous ingredients
Unnatural Ingredient List for Skittle Candy
Sugar: Ingredient List
Corn Syrup: Ingredient List
Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil: Ingredient List
Dextin Modified Corn Starch: Ingredient List
Red 40 and other dye ingredients: Ingredient List

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Portion Control: Do You Know How Much You Are Eating?

This has and continues to be "tricky" for just about anybody, unless you are constantly walking around with a measuring cup and/or a food scale, it is hard to really know how much you are eating, period! Especially if you are distracted by the television, a great conversation or drinking one too many drinks, finding the right amount to eat to fit your metabolism needs does not always happen.

Learn more about Portion Control by clicking on the link below....

Portion Control: Do You Really Know How Much You Are Eating?

Monday, April 7, 2014

The sweetly, spicy flavor of NUTMEG

Nutmeg seems be one of those exotic spices used to make a dish either savory and delicious or even warm and appealing. Although nutmeg is available in powder form or whole, it's best to use nutmeg whole -- in using a small grater, a small amount goes a long way by imparting great flavor.

The history of this spice, it's unique taste and how it has been used for thousands of years in the kitchen as well as the medicine cabinet adds an intensity to its allure as well. The sweet and piquant flavor that it has comes from an oil that the nutmeg itself contains called myristicin. This oil can be found in many other plants such as carrots, celery and parsley as well.

What is myristicin known for? Myristicin does have healing powers to it (although it has its limits as seen in the following video), but to a lesser degree has proven to be a possible remedy for the prevention of anxiety, cancer, depression, memory loss and more.

In the kitchen, nutmeg goes well with the following spices:
  • allspice
  • amchur
  • cinnamon
  • clove
  • cocoa
  • coconut
  • ginger
  • lemongrass
and, also goes well with:
  •  avocados
  • bananas
  • biscuits and breads
  • lobster
  • scallops
  • soups 
  • tomatoes
  • white sauces
To learn more about recipes containing nutmeg, here are a couple:
  • learn about the nutmeg tree, more culinary uses, history and more, go to this article.
Custard with Nutmeg