Winter is slowly drifting by and nothing beats enjoying a relaxing and tasty hot beverage to start your morning or to enjoy any time of the day.
Most people enjoy their morning cup of joe, but there are alternatives that can give you a much needed energy boost without the reliance of caffeine.
Because most of these drinks are low or absent of caffeine, they can be consumed regardless of the time of day without getting the jitters if you were to consume regular coffee later in the evening.
One popular warm drink people are enjoying more frequently these days are "Golden Milk" or the other reference of the drink called a Turmeric latte.
There are various recipes for them, but basically its a combination of milk, fresh or powdered turmeric and warm spices of your choice.
Here is a picture of a Golden Milk latte, which I make a couple of times a week to enjoy. I always use a plant based organic milk such as soy or almond. I also use the addition of a scoop of vanilla collagen peptides and a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil which is delicious!
Golden milk health benefits come from the consumption of turmeric which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and helps to balance your blood sugar.
If you are looking for other healthful, relaxing warm drinks that include other beneficial ingredients check out this resource here.
Warm drinks can be delicious and comforting and don't take a long time to prepare, which can benefit your body with regular use. There are a variety of ones to try, so you will never get bored. Enjoy a warm drink for all of it's wonderful and comforting elements.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
If you are in a rut when it comes to meals, it's understandable.
When we are used to making dishes that are dependable and delicious, we tend to make them over and over again, purely out of comfort.
This is not a bad thing, but meals can become monotonous, and can get your taste buds in a slump!
To release yourself from boredom, you will never go wrong with going global around the world with cuisine.
One thing I have experienced during my career speaking with folks, some people love their own cuisine of their country which for most have amazing dishes full of flavor.
But to experience something outside of your comfort zone, it's great to experiment in the kitchen with other cultures outside of your own. By doing so, you can discover more delicious and healthy dishes that are interesting using new ingredients and wont ever find yourself in a rut.
One thing I also want to mention, it does not matter, if you are on a specialized diet (vegetarian, vegan, dairy free ,gluten free, etc.) as most cuisines can be adapted with certain ingredients or omitting certain ones to accommodate.
All cuisines, can have healthy aspects such as beans, vegetables and wonderful things to jazz things up. Indian cuisine in particular has an array of spices you can experiment with.
To get you to explore other flavors of the world, I discovered a great resource to get you to try something new. This website covers 196 countries, with some countries which don't get the credit they deserve for what they bring to the culinary world. You'll find interesting recipes at 196 flavors website.
Global Flavors with 196 Flavors
For instance, I have a real interest in African food, but it is a large continent with a lot of countries within it. From here, they showcase other countries of Africa such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda & Gabon. This is only central Africa, but this website covers other countries as well within the continent.
So take a look throughout the globe for cuisine, right in the comfort of your home, perusing these recipes to create some delicious dishes you won't have to travel far to recreate.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
It's that time of the year where America reflects on black history. Topics will include the challenges and struggles of the civil rights movement. But, on the upside, there will also be positive insights on our contributions made in the arts, including cultural and political achievements.
As a black woman who loves her heritage and and the food that reflects its history, I wanted to share with you my thoughts specifically to black cuisine.
Some of you may think of black cuisine, especially in America, that it is all about fried chicken, potato salad, barbecue ribs, grits, macaroni and cheese, etc. Although these traditional foods are delicious on special occasions, it hardly represents the depth of what our cuisine offers.
One thing to remember when it comes to black cuisine and with black people we are a "gumbo" of cultures. Basically it means, we have lots of diversity when it comes to food. Our dishes can include various ingredients and flavors of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and other countries of the world.
One other thing I want to clarify is black cuisine can be healthy and not what is typically depicted in mainstream media. When you get down to some of the basics of our cuisine it has lots of good traits for a healthy diet, such as sweet potatoes, greens (collards, turnip, mustard, kale) black eyed peas, lima beans, red beans, okra and plantains. I can go on and on, but you get the picture.
Some of my favorites dishes and you may enjoy also are seafood gumbo. It is something my parents would make regularly in my upbringing although now I create it with various ingredients to make it my own. It is basically a highly seasoned thick soup with a tomato base, with the addition of okra to thicken.
Other favorites include blackened Cajun fish, red beans and rice, braised collard greens in aromatics such as garlic, and onion with chicken stock, roasted sweet potatoes finished with a simple light topping of whipped butter and salmon patties made with Old Bay seasoning.
One cookbook to open your eyes to the diversity of black cuisine, that I highly recommend is by Chef, Marcus Samuelsson called "The Rise." It showcases a variety of recipes from chefs, writers and activists. You can see his discussion of this book here.
"The Rise" Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food
If you want to experiment with some of my recipes try my Oven Baked Okra and Succotash. Both are healthy, packed with flavor and is delicious!
As I close out this post, I thought it would be an honor to mention notable blacks in food history. Here are 16 Black food innovators, who you may not know of. They include chefs of our past in addition to cookbook authors and inventors.
16 Black Food Innovators
I hope this post gave you some insight on the vibrancy of black cuisine and I encourage you to experiment with trying something new. I think you will love it!
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One of my guilty pleasures is exploring new grocery stores or food shops to discover something new.
On one of my trips a while ago, I perused the aisles at a Caribbean store in Jamaica Queens, New York.
There were lots of things that caught my eye. But, one thing in particular I came across was a package filled with a ruby red herbal blend called "Jamaican Sorrel (Hibiscus) that caught my attention.
Using my iPhone, I did a quick google search and was impressed with what the flavor profile included. According to my search the characteristics of this impressive tea comes with fruitiness along with sour notes and tartness.
With the information I discovered, I grabbed a large bag of it to purchase and have been using it ever since.
One of the healthy benefits of this herbal tea is that it is packed with antioxidants. According to WebMD, it also hosts a number of benefits to consuming.
Why Hibiscus Tea is Good for You
One of the traditional ways of course is to enjoy it as a hot tea or as a refreshing ice tea. This is the quickest way to reap the benefits without too much fuss.
If you would like a fun way of drinking this iced, here is my version of a healthy non-alcoholic Sangria made with hibiscus. The deep red color acts as the replacement for red wine typically in sangria. To enhance and keep this drink healthy, I rely on the sweetness from a combination of fruit which includes a superfood of goji berries, the natural sweetness of cinnamon sticks and the sweetness from elderberry syrup which you can control by the serving.
Fruity Antioxidant Sangria
Besides drinking sorrel, you can get creative with using it to enhance homemade granola, or using in savory recipes such as tacos and quesadilla's. Here is a website that provides some creative ideas on using sorrel as well as these recipes.
Savory Recipes using Sorrel
I hope I have intrigued your interest enough to seek out this herbal blend and if you are already familiar with it, maybe you will try some of the suggestions I've mentioned in this post.
Until next time, be well.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
"I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.”
My last blog post, I talked about healthy habits. In this post, I thought I would continue on to provide you some resources that I've personally used that you may consider to add to your collection for discovering something new.
Here are some of my favorite cookbooks that you can draw inspiration. These cookbooks provide lots of delicious, healthy recipes so you will never get bored. At the moment, here are some of my favorite cookbooks for a healthy lifestyle.
Ziggy Marley & Family Cookbook, Delicious Meals Made with Whole Organic Ingredients from the Marley Kitchen
This cookbook draws me to fond memories of my travels to the beautiful country of Jamaica. Ziggy Marley, the son of Bob Marley inspires you to get cooking in the kitchen with flavorful simple ingredients with a good dose of healthy ingredients.
Some of my favorites in the cookbook are Hempseed Pesto (no worries, you won't catch a buzz, lol.) Date & Kale Smoothie, Vegetarian Hash, Jamaican Rice & Peas, Coconut Curry Squash Soup and Coconut Escabeche (a dish made with white fish marinated in coconut milk enhanced with other flavors of citrus and spiced chilies.
The collection of recipes in this cookbook has some interesting beverages with cool names. Try the Date & Kale Smoothie, Turmeric Cooler, Spiced Lady and Healing Shot, (a spicy concoction with cayenne pepper.)
The cookbook does not contain a large list of recipes, but the recipes are simple and will keep you inspired to make more from this collection.
Bobby Flay has been around for a minute and I was pleasantly surprised with his book on a healthy lifestyle.
In this cookbook, some basics will get you to think differently on how to bring flavors together in a way where you won't feel deprived and will feel satisfied.
The cookbook starts off with healthy basics such as vinaigrettes, sauces, salsas and relishes, pickles, spice rubs & crunch. The "crunch" section has some interesting combos such as Crispy Whole Wheat Couscous, Quinoa Croutons and Frico ( a light crispy cheese cracker)
Some of my favorite recipes are the Carrot & Ginger Vinaigrette, Nutty Vinaigrette. Shrimp Pad Thai Salad, Yogurt Flatbread & Roasted Radishes with Fines Herbes.
The book also offers a medley of healthy breakfast recipes, such as oatmeal breakfast cookies, and Spelt Waffles with Blueberry Compote with Lemon Ricotta Cream.
The book is organized with the basics as I mentioned and then flows with Breakfast, Lunch, Energy Boosters, Soups, Dinner, Sides & Desserts. If you prefer cookbooks that give you the nutritional breakdown of recipes, this cookbook includes it for your reference.
2020 surely proved that people were determined to have their bread and lots of folks flocked to supermarkets to get their fair share of flour to get baking at home.
What I love about this baking cookbook on making your own healthy breads at home is that it incorporates more nutrition into them. The flours used in their collection includes whole wheat flour, spelt flour and buckwheat flour. Other nutritional ingredients include nuts and seeds and whole grains such as quinoa and millet among other additions.
What's great about this cookbook is the actual technique. We know "good" bread can be a long process, but this cookbooks uses a "no knead" technique. Basically, you mix the ingredients, give it time to rise and then shape and rise again and bake. Although not super quick, it offers a mostly no hands approach except for mixing and shaping the dough.
Another plus of these recipes is that you can bake as needed to get fresh bread anytime. The dough will last in your fridge covered for 7-10 days depending on the particular recipe.
My favorites from this cookbook is their basic Whole Grain Artisan Free Form Loaf, Whole Wheat Bread with Olive Oil, Rosemary Flax Baguette, Olive Spelt Bread & Oat Date Bread.
If you need gluten free options, this cookbook also provides a small collection for you to try to making your own such as baguettes, crackers and breadsticks.
Although I'm not vegan, it is helpful to have some plant based meals in your diet. This cookbook has some interesting things that you can try.
The cookbook starts off with things you should have in your pantry that will make it easy to get started with plant based cooking that will build flavor and not disappoint.
Most of the recipes are a great start for those who want to consume less meat or none. Some of my favorites so far are Plant Based Mayo (using the liquid from canned chickpeas, (how clever!) Potato & Cauliflower Bisque & Fiery Black Bean Spread.
Some other interesting recipes you may be interested in are Corn Dumplings in Coconut Corn Broth, Nicoise Salad with Plant Based Eggs & Kale & Avocado Salad with Wild Rice, Grapes and Toasted Seeds.
This cookbook has some more detailed recipes that take a little time, but these can be tried on a weekend or whenever you have extra time.
Healthy protein sources provided in this cookbook are mostly beans, legumes, lentils and tofu. They also have a few recipes using plant based meat. (I'm not a fan, because its processed.) But, that is the only thing I'm not in agreement with when it comes to this cookbook. For the most part, this is a solid cookbook on creative plant based cooking.
This is one of my older cookbooks, with great advice on how to eat healthy. It gives you nutrition advice that also include meal plans to get you started on the road to wellness. In the beginning of this book he discusses a brief history of overconsumption and how our food system has evolved over the years.
This guide includes easy to do 75 recipes to try such as Breakfast Bread Pudding, Fast Mixed Vegetable Soup, Impromtu Fried Rice & Vegetable Pancakes.
All of these recommendations are some of my favorites and feel free to make them the first try as is. As you get more comfortable, ideas may pop into your head on how to make it more to your liking with different seasonings or simple swaps that may work better for you.
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No doubt, 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least. But, with that being said, there are many who continue to choose to make positive changes to staying healthy.
Healthy can mean different things to folks (this can vary with individuals with certain health conditions who need to follow specific nutritional guidelines) But, generally speaking, each individual has to find a way, in which a healthy lifestyle can be sustainable and something they can live with for life.
When I think of my own personal journey, healthy habits was on my "to do" list and it didn't start in January but in June of 2019, which is my birth month.
My point is, your timing does not have to wait until the new year to make resolutions. If it is ,so be it. If it falls on another month of the year other than January that is fine too!
One thing I want to emphasize, is there is plenty of advice on how to get healthy and the vast amount of information online, or offline can make your head swoon.
I've received advice from dieticians, nutritionists and even personal trainers with specific diets with all varying points of view when it comes to nutrition. I've learned a lot from these experiences.
But, I have used my own critical thinking to choosing foods that works the best for me and I hope you can do the same. It really can be overwhelming, but don't let that stop you from taking action to get started.
So when it comes to you wanting to achieve healthy habits you can roll with for the long term, don't overwhelm yourself. You want to start with the mindset of "how" you are going to achieve them. Below is what I did to achieve mine.
I started with only 3 healthy habits and worked from there to create more healthy habits as time went on. My top three in the beginning were and still are what I do presently, which are the following:
1. Exercise 4-5 times per week consistently.
2. Get enough sleep (7-9 hours per night)
3. Eat nutritious food and watch portions. 80/20 rule. (This WAS (past tense) the most challenging, but is the most important.)
Now for some people, they may look at my list as too simplistic, but simplicity does work.
So the "how to achieve these healthy habits consistently, really is just a basic blueprint on the way to achieve them.
Let's start with my first healthy habit....
1. EXERCISE-4-5 times per week
The way I got to my" how" is that I started with writing down and making a mental note of the "days" of the the week that I was going to exercise and the "time" I was going to do it. For me, not too long ago, it was at 4:00 am before getting ready to hit the road for my commute into work.
Trust me, when I wrote it down it seemed crazy, but I found out I had plenty of company who thought like me (this includes folks at my local gym) who wanted to have this important healthy habit out of the way before they started their day so it gets done with no other demanding things to get in your way as the day progresses.
2. Get Enough Sleep-7-9 hours every night
To make sure I get my sleep every night, I try to stick to a scheduled time to go to sleep to ensure I get the rest that I need. Yes, the early bird catches the worm. Sleep time for me was between 8:00 pm and no later than 9:00 PM especially for workout days.
3. Eat nutritious food and watch portions. 80/20 Rule
This one is crucial, for the long term success. There is a popular saying about "You can't outrun a bad diet" As harsh as it sounds, its mostly true. Exercise does play a crucial role to burning calories through cardio and sculpting your body with strength training whether using your own body weight or with the assistance of exercise equipment. But, if you can't turn it around by eating healthy and watching your portions, your results will be minimal.
By getting your nutrition on point, besides the physical aspect of you looking better, you'll notice your energy levels are higher, you'll get better sleep, hunger will be minimal and other positive things when your body is nourished the right way.
My "how" to eating nutritious food and watching portions became from planning simple meals especially if I got busy with things. My breakfast most mornings were and still are a simple protein shake enriched with hemp, chia or flax seeds. Lunches continue with salads with lean protein and healthy carbs of my choice and dinner with more lean protein, veggies and healthy carbs.
When time allows, I will switch things up with certain dishes which have a nice balance of nutrients from ALL food groups. Also lots of water!
I also have the thought process of the 80/20 rule which means I eat nutritiously most days of the week. The 20 percent is for when I want a slightly indulgent restaurant meal that I enjoy with no guilt.
I find that when I have this mindset, it allows this healthy lifestyle to be sustainable, for ME. It can be the same for you or different.
As I mentioned there is a vast amount of information on how to get healthier with habits, but I have one particular book as one of my references that may be healthful to you by Cooking Light, called "The Food Lovers Healthy Habits Cookbook" You can find it here:
Food Lovers Healthy Habits Cookbook
This cookbook has 150 recipes but also gives great tips on how to create healthy habits and can get you started where it will get you to be more creative in the kitchen. Basically if gives you the tools so you don't easily throw in the towel. Its a nice resource to give you ideas on how to develop healthy habits which also includes a 6 week get started plan.
It can be hard to erase habits that you may have been accustomed to, but everything really starts with a mindset and making the crucial decision to take steps that move you forward to achieving a lifestyle of wellness. I'll leave you with this image which I think should get you to think of your "why?"
Here's to healthy habits and to be your best YOU, in 2021!
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In my experience teaching healthy cooking to folks, I'm always amazed to see so many people who want to follow a recipe precisely.
Not that there is anything wrong with that, but with this mindset it doesn't allow much creativity with dishes.
With baking you should follow exactly as it is a science and there is not much room for error. For instance, if you are making homemade bread that uses yeast and you forget to add to your dough, you can pretty much believe you will have a loaf that wont rise because it's an essential ingredient. There are simple adjustments you can make, but pretty much you want to stick with the program with baking recipes.
Now with cooking, you can be creative and if you goof up on some aspects of it you can correct, most of the time.
Here are some examples of what I have made recently and I hope you will think creatively the next time you create a dish.
I chose to start making this type of mayonnaise on the regular because of the healthy ingredients used compared to a lot of commercial brands. It works well for using as a base for salad dressings, spreading on a sandwich or making a vegetable dip.
If you are interested in making your own cashew mayonnaise here is the recipe by Vitamix, they labeled as Cashew Cream Sauce.
Vitamix Cashew Cream Sauce Recipe
Now to make this base recipe more mayonnaise like, I added 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with the addition of 1/4 cup of organic soy milk and 1/4 cup of avocado oil. With these simple additions, my cashew cream sauce is now more of the texture of mayonnaise. This will keep fresh in your fridge for 7-10 days.
My next recipe I adapted is from my southern roots which is Fried Okra. The typical recipe uses cornmeal and white flour with other seasonings for the coating and is usually deep fried.
Well, I know for a fact, okra is a healthy green vegetable, so to make it more healthy, the first thing I did was to change the cooking technique from deep frying to oven frying.
For the coating, I kept the cornmeal but dropped the white flour. I replaced that flour with a gluten free flour which is called "bennecake" flour which is very similar to sesame seeds. Here is my recipe for this classic southern vegetable.
Oven Fried Okra
You can also watch my video for more detail on how to make it step by step in my YouTube video.
How to Make Oven Fried Okra
Another way to get creative is to cook globally. I have really been getting into vegetarian dishes and Indian cuisine is perfect for giving loads of flavors when it comes to vegetables. Here is another basic recipe that you can easily adapt to make to your liking using subtle changes;
Quick & Easy Red Lentil Dahl
My adaptions for this recipe, I used organic ghee to replace olive oil (Ghee is used a lot in Indian cuisine. Its a clarified butter with the milk solids removed.)
To this dish, I also used red onion instead of yellow. (red onion is classic in a lot of Indian dishes) I got more heavy handed with the garlic and especially the ginger with 1/4 cup. I also used chicken broth instead of vegetable to suit my own taste.
Although these are not big changes, the flavor to me is more in depth than if I followed the recipe exactly. Its a great base recipe, but I hope you get the idea that you can easily adjust most recipes with simple changes such as this.
My last dish is really not even a recipe and this is something you probably already do. This is just a simple sauté of sliced cabbage and carrots that were sliced with a vegetable peeler to create ribbons.
I then took this mixture and sautéed in a little olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt and finished off with a splash of coconut vinegar. To completely finish the vegetables off I sprinkled with dried chives. But you could easily use fresh herb of your choice if you got it on hand.
As you can see, cooking certain recipes you can have a lot of flexibility to make them to your own desire and taste. The next time you see a recipe you want to make, think of some ways you think it would taste better or to make it uniquely your own.
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If you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will need to have a plan. This plan requires action and can involve the process of making basic meals.
I know some people either love it or hate it. But, meal planning does not have to be fancy or require long hours prepping and standing in your kitchen.
In fact, if you are new to eating healthy, keeping it simple makes sense.
But, also if you are the type of person who just doesn't enjoy prepping and cooking, you still can make a plan to make healthy meals without too much of a time restraint.
For example, breakfast could be a protein shake with healthy fats, fiber, protein and carbohydrates. Lunch can be a rainbow colored salad with clean protein and dinner can be with another clean protein of your choice with green vegetables.
Meal planning also depends upon several factors like the number of people eating, meal times, special dietary concerns, budget, available foods, recipes on hand and likes and dislikes of everyone who will be eating.
Begin by choosing foods and recipes that you like and know how to prepare well and that fit into everyone's dietary plans. If one or more people have special needs, like diabetes, plan ahead for substitutions either in the food preparation or food substitution for that individual or for those individuals.
There are a few things to note when making meal choices and menu planning. First, some foods may be advertised a certain way, but that doesn't mean you can't experiment. in the kitchen. For instance, breakfast can be served for lunch or dinner and so called dinner food can become breakfast. As long as the food choices you are making are sound and are nutrient dense, you will be good!
Say for instance, you are in the mood for breakfast food but its lunch time. You can make or find a quality product such as waffles made from healthy wheat or whole grains. To keep it healthy, opt to have the waffles with fresh fruits instead of sugary syrup and heavy butter.
Add variety, too. Have other family members jump in and prepare meals some nights and on weekends. Kids enjoy making macaroni and cheese, so host mac-n-cheese night on Wednesdays, for example. Then alternate different vegetable combinations, colors and textures to vary the menu on a weekly basis (no need to let boredom take over on Wednesdays with the same routine!) If you are looking for a healthy mac and cheese recipe, check out my recipe below:
Healthy Vegan Macaroni & Cheese
To help with family food budget concerns, buy in bulk for common items when you can when there are sales at supermarkets. Frozen fruits and vegetables are good choices for bulk items.
Here is a thing to remember with regards to dietary planning. It's unfortunate, but fast foods, especially those that are high in fat content (fried, greasy foods), are often cheaper than good, healthy food choices.
For example, lean organic grass fed beef and wild caught salmon, cost more than high fat beef or farm raised salmon.
Even if quality animal protein is higher, it still makes sense to buy the premium product for better health. Consider, going meatless on some days or even two meals out of your day.
A simple healthy meal can be soups with plant based proteins you can create with variety to assist with reducing costs for grocery shopping. These small changes really do help when it comes to curbing your grocery expenses. Not only are they delicious, but your body with respond in a positive way.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
When you think of cornbread, most will think of the delicious southern version that can be prepared as muffins, or prepared in a cast iron skillet to be sliced into wedges. I have fond memories of my mom who would make this type of tasty cornbread faithfully to go with our Sunday dinners.
But, there is one bread named "Anadama" that is a New England type of cornbread that is quite delicious and in my opinion doesn't get enough recognition. It's dates back to the mid 1800's and there are varying techniques and ingredients (some with yeast and some without) on how to make this vintage bread. But, some key ingredients which is consistent among recipes is cornmeal and molasses.
I recently gave this bread a spin in my kitchen over the weekend, and adapted this recipe using yeast. What's great about this simple recipe is that it requires no kneading, so you can make this bread with ease with decent results.
Anadama Cornbread Recipe -No Knead Method
My adaptions to this recipe included me swapping out the wheat germ for ground flax, which worked wonderfully for this hearty bread. In addition, I swapped out the whole wheat flour for white whole wheat, which is a little lighter in taste from my previous baking sessions.. And lastly, I used carob molasses, instead of traditional molasses as an experiment. It gave a wonderful moist texture and a less aggressive taste than traditional molasses. If you are interested in trying carob molasses, you can easily find it at any middle eastern grocer or online.
With the simplicity of this recipe and if you decide to give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised at the end result. The outside is slightly crusty with the use of cornmeal, and the interior is moist due to the addition of molasses. This bread is a winner and would be great to make during anytime of the year.
There is a saying you should not try new recipes for a holiday celebration, but in my case, this bread has already been tested, so this may make an appearance because it is so good!
Although it's debatable on the time and origins of this classic bread, I think it can be a bread made occasionally to go with meals without too much fuss, which we can appreciate when we become busy.
Overall, this is a good basic bread you will enjoy anytime of the year. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Antioxidants are all the rage today. And, justifiably so. They help neutralize free radicals which can cause cell damage and possibly lead to chronic diseases.
It seems everywhere you go it's blueberry this and blueberry that. You have your choice of wild blueberry juice, blueberry-pomegranate juice, blueberry-cranberry juice and so on and so on.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love eating blueberries. But, in our rush to embrace the latest antioxidant food craze (blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates) we’re ignoring some very high-antioxidant foods that are probably sitting ignored in our cupboards.
“What?” You ask, “What could possibly be higher in antioxidants than my beloved wild blueberry?” Well, how about the small red bean? That’s right, I said “bean.” The small red bean actually has more antioxidants per serving size than the wild blueberry. And the red kidney bean and pinto bean have more antioxidants per serving size than a serving of cultivated blueberries.
What other foods are high in antioxidants? For starters, there are artichoke hearts, blackberries, prunes, pecans, spinach, kale, russet potatoes and plums. And, no, that’s not a mistake. Russet potatoes are on the list of foods high in antioxidants.
The truth is, there are many common foods high in antioxidants and you should not just restrict yourself to one particular food source. Why? Well, have you ever heard the expression, “eat your colors?” That refers to the fact that foods are in different color “families” containing different types of antioxidants which have different benefits.
For example, the yellow-orange color family of peaches and nectarines help our immune systems. The purple-red color family of foods (pomegranates, plums, berries) helps reduce inflammation. It’s important to eat foods from all color groups to reap the full benefits of antioxidants.
The good news is that you can eat healthy foods high in antioxidants (by eating them raw, cooking them, or juicing them yourself) without having to pay a high price for the “flavor of the month” antioxidant juices being peddled in the supermarkets.
So, give your blueberries some company at the dinner table. Invite some beans, spinach, potatoes and artichoke hearts and enjoy your antioxidants!
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It's that time of the year where you start to see loads of content about 'all things pumpkin." From Halloween treats you'll see in stores to seeing plenty of recipes up until late November when Thanksgiving arrives. People love pumpkin!
This versatile vegetable can be used in a variety of ways. We know its great for sweet treats, but I think its also cool to venture on the savory side of using it. Give some of the follow ideas a try.
Now if you use fresh pumpkin you can try these savory options:
Simply slice and bake into thick chunks and toss with olive oil and dust with a spice rub of your choice. Think global such as Zaatar or a Caribbean spice blend.
Puree it into making a pasta sauce blended with canned crushed tomatoes and season with Italian seasonings and finish off with fresh parmesan cheese.
Cut into cubes and make pumpkin hash browns for a switch from the regular potato.
Shred on a grater and make pumpkin fritters.
And lastly the good old standby pumpkin soup!
Speaking of pumpkin soup, I have a great one for you to try that's simple to make. Matter of fact, if you want to eliminate a step of using fresh, this recipe works using unsweetened canned pumpkin .Its packed with flavor with fresh ginger and a slight spicy taste of crunchy granola.
Ginger Pumpkin Soup with Savory Granola Topping
As you can see, pumpkin can be used in so many ways that can be quite good. Would love to hear your thoughts if you try some of the savory suggestions in this post. Enjoy!
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Some individuals like to fuel their body quickly because of time restrictions or who just want something simple before heading out the door to start their day. This option can be fresh squeezed juice.
Also, people sometimes like to make their own through a special juicer they may have purchased or rely on grabbing a special blend at a local gym who offers healthy juices or at a nearby juice bar.
At one time, juicing was all the rage and it is still quite popular. Its popularity is because its an easy way to get vital nutrients into the body quickly. But, if you are not careful, you could have this daily habit and doing it all WRONG.
Downsides of Juicing
From a personal standpoint, years ago, I had the mindset of juicing with LOTS of fruits and less leafy green vegetables. Today, my thought process is quite the opposite.
First off, I was consuming way too much of my prepared juice which was full of fructose (naturally occurring sugar found in fruit.) If this is a habit you do most days of the week, it can cause your body to store excess calories without you being conscious of it which was the case with me.
Secondly, the thing about juicing is the process itself, extracts beneficial fiber which helps to keep you satiated. Without the presence of it in your finished juice, you most likely wont be full from drinking it.
The Benefits of Juicing with Leafy Green Vegetables
When juicing with mostly green leafy vegetables you get many health benefits without raising your blood sugar and you will also have the benefit of obtaining a boost of energy when consuming.
Juicing green vegetables also is full of vitamins and minerals which is important for good health.
Green vegetables when juicing alone, to me still needs a hint of sweetness to make it more palatable, but there is no need to get heavy handed with fruit to get the job done.
Here is a simple, low sugar green juice that will be nourishing and simply delicious. I tried this juice this past weekend ( I subbed the kale for baby spinach) and it was a hit!
The recipe is from Joe Cross who is a wellness advocate and is better known for the documentary film. "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead." By the way the film has some great insights.
Low Sugar Green Juice
If juicing green vegetables is something you want to give a try or revisit, just know you don't have to use a fancy juicer.
When I did the below pictures featured here for low sugar green juice, I used my Vitamix blender to blend my ingredients and poured into a nut bag, squeezing out the juice. This bag is used commonly to make homemade plant based milk, but works pretty good also for making fresh squeezed juice. . You can do this same process with a regular blender for similar results.
The upside to using a nut bag is it excretes way more juice than a physical juicer from my past experience. Also, the cleanup is a lot quicker! I got my bag on Amazon with this brand if you want to try this method of making green juice. The bonus is that you will grab two good sized bags you can use for another purpose such as cold brew coffee method (previous post or to make plant based milk)
Nut Bags for Juicing
Juicing with leafy green vegetables is a great way to get nutrients in the body quickly, but eating whole vegetables is always best. So, as with most things when it comes to nutrition, moderation is key.
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When it comes to making food pop with flavor, spices always come to my mind.
And rightfully so. Spices can make a simple dish taste better without much effort.
On a recent trip to a neighborhood Latin supermarket, I discovered this wonderful spice called "Azafran" I had no idea what it was, but with a quick google search I found out it is is a neighbor in flavor to the expensive spice "Saffron."
What's the difference between the two? One obvious main thing is the pricing. Saffron is considered one of the most expensive spices in the world. It can run you anywhere between $30-$100 an ounce depending on what type you get and where you purchase from.
On the other hand, Azafran for this same amount of one ounce, will only run you for under $2.00 from any Latin supermarket. This major reason alone should be enough for you to give this spice a try!
Now lets talk about the characteristics of both Saffron and Azafran. The difference is minimal, but Azafran (The Spanish word for Saffron, is not really the same spice. Azafran is the stamen of the Safflower, while Saffron is the stamen of the Crocus.
One physical difference I notice, is that Azafran is slightly thicker compared to delicate saffron. But, in my opinion and I'm sure you will discover too, the flavors are quite similar.
Saffron is traditionally used in the famous one pot rice dish called "Paella" which is a dish that varies with its ingredients of tasty seafood and sometimes sausage. Saffron threads gives the paella its unique yellow color. If you make this dish often, try using Azafran as a substitute and see if you can tell the difference.
If you want to try some other healthy recipes using saffron and substitute with saffron, you can try these delicious recipes.
8 Healthy Saffron Recipes to Try at Home
Its always exciting to try something new when it comes to cooking and if you can save money in the process even better! Would love to see your comments if you give this not so popular spice a spin in your kitchen. I think you will love it.
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With my journey to a healthy eating lifestyle, I had some challenges along the way. But, I knew my new eating habits had to have "balance" and incorporate some of my favorite foods in moderation. One of those foods when it comes to sweets was chocolate.
If you have done any background research on eating chocolate, we know it all comes down to how it is processed and what goes into it. There are plenty of conversations about eating dark chocolate because of its healthy benefits, but did you know there is another way to get your chocolate fix without the addition of sugar?
This is where my no guilt pleasure comes from with cacao nibs. If you are not familiar with cacao nibs, they are basically pieces of cocoa beans from the cacao tree.
They are loaded with delicious chocolate flavor with a low amount of sugar and you get additional health benefits of them being high in antioxidants with a good dose of fiber. This is a win, win situation especially for chocolate lovers as myself and you will discover this too if you give these a try.
There are various ways of incorporating these lovely nibs into your lifestyle. Here are some of my favorite ways.
Sprinkle them on top of a healthy smoothie or smoothie bowl
Use them to make a lighter and less sweet dessert instead of chocolate chips. (FYI, cacao nibs do not melt, because of their natural state, but still delicious!)
Make your own trail mix with nuts and add cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips
Sprinkle on top of healthy hot cocoa. (I make mine with a combination of chocolate collagen peptides mixed with a plant based milk)
Use them in energy bites
Use them making healthy granola bars or oatmeal
Simply snack on them!
If you are new to cacao nibs and want to give them a try, you can find them easily online or at any major healthy food store such as the Vitamin Shoppe. Make sure to buy organic so that you reap the best nutrition.
Remember, food is meant to be enjoyed and that includes sneaky ways without guilt such as cacao nibs.
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.I have to admit, I've had a love/hate relationship with this nutrient dense superfood.
However, just like a child, I had to make numerous attempts on how I could make myself somewhat enjoy eating this nutritious vegetable and I'm certainly glad I did!
Now if you've had them before and you have a bad memory, like myself and couldn't get over the taste of dirt in your mouth. (At least that's how I remembered my first attempt) It may scare you enough to leave them alone.
But, don't let this bad memory stop you from trying them again, especially if you want to reap the benefits of all they have to offer nutrition wise.
There are numerous benefits to beets, but some of the common benefits is these beauties are loaded with fiber, can help with inflammation. They also can boost your immunity for the upcoming winter months because they are loaded with vitamin A & C.
So, what ways can we enjoy beets culinary wise? Believe it or not, they are very versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways which does alter the taste where you won't notice the earthiness as much.
Beets can be roasted, steamed, boiled or pickled. Each cooking technique will give you a different taste depending on the recipe.
One simple way I like to eat beets, is to just slice thinly making beet chips, tossed in extra virgin olive oil with a little sea salt that I throw in my air fryer. They are really delicious and are a great replacement for a crunchy snack.
Beets are also really good in dips including bean dips (such as hummus) Not only is it a fun twist, but also lends great color and taste!. Think of all the good nutrition going into your body with simply adding to dishes you may already eat.
Beets can be enjoyed raw in salads and cooked into making a lovely beet soup. I find that beets have to be paired up with other ingredients sometimes to mask the earthy flavor. Ginger works wonders and compliments the sweet taste of beets.
Still not convinced? Well here is another option which you might want to consider. If you want the benefit of beets, but don't want to fuss with heavy preparation, consider using beet powder as a supplement..
Because its a concentrated powder, a little goes a long way. You can drop 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon into a fruit flavored sparkling water with a twist of lime or lemon. This will be easy to do, and you'll reap some healthy benefits.
Another option for using beet powder, you can throw a little into a simmering pan of marinara or spaghetti sauce. No need to add sugar to cut the acidity as the beet powder will be your natural sweetness to your sauce. And, it will look really pretty too!
As you can see, there can be a variety of ways of implementing this amazing root vegetable which can be pleasurable if we explore the different ways of preparing them into recipes. I hope you give some of these a try.
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At one stage briefly, I gave up regular coffee and opted to drink decaf instead, which I still drink occasionally in the late afternoon if I decide to have a second serving. I do this because it contains less caffeine, so when the late evening arrives , it doesn't cause sleep issues.
However, I've had a change of heart about caffeine and it's consumption. While anything can become habit forming, and this includes coffee, moderation is key.
So, I'm back at having my regular caffeinated morning coffee (sorry, decaf) There is something to be said about enjoying a great cup of Joe, and I discovered a delicious way of preparing it which is cold brew!
I guess I'm late in the game, but apparently this way of preparing coffee has been trending a bit these days and I can see why. The process of making it can't be simpler and the taste is phenomenal for little effort.
To make cold brew, you can use 3/4 cup of coffee to 4 cups of water. I used a nut bag which is used to make plant based milk. (I got mine at Amazon) In a nutshell, you place your bag inside of a large pitcher or glass jar, add your ground coffee and pour in the water. Place in your fridge for at least 12 hours. Then drain the brewed mixture into a jar to be stored for up to two weeks to be enjoyed.
Now lets get to some of the positives of trying this method of brewing. Here are 5 benefits of of consuming and making your own cold brew coffee at home.
1. Saves Money
I don't need to tell you this, but I'll say it anyway. Making your own is going to save you LOTS of money in this area. Cold brew at fancy coffee shops, depending on the size can run you the price of almost a latte or cappuccino. Expect to pay between $3-4 dollars, depending on where you live. This money can be allocated to making your own tasty brew at home specific to your taste! Matter of fact, I made my first batch using a very inexpensive espresso brand from Puerto Rico called "Cafe Rico Rico" I got from a local Latin supermarket in my area for only $1.67 ! If you can get your hands on this coffee or another Latin coffee of choice I'm sure it will work well too.
.2. Smoother Taste-Less Acidity
When I made my first batch of cold brew, this is the first thing I noticed. It had a prominent, smooth ,coffee taste without the sharp bitterness that comes with traditional brewing. This coffee has these great qualities because of how cold water slowly extracts with the ground beans. With the usual process of making coffee, hot water can make a cup of coffee have more bitterness and become more acidic.
3. You Consume Less Caffeine
Yes, that is correct! This is what is so cool about the cold brew technique. Because you are using cold water instead of hot, less caffeine is extracted during this process. (Note, this will depend on what type of coffee you use.) You can also determine the amount, by how much water you add to the concentrate.
4. Coffee can be Healthy in Moderation
We know coffee because it has caffeine can give us an energy boost to get us going. That is why its the beverage of choice for us early risers. According to an article at Healthline, it has many healthy benefits of essential nutrients and antioxidants.
5. Creative Use-Convenient
Cold brew can be stored in glass jars for up to two weeks. For those who love a delicious cup of coffee, but don't like to wait, cold brew may be the answer.
Also, cold brew can be enjoyed hot, instead of cold, making it super convenient by just warming it up and drinking black or with creamer of your choice. Basically, because its concentrated, you only need to use a third of a regular cup and dilute the rest with water as needed to make an awesome cup.
I recently made a collagen coffee protein shake using cold brew. Absolutely delicious! Try pouring a little cold brew into your next chili recipe for a bold taste or any other culinary use where you want a prominent coffee taste.
As you can see, consuming coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle, and if you use the method of cold brewing, it makes it even more convenient, but still offers you great taste more so than hot brewed coffee. I'm sure you will enjoy!
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Now more than ever, people are making conscious efforts to eat better and superfood supplementation is on the rise.
I consider myself one of those people who has been on the hunt for a while and I love discovering other superfood supplements that can be added to my healthy lifestyle.
Because I'm an avid reader of healthy eating, I discovered "Lucuma" powder from an article in a health magazine. I was blown away with their description of how beneficial it is.
So, here is a little background information about Lucuma powder. It is actually stems from a fruit that is grown in parts of Peru, Ecuador and Northern Chile in South America. As a supplement it is ground into a powder.
Because this fruit is not well known, you most likely with not find in your typical supermarket, but may have luck at a local international supermarket. (This is on my to do list for sure.)
Lucuma powder is high in fiber with only 20 calories per teaspoon with 4 grams of carbohydrates but 2 grams of dietary fiber. That is a nutritional powerhouse!
You can find out 10 positive nutritional benefits of Lucuma here,
You might be asking yourself, so what does it taste like and how can it be used in my diet?
Some think it can replace like regular sugar, depending on what you are using it in, but I would have to slightly disagree on this. It does have a slight butterscotch or maple syrup undertones, but because this powder is high in fiber, it works better when used in certain recipes such as smoothies or baking which is how I used mine for the first time. These are my tasty Hearty Oat Muffins I supplemented with Lucuma for a healthy addition. I hope you will give them a try!
Lucuma powder may be something you consider with all of its healthy benefits of containing antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals among a host of other benefits.
One last note, if you are considering using this superfood, always choose organic for the best in nutrition.
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With so many people trying to avoid or reduce eating animal protein into their lifestyle, it would seem like the new plant based burger would be the answer of giving up traditional beef that can be loaded with saturated fat. But is it really a good replacement despite its mainstream reputation of being healthy?
Now I'm no nutritionist, but I do question the ingredients and the process of how these type of burgers are produced for consumption.
There are many plant based burgers out there on the market, with one in particular called Beyond Burger. Many claim it looks and taste like a real burger.
Even if this is the case, what steers me away from even trying some of these meat substitutes is that they are HIGHLY processed. (Check out this Harvard Health Publishing article) -Impossible & Beyond-The Good & Bad about meatless burgers.) Like I mentioned, I question, the quality of the ingredients and with most of these burgers being HIGHLY processed, this is something we should not be consuming on a regular basis.
So what makes sense to try to incorporate more plant based burgers that are clean, nutritious and not highly processed?
The answer could be simply getting in your kitchen and making your own using "natural" ingredients such as the old standbys of legumes, nuts and seeds. By experimenting with new recipes and being open to the possibilities, you'll find they are pretty tasty!
How do I know? Well, I experimented this weekend on making a meatless option using walnuts from a recipe I stumbled upon through a google search and ended up on the Food Network website.
This recipe is simple to make and wasn't too time consuming. And as you can see, the look and texture mimics real beef meatballs!
Now, I'm not going to tell you it has the taste of ground beef, but it definitely is worth giving a try as it was delicious with a homemade marinara I paired them up with. This is a very basic recipe but I think it can be modified with different seasonings and vegetables to give more depth of flavor.
If you want to give this recipe a try its called "Meatless Sliders with a Twist". Instead of buns with mine, I enjoyed with whole grain pasta, but I'll leave that option with you,
Remember, eating more nutritious can be a challenge at times, but trying is always a good option!
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So if you decided that you are on board with making a permanent change to healthy eating, you want to start making sure all your meals are perfectly balanced.
If you’re on a limited budget though, this may present a challenge. There’s a reason why most people eat too much carbohydrates, fats and too little protein.
Most types of protein can be on the expensive side. Animal protein and some vegetarian options such as cheese are two of the best sources of protein, but can also be two of the priciest ingredients you can buy.
So, if you want to eat healthily on a budget that most folks can afford, what is the answer? Well, it may or may not surprise you. The answer is to implement more beans in your diet.
Beans are a economical crop, readily available in large quantities for not very much money at all, and yet they are an excellent source of protein, and when cooked in a variety of recipes they taste good too.
There’s no shortage of variety, either: you can get everything from kidney beans to butter beans, all lined up there in the same section for you. If you’re not sure of what to do with them, find some vegetarian recipes, which tend to be very bean-heavy, and give them a try.
Depending on where you shop, you'll find a decent variety to choose from when grocery shopping. However, if you ever want to experiment with a unique variety of beans you can find some cool heirloom varieties here at this online site featuring beans such as Cassoulet Beans & Christmas lima beans.
It can even be nice to mix together a few different kinds of beans and create a bean salad with a tasty dressing to implement a simple side dish, but is also an easy way to add protein to a meal.
Pasta with a plant based or dairy-based pasta sauce containing beans is an example of an ideally balanced meal, as long as you don’t overdo it with the pasta, as is rice with bean curry.
Beans are a good way to get protein that is healthy and the possibilities are endless on how to use them. Try using black beans in hummus, white beans in a simple tomato based pasta dish or a delicious corn salad with beans of your choice, tossed with a zippy apple cider vinaigrette with the addition of oregano and olive oil or the good old standby of a delicious chili!
As you can see, beans can be a creative and economical way of implementing healthy plant based protein into your diet that will keep you full and satisfied. One good habit is to try to replace one of your meals a few days a week for protein with the addition of beans.
By doing this healthy habit regularly, you’ll save a lot of money without affecting the balance of your meals.
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Many people I know love eating out whether its fast food joints, cafes or restaurants. We are constantly bombarded with commercials from television or social media on how we should indulge in a variety of enjoyable treats.
One reason could be the thrill of trying new menu items and discovering new ways to eat the foods you enjoy the most. Eating out can be both a wonderful and very dangerous thing if its done too often.
In the US, we are blessed to have a variety of restaurants varying in cuisine such as New York, California, and southern states such as Louisiana, specializing in Cajun/Creole food just to name a few. With so many options, we are rarely at a loss for places to dine out.
One of the benefits of eating out is that it saves major time that many busy folks do not have to waste. After spending long hours of work in addition to commuting, few people have the time or energy to return home and cook a decent meal. Eating out seems to be a perfect solution at the end of a long, tiring day.
Eating out can also be great opportunity because we can try a wide variety of tasty foods, including drinks, that we don't have the expertise or ability to make ourselves. No one loves eating the same basic foods over and over again, so eating out can be a good way to give our taste buds something new.
However, if we are not careful and make a habit of eating out too often, It can also be dangerous for a couple of major reasons. First, we must use caution when eating out for the sake of our health and not just for taste. (I know this is a tough one!)
Most restaurants and cafes offer HUGE portions of items that are unhealthy to eat and drink. Eating out often means filling up first on appetizers, then on to a main course, a few high calorie beverages, and a dessert to finish off the evening. Wow! Think about how many calories you can consume during a meal like this.
Now don't get me wrong,. I am not, of course, saying we should never enjoy eating out. For me, eating out now at restaurants is more about being social with family or friends with the benefit of enjoying their company including my own mindful selection of tasty items.
So how do you balance it all? If you truly love to dine out, make it a once a week lovely meal of your choice and then continue on with your healthy habits .(This is what I do occasionally that keeps me sustainable with my healthy habits.) If you truly are a social butterfly and really enjoy dining out with friends or family, make the conscious choice to at least only eat half of the meal you choose or choose healthier options that won't derail your healthy lifestyle. When you think about it, there are ways of eating out healthily, it just takes a conscious effort.
Another huge reason to be careful about eating out too often is your finances. It is no secret that eating out can really put a dent in your pocketbook, compared to cooking more meals at home. It is easy to accumulate large bills especially if you use a credit card and not cash, and enjoy fine dining at nicer restaurants. So be careful that you stick to a budget when you make plans for eating out.
Eating out can be one of life's greatest pleasures. just be aware of your food choices and do it with caution, but most importantly, enjoy!
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If you’re currently not eating a balanced, healthy diet, it can be challenging to start.
However, healthy eating along with some form of exercise regularly is very important for maintaining a good bodily function and goes a long way towards living a disease-free life.
If you struggle with healthy eating, then you know that breaking unhealthy habits can be the most difficult part of the process. Sometimes we can be creatures of habit.
In my own journey before I became really conscious of my eating patterns, I had a bad habit in my rush with early morning commutes of stopping at a McDonald's on my way to work and grabbing a blueberry muffin alongside with a coffee with cream and a couple of packets of sugar.(The truth was I was consuming cake for breakfast.) This is alright in moderation, but as a daily habit, it is bad as it is void of nutrients. It would taste good going down, but it would happen without fail that I would be hungry within 2 hours reaching for something else. The reason being is that it was mostly carbs with no real protein or fiber or as they say "empty" calories!
I'm sure some of you can relate. It's not that we can't enjoy certain foods, but when we need to nourish our bodies, we need to choose foods that will sustain us for hours without feeling deprived and should energize us.
One thing to keep in mind is that preparation is a major key in maintaining a new healthy way of eating. You must take into consideration your schedule for meals.
If you often eat in a rushed hurry (as in my example) at odd times of the day, you are probably more inclined to grab a rushed meal which will probably do more harm than good. So plan ahead!
Instead of grabbing fast food, do some food prep ahead of time and bring a bagged lunch to work, such as a healthy wrap and some fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember not to forget your evening meal, a simple plan to have a meal ready before you get home would be ideal. Slow cookers have become my friend at times, so this could be an option for you also if you may be too tired to prepare something in the evening. You can keep it simple too by just eating salads for dinner with protein added that will nourish you without too much hassle.
A great first step when you want to start eating your way to a healthy lifestyle is to rid your home of all temptations that will make you weak from following better eating habits. Ideally it would be a wise to keep junk foods and beverages to a minimum out of your house so as not be tempted to snack on during the day.
If you’re worried about getting hungry, drink plenty of water, between meals and keep healthy snacks like hummus with carrot sticks, fresh whole fruit, nuts and seeds to have on hand. When you start eating better, your body will naturally not crave the bad stuff as much previously. However, eating healthy is a lifestyle that needs to be sustainable, so if you cannot give up on sweets, try keeping something tiny on hand like small dark chocolates individually wrapped. Eating a few, (emphasis on few) of these won’t ruin your healthy eating habits but also will give you that little sugary fix you may crave from time to time.
Another great step to healthy eating habits when you’re first starting the process, is to take a few moments to learn what foods are the healthiest for you and how they work within YOUR body. Most people understand that fruits, vegetables, lean proteins including plant based are good for you, but few people understand why. The key is learning about nutrients. When you understand how specific nutrients work and why you need them, it becomes more reasonable for you to make healthier choices for your body. Knowledge really is power!
Start with baby steps and remember as long as you are making additional new healthy eating habits, its all good. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are really improving your calorie intake. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, try replacing that half of the time with better quality foods. When you start by taking small steps you aren’t cutting out all of the foods you love all at once.
By taking your time to learn about your eating habits and slowly replacing them with better meals, by taking the time to learn and understand why you should be doing that and making the necessary changes in an orderly fashion, you will feel much better within yourself physically, mentally and emotionally and well on the road to becoming as healthy as you can be.
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(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. )
When I started paying attention to better nutrition, watching my carb intake was important.
Not, that I don't t eat carbs, but I have to be mindful of the "kind" of carbs I put in my body.
Because I'm sensitive to "simple" carbs such as white flour, sugar, regular pasta, white bread, etc, I limit these foods and made the switch to eating more "whole" carbs into my healthy lifestyle, such as spelt and wheat flours, whole fruit, beans, sweet potatoes and whole grains.
I still have the mindset, everything in moderation, so I am not on a specific way of eating, but most of my days I do lean towards "clean" eating. That means, I limit processed foods and tend to eat food more in its natural state.
So part of a healthy lifestyle is consuming nuts. They contain good fats, dietary fiber that helps to keep you full, with the benefit of having antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They also are naturally low in carbs.
You can simply eat nuts on their own for a snack, but did you know most nuts can be purchased or ground to make flour?
By using nut flour, you will consume less carbs and in return get a healthy boost of nutrition!
Nut flours can be used in healthy baking. This takes some experimenting, but you can generally swap out some portion of the flour in your favorite recipes.
Also, nut flours are versatile and can be used to dredge chicken, fish or seafood instead of regular flour while also imparting great flavor.
One favorite flour that is simply delicious is pistachio flour. I use it for coating seafood and chicken but it is also tasty blended into a smoothie such as my Golden Milk Mango Protein Shake full of healthy ingredients and with the addition of ground pistachios, it won't disappoint your taste buds!
You can use another nut flour of your choice from my suggested recipe ideas, but if you are looking for a nut flour such as pistachio which can be a challenge to find in most stores, you can find it online at the link below.
Pistachio Nut Flour
As you can see, using nut flours can be a healthy addition that can be used for multiple purposes.
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It’s no surprise that antioxidants are incredibly beneficial for the road to good health. It’s believed its presence in food can help aid in the prevention of cancer, reverse or slow down the aging process and can enhance your immune system.
With all of their beneficial properties, it’s astonishing more people don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, which is the primary sources of antioxidants. Most experts recommend a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
One way to keep it interesting is to keep exploring different varieties of fruit and vegetables and one vegetable that I recently discovered is the purple sweet potato.
This variety is a good source of Vitamin C and the deep, bold, purple color is bursting with antioxidants!
I have been eating regularly the traditional orange fleshed sweet potato which I enjoy eating quite often, but I was curious to what the texture and flavor profile would be with this variety.
So what does the flavor of purple sweet potato taste like? Well, the flavor is quite nice. To me it seems slightly sweeter than the traditional sweet potato and has a slight fruit flavor.
The texture however, is different from the traditional with it being slightly denser and more starchier in texture.
As far as preparation is concerned, I have eaten them simply roasted covered with aluminum foil in my convection oven until fork tender, and also have made oven baked fries with them, which tend to crisp up better than the traditional sweet potato.
If you are interested on more information about purple sweet potatoes, you can visit this link below.
Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes
Remember, food is meant to be enjoyed so keep it interesting!
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Coconut oil is something I regularly consume because of its positive benefits.
However, there is a common misconception that coconut oil can be bad for you because of the concerns of it being a saturated fat.
But, did you know that there is good saturated fat? Coconut oil has certain saturated fats that will have a more positive effect in your body. Read on for these 4 reasons on why you should be using coconut oil in your diet.
1. Coconut oil doesn't turn to fat in your body.
Unlike many other common oils, like soy (vegetable) and corn, coconut oil won't make you fat when used in moderation. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which is a easy fuel for the body to burn, without turning to fat.
Most other cooking oils and fats contain long-chain triglycerides (LCT). LCT's are usually stored as fat. Since coconut oil is a MCT, it is more easily absorbed and converted to energy quicker.
Individuals who live in warm climates such as the Caribbean, have relied on using coconuts as a staple in their diet for centuries. They are known to consume decent amounts of coconut oil every day. Instead of putting on unhealthy weight, it helps keep them healthy and trim. When they switch from coconut oil to our modern day oils, they develop obesity and the health problems that come with it, which are not good!
2. Coconut oil increases your metabolism.
I was happy to discover in my healthy journey to eating better, that coconut oil increases your metabolism and also converts to giving you more energy quicker in your body.
Because this oil increases your metabolism, it can also encourage weight loss to assist in helping your body burn fat more effectively, due to medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). When you consume coconut oil regularly, it helps to burn three times more calories six hours after a meal than (LCT)'s.
3: Coconut oil has healthy benefits that most other oils do not.
Evidence is mounting that coconut oil has anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral effects when both consumed and also can be also be used on your skin to keep it healthy.
Most oils oxidize and can turn rancid quickly causing free radical damage in our bodies. Coconut oil is not easily oxidized and does not cause harmful free radical damage like polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
Coconut oil also helps our bodies absorb other nutrients more effectively, such as Vitamin E.
4. Coconut oil is one of the best oils you can use for cooking.
Because coconut oil has a higher smoke point it can retain higher temperatures better. There are several healthy omega 3 oils we can choose to consume, such as flax and olive oil, but they don't do well under the high heat we use for some forms of cooking.
Besides coconut oil being able to retain higher cooking temperatures, it's also shelf stable for a good length of time for up to a year at room temperature.
Now, you can see why I am a fan of this delicious and beneficial oil for good nutrition.
It is an oil that has been used for centuries and now it is being rediscovered for its wonderful health benefits!
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Caesar salad is one of my favorite salads to eat, but lets face it. There is not much going on with the salad ingredients.
This classic salad in a nutshell has a base of romaine lettuce, salad dressing made with anchovies, croutons and Parmesan cheese. Although delicious, if you consume it at its most basic level, you won't be satisfied nutritionally.
Traditional recipes for Caesar dressing usually call for raw eggs, but like most, I choose not to consume raw eggs in this form of a salad.
Also, when consuming salads as a meal, I need a complete package including protein, a good dose of fiber and a decent amount of healthy carbs and fat.
To give my Caesar salad a healthy boost, my recipe calls for red bell pepper, with the addition of plant based protein of garbanzo beans, which compliment this salad wonderfully.
Another change that I did from just using romaine lettuce, the addition of curly kale is added for extra nutrition. Yes, I'm a dark green leafy fan!
Now, lets talk about the salad dressing. Making your own salad dressing from "scratch" always works instead of bottled dressings that has a laundry lists of ingredients and it just plain tastes better!
To give this salad dressing and extra flavor boost, I used roasted garlic instead of raw. The flavor of roasted garlic is way more mellow, creamier than raw garlic and my recipe uses a whole head. (No worries, as the flavor is way less intense without the sharpness!)
To roast garlic is simple. All you have to do is cut off the top, (not the root end) and drizzle the cut part with a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper and bake in an oven at 400F for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned. Wrap up in aluminum foil before popping in the oven.
My other addition from the traditional Caesar is that I replace anchovies with Asian fish sauce. It gives this dressing a delightful slight fishiness without the overpowering flavor of anchovies with slightly less salt flavor.
If you want to give my recipe a try, here is the link to my Roasted Garlic Eggless Caesar Salad with
details on how to make this from beginning to end.
Lastly, eating salads is definitely a healthy habit you can keep for a lifetime. They are easy to make, can be delicious and satisfying.
Eat Good, Look Good, Feel Good!