Showing posts with label Healthy Eating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healthy Eating. Show all posts

Monday, July 21, 2014

Study || Cherries Reduce Abdominal Fat?

I was eating some cherries a couple weeks ago and thought, "Hmm, I wonder if there is any research out there on cherries and fat".  Up until that point, I thought the fruit was pretty useless other than being a fix for my sweet tooth.  Well, guess what? There is research out there, one of which associates a regular intake of cherries with a reduction in abdominal fat weight, percentage fat mass, and more.  Check out the abstract: REGULAR TART CHERRY INTAKE ALTERS ABDOMINAL ADIPOSITY, ETC. (2009).

Friday, May 9, 2014

Healthy Recipes || Avocado Parfait + More for Diabetics and Clean Eaters

So through vlogger Jasmine Rose, I learned about (and immediately subscribed to) Alain's channel entitled "Health Reset Meals".  His channel is intriguing because it doesn't simply feature recipes; it features recipes targeted to diabetics and clean eaters.  In short, there are some really healthy meals he cooks up on his channel.  This chef also has a funny personality to go along with it all.

Check out his recipes for an avocado parfait, avocado pudding, and avocado yogurt in the following video.  I can't wait to actually try some of these desserts! ...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Top Dozen Pesticide-Laden Produce + The Top Fifteen Cleanest Produce

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released a list of produce containing the most pesticides (yuck!) ... and the least.  Do you want to know which of these foods are going into your body?  Check out the below list.  (For more information, including details on certain produce, check out this EWG page.)

Sweet bell peppers
Nectarines (imported)
Cherry tomatoes
Snap peas (imported)
Hot Peppers

Sweet corn
Sweet peas (frozen)
Sweet potatoes

For more information, including details on certain produce, check out this EWG page.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Healthy Recipes || Adding Asparagus to Smoothies!

Recently, I've been experimenting with adding asparagus to my smoothies.  Why? Well asparagus is loaded with more nutrients than I've seen in most other vegetables.  One cup of raw asparagus contains:

20% DV Vitamin A
13% DV Vitamin C
16% DV Iron
70% DV Vitamin K
17% DV Folate
11% Dietary Fiber
13% Thiamin
11% Riboflavin
11% Manganese


The recipes that I did find online either added sweeteners (e.g., tablespoons of honey, vanilla) or just did not taste that great.  So after a couple of trials and errors of my own, I came up with this delicious recipe that, not only disguises the unpleasant taste of raw asparagus, but also adds a bunch of other nutrients.

1 banana
1/2 cup blackberries
2 cups almond milk
2-3 asparagus stalks (bump it up to 4-5 if you are brave enough)
1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Note: my fruits and vegetables are usually frozen after purchasing, but you can use fresh ones if you want and just toss in some ice for more of a smoothie texture.

Just blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Healthy Recipes || Mashed Cauliflower - Low Carb Alternative to "Mashed Potatoes"

Mashed cauliflower that looks and tastes like mashed potatoes ... except with much less starch. Have you tried it?  In an effort to eat more vegetables and less carbs, I decided to give the dish a try.  What's the verdict?  Yo, this dish is DELICIOUS!

Various forms of the mashed cauliflower recipe have been floating around the Web.  Some contain butter while some use olive oil ... some use romano cheese while some use mozzarella.  It really depends on what you want to add to your mashed cauliflower, though I will say a bit of salt and pepper is a must and cheese certainly enhances the flavor.  (I personally use salt, pepper, sharp cheddar, and organic butter.)

Without further ado, here is what you will need at the minimum: 

1 cup of mashed cauliflower
a bit of salt
a bit of black pepper
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or melted butter

Optional ingredients:
cheese of your choice (e.g., Parmesan, Mozzarella, Romano ... as much or as little as you want)
garlic powder

  1. Steam the cauliflower until it is "mash-able" (i.e., soft but not too soft).
  2. Use a food processor to mash the cauliflower.  (If you don't have a food processor, using a blender on pulse is okay or mash with a utensil.)
  3. Mix all the other ingredients into the mashed cauliflower.
  4. You're done!  Enjoy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Healthy Eating || How to Eat Healthy Without Spending Too Much

Eating healthy can sure be expensive ... but it doesn't have to be.  Check out these inexpensive options from Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog:

Best Fresh Fruit: Banana
If you get hungry mid-day, a banana is the best snack at your desk, after a workout, or in between classes. Fruit is a very good snack in general. An apple will give you 14 percent of your day’s Vitamin C and 4 grams of fiber, but a banana, at half the price per pound, offers more Vitamin C and just 1 less gram of fiber.
Best Frozen Fruit: Frozen Blueberries The price of fresh fruits out of season is significantly higher than when they’re in season, due to transportation costs. And if you want to get your money’s worth, you’ll need to eat them within three days of buying, so they don’t spoil. 1 cup of frozen blueberries gives you just as much fiber as the raw variety, and a handful fewer calories. While fresh blueberries offer 18 percent more Vitamin C, that difference isn’t worth the extra cost. 
Best Vegetable: Broccoli Nutritionally, a half-cup of cooked broccoli delivers 24 percent of your Vitamin A, 84% of your Vitamin C, and 3 grams of fiber. This versatile vegetable is a great bang for the buck and packs a great nutritional punch. 
Best Salad Base: Cabbage The leafy greens in your salad can really vary in their nutritional content-iceberg lettuce, for example, is significantly less nutritious than romaine, which is yet again less nutritious than cabbage. In fact, 1 cup of cabbage gives you more than half of your daily vitamin K requirement-and it’s $1.29 less per pound than Romaine. Try using cabbage in a soup as well!

For the rest of the list, go to Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Healthy Recipes || Coconut Milk Popsicles

{Image from "This Rawsome Vegan Life"}
All you need are coconut milk, a natural sweetener (e.g., cane sugar, agave, date paste, or bananas), frozen fruit of your choice, and an herb (optional).  

For the full recipe, visit This Rawsome Vegan Life.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Study || Food-Packaging Chemical (DEHP) + Diabetes Risk in Children

Check out the following excerpts from recent research on DEHP (a food-packaging chemical) and diabetes precursors in adolescents:

"Mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), a DEHP metabolite, activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor(PPAR) g transcription more selectively than rosglitazone,[12] a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity.[13] This selective upregulation appears to explain the differential effects of rosglitazone and MEHP, in which MEHP produces a phenotype of insulin resistance in cellular models,[14,15] and in vivo.[16] Given that PPAR plays key roles in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism,[17] these findings provide biological plausibility for DEHP metabolites in insulin resistance. ..."

"Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) is an environmental chemical commonly found in processed foods [and food packaging]. Phthalate exposures, in particular to DEHP, have been associated with insulin resistance in adults, but have not been studied in adolescents."

"Urinary DEHP concentrations were associated with increased insulin resistance in this cross-sectional study of adolescents. This study cannot rule out the possibility that insulin-resistant children ingest food with higher phthalate content, or that insulin-resistant children excrete more DEHP."


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Healthy Recipes || Sweet Potato Smoothie

As some of you probably already know, I am a big smoothie drinker.  Well, in a recent effort to be more creative with sweet potatoes, I created a super simple smoothie recipe:

1 cup banana
1 cup sweet potato (cooked)
2 cups almond milk (or more for desired consistency)
4 ice cubes
1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Just blend the ingredients together and you're done!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Healthy Eating || Ways to Add Protein to Your Smoothie

Protein powder.  I recommend going for a flavorless one or vanilla.  Either of these go pretty well in most smoothies.  Chocolate, strawberry, or other highly distinct flavors will limit the amount of tasty smoothies you can make.

Natural peanut butter.  This is probably my most favorite way to add protein to a smoothie because it is natural and adds a nice (but not overwhelming) flavor.  Go for the natural peanut butter because processed ones tend to have added sugar and hydrogenated fats.

Soy milk.  Soy milk used to be a pretty popular replacement for cow milk but has gotten a slightly bad reputation over the years largely because of its association with genetically modified soy beans (GMO).  However, if you can find non-GMO soy milk, you should be fine.


Monday, June 17, 2013

How the Sweet Potato Stacks Against the Regular Potato

Why do I prefer the sweet potato over the common potato?  The sweet potato has:
~40% less starch
Tons of vitamin A
~2x more vitamin C



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Switch from Table Salt to Less Sea Salt

Sea salt on the left.  Table salt on the right.
(In taking these photos, I realized that this table salt is not iodized.  I usually go for the iodized version.)

I grew up on Morton table salt.  Even as an adult, I still used it ... that was until last week.

An international friend was using my seasonings to cook when he asked, "Why does it take so much of this salt to season this dish?".  I jokingly replied, "Because it is fake salt".  You see, all week he had been describing American food as tasting "different", from the rice to the fruits to the chicken to almost everything.  And my reply would always be, "Because the food is fake.  That is why I buy mostly organic or 'pure'."  Fake was my short way of saying processed, genetically modified, pumped with hormones, etc.  

So, I decided to do a demonstration by purchasing pure sea salt.  I told him to try it and he said, "Yes!  This is real salt."  Then I began to question my basis for not using pure sea salt to cook.  I have tasted sea salt before and have always had the reaction of, "Man, this is salty!"  I just assumed that sea salt had way more sodium than table salt.  Additionally, my table salt usually comes iodized. (Iodine is a necessary nutrient.)

So here I was, for the first time, comparing the ingredients lists on the back of Morton table salt and this new sea salt, and what do you know?  They have the same percent daily value (25%) of sodium per serving!  What does this mean?  I can use less sea salt (and thus, less sodium) to season my dishes than I can table salt and still achieve the same flavorful result.  (Plus, I was able to purchase iodized sea salt.)  Me being the health conscious person that I am instantly felt dumb for having made this discovery so late.  Lol.

Sea salt nutrition facts (LEFT).  Table salt nutrition facts (RIGHT).
(In taking these photos, I realized that this table salt is not iodized.  I usually go for the iodized version.) 
Anyway, I did some reading after the purchase and noticed that many people usually think they can go uber generous with using sea salt.  No, please don't do that.  Keep in mind that 1/4 tsp of sea salt AND 1/4 tsp of table salt have the same amount of sodium.  Don't go from using 1/4 tsp of table salt to more than 1/4 tsp of sea salt.  I am officially a sea salt convert because I can use less sea salt to achieve the same flavor, but other people's tastebuds may taste the opposite!  (Check out the article below for details.)


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Healthy Body || Get BIKINI ready by June!

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Do you keep staring at your favorite bikini every time you go out shopping?

Why not find a reason to buy it plus more new items for your new sexy body?

I am here today to share some tips that should help you get your body bikini ready for this summer!
  1. Ditch the soda and start drinking water! Studies have proven that individuals that drink more carbonated or sugary beverages will gain weight or have troubles losing the unwanted weight you currently have. Drinking water will help flush your system as well as keep your body properly hydrated. I would suggest starting with 2 Liters and start working your way up to about a gallon of water a day. YES I SAID A GALLON! 
  2. Ditch the fast food! Take a stand NOW to start cooking your meals and try not to “grab something that is easy”. Cooking your own meals allows you to see exactly what you are putting in your body. And, it also allows you the chance to plan your meals and possibly SAVE money! Try having 5 small meals a day. Start with breakfast and have a meal every 3 hours. Each meal should be around 400 calories. You should have a good source of protein (like chicken or fish and for breakfast things like egg whites or whole eggs), a nice serving of veggies, and one good carbohydrate source (like brown rice, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes). 
  3. WORK OUT!!! Yes get up and get active! You want to try to work out 5 days a week. Try NOT to take more than two days off in a row. You should spend 30-45 minutes of cardio and getting your heart rate up. And you also need a good strength training program. YES LADIES YOU NEED TO LIFT WEIGHTS! No you will not get big and bulky. Strength training will allow you to build your muscles and start to get more tone. 

  4. HAVE A PLAN! Ladies you should plan out your meals, workouts, trips to the store, and anything else! If you FAIL TO PLAN you PLAN TO FAIL. If you plan these things out you will be prepared and ready for your meals and workouts during the week. This will allow you the chance to not make excuses when you are running late or need to find food to eat. Keep a journal so you are able to keep track of what all is going on. You want to be able to visually keep track of what is going on. 

  5. Find and keep your own motivation. You have to find something that keeps you motivated. It can be images, quotes, bible verses, or anything! You have to keep things so that you can keep yourself motivated on the days you do not feel motivated. Sometimes you need someone to keep you motivated or someone to help hold you accountable for your actions. This can be a friend, co-worker, or family member.
These are all very important tools that you can use to help you get ready for the summer. There are no magic pills or crash diets that can help you. Try to eat fresh whole foods (stay away from processed foods) and drink plenty of water. You want to cut back on drinking alcohol and increase your activity levels. You do not have to belong to a gym to get a good workout. You can find many workouts online that you can do at home!

You have the tools to reach your goals! So why not start NOW so you can flaunt your confidence and new body this summer. This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my blog for more health and fitness tips!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Study || Water Vs. Coconut Water Vs. Sports Drinks

A study published in early 2012, demonstrated little difference between four beverages with regard to rehydration and subsequent support of exercise.  The four tested beverages included: 1) bottled water, 2) pure coconut water, 3) coconut water from concentrate, and 4) a carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink.

So then what is a good reason to choose coconut water and/or bottled water over a sports drink?  Well, there are more than one:

  1. Pure coconut water generally has fewer calories than sports drinks.  Moreover, bottled water has no calories.  
  2. If you are looking for a natural alternative to sports drinks, coconut water and bottled water are two options.  
  3. If you are wanting to lower sodium in your daily diet, pure coconut water and bottled water (which is even better) are the way to go.  
  4. If you want to increase your potassium intake, pure coconut water is the best of the above options.  (Coconut water contains approximately 12x more potassium than Gatorade.)

AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE CONCLUSION: "Additional study inclusive of a more demanding dehydration protocol, as well as a time trial test as the measure of exercise performance, may more specifically determine the efficacy of these beverages on enhancing hydration and performance following dehydrating exercise."  (For the above study, twelve exercise-trained men were subjected to 60 minutes of treadmill exercise.)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Healthy Eating || How to Make Almond Milk

-1 cup raw, organic almonds
-filtered water for soaking
-2-6 cups filtered water (fewer cups = creamier)
- (optional) 1/2 tsp of vanilla

Optional sweeteners to taste:
-medjool dates
-maple syrup

Just soak the almonds overnight in the filtered water.  Drain out the filtered water the next day, and blend the almonds in 2-6 cups of new filtered water.  Strained the mixture, and you are left with almond milk!

For a full set of instructions (including photo-by-photo details), check out Frugally Sustainable!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Breakfast.  The first meal of the day.  AND also one of the most important meals of the day.

It is very common for a lot of people to skip on breakfast and wait until the mid-morning or even lunch until they have their first good meal.  THIS IS A BAD IDEA!  Studies have shown that those who skip breakfast do not lose weight as well as those who take the time to eat a nice healthy breakfast each morning.

Skipping breakfast allows you to grow hungrier and hungrier the longer you wait to eat your first meal after waking up.  If you eat something healthy and light when you get up it should help reduce your strong starvation feelings you may have grown around 10 or 11 AM.  Halting these feelings will allow you the chance to stop the “binge eating” you may do for your first meal.  By that time you are so hungry that you eat and eat and eat.  You eat until you feel full or satisfied but people usually eat so fast that they end up over eating before their belly can tell their brain that they are full! 

Also, while you are sleeping your body is in a fasting state.  It has gone 5+ hours without food so when you awake it is time to fuel your body! During this fasting state your body is conserving ANYTHING it can.  This halts or hinders your fat loss process.  Eating your breakfast within 2 hours of waking up allows your metabolism to get kick started and start working on burning those calories. 

{Image Source}
What are some great breakfast options?  I will list a few:
  •  Oat meal:  try to stick to the PLAIN oatmeal.  It is healthier to get the plain oatmeal and add your own fruit or honey to it. 
  • Fruit:  It is always a great idea to have fruit in the morning.  Try to stick to one serving size which is usually 1 cup of chopped melon, berries, or a small apple or banana.
  • Cereal:  Make sure it is a light cereal like Cheerios, Kashi cereal, or other whole grain low sugar cereals.  Try substituting almond milk for real milk to help cut calories and fat in your diet.
  •  Eggs: there are SO many ways you can have eggs in the morning! You can have boiled eggs, egg whites, egg white and 1 egg yolk mixed and scrambled, poached, or any other way! Make sure you try to use olive oil or coconut oil instead of vegetable oil to make your meal healthier. 
  • Toast:  Try to stick to the 100% whole wheat bread.  This is the best option at the store.  You can also get whole wheat English muffins, pita pockets, tortillas, or any other type of bread product. 
  • Nuts: The best options for nuts are almonds!  You can also have peanuts (but try to get the unsalted peanuts). 
  • Yogurt:  Also another great option!  BUT TRY TO GET PLAIN YOGURT!!! The yogurt you can buy at the store with granola and “fresh fruit” is LOADED WITH SUGAR!  Get the plain yogurt (and Greek yogurt is honestly your best option) and put your own nuts and fruit in them. This should also save you money! 

{Image Source}

Here is a great example of a quick breakfast you can make and have ready for those rushed mornings:
  • 1 Whole Wheat English muffin (or 1 piece of toast or 1 tortilla), 1 small apple, 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 oz. of cheese, 1 tablespoon of jam, green tea, 24 nuts, and a cherry (as a little treat). 
  • You can pre-pack containers like this so they will be ready in the fridge to grab when you are heading out the door in the morning!

Other healthy options:
  • 1 piece of toast, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 small fruit
  •  ½ cup Greek yogurt, I cup berries or fruit, 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 XL large eggs, 1 cup baby spinach leave, ¼ cup chopped bell peppers, ¼ cup chopped onions
  • Morning pizza:  I English muffin, 2 tablespoon tomato paste, ¼ cup low fat cheese, add chicken or turkey bacon
  • Breakfast sandwich/tortilla wrap: get 1 English muffin or flat bread or tortilla, ½ cup baby spinach, 2 cooked eggs, sliced tomatoes or onions (or other veggies) 2 pieces of turkey bacon or sausage or baked chicken
  • 1 cup oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 cup fruit (or one small fruit)
  • You can make fruit smoothies and add nuts, chai seeds, or protein powder
  • You can make oatmeal muffins

Breakfast is a great time to get creative!  Eating healthy does not have to be bland and boring!  Find some things that you enjoy and make them healthy!  If you like bacon try turkey bacon!  If you like toast switch to whole wheat toast.  If you want something sweet try Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of honey and fruit!  The key is to get things that you can grab and eat with you on your way to work or school!  And if you do have time to sit down and cook breakfast even better! You will have time to create omelets and other meals that take a little longer to cook! 

Breakfast is VITAL to reaching your health and fitness goals.  So why skip it when it can be yummy, filling, AND help you reach your goals!?

My name is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my website for more health and fitness related tips!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Healthy Recipes || 20 Healthy Dinner Recipes Under $3

Eating healthy does not have to be expensive.  Check out the following recipe and more at Better Homes and Gardens:

{Image Source}
Budget dinner price: $2.89 per serving

  • 1
    16 ounce bag frozen stew vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery)
  • 1
    18 ounce jar home-style gravy (1-3/4 cups)
  • 1
    teaspoon finely snipped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 2
    cups cooked turkey or chicken, cut into slices
  • 1/4
    teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4
    teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1
    cooking apple, thinly sliced
  • Fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • 2
    tablespoons butter, melted

1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large microwave-safe bowl combine vegetables, gravy, and the 1 teaspoon sage. Cover with vented plastic wrap; microwave on high (100 percent power) for 5 minutes. Add turkey; cover and microwave 4 to 6 minutes more or until stew is heated through and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl combine pepper and nutmeg; set aside.
2.Spoon stew into four 14- to 16-ounce casseroles. Top with apple and, if desired, fresh sage. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with nutmeg mixture. Bake uncovered, for 10 minutes or until bubbly and apple slices begin to brown.

nutrition facts
  • Servings Per Recipe 4,
  • cal. (kcal) 297,
  • Fat, total (g) 12,
  • chol. (mg) 71,
  • sat. fat (g) 5,
  • carb. (g) 23,
  • Monosaturated fat (g) 3,
  • Polyunsaturated fat (g) 2,
  • fiber (g) 3,
  • sugar (g) 9,
  • pro. (g) 24,
  • vit. A (IU) 1701,
  • vit. C (mg) 2,
  • Thiamin (mg) 0,
  • Riboflavin (mg) 0,
  • Niacin (mg) 5,
  • Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0,
  • Folate (µg) 8,
  • Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0,
  • sodium (mg) 753,
  • Potassium (mg) 376,
  • calcium (mg) 30,
  • iron (mg) 2,
  • Mark as Free Exchange () 0,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet