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Go for the Gold with Turmeric

October 16th, 2019 Posted by Blog No Comment yet
Turmeric powder, agriculture product, nutrition, healthy food, natural cosmetic for beauty care, can treat stomach ache, also is spice for food, aromatic flavor, organic yellow color

Turmeric is an herb used in Indian and Asian cooking and is also known for many medicinal properties and is used regularly in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

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Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)is a perennial plant and related to the ginger family.  The rhizome (underground stem or root) is the part of the plant primarily used for cooking and medicinal purposes.  The root is boiled and dried and then ground into a vibrant yellow powder.  

Turmeric contains a phytochemical nutrient named curcumin, which is an antioxidant known for anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties. With over 100 clinical studies curcumin has been shown to be active against several chronic diseases including various types of cancers, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological and autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.  

Before taking turmeric supplement be aware that it acts as a blood thinner, can lower blood sugar in people with diabetes and is contra-indicated with gallbladder issues and during pregnancy. Since herbs are not regulated by the FDA, many products may be adulterated so it’s important to know the company before making a purchase. And always talk to your physician before taking a supplement.

Using turmeric as a culinary herb is safe and good for overall health. Add a bit of pepper when using turmeric to increase absorption. You can find the root in the produce section and peel and grate to use in teas, soups, curries, etc. Or you can buy the powder in the spice isle in the grocery store.  It is a bright yellow orange color so be aware that it will change the color of food.  It’s also traditionally used as a dye so it is quite a potent color. To me it doesn’t have a strong taste unless you use more than a teaspoon and then I notice an earthy and little bitter quality but not unpleasant. Here are some easy ways to add turmeric to your dishes:

  • Sprinkle it on any roasted veggies
  • Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon to smoothies
  • Add ½ -1 teaspoon to soups, stews and stir fries
  • Sprinkle it on when cooking greens such as kale or spinach
  • Add ¼ teaspoon to plain rice, quinoa, millet or other grain for a pop of color
  • Add ½ teaspoon to your favorite salad dressing (bottled or homemade)
  • Add a pinch to guacamole or hummus
  • Great with any egg dish

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tea, also know as “liquid gold,” is popular throughout Asia and helps boost the immune system.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve. Add a bit of honey, lemon or orange slices and a dash of pepper. 

Once you have the basic recipe you can add other spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, or allspice to suit your tastes. Another tradition is to use milk of your choice (cow, coconut, rice, almond, etc.)  Instead of water for “Golden Milk” which is a wonderful immune boosting drink for kids and adults alike.

Foods for a Healthy Gut

October 1st, 2019 Posted by Blog No Comment yet
3D illustration close-up Intestinal villi. Intestine lining. Microscopic villi and capillary. Human intestine. Concept of a healthy or diseased intestine

Have you heard of the microbiome?  This refers to the millions of bacteria and fungi that reside in our bodies.

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Many bacteria live in the digestive tract  – particularly in the large intestine –  and this community of bacteria is known as the gut microbiota.  These microbes help us break down food and absorb nutrients. Each person has their own individual microbiota and these organisms also help stimulate the immune system and protect us against any harmful organisms we might consume.  Current evidence also suggests that our gut bacteria may strongly influence our health as well as appetite, weight and mood.

Research indicates the richer and more diverse the bacteria, the lower the risk of allergies and disease. Ideally we need about 85% “good” bacteria and 15% “bad” bacteria for a healthy gut. This balance is easily influenced by medications such as antibiotics, any harmful bacteria we may consume, lack of fiber and too much stress.

We can increase the good bacteria by consuming live organisms known as probiotics.  There are many classes and types and three common strains include: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces boulardii. Many people take probiotic supplements but they are also found in certain foods. Food manufacturers call these live or active cultures.  Here are some simple ways to improve your gut health with food: 

  • Eat more fiber – fiber is the undigested part of plants and is found in fresh fruits and vegetables ,whole grains beans, peas, nuts and seeds. 
  • Eat a wide variety of plant foods to promote different strains in the gut. An easy way to do this is to eat foods in season.  For example, eat apples and pumpkin in the fall, sweet potatoes in the winter, greens in the spring and melons, berries, and tomatoes in the summer.
  • Stay hydrated. Getting adequate fluid is vital for proper digestion and absorption.
  • Eat fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi,, miso, kombucha, tempeh, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables (see DIY recipe)
  • Consume more prebiotics or foods that feed the probiotics. One type of prebiotic foods are polyphenols found in nuts, seeds, and green tea. 
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose and aspartame which disrupt good bacteria and decrease diversity
  • Limit alcohol – drinking too much (more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men) can also disrupt gut bacteria
  • Limit refined sweets and processed carbs – regular consumption of these foods tend to feed the “bad” bacteria that promote more problems with digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Fresh air and sunshine, gardening or digging in the dirt, petting animals and managing stress effectively are nonfood methods to also promote healthy gut bacteria.

Get Started with Healthy Meal Prep Tips

September 17th, 2019 Posted by Blog No Comment yet
Grilled chicken meal prep with cooked rice and vegetables

In this day and age of  cheap, addictive high fat, high salt, high sugar convenience and fast food, it can be easy to fall back into this unhealthy habit.

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One of the best and very popular ways to stay on track with healthy eating is to have a plan and many back up plans since life has a way of throwing in curve balls. The first step is meal planning. First, think about what healthy meals and snacks will work for your  lifestyle. Work on developing at least 3 breakfast and snack options, 4-5 lunch, and 6-7 supper plans to start with. Add new options as you go to prevent boredom and burn out.  Make sure to include:

  1. Adequate protein for staying power – lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts
  2. Fiber  – also helps keep you full – veggies, whole grains, fruit with edible skins and seeds

Choose foods you like to make this list. You can put these ideas on a spreadsheet or on different colored index cards.

Breakfast 

  • Oatmeal or high fiber cereal with nuts and fruit
  • Peanut butter toast with banana
  • Eggs omelet or muffins with veggies

Lunch

  • Salad with protein
  • Veggie or bean soup and sandwich or wrap
  • Tuna, chicken, egg or bean salad with veggies and whole grain crackers
  • Grain bowl – brown rice or quinoa topped with lean protein and veggies

Supper

  • Stir fry over brown rice
  • Grilled chicken with green beans and new potatoes
  • Spaghetti sauce with whole wheat noodles, spiral zucchini or spaghetti squash and salad
  • Crockpot roast with veggies
  • Broiled fish with quinoa and broccoli
  • Turkey or veggie burger with baked fries and salad

Snacks

  • Greek yogurt/cottage cheese and fruit
  • Fruit and nut butter
  • Whole grain crackers and nut butter
  • Hummus and veggies

The next step is to make a grocery list, shop for foods and then meal prep. There are tons of youtube videos and ideas online for meal prep if you’re feeling overwhelmed.  It may take 3-4 hours to prep the first few times but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier and quicker. Once you get the hang of it you can look forward to having delicious meals ready to go!

A few more helpful hints:

  1. Invest in meal prep containers that keep portions in line. 
  2. Develop your tried and true meals you enjoy and keep adding new meals  to your schedule to avoid burn out
  3.  If you’re going out of town and coming in on Sunday night, purchase meals to have on hand – locally check out CleanEatz, SC Real Foods and 212 Meal Prep. You can also have a meal delivery service such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh or Purple Carrot delivered on Monday so you’ll have food ready to prep!
  4. Make sure to research any healthy options you like for restaurants you frequent. If you’re picking up kids and eating fast food, what are the healthy go to options you can choose?
  5. Keep coming back to meal prep when you get off track. Its normal to get off track. The people who lose weight and keep it off get back to meal planning quicker when they get off track.  

9 Hot Tips for Healthy Grilling

August 10th, 2019 Posted by Blog No Comment yet
Female hands hold plate of grilled seasonal veggies, top view. From above. Copy space.

It’s summer time, and that means the grill is hot instead of the kitchen!

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We’ve put together a list of healthy grilling tips gathered from information found at the American Institute for Cancer Research.

First make sure to grill lots of veggies. Muscle meats (red meats )like beef, chicken or fish pose the largest risk of forming cancer-promoting heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) when grilled. These compounds, called HCAs (heterocyclic amines), have been shown to cause tumors in animals and possibly increase the risk of some cancers in humans. 

Try grilling marinated vegetables on skewers, a grilling tray or wrapped in foil. Other healthy barbecue choicesare veggie burgers, pizza, tofu, or quesadillas. Grilled fruit makes a sweet, healthy dessert.

When grilling meat, the following tips can help decrease cancer risk:

  • Clean the grill well before cooking.Removing charred substances can help reduce exposure to carcinogens.
  • Completely defrost meat before grilling. Marinating meatsbefore grilling not only tenderizes the meat, it may significantly reduce the amount of HCA’s. Marinate in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If you use the same marinade to baste the meat, boil it for 3 minutes to kill any bacteria present. 
  • Trim the fat. Choose lean, well-trimmed meats to grill; they have less fat to drip into the flames. Remove the skin from poultry. Avoid high-fat meats such as ribs or sausages. 
  • Pre-cook meats, fish and poultryin the oven or microwave, then briefly grill for flavor. 
  • Keep meat portions small so they need only spend a brief time on the grill. Skewered kebobs cook the fastest. 
  • Fix the drips. Avoid letting juices drip into the flames or coals, which causes smoke and flare-ups. Use tongs or a spatula to turn foods, instead of piercing meat with a fork. Covering the grill with punctured aluminum foil, not placing meats directly over coals and keeping a water spray bottle on hand (for control of flare-ups) are other ways to reduce drips. 
  • Flip frequently. Recent research has found that cooking hamburger patties at a lower temperature and turning them often accelerates the cooking process, helps prevent the formation of HCA’s and is equally effective in killing bacteria. 

Make sure to remove all charred or burned portions of food before eating

Cooking Meat to Safe Temperatures.To find out if meat is done, use an instant-read thermometer placed into the deepest part of the meat – but not right next to the bone – to check and see if the meat is done. Temperatures vary depending on the type of meat.

Type of Food                                  Temperature

Beef, veal, lamb (whole cuts)

       Medium rare                                          145 F

       Medium                                                   160 F

       Well done                                                170 F

Pork

       Medium                                                  160 F

       Well done                                                170 F

Poultry

       Ground chicken and turkey                 165 F

       Poultry breasts                                       170 F

       Whole poultry and thighs                     180 F

Fish and Seafood                                           145 F

Source: Mayoclinic.com

8 Tips To Keep You Hydrated!

July 21st, 2019 Posted by Blog No Comment yet
Labrador puppy drinking water from red bowls in the park in the summer, in the spring.

In the good ole summertime, there are tons of fun activities to enjoy outside. With higher temperatures and more outdoor activities our bodies lose more water and the risk of dehydration increases.

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Healthy Habits for Healthier Families

September 16th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet


Healthy Habits for Healthier Families

What happens at your house when you serve up healthier foods? Do you meet groans and resistance when you offer kale or quinoa?

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Update on High Intensity Sweeteners

April 22nd, 2018 Posted by Blog, Updates No Comment yet

You sit down to a cup of coffee and wonder if you should sweeten it with what’s in the blue, pink, yellow or green packet.

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Sugar vs Artificial Sweeteners: Less is Best–of Both!

April 8th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Updates No Comment yet

Sugar occurs naturally in healthy foods like fruit, milk and plain yogurt.

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14 Tips for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in Kids

March 19th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Updates No Comment yet

Type 2 diabetes, rare in children only 30 years ago, is now, unfortunately, commonplace.

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March is the Month of Going Green

March 5th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Winter No Comment yet

Spring is the time of going green

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