Monday, December 14, 2009

Heart Healthy Holiday Cookies

It's the time of year to share both baking ideas and baked goods with others. Here are some ways you can save on calories and fat while still maintaining the taste of your goods:

Prepare your cookie dough batter. Make some substitutions. For instance, for oatmeal cookies you can save on saturated fats by substituting "heart healthy" margarine for butter. To increase the nutritional value, use unbleached instead of bleached flour. Add extra cinnamon in place of some brown sugar.

Prepare your cookie sheets. Use parchment paper instead of lightly greasing your cookie sheet. This will save calories while also reducing your fat content. It does not affect the taste, either.

Shape your dough. Shape the dough into canes, bells and stockings. This is done by moistening your hands with water, picking up some dough, and placing it onto the cookie sheet. Now, shape into your preferred item.

Bake. Bake the holiday-themed cookies per your recipe instructions.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

How To Use Hazelnuts

During the holiday season, in particular, there are a variety of nuts available on the marketplace. Someone recently asked me what to do with hazelnuts. First, in order to eat them, the hazelnuts must be shelled. Don't laugh, I had some students not know this. Here are some suggestions, an excerpt from one of my popular articles:

Add to cookie batter. Use hazelnuts instead of walnuts in a variety of cookies. The hazelnuts will be chewier and less porous than the walnuts. Hazelnuts are good in the following cookies: chocolate chip, peanut butter, shortbread and Russian tea cakes. They can also be added to sugar or butter cookies for a delightful surprise. Use a half hazelnut as decoration in a thumbprint cookie.

Use as a snack. If you are not in the mood for baking, simply chop up some shelled hazelnuts and munch on them as a snack. According to the American Heart Association, hazelnuts are considered heart-healthy foods since they contain a variety of antioxidants and unsaturated fats known as Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also protein-rich food sources. Eat them in moderation, however, since they are calorie and fat-laden.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Holiday Hummus

Instead of buying processed hummus, which may contain a variety of additives, make some at home. Nothing beats fresh! The addition of dark green herbs and red vegetables will provide extra holiday color to your festivities. It's easier than you may think.

½ cup raw, unhulled sesame seeds
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
4 large slices roasted red peppers
salt and pepper to taste

Lightly spritz a frying pan with oil. Cook the sesame seeds in the pan over medium heat. Cook until golden brown, which will be about five minutes.

Place toasted seeds into blender. Add remaining ingredients. Blend until you reach a creamy and smooth consistency. Take a sample and adjust spices and/or oil per your liking. You may want to add some more garlic, some Italian seasoning or sun-dried tomatoes. Or, add freshly chopped parsley or basil.

Serve on your favorite whole grain bread, bagel or cracker. Use as a dip at parties. This is a great potluck dish to share with others.

Store unused portion in airtight container in your refrigerator.

NOTE: If you don't want to cook the sesame seeds, you can simply buy some already made tahini. Tahini is sesame seeds and olive oil blended into a smooth consistency.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cheap and Easy Banana Jam

There are other ways to use those over-ripe bananas that usually go into either the garbage or banana bread. Try turning them into a delicious topping. This makes a healthy, low fat spread. Here's how...

1-2 ripe bananas, peeled

Mash the bananas in a small bowl. Add cinnamon and nutmeg per your taste. Keep mixing with fork until desired consistency is reached.

Store in a glass,covered container. Keep in refrigerator.

Spread onto toast, English muffin, crackers or bagel. You can make a peanut butter and jam sandwich for a taste treat. Dip some pita triangles into the spread.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Worried about scars and/or wrinkles? try this

Cocoa butter has been shown to help diminish both scars and wrinkles according to NHL retired goalkeeper, Johnny Bower.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Enjoying Pumpkin

It's that time of year. Pumpkin and squash are in season! Here is an easy and tasty way to enjoy pumpkin other than baked goods.

You need a fresh pie pumpkin for this recipe. Cutting into them may take more work than you'd like, but the taste is well worth it.

Mashed Pumpkin

2 cups pie pumpkin, cut into chunks
garlic powder taste
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup pineapple with juice
3 teaspoons yogurt

Cut the pumpkin. Remove the seeds and set aside. You can clean and roast them for snacks.

Steam the cut pumpkin until tender, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove the peels and discard.

Place cooked pumpkin into serving bowl or mixing bowl. Add pineapple, butter and plain yogurt. Mash all ingredients together with a fork or potato masher. Add garlic powder to taste. Adjust the pineapple juice and yogurt to your individual taste.

Serve warm as a side dish.

Note: For a taste similar to pumpkin pie, add a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee

It's that time of the year when thoughts of pumpkin and Halloween treats come around. A favorite is Pumpkin Spice Latte. Instead of spending espresso-type prices for a cup of coffee, here's a homemade version that can be easily followed.

16 ounces water
2 Tablespoons coffee, your choice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger

Pour the water into your coffee maker. Place a coffee filter into its proper place in the machine. Scoop the coffee in its compartment. Place the spices on top of the coffee.

Brew as directed. This recipe makes two servings of black, flavored coffee.

You can add milk, soy milk and/or sugar per your taste.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Natural Aging Remedies

Looking for ways to decrease your wrinkles? You are what you eat. Eat more healthy foods that decrease the aging process. Foods containing Vitamin C and linoleic acid are beneficial.

Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes) and vegetables like broccoli are high in Vitamin C. Other foods high in Vitamin C include berries such as blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. Or, take a supplement.

Linoleic acid is found in Omega-3 fatty acids. Foods containing high amounts of this acid include nuts and seeds like almonds, flax seeds, pistachios and walnuts. Cold water fish are also high in this. Enjoy salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel.


Source: USDA

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Heart Healthy Mashed Potatoes

Here is a tasty recipe that is both easy to make and delicious. The garlic is a natural remedy for lowering harmful cholesterol, or LDL, states the Mayo Clinic.

1 medium-sized potato, peeled and cubed
1 thin slice red or yellow onion
1 teaspoon butter or Omega-3 enriched margarine
2-3 tablespoons plain yogurt
garlic powder

Place vegetables into steamer. Steam about 8 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat and place into mixing bowl (or...into serving dish). Mash potatoes. Add in butter and yogurt as you reach your desired consistency. Sprinkle garlic powder in to taste.

Serve warm.

This recipe can also be made with the potato peels, if you desire. It is great with red potatoes. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nature's Mind Foods

Are you concerned about keeping your memory in tip top shape? There is a way to nourish your mind the natural way by eating certain foods that help your mind. Here are some of the best foods for aiding your brain's functioning.

Berries. Berries are great sources of antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage to brain cells. According to the Mayo Clinic, antioxidants have been shown to help protect against certain neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's and attention deficit disorders. Enhanced memory functioning is a byproduct of antioxidants. Berries include raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.

Coffee and tea. Finally, something positive about coffee. Recent studies have shown that those drinking three 8-ounce cups daily experienced less memory loss than those who didn't. Caffeine seems to be the main factor. Those who drank decaffeinated experienced a memory loss decline as compared to caffeinated drinkers.

Green Tea. We have all heard about the benefits of green tea, with its high antioxidant level. Green tea is high in polyphenols which can improve your cognitive dysfunction caused by stress. This helps to keep your brain healthy as you age.

Fish. The American Heart Association and Mayo Clinic have recommended eating two to three servings of fish weekly as part of a heart healthy diet. Fish contains many beneficial nutrients, the most prevalent being Omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids are found in cold water fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines, trout and albacore tuna. Omega 3 helps improve neurodegenerative conditions such as learning capacity, decrease behavioral problems and diminish dyslexia (reversing letters).

Dark green leafy vegetables. Spinach, collards, mustard greens and other leafy greens are high in Vitamin C and folic acid. These antioxidants are needed for a healthy memory, brain functioning, heightened learning and mood. Frozen spinach is as beneficial as the fresh version.

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The Mayo Clinic
The Better Brain Book, David Perlmutter, MD
101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, David Grotto, RD

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Importance of Reading Food Labels

It never ceases to surprise me how people buy products without reading the labels. Then, when the person consumes the product, ill health besets them. All the individual needed to do was know what they were consuming.

Reading product labels will give you insight into what ingredients are in the product. If you are allergic to peanuts, the food label will tell you whether or not the food you are considering buying actually contains peanuts. Or, it will state whether the food was processed in a peanut processing manufacturing plant. (This means that the factory produces other products that contain peanuts and bits of the peanuts might have gotten into the food you are considering purchasing).

Food labels will tell you the amount of fat the product contains. It will breakdown the fat into saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. This is important if you are monitoring your fat content.

Other things you can learn from reading a food label: sugar content, calories per serving (take note of what is considered a serving size), cholesterol, sodium (salt), carbohydrates, fiber, protein and ingredients. Ingredients are listed from the most prominent to the least used. (The first ingredient listed will be what the product contains the most of).

Labels will let you know whether those “healthy” energy drinks contain caffeine or other energy-producing ingredients. If you cannot tolerate caffeine, don't buy an energy drink that contains caffeine. This needs to be mentioned since a newsworthy piece lately centered around a lady who was surprised she ended up in the emergency room after drinking an energy drink. The energy drink contained caffeine. She didn't read the label. She thought the drink was “all natural” and “healthy” as the advertising claim stated. Caffeine is all-natural.

It was not that long ago that food labels did not exist on our products. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) initiated a grass roots operation to protect us consumers. Food manufacturing are now required to list the ingredients in the products they sell in our marketplace. Be appreciative of the fact that they do. There is a ways to go with the information these labels state. For the time being, however, they have come a long way. USE THEM. You are responsible for your health, no one else.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

What is Plain Soymilk?

When I think of plain soy milk, I think back to the “hippie days” when not many people drank it. Plain meant the ingredients were nothing but water and soybeans. It couldn't get much simpler than that.

With the recent popularity of soy foods come many changes within the ingredients. Everywhere you turn it seems there is another soy food choice. And, after reading the ingredients, some are not too healthy.

Plain now comes in varieties. Spare me. There is Plain Unsweetened. This consists of only filtered water and soybeans. Choose organic soybeans, if you can. Many times when I buy this, I simply add a little water to it. For my taste preference, straight from the container is too thick for me. You may be different.

There is soy milk marked 'Plain'. After purchasing this, I forgot to read the ingredients label. (OK, I made a mistake). This plain variety contained water, organic cane sugar and soybeans plus other stuff. In other words, it was sweetened Plain soy milk.

There is Plain Regular and Plain Low Fat. Unless you like drinking sweetened water, forgo the Plain Low fat. I hadn't tasted anything so unpalatable in ages. The Plain Regular was better, but still too sweet for my taste buds.

Personally, I think all this soy foods stuff has totally gotten out of hand. It can be very confusing to someone not used to eating any soy. After going to the marketplace and being bombarded with all the varieties available, it can be very intimidating. That is one of the main reasons people come to my classes, to learn about soy and how to use it.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Heart Healthy Breakfast Treat

The first meal of your day is important since it provides fuel to carry you through. Here is a fiber rich and tasty way to help your heart out. The cantaloupe is high in Vitamin C and fiber. The cottage cheese provides protein. And, the flax seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber...both essential for heart health. This recipe is also low in calories.

¼ cantaloupe, cubed and removed from skin
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
1 teaspoon flax seeds
sprinkling of cinnamon

Cut up the cantaloupe and place onto serving plate. Place the cottage cheese on top. Sprinkle with the flax seeds and cinnamon. Adjust the cinnamon per your taste.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Heart Healthy Fruity Oatmeal

Instead of simply eating a bowl of hot oatmeal with brown sugar (or other refined sugars) for breakfast, try this variation. It is all natural, adds extra sweetness and fiber.

Serves 1.

1/2 cup whole oats (oatmeal, quick or regular cooking variety)
1 cup water
1/4 small apple, peeled and diced
1-2 Tablespoons raisins or chopped dried prunes
sprinkling of cinnamon
low fat soy milk

Place water into saucepan on stove top. Cook over medium heat until water starts to boil. Add in oats, apple and dried fruit. Stir frequently. Bring to boil. Lower heat and cook until apples are tender.

Add more water as needed.

Pour into serving bowl. Sprinkle on cinnamon. Pour milk over oatmeal.

If you don't have apple, add fresh blueberries.


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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Heart Healthy Minestrone Soup

Heart healthy is the term given to foods that are known to help your cardiovascular system. The term was coined by the American Heart Association. Here's a soup that is rich in fiber and antioxidants, both essential in a heart healthy diet. Plus, the broth base is much lower in calories than any creamed soup.

As a way to get more nutrients and less calories, I developed this recipe. This soup is easy to make, quick and nutritious. It can be made in either a crockpot or dutch oven style pan. If cooked on the stovetop, the cooking process is much quicker.

Minestrone Soup

2- 15 ounce cans, tomatoes (one stewed and one plain)
1 cup V-8 juice (low sodium)
2 cups water
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup green beans, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup kidney beans, cooked
1/2 cup zucchini, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup cabbage, chopped
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or combo of thyme, rosemary and oregano)
1/4 macaroni, uncooked

Place all ingredients, except for macaroni,into dutch oven or crockpot. If in dutch oven, cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

If using crock pot, cook on high heat for 5 hours. Stir occasionally.

In both uses, add macaroni during last 1/4 of cooking time.

Serve with whole grain crackers or bread. The addition of a green salad with make a complete meal.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Learning about Garlic & Its Byproducts

One of my students did not understand garlic and products made out of it. So, simply put...

Garlic granules is processed garlic, with no added ingredients.

Garlic powder is garlic granules processed a step further. It
contains nothing but garlic.

Garlic salt is a mixture of garlic powder and salt.

Hope this helps.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

High Fiber Foods

One of the benefits of eating fiber is the fact it's a natural appetite suppressant. It provides us with a sense of fullness, which in turn, causes us to not want to eat as much.

Fiber is also known for requiring a lot of chewing. Chewing, it is said, causes us to not want to eat as much. Here's my scoop...

This morning I started my day with a bowl full of whole grain cold cereal. Kashi, to be exact. It was very tasty. And, it requiring a lot of chewing. No, wait. It wasn't a lot of chewing. It was so much chewing I almost fell asleep. My jaw hurt. I was pooped from chewing so much. Now, that's too much chewing for my blood.

As much as I may not like hot oatmeal, I'm returning to it. It doesn't require a lot of chewing and I don't get tired from wasting so much energy chowing down on it.

I'm pooped.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Get Physical

It's a well known fact that exercise is beneficial in more ways than one. If you are interested in increasing your physical activity, there are a number of ways to accomplish this without spending any money on gym memberships. For instance:

Walking. The American Heart Association recommends getting 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (such as walking) 5 days a week. You can walk at your own pace. Plus, it's convenient. Walking can be done outdoors or indoors. Many malls open their doors for mall walkers. Check your local community directory since there may be groups that get together for this purpose. Walking is cheap, also. The only cost is the money you pay for a good pair of walking shoes (an absolute necessity).

Household activities. Gardening is known to give a good workout. It increases your heart rate plus works your muscles. If you don't have a garden, join a gardening club and volunteer to maintain their gardens. Tasks such as household cleaning can provide a benefit. Vacuuming, washing and/or painting walls, rearranging furniture and cleaning all increase your heart rate.

Outdoor activities. Mow the lawn with a hand pushed mower. Clean the garage. Paint the exteriors. Power wash the deck. Varnish the deck.

Other. Park farther away from the store entrance, forcing you to walk further. Walk instead of taking the cab. If playing golf, walk instead of using a golf cart. Carry your own clubs.

These are just examples of how to increase your physical activity level.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Heart Healthy Yogurt

Instead of buying those prepared and packaged fruit yogurts, try this recipe. It is quick, easy and can be altered to your preference.

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup pineapple wedges
2-3 T pineapple juice
1/2 t flax seeds

If using canned pineapple, buy the variety in its own juice. Avoid the syrupy variety since this has a high added sugar content.

The flaxseeds provide a crunch texture, while also containing fiber.
You can adjust the amount of both pineapple and juice to suit your taste.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Heart Healthy Breakfast Sandwich

Start your day with a nutritious low fat breakfast sandwich that is high in protein. It's easy and quick to make.

1 hard boiled egg, shelled
1 whole wheat English muffin, toasted
1 tablespoon low fat cream cheese
flax seeds
garlic powder

Cut the English muffin in half. Toast it.
Spread the cream cheese on each muffin.
Slice the egg white and place onto the muffin. (Set aside, or toss, egg yolk).
Sprinkle with flax seeds.
Sprinkle with garlic powder and a touch of salt.

For variety, you can prepare one half of your English muffin like above. After covering with cream cheese, slice some fresh banana onto it. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Forget Those Commercially Prepared "Healthy Yogurts"

Don't let the mass food manufacturers fool you, those fruit flavored yogurts are not healthy for you. Many of them are nothing but candy bars disguised as “healthy yogurt”. I find it disgusting and disconcerning to read the labels on these foods. If sugar isn't listed as the first ingredient, it is probably the second or third ingredient.

Commercially prepared, fruit yogurt varieties could be sweetened with ingredients such as sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin, corn syrup solids, aspartame, saccharin or fruit juice. The fruit juice may be one fruit or a combination of a variety of fruits with additional sweeteners.

Either can make your own version of fruit yogurt without the added nonsense just mentioned. It is also much cheaper and healthier than the commercially prepared varieties. Here's how...

Buy a container of plain yogurt. (PLAIN without any vanilla or other flavorings). The low fat variety will save you calories and fat content.

Your chosen variety of fruit.
Mix together. It's that easy.
One of my favorites recipes....

½ cup plain yogurt
5-7 bing cherries, chopped
½ teaspoon flaxseeds
3” banana, sliced and quartered
pineapple juice (adjust for taste)

Mix together in serving bowl. It makes a great breakfast.

NOTE: If you want to, blend all these ingredients together for a fruit smoothie. You may want to add more yogurt or juice, you decide on what consistency you want your smoothie.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Curious about Tempeh?

Curious about tempeh and how to use it? Here is an easy and quick way to make a tasty meal with it. It is from my cookbook, Cooking with Soy. My students have loved this...

Tempeh Sloppy Joes

½ block of tempeh, crumbled
¼ cup onion, chopped
spaghetti sauce, your choice
¼ t garlic powder
¼ t Italian seasoning
whole grain hamburger bun or large roll cut in half

Lightly spritz a frying pan with oil, or use a nonstick pan. Place the tempeh and onions into the pan. Add garlic powder and Italian seasoning.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until tempeh is brown around the edges and onions are translucent. Add spaghetti sauce. The amount of sauce will depend upon your liking.

Stir and heat thoroughly. Scoop onto the bread of your choice.

NOTE: You can make an open face sandwich out of this recipe by simply scooping the tempeh mixture onto one piece of bread.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Natural Occurring Caffeine

As a way to get out of the heat, I embarked with my laptop to my nearest local java establishment. After deciding upon a relaxing cup of iced jasmine green tea, I started sipping its tasty delights. It was delicious.

After relishing in the first two sips, however, something troubling began. My heart started racing faster than a locomotive. It was frightening. I sat for about 10 minutes while my heart calmed down. Then, I felt mildly light headed. This was another sign that I needed to return this “healthy” drink.

The proprietor notified me that the tea I ordered contained “naturally occurring caffeine” and it was attempting to rid my body of toxins. That was causing my rapid and irregular heartbeats. That doesn't sound logical to me. Hmm...

I have had jasmine green tea in bulk and brewed it at home. I had no negative health consequences at that time. So, I figured it would be good this time around.

These heart palpitations were worse than any caffeinated beverages I have ever had, including coffee.

Whatever it is, whether the brand or manner of brewing, I am hesitant to order teas not brewed at home anymore.

Just thought I'd throw this out there in case anyone else experiences the same thing.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mango Pudding

Sometimes, no matter what happens, people have preconceived notions about tofu. There are ways to enjoy this soy food without it overwhelming your taste buds. Here is a very easy to prepare recipe that has always been a kick in my classes:

Mango Pudding
1 medium mango, peeled and sliced
1 cup tofu, silken variety

Cut off a slice of tofu and crumble it into a measuring cup. Or, if you are not concerned about measuring (which I am not), simply crumble the tofu into a blender. Add the sliced mango.

Puree until smooth. You may want to adjust the amount of tofu to arrive at your desired pudding-like consistency.

Spoon pureed mixture into serving bowls. If desired, sprinkle with coconut. Chill prior to serving.

Option: Add a ½ teaspoon of fresh mint leaves when pureeing for a refreshing taste treat.

Recipe taken by my cookbook, Cooking With Soy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Natural Decaffeinating

It turns out there is a natural way to decaffeinate any tea you are drinking. You can do itself in your own kitchen, which is the nicest part.

Found on In Pursuit of Tea, via Dr. Andrew Weil's newsletter....

Steep the tea for 45 seconds in hot water and then pour off the liquid. This removes up to 80 percent of the caffeine.

Add more hot water and steep as you normally would. The aroma and taste should not be affected.

How easy is that?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fresh Nutrient Rich Fruits

A health promoting dessert can be easily enjoyed by making a quick and simple fresh fruit salad. The USDA and American Heart Association have a list of 10 fruits that are known to be superfoods. Include them in one of your salads. All of the fruits are high in antioxidants and fiber.

If you have a farmer's market nearby, I recommend buying your fresh produce there. It'll give you a chance to meet the grower and learn new ways to enjoy the foods. Plus, you'll know exactly where your food is coming from. It can't get much better than that, in my opinion. Local farmers deserve all the support we can give them. When you get accustomed to the way food is supposed to taste, fresh from the unadulterated ground, you won't go back to supermarket foods.

Here's the fruit list, in no particular order:
* raspberries
* cherries (have you ever had a Rainier cherry?! OOOHH!)
* wild blueberries
* cranberries
* granny smith apples
* strawberries
* red delicious apples
* plums
* prunes
* blackberries

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heart Healthy Seafood Tips

Even though seafood is a healthy and nutritious food to eat, there are certain things to know that can help you make it even healthier. According to the American Heart Association, try these tips to enjoy a health promoting seafood experience:

Substitute salsa or cocktail sauce for butter when ready to eat your seafood. Not only will you be decreasing your fat content, you'll also be consuming more nutrients.

* Choose fresh berries or fruit as a seafood topping.
* Prepare your seafood using low fat cooking methods such as broiling (without heavy oils), poaching, steaming, and grilling.

* Choose fresh seafood salads, not the processed fake crab variety.
* If you choose a seafood salad, make sure there is no high fat mayo in it.
* Buy canned tuna in water instead of oil. You can use the liquid in soup bases.
* Try to avoid or limit eating fried seafood of any kind.
* Instead of heavy sauces, squeeze a fresh orange, lime or lemon over your seafood.
* Use herbs to season your seafood instead of butter and salt.


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Friday, July 17, 2009

Green Tea is Not Just For Sipping

Green tea can be enjoyed in ways other than as a beverage. An easy way to enjoy it is by adding it to your water when steaming some fish.

Place a teaspoon of green tea leaves into the water. If you don't have the leaves, open up a teabag and pour the contents into the water. Place the steamer basket in your pot. Then, add the fish. Bring to a boil and steam until done. It will only be a few minutes. Poke fish for doneness.

The green tea adds a mild sweetness to white fishes such as halibut and tilapia. Green tea steaming is good even with salmon, though not as noticeable since salmon has such a strong flavor on its own.

I have found a good alternative is to mix some green tea leaves with some chopped fresh basil. Use twice as much basil as green tea leaves. Place the basil and leaves in a flat pan. Lightly spritz the fish with some water or milk. Dip the fish into the herb tea mixture to coat. Place into the steamer and steam until done. This gives a stronger taste than the first method, but is still tasty. (In my opinion, anyways :) )

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Eating a Heart Healthy Diet

In addition to know what to eat in a heart healthy diet, it also is important to know how to cook them to reap the highest benefits.

Steaming is the quickest and healthiest way to cook food. There are steamers you can buy for under $10 that fit into a saucepan. Or, you can buy a steamer machine.

Baking, without excess oils, is a healthy cooking alternative. Use extra spices to get the best taste benefits.

Grilling. If you do not have warm weather for an outdoor grilling experience, there are varieties you can buy for using on your stovetop.

Poaching. Adding a little water to the bottom of your cooking pan will result in a healthy way to cook your food. Add more water as necessary.

Good luck...
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lowering Your Cholesterol

Foods known for their cholesterol lowering properties are those high in fiber, according to the USDA. Some high fiber foods include:

Whole grains. This family includes oats, barley, millet, kamut, quinoa and whole wheat.

Legumes. Included in legumes are bean varieties (kidney, navy, garbanzo, etc.)lentils.

Fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables contain beneficial fiber.

Seeds and nuts. Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds are in this category.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why You Need to Buy Local Organic Foods

Buying and consuming organic foods can provide benefits that noneaters may not be familiar with such as:

Obtaining true taste of foods. Pesticides cover up the actual taste benefits of food. By eating organic foods, individuals can know for sure how a certain food was intended to taste.

Help farmers. Eating organic foods aids local farmers, since a variety of the organic producers operate local farms.

Support local community. Buying from your local farmer keeps your hard earned dollars in the economy.

Know your source. By communicating with the person who grew your food, you're not supporting a faceless corporation (or commercial “organic” farm). It gives a sense of personalization in this rather impersonal world.

Sense of helping. When you purchase from your local farmer, you can feel better about helping another individual in their business.

Learn more about the food. When you buy from the party who grows your food, you can learn about “insider secrets” such as how to cook it, store it, how it was grown, and share in the passion of what it is like to know your source of food.

Eliminate middle person. By buying directly from the local organic farmer, you eliminate others shipping and handling your food. This is a great way to reduce your chances of obtaining any unwanted contaminants.

Hope this helps you choose organically grown food as part of your daily meal plan.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Red Raspberries & Health Benefits

When I was a kid, my family grew red raspberries in our backyard. Getting a bowlful and enjoying throughout the season was a special treat. Then, when I got out on my own and saw the exorbitant prices....YIKES!! Down went my consumption...

My local organic market is having a sale on red I treated myself. Mmm...

In addition to their wonderful raspberries carry with them a variety of nutritional benefits. For instance....

Red raspberries are very high in Vitamin C, fiber, vitamins B2 and B3, magnesium, plus folate. They also are high in antioxidants. There is talk about them containing strong anti-cancer agents, but I haven't read enough information to convince me of this yet. I'll keep looking.

It's great knowing that not only am I giving my taste buds a treat, but my body is enjoying these nutritional delights also. :)

Red raspberries are great eaten as is, or with some lowfat milk, or added to plain yogurt.

Healthy Deviled Eggs

What's a party without deviled eggs? A bore, I'd say. Everyone knows that eggs are high in cholestrol. Here is a healthy and easy way to decrease both the cholesterol and fat content.

8 large eggs
2 T fat free mayo
1 T mustard
1/3 C nonfat cottage cheese
1 T lemon juice
1 t dill weed

Hard boil the eggs. Peel and cut in half. Place half of the yellow portions into a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Discard other half of yellows. Scoop mixture into egg halves and place on serving platter.

Place into refrigerator to chill prior to serving.

To remove

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tips For Lowering LDL ("Bad") Cholesterol

Knowing what foods to avoid, or limit consumption of, is helpful in lowering your high cholesterol (“bad” LDL). The following foods are known to be harmful culprits:

To lower blood cholesterol, limit consumption of these foods:

two percent milk
oils and margarine
avocados, olives, and coconuts
whole milk
high fat creams and ice creams
high-fat cheeses
high fat cottage cheese
high fat sour cream
anything with saturated fat in it
sugar laden foods
fatty cuts of meat and refried pork
sausages, hot dogs, bologna
liver, kidneys, and other organ meats
egg yolks
lard, coconut, palm, or palm kernel oil
processed foods

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Eat low fat protein such as chicken, tofu, fish and seafood.
Drink plenty of water.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Red Pepper Vinaigrette

This salad dressing is nothing like your basic vinaigrette formula — but you'll soon want to use it nearly every day. The classic vinaigrette is made with 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. As you can see, this version has no oil in it at all, making it extremely low in calories.
Once you've tried this I'm sure it'll become your basic everyday staple for salad. And you can never eat too much salad!

1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano
Pinches of rosemary and thyme
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 of a roasted red bell pepper

Per serving:
8 calories
0 g total fat (0 g sat)
0 mg cholesterol
2 g carbohydrate
0 g protein
0 g fiber
50 mg sodium

Reprinted from Dr. Weil's website at:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tasty Mango Pudding

Here is an easy to prepare recipe that is both tasty and nutritious.

1 large mango, peeled
1/2 cup lowfat tofu

Slice mango and let drop into small bowl.
Crumble the tofu into a 1/2 cup, to measure it.
Mash together the mango and tofu.
Stir vigorously until you reach a pudding-like consistency.

Scoop into serving bowls. Place in refrigerator and chill for about an hour.
This is great with fresh chopped mint leaves on top, if desired.