.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.
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Turmeric is a super food I consume often and you may want to consider it too.
It has so many healthy therapeutic properties such as it being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and assisting in lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, in addition to supporting the immune system.
I consume it regularly because it also helps to ease muscle aches which helps for my recovery after doing tough exercise.
You can consume turmeric in a number of ways, such as through a capsule supplement, if you are not fond of its earthy taste.
But, I like to consume it in its most natural form such as turmeric root. The texture is very similar to ginger root which you can easily slice or grate as necessary for consumption.
If turmeric root is hard to find for you, you can opt to just consume it in its ground form.
An easy way to consume turmeric is to blend into foods. I love it in curries, rice, soups and hummus. You can also easily just drink it too in a warm golden milk beverage or enjoy it for a meal replacement such as my Golden Milk Mango Protein Smoothie recipe.
Looking for a savory option? Turmeric is also great in making a healthy spin on Mac & cheese. You can try my Vegan Mac & Cheese here.
So you can see, using turmeric in cooking opens up lots of possibilities to get creative and also gives your dishes a nutritional boost.
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Creating your own spice blends is something you want to have on hand as the possibilities are endless.
I say this because, just about every cuisine has its own set of spices that is used frequently in dishes.
For example, popular in Indian cuisine you will notice flavors of ginger,turmeric and cardamom.
In Asian cuisine, warm spices are used sometimes in certain blends such as cinnamon, five spice powder and ginger.
In Middle Eastern cuisine you'll taste flavors of cumin and sumac( a spice derived from deep red berries that are ground with the tartness and flavor profile of lemon.) and coriander.
These are just examples, but you can get the general idea of how exciting the world of spices can be!
When creating your own spice blends think of how you would like to use them.
Will you use them strictly for meat or do you want it universal where you are adding your spice blend to jazz up your vegetables and side dishes?
For instance, I like to keep spice rubs and blends on hand that I make with a flavor profile for a cuisine.
Spice rubs generally have a little sugar added and are mostly used for coating protein so that when it is cooked, you end up with a nice crust that is filled with loads of flavor without much effort.
With spice blends, the idea is the same, except minus the sugar. In reality you can create some really cool blends to fit YOUR taste buds.
Some key things to remember when creating your own blends.
1. Don't overthink it. Keep it simple. A laundry list of spices and herbs are not necessarily better.
2. Think of a cuisine that you like and mimic those flavors in a rub or spice blend.
3. Make small batches. This is essential to getting the freshest taste possible, where you will use in a reasonable amount of time.
Also keep a small notebook with measurements of your blend for later reference.
4. Use quality spices the most you can afford. Shop at international food stores, which will have the best pricing and variety. I shop at my local Indian, Asian & Caribbean stores in my neighborhood. If that's not an option for you, there are plenty of online resources.
5. Use "natural" quality salts such as sea salt, Himalayan pink salt or kosher salt. Adjust and taste as you create your special spice blend.
6. Keep your spice blends in glass jars with a tight lid to keep them fresh and away from direct light.
7. Looking for inspiration? Try my Star Arnise Spice Rubbed Chicken Recipe.
You may be thinking, should I buy whole or ground spices?
When it comes to optimal flavor, whole spices that you grind will give you the best results. But, don't let that deter you from making a unique blend to call your own using ground spices.
If you are using whole spices, such as peppercorns or cinnamon sticks the flavor can't be beat. If you want to go down this road for preparation, use something simple as a coffee grinder and dedicate this for making your spice blends.
You'll notice in Indian cuisine, whole spices are used a lot and are often toasted first before grinding. Like nuts, toasting your whole spices will also give you optimal flavor.
The key thing to remember with making your own spice blends is to just start cooking with them. Use them to your hearts desire using them on meat, seafood, veggies and soups.
Lastly, if you make a special blend that you think is awesome, post a comment to share!
Eat Good, Look Good, Feel Good!
(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. )
Drinking non dairy milks are a healthy addition to ANY diet.
Lots of folks turn to it, because of a vegan lifestyle or others who simply can't tolerate too much dairy.
I happen to be one of those folks, with a low intolerance to milk.
I would notice I would have some digestive issues whenever I would drink cow's milk and even some milk which was supposedly "lactose free" I still would get ill effects from it.
At first, I was not on board with drinking non dairy milks as I found out a lot of them lacked flavor, or were watered down versions from what you would get at your local grocery store.
Now don't get me wrong, plant based milks have greatly improved over the years and there are some decent brands, but you WILL pay a good price for them.
Also, when purchasing a plant based milk, a good amount of them still have some questionable ingredients you can't pronounce or need to google the information to find out what you are actually consuming.
Although nuts can be on the expensive side, plant based milk can also be made with seeds and other plant based choices, such as hemp & sesame seeds, coconut, and oats.
My favorite plant based milk is cashew milk that I make from scratch. Although, I like other varieties, cashew milk is my favorite for its creamy neutral taste, its not sweet and works well in my morning coffee or tea, smoothies and topping off my breakfast oatmeal.
Additionally with making your own cashew milk, the upside also is that you do not have to strain after blending,unlike other nut milks like almond where you would need a nut bag to create a smooth texture. By not having to strain, you also retain more fiber in the finished milk.
If you want to make your own delicious homemade cashew milk without preservatives, you can see how to make it here.
Because raw cashews can be a little more on the pricier side than almonds, I purchase mine conveniently in bulk online, affordably at this resource.
Once you make your own plant based dairy free milk and compare to commercial brands, you will notice the difference in taste and will be hooked!
Eat Good, Feel Good, Look Good!
Wow, this is the fourth week on healthy habits and this is a tough one! Reducing your sugar consumption.
Now although, my title says switch over to natural alternatives, the rules are the same. We should strive to reduce sugar in our diets, regardless of the source.
This was a real challenge for me, as I didn't realize how much sugar I was consuming as this stuff is lurking in LOTS of foods.
Why should you be concerned with reducing your sugar consumption?
Well, there are a host of reasons, but a few that will get your attention is that it can cause weight gain, can spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, which can cause you to lack energy.
Also if you are experiencing joint pain, (as I was) it can worsen your symptoms.
If you remember from a previous blog post, my recommendation is to reduce consuming highly processed food. One of the other reasons is because hidden sugars are in certain products such as granola bars, crackers, breakfast cereals, (yep it's there, even with so-called healthy cereals.) chips and processed meat and even BREAD!
I'm keeping in mind, some of you may be in different levels of sugar addiction from low to high, but here are a few suggestions for reducing sugar consumption as painless as possible.
If you are a soda drinker, switch over to sparkling flavored water with a splash of 100 percent natural fruit juice. Try doing this with half and half in portion. (You will get a hint of sugar, but you can easily cut your sugar consumption in half with this habit.) Eventually, your taste buds will adjust and you should be able to consume just the sparkling water without the need for the fruit juice.
If you eat oatmeal but tend to have a heavy hand with maple syrup or brown sugar, (I was guilty of this.) try using a reduced amount of only a tablespoon. If it is still not sweet enough for you at first, try adding natural sweeteners of using frozen or fresh berries such as blueberries & strawberries or roasted apple, which has sweetness but also the benefits of added fiber and vitamins.
My final tip is to switch over from highly processed white sugar to natural alternatives. Although these suggestions are still sugar, they are less processed and have a few health benefits.
Try switching over in limited amounts for natural sugar such as honey, maple syrup, date sugar (has fiber) and coconut sugar.
Remember, this healthy habit can take a while, so be patient with yourself.
Eat Good, Look Good, Feel Good!
Eating more green vegetables are a great addition into your diet and is something your body will thank you for.
The positive benefits of eating green vegetables are numerous. Some key things to know is that they are low in calories, (my favorite thing about them) are high in fiber and vitamins and keep you satisfied.
With the opportunity of an array of fresh green vegetables available at most supermarkets, local farmers markets and gourmet grocery stores, you'll discover LOTS of options.
Some common ones are kale, collard greens, broccoli & spinach. But venture out of your comfort zone to try other green vegetables you may have not tried.
Here are some of my favorite "not so common" green vegetables that I enjoy and hope you will seek out to explore.
In Indian cuisine, okra is used quite frequently. This okra is more long and slender than traditional okra but equally delicious! In Indian cuisine similar to southern cuisine, where it is cut and dusted with cornmeal, the okra is sliced really thin, seasoned with spices and dusted with chickpea flour and then fried in oil. To make it lighter, you can just bake in the oven.
Has a crunchy texture and high water content. Can be slightly cooked or eaten raw. Great for stir frys!
This variety of kale is a good choice for folks who don't care for the tougher leaves of traditional kale. Baby kale is more tender in texture. Great for salads and other cooking applications.
A delicious tender green with a slight peppery taste, that grows in natural spring water. You can make the popular watercress soup or use simply as a different variety of greens when making salads
Yes, these are the leaves of broccoli that you can enjoy eating. Very similar tasting to southern collard greens, except these tend to cook quicker and are more tender.
Now if you are not a fan of eating vegetables, especially green ones on their own, start with small steps such as using in smoothies, adding into scrambled eggs, adding into a Chinese stir fry, or into soups.
Also, if you want to get green but don't think you will use a good amount right away, just use frozen green vegetables for convenience.
So with this short information on going green with vegetables, I challenge you to incorporate eating something green at least once a day and increasing to at least twice a day for better health.
Post your comments below if you have already tried any of the specialty greens I've listed and how you prepare them. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Eat good, look good, feel good!
Did you know when you eat a protein packed breakfast, it can give you the energy you need to start your day?
If you are starting off your morning with a high sugar, high carb breakfast, its time to make the shift to a better source of nutrients that won't leave you hungry within an hour.
If you are super busy or skip breakfast for whatever reason, try having a protein packed smoothie instead. They don't require much prep, are easy to have on the run, and you are able to feed your body with the right fuel without too much fuss.
Your smoothie should be filling with a clean protein source with healthy fats, high fiber, with the addition of slow-releasing carbohydrates. This type of smoothie will sustain your appetite while also stabilizing your blood sugar.
Most mornings, protein smoothies are my go to and for my clean protein source, I use collagen peptides for its many health benefits.
It has helped me retain youthful looking skin, improved gut health and relieved my joint pain I had previously, prior to consuming.
Here is one of my favorite recipes for a Blueberry Smoothie using collagen and almond butter, with the addition of other healthy ingredients. (You can find the recipe in the above gray link or go to my Recipes page.)
It's very filling, delicious and you won't believe how incredibly satisfying a smoothie can be when it's made the right way.
If you prefer a smoothie with other clean protein sources, try nut or seed butters with the addition of other superfood ingredients such as hempseeds, flaxseeds and chia seeds. The possibilities are endless.
So, the next time you are in a hurry in the morning or just need to fuel your body in a more nutritious way, just enjoy having a "good for you" breakfast with a protein packed smoothie!
To get you on the road to eating well, I thought I would start off with a 4 week series of healthy habits to get you to think differently on how you may do food shopping for yourself or family.
The question is, should you eliminate ALL processed food from your diet?
The quick answer is NO.
When we hear we should eliminate processed food, most of us will automatically think of all the pre-packaged things such as candy, cookies, boxes of powdered mac & cheese macaroni, high sodium ramen noodles, etc....
Yes, these types of foods should definitely be reduced or eliminated from daily meals. But, CERTAIN processed food can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is a range for processed food. The range is from minimally processed to heavily processed.
The processed food that CAN belong in a healthy lifestyle is the MINIMALLY processed foods such as nuts, pre-cut fruit and vegetables, (for convenience sake) and canned fish such as tuna and salmon.
Also important when choosing any processed food, you should read the ingredients list. There is a lot of trickery in certain words on labels with hidden words for sugar and salt. For example "dextrose" is another form of sugar and "disodium guanylate" is another form of sodium.
One way I got away from HIGHLY processed food, is that I started doing more from "scratch" meals. In my not so healthy days, I wouldn't blink an eye to grabbing frozen pizza's from the freezer section because I just would want something quick. Once, I started making my own style of healthy pizza from scratch, it was so much better taste wise and nutrition wise!
Although it can be easier said than done, small changes such as this can make a difference in the long run.
One way to start the process, is by replacing a favorite food that you would normally grab for convenience.
For example, it can be something as simple as frozen French fries. Instead, make the habit of making French fries from scratch using potatoes, leaving the skin on for extra fiber and nutrition and drizzle with olive oil and seasonings. Then, just simply bake in the oven instead of frying.
Also if you are a fan of soup and are currently buying canned, opt to make your own, where you control the ingredients and sodium. (If time is an issue, use a slow cooker.)
One last note, highly processed food can be addictive, so it may take a while for you to start this healthy habit. As long as you are making some of the subtle changes, you will eventually get there!
Eat good, Look good, Feel good!
This is my first post and I have to say I am excited and looking forward to building my blog with helpful content.
My goal is to help others adapt and maintain a healthy eating lifestyle, all the while achieving awesome results in the process!
Who am I?
I'm a woman who loves delicious food and is also a chef who has taught healthy cooking to ALL age groups from children to seniors for the last 10 years. (You can read more about me here.)
Why did I decide to start this blog?
Well, it comes down to numerous things, but I'll keep it short with the main two reasons, so that I can keep your attention.
My own personal journey to wellness that worked and can work for you too!
I've always been a "work in progress." What I mean is, I didn't make myself a priority because I had the mindset that I was too busy. (I know some of you can relate.)
Basically, I got into a rut and didn't prioritize my time to REALLY taking care of myself. But now, it's non-negotiable.
Every morning starts with movement. (Yup, you guessed it.) Exercise!
The second part of my mornings and throughout the day, I make it a point to eat nourishing foods to fill my body with the proper fuel so I can be my best.
Because of these daily, positive, consistent habits, I have been rewarded. I've gained energy, relieved joint pain, greatly reduced sugar cravings and lost inches. (Yes, I'm talking fat loss, not weight.)
Most importantly I just feel better!
Now with the fitness thing, do I feel like exercising 4-5 days a week? Nope! (I'm being honest) lol...But, I do it anyway as it's necessary. It's called being disciplined and putting in the hard work even when you don't feel like it.
Some people not ALL, think healthy food just isn't appealing to their taste buds. (I want to help those with this mindset, who struggle with this.)
What I've learned over the years is, some people will hear the words "healthy" and think "Oh god, the food can't be good!" When in reality, healthy food can be downright tasty when you make adaptions to it the RIGHT way with nutritious ingredients.
Remember, this is a process and will take time to adapt to this new way of eating.
Let's face it, no one wants to feel like they are deprived and my goal is you won't be with my upcoming tips, recipes and resources moving forward.
You CAN achieve a healthy lifestyle change that is sustainable, meaning it can be a habit you can live with for the long term, which is what most of us want.
It doesn't matter what your eating preferences are, as I'll have something for everyone who can benefit from my content and will be helpful to put into action straight away.