Shari Duncan

Tag: Antioxidants

ORANGE: It’s So Much More than a Pretty Color
Shari

by on Jan.14, 2012, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition

Eat more Orange if you want to Live Longer… and I don’t mean Cheese Puffs.

Have you ever noticed that people with poor diets, eat foods that are mostly beige in color?  Breads, pasta, french fries…   If you are trying to improve your diet, adding color is where it’s at. Orange pigment in foods, for one, provides a significant nutritional kick and should be incorporated daily into your meal plans.  Some of the healthiest  foods to be found are sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and other squash, mango, papaya, apricots, cantaloupe and oranges/tangerines.

These foods are usually colored by natural plant pigments called “carotenoids.” Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain

Add ORANGE Everyday for Optimal HEALTH.

healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Scientists consistently report that carotenoid-rich foods can help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and improve immune system function. Recent studies have also shown that people who have large quantities of the antioxidant alpha-carotene in their blood (found chiefly in pumpkins and carrots) have a 61% lower risk of disease-related death. And carotenoid consumption protects against the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Citrus fruits like oranges are not rich in carotenoids; however they are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, a B vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects.

Sweet potatoes are one of the best orange foods.  They contain huge amounts of beta-carotene, manganese, copper, fiber, B-6, potassium, iron…. that’s a lot of nutritional power packed into a small potato case!

Adding more orange to your diet is easy.  The produce department carries a variety of orange foods year round.  Fruits like pumpkin are not just for Halloween. Like the sweet potato, pumpkin is one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can get and is inexpensive and convenient in its canned form. High in fiber and low in calories, pumpkin is simple to incorporate into recipes, like muffins, pancakes, and breads.

Incorporating orange fruits and vegetables everyday is not difficult to do and will improve your overall health while keeping illness and disease at bay.

EASY ORANGE ADD-INS:

ü  Sliced orange peppers to a sandwich or wrap

ü  Baby carrots to a salad

ü  Apricots with mixed nuts for a healthy snack mix.

ü  Fresh Orange, Peach, and/or Mango, Vanilla protein and almond/soy milk for a delicious “Orange Dream” Smoothie.

ü  Thinly slice or dice sweet potatoes, lightly toss in olive oil, and roast in 375 oven for a simple side dish.

Cut up cantaloupe, mix with cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast, or snack.


On your next trip to the grocery, be sure to fill you cart with plenty of color; and don’t neglect the ORANGE.

Leave a Comment :, , , , , more...

Want Peak Performance? Detox your Body, Naturally.
Shari

by on Feb.13, 2011, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Weight Loss

You’ve decided to “clean up” your diet by eliminating fast foods, red meats, pork, junk foods, sugary drinks –  But don’t worry; there’s plenty of good stuff left to eat.

… once you get the junk out of your system and start eating right, chances are you probably will not want to go back to you old habits.

“We are what we eat” is amazingly accurate. Unnatural foods are harmful and tend to accumulate instead of being flushed.  Chances are if you are feeling tired, stressed, are bloated, frequently achy, or have low energy, your diet can be to blame. Ignoring these signs will not make your situation better.  It may be time to detox your body.  Eating natural foods, provided by nature, is the best way to cleanse and revitalize the body and stay healthy. Food is the fuel you feed the body to enable it to achieve peak performance. The cleaner and purer the fuel, the better and smoother the engine’s performance. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Why Detoxify?

Detoxification is one of the basic functions of the human body.  One of the body’s functions is to constantly detox on its own. During this process, the body eliminates toxins through the kidneys, colon, liver, lungs, lymph and skin.  Problem is that our lives are full o stress, pollution, chemicals and many other harmful substances and it is difficult for the human body to cleanse itself the way it was designed to do by nature.

When toxins are unable to be flushed out, they are set aside and surrounded by fat to protect the body from their harmful properties. However, this system of defense can cause even more health problems. Detoxification can also revitalize and eliminate bacteria and viruses.

It is important to keep well hydrated by drinking lots of water and herbal or green tea.   Aim to drink at

least 8-10 glasses of water every day. Packed full of antioxidants, green tea not only washes toxins out of the system through its liquid content, but also contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, known to increase liver function.  Stay clear of sugary sodas and caffeinated beverages as much as possible.

What we consume every day is an extremely important aspect of detoxification.  Choosing and eating the right things could make the difference between overloading our bodies with toxins or keeping it clean and working properly. There is a wide range of foods to select from that can be incorporated into your diet to help you revitalize and detoxify.  So what foods are best to eat to remove toxins and get rid of that “sluggishness” feeling?

Basically, your diet should consist of foods that can be found in an organic form when possible or

Green tea, fresh fruit, nuts make the perfect "detox" snack

found in nature without preservatives or processing.  After all, it was all those processed foods with all the additives, dyes, added sugars, salt and extra fat that got your body into the state it’s in now.

Here are just a few suggestions that should be incorporated in your diet regularly to help heal your body naturally.

  1. Garlic, Ginger, Cilantro – Potent spices known to boost metabolism and rid free radicals
  2. Green Leafy Veggies- gives digestive tract a chlorophyll boost ridding the body from harmful environmental toxins. (including cabbage)
  3. Citrus (Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit) and other fruits (high in water content and vitamin C. Also fruits provide natural sweetness to help fight off sweet craving while trying to avoid processed sugars
  4. Broccoli Sprouts -stimulate the detoxification enzymes in the digestive tract. High in antioxidants.
  5. Seeds and Nuts
  6. Beans and grains (gluten free) like rice, quinoa
  7. Omega 3 Oils – Avocado, Flax Seed, Olive Oils, helps lubricate the intestinal walls, allowing the toxins to be absorbed by the oil, and eliminated by the body
  8. Asparagus: They are diuretic and prevent water retention. Weight loss while eating asparagus is due to the loss of water and not fat.

Dairy and wheat products are not the best choices while trying to detox.  Substitute instead when possible gluten free grains and almond or soy milk. Avoid fried foods during this period as well. Instead of using butter, chose a healthier canola based or olive oil product. Avoid processed cakes and cookies and other such flour-based products as well.  An area that is tough for most people is snack foods. Instead of snacking on chips, candy and cookies, snack on nuts and seeds as a healthier source, or of course fresh fruits or veggies. Virtually all fruits and vegetables are great foods but those full of color such as dark leafy spinach or bright red tomatoes are optimal.
The bottom line, when it comes to appropriate body detox foods, consider that if a food product is made in a factory and processed in some way (besides simple flash freezing or canning), then it is not the best thing for your detoxifying diet.

Leave a Comment :, , , , , more...

Do you Rutabaga?
Shari

by on Dec.25, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes

Probably the most underutilized vegetable in America, the rutabaga can be cooked any way you’d treat other roots; including roasting, baking, mashing, boiling, stir-frying.

The rutabaga may be one of the least known, and under-appreciated vegetables around, but in my opinion definitely one of the tastiest.  But don’t confuse them for turnips…They have a distinct, sweet taste that is earthy and AWESOME!  Because many people don’t know what they are, or what to do with them they get overlooked and underused.  They are inexpensive and abundant year round in the grocery. The versatile rutabaga can be eaten raw or cooked and are excellent in stews and soups. They can be roasted, baked, made into fries, are delicious in a low country boil or… the favorite in our home – boiled and mashed.  Our holiday meals are not complete without a big steaming bowl of mashed Rutabagas!

Mashed Rutabaga’s with Ham

3-4  rutabagas will yield enough  for a dozen people to enjoy – The flavor is earthy and sweet and the color is a golden amber.

  • 3-4 medium rutabagas
  • Ham scraps (or smoked turkey)
  • Salt, to taste
  • (Optional: 1-2 tsp sugar)

    Sweet, Earthy and AWESOME!

  1. Fill a large pot with water and add country ham scraps, or smoked turkey parts. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.2. Using a sharp knife, peel and cube the rutabagas.3. Carefully place the rutabagas in the boiling water, adding salt – be careful, as the rutabagas will cook down and the rutabagas will pick up the flavor from the ham and you may regret excessive salting! Let the vegetables come to a boil, cover and simmer for at least an hour. The whitish raw rutabaga turns yellow-orange as it cooks. The rutabagas are done when they are soft, very much like a non-starchy boiled potato.

    4.  Drain excess water (reserve), mash and season with a bit of pepper, pepper vinegar or hot sauce, if you like added heat, or a bit of sugar for added sweet – adding back reserve “pot liquor” if desired or needed.

In the early part of the 17th century, Swiss botanist Casper Bauhin crossed a cabbage with a turnip and got a RUTABAGA. It first became very popular in northern Europe. It was also very popular with ancient Greeks and Romans.  Their popularity spread to the rest of Europe and it remained a mainstay of the European table until the potato displaced it in the 18th century. Parsnips came to America with English colonials but never reached the kind of widespread appeal it once achieved in Europe.


Mature rutabaga roots should be four to six inches in diameter and free of bruises and blemishes.

The rutabaga is a member of the Cruciferae family  Cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and turnips, contain phytonutrients that have been shown to help the liver remove carcinogens, as well as other toxic chemicals. Including several servings of these vegetables in your weekly diet may help reduce your risk of cancer. Nutritionally, rutabagas contain significant amounts of vitamin C and E which are powerful antioxidants. They are also fiber rich and high in potassium.

Nutrition

Calories: One cup of cooked rutabaga has 66.3 calories, 3 percent of the daily value (DV). Roughly 57 calories are from carbohydrates, 6.1 from protein and 3.1 from fat.

Carbohydrates: There are 14.9 grams of carbohydrates in a one cup serving – 10.2 grams are sugars and 3.1 grams (12 percent DV) are fiber. Fiber has many health benefits, including maintaining regular bowels, regulating blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss.

Protein: A one-cup serving has 2.2 grams of protein, 4 percent DV, and contains every essential amino acid.

Fat: Rutabagas have very little fat, only 0.4 grams (1 percent DV). Most is polyunsaturated fat, the healthy fat.

Rutabagas are cholesterol free

Leave a Comment :, , more...

Strengthen your Immune System the Natural Way: With Food
Shari

by on Nov.21, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Weight Loss

The more informed you are about what breaks down the immune system and what keeps it strong, the easier it will be to stimulate and strengthen it.

Your whole body will love you for it.

The Immune System is a barrier, your defense mechanism against infection, viruses, fungi and bacteria and all other harmful organisms that can enter our body. The breakdown of the immune system begins when toxins from the foods we eat, the environment we live in, and a poor diet causes our systems to weaken and not function properly. When the immune system starts to weaken, our bodies are subject to fatigue and illness and it is very hard to ward off infections.

There are many ways to enhance immune system dysfunction.  It will probably not surprise you to learn that eating a well balanced diet tops the list to keeping the immune system functioning properly. Specifically, a diet high in fruits and vegetables has many of the phytonutrients critical to enhance immunity as well as many of the important vitamins and minerals.

Get some color on your plate!

Incorporate colorful foods to boost your Immunity

Incorporate colorful foods to boost your Immunity

Eat variety, and make sure when you are shopping, you get all kinds of fresh and exciting foods to cook with. A steady and balanced intake of essential vitamins and minerals helps to keep our immune systems working properly by providing us protection from infections and disease. Fish, poultry, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, cereals and legumes (peas, lentils, and beans) are all good sources of minerals. Foods such as cheese, eggs or liver, which supply vitamin A, and spinach, sweet potatoes or carrots, which are good sources of beta carotene, should also be eaten daily. Intact whole grains, not the flour products made from them are what really strengthen the digestive system. Fiber (as found in whole grains) helps cleanse the colon of toxins and helps prevent intestinal infections.

Additionally, generous amounts of high quality protein are important for maintaining rapid production of cells to support the immune system, preventing loss of lean muscle mass and boosting energy.

Water:

This is essential for regulating all of the body’s systems. It eases the job of the kidneys and liver to process and eliminate toxins from the blood. It helps keep mucous membranes moist enough to combat the viruses they encounter. And it is a little known tool for reducing sugar cravings. Try a big glass of water the next time you are craving sugar, then wait a few minutes and see if the need for the sugar is really still there.  Non-caffeinated hot teas with lemons (herbal, green, white, and ginger) are also great immune boosters that facilitate the reduction of inflammation and swelling within the body

The vitamins known as the antioxidants are C and E.  These particular vitamins stimulate immunity and protect the body against cancer by neutralizing the free radicals. It is no coincidence that just as the flu/cold season starts all the amazing citrus fruits come into season as they are packed with Vitamin C and will help keep your immune system in top shape.  Also Vitamin A strengthens the immune cells.  It plays an important role in supporting the cells of the skin, gastrointestinal tract and lungs – plus vitamin A promotes the formation of the protective mucous in your gastrointestinal tract.

Four Habits that weaken the immune system:

1)        Overdosing on sugar – There is strong evidence that sugar has a negative effect on the function of the immune system. Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system

2)         Excessive Alcohol – Excessive alcohol intake can harm the body’s immune system in two ways. First, it produces an overall nutritional deficiency, depriving the body of

maintain a healthy weight for a healthy immune system

maintain a healthy weight for a healthy immune system

valuable immune- boosting nutrients. Second, alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill germs.  One drink (the equivalent of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounces of hard liquor) does not appear to bother the immune system, but three or more drinks do.

3)        Food Allergens – Many people are sensitive to certain foods, which can result in symptoms including intestinal distress, fatigue, and even weight gain. Common foods that create such problems are dairy, eggs, gluten (the protein in wheat), soy, corn, and food additives.

4)        Too Much Fat –Obesity can lead to a depressed immune system. It affects the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and rush to the site of an infection. Consuming too much food at one setting also puts extra stress on the digestive system. Increased digestion takes a lot of the body’s metabolic energy, leaving very little energy for the immune system.

A healthy diet is the foundation of long term health maintenance and a strong immune system. An optimal diet will reduce the risk of disease and strengthen the body’s defenses and natural healing power. It will help you to reduce the other daily stresses to your system, and even positively affect your moods and sense of wellbeing.

When you begin to eliminate or reduce the most harmful foods, and at the same time, add more of the beneficial ones notice how this begins to affect your digestion, your energy level, even your moods. As you start to feel better, you will be more motivated to keep making changes. As you integrate more healthful foods into your diet, you will discover the natural tastes and sweetness in simple foods.

So, what will you try today?

Leave a Comment :, , , , more...

Wholesome Pumpkin Spice Bread
Shari

by on Oct.09, 2010, under Healthy Snacks, Recipes, Whey Protein Recipes

This bread is packed with many health boosting, anti-aging and disease fighting nutrients.

This hearty bread makes for a healthy and satisfying breakfast or mid day snack that is high in protein and complex carbohydrates. The flax and walnuts provide heart healthy fats. The pumpkin and oats both contribute to making this bread both high in fiber but low in sugar.  Pumpkin also contains powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals making it one of the most nutrient rich foods available…so much so that pumpkin is considered by many nutritionists as one of the top “SUPERFOODS”.

Dry Ingredients:

Wholesome ingredients... make this one very healthy bread

Wholesome ingredients... make this one very healthy bread

  • 1 ½ c Low carb baking flour
  • 1 c. oats
  • 4 scoops ViSalus Vi-Shape Nutrition Mix (or 2 scoops Vanilla protein)
  • 2 TBSP Flax Seed
  • 1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp Baking soda/ ½ tsp baking powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce (or more)
  • 1 whole, 2 egg whites, beaten
  • ~½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp Flax oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend (more or less to taste)pumpkin bread
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Optional:  1/2c walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray one regular size (or 4 mini) loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl.  Gradually add wet ingredients to dry and stir well.  Stir in walnut pieces.  Pour batter into pan and place on center rack in oven. Bake for approximately 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Spread sliced bread with apple or pumpkin butter if desired!

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , more...

Pan Sautéed Cabbage with Onions
Shari

by on Oct.03, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Loss

Traditional methods of steaming or boiling make cabbage watery. To retain the maximum number of nutrients and more robust flavor, saute cabbage.

A healthy Sauté method, is very similar to steaming and enhances the flavor the of cabbage Slice cabbage into 1/4 -inch slices and let sit for 5 minutes to boost its health-promoting benefits before cooking.

  • 1 medium head of green cabbage
    Simple Ingredients.. Sauteed Cabbage compliments any meal.

    Choose Cabbage Heads with compact leaves that are heavy for their size.

    3/4 of one medium yellow onion, finely chopped (or one smaller onion)
    1 large clove of garlic, minced
    2 Tbs. olive oil
    coarse sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    1 ½ Tbs. balsamic vinegar (or apple cider, or pepper vinegar)

Cut the head of cabbage in half, and then slice the cabbage into strips about 1/4 to 3/8 inches wide. Finely chop onion and mince garlic.

Heat a wide-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high to high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Add onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until they just begin to soften and become translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for one minute.

Add the first third of the cabbage to the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Let the cabbage cook– without stirring– until the bottom is browned and slightly crispy without being burned. –  This is no small task to keep the heat high enough to brown the bottom but not so high as to burn it.

When the first layer is browned on the bottom, use a wide spatula to flip it, making sure to scrape up all the bits of browned, crispy goodness on the bottom of the pan. After flipping it, add the next layer of cabbage, and repeat the process.*

When all of the cabbage has been cooked through and browned well, drizzle about 1 ½ to 2 Tbs. balsamic  (or other) vinegar over the top and stir well for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and serve immediately or cover and store in a slightly warmed   oven. This can also be made ahead and reheated.

Balsamic vinegar lends a rich caramel color and a slightly tangy, lively flavor .

Sauté in olive oil as a much healthier and flavorful alternative to butter or margarine.

Simple Ingredients that provide Cancer fighting protection.
Simple Ingredients that provide Cancer fighting protection.

* After adding the second layer, it becomes too difficult to “flip” the whole thing, so simply stir it with the spatula, turning portions as they brown.

Cabbage Health Benefits

The nutritional value and health benefits of cabbage make it ideal for:

  • Maintaining optimum health
  • Weight loss

Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research with regard to cabbage and its outstanding benefits. More than 475 studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food. The three types are (1) antioxidant richness, (2) anti-inflammatory richness, and (3) richness in glucosinolates.

  • In one recent study, short-cooked and raw cabbage were the only types of cabbage to show cancer-preventive benefits-long-cooked cabbage failed to demonstrate measurable benefits.
  • New research shows that steaming/sautéing is a better cooking method than microwaving if you want to maximize the health benefits of glucosinolates found in cabbage

Cabbage is:

  • Low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, Very Low Sodium,
  • High in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium

How to Select

Choose green cabbage heads with compact leaves that are heavy for their size.

How to Store

Refrigerate green cabbage for up to 7 days.

Leave a Comment :, , , more...

Pass the Tomatoes, Please
Shari

by on Jun.18, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes

They say an apple a day.  I say tomato a day…. the OTHER red fruit!

Tomatoes are considered to be one of the most nutritious among all fruits and vegetables.  This is because tomatoes contain the highest concentration of  a highly potent antioxidant called lycopene,  which is where the tomatoes vibrant red color comes from. Lycopene  is known to help flush free radicals from the body and provides anti-aging benefits.  Many

....  The OTHER red fruit.

.... The OTHER red fruit.

studies have also discovered that lycopene rich diets can help in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as ward off many other health conditions.  The most compelling evidence so far is the role of lycopene in prostate cancer prevention. Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute stated that whole tomatoes offer better protection from prostate cancer than lycopene supplements alone.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin K, a vitamin important to bone health. The fiber in tomatoes aids healthy digestion, lower cholesterol and aids in weight loss. Tomatoes also contain lutein which is needed for healthy eyes and may help prevent macular degeneration and to improve vision. 

If that weren’t enough, tomatoes are low in calories, sugar, sodium, and fat and are an excellent source of many essential vitamins and minerals as well.  One medium-sized tomato containing only 22 calories. And since tomatoes are low on the glycemic Index, they do not cause spikes in insulin in the body and help to keep blood sugar balanced.

Maximizing the Nutrients in Tomatoes

Fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes contain more vitamin C than cooked tomatoes as the cooking process destroys some of the vitamin C; however, cooked or processed tomatoes contain higher concentrations of lycopene. Eating or cooking tomatoes with a small amount of healthy fat or oil increases the body’s absorption of lycopene.


Although only mid-June here in South Georgia, fresh garden tomatoes are already plentiful .

Friday Night.... Pizza night.

Friday Night.... Pizza night.

Forget Pappa John and Little Caesar….Try this for a quick, light and nutritious fresh tomato pizza:

SUPER QUICK and DELICIOUS TOMATO BASIL FLATBREAD PIZZA


Preheat oven to 425.
Spread the pesto on the bread.
Add a layer of tomato and a layer of basil.
Sprinkle or lightly layer cheese over the top.
Dust with Oregano, if using
Bake for 7 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and melted.
Leave a Comment :, , more...

Eggplant…. The Power of Purple.
Shari

by on May.29, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes

Eggplant is ideal for weight loss. Eat eggplant and get some of the nutrients that your body needs–all at a low calorie cost.

Eggplants are a excellent addition to a dieter’s menu with only 35 calories and 3 grams of sodium per cup and they are nearly fat free.  They are also low sodium, high in fiber and rich in minerals. The mineral that is most abundant in eggplant is manganese. This mineral is best known for its function in fat and carbohydrate metabolism. It is also important in proper brain function.  Prepare eggplant with or without skin on.  Leaving the skin on increases the dietary fiber content to ~2.5 grams per serving

Eggplant: a dieter's dream food - 35 calories and no fat per 1 cup serving

Eggplant: a dieter's dream food - 35 calories and no fat per 1 cup serving.

Plus eggplant contains phytonutrients, antioxidants which can help prevent damage from free radicals and protection from certain types of cancer. One of the photonutrients that helps to make up eggplant nutrition is nasunin, a powerful antioxidant found in the skin of the eggplant. Nasunin helps to protect the lipids which are found in the membranes of brain cells

When choosing an eggplant, look for one that has smooth skin and is heavy for size as this indicates high water content.  Look for a stem that is green and bright in color.  Eggplants do not have a long shelf life and should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and consumed within 3-4 days of purchase.

Did you know that technically eggplant is a fruit?  They belong to the same family as tomatoes, potatoes and peppers.

Eggplant is very versatile and can be roasted, baked, braised, broiled, sautéed or grilled. Do not eat raw however due to a toxin that may cause stomach upset.

Excellent companions to eggplant cuisine include olive oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic, lemon, olives, nuts, and spices like pepper, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and ginger.

Probably one of the most well known eggplant recipes is eggplant parmesan.  However, this recipe is generally very high in fat, from the deep frying and added cheeses which are counterproductive for those trying to lose some weight.

Here is a healthier way to “fry” your eggplant. Cut down on the fat by oven frying instead of pan frying in oil. This is delicious eaten alone, as a side dish, or can as the foundation for a much healthier, lower fat version of eggplant parmesan.

Oven “FRIED” Eggplant.

Ingredients:

All the taste, without the Fat! Eat alone or layer in Eggplant Parmesan Casserole.

All the taste, without the Fat! Eat alone or layer in Eggplant Parmesan Casserole.

  • 1 large/ 2 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
  • ~1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute (or egg whites)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned dried bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoon unbleached flour
  • Italian seasonings (garlic, basil, oregano, etc.)
  • Sea salt and Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Nonstick olive oil cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Trim a couple of inches off each end of the eggplant, and discard. Slice the eggplant crosswise into ¼- 1/2-inch thick slices. Set aside.
  2. Coat a large baking sheet with olive oil and nonstick olive oil cooking spray, and set aside.
  3. Place the egg substitute in a shallow bowl. Season generously with spices.  Place the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and flour in another shallow bowl, and stir to mix well. Dip the eggplant slices first in the egg substitute, and then in the crumb mixture, turning to coat both sides well. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared sheet, and spray the tops lightly with the cooking spray.
  4. Bake uncovered at 425°F for 10 minutes. Turn the slices, and bake for 10 additional minutes, or until golden brown and tender. Serve hot.

Approximately 4 servings.

Calories: 87  Fat: 1.7g   Carbs: 13g   Protein: 5.4g   Cholesterol: 3mg   Fiber: 2.5g   Sodium: 229mg

Excerpted from Best Kept Secrets of Healthy cooking by Sandra Woodruff.

Leave a Comment :, , more...

The HEALING POWER of PINEAPPLE
Shari

by on May.15, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes

Second only to bananas as America’s favorite tropical fruit, Pineapple’s flavor screams COME ON SUMMER!

Lucky for us, they are available nearly year round in most markets.

Pineapples are rich in Vitamin A and C which is no surprise to most of us. But what makes pineapples a nutritional powerhouse is that they contain an enzyme nutrient called Bromelain.  Bromelain is a mixture of important enzymes that aid in the digestion of protein and milk. Pineapples are a great fruit to eat in between meals to improve digestion. You can also eat a few chunks of fresh pineapple first thing in the morning as a digestive aid. Enjoy pineapple on a low to empty stomach to maximize the bromelain induced effects.

The enzyme Bromelain not only helps the body’s digestive system but has recognized anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Pineapples may seem an unlikely source of healing powers, but Bromelin extract from its stem has been

clinically proven  as an effective natural anti-inflammatory  agent that reduces pain and swelling,

improves joint mobility and promotes tissue repair.

What an added health benefit to those of us who lift weights regularly and are looking for nutritional ways to accelerate the recovery process!


Buy fresh, as often as possible, as canned pineapple tends not to have this valuable enzyme as the heat used in the canning process destroys the Bromelain.

Pineapples are natures source of the powerful enzyme Bromelain

Pineapples are nature's source of the powerful enzyme Bromelain

Pineapple Nutrition Tidbits:

  • –      Vitamin C
  • A serving of pineapple contains 78.9 mg of vitamin C—131% of the recommended daily allowance.
  • –      Calories
  • Pineapple contains 82.5 calories per serving. Most of these calories come from sugars.
  • –      Fiber
  • Pineapple is a good source of valuable dietary fiber, supplying 2.3 grams of fiber per serving.
  • –      Manganese
  • Pineapple is a very good source of manganese – which among other benefits supports metabolism and in the development of strong bones and connective tissue. Manganese is a coenzyme that helps the body use thiamin, vitamin C and choline. It also helps to prevent your cells from injury caused by free-radicals.
  • –      Other Nutrients
  • Pineapple is naturally very low in cholesterol and saturated fat. It is a good source of vitamin B6, thiamin and copper.
  • –      How to Select
  • –      Choose pineapples with dark green leaves, heavy for size.  Avoid soft or dark spots and dry-looking leaves.
Did you know that it takes 18 months (or more) to grow one pineapple!


FROM CHILLED TO GRILLED….

A burst of sweet and spicy. An exciting and exotic meal in less than 30 minutes!

A burst of sweet and spicy. An exciting and exotic meal in less than 30 minutes!

Pineapple is one versatile fruit.

From smoothies to salads;   main course dishes to dessert — feel free to experiment with its fresh, sweet and tart exotic flavor.  Pineapple chunks go  from “chilled to grilled” with ease.  The Bromelain in the pineapple actually serves as a tenderizer for meats and perfectly complements numerous main dishes  – From pork, to fish… to my favorite Shrimp!

One of the simplest (and tastiest) uses for pineapple is to add them to kebobs and grill away! – Alternate pineapple chunks with your choice of protein (shrimp, pork, chicken) and veggies (peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, etc..)

One of my favorites:  Shrimp and Pineapple quesadillas.

The sweet of the pineapple and the spice of salsa, garlic, cumin and cilantro are a winning combination when added to quickly stir-fried (or grilled) shrimp and vegetables.  ( I use fresh peppers, (red and green) and onions. Place in a tortilla with a touch of melted cheese – fold and brown on both sides.  Top with extra salsa, avocado, and low fat sour cream if desired.)

The flavor is amazing and it is so simple that this can be prepared in less than 30 minutes

1 Comment :, , , more...

BERRY BLAST SMOOTHIE
Shari

by on Apr.25, 2010, under Fruits and Veggies, Healthy Snacks, Recipes, Weight Loss, Whey Protein Recipes

Experiment with different fresh and frozen fruits and yogurt flavors for variety.

Berries should be a staple to your diet… One serving of berries daily will do much more than just keep the doctor away.  They are after all, natures #1 antioxidant fruit.

This protein smoothie is excellent as a post-workout meal, breakfast or mid-day snack or meal replacement.  It provides the perfect balance of protein – from the whey and yogurt, carbohydrates – from the fruit and yogurt, and healthy fats from the almond milk and flax seed.  It is also a great source of calcium, antioxidants and fiber.  And, if that isn’t reason enough to give this a try… it really tastes amazing!

Mix together well in blender or Magic Bullet:

1 scoop of Whey adds approximately 25-30grms of muscle building proteine

1 scoop of Whey adds approximately 25-30grms of muscle building protein

  • 1 scoop vanilla Whey Protein
  • Fresh or Frozen Berries (Blackberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries)
  • 1/2 container low sugar yogurt ( I like Dannon Light N Fit – Pomegranate Berry)
  • 1 tsp milled Flax Seed
  • 6-8 oz Almond Milk
  • Crushed Ice/Water

ENJOY!!

Try different fruit combinations such as peaches, pineapple, melon, or banana as well as flavored yogurts.  Substitute Soy for Almond Milk if you like.  You really cannot go wrong with this one.

STILL NOT CONVINCED ABOUT THE POWER of ADDING BERRIES TO YOUR DIET?

….. READ ON:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/the-power-of-berries/

http://www.berrywiseinc.com/power_of_berries.html

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...