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!
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
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!
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.
Eat Good, Look Good, Feel Good,
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.