Lucuma-My New Favorite Superfood
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.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
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!
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
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.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Eating Out Wisely
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!
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Vanessa LaBranche/Chef Instructor-Culinary Educator