Nutrition

Wild Blueberry Crumble #GlutenFree #GrainFree #DairyFree #EggFree

Wild Blueberry Crumble #GlutenFree #GrainFree #DairyFree #EggFree

It’s been so long since I’ve allowed myself to venture into the world of desserts again ... in fear of messing up my good streak of a healthy diet free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, grains & other food sensitivities I found out I have and this crumble is exactly what I needed

The 3 Grains You Need To Start Eating Now!

I know we’ve all heard about the basic grains like brown rice, oatmeal, wheat flour, but there other more exciting grains out there that pack more fiber and protein than your average grain. Warning – your taste buds will be challenged!

Let’s first talk about AMARANTH! I first heard about it on the Dr. Oz show, so decided to try it out for myself. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever tasted with a sweet, peppery flavor and a nice crunchy texture. It’s gluten free like many of the other grains and works well in baked goods or as a side.

  • Protein Punch: Amaranth contains 28 gram of high quality protein per cup! And what is protein? Pretty much a hand in every critical function of your body. The protein contained in amaranth is also complete containing a complete set of amino acids. Even though we only need a certain amount of protein in our bodies each day (46 grams for women & 56 grams for men), there are also other factors to consider. For example: after a work-out, you need the extra protein to help the body rebuild the muscles and sustain an optimal recovery

  • Calcium Galore: Amaranth packs almost 300 milligrams of calcium/cup compares with white rice of 52 milligrams

  • Lysine: An amino acid that helps your body absorb calcium, process protein, and convert fatty acids to energy. The body can't make its own lysine and so must obtain it from foods, such as amaranth.

  • Magnesium: Contains 519 grams of magnesium, while white rice only contains 46 grams. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure

  • Iron: Contains 15 milligrams of iron

  • Fiber: Contains 18 grams of fiber, which aids in digestion and contributes to lower cholesterol

  • Disease prevention: The oils, high in linolenic acid, in amaranth have been shown to help prevent and treat those with hypertension and heart disease. Regular consumption of amaranth can reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

  • Grey Hair Prevention: This was a shocker to me as I’m sure it is to you, but apparently amaranth shows promise in prevention of premature greying of the hair.

Buckwheat is actually not even a grain, but a fruit seed related to rhubarb, but since it’s mostly confused with being a grain and it is super nutritious, I decided to include it. Buckwheat (Гречка in Russian) brings back a lot of childhood memories for me, because buckwheat is very widely used in Russia and its cooking.

  • Amino Acids: Contains all of the 8 amino acids which are essential to our health.

  • Disease Prevention: Buckwheat has a rich supply of flavonoids, which protect us against disease like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

  • Disease Management: Buckwheat is beneficial for managing diabetes, because it lowers glucose levels.

  • Fiber: High in insoluble fiber, which can help you avoid gallstones

  • Weight Loss Management: Buckwheat fills you up faster and suppresses your appetite, a great tool for weight loss.

  • High Levels of Potassium: Potassium helps to maintain the water and acid balance in blood and tissue cells.

  • High Levels of Zinc: Zinc helps to bolster the immune system

Bottom line is incorporating buckwheat in your diet can help you stay fit, lively, and healthy.

Quinoa (pronounced KIN-WA)  is probably my favorite grain of all, not only due to its high nutritious content, but because it is so versatile. You can use it as a side to dinner, in salads, soups, breakfast, you name it! You can really get creative here!

  • Protein Power House: Packs 9 grams of protein/cup compared with a 6 gram for the egg.

  • Amino Acids: Contains all of the 8 amino acids making it a “complete” protein.

  • Fiber Heaven: Rich in fiber, it’s digested slowly and has a low glycemic index, which produces a gradual rise in blood glucose/sugar levels.

  • Gluten Free: There has been a debate whether a gluten-free diet is actually healthier for an average person, but it definitely is necessary for people with digestive disorders, like celiac disease.

  • Bone Builder: A fabulous non-dairy source of calcium, which builds and maintains bones and teeth, helps regulate the contraction of the heart, and facilitates nerve and muscle function. One cup contains 30 milligrams of calcium.

  • Brain Power: Great source of iron, which helps to deliver oxygen to the blood, boosting energy and brain power. Quinoa’s vitamin B content can help keep the mind sharp, maintain brain volume and stabilize mood.

These 3 grains will surely give you something new to play with in the kitchen, so go ahead and experiment :)

Raw Honey vs. Liquid a.k.a. Processed Honey

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I got bitten by a bee on the lower lip when I was a kid while climbing up a tomato vine and was not quite a fan of them from then on. However I've forgiven them since then and learned that bees are quite amazing . A busy bee hive can produce up to 300 pounds of honey in a single season. Overachievers!

I personally love honey and recent conversation sparked an idea about finding out the difference between raw honey & processed jar honey.

Raw honey has not been heated excessively through pasteurization, which "commercial" teddy-bear-looking honey goes through and it's the process where a lot of nutrients die. That way raw honey is able to keep all its beneficial enzymes, which makes it easy to digest by the body because honeybees actually pre-digest the nectar in their bellies.

Raw honey is also the healthier option to sugar, because it contains less calories and it is composed of fructose & glucose, which are easily digested by the body. As opposed to sugar, which contains sucrose making the pancreas work harder.

Here are all the reasons to love and incorporate raw honey into your diet:

  • natural energy booster

  • helps build your immune system due to its high antioxidant levels. Here is a quick recipe: mix a spoonful of honey and lemon juice from half a lemon into a cup of warm water and drink it.

  • prevents muscle fatigue during exercise due to its natural sugars

  • keeps blood sugar levels constant compare to other forms of sugar

  • honey possesses carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumour properties. According to the book Honey Revolution by Dr Ron Fessenden, scientists have found floral flavonoids in honey. These tiny traces of bioflavonoids, generally known as antioxidants, have powerful influences when entered into the body's cells. When ingested, they immediately increase the antioxidant levels within cells.

  • cholesterol & fat free.

  • can be used as a remedy for variety of ailments

    • cuts & burns - apply to a wound to promote healing.

    • hangovers - here is the recipe: 15ml of liquid honey with 80ml of orange juice and 70ml of natural yogurt. Blend them together until smooth

    • sore throats - it can not only soothe a sore throat, but also kill bacteria that causes the infection.

    • sleeplessness - take a glass of hot milk with a teaspoon of honey to calm the soul and induce sleep

Natural Sore Throat Remedies

We all suffer from sore throats once in a while, especially now with the change from cold to warm to hot, we are all bound to pick up a virus from someone. I personally hate all medications, including dayquil, lozenges and anything else that just MASKS the problem. Instead, I'm all about NATURAL home-made remedies for all illness. My whole family picked up some kind of a cold and we all have sore throats, so here is something I've tried and want to share my secret with the rest of the world:

1) Cayenne Pepper - I'm a huge spice fan in general and will shortly write about my love and the benefits of spices. Gargle warm water with a bit of cayenne pepper mixed in. It's very spicy, so don't over do it, but you should feel a tingle in the back of the throat. I even swallowed a small amount in each gargle to insure it went further down.

2) Apple Cider Vinegar - I can talk about vinegar and its miraculous benefits/uses ALL day, so I wasn't surprised when I ran across this method. Here is what you will need: 2 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. Honey, lemon juice and a little hot water to dilute. Gargle and you will FEEL the difference instantly!

3) Oregano Oil - has antifungal and antiviral properties helping to relieve a sore throat. Ideal for gargling with and applied topically onto the feet with another oil. Be careful, this is a HOT oil, it will burn unless you mix it in with another oil and use VERY little, it is POTENT!!! Directions: Apply one to three drops on the tongue, close your mouth and allow your saliva to wash it back towards your throat. You will feel a choking/burning sensation for about 10 to 20 seconds which will soon subside. Repeat as needed throughout the day.

4) Chill Pepper (or Cayenne) & Apple Cider Vinegar  - an interesting and potent combination. Directions: Dilute a glass of hot water, 1 shot glass ACV, 2 tbsp. honey, squeeze some lemon juice, & 1/2 tsp cayenne. Gargle and viola!

5) Garlic - I'm a big of this herb as you all know and eat a few cloves as I feel a sickness coming on, but this is interesting, because for a sore throat you can make garlic TEA! Here is how you make it: Crush 2-3 cloves of garlic (depending on how bold you are feeling, because raw garlic STINGS), in hot boiling water along with pieces of ginger, 1/2 tbsp of cayenne pepper, tea bag (preferably a chamomile or lemon) & honey. Let it steep, strain the pieces & drink warm.

Give these a try and feel better :)

Spice it Up!

An interesting and funny conversation with a friend got me thinking about the health benefits of spicy foods. Some people hate it, some people love it and some people are not sure how to feel about it. Regardless of which tip of the scale you fall under, keep reading for all the benefits to make your decision. Capsaicin compound is what makes chilies spicy and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to the body, providing three times more vitamin C than oranges.

  • Brain function – Capsaicin along with his best friend curcumin compound decreases the risk of developing degenerative brain and nervous system conditions. Alzheimer's leads to the growth of harmful plaques in the brain, and curcumin may be able to slow this process.

  • Sniff Sniff – Eating spicy foods promotes sweating, opens the sinuses, and encourages expectoration, making spicy foods a good thing to eat if someone has a cold.

  • Ouchy Ouch – Spicy foods also appears to be beneficial for pain management and inflammation when used topically on the skin. Capsaicin works by first stimulating and then decreasing the intensity of pain signals in the body. WebMD states: “Capsaicin stimulates the release of a compound believed to be involved in communicating pain between the nerves in the spinal cord and other parts of the body”. Capsaicin cream offers pain relief for many conditions including arthritis, nervous system problems such as shingles, skin conditions like psoriasis, pain caused by surgery, and mouth sores caused by chemotherapy or radiation.

  • Loose it – Eating spicy foods also increases the metabolism, encouraging people to process food more quickly, leading some researchers to suggest that spicy foods may help with weight loss. Red peppers suppressed appetite and led people to reduce their fat, protein, and caloric intake. Now I know why the lemonade diet uses cayenne pepper as one of its three ingredients. As a side note, this diet will make you loose a few pounds and sure make your tummy look flat, BUT will make you drowsy and tired, BEWARE!

  • <3 Health – Eating chili peppers may also improve circulation and lower blood pressure, which reduces strain on the heart

  • SMILE – Eating chili peppers boosts the production of endorphins, "natural opiates" that dull pain and promote a sense of wellbeing.

  • Spice up your sex life – We all know about the great benefits of sex, and chilies can help you heat up your sex life, due to capsaicin. Capsaicin stimulates nerve endings to release chemicals, raising the heart rate and possibly triggering the release of endorphins giving you the pleasurable feeling of a natural high. Spicy foods get the heart pumping and induce sweating.

Note to all the sensitive folks out there … to lessen the pungency

  • the seeds can be discar

  • if you eat bananas along with the peppers, you may reduce the burning sensation!!! (as a side note: bananas are also known to be an aphrodisiac, because they contain chemicals that reportedly have a mood-lifting effect on the brain and raises self-confidence)

Eating LARGE amounts of chili peppers may cause stomach ulcers! Everything is moderation is key.

Have a spicy day

Truth Be Told: SUBJECT - Vegetarianism

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In my recent attempts to become a vegetarian (yes, 7 consecutive days of absolutely no meat for someone who used to eat meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a BIG DEAL! That’s like 18 meals AND I turned down a FREE turkey sandwich earlier, plus BEEF (National Cattlman Beef Association) is one of my clients, so it’s going to be a challenge for sure! I will have to tease myself with all the meat recipes for a while (until the cravings vanish), but I have faith in myself and I smell (pun intended) success!) I’ve learned some interesting things that I wanted to share with the world. First and foremost, I want to dedicate this post to four people who have inspired me (Jory Hoffman, the most dedicated vegan, who planted this seed of thought in me originally, then there is Olga Bernfield, my favorite source for anything related to food and nutrition. Just by looking at Olga’s body, I want to become vegetarian, but beyond that, it’s about FEELING great and cleansing out your system from all the toxins that the industrial meat industry has become. Ilya Tsorin, who was the last push for this bold move on my part, to test out the newly acquired boundaries. Last but not least, the author of Food Rules and the Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan. I think he did a wonderful job explaining very basics of America’s industrial food industry and the reason America, in the most derogatory term, is … FAT!

So, as I explore this new world of pesco-vegetarianism also known as Pescetarianism(meaning I’m still planning on eating eggs, dairy and fish, because I need my Omega-3s plus I LOVE Ahi Tuna ),  I will share my experience as I go. We’ll see how I do! NOTE: Am I gonna be obsessed with being a strict semi-vegetarian (that's an oxymoron as it is), of course not but I will be sure to get the vegetarian option when possible. HOWEVER, let's not be ridiculous and say that if I'm stranded on an island called BEEF (aka Russian restaurant or grandma's house), I will still honor my commitment to vegetarianism.

So here is my top PROs (and CONs) list of why I decided to make the change:

Pros:

  • $$$ – It’s cheaper to be vegetarian, because meat typically costs more

  • Soy – You get to eat soy products such as tofu and tempeh, are used to provide isoflavins, such as genistein and daidzein, which help to diminish bone loss, inhibit tumor growth and lower cholesterol

  • Cancer – By following a plant based diet, we limit our chances of cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund.

  • <3 – Vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels – According to The American Dietetic Association

  • Weight – Vegetarians have lower body mass index and nine times less likely to be obese. You feel lighter! No more feeling of bloating and stuffiness from the 16oz steak you HAD to devour

  • Chemical-free – By eating meat, we retain the chemicals, hormones and antibiotics that are fed to cattle to accelerate growth and cause weight gain. For example, the E.Coli strain associated with raw beef

  • Live longer – Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.

  • The environment – You get to feel good about saving the environment. Animal productionconsumes an amount of water roughly equivalent to all other uses of water in the United States combined. Also, The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that direct emissions from meat production account for about 18% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions

  • Save animals – Many people do not morally approve of killing animals, or object to the ways in which animals are kept, treated and killed for food.

Cons:

  • Lack of minerals and vitamins if people don't eat a wide variety of foods (i.e. Vitamin B12 is found in meats and not in a vegetarian diet, however depends on the type of vegetarian you are, you can obtain B12 from dairy products and eggs) NOTE: see a list of foods you SHOULD definitely include to your diet in order to have an adequate intake of the essential amino acids

  • Personally, I feel hungry more often (but maybe it’s just because I’m a beginner and my system is used to the feeling of meat proteins, however I’m looking forward to this feeling disappearing soon and the long-term benefits J)

8 types of essential amino acids:

  • Lupin, soy, hempseed, chia seed, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa.

Other plant-based food that are necessary:

  • Food rich in iron include black beans, cashews, hempseed, kidney beans, lentils, oatmeal, raisins, black-eyed peas, soybeans, many breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, tomato juice, tempeh, molasses, thyme, and whole-wheat bread

  • Food rich in Vitamin D: milk, soy milk, cereal grains and mushrooms. Also, make sure you expose yourself to the sun

Whatever your reason is for giving up meat, whether it’s a selfish one like feeling and looking healthy, animal welfare, religious, environmental concerns, weight loss etc., do your research, so you do not end up without the essential minerals and vitamins that the vegetarian diet is usually criticized for.