Vegetables For Vitality—Spotlight On Kale

In this post, I wanted to spotlight the vegetable kale.

Kale is a popular vegetable and powerhouse  when it comes to greens. Kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals and considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. It is no wonder it has become trendy to eat. I can’t think of a better way to get a healthy dose of vitamin A, C, K, B6, magnesium, calcium, potassium and more from a single 1 cup serving.

Kale also contains powerful antioxidants, such as beta carotene and flavanoids that help fight off free-radicals. Additionally, kale contains lutein and xeaxanthin, which helps protect your eyes as you age. If you are looking to build your iron, kale is a must to eat. Kale contains more iron than beef and can be added in to your diet in a variety of ways.

You can enjoy kale in a salad.

Add kale into your smoothie for a morning boost of energy.

Grab a handful or two of kale and add it to your stir fry.

You can mix it in with a pasta dish or spaghetti.

There are numerous possibilities.

Kale grows above ground and is a member of the cabbage family like broccoli, cauliflower and other collard greens. There are a variety of different types of kale available. Some kale has dark, green leaves, while other types of kale may have purple leaves. The shapes of the leaves may also vary from curly to more straight with longer stems.

Kale is anti-inflammatory, may help prevent cancer, is loaded with fiber and helps build immunity. No matter what variety you choose, rest assured you will reap the benefits by adding this vegetable to your diet.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

http://www.organicauthority.com/health/reasons-kale-is-the-new-beef-nutritious-sustainable.html

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-kale/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

8 Ways To Overhaul Your Diet

With the New Year upon us, many people are ready to make a change to their diet. If you have been frustrated with your weight or have health problems, you might be eating the wrong foods. Many people eat too many processed foods and sugary snacks, which can cause weight gain and make you sick. People often look for a quick fix for a growing waste line or a medical problem. What is really needed is a life-style change incorporating healthy eating habits.

Following are 8 Ways to Overhaul Your Diet:

  1. Eat Breakfast

    Breakfast is thought to be the most important meal of the day, according to many nutrition experts. After a long night’s sleep, eating breakfast gets the body going and gives you energy for the day ahead.  It is ironic that breakfast is the most skipped meal. Both children and adults are guilty of missing this important meal. Many of you feel rushed in the morning and don’t necessarily give yourself  the time to grab something to eat before you head out the door. Do yourself a favor and take a little time to eat something healthy. Breakfast doesn’t have to be hard, or complicated. Try mixing a few healthful ingredients together to make a smoothie. Maybe try a banana, handful of spinach and some protein powder. Use whatever fruit and vegetables you like. The are many possibilities. If you are in a rush, grab a banana and yogurt. If you have a little time, make yourself some eggs. Try adding in some healthy vegetables and maybe some left over chicken or ham. Again—you have many options. The point is to eat something healthy preferably with protein and vegetables.
  2. Pre-plan Your Meals

    When it comes to cooking, it is important to pre-plan your meals. Make a list of some meals you would like to make. If you want to try something new, find some recipes you would like to try. You can use one of your favorite cookbooks, or search Pinterest. Make a grocery list of any ingredients you will need for the recipes you choose as well as any other items you may need. Once you have your groceries, you can prepare some items ahead to make things easier. Chop vegetables in advance for salads, snacking, stir-fries, etc. If you are making a dish with chicken, you can cook a few extra chicken breasts to have on hand for salads, or another meal such as chicken fajitas. Pre-planning saves time, gives you a set plan for meals and allows you to eat healthier. By planning ahead, you will be less likely to visit that local restaurant for a greasy burger and fries.
  3. Replace Bad Oils With Good Oils

    Calories are often hidden in unhealthy oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and others. Try replacing these unhealthy oils with olive oil or coconut oil. These oils are anti-inflammatory and contain healthy antioxidants. Update your pantry with these healthy oils.
  4. Replace Crackers & Chips With Nuts & Seeds

    Processed foods, including crackers and chips, are often loaded with chemicals and preservatives. Although they may taste good, many have addicting properties that keep you eating and wanting more. Try replacing some of these snack foods with nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds contain good fats your body craves. They also contain protein and fiber, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals your body needs. If you are looking for something crunchy to eat, snack on almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans and sunflower seeds. Nuts and seeds fill you up and give you extended energy. Enjoy 1 to 2 handfuls.
  5. Watch Out For Condiments

    While many people love condiments, many are loaded with sugar and chemicals. Ketchup and mustard seem to go hand in hand with a burger and fries, but when is the last time you looked at the ingredient list? Many people slather on the ketchup, not knowing they are consuming a large dose of sugar. Ketchup is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which essentially is sugar and is horrible for your body. Other condiments including sauces and dressings are also loaded with sugars and preservatives. Manufacturers often mask sugar in the ingredient list by  using other names such as high fructose corn syrup, maltose, molasses, dextrin, fructose, dextrose, dextran, barley malt, evaporated can juice, rice syrup, sucrose and the list goes on. When choosing condiments, be selective and use sparingly.
  6. Make Your Own Dressings

    As I mentioned, many dressings contain sugar and other chemicals. If you like eating salad, you might want to consider making your own dressing. Many people like vinegar and oil, but there are many other options. You can make a healthy dressing using olive oil, lemon and your favorite herbs. Check out Pinterest for some healthy dressing choices. If you are eating out, ask for your salad dressing on the side. That way you can add the amount of dressing to your salad you like. Some restaurants have healthier dressing selections. Ask in advance what your options are.
  7. Look For 5 Ingredients or Less When Buying  Processed Foods—

    Consumers are often swayed into buying processed foods products because they are convenient, tasty and easy to prepare. Many processed foods however, are loaded with sugar and fat and contain a variety of chemicals and preservatives. Most processed foods also have a long ingredient list. If you are looking to overhaul your diet, look for products that have 5 ingredients or less. For example, you would be better off choosing a bag of Tostito’s over a bag of Dorito’s. Tostito’s contain 3 ingredients, whereas a bag of Dorito’s has a long list and many of the ingredients are long and hard to pronounce. Who know’s what they really are? A better idea is choose more whole foods. Many whole foods come with out an ingredient list, as they are made by Mother Nature. Fill your refrigerator and pantry with vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, meat and good oils.
  8. Eat More Good Fat

    Although low-fat foods are popular, they aren’t all healthy. Fat plays a big part in how a food tastes. Low fat foods often have added sugar or other chemicals added to them to make them taste better. Opt instead for healthy fats found in assortment of whole foods. Add avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, dark chocolate and a variety of fish to your diet for a healthy dose of fat.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

6 Ways To Add Coconut Oil To Your Diet

Coconut oil is a great option when it comes to adding more good fat into your diet. Coconut oil not only tastes good, but is good for you.  It contains monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFAS), which help with heart health and protect your body from many chronic and debilitating diseases.  Coconut oil has plenty of other healthy properties, as well. It helps boost your immune system, helps speed up your metabolism, helps reduce inflammation, helps prevent wrinkles, aides in digestion and more.

Add More Coconut Oil To Your Diet

Many of you may be familiar with coconut oil, but may not be sure how to add it into your diet. Following are a few options for you to try:

  1. Cooking With Coconut Oil
    You can use coconut when cook. Many people use vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil and other types of oil when cooking. You can easily replace these, especially the unhealthy ones with coconut oil. Choose a good quality, expeller, pressed coconut oil. You can use coconut oil in stir frys, cooking vegetables, browning meat, cooking eggs, etc.
  2. Baking With Coconut Oil
    You can use coconut oil when you bake. Many recipes call for butter, margerine, or some type of oil. You can easily replace them with coconut oil in the same measurement. Use coconut oil for muffins, breads, bars and more.
  3. Add Coconut Oil To Your Smoothies
    Give your smoothie a boost with some coconut oil. Smoothies can be fun to make and can be good for you when you use healthy ingredients. You can add vegetables, greens, fruit, nuts and seeds to your smoothies. You can also experiment with adding coconut oil, which is a super food. Adding coconut oil to your smoothie provides a healthy dose of fat, that is good for the body and joints. Try adding 1 tablespoon to your mix.  You can also add other super foods to your smoothies including maca powder, cacao nibs and chia seeds.
  4. Add Coconut Oil To Your Coffee or Tea
    If you drink coffee, or tea, why not add a little coconut oil for a quick pick me up? Coconut oil melts fast, yet provides slow, sustained energy for your body. Why not start your day out in a good way? Add 1 tablespoon to your hot drink. Most people don’t notice the taste.
  5. Add Coconut Oil To Your Yogurt
    If you eat yogurt, you may already be adding healthful ingredients such as fruit, nuts and seeds. Why not add coconut oil? Just add a teaspoon and stir it in your mix. You will be adding both healthful nutrients and good fat into your morning meal, or afternoon snack.
  6. Add Coconut Oil To Bone Broth Or Soup
    Bone broth and soup are staples in many diets and cultures around the world. That’s because they are rich in nutrients including calcium, magnesium and more. Soup is known to help promote well-being and boost healing in your body. Why not add a little coconut oil and make your soup or broth even healthier? Most soup contains some fat from added meat. By adding coconut oil to your recipe you will also be consuming more healthy fat.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

5 Reasons to Add Avocados To Your Diet…

Ah avocados! They are one of nature’s finest fruits. I’ve always thought of them as a vegetable, but they actually are considered a large berry and are bursting with healthy nutrients that our bodies love. Some nutrition experts actually rank them as one of the top five healthiest foods on the planet.

avacados

Often times when people think of avocados, they think of guacamole, which is a tasty dip made from mashed avocados.  Avocados however, not only make a tasty appetizer, but make other tasty dishes great! You can find them combined with a variety of Mexican entrees and other side dishes, as well as in sandwiches, wraps and salads. You can also add them to your smoothies for an additional burst of nutrients, as well as add them in baked goods and more.

av

Following Are 5 Reasons To Add Avocados To Your Diet:

  1. Rich in vitamins—Avocados are rich in a variety of vitamins including vitamin A and potassium. They are also rich in B  vitamins that help us fight infections and disease and vitamins C and E that help fight cancer.
  2. Contains Healthy Fat—Avocados contain monounsaturated fat, which is considered a healthy fat and can help lower bad cholesterol.
  3. Loaded With Fiber—Avocados are loaded with fiber and help give us a full feeling. The fiber also helps to support a healthy digestive tract, as well helps guard against cancer, kidney stones and other diseases.
  4. Rich in Potassium— Avocados are rich in potassium, which helps to support blood pressure in the body.  Many people reach for a banana when they want to add more potassium to their diet, but reaching for an avocado is actually better, as it contains more potassium. Combining them both together in a smoothie is a smart decision.
  5. May Help With Weight Loss—Avocados are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, which some studies show helps to promote weight loss. Dr. Mark Hyman, in his book, “Eat Fat Get Thin,” promotes eating avocados for their healthy fat, as well as their nutrient-dense properties.

The important thing to remember is that avocados are healthy and good for you. So the the next time you are out grocery shopping, go ahead and reach for an avocado or two. Your body will be glad you did.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/all-about-avocados

https://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado/

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-mark-hyman-author-of-eat-fat-get-thin-eats-every-day-2016-3/#instead-of-steak-or-ribs-fatty-fish-4

Read Those Food Labels…

When it comes to processed foods, most people are aware that they aren’t always the healthiest choice, but many consumers buy them anyway because they are convenient to make, eat, and buy, and are often less expensive than most whole foods. It is no wonder consumers have no problem grabbing them off the shelves at their local grocery store, convenience store or favorite big-box store. We live in a society that is fast-paced, so it is quite common for many people to eat on the go and lean towards purchasing foods that are convenient. Think frozen pizza, frozen dinners, macaroni and cheese, soup, crackers, chips and more.

food-pizza-restaurant-eating-medium

The problem however, is that these prepared foods often lack nutrients that our bodies need and crave, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and numerous others, which mainly come through eating whole foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat, grains, etc.) Many processed foods also contain added sugar and fat, which make them appealing to our taste buds, but often leave us craving more. Many are also loaded with additives and preservatives that may give them a long shelf life, but who knows what they are actually doing to our bodies? It is these additives that often wreak havoc, as our bodies don’t necessariily know how to process them.

sugar-falling-homemade-powder-medium

As a consumer, it is hard to get away from processed foods, as they seem to be everywhere and there are thousands upon thousands of choices.  We can however, make smarter choices when selecting them. The best way to do this is to start reading food labels when buying processed foods. While some consumers already read food labels, others do not. When is the last time you took a hard look at a food label? If you can’t remember, or don’t know, maybe it is time to change that.

Here are a some questions you should keep in mind:

  • How many ingredients does the product contain?
  • How many of the ingredients can you pronounce?
  • Do you know what the ingredients are?

If the list is long and involved, you should probably try to avoid the product. Consumers should shoot for 5 ingredients or less when purchasing food products. If you can’t say it, it is probably best to avoid it. It is hard to identify what you are actually eating if you are not familiar with the ingredient. By asking questions up front before buying a product,  you are taking control of your life and on your way to healthy living.

food-lable-with-ingredients

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Are You Going Green?

Most people know that going green is good for the environment and can help make the world a better place, but did you know that going green is also good for your health? That’s right! Greens are rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E & K, which are good for our bodies.

salad-lamb-s-lettuce-lettuce-leaves-green-60505-large

They also provide a host of other benefits such as improved circulation, blood purification, improved liver and kidney functioning, a strengthened immune system, and more.  Greens however, are the most common missing food for most people. While many people these days may have a salad for lunch, or add one to their dinner, we should really be including greens into our diets at every meal we eat to get enough of their healthful and beneficial nutrients.

salad-fresh-food-diet-54322-medium

Although many people do eat greens and other vegetables, most people are definitely not including them at every meal. How about you? Where can you add in more greens? Maybe it is lunch time, or dinner, or perhaps an afternoon snack? How about breakfast? That one hits home and used to be problem for me, but over the last couple years I made some adjustments and now eat greens and vegetables pretty much every morning.

Adding in greens to your diet does not have to be complicated. It can be as easy as adding a little spinach, or kale to a smoothie, making some green juice, or adding some spinach, kale or chopped vegetables to your morning eggs, etc. You can also add greens into a stir fry,  chow mein, spaghetti and more. There are many ways to add more greens to our diets. All it takes is a little brainstorming, thinking ahead a little, and shopping, so you have what you need on hand.

vegetables-frying-pan-greens-medium

Here are some Popular greens you can include in a variety of food dishes:

  1. Spinach
  2. Kale
  3. Collards
  4. Swiss Chard
  5. Cabbage
  6. Arugula
  7. Romaine lettuce
  8. Radicchio

When we choose whole foods that contain the nutrients our bodies were made to thrive upon, we naturally feel better, so what is holding you back from making healthier choices? Go ahead and go green! Your body will thank you.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

 

 

 

Low Fat, No Fat, or Eat Fat?

When it comes to adding fat into our diets, many people are skeptical or confused. That’s not surprising, given the low fat craze of the 90’s where we were told that fat is bad for you and that we should limit our intake of it. Many food manufacturers latched on to this notion and developed hundreds of different food products that had less fat than their original counterparts, or similar products. I am sure that many of you are aware of them, as they became popular fast (think Snack Well Cookies). The problem with low fat food however, is two-fold. First of all, fat plays a big part in how a food tastes. When the fat content of a food is reduced, or eliminated, something has to take the place of it to make it taste better. Often times, sugar or other chemicals and preservatives are added to these food products to make them tastier, which many consumers overlook, or may not aware of. This is how some people have got in trouble with weight gain over time, especially when focusing solely on low fat foods. The other problem with a low fat, or no fat diet, is that the thinking, that we all need to reduce our fat intake to avoid problems with heart disease and cholesterol, etc., was all wrong.

In an interview with Dr. Mark Hyman, in the article, Fat’s Not The Enemy, Hyman writes,”‘This whole idea is scientifically untrue. In fact, science shows just the opposite. The reality is that the more fat you eat, the more fat you lose and the better your body functions.’ Hyman who is an American physician, author and scholar, promotes this theory further with his most recent book, Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why The Fat We Eat Is The Key To Sustained Weight Loss And Vibrant Health. The book focuses on incorporating high-fat, plant-based foods into the diet for a healthy life.”¹

Our bodies need fat to function properly and perform peak functions. Instead of focusing on low fat, or no fat, where we often look at the total fat of food, we need to look at both good fats and bad fats, which affect our bodies differently. While there are a variety of fats including saturated fat, monosaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and transfats, it is probably easiest for consumers to focus on the monosaturated fats (MUFAS), as these are good fats which are good for our bodies and are plant based. These healthy fats can be found in a variety of whole foods including avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and dark chocolate.

good-fats

Other healthy fats can be found in some fish, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. Trans-fats, on the other hand, are not so good and can be found in some animals and animal products such as milk. Other trans-fats are man-made and are actually created by an industrialization process which makes vegetable oil into a more solid form than some other oils available. This type of oil is called partially hydrogenated oil and is found in many processed foods, (think Dorito’s, potato chips, crackers, and many other food products).

potato-chips

We all should do our best to avoid hydrogenated oils, as they are bad for our body. While eating them on occasion is probably OK, it is best to replace them with more healthy fat options for a healthier diet and life style.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:
¹Singh, Pooja. “Fat’s Not the Enemy: Mark Hyman.” Http://www.livemint.com/. N.p., 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.