W.O.W. TRENDING TUESDAY 09/08/15

“Trending” – Every time we turn around there is some other diet that will give us our dream body, some food we simply MUST avoid, or some piece of equipment we MUST buy… stay on top of what’s trending and get tips for thinking critically about marketing ploys.

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It’s time for college football!

Well, I suppose it’s time for NFL as well…but I don’t care for the NFL, and this is my blog, so … 🙂

Listen, whether you like to sink you dollars into the terribly corrupt non-profit known as the NFL, or whether you prefer to invest your Alma Mater spirit in the  [likely corrupt, but who is counting] good-natured-still-playing-for the-sake-of-playing game of pigskin heralded by those hopeful collegiate players, is really neither here nor there.

I’m not here to change your mind about  football, what I am here to do is make sure you are aware that whether YOUR TEAM wins or loses, you will be getting hosed if you buy into the marketing ploys surrounding this beloved time of year.

And which marketing ploys are those?

You know the ones…

“Buy one pizza, get one for a nickel!”

What a deal! That’s like getting an extra 1000 calories and gaining weight without trying! Jackpot!

“Buy a bucket of chicken and get two 2-liters of soda for free!” 

Hang on, a ‘bucket’ – anything that comes in Size: ‘Bucket’ should be a clue it may be more suited for farm animals than the svelte self we are aiming for, no? And let me assure you that there is nothing “Free” about soda. Unless of course you are trying to save money on cleaning supplies. And also trying to keep your dentist in business and waste your money at the gym…

There’s a better way.

Whether you are a guest or a host, spend some extra time with your friends making some amazing dishes.  You can cook while you are watching Game Day and build some great memories in the meantime. Oh- and- losers do dishes.

Need some ideas on what to make? There are almost 30 amazing recipes to choose from HERE. Everything from simple Guacamole to Poblano-Turkey Sausage Chili, to Creole Deviled Eggs. There’s a little something for everyone.

And of course, free or not, soda is not even the true drink of choice during football season – BEER reigns supreme!

And so does the marketing.

Per serving, even the lightest beer has more calories [and usually more carbs] than it’s alcohol equivalent in liquor or wine.

Obviously, the key word there is, “per serving”.

And also “alcohol equivalent”.

Just as a quick reference, a serving is as follows:

1 beer [12 oz]

1 glass of wine [5 oz]

1 drink of liquor [1. 5 oz]

Both wine and standard liquors/spirits [i.e. Vodka, Run, Whiskey, Tequila, and Gin] have about 100 calories per serving and unless you are drinking very sweet white wine or cotton candy Vodka, you can keep your sugars low.

Beer is a whole other game. Check out the pyramid below to see where your favorite brand stacks up!

Print

Now, I know what you are thinking …some of the beers near the top of pyramid show as having less than 100 calories. Yes… but look at the corresponding percentages… 2.3% ? Here is where that notion of alcoholic equivalence [new vocabulary word!] comes into play:

You would have to drink at LEAST 2-3 of those >100 calories beers in order to feel as good as a glass of wine. At which point you have surpassed the calories in the wine.

For the record, I am as equally biased towards wine as I am towards college football.

Nonetheless, I am also biased towards getting you towards your health goals and not giving up everything you love!

Until next time,

Stay Well and Root for the Clemson Tigers,

Miss Fit

 

 

beer pyramid c/o thehealthydrinker.com

W.O.W. – TRENDING TUESDAY 07/07/15

“Trending” – Every time we turn around there is some other diet that will give us our dream body, some food we simply MUST avoid, or some piece of equipment we MUST buy… stay on top of what’s trending and get tips for thinking critically about marketing ploys.

____________________________________________________________

In a time where TIME seems to be in short supply, and Jack has long since been a dull boy, we all feel like we could use more energy.

From a media and marketing standpoint, we seem to see a bit of a slowdown in the push for energy drinks pumped full of Taurine and chemicals that supposedly give you wings, however, we are seeing more and more companies and even doctor offices offering relief from “brain drain” in the form of a shot.

No, not “a shot” like a vaccination against stress – although… with all the vaccine controversy of late, I would not be surprised to see this in the upcoming years. Big Pharma – if you are reading this, shame on you. It was my idea.

And no, not a “shot” like we are hearing about on the news that resulted in us not being able to watch the Dukes of Hazzard on TV Land.  Cover shows a drawing of a man, who appears to be made of newspaper and is engulfed in flames, standing on top of some books. His right arm is down and holding what appears to be a paper fireman's hat while his left arm is wiping sweat from the brow of his bowed head. Beside the title and author's name in large text, there is a small caption in the upper left-hand corner that reads, Although, trying to make sense of that has indeed caused a mental fatigue of sorts that only those who have read Bradbury’s infamous Fahrenheit 451 may understand.

But a shot – an injection – of blood-stream-ready water-soluble B vitamins.

Specialty nutrition /weight-loss clinics, and doctor offices are offering package deals of multiple bi-weekly shots for hundreds of dollars. The pay-off? You will reportedly feel more energized, focused, and alert. Coupled with your morning through afternoon patronage of Starbucks and your daily dose of Adderall, you could be all energized for only about $300/month. Just a car payment or so. No big deal.

I mean it sounds great. B vitamins are water soluble and having them injected instead of taken orally through capsule or food does mean they are absorbed faster.

BUT-

Injecting vitamins [or anything else for that matter] does NOT increase your body’s capacity to absorb them. B vitamins, along with Vitamin C and several others, are water-soluble. This means that once your body reaches its capacity to absorb at that time, your kidneys take over and eventually you simply excrete the vitamins along with your urine.

Eating your B vitamins naturally through whole foods, will mean it takes a bit longer for your body to absorb, BUT, this method of slower intake and therefore slower absorption, acts as an “extended release” energy formula for your body. All together this, as compared to the B shots, is like the difference between sipping two cups of java over a several hour period and downing 3 shots of espresso. In the latter, with the shots and the espresso, you are more likely to crash from the energy burst and also likely too piss away good money. Literally.

Oh- and also – B shots are routinely issued into the Gluteus Maximus. And it hurts.

I don’t know about you, but I already consider flushing money down the toilet to be a royal pain in the ass.

I don’t need to sign up for a package deal.

And neither do you.

Wondering which foods have the highest levels of the different B vitamins?

Miss Fit has made this lovely chart for just such an occasion:

B VITAMIN ALTERNATE NAME FOOD SOURCES
B1 thiamine Beef, pork, beans, peas, nuts, whole grains
B2 riboflavin Dairy products, dark, leafy vegetables, beans, nuts
B3 niacin Tuna, poultry, pork, beef, peanuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds
B5 Pantothenic acid Avocado, broccoli, kale, cabbage, mushrooms, eggs, dairy milk
B6 Pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pryidoxamine Egg yolk, beef, sweet potatoes, melon, whole wheat
B7 biotin Eggs, organ meats [liver, kidney], nuts, peas, beans, chocolate, dairy milk
B9 Folic acid Dark, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, citrus fruits, avocados
B12 Cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin Sardines, salmon, lamb, shrimp, Eggs, spinach

Make sure you check back on Saturday’s Seasonal installment where MissFit will be featuring a wonderfully simple summer salad recipe jam packed with B vitamins, guaranteed not to taste like grass or be a pain in the ass.

Stay Well,

MissFit

Questions/Thoughts?

Comment below or email direct to write.with.ms@gmail.com

Holy Shit-take ‘Shrooms & Rice!

Shut the Front Door!

Holy Mylanta!

Mother Clucker!

Nuckin’ Futz!

And many more G-rated renditions of the R-rated words you are going to say when you take your first forkful.

You get the idea – this dish is by far one of the best ways I have found to get a HUGELY nutritiously dense bang for your buck.

All of the ingredients combined cost $11.71 – but that’s for 4 servings – so the actual retail price [Bob] is $2.93

*cue syndicated applause*

Just to give you a quick idea of the nutritional density I’m talking about, one serving of Holy Shit-ake ‘Shrooms and Rice gives you about half of your recommended daily value [RDV] for the Vitamins A, D, K, B1 [Thiamin]; Minerals Iron, Magnesium, Selenium, Fiber, and TONS of cold and flu fighting antioxidants.
You also get approx 11 grams of plant/rice-based complete protein which can easily be increased if you choose to add tofu or any other animal-based meat to this dish. The dish actually pairs exquisitely with Shrimp, but I do not recommend that for folks who are watching cholesterol or sodium as the benefits of the protein may not out weight the risks associated with your condition.
Just food for thought. I would be happy to investigate your particular situation, just reach out in the comments below or email direct at write.with.ms@gmail.com

Ok – on to the Recipe!

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

20150124_193802

Items Needed

  • 8 QT saucepan
  • 4 QT sauce pan
  • 1 can [150z] light coconut milk
  • 1 cup organic wild rice
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 cups fresh spinach [or one 16 oz bag], rinsed
  • 1 bag [5 oz] of dried shitake mushrooms

Directions

  • Warm the olive oil up in the 8 QT sauce pan on medium heat; place in garlic and shallot
  • Allow the garlic and shallots to saute for approx 2 mins; stir as needed
  • Add the coconut milk and mushrooms; bring to a brief boil and stir
  • Once the mix has boiled for approx 30 seconds, return to low/medium and cover with a lid
  • Let stand covered for approx 5 mins
  • While you are waiting bring one cup of water to boil in the 4 QT sauce pan and measure out the rice
  • Add rice to boiling water
  • Drain the coconut milk out of the other pot [secure it in a separate bowl if needed] and add to the 4 QT sauce pan with the rice and existing water
  • Stir contents of the 4 QT sauce pan and remove the 8 QT saucepan from all heat
  • Allow rice to cook to desired “al-dente-ness” [YES, for the purposes of this article that is definitely a word, bottom line is cook longer for mushier rice, and less for crisper rice] MissFit recommends keeping rice more crisp as it will retain more nutrients and also hold up better as left overs since you will be reheating it, likely, anyways
  • Transfer rice into 8QT saucepan [with the garlic and ‘shrooms and shallot]; mix together
  • Fold in the fresh spinach, allowing the heat from the rice to wilt it slightly
  • Turn all heat sources off
  • Transfer your amazing meal on to a plate and enjoy
  • Place the remaining 3 servings into a glass or porcelain dish with a a lid [since it is likely still warm, plastic is not recommended]
  • Clean pots and utensils like a good chef
  • This makes a terrific carry-in lunch for work as well. All those vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein will keep you satisfied and energized to get through your work day and not venture to the vending machine

~MissFit

alpha-OMEGAs

December 31st.

courtesy of onsip.com

courtesy of onsip.com

The last day of the present year and the first day before the New Year. I cannot think of a more perfect day to discuss the alpha-OMEGA of fatty acids – Omega-3 essential fatty acids that is.

I’m sure you have heard or read something about Omega-3 some point in between Acai juice, pomegranate seeds, Goji berries, Chia seeds, and Kombucha as a “must have” Super Food.

Truth be told, unlike the those vibrating weights, there is A LOT of research to support the health promoting claims of Omega-3 fatty acids. As such, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to share a bit more about these little guys: where you might find them, why exactly they are so good for your insides, and a few recipe ideas for actually incorporating them into your meals.

Before I go on I also want to mention that I had a brilliant request from a Reader asking if I would be so kind as to calculate the nutritional and cost breakdown per serving of the recipes I post. Well, Reader, I think that is a fantastic idea, and as the Southern Belle I claim to be, I do declare…I’d be mighty obliged.

After all, without my Readers, I’m just a cooky lady typing away on laptop to herself because I rent my house and won’t get my Safety Deposit back if I scribble these musings on my [padded?] walls…
Two points for a tangent, and we’re back!

WHO?
Everyone can benefit, but those with cardiovascular concerns and depression are likely to notice the most benefit from Omega-3

WHAT?
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid – or more simply put, a fat that the body requires for certain functions but cannot self-produce and must be consumed through food.

WHEN?
There is never a bad time for Omega-3 ingestion. No need to set your alarm and consume in the middle of the night; waking hours will be just fine. As mentioned above, if you are feeling depressed or being told you have cardiovascular concerns – no time like the present!

WHERE?
Omega-3 fatty acids are found most abundantly in
Fish: highest amounts in Anchovies, Tuna, and Salmon
• Avocados
Nuts: highest levels in walnuts
Oils: highest levels in Olive and Canola
Seeds: highest levels in Flaxseeds

WHY?

Lowers triglycerides in the blood [useful because high levels of triglycerides cause plaque buildup in the arteries and ultimately lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke as the arteries become increasingly narrow]
Decreases irregular rhythms and stabilizes heartbeat [useful for folks diagnosed with Arrhythmia a.k.a. Cardiac Dysrhythmia or simply “Heart Palpitations”]
Reduces “stickiness” of blood platelets [related to the plaque mentioned above; sticky platelets are a major contributor to blood clots *note* a blood clot in the brain is essentially a stroke]. Keep in mind – what is bad for your heart is most always bad for your brain as well because the brain is fed from major arteries and Omega-3s keep ALL arteries clear, not just the ones directly around the heart
Reduces depression by altering neurotransmitters without the use of prescription medications
Increases lubrication for joints so you have less friction and grinding doing regular or extensive activities, which ultimately leads to less pain
Reduces inflammation in already inflamed joints [some studies even support Omega-3 ability to help regenerate the meniscus (knee cap) membrane]
Decreases chances of Macular Degeneration [blindness] as deficiency in Omega-3 has been shown to delay the ocular system that helps convert energy from neurons that travel to the retina of the eye and over time vision suffers and the eye does not receive the nutrients it needs and becomes compromised.

HOW?

• Time to cook! Now before we get started, I want to say, please have an open mind – this first recipe is actually a “first” for me as well. I have horrible memories of anchovies – hairy little greasy nonsense on Caesar salad that my Italian mother used to rave about. However, since I’m asking my clients to be vulnerable here with me and step outside their comfort zone, I decided I would be remiss if I did not go outside mine. Alas, I’ve lived to tell this tale; all is not lost.

 Recipe #1 Alpha Omega Anchovy Salad

  •   One can of white anchovies [ I purchased a 4.375 oz can from Wild Planet ® that is sustainably sourced in the Pacific Ocean and packed in water without extra ingredients * note* like any canned food, it’s sodium content is higher than fresh foods, just shoot for less than 300 mg. The protein, calcium, and iron benefits of these little guys outweighs any negative backlash from the extra sodium]
  •   2.5 cups of rinsed fresh kale [I purchase organic and rinse with a bit of salt and lemon juice]
  •   ¼ cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
  •   Onion/garlic *optional
  •   First, open the anchovy can. Take necessary time for dry heaving, gagging, laughing, eye rolling, etc. Ludicrous! Anchovies are absolutely ludicrous looking. Completely unappealing to the eye. Moving right along…
  • Drain the water out and place the anchovies single file on a cutting board
  •  Gentle lift up each anchovy [one at a time] and use a sharp knife to cut the anchovy open long ways. Once again…Take necessary time for dry heaving, gagging, laughing, eye rolling, etc. I completely sympathize. I almost gave up here. Now, remove the spine. It will come out with shocking ease… so much so that I wonder if anchovies were somewhat of a “tweener” in the vertebrate/invertebrate categories… with such a weak spine, why even have one, I mean really?
  •  Anywho… continue removing said spine until you have paralyzed all anchovies
  •  Now rinse off your hands as they may appear sparkly from the scales
  •  If you are an onion/garlic fan chop up a half cup and one clove [respectively] and sauté in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and cracked pepper; if you despise onion and garlic skip this step. If you aren’t sold on the health benefits of onions and garlic Click Here
  •  Next rinse off kale as mentioned above and tear into small pieces [never cut lettuce, etc it bruises the leaves, always better to tear your greens];place in clean bowl large enough to fit it, put in microwave for about 45 seconds to slightly wilt it [this will remove some of its inherent bitterness]
  •  Toss anchovies into skillet with onion/garlic. They are already cooked, so just mix them around gently for 60 seconds or so
  •  Sprinkle with Parmesan to taste [ I used the ¼ cup for the cost/nutritional breakdown I’m providing]
  • Transfer skillet mix to bed of kale

Enjoy with baked sweet potato chips [roughly 14 per serving]

Makes one serving; adjust accordingly to make enough for that special someone in your life…nothing says I love you like Anchovy breath. Especially with the garlic and onions. Yum.
If the taste was only so-so at least know that you only cost yourself roughly $3.76 and 390 cals
While you gained 770 mg of Omega-3s, 21 g of protein, 40% of your daily calcium intake, and 11% of your daily iron intake; 6 g of Total fat [no trans fat]; 4g fiber; 18 g carbs [only from the chips, sans chips you are looking at less than 1 g].

Recipe #2 Alpha Omega Apples

No anchovies required!

  • Simply slice up 1 lb of apples [4 or 5 small to medium sized apples]; leave skins on, that’s where all the nutrients are!!!]
  • Place in skillet on stove; heat Medium
  • Add a cup of water
  • Mix in approx. ¼ cup of flaxseed oil [available at generic stores now-a-days]
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • Cinnamon to taste helps stabilize blood sugar
  • Mix around ensuring the apples get coated with some oil and cinnamon
  • Let simmer until apples are soft
  • Enjoy by itself or mix into oatmeal, Greek yogurt, or even frozen yogurt!

Makes two servings

Cost per serving $ 1.78
Nutrition highlights [of just the apples]:
225 cals
3,700 mg Omega-3
12g fiber
215 mg potassium

CHEERS to a New Year and a New You

When More is Less: Understanding Our Roots

As you may have picked up on in my last poetic entry, I am a fan of slowing down a bit and evaluating sweeping culture movements before joining the bandwagon.Unless of course big hair and overalls really do may a comeback. Then consider my Soul SOLD.

Seriously though, more and more, we are hearing evidence to support that we have championed Convenience in the name of quality and ultimately done our cocky millennial Selfies a wee bit of a disservice.

Maybe just maybe, we ought to make time to remember where we come from – our Roots, as it were;  in this case, the roots of those fruits and veggies you are eating…

An interesting thing happens when you start to pay attention to where your food comes from – you realize you really are what you eat.

Us humans… we are part of an ecosystem, you know.

care of pachamama.org

care of pachamama.org

I know, I know – “but we have opposable thumbs and I’m pretty sure cloned someone and the government just isn’t telling us…Doesn’t that mean we are at the top of the food chain?”

Yes.

Possibly.

And Um… Probably not the best time to answer that last one.

At the risk of going on a hugely taboo tangent, let’s get one thing strait:

We homo sapien sapiens are just part of the lifecycle – an incredible, beautiful, capable, yet woefully fragile lifecycle.

But listen, I’m going to level with you.

Life a profit-hungry farmer levels some more trees for space to grow cheap corn and feed our livestock – I am going to level with you:

Our fruits and veggies are not as nutrient-dense as they were 50 years ago.

And while there may be a few non-human related environmental factors contributing to that. There are a lot of human contributions as well – and let’s face it – those are the only ones we can do much about.

Let’s take broccoli for example.

care of myjudythefoodie.com

care of myjudythefoodie.com

Everyone LOVES BROCCOLI – am I right?

MMMMM that delightfully crunchy, green cruciferous vegetable that makes your breathe smell slightly foul and sheds what I am convinced are thousands of “broccoli balls” when cut and cleaned…what’s not to love?

We all know we should eat more broccoli.

After all it IS jammed packed with potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber, while remaining epically low in calories, sodium, and fat [unless you pour Velveeta all over it NOT RECOMMENDED]

What if I told you that you actually have to eat twice as much broccoli as you thought you did to reap the benefits of broccoli heads harvested back in 1963?

What??

Those Flower Children got WOODSTOCK, the BEATLES, and nutrient-dense broccoli???

Tragedy.

Truly.

Ok, allow me to explain, because I know all the vegans out there are having a meltdown at the thought of their sole food source – plants – being bastardized at the hand of SUPPOSEDLY organic farmers. Hell, I’m not vegan and I’m, shall we say, perturbed.

Allow me one more, brief metaphor before I get into the nitty, gritty details:

Let’s start with a nice, neutral global imperative: People ruin everything cool.

I mean, there’s that place – you know the one – it’s cool, it’s quaint, it’s got killer food and great views, and leaves you with a tab that won’t break the bank.

And then Oprah© finds out about it or that crazy foodie with 9, 456 friends on YELP © Shares, and Pins, and Likes it all over social media and suddenly everyone and their mother knows about your little gem, people go in droves, food quality goes down and prices goes up all in perfect unison with that little Econ 101 catch phrase: Supply and Demand. Which also happens to be a title of a song by the remarkable artist Amos Lee [some of you will appreciate this reference]

Now, let’s see how this applies to our food.

As many of us know, our livestock and poultry are pumped full of antibiotics and steroids to grow bigger and faster and ward off infection, right?

care of motherearthnews.com

care of motherearthnews.com

But why is this?

Well, it’s because the faster the meat source can grow, and the fleshier it can be, the quicker ol’ Bessie can be DOA at the closest butcher shop and the quicker she can turn into a ROI for the farmer.

Is this the farmer’s fault? Well I suppose, but he is only catering to his “Gimme Gimme” customers – afterall, don’t we all love our big, meaty, IN-EXPENSIVE, meat? We must. Or Walmart © would not be the behemoth that it is.

We are a people who demand quality at the most inexpensive prices.

But there is another side to that coin – the producers, and they also want to keep money in their pockets, same as you. The difference is that they can control the quality. Most unsuspecting consumers remain just that – unsuspecting.

Well start suspecting.

We all want brilliantly green apples and perfectly rounded and shiny red tomatoes, right?

Sadly, those perfections are often engineered. Think of it like the airbrushed models in beauty magazines. Don’t get me wrong, Nature is perfect, but generally not in the symmetrical, replicated sense. Look for produce that looks real.

Yes, it might even have some dirt on it. That’s why god gave us water. And a little lemon juice and salt. Rinse those suckers right off.

Also, if your fruits and veggies do not ripen almost completely within the first few days of purchasing them, chances are they could be high in chemicals and low in nutrition.

What exactly is happening that is rendering these poor plants so stripped of their natural goodness?

Among other things – Tilling.

care of commons.wikimedia.org

care of commons.wikimedia.org

The detriments of Tilling have been calculated in numerous studies – all concluding some variation of what Daniel Marano, food writer of Ann Arbor Michigan, reports, “Tilling soil is equivalent to stripping your gut of good bacteria by depriving it of fiber-rich whole foods and [simultaneously] overusing antibiotics”.

With each annual tilling, disking, and plowing, the integrity of the soil is chipped away at.

Remember, soil houses its own ecosystem – millions of fungi, bacteria, and other microscopic critters that break down nutrients and increase availability of said nutrients to plants, a process known as Bioavailability.

Anything that impedes the process of bioavailability, is going to impact the consumer’s nutritional intake. Simply put, if the nutrients are either missing or eroded from the soil due to over-tilling and chemical fertilizers, they simply aren’t going to be available to feed the root system of the plants and, consequently, the fruit the plant yields will have markedly less.

This can even be the case in your organic fruits and veggies.

The reason being is that, while it is getting a bit better over time, the rules and regulations for how and when a segment of farmland can start declaring “Organic” produce is still somewhat lax. Just because a farmer STARTS “going” organic with soil management techniques doesn’t mean that he or she is doing so on freshly renewed soil. Yesterday they were using pesticides, today they aren’t – ok great – but those pesticides and the chemicals that comprise them stay within the soil deep down and will leech in to new crops for an unknown period of time.

The ideal situation is that farmers simply won’t till their land, but will allow their crops to die off on their own accord; this decomposition process actually acts as a protective barrier over the soil, helping it retain vital carbon, water, and nutrients. With this protective shield, the soil can start regaining its integrity right away. And even just a 1% increase in integrity has been shown to correlate to the soil’s increasing capability to retain H2O– up to 20, 000 gallons per acre. So not only can you reduce carbon emits by having it reabsorbed into the soil, but you can increase nutritional content of the plants you produce, and save the Whales some water.

Win-Win-Win.

Okay.

I’m sure that all seems fascinating, but hugely overwhelming at the same time.

How in the Hell are you supposed to know what level of tilling your produce has undergone?

We as the consumers don’t know unless we ask.

The folks who are growing your food and harvesting it DO know the answer. All the more reason to buy local and at farmer’s markets, where those folks are readily available to talk to you.

Keep in mind too, even with their diminished nutritional content, those leafy greens and crispy apples and peaches are still a better choice than the processed cookies and pies.

care of dietmotion.com

care of dietmotion.com

 

Lastly, it’s worth noting that there is a reason that Cheap and Inexpensive are synonyms.

Make sure you are aren’t compromising for more than you bargained.

So to speak.

 

Until Next time,

Stay Well,

Miss Fit

 

Gluten-free By Way of Los Angeles

 

Oh Jimmy Kimmel… forever spoofing on the errs of humanity…

In all seriousness though – this video raises attention to an important issue – the concept of Health Hearsay.

Now, I am not sure if that is an official term or not but, if it is not, please let the record stand that Miss Fit is dubbing it.

Health Hearsay

  • When the effects of  Herd or Mob Mentality interact with Fad diet and Sensationalism;
  • Appears to be especially common in areas where frequent Tabloid persons reside;
  • Accounts for a significant percentage of food marketing profit

Before beginning any kind of nutrition or fitness regiment, I urge you to educate yourself from places other than the tabloids and word of mouth sensationalism.

Now you may be thinking :  “Well sure, I know I should be doing that, but I mean look at Eggs.. one minute they are the best source of vitamins and proteins around, the next minute they are the leading contributor to heart disease – how am i suppose to make a decision?” [see article as brief example].

Even the Chicken Doesn't Doesn't Know What To Make Of This...

Even the Chicken Doesn’t Doesn’t Know What To Make Of This…

Well yes, it can be a muddled mess out there but that’s quite honestly part of the main reason Miss Fit exists. It is literally my job as your consultant to stay on top of the leading research and make sure that it is coming from reliable and trustworthy sources and that sample sizes and correlations are legitimate and un-skewed.

Whether you choose to consult with Miss Fit or go it on your own accord, make sure to consider your sources and take inventory of changes [positive or negative] to your mood and your body when starting alterations to a meal plan or exercise routine.

Remember, what works for one person, may not be what works for another. There are a lot of X factors to consider and taking the time in advance to identify the ones that pertain uniquely to you  can help set you up for maximum success in reaching your health goals regardless of your physical or emotional starting point.

 

Know of any of other subjects you suspect to be Health Hearsay? Post your comments below or email direct to write.with.ms@gmail.com

 

 

 

What To Do Without Your Gall Bladder

If you [or someone you know] happen to be one of the 500, 000 lucky Americans who have gotten a gall bladder removed in the last 12 months, this article is for you.

Also,

If you have had pain that has persisted in any of the below marked regions, you may want to consult with your physician about the status of your gall bladder.

gallbladder-pain-relief

 

First things first, the gall bladder [pictured below] is not a vestigial organ [i.e. a body part we no longer need based on evolution. Examples of vestigial body parts would be the coccyx or “tail bone” and the appendix]

 

gall-bladder                       apex_vestigial

 

Much like the kidneys, while the gall bladder is removable, it still serves a valuable function [helping the body process fats] and lifestyle choices post removal should be considered.

Again, I want to stress, lifestyle change, this is not prep for a colonoscopy [as in changes limited to 12 hrs before procedure].

Your gall bladder is not coming back, so these doctor-recommended diet modifications are meant to be incorporated largely as lifestyle changes. The great thing is that these changes are some of the exact same changes that are linked to decrease chances of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and obesity. So good bye gall bladder – HELLO new lease on LIFE!!!

 

First things first,

Just for background, the reason doctors recommend six small meals post-surgery is because the gall bladder secretes bile which helps digest fats. But it’s not just the kind of fat that’s eaten. It is also the amount of fat eaten at one time that factors into the equation. Smaller amounts of fat are easier to digest. On the other hand, large amounts can remain undigested and cause gas, bloating and diarrhea [and could be the source of those indigestion issues that began a while back….]

 

[NOTE: IN REGARDS TO THE LIST BELOW,  keep in mind these are going to be “good” for you specifically with the gallbladder condition; there are some that will be on the bad list that are only “bad” because of the gall bladder issue [like peanut butter. Peanuts are not a “bad” fat but in the form of peanut butter it is a hard to digest kind of fat…]

Good Fats

Good = easily digested and helps raise HDL [good cholesterol] and lower Triglycerides [blood fats, which are high when the gall bladder is not working]

  • Fish oil [either from supplements or from salmon, tuna, anchovies, sardines]
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseeds/flaxseed oil/flaxseed meal [omega-3’s]
  • Raw nuts [not in butter form] i.e. brazil nuts, walnuts almonds, cashews, hazelnuts [no more than ¼ cup at a time]
  • Avocados – If you are allergic to bananas or rubber – DO NOT eat avocados they are in the same food family
  • Hummus
  • Dark chocolate [1 oz]

Bad Fats

Bad = hard to digest and lowers HDL [good cholesterol] and raises Triglycerides [blood fats, which are already high when the gall bladder is not working]

  • Trans fats [think: anything fried that you did NOT make yourself]
  • Mayonnaise
  • Milk chocolate
  • Most creamy sauces [think: alfredo sauce, hollandaise sauce, thicker dressings]
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Nut butters
  • Animal fats [think: any meat that will be greasy when cooked]
  • Full fat dairy products [milk, yogurts, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, cheese of any kind] ** most people report a lot of trouble digesting dairy in general after gall bladder removal, so take it lightly in the dairy department even if it is fat-free or low-fat

Other Suggestions

  • Caffeine and alcohol will likely aggravate your system. Allow about 2 weeks healing before having any alcohol or caffeine – this includes diet sodas and any drinks with artificial sweeteners

Once you restart alcohol in to your diet [which, HELLO, is a must for 90% of us] start slow and opt for clear liquor like vodka or tequila or red wine. Tread lightly with beer and see how it goes. If you notice discomfort re-assess. Otherwise re-add slowly

  • Increasing Fiber is huge. Fiber can come from grains, fruit, or vegetables

o   Opt for grains that have protein built- in

  • Brown Rice
  • Bran
  • Whole wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Quinoa [a grain sold in bulk or boxed at most grocery stores. Cooked just like rice with water except with x4 the amount of protein!]

o   Increasing fruits and vegetable intake is huge

  • Nice thing is they are easy snack foods and pair well with a handful or two of nuts for a small meal – REMEMBER – at 6 small meals a day a meal is now only 300 calories. ¼ cup of nuts will have anywhere from 160 to 200 calories – add a cup of fruit of your choice or some veggies drizzled in olive oil and THAT IS A MEAL
  • Apples and prunes are particularly high in fiber and help raise HDL cholesterol
  • At least 60 oz of water daily – the added fiber from the fruits and veggies need water to move through your digestive tract – otherwise you may experience indigestion, gas, bloating, etc
  • Opt for fish and beans/quinoa as your #1 source of protein. Re-add lean red meat and poultry slowly after the first week and stop if you experience gastro-distress [i.e. gas, bloating, pain]
  • Also, low fat/ non-fat dairy is a GREAT source of protein and the calcium/Vit D is very much needed but proceed slowly in re-adding as not everyone can handle dairy right away. Try a bit and see how you feel. Greek Yogurt is the best. Just watch for sugars in the flavored kind. Aim to stay below 15 grams a serving.

 

Additional Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Drop me a line in the comments section or send confidential email to write.with.ms@gmail.com

Until next time, Stay Well.

There is a Time for Everything & a Season for Every Activity Under the Sun…

strawberry alarmOh the ongoing battle with all the literature out there sending conflicting messages about Timing of our food intake…
If we don’t eat breakfast, are we doomed?
If we eat less than 3 hrs before bed, are we destined for obesity?
What about working out – will you have insomnia if you work out within 2 hrs of going to bed? Will you crash before mid-morning if you wake up early to get your calisthenics in?
It seems like the infamous “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” conundrum but alas there is hope.
I’m going to share with you the short-hand science behind these various arguments to help you decide which lifestyle is best for you and your unique circumstance.

Most Important Meal – or Snooze Button Steal?

Breakfast. The word is actually a compound word made from “break” and “fast”; it is thus named because, theoretically, you should be sleeping 8 hrs a night and eating every 4 hrs or so during the day therefore making your sleeping hrs the longest period of time you go without food; an intentional period of time without food is often referred to as a “fast” so the first meal after you wake you are in essence “breaking” said fast.
Herein lies the science behind the claim that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day: When your body is at rest your metabolism is going at a slower rate than when you are awake and active. Food, or more importantly the calories in food, is the catalyst your body needs to rev up your metabolism. If you wait until lunchtime to eat your body has stayed in a low metabolic phase for upwards of 14 hrs and [depending on other factors like age and gender] it may go into Starvation Mode* – meaning an even slower metabolic rate because it is not sure when or if it is getting food. Once a body in Starvation Mode gets food, it does not necessarily kick that metabolism up a notch, more frequently, it grabs those calories and stores them for energy during the next starvation period [which we have now told our bodies is possible because it just had one].
The short-hand science, then, is that skipping Breakfast is a bad idea because over time it can cause very irregular metabolic rates for people and make it much more challenging to lose weight and keep it off.

Wake and Break [a sweat] ?

I am a big proponent of both breakfast and morning workouts and make the following recommendation to my clients: I mentioned above in the science behind Breakfast that the main tenant of the argument is revving up your metabolic rate.
Now, there is something else other than food that is capable of elevating metabolic rate and that is exercise – it doesn’t have to be running or other intense cardio [more power to you if you can go from Dreamland to Gym Rat in 10 mins but it is not necessary for improving efficiency of metabolism], it can be basically anything that gets your heart rate increased above resting rate for about 25 sustained mins. Instead of spending 25 mins hitting snooze, stalking people on Social Media, and calling your morning coffee “breakfast”, I propose that you wake up and use that 25 mins to do some yoga or pilates, go for a walk [take a small flashlight if its dark], do some jumping jacks and pushups, or even get the sweeping and vacuuming done [yes, household chores burn calories].
Once you have completed activity of choice, have a breakfast of about 300 or 400 calories. Make sure to include a Simple carb for immediate energy, a Complex carb for sustained energy, Fiber for fullness, and Protein for muscle repair. This sounds much more difficult than it is. For instance, a breakfast that meets all those components could be a quick smoothie with 1 cup skim milk/yogurt, some ice, and a fruit of your choice – bananas are great because they are a perfect combination of simple carb, complex carb, and fiber.
Not a smoothie or a fruit-in-the-morning fan? Not a problem. Have two eggs anyway you like them and get your simple and complex carb along with your fiber from a piece of whole wheat or gluten free toast with natural preserve or a half cup of oatmeal with 2 tsps honey or agave syrup [Stevia ® or the like if you are Diabetic.]
Eating within 30 mins of your workout will not only get metabolism revved up but will keep it elevated for up to 2 hrs afterwards as you have just given your body an additional task to now digest food and it must keep chugging along in order to do so.

Second Wind – or Zen Killer ?

Now, let’s address night time. I’ve long been a proponent of working out any time of day versus none at all – however, if you do struggle with extreme Insomnia, elevating heart rate within 60 mins of going to bed could be detrimental to helping your body achieve the relaxation it needs to fall asleep quickly.
However, for most everyone else, occasional Insomnia strugglers included, participating in exercise at any time of day wears your body out [think of the age-old tactic of taking the kids to the park and letting them run around so they sleep like babies at night – believe it or not, same tactic works for adults.
Bottom line, unless you struggle with chronic, relentless insomnia and have seriously examined all other potential contributing factors [i.e. medication dependence, consumption of nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, anxiety, extraneous stimuli from use of technological devices in bedroom] or you are doing an intense aerobics class then coming home and jumping right in bed and wondering why it takes your body a while to fall asleep, exercising in the evening time is not a threat to sleep and has more evidence behind it to support that it helps facilitate good sleep and even reduce anxiety by offering an outlet after you get off from work – i.e. sweating your day out – so that you can relax and allow your Body and Mind to refresh itself for a new day.

Night Cap – or Belt Buster?

As far as eating after dinner goes, this is a VERY complex situation that involves a series of X factors and needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case level where the individuals’ preference and goals are taken into consideration.
However, for the purpose of this article, I merely want to explore with you some of those factors and the short-hand science behind certain reasoning. The reason that many weight loss gurus argue against eating later at night is because, as mentioned in the Breakfast section, the body in resting mode has a slow metabolic rate and will not burn off access calories, but will instead store them, making it a challenge to lose weight. This is still true – however it doesn’t account for the fact that sleep is also the time when the body seeks to repair itself most extensively [i.e. cells breakdown and regenerate, muscle fibers and tissues connect and rewire all based on the day’s activities]. In order for efficient repair, the body needs an active energy supply [about 250 calories of sustainable energy] and this is most readily produced by having a snack before bed that is part Complex carb and part easily digestible Protein. Prime examples could include: an apple with a spoonful of peanut butter, veggies and hummus, or Greek yogurt with a handful of raw nuts.
Now, if your ultimate goal is to lose as much weight as fast as possible and you don’t care about preserving lean muscle [NEVER my recommendation, but I promised I would educate, not judge…] feel free to stop eating 5 or 6 hrs before bed but you are doing your body a disservice and raising the risk that you will eat mindlessly in the middle of the night. It is important to give your body what it needs to build the body you want.
A few more points of consideration on this topic:
Ideally you should eat every four hours – so, if you eat dinner and are up for 4+ hrs, then yes I do recommend to my clients that they have a snack like listed above.
If, however, you struggle with compulsive or overeating issues, and feel you could not limit yourself to 250 calories and it is easier to just go to bed, please contact myself or other mental health professional to talk through that emotional piece.
If you are in the habit of eating dinner late and usually go to bed within 2-3 hrs of dinner, make sure your dinner is appropriate based on your activity level during the day. For example, if you were mostly sedentary aim for a dinner around the 450 calorie mark and make sure the food is lower in carbs. Smart choices here can include a single starch such as a half cup of roast potatoes [skins cleaned and left on, olive or flaxseed oil and spices for flavoring] with a lean meat or fish, 2 cups of veggies, and a glass of red wine to assist in digestion. If you were moderately to very active, feel free to aim as high as 650 calories. I recommend the same meal components as listed for the 450 calories meal but perhaps give license for additional starch serving, extra condiments or sauces on the meat, or even a second glass of wine.
For those completely adverse to calorie counting, reach out to me and I can give you a few tricks of the trade to help figure out how many calories are in your current meals.

* While I understand we are not culturally prone to famines, it must be understood that biologically, our bodies have not caught up to this fact. Therefore Starvation Mode as far as our bodies understand it is a period of time, typically anything over 12 hrs where no calories [the energy molecules in food] are consumed.

Reward Yourself the Right Way

Reward Yourself the Right Way

What’s that saying? “The only things for certain in Life are Death and Taxes?”

Ugh. Not exactly a pep talk.

Who do I talk to about that…?

Well, regardless, let’s be honest…there is a third certainty in Life [some of us may like to tip our hats to Adam and Eve for this one]: Work.

I mean there’s that Monday through Friday work we do that we “sort” of get paid for – enough to prevent another serf uprising [although there are days…]

And then there’s the work that you don’t get paid to do – *cue the never ending Chore List complete with the items that you absolutely have to get accomplished [no, you cannot save that for little Timmy’s school project – the Science Fair is still a solid 5 months away]…

Let’s not forget the…um… how do you say, JOYS of marriage, parenthood and general interpersonal relationships. Those all require time, attention, and energy that you may or may not feel you have left after all that work we just mentioned.

With our reserves so spent – how could be possibly have enough energy left to devote to the willpower one must have to say, “No” to those two fine men in our lives, Ben and Jerry…?

Ice cream. Just one of the many “food rewards” media and culture has sensationalized as an item “you’ve earned.” Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with ice cream – did you look at that nutrition label [hopefully…] only like 150 cals! Hey! That’s not bad! Did you check the serving size though? A half cup. A half cup! I honest to god believe it takes more will power to only eat a half cup than to just not buy it altogether… Plus, might I add that the sugar rush you get from indulging in sweet food rewards [similar to the carb coma you get from starchy food rewards and the sluggish-I-want-to-nap-now effect from high fat food rewards] leaves you with LESS energy than before you “treated” yourself.

Cue Epic Fail.

You do work hard – and so does your body. You both deserve to be rewarded for said hard work.

Depending on your unique set of circumstances, there are some rewards that make more sense than others. Feel free to reach out to me and I would be happy to provide some recommendations for you!

In case you need a general yardstick… it’s very, very, difficult to go wrong with a nice warm bath [complete with lavender oil and Epsom salts to relax muscles that hopefully you have exercised today…], some candles for ambiance [whether you are solo or not…], and a nice red wine [complete with Resveratrol, known for its ability to block lipid accumulation in fat cells and activate the breakdown of already present fat cells – um YES PLEASE]. And, guys, don’t hate on the bath. Be comfortable in your masculinity to bathe in bubbles. It’s actually dead sexy.

SPICE IT UP!

You heard me, Readers – Spice it up.

Yes, in the bedroom

Yes, at the workplace [probably not the same way as the workplace…]

Yes, with your workout routine […totally fine if this takes place in the bedroom… and yes Mom… I mean…. I do my Yoga in my bedroom… or something like that…]

Ok – but really, Spice it up in your kitchen.

I’m sure even if you don’t have Hypertension [i.e. high blood pressure] you have heard someone at some point in time say that you [or someone you know] that you “should” cut back on salt – yes?

Ok well, that’s fine, I’m glad people are cracking down on high blood pressure – – – but what about bland, tasteless food?

That should be a sin too, right?

Totally and completely.

Food, I am a firm believer, is meant to taste amazing and be pleasing to all of your senses from the first glance to the last bite [which actually has more to do with your sense of smell than your sense of taste. Read Here For More On That

So what gives?

Isn’t salt the end-all, be-all flavor enhancer? I mean Betty Crocker and Nestle Tollhouse recommend salt as an ingredient in their infamous chocolate-chip cookies… and those are amazing, right?

Well here is where I throw a cliché at you – Everything in moderation.

True story. Check that Nestle recipe – no more than a teaspoon or so in any variation of the recipe.

Salt is not evil in small doses. It is accurate to say that it has flavor enhancing properties. However, it IS also a major contributor to high blood pressure and can easily be substituted with far worthier members of the spice family – members that not only contribute flavor to your favorite dishes but also contribute a whole host of other health contributions as well.

These “health contributions” I speak of are powerful, including but not limited to:

1. Burning body fat [hello! Yes please!]

2. Curbing excess food consumption

3. Revving metabolism

4. Supporting digestion

5. Fighting cancer

6. Protecting neurological function

7. Lowering insulin and triglyceride levels

That’s quite a list.

 

If I told you that there were several natural entities that you could ingest daily that would: [1] provide the above stated benefits [2] cost you way less than the price of a baby aspirin every day [3] and most of which could be used in small enough amounts so as to subtly compliment, not overpower, your food – would you have any real reason to say, “No” ?

If you do, please feel free to comment below, I would be happy to address any concerns you have.

First, I want to give a brief definition of Spices and Herbs and do a quick comparison of how they are similar and how they are different and then the remainder of the article will be dedicated to highlighting a few of the power-house Spices and best ways to buy, prepare, and store said Spices to get the most bang for your buck.

Guy Johnson, a certified nutritional scientist and Executive Director of the McCormick Institute, had this to say [Psychology Today, November/December 2012, p. 48-49]:

Both Spices and herbs have had strong medicinal and culinary indications for centuries. Both warehouse key components to effectively fight cancer and protect the nervous system – particularly the brain – by promoting cognitive function and preventing decline and maintaining metabolic integrity through their unique array of minerals, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds.

Both Spice sand Herbs release flavor when fully heated and retain most nutrients if added at the end of cooking process [high heat but low duration].

There really is “NO DOWNSIDE” – both Spices and Herbs are calorie free, contain no fats, and effectively enhance flavor of food without added sodium.

Botanically speaking, Spices are derived from the integral plant parts: including the buds [i.e. cloves], the bark [i.e. cinnamon], the seeds [i.e. fennel], the roots [i.e. ginger, turmeric] while Herbs are derived from the leaves of plants [i.e. sage, and rosemary]. Most Spices are native to tropical areas, while Herbs favor more temperate climates.

Let’s take a look at some of the most powerful Spices and Herbs.

Tumeric

turmeric-powder

o   Medicinal Indications – By nature, Tumeric operates as an anti-inflammatory agent and has been scientifically noted as having positive effect on reducing the impact of the following conditions:

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Alzheimer’s
  • High Blood pressure and High Cholesterol
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease [Colitis]
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Depression [Curcumin active ingredient in turmeric – has a measurable effect on mood; it induces neural growth factors in the brain [mimicking the action of Prozac] and has been shown to improve abnormalities associated with Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Skin conditions [Psoriasis, dermatitis, gout, open wounds]
  • Eye infections and macular degeneration
  • Gum disease
  • Obesity

o   Buying Tips

  • Most of the world’s supply comes from Alleppey [a coastal region in lower Western India] and Madras [ a coastal region in Mid-Eastern India]. Research shows that the Alleppey turmeric [for some reason related to soil quality and a million other factors it appears] has a higher curcumin count – so aim for Alleppey turmeric when possible.
  • Turmeric, like ginger [below], is a root by nature, and a very tough root at that. Feel free to grind your own if you have the patience, but most folks buy the already ground kind and it is readily available in most all grocery stores.

o   Cooking Tips – Easy ways to incorporate Tumeric [even the pickiest of eaters will scarcely tell it’s there!]

  • Add to olive oil in your frying; mix in on medium heat for a few seconds before adding veggies or making a stir fry
  • Add a few teaspoons of chili or soups, OR, HONESTLY, just about any hot dish – even pastas, rices, lentils – – – p.s I would love to hear what you tried it on, send me an email write.with.ms@gmail.com or simply comment below!
  • Eat more mustard! Mustard has turmeric in it!

 Coriander

coriandero   Medicinal Indications – the seeds contain high levels of Linalool and Geranyl Acetate – two oil-based phytonutrients [i.e. nutrients in plants] that have been shown to act as anti-oxidants, protecting your cells and warding off the degenerative cell mutations that cause many cancers. Additionally, recent studies have shown Coriander to be effective in soothing digestive ailments by acting as an “antispasmodic” agent and relaxing the muscles of the digestive system. Coriander has been scientifically noted as having positive effect on reducing the impact of the following conditions:

  • Bloating
  • Colon cancer
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach aches and ulcers
  • Vaginal yeast infections [Candida]
  • Liver disease

o   Buying Tips

  • As noted above, the oils in Coriander seed have cancer-preventing properties, so opt for whole seeds when buying since already ground seeds lose nutritional value after a few months
  • Most Coriander available for purchase in the States comes from Europe and India.
    • European Coriander will be spherical in shape and have very high Linalool and Geranyl Acetate content
    • Indian Coriander will be more egg-shaped and contains trace amounts of other phytonutrients that offer and more lemony scent
    • Nutritionally speaking both European and Indian Corianders are near equal, just depends on what flavor you want as to which you should buy

  Cooking Tips – Easy ways to incorporate more Coriander!

  • Coriander seeds with peppercorns in your peppermill
  • Coarsely grind it and use it as a meat or fish rub before marinating/cooking

 o   Special Note: often times, people confuse Cilantro with Coriander. Take note that Cilantro is an Herb that comes from the strongly scented leaves of the Coriander plant; while tasty, Cilantro pales in comparison nutrition-wise from the Cordiander’s nutty little seeds [from which the spice is ground]

 Fennel Seed

Fennel

o   Medicinal Indications – the seeds contain high levels of Anethole, the same phytonutrient that gives licorice its…licoricey flavor. Fennel seeds also contain high levels of another phytochemical known as phytoestrogens, which are estrogen-like compounds found in plants

  • According to the Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, a study was conducted that compared Fennel seed extract to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] such as Ibuprofen. Per the study results, the fennel seed extract actually out-performed the NSAIDs in relieving menstrual cramping and pain! Trust me, this is a positive thing women AND men…
  • In another study, Fennel seed was shown to assist in calming babies experiencing colic [AKA – babies crying for 3+ hrs daily for multiple days] by more than 40% as compared to a placebo group
  • In India, Fennel seeds are eaten as an after-dinner digestive-aide

o   Buying Tips

  • Sold whole or already ground
    • Whole seeds should be yellow with a greenish tinge for best quality; they can last for up to 3 yrs without taste or nutrient compromise
    • Ground seeds tend to lose quality after 6 months – so ideally, buy whole seeds and ground as needed!

o   Cooking Tips – Easy ways to incorporate more Fennel seed!

  • Add to fruit salads and compotes for a complementary added crunch
  • Toast the seeds on a tray in the oven then crush and steep in your favorite cup of tea
  • Add to scrambled eggs or your next red sauce/meat ragu

 o   Special Note: Fennel is actually a vegetable, and herb, AND spice!

 Ginger

gingero   Medicinal Indications – used globally as an anti-nausea and motion-sickness treatment [this indication actually started thousands of years ago by “natural healers” and has been increasingly corroborated by scientific studies since the 1980’s here in the States]. Ginger has been scientifically noted as having positive effect on reducing the impact of the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Indigestion/heartburn
  • Morning sickness
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • High triglycerides [blood fats]

 o   Buying Tips

  • Opt for fresh Gingerroot and grind as needed for optimal nutrition and flavor
  • Look for “knobs” [or “hands” as they are frequently called] that are firm and smooth to the touch
  • Place peeled Ginger in a paper bag before placing in fridge
  • Ginger even keeps great in the freezer when left un-peeled!

  Cooking Tips – Easy ways to incorporate more Ginger!

  • Grate fresh Ginger over cooked rice noodles, tofu, or veggies
  • Rub ground Ginger onto meat before cooking
  • Steep a nickel-sized sliver of ginger with your favorite tea
  • Sprinkle ground Ginger on sweet potatoes or squash before baking

Cinnamon

cinnamono   Medicinal Indications – the most profound medical indication for Cinnamon is its documented ability to stabilize blood sugar/glucose

  • According to the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 109 people with Type II Diabetes were divided into two groups – one group received 1 gram of Cinnamon per day for 90 days, while the other group received a placebo. Results showed that the Cinnamon was 45% more effective at reducing A1C levels [a blood sugar measurement used to indicate Diabetes diagnosis]
  • Several other studies show that Cinnamon works that very same day it is incorporated and that the “90” days reflected in the above mentioned study represents cumulative advantages the Cinnamon produces.
  • Richard Anderson, pHD and head scientist at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center of the US Dept. of Agriculture theorizes that the Cinnamon works by mimicking insulin [the hormone that regulates blood sugar]. Simply put, Cinnamon is thought to stimulate insulin receptors the same way insulin would and allow the excess sugar to move out of the blood and into the cells for proper utilization
  • Cinnamon has been scientifically noted as having positive effect on reducing the impact of the following conditions:
    • High cholesterol
    • Food poisoning
    • Heart disease, high blood pressure [AKA Hypertension]
    • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome [PCOS]
    • Ulcers
    • Yeast infections [Candida]

o   Buying Tips

  • Ground Cinnamon flavor tends to fade after 3 months, so, ideally, buy whole Cinnamon sticks and grind as needed [but nutritionally, it stays pretty sound, so if you buy often don’t worry about grinding your own]
  • Reportedly, the finest cinnamon on the globe is “Ceylon” Cinnamon which comes from Sri Lanka
  • Any Cinnamon is better that no Cinnamon, so don’t worry about getting fancy

  Cooking Tips – Easy ways to incorporate more Cinnamon!

  • Sprinkle Cinnamon on fruit salads, particularly complimentary to bananas, apples, and melons
  • Combine with black pepper and cardamom for a hearty meat rub
  • Add to stew and soups for an extra kick people will rave about but not be able to place!
  • Make your own spiced tea: Use a quart of brewed tea [black or green], add two cups of apple juice, allow to summer with a sliced lemon wedge and two cinnamon sticks for about 10 mins. Enjoy!

 

 

**PLEASE NOTE: Spices tend to lose their aromatic flavor in the first 3 months – do your best to store all spices in their OWN clean, airtight containers away from heat and lights. Refrigeration also can help extend their life.

 

Make sure to check back this weekend for the follow article “HERB is the word, haven’t you heard?”  where we look at some of the most powerful Herbs you can include in your diet.