Peach & Blueberry Cobbler

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Cook time: 20 m; Ready In Time: 1 h 15 m*
*All based on your cooking and oven style.

This new and improved healthier version of cobbler will keep your drawers fitting just right and not too tight. In this recipe, a portion of the butter is substituted for canola oil (1), and whole-wheat flour (2) is used in place of all-purpose flour, but don’t panic ladies, it turns out really good! As the cobbler bakes, the tender batter swells around the fruity additions, to give a peach (3) and blueberry (4) topping instead of the biscuit topping that usually laden this dessert. Go ahead and experiment with different fruits, and if you are a cast iron skillet lover, give yours more love by baking and serving the cobbler straight from it. Frozen fruits can also be used in this recipe, and the last healthy alternative used is reduced-fat milk (5).

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe, firm peaches (roughly 1 pound) pitted and sliced or sub 3 1/2 cups frozen peaches
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries; the same amount if using frozen berries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place oil and butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9 X 13″ baking pan, and heat until melted and fragrant; about 5-7 minutes.
  3. While the butter and oil are doing its thing, combine salt, baking powder, and flour in a large bowl. Add vanilla, sugar, milk, and stir to combine.
  4. Add the melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Spoon peaches and berries over the batter, and return the pan to the oven.
  5. Bake until the top of the cobbler is browned and the mixture around the fruit is entirely set, approximately 50 min to 1 hour. Remove, and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.

“Nutrition Label:” Serving Size: 1 piece; Per Serving: 196 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat.); 3 g fiber; 29 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 10 mcg folate; 11 mg cholesterol; 18 g sugars; 7 g added sugars ; 317 IU Vitamin A; 6 mg Vitamin C; 80 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 202 mg sodium; 188 mg potassium; Carbohydrate Servings: 2; Exchanges: ½ fruit, 1 ½ other carbohydrate, 1 ½ fat.

Ingredient Healthy Tid-Bits

  1. Canola oil is a monounsaturated oil (which is a healthy oil) that will aid your daily intake of Omega 3s, and these fatty acids are needed for cell growth, maintaining healthy cholesterol, and overall well being. Canola is also a good source of vitamin E, and has less saturated fat than olive oil, although olive is still an excellent choice for helping maintain your healthiness. By substituting 1/2 butter with 1/2 canola oil, you are saving yourself many grams of fat and calories, and you are improving your heart. But, did you know that canola oil is a GMO? Yes, it is a crossbred oil that originates in Canada who developed the oil for means of frying foods, hence its high smoke point.

  2. Wheat-flour has a double whammy! It not only can act as a substitute for all-purpose, but it also throws a much higher nutritional punch, knocking out all-purpose flour! For starters, it houses B vitamins, which are necessary for DNA, energy, fatty acid, and protein synthesis as well as calcium, zinc, vitamin K, and iron, all needed for blood clotting, managing blood sugar, and oxygen transport for blood and tissues. With whole-wheat flour, you will get a good dose of folate, which is crucial for growth and development of tissues, muscles, and organs, and if you need to reduce constipation, bloating, cramping, excess gas and/or diarrhea, look no further than whole-wheat. It contains roughly 30% (7g per 1/2 cup serving) of your daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) goal for fiber.

  3. Who doesn’t love a GA peach??? And I mean the fruit, not the native (because it’s a known fact that everyone loves people from the peach state of GA!). Vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants, phenolic acids, potassium, and I am going to stop there on the benefits of peaches and start elaborating on its health benefits. Vitamin C assists with boosting the immune system, and fiber, we know, aids in digestion and keeping us “regular.” For the ladies and gentlemen looking for the healthy skin and eyesight fountain of youth, look no further than vitamin A. Its antioxidant and phenolic acid properties function in maintaining healthy skin and vision and delaying signs of aging, as well as growth inhibition of some cancers (breast). To top off a peach, just one a day may help prevent cardiovascular and bone disease. So, as Steve Miller Band says “love your peaches, shake your tree.”

  4. And the “God” of all antioxidants is berries! Blueberries are one of the best antioxidant foods, with a trail of studies showing its impact on preventing heart disease, fighting cancer, and improving memory power. These little blue gods are another fountain of youth due to their ability to slow the signs of aging. Blueberries are also low in fat, rich in vitamin C and manganese (functions in the central nervous system), and are an excellent source of fiber.

  5. Finally, we have reduced-fat milk, which still contains the same essential nutrients as whole milk; calcium, protein, iodine, but minus the fat and calories. I’ve mentioned calcium, and I am going to stress it again. This mineral has a busy schedule. Not only does it have the duty of aiding blood clotting, but calcium is also on “the hook” for cardiac function, nerve transmission, and smooth muscle contraction, as well as vitamin D’s assistant for bone absorption. Protein, of course, contributes to muscle growth among many other benefits, and iodine aids cognitive function and posses thyroid hormone responsibilities. So, by opting for reduced-fat over whole milk, you are sparing yourself a few more calories and fat, while still getting the nutrients of whole milk.

Still for the brain-Word of the Day

Onerous: A task or responsibility involving a great deal of effort, trouble, or difficulty

And for a little inspiration….

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So, don’t always rely too much on people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Potato Salad-Sorry for the Delay 😐

Classic Tato SaladCook time: 30 min

Total time (prep + cook): 45 min (depending on your cooking style and methods)

This classic version adds more of a health punch compared to most original classic potato salads. You still get the creaminess this traditional favorite offers, although you are substituting half of the mayo for yogurt (1). And your fiber and potassium intake bumps up because these taters (2) are “skin” on. If you’re trying to save time and cookware, boil the eggs (4) on top of the potatoes while they are steaming in the steaming basket. Depending on your cooked egg preference, you can leave them in the basket the entire steam time or take them out a few minutes before the taters are tender and done.

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 pounds yellow or red potatoes, scrubbed and diced (1/2″ to 1″)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, DIVIDED
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (3)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery (5)

Directions:

  1. Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot fitted with a steaming basket. Add potatoes, cover, and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes depending on your stove (while cooking, jump to #2). When done, spread the taters, in a single layer, onto a lined baking sheet (aluminum foil makes an excellent lining and easy for cleanup) and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; let cool 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk mayo, yogurt, onion, mustard, pepper, and remaining salt (1/2 tsp) in a large bowl. Once the potatoes are cooled, add them to the mixture along with the eggs and celery; stir to coat.

Serve at room temp or refrigerate until cold. The salad can be made up to 1 day, covered, and refrigerated.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: ¾ cup; Per Serving: 146 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat.); 2 g fiber; 24 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein; 27 mcg folate; 40 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 1 g added sugar; 109 IU Vitamin A; 7 mg Vitamin C; 48 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 325 mg sodium; 552 mg potassium

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 ½
Exchanges: 1 ½ starch, 1 fat

Health Benefits:

  1. Low-fat plain yogurt (LFPY) adds calcium, which is needed for teeth and bones, and it is a high-quality protein to help build and repair muscles. LFPY also has live, healthy gut bacteria, which aids in digestion and some who are lactose intolerant may be able to intake small amounts of this yogurt. Still, this healthy substitute stimulates the immune system, and if you are looking to add MORE protein and creaminess, substitute with Greek yogurt.
  2. The skin on taters provides whopping values of fiber to keep you regular, potassium to control blood pressure, and many other vitamins and minerals. Most of the fiber, roughly half, is found in the skin, but beyond the skin, you’ll find most of the vitamin C, which is vital for healthy skin and hair. Potato and its skin also house vitamins B1 and B6; B1 assist in the bodies energy system, and Pyroxidene (B6) is vital for the central nervous system. This carbohydrate contains little to no fat, cholesterol, and calories but it does contain iron, magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu). For healthy blood, our bodies require iron, and for wound healing, Mg, Zn, and Cu take on the job. Last tidbit: Compared to bananas, which have 9g Mg, potatoes out win with 20g Mg, and for a greater nutrient powerhouse, go for the red taters.
  3. Have you ever taken a bite out of a raw onion? If not, I dare you to! Similar to potatoes, onions also contain vitamin C and fiber, along with healthy plant “chemicals” that are thought to prevent some types of cancer, based on studies. Onions are low in fat and calories and again, similar to potatoes, red onions pack a higher nutrient punch.
  4. HUMPTY DUMPTY (Eggs) does NOT spike blood cholesterol, but instead, he does the opposite by raising “good” cholesterol or HDL’s (I call this the happy cholesterol and LDL’s the lowsy cholesterol). All 9 essential amino acids (needed to make proteins) can be found in an egg. Essential indicates that your body cannot make them, they must come from diet. Eggs also provide a healthy dose of Omega 3’s to protect the brain and heart, carotenoids to protect our eyes, and vitamin D to protect our bones.
  5. Did you know that CELERY was once prescribed as an anti-hypertensive many centuries ago? Yeah, I didn’t either. I thought the only nutrition in celery was water, but nope, there is so much more. These gorgeous green, crisp stalks provide vitamin C and act as a diuretic to flush out excess fluid. Yes, ladies, we need our celery! If you suffer from inflammation, celeries properties may help. If you have high cholesterol and blood pressure, phthalates in celery may help lower it, and if you are trying to minimize your cancer risk, coumarins found in the stalks may provide some comfort.

These claims are all based on evidence-based studies; however, PLEASE see your dietitian and doctor before making drastic changes in your diet if you have any of the medical conditions stated above.

Less fat, more hair and younger skin: Study in mice shows benefits from calorie-restricted diet

The effects of a restricted calorie (CR) diet on skin has not been thoroughly researched, until now. In Brazil, researchers have concluded that mice live longer when their diets are calorie limited. The study also found that fat reserves in adipose tissue, which aids in insulating the body, was reduced.

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To offset the effects of the diet, the mice skin stimulated fur growth and increased blood flow to warm the skin (an adaptive response). The authors also observed changes in cell metabolism while following the diet. “The changes in fur and skin were highly perceptible,” Kowaltowski said. “These changes are interesting because they appeared after only a few months when the animals were not yet old.” The study lasted six months and involved two groups of mice. One group (CR) was fed around 60% of the calories consumed by the other group (the control ), which was fed a pleasure diet (PD). The mice were free to eat as much food and as often as they chose. At the end of the study, the CR mice had 40% less body mass compared to the PD group, which became obese. The researchers speculated this was because the mice did not gain as much weight as the comparison group, not because of weight loss.

A thicker, longer, more uniform coat was also observed in the CR group, and it was suggested to be an adaptive response due to diminished fat. “Fur has properties that insulate animals to retain warmth,” Kowaltowski said. “We believe this is an adaptation present in mammals. Those that eat less have less fat, and they need more fur or body hair as thermal insulation.” Three times more blood vessels were seen in the CR mice, which increased blood flow to the skin. Differences in skin cell metabolism between groups were also noted, and in the obese mice, signs of premature aging arose. “The change in vasoconstriction helped the slimmer mice stay warm, and their skin also remained young,” Kowaltowski said.

To confirm that the extra fur was keeping the CR mice warm, the researchers shaved parts of the skin in both groups during the second stage of the study. “We shaved the mice and observed their evolution for one month,” Kowaltowski said. The researchers measured the loss of body heat and found that thicker fur did indeed help the mice retain warmth. “CR mice lost muscle mass and became lethargic,” Kowaltowski said. “This metabolic change directly resulted from the loss of body heat to the environment. The mice were unable to live well without fur.”

Additionally, both groups had their skin colored blue to examine if there was a difference in fur thickness, and the results showed that the PD mice had thinner fur compared to the CR mice. “They lost less fur, and their fur remained thick for longer. This could be an adaptation to avoid energy expenditure on growing fur,” Kowaltowski said. “These discoveries are particularly significant since they reveal not just a pronounced effect of the CR diet on the skin but also an adaptive mechanism to deal with the reduced insulation due to skin changes under conditions of lower caloric intake.”

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Defending the Liver

Kowaltowski and colleagues also revealed that a restricted calorie diet might protect the liver from a heart attack (short-term ceasing of blood flow). “When we compared mice fed ad libitum with mice fed a CR diet, we found a huge difference,” Kowaltowski said. “Approximately 25% of the liver was damaged in the former group, and only 1% was damaged in the latter.” The research design suspended roughly 70% of blood flow to the liver, for 40 minutes to stimulate a heart attack. This event increased tissue calcium and created a collapse of mitochondria functioning and termination of individual liver cells.

“Calcium is important to regulate mitochondrial metabolism and increase ATP [adenosine triphosphate, the molecule that stores energy] production. However, an excessive amount of calcium causes the organelles to stop working properly. Therefore, our hypothesis was that the observed benefit of the diet was related to an increase in the capacity of the mitochondria to capture calcium from the intracellular medium without ceasing to produce energy,” said Sergio Menezes-Filho, a researcher at IQ-USP and first author of the article. To interpret the mechanisms involved and to explore the hypothesis, in vitro experiments were conducted by segregating mitochondria from both mice groups and locating it in an incubation medium with a fluorescent probe that radiated brighter as calcium levels increased. The CR mice were again fed 60% of the control mice’s intake while the control group was fed PD.

“We added a small amount of calcium to the medium, and the fluorescence intensified. As the mitochondria captured the calcium, the brightness diminished. We added a little more. When the mitochondria reached maximum calcium uptake capacity, calcium began returning to the incubation medium, and fluorescence increased even without the addition of more calcium,” Menezes-Filho explained. The researchers detected that, without functional impairment, the mitochondria in the PD mice absorbed nearly 70% less calcium and had few ATP molecules compared to the CR mice.

According to Kowaltowski, “We do not yet know why the mitochondria of the mice fed ad libitum have less ATP, but this difference is certainly associated with their calcium uptake capacity.” “When we artificially matched the ATP levels in both groups by adding ATP to control mitochondria or reducing it in CR mitochondria, calcium uptake also became equal.” The objective of the research is to explore the effects of a restricted calorie diet on different bodily tissues. “Simply telling people to eat less is not working. Obesity has become a global epidemic. We are trying to understand how CR acts in the organism and which molecules are involved to identify targets for preventing or treating diseases associated with weight gain and age,” Kowaltowski said.

**** I hesitated to post this research in the event someone may read it and use it as a reason to restrict calories. As one who has been in recovery from Anorexia Nervosa for 4 years (I struggled for almost 20 years), restricting calories for the reasons that you have will only make you more unhappy in the end. If you are struggling, please get help by clicking here or talk to a trusted friend or family member or contact me!

Adapted from: 

  1. Maria Fernanda Forni, Julia Peloggia, Tárcio T. Braga, Jesús Eduardo Ortega Chinchilla, Jorge Shinohara, Carlos Arturo Navas, Niels Olsen Saraiva Camara, Alicia J. Kowaltowski. Caloric Restriction Promotes Structural and Metabolic Changes in the SkinCell Reports, 2017; 20 (11): 2678 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.08.052
  2. Sergio L. Menezes-Filho, Ignacio Amigo, Fernanda M. Prado, Natalie C. Ferreira, Marcia K. Koike, Isabella F.D. Pinto, Sayuri Miyamoto, Edna F.S. Montero, Marisa H.G. Medeiros, Alicia J. Kowaltowski. Caloric restriction protects livers from ischemia/reperfusion damage by preventing Ca 2 -induced mitochondrial permeability transitionFree Radical Biology and Medicine, 2017; 110: 219 DOI: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2017.06.01

 

Nutritional Nugget

Spice up your meals (and your life)! Flavor foods by adding herbs and spices, rather than salt. You can buy fresh or dried herbs and spices. Better yet, grow your own!

WOD Nugget

Miscreant: A person who has done something wrong or unlawful

*Notice the “Mis?” It’s us women who have no limits!  ­

Inspirational  Nugget
Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful and magical person that your are. - Mandy Hale
“We suffer, not because we are bad or deserve to be punished, but because we mistakenly take change to always be permanent, we suffer. Because we mistake our flaws and “oops” for unchangables characterists and actions, we suffer.
Because we mistake that the “grass is greener on the other side, we suffer. And we remain stagnant in situations, with habits that continuously bring us sorrow.”
~Me

How to Beat Back Cravings When Just Seeing Sweets Makes You Lust for Them

Do you get “weak in the willpower” when office donuts arrive? Ever scarfed down that last slice or two of your favorite cake, or a homemade brownie, or that leftover Halloween candy that your colleagues keep bringing in to work after you’ve checked your hunger level and told self, “nope, not hungry at all?” Then, I’m going to assume that you are well aware that sweat treats, when insight, can lead to severe sugar cravings. Foods that are bathed primarily in fat, sugar, flavors, and additives are known as hyper-palatable, and these foods release dopamine, a neurotransmitter released when neurons are triggered. Dopamine is the driving factor to your consumption of that sweet treat staring at you.

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“A lot of people don’t make the connection that there’s something physiological happening when they see hyper-palatable foods,” says Eliza Kingsford, a psychotherapist. “This is not a signal that your body is hungry or needs nutrients; instead, it is a response to dopamine.” It is possible; however, to control cravings. Walking past the cookie jar or the ice cream isle can be bearable with a few tips and tricks.

Step 1: Keep moving

Cut ties with those yummy desserts. Instead of watching your favorite Food Network show, put in a non-food movie. See caramel and chocolate while surfing the net? Click on the link to pay bills in your favorites bar. The candy jar at work? Don’t walk past it and if you have to, phone a friend.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as out of sight, out of mind,” says Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet. “Distancing yourself can lessen the craving.”

Step 2: Distract yourself

You made it out alive after passing the cookie jar and not giving in, but you still have a sweet tooth craving, so what do you do? You set the mind on anything besides sugar, suggests Gans. Phone a friend, study something (there is always new research to be learned), brush your teeth. “You want to do anything besides sitting there and thinking about the food,” says Gans.

Step 3: Get mindful

It is inevitable that situations and events will arise where you can’t turn or run away from food, like a mad person; this is when mindfulness comes in handy. Take a breath, slow down, and get in touch with how the craving feels. Is the desire really what you want? The choice is yours. Image result for How to Beat Back Cravings When Just Seeing Sweets Makes You Lust for Them

Step 4: Relish every bite

Unfortunately, this step doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re like me and have ever devoured an entire pint or more of cookie dough ice cream or any ice cream or any sweet bite, then you are likely in the “unfortunate” category. However, if you have the willpower to stop after that small bite, I truly admire you, and you are exempt from the “unfortunate” class! For the rest of us, try to keep your attention on the mouthfeel and sweetness. If you want to make it more pleasurable, shout from the rooftops, “I love how the frosting and whipped cream melts on my tongue, and that cake is so moist!”

Step 5: Set realistic guidelines

Ok, you know you’re heading into a temptation zone, like Halloween; however, surrendering yourself to the candy jar or the Halloween stash brought in by the youngens probably won’t work. So, make a few rules, such as one small piece daily and don’t veer from that rule.

Step 6: Make a negative association

Are you triggered by fluffy pancakes or melting ice cream sandwich ads on TV? Consider the reality behind those commercials, says Kingsford: “There are billions of dollars poured into the marketing industry to elicit food cravings,” she says. “But what you see in those images is sprayed-on lacquer, crazy chemicals to make foods melt a certain way, dyes and markers, and weird lighting. Would you eat that? No, that’s disgusting.”

Step 7: Reflect on how you will feel if you give in

Ask yourself,  “Do I really want this sugar bomb?” If yes, then ask, “Will I feel shame and guilt if I eat it?” If you are still stuck, go back to question 1 “Do I really, really want this sweet goody?” After you have made it this far into the thought process, your mind is ready to move to the next subject and say “toodles” to that dessert.

The finale: Keep a healthier version of a favorite treat on hand.

If your mouth waters every time your co-worker opens a bag of M&Ms, try packing your own clean treat, so you don’t feel deprived, such as a granola bar, yogurt, fruit. And if it’s baked goods you crave, bring a homemade version of the “clean” treat sweetened with maple syrup instead of refined sugar.

You can do! Have faith and believe in yourself and know one set back is not a lifetime of regret. You are human so live life and enjoy it! You never know when the next challenge will hit.

Nutritional Nugget

Take grains on the go! Popcorn, whole-grain rice cakes, and crackers are convenient, on-the-go snacks. Be sure to make at least half your grains whole.

WODal Nugget

Invigorate: To give strength and/or energy to something or someone

Inspirational Nugget

And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, "This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!" And each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "No. This is what's important." - Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You

“Pleasant and unpleasant situations are both part of our lives that is inevitable.”

~ Me

 

Should you be drinking kombucha?

Soft drink sales are falling, but kombucha sales are rising! Homebrewers have been producing this favored fermented drink for thousands of years, and increasingly we see kombucha on the drink menus at restaurants, on tap in cafes and health food stores, and in supermarkets. So what is it? Is it good for us? Is all kombucha created equal????

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What is kombucha, exactly?

Traditionally, it is a drink produced by fermenting sweet tea, resulting in a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (S.C.O.B.Y.). During the process, sugar is converted from yeast and produces alcohol. The bacteria then convert the alcohol to organic acids, such as acetic acid, and the lightly effervescent, mildly sour, refreshing drink, kombucha, is created. You often find it bottled in flavors like ginger, passionfruit, lemon, and raspberry. Kombucha is touted, not only for its low sugar content but also for its health benefits, such as stimulating the immune system, preventing cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

And with Coca-Cola buying into the kombucha craze, it’s only going to increase in mainstream popularity.

Is it good for me?

With all the hype, it’s understandable to wonder if kombucha is something you should be drinking on a regular basis. There are many reported beneficial effects of kombucha, and some brands even suggest you should drink a bottle each day to reap the benefits.

Kombucha certainly has a lot going on:

  • It contains live cultures of bacteria and yeast, which can act as probiotics, and studies have concluded that these live microorganisms may benefit their host by protecting against diseases, improving digestion, and enhancing immune function.
    The organic acids produced during the fermentation process have been shown to slow the growth of pathogenic bacteria, such as Staph aureus, Salmonella, and E. coli.
  • Because Kombucha is made from tea, it contains polyphenols (naturally occurring plant chemicals) known as catechins, which have antioxidant properties and can protect or act against some cancers, tumors, and unwanted genetic changes.

Kombucha is a potential source for a range of bioactive components, and these components can significantly differ based on the quantity and types of sugar and tea used, the microorganisms presents, and fermenting temperature and time.
Whether these bioactive components make it into the gut in sufficient numbers to have a beneficial impact is up for debate and varies based on an individuals gut flora. According to senior research scientist Dr. Michael Conlon, who specializes in diet and gut health, “The health potential of probiotics more generally can vary depending on the number and type of microbes, what you consume them with, and the composition of your gut microflora. It’s likely the number of microbes in kombucha would be much lower than what you might see in a commercial probiotic product.” He added that “fermentation generates certain types of acid and other bioactive compounds that can be beneficial, but whether they get through to the large bowel so that a benefit can be gained is unknown.”

Research regarding the claimed benefits has mostly been studied on animals. Conlon continues with “there’s a lack of scientific evidence from human clinical trials to support the claims, and more research is needed.” Image result for should you be drinking kombucha

But, what about the sugar?

Throughout the fermentation process, most of the sugar is consumed by the yeast, and any residual left is based on fermenting time. As per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a product can only be labeled “low sugar” if it contains 25% less sugar that it’s original brand or no more than 0.5g to be labeled “sugar-free.” The sugar content per an 8 oz bottle of most unflavored kombucha products is roughly 2-6g. Those that favor more on the sweeter side are still a better choice; when compared to the standard soft drink, Coca-Cola (39g sugar per 12oz), Orange Juice (9g per 3.5oz), Gatorade (6g per 3.5 oz), Lipton Mango Ice Tea (11g per 8.5oz), Glaceau Vitamin Water (32g per 20oz). Sugary drinks provide excess calories, and excess calories may lead to obesity, weight gain, some types of cancer, type-2-diabetes, and heart disease, to name a few. Therefore, the increased availability of lower sugar alternatives, like kombucha, can make a real difference, and for someone with a coke-a-day habit that adds up to a whopping 12,700g.

Does it contain alcohol?

Some alcohol remains in kombucha after the fermentation process, but it’s usually in trace amounts, and because it is sold as a soft drink it needs to comply with state-based alcohol legislation and labeled with its alcohol content (less than 0.5% alcohol by volume in the United States). However, controlling the fermentation to achieve a product with just enough acidity and sweetness, and ensuring the alcohol content meets state-based regulations is a balancing act, one that’s particularly tricky when producing on a large scale. There have been occurrences where the alcohol content went a little wild, and products were recalled. In 2010, the grocery chain, Whole Foods Market, (now owned by Amazon), recalled all kombucha products on its shelves including multimillion-dollar brand leader GT’s Kombucha, when samples tested were found to be more alcoholic than labeled.

When kombucha is not getting recalled, its minimal alcohol content can be a significant drawcard. The non-alcoholic options may be limited in pubs and bars, you may not like soft drinks and get tired of drinking juice and sparkling water, so Kombucha may be a good alternative. Although it is low in alcohol, its tart, lightly acidic flavor profile and palate-cleansing properties make it a drink that readily complements food, much like wine. Who knows, maybe you can reduce your alcohol consumption by pairing kombucha with your favorite foods instead of that glass of wine (but, let me know how that works out if you do make the swap).

Should I drink it?

Kombucha may be touted as ‘an immortal health elixir, a ‘living superfood’ that’s ‘rich in antioxidants and acids, and has the potential for containing beneficial health properties. But there is no guarantee that these features directly translate into actual health benefits or that drinking it will ‘make you feel great.’ A claim that ‘it harmonizes your body, mind and spirit’ is puffery. However, if you like the taste, you’re looking for an exciting alternative to alcohol or sugary soft drinks, or you don’t mind the price tag (roughly $5-10 per 16oz bottle in the supermarket), kombucha may be the drink for you.

Is all kombucha created equal?

Currently, there is no standard definition for kombucha, so products sold can vary widely. Compared to traditional recipes, kombucha sold in supermarkets, etc. have little similarities. Producers have gone into “overdrive” in production because of high demand. To make sure you “get what you pay for,” check drink labels and educate yourself:

  • Ingredients? If you see live cultures floating at the top, that is a good indicator the drink is made from a S.C.O.B.Y. but take caution with ingredients like “kombucha extract.”
  • Reefer? Refrigeration prevents further fermentation, which can affect the taste and produce more alcohol, so if the kombucha you buy does not require refrigeration, it may have been pasteurized. While this can help control the alcohol content and extend shelf life, the drink will likely have fewer active microorganisms as a result. Always refrigerate the fermented beverage before consumption, unless it has been pasteurized. However, although yeast has been filtered and the alcohol content is stabilized, at warmer temperatures, any remaining yeast, and other microbes can still grow and be active, posing a health risk.
  • ETOH content? Research the company to see how often they sample their product’s alcohol contents. Some companies may check the content of each batch or less frequently, such as once a year.
  • Added sweeteners? One of the main ingredients needed to make kombucha is sugar, but this is mostly used up during fermentation. Some products may contain non-nutritive sweeteners erythritol and stevia that make the kombucha taste sweeter without adding calories, which may or may not appeal depending on your stance on added sweeteners.
  • Outrageous health claims? Therapeutic claims are not permitted on foods, and if a company wants to state on the label that its kombucha has a specific health effect, the claim has to be one of those pre-approved under the FDA. The product, also, must meet certain conditions, and if you see a claim that “seems to good to be true,” it probably is.

Is Kombucha safe?

According to U.S. federal laws and regulations, kombucha is considered a traditional food. In other words, it does not require pre-approval, and there are no specific quality controls or manufacturing practices for it (as long as the alcohol content is not above 0.5% or continues to ferment after bottling), other than the general requirement under the FDA that it be safe and suitable. In 1995 the possibility of toxic effects and acidosis when consumed in large quantities became a public concern after two incidents in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); however, both parties had severe pre-existing conditions that made them susceptible to acidosis. The investigations concluded that kombucha is not harmful when consumed in small quantities (roughly 4 ounces daily) unless of course, you have pre-existing conditions. In 2010, some commercial producers were forced to recall unpasteurized versions from grocery store shelves when the alcohol content exceeded 0.5%.

Yes, kombucha poses a higher risk when not prepared correctly but most forms of this fermented food represent a relatively low threat. The popularity and commercialization of the brewed drinks are increasing and with growth and the “popular vote,” comes work in promoting best manufacturing practices.

Nutritional Nugget

How do you like your apples? Sweet, crisp apples can be paired with almost anything! Dip into peanut butter for a quick snack or toss in a salad for that perfectly sweet crunch.

WODal Nugget

Melisma: A group of notes sung to one syllable of text

Inspirational Nugget

God's plan is always the best. Sometimes the process is painful and hard. But don't forget that when God is silent, He is doing something good for you.

 

Pain is an inevitable part of human life, as is pleasure. The difference with pain; however, is – we have to grow up to the fact, mature to the fact, and relax to the fact that there will be pain in our lives, but there should also be a good balance of pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 WAYS TO EAT HEALTHY ON THE CHEAP

JUST VISIT YOUR LOCAL HEALTH FOOD STORE, AND THE PROSPECT OF EATING HEALTHIER MAY SEEM WAY, WAY, WAY OUT OF YOUR BUDGET.

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And, at times, it can be. If you trade your favorite packaged foods for healthier versions, you could see your grocery budget go up by at least a 1/3 (it might even double). You can’t stop paying rent, mortgage or bills just so you can eat exotic foods found in the health food store (or I would not suggest you do)…so that dietary change you’re aching to do (and your body might be hurting for it too…) might seem utterly impossible. To start making dietary changes (healthy changes) on a minimal food budget, begin by slowly removing packaged and processed foods from your daily food regimen, and as your willpower and budget allow, incorporate more whole, fresh foods. Before you know it, your grocery cart will be filled to the brim with healthy, whole foods and you will see that the dietary change you were aching to do, has come true!

Yes, in a perfect world this may happen, but then you wake up from your dream and remember that money doesn’t grow on trees! For a majority of us, we have to live on a budget. Sometimes that budget grows and sometimes, well, it shrinks. Just remember not to continue shopping with the “growing budget” when you are on the “shrinking budget” and drain your bank account. So, when you’re not dreaming, and in the real world, how do you eat healthy while on a teeny weeny budget? Is it possible to buy enough groceries to feed two people for a week for less than $20? If you are conservative enough, then yes, it is, and if you do it for long enough where it becomes a skill when you do get that “dream” budget, you will (or hopefully) continue to shop as you did on the “shrinking budget.” So, what are the frugal ways to eat healthier?

1. Make a grocery list.

This simple task can really help reduce a lot of extraneous spending throughout the week. One missing ingredient or staple can mean a few more take-out lunches or dinners. So make it as easy as possible, and have a notepad on your fridge. As soon as you notice a staple is running low (less than a week left), add it to the list. Therefore, when it’s grocery-time, you don’t have to search through the fridge and cupboards to find what’s needed. You will more than likely only need to add some fresh produce and voila, your list is made.

2. Have important staples on hand.

Meal planning can be challenging. You may do great at planning out the first few days only to find yourself throwing something together by the end of the week, with what’s left in the fridge. And this can work, why? Because you already have certain staples on hand, such as:

  • Good oils: Extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, and sesame oil
  • Frozen veggies: They fill in the gaps if you’re running low at the end of the week
  • Beans: Dried or canned
  • Canned tuna or canned wild salmon
  • Whole grains: Rice, oats, quinoa
  • Condiments: Mustard, soy sauce (low sodium), balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, miso
  • Nut butter’s and hummus (excellent protein options)

Many lovely dinners can be made from these ingredients. So if these are not common staples, you may consider adding them to your new healthy diet repertoire.

3. Buy Seasonally.

A $6 container of strawberries in January or $4/lb for apples in June is not budget friendly. Buying “in season” can really reduce your grocery bill and your body will love it. Buy berries and tomatoes in the summer and freeze for use all year long.

4. Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat.

This will really stretch your budget, and it might also allow you to buy organic or free-range instead of conventionally grown meats. Buy bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or legs instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Buy stewing beef instead of tenderloin and pull out your crockpot that’s collecting dust (or find one at a thrift shop). It will make that tougher cut absolutely delicious.

5. Enjoy More Vegetarian Meals.

This one step can save you SO much money, and it can be better for the planet! Beans and lentils are significantly cheaper sources of protein than meat. If you’re a heavy meat eater, try just 1 or 2 vegetarian lunches or dinners and watch your grocery bill go down!

6. Buy Whole Foods.

Instead of packaged or processed “healthy” foods. The most expensive meals at health food stores are the healthier versions of packaged foods (cereal, mac ‘n’ cheese, pizza, veggie burgers, etc.). Buy whole foods and try some new recipes. Use these packaged foods as an occasional treat.

7. Buy Grains and Beans in Bulk.

Bulk stores or bulk sections at your favorite health food store is a great place to save lots of money on your grocery bill. This is especially true for the more expensive grains like quinoa. Organic spices are also a great find in a bulk section; organic quality for the price of conventional.

8. Cook at Home.

If you’re currently eating out or even just buying coffee a few times per week, keep track of how much you’re spending. $10 here and $30 there can add up over a month, and this extra cash can really go far at the grocery store. Once you know how much you’re spending, you can budget for take-out or coffee treats you really want and put the rest into your grocery budget. If your favorite treat is wine (then we really need to get together for a glass!), enjoy a few glasses a week but ensure to spend any extra money on food quality first, then the booze. Your body undoubtedly prefers a good breakfast omelet over a hangover. And once you have high-quality foods and there is still some “bucks” left, then go ahead and buy that extra bottle!food-plate-morning-breakfast.jpg

If YOU have additional tips and tricks on how to stretch your grocery budget, please send me your ideas and share them in the comments! Happy food budgeting.

Adapted from: Lisa Kilgour, nutritionist

Nutrition Nugget

Make it easy! Keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen table or countertop. It makes it easier to choose a healthy snack when it’s in plain sight!

WOD Nugget

Picayune: A small coin of little value, especially a 5-cent piece.

Inspirational Nugget 

Don't be a beggar of love, be a donor of love, beautiful people are not always good, but good people are always beautiful.

“This path entails uncovering three qualities of being human, three basic qualities that have always been with us but perhaps have gotten buried and been almost forgotten. These qualities are natural intelligence, natural warmth, and natural openness. If we are not obscuring our intelligence with anger, self-pity or craving, we know what will help and what will make things worse. Natural warmth is our shared capacity to love, to have empathy, to have a sense of humor. It is also our capacity to feel gratitude and appreciation and tenderness. The third quality of basic goodness is natural openness, the spaciousness of our skylike minds. We can connect with that openness at any time. For instance, right now, for three seconds, just stop reading and pause.”

-Pema ChÖdrÖn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Bacon Bad For You, or Good? The Salty, Crunchy Truth

Many people have a love-hate relationship with bacon. They love the taste and crunchiness but are still worried that all that processed meat and fat may be harming them. There are many myths in the history of nutrition that haven’t stood the test of time, but is the idea that bacon causes harm one of them? 

 

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How is Bacon Made?

There are different types of bacon and the final product can vary between manufacturers. Bacon is most commonly made from pork, the meat from pigs, although you can also find “bacon” made from the meat of other animals like turkey. Bacon typically goes through a curing process, where the meat is soaked in a solution of salt, nitrates, spices and sometimes sugar. In some cases, the bacon is smoked afterward, and the curing is done to preserve the meat. The salt solution makes the meat an unfriendly environment for bacteria to live in and the nitrates also fight bacteria and help the bacon preserve its red color.

Bacon is a processed meat, but the amount of processing and the ingredients used vary between manufacturers.

Bacon is Loaded With Fats… But They’re “Good” Fats.

The fats in bacon are roughly 50% monounsaturated, 40% saturated, with 10% cholesterol. A large part of the monounsaturated fats is oleic acid, which is the same fatty acid that olive oil is praised for and generally considered “heart-healthy.” Saturated fat, in moderation, may not be as harmful as once thought and cholesterol in the diet does not affect cholesterol in the blood, so a bite or two of bacon may not be that harmful.

Depending on what the animal ate, about 10% are polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly Omega-6). These are the “bad” fats in bacon because most people already eat too much of these fats. However, if you choose bacon from pastured pigs that ate a natural diet, then this won’t be much of an issue. But if your pigs are commercially fed, with plenty of soy and corn (like most pigs are), then the bacon may contain enough Omega-6 to cause problems, if not consumed in moderation.

Bacon is Fairly Nutritious.

Meat tends to be very nutritious and bacon is no exception. A typical 100g portion of cooked bacon contains:

  • 37 grams of high-quality animal protein.
  • Lots of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12.
  • 89% of the RDA for Selenium.
  • 53% of the RDA for Phosphorus.
  • Decent amounts of the minerals iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

Bacon is also fairly high in sodium, which makes sense given how it is cured with sodium during processing. Some studies show that excess sodium can elevate blood pressure and raise the risk of heart disease, while other studies show that too little sodium leads to the opposite result (If you are currently on the “western” diet, then consuming too little sodium should not be an issue.). If you’re already avoiding the biggest sources of sodium in the diet (processed, packaged foods) then I don’t think you need to worry about the amount of sodium in bacon. For healthy people who don’t have high blood pressure, there is no evidence that eating a bit of sodium causes harm.

Nitrates, Nitrites, and Nitrosamines.

Now that we know saturated fat, cholesterol and normal amounts of sodium are usually nothing to worry about (in moderation), this leaves us with the nitrates, which our bodies are filled with. Previous studies linked nitrates with cancer; however, these studies have since been refuted. They are not just found in bacon but also in veggies, which are the largest dietary source of nitrates.

Our saliva also contains massive amounts of nitrates, and these compounds are natural parts of the human bodily processes. There is some concern that during high heat cooking, the nitrates can form compounds called nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens. However, vitamin C is now frequently added to the curing process, which effectively reduces the nitrosamine content. The harmful effects of nitrosamines are outweighed by potential benefits. But, dietary nitrates may also be converted to Nitric Oxide, which is associated with improved immune function and cardiovascular health.

Other Potentially Harmful Compounds.

When it comes to cooking meat, we need to find balance. Too much is bad, and too little can be worse. If we use too much heat and burn the meat, it will form harmful compounds like Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Heterocyclic Amines, which are associated with cancer. On the other hand, some meats may contain pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. For this reason, meat needs to be cooked well enough to kill the bacteria, so cook your bacon properly. It should be crunchy, but not burnt.

What The Studies Say.

There are concerns when it comes to bacon and other processed meats. Many observational studies do show a link between consumption of processed meat, cancer, and heart disease. In particular, processed meat has been associated with cancer of the colon, breast, liver, lungs, and others. There is also an association between processed meat and cardiovascular disease. A large meta-analysis of prospective studies on meat consumption did show that while regular meat had no effect, processed meat was significantly associated with both heart disease and diabetes.

Of course, those who eat processed meat are also more likely to smoke, exercise less and live an overall unhealthier lifestyle than people who don’t. People who are eating processed meat in these studies may be eating them with pancakes, soft drinks or beer and might even have ice cream for dessert afterward (and there is nothing wrong with a scoop every now and then!). Therefore, we can’t draw too many conclusions from these findings. Correlation does not equal causation. However, these studies should not be ignored, because the associations are consistent and they are fairly strong.

How to Make The Right Choices.  Image result for Is Bacon Bad For You, or Good? The Salty, Crunchy Truth

As with most other types of meats, the quality of the final product depends on a lot of things, including what the animals ate and how the product was processed. The best bacon is from pasture-raised pigs that ate a diet that is appropriate for pigs. If you can, buy bacon from local farmers that used traditional processing methods. If you don’t have the option of purchasing your bacon directly from the farmer, then eat supermarket bacon at your own risk. Generally speaking, the less artificial ingredients in a product, the better.

If you want to make your own bacon, you can buy pork belly and then process or prepare the bacon yourself. There are several studies showing that bacon is linked to cancer and heart disease, but all of them are so-called epidemiological studies, which can not prove causation. Overall and based on studies that I have read, bacon is not harmful when consumed in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle (OR when staying clear of refined carbohydrates and sugars). But it is a processed meat after all, and at the end of the day, you have to make your own choice. Do you think including this awesome food in your life is worth the risk? I know I am not giving up this crunchy yumminess! What better than a BLT?? However, YOU must decide, so form your own opinion based on scientific studies. 

Adapted from: Kris Gunnars, BSc

Nutrition Nugget

Separate, do not cross contaminate! Remember to separate foods in order to not cross contaminate when cooking. Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

WOD  Nugget

Garrulous: Excessively talkative, especially on trivial matters

Inspiration Nugget

7 Rules for a Happy Life: 1. Think of others more than yourself. 2. Laugh every day. 3. Spend less money than you make. 4. Be an encourager NOT a critic. 5. Pray when you feel like worrying. 6. Give thanks when you feel like complaining. 7. Keep going when you feel like quitting.

“We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves – the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds – never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.”

~Pema ChÖdrÖn