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Yogurt Buttons

24 Jul

Yogurt buttons are a cool and refreshing treat during the hot summer months. I like this recipe because it is versatile, quick, and easy.

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Ingredients

1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt

1/2 cup Fresh Fruit (I used mango)

1 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice

Method

1. Puree yogurt, fruit, and lime juice using a blender, food processor, or an immersion blender.

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2. Pour mixture in to a ziplock bag and cut off the corner. The yogurt mixture will begin to pour out once you cut the corner, have your cookie sheet ready.

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3. Squeeze quarter sized dots on to a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.

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4. Freeze until ready to eat.

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Other Considerations

  • Use any fruit you like
  • For more fruit flavor use 3/4 cups of fruit
  • For more sweetness use orange juice instead of lime juice
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Self Myofascial Release

1 Jul

Myofascial release is a great way loosen tight muscles and alleviate muscle pain. The use of foam rollers, sticks, and balls can help restore muscle function. What is myofascial release?

  • A technique of applying pressure to myofascial connective tissue to relieve pain and restore function.

I am a big fan of using foam rollers to ease tight muscles. In the past 9 months I have been working, interning, and going to grad school, so I have had less time to dedicate to stretching and using my traditional foam roll. I used to stretch and roll every night before going to bed. Since I haven’t had time for that, I noticed my muscles are much tighter than they used to be and it has negatively impacted my exercise performance. I decided to get a rumble roller which gets deeper in to muscle and connective tissue, in order to get my muscles back to where they were before. Pictured below are a traditional foam roll and a rumble roller.

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  Traditional foam rollers with smooth surfaces compress soft tissue as you roll on them. This improves blood flow and tissue flexibility. There are now rollers available that have uneven surfaces that work like a deep tissue massage. The bumps knead and stretch soft tissue. This helps to breakdown knots, which restores flexibility and relieves muscle pain. Using the rumble roller has definitely been a new experience. I have only used it a few times but I can already feel the difference. There are may products available, do your research to find out which myofascial release tool is right for you. Myofascial release tips

  • Start slow breaking down soft tissue is a gradual process.
  • Keep muscles relaxed as you roll.
  • Move slowly, rolling back and forth quickly is not as effective.
  • When you find a painful point stay there for a few seconds to release this spot.
  • It can be painful, but stick with it! As you do it more your muscles will become more supple and it will hurt less.

 

Eat The Rainbow

20 Jun

To get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs it is important to eat a balanced diet and have variety within that balanced diet. Variety is important because different fruits and vegetables provide different nutrients.

eat-the-rainbow

Red

  • Nutrients: lycopene and antioxidants
  • Properties: Anti-inflammatory, reduce the risk of cancer, and heart health
  • Foods: Tomatoes, strawberries, red bell peppers, cherries, raspberries, watermelon,  pomegranates, and goji berries

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Orange/Yellow

  • Nutrients: Beta carotine, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium
  • Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, eye health, immune function, skin health, heart health, and cancer prevention
  • Foods: Oranges, lemons, carrots, bananas, butternut squash, mango, apricots, nectarines, pumpkin, summer squash, sweet potato, pineapple, orange and yellow bell peppers, and cantaloupe

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Green

  • Nutrients: Lutein, indoles, folate, and vitamin K
  • Properties: Eye health, cancer prevention, cell regeneration, anit-inflammatory, heart health, skin health
  • Foods: Spinach, kale, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, kiwi, honeydew, green beans, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, celery, cucumbers, swiss chard, and avocado

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Blue/Purple

  • Nutrients: Antioxidants and Anthocyanins
  • Properties: Anti-inflammatory, cancer prevention, and cognitive health
  • Foods: Eggplant, red grapes, blackberries, blueberries, purple potatoes, plumbs, cabbage, red onions, and figs

Blue-purple-Fruits-Vegetables

White

  • Nutrients: Antioxidants and potassium
  • Properties: Anti-inflammatory, cancer prevention, and heart health
  • Foods: Cauliflower, parsnips, potatoes, leeks, onions, garlic, mushrooms, shallots, and coconut  

White-Color-Vegetables-Packed-with-Vitamins-Nutrients-and-Proteins

 

 

 
Last Updated: 04/06/2011

Preservative Free Peanut Butter Cups

13 May

Today convenience foods reign supreme, but what many people do not realize is that consuming too many preservatives can have a negative effect on health. Packaged processed foods don’t only have more fat, sugar, and salt they also contain ingredients that prevent them from spoiling, give them a certain appearance, color or texture, and flavor. As great as it is that a food item will stay good for 6 months sitting on the shelf, it’s important to remember why we need something to last that long. In emergency situations or when you are unable to prepare fresh foods. Though convenience foods are inexpensive, most do not provide adequate nutrition. Consuming too much processed packaged convenience foods can lead to weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, allergies, difficulty breathing, nausea, headaches, and cancer. Below is a recipe for organic peanut butter cups. You can satisfy your sweet tooth without the preservatives, extra fat, and sugar. They only have 4 ingredients and are quick and easy to make. Talk about convenience!

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Ingredients

Makes 6 big peanut butter cups or 12 mini peanut butter cups

Peanut Butter Bottom

3/4 cup Organic Peanut Butter

1 Tbs Organic Maple Syrup

2 Tbs Organic Coconut Oil, melted

Chocolate Topping

1/4 cup Organic Cacao Powder

1 Tbs Organic Maple Syrup

1/4 cup Organic Coconut Oil, melted

Method

1. Mix peanut butter, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil in a medium bowl until well combined.

2. Fill silicone muffin cups 1/2 way full with peanut butter mixture. Place cups in freezer for about 15 minutes or until hardened.

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3. Mix cacao, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil in a medium bowl until well combined.

4. Top the hardened peanut butter cups with chocolate mixture. Place back in the freezer for another 15 minutes or until hardened.

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5. Store peanut butter cups in freezer until you are ready to eat them. If left out the coconut oil may begin to melt and peanut butter cups can lose their shape.

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Other considerations

– For a sweet, salty, and savory flavor combination sprinkle a little salt on top

– For a crunchy texture add chopped nuts to the peanut butter mixture or sprinkle on top.

– For extra coconut flavor add shredded coconut to the peanut butter mixture or sprinkle on top.

No Bake Granola Bars

28 Feb
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Ingredients
Makes 10 to 12 bars.
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup dried cherries
2/3 cups peanut butter
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions
1. Mix oats, pumpkin seeds, and cherries in a large bowl.

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2. Mix peanut butter, sweetener, and sea salt. Pour into oat mixture, and mix well, until everything is sticky and combined. If it’s too dry, add a bit more agave.

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3. Press mixture into a shallow baking dish that you’ve lined with parchment paper. Cover with more parchment paper, press well into the baking dish, and refrigerate for four hours.

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4. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated till ready to use. They will last two weeks in the fridge.

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Other Considerations

  • Use a different nut butter, or sunflower seed butter if you are allergic to nuts
  • Any dried fruit can be used
  • For additional protein mix in 1-2 scoops with the nut butter and agave syrup.

Serving Size…What’s That?

6 Feb

The information is out there to get 3 servings of dairy/day, 6-11 servings of grains,  to eat 5 day, or to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. What does all this mean? What constitutes a serving?

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Fruit: 2 servings/day (generally)

1 serving=1 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned, 1/2 cup dried, or 1 cup of 100% juice.

Fruits provide folate, vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.

Examples: Apple, apricot, avocado, banana, blueberries, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, plumb, raspberries, strawberries, tangerine, and watermelon.

Vegetables: 3-5 servings/day

1 serving= 1 cup raw or cooked, 1 cup 100% juice, 1 cup cooked legumes, or 2 cups raw, leafy greens

Vegetables provide folate, vitamins A, C, K, and E, magnesium , potassium, and fiber.

Examples: artichoke, asparagus, legumes (black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, soy beans, white beans) beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cassava, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, squash,  zucchini, and leafy greens: kale, chard, arugula, spinach, romaine lettuce.

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Grains: 6-11 servings/day

1 serving=1 oz 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal, 1 oz dry pasta or rice, 1 cup ready to eat cereal, or 3 c popped popcorn.

Grains provide folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, magnesium, selenium, and fiber. Choose whole grains, which contain more nutrients, opposed to refined grains.

Examples: Amarath, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, wheat, sweet potato, potato ,peas, and corn.

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Protein: 2-3 servings/day

1 serving= 3 oz lean meat, poultry, or seafood, 1 egg, 1/4 cup cooked legumes or tofu, 1 Tbs peanut butter, and 1/2 oz nuts or seeds.

Protein foods provides protein,  essential fatty acids, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and B12, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Examples: Seafood (tuna, halibut, salmon, mackerel, tilapia, shrimp, crab, lobster), lean meats (poultry, beef, lamb, pork), eggs, legumes (black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, soy beans, white beans), nuts/nut butters (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts), and seeds (flax, chia, sunflower, sesame, pumpkin).

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Dairy: 3 servings/day

1 serving=1 cup of milk, yogurt, fortified soy milk, and 1-1/2 oz natural cheese.

Dairy products contribute protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, potassium, and when fortified vitamin A and D.

Examples: Milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, fortified soy, almond, or coconut milk.

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Oils: This is not a food group, however it is good to keep serving size in mind.

1 serving=1 teaspoon oil, 1 tablespoon low fat mayonnaise, or 2 tablespoons light salad dressing.

Oils contribute vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

Examples: Fatty fish, nuts, olives, seeds, canola, corn, flaxseed, olive, peanut, safflower, sesame, soy bean, sunflower, avocado, and coconut oils.

Black Lentil Soup

26 Nov

Compared to their traditional counterparts black lentils are tiny spherical black legumes also known as beluga lentils because they look like caviar. Due to their smaller size they cook quicker and make a great side dish, salad addition, or soup. I like this soup because the spices make it a warming dish, great for chilly winter weather.

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Ingredients

1 cup Black Lentils

1-1 inch piece of fresh Ginger, peeled and thinly sliced, plus 2 Tbs minced

3 Tbs Unsalted Butter

1 medium Onion, diced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 Tsp ground Coriander

1/2 Tsp ground Cumin

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/4 Tsp Gram Masala

2 quarts Low Sodium Chicken Stock

1 cup Crushed Tomatoes

Salt to taste

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Method

1. In a medium pot cover lentils and sliced ginger with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until lentils soften, about 10 minutes.

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2. Drain lentils and set aside, discard sliced ginger.

3. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the pot. Add onion, garlic, and minced ginger. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to low and add spices, cook stirring, until fragrant about 4 minutes.

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5. Add stock, tomatoes, and lentils bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils soften further and soup has thickened, about 1 hour. Season with salt portion in to bowls and serve.

 

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Considerations

  • Make this soup vegan buy using vegetable stock and olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter.
  • Top soup with avocado, which adds richness to the final product.
  • Add chopped kale or spinach just before serving.

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