Sunday, January 29, 2017

Crazy Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of the  most versatile and delicious vegetables with numerous health benefits.   Here are some reasons why this Cruciferous or Brassicaceae vegetable scores off the chart for nutrition: Cauliflower contains glucosinolates, which trigger our bodies own antioxidant systems.   Which correlates with a decreased risk of cancers including lung, stomach, breast and bladder.
A half-cup of raw or cooked cauliflower has more then half of our RDA vitamin C, which is important for immune health.   One cup provides roughly 2 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber which is very important for good colon health.   This combination of both types of fiber are excellent for weight management while being low in calories (27) compared to a typical pretzel pack (110).   Have some raw cauliflower for a snack instead.   It also provides us with over 10% of our RDA for vitamins B 5 and B 6. B 5 is required by dozens of enzymes that produce energy from food, while B 6 supports more than 100 enzymes needed for essential functions including the release of stored glucose.   Glucose is form of simple sugar that fuels our brain, carries out nerve cell conduction, assists muscle contractions and provides energy to go the extra mile.   Being high in fiber, just remember don't eat cauliflower as a pre-exercise or workout snack as it could cause digestive issues.

There are many different varieties and colors of cauliflower, but most grocery stores only carry white.   You will have to go to your local farmers markets to find others. (You should be doing this anyway!). 

One of my favorites is Romanesco, called both broccoli and cauliflower, it is pretty crazy looking!

Here is an easy recipe using Romanesco or any type of cauliflower:

Preheat oven to 425'.
Cut Romanesco into bite-size florets.
Coat with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, garlic salt and smoked paprika.
Sprinkle with lemon juice, and rosemary and thyme seasoning.(or any blend you want)
Roast in oven for 10-20 minutes until desired tenderness (crunchy is better)
Using leftover quinoa and brown rice (you should have some prepped for easy weekly recipes).
Add some black beans and mix all together.
Top it off with some Green Goddess Dressing.

If you have the rice, quinoa and beans already in the fridge, it's a quick and easy nutritional powerhouse!

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sugar Update

After the post entry on Sugar on January 15th, I've had a few people ask about the type of sugar that we use.   I failed to mention that so here it is.  We mostly use Organic Coconut Palm Sugar around the house and I bring Organic Stevia packets with me while out of town working for convenience. 

Erythritol is another plant-based sweetener like Stevia which sometimes is blended together that you can use.  There has been some research on Date sugar and even though they are 80% pure sugar, they are packed full of vitamins and minerals making them the best alternative sweetener.   Here's a great article on Dates and Your Health.   I will be switching to this type when our Coconut Palm Sugar is gone.   Just remember to cut out processed foods which are always high in added unhealthy sugars.

For an awesome anti-oxidant drink with amazing benefits watch this: Better than Green Tea?

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Salt...good or bad?

Our bodies are hard wired to crave fats, sugar and salt.   We do need these, but in the past two posts we learned about the correct types of fats and sugar we should be consuming.   Salt is no different as to which type we are taking in our bodies.   Our bodies are designed to really enjoy the taste of all of them.  The cravings were built into us to pursue the pleasure we receive so that we keep eating them.   The problem about salt is most of North Americans consume DOUBLE the amount of recommended intake of sodium each day.   Much of it coming from processed convenient foods.   Our bodies need sodium to function properly, maintaining body fluid balances, contracting and relaxation of our muscles.   Excessive amounts of sodium builds up in our blood making our kidneys work overtime to maintain the right amount.  Because it attracts water, blood volume increases causing our blood pressure to rise, which increases chances of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and also increased risk of cancer and stroke.  

Salt is sodium chloride and whether you have table salt ( like white sugar are stripped of all its minerals) or sea salt both are derived from the sea.   Table salt is derived from deposits left behind from older dried bodies of seas.   Sea salt is collected directly from the sea.   Both are processed to remove impurities.   Pink Himalayan Salt is unrefined and has over 80 trace minerals including needed iodine.   I try to consume 1 gallon of distilled water with 1/2 teaspoon of this salt daily. I feel amazing, especially when it is hot outside. For more information on that, here is an excellent article by Darin Olien on the benefits of Pink Himalayan Salt.   And another one from Natural News.  

To no surprise here are six foods that have way too much sodium and should be avoided.
The best way to get the right sodium in your diet is to consume REAL food daily.
Topping the list is:
*Artichokes (also high in fiber).
*Beets (lowers your blood pressure).
*Celery (also high in fiber).
*Carrots (also high in beta-carotene).
*Spinach (also high in iron).
*Strawberries (high in vitamin C).
*Tomatoes (also high in Lycopene).

It is best to read the labels on any food product to check sodium content and better yet just eat food that has its own wrapper.   For example of varying sodium content of similarly food: 
Kikkoman Soy Sauce-1 tbs = 879 mg of sodium ( two tbs is RDA of sodium!)
Braggs Amino Acids-1 tbs = 320 mg of sodium (but also high in 16 amino acids. 
Coconut Secret Coconut Amino Acids- 1 tbs = 270 mg of sodium.
Something to think about.

Just listened to another great podcast from Rich Roll with Darin Olien, check it out.
Tomorrow there will be an additional post on the benefits of cauliflower.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Good Fats" Don't Make You Fat

Our society is obsessed with low-fat, fat-free foods.   Where as our bodies need good quality fats (unsaturated preferably) to function properly.   Our brains are made up of approximately 60% fat, mostly from omega 3 fatty acids (DHA).  The fat we eat literally feeds our brains.   We need DHA to promote good cell communication and access to good quality Omega 3 cognition, memory, happiness and mental clarity.   Where a deficiency  of those same amino acids leads to depression, anxiety and many other neurological issues.   Most low-fat and fat-free foods are highly processed with a lot of added sugars to take their place.   Sugar is whats makes us fat.   Consuming a lot of sugar means your cells become numb to insulin's "call".  Your body pumps out more and more insulin to pull your blood sugar levels back down.   You can't burn all the sugar you eat, so your body stores it as fat creating insulin resistance and overall metabolic mayhem.   The more sugar stored the heavier we get.   The more insulin resistance we have, the quicker we become diabetic and our health is going downhill.

  Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats are vital to good health and we should try to consume them in a 1;1 ratio.   As to many Omega 6 fats without the balance of Omega 3 fats cause inflammation in our bodies.   Inflammation is the root of most chronic diseases.   Good sources of balanced omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids for plant-based diets are:
*Green leafy vegetables; Spinach, kale, broccoli rabe, grape leaves, etc. 
*Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Cauliflower (the most notable with 208 mg omega 3 and 62 mg omega 6).
*Seeds: chia, flax and hemp.
Nuts: walnuts, brazil, almonds etc.
* Fruits: strawberries and kiwi.
*Organic cold pressed oils: coconut, olive.

And my favorite;

Although the ratio of 3 and 6 fats are not that great, they are high in nutritional value.   They are an excellent source of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps cleanse and detox our bodies of heavy metals and fighting free-radicals.  They are rich in folate which reduces heart disease and strokes and helps maintain optimum health.   Certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocados such as leafy greens in salads, smoothies and sandwiches.

This is a very good article from Dr. Mercola: "Major trouble ahead"
Here's a great easy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings from "The Happy Pear"
The Happy Pear are twin brothers from Ireland, who are two very highly enthusiastic plant-based entrepreneurs.   They have a YouTube channel  with awesome recipes, mostly doable in 5 minutes.
You can listen to a Rich Roll podcast with them here.
For a great motivational uplift for the a new way of tackling life check out Rich Roll's podcast with David Goggins.

Next week: Salt

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sugar..its not as sweet as you think.

There has been many articles lately on the negative health consequences of sugar.   Is sugar the world's most popular drug? and Big Sugar's Secret Ally are two very interesting and informative articles, though both very long reads.   The Sugar Industry, just like the Tobacco Industry  is very powerful and persuasive in lobbying government  regulations.   Most nutritional researchers ( supported by the industry?) still say "added sugars are the same as natural sugars".   Added sugars to almost all of processed foods have no nutritional benefits.  The new  FDA food nutritional labels, coming out in 2017 and 2018 will finally show the amounts of added sugars to "food" products.   A 20 oz. Pepsi will have to say it contains 130%!! of your RDA sugar, that's just one bottle a day.   Almost all yogurts will have to show the excessive amounts of added sugar, Yoplait Strawberry has 18g of added sugar.   According to many health organizations, including WHO (World Health Organization) and NIH (National Institute of Health) men should consume no more then 38 grams (9 tsp) per day.   Women- 25 grams (6 tsp) per day.   One teaspoon of granulated sugar is equal to 4 grams.   Ex: 16 grams of sugar equals 4 teaspoons of sugar.   Take a look at the food labels in your pantry and refrigerator and see how much sugar is in each one. 

It is no secret that processed sugar is bad for us, but it is not the same as sugar from fruit.  Here is a simple to understand article explaining it fruit sugar versus white sugar.   Processed sugar rots our teeth, packs on pounds and provides zero nutrition.   The biggest reason you should cut down to minimum sugar intake is because it is one of the most inflammatory foods we consume.  Research suggests that chronic inflammation is the cause of many modern diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even promotes cancer cell growth by providing an acidic environment for it to prosper.  

Here's another great post from Dr. Michael Greger: Sugar. with links to many videos.

Michael Pollan has a great documentary on PBS/Youtube called "In Defense of Food" you can watch it here.  I like his take on healthy eating.."Eat real food...Not too much...Mostly plants".  

Our bodies crave sugar, fat and salt, but we need to consume the right kinds of these.  Instead of drinking a glass of sugar laden processed orange juice, have an orange, loaded with fiber and nutrients.   In the next few weeks we will look at "fats and salt".


Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Happy Healthy New Year

Let's  begin on the road to living a healthier life.  People always make New Years resolutions but seldom follow through with keeping them.  Even if you stray from the path, you can always find the way back.  Don't give up. It's when we stop that we fail.  

Here is a great way to start you on your journey with an article from Kris Carr.

With flu season upon us, it is very important that we are eating well balanced, immunity boosting and nutrient rich foods.  Kris and I personally do not believe in getting a flu shot for many reasons.  Here two great articles by Darin Olien: "Why you need to rethink getting the flu shot." and "Immunity Boosting Natural Flu Shot".

This week's post is all about "Ginger root".   For centuries, ginger has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds, stomachaches, nausea and indigestion.   It is treasured in Asian cuisine with its tangy, lemony and spicy taste.  It is a favored go-to herbal remedy for those who believe in natural healing.  Some who are older may remember our Grandmothers giving us ginger-ale when we had a stomachache.   Back then it actually had ginger in it!  In 1982 it beat out Dramamine in a head-to-head test when blindfolded volunteers were spun in a tilted rotating chair.  It is now considered a nontoxic broad-spectrum anti-vomiting agent in countering nausea, vomiting, motion sickness.  It helps to calm the effects of nausea in pregnancy, chemo, radiation and after surgery.  Ginger has its most effects in late winter.  On cold damp days, a steaming hot cup of ginger tea warms your bones and burns up congestion and mucus.  For congestion in the back of your throat, make a syrup of 1/4 tsp each of dry ginger, turmeric and black pepper mixed into 1 tsp of raw honey.  Slowly lick over 15 minutes, repeating up to three times per day.  When you combine ginger with black pepper and dried pippali it forms an Ayuredic formula called "trikatu".   This formula is excellent for eliminating mucus and congestion in the lungs.

Other benefits include;

*Reduces pain from exercise.
*Assists in weight loss.
*Treats anemia (stimulates production of blood cells).
*Helps manages diabetes (combining honey and ginger reduces oxidative stress).
*Helps to prevent liver disease (gingerols helps improves insulin resistance).

You can find fresh ginger in the produce aisle of most all grocery stores.  Make sure it is firm to touch, not dried out or wilted. For a quick pick me up, peel the skin (if not organic), finely chop about a tbsp and steep in hot water for 2-3 minutes, add some honey and enjoy!

I just started an, I will be posting on it as much as possible.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Power Up with Beets

The wild beet is thought to have originated in prehistoric times in North Africa.   Growing wild on the shores of Asia and Europe it soon became an everyday staple.  The "greens" were the first to be consumed and later the roots became more common when the benefits became known.  The ancient Romans were the first to cultivate the roots as food and then spread throughout Europe as invading tribes spread their use in the 16th century.  Beets grew in value in the 19th century when the first "beet sugar" factory was built in Poland, finally heading to the United States where they now flourish.

Fresh from the farm!

Beet greens are are full of vitamins, minerals and high in fiber.   The  very high amount of vitamin K contains blood-clotting properties, fights aging, supports DNA, helps in preventing osteoporosis, works with building bone strength and may even help fighting Alzheimer disease.   The greens may be used in salads, sauteing with olive oil and are great in green juices and smoothies.

The roots can be eaten raw, roasted and cooked.   But be aware when preparing them as they will stain your hands and cooking utensils.  Here's an easy tutorial on prepping beets.

Beets are a high-antioxidant veggie that contains many nutrients for detoxing and cleansing of our bodies and blood.   The liver is the vital organ that filters and detoxifies the blood that comes through the digestive track before it reaches the bloodstream.   Beets contain a nutrient called betaine which helps the liver eliminate toxins and also pectin, a fiber which clears toxins that have been removed from the liver so they don't reincorporate back into the body.

Benefits of Beets

*Lowers your blood pressure ( high in nitrates).
*Boosts your stamina.*
*Fights inflammation.
*Phytonutrients that help ward off cancer.
*High in vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B.

Here's a couple of great recipes:
Beet Quinoa (Powerhouse recipe)
Veggie Beet/Bean Burger  (Plantpower Way)

As we start the New Year let's be the change the world needs.

Have a great week. 
Be kind.