What’s In My…Lunchbox for the “Resident Four Year Old” — August 29, 2018

What’s In My…Lunchbox for the “Resident Four Year Old”

Now that school is starting back for the year and the reality of actually having to wake up at a certain time and get dressed, get my “resident four year old” dressed, make sack lunches every single day, and so forth is starting its cycle all over again…I thought that I would do a series of posts on “What’s In My”…

This series of posts will highlight the things that are in certain places that I have tried or am trying to organize at this stage of my quest for minimalism and organization.

My last post covered what is in the backpack of our “resident four year old”…So I thought that a good post to follow that would be a “What In My…Lunchbodx of Our Resident Four Year Old,”…or at least should be…

 

My goal this year is to pack lunches that are…

  • Inexpensive
  • Neat and appetizing
  • Quick and easy to prepare
  • Reasonably healthy and nutritionally balanced
  • Tasty

 

So let’s start with the actual lunchbox itself.

Your lunchbox should match not only your needs, but also your personality.

Things to consider when choosing a new lunch box include it being easy to clean, material, microwavablity, number of containers, price, and size.

A few great options for lunchboxes would include…..

1.  Bentgo All-in-One Stackable Lunch/Bento Box, Green

  • Contribution…5% of the sales price of this lunchbox will be donated to Feed the Children
  • Easy to clean…dishwasher safe
  • Material…BPA-free plastic
  • Microwavable…yes
  • Number of compartments…two
  • Price…$14.99
  • Size…
  • Top Container…6.8″ x 4.3″ x 1.7″ (2 sections with divider, each section 3.4″ x 4.3″ x 1.7″)
  • Bottom Container…7″ x 4.5″ x 2.5
  • Review…The Kitchn

2.  EasyLunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers

  • Easy to clean…safe for dishwasher
  • Material…FDA-approved, high-quality polypropylene #5 plastic; No BPA, PVC, or phthalates
  • Microwavable…safe for microwave
  • Number of compartments…three
  • Price… $13.95
  • Size…9.4″ x 6.1″ x 2″
  • Review…A Merry Life

3.  Happy Lunchboxes 4-compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers

  • Easy to clean…safe for dishwasher
  • Material…FDA-approved, BPA-free high-quality polypropylene
  • Microwavable…safe for microwave
  • Number of compartments…one large and three small sections
  • Price… $13.95
  • Size…8.5″ x 2″ x 8.5″
  • Review…Wendolonia

4.  YUMBOX TAPAS Larger Size (Antibes Blue) 4 compartment Leakproof Bento lunch box for Pre-teens, Teens & Adults

  • Easy to clean…safe for dishwasher, top rack only…hand washing the outer shell and/or removing it before the heat dry cycle is highly recommend to preserve the seal.
  • Material…All food-safe materials, BPA-free and phthalates-free. Sturdy ABS (outer box), Tritan(tray) and Silicone (seal).
  • Microwavable…safe for microwave
  • Number of compartments…four
  • Price…$28.00
  • Size… 9.5 x 6.9 x 1.8
  • Review…Kidgredients

 

 

Now for the best way to keep the daily nuisance of making lunches less of dreadful —plan and prepare…

Have a general idea or an actual specific meal plan as you think about your meals for the upcoming week.

Planning ahead always helps save time and money, regardless what you are doing…and packing school/work lunches is no different. Your lunch plan should be based on…

  • what ingredients you will need from grocery stores…
  • what meals you will be cooking throughout the week
  • what you already have in the refrigerator

 

You should plan your lunch around four different components…

  • 1. The Carbohydrates…Half of the lunch should consist of carbs….such as bread, brown or white rice mixed with frozen peas and a splash of soy sauce, couscous mixed with olive oil and Parmesan, pasta with pesto or peanut sauce, roasted or boiled baby potatoes tossed with olive oil and herbs, sandwiches, and wraps.
  • The Proteins…Then half as much space as the carb, should consist of a protein…such as boiled eggs, cottage cheese, edamame, tuna salad, beef, chicken, pork, tofu, and beans.
  • The Vegetable…Then the remaining half of the lunch should consist of an equal amount of vegetables and fruits. A few good options as far as vegetables would include  cooked and cooled vegetables, or raw vegetables that won’t wilt—such as salad greens, lettuce, steamed asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and carrot sticks.
  • The Fruit...As far as fruit, fruits with bold colors that provide visual impact will probably mean that they are actually eaten. A few good options would include apples, grapes, strawberries, plum, raspberries, nectarines, oranges, lemons, bananas, and kiwi.

 

Next figure out how much time you are willing to put into prepping your foods on your lunch plan and what needs to be done based on the plan that you have come up with. Come up with a timeline that will allow you to get these things done as fast as possible.

I have found that the best thing since sliced bread…which we’ll all see more that we would all want to during the course of a school year…has been Instacart. Instacart saves me the interesting, but often frustrating, weekly trip to the grocery store with a “resident four year old”…allows me to spend the time that he is at school however I want and doing whatever I need…and keeps me from grabbing impulse items, or beer and wine)…or having to dash through the busy -as -heck grocery store after school or work because I have forgotten something that I’ll need.

Using Instacart keeps me more organized because I can have two windows open—one with the recipes on my meal plan and another with my Instacart account, and simply transfer from one list to the other.

By the way, no, that was not a paid endorsement for Instacart…just a praise for a service that has actually changed my total existence.

Another great app that I have been using for years is emeals. Emeals is a paid subscription that provides weekly meal plans along with the grocery lists. This saves me so much time trying to figure out what to cook. All of the recipes, or at least most of them, have been relatively easy to prepare and delicious. They not only offer dinner plans, but also breakfast, lunch, and special occasions. And finally, probably most important to me right now, they plan meals according to various diet requirements—vegan, paleo, and diabetic. This diabetic plan has become one of my best friends ever since my husband was diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.

 

 

Finally, after having put this much effort into choosing your lunchbox, making your plan for what foods to put in that lunch box, buying the groceries that you need to prep these foods, and actually preparing as much as possible in advance…you obviously do not want to blow all this time and effort by packing your food so that come lunchtime, everything is one great big inedible mess.

So it’s important that you pack the foods tightly so that the food doesn’t shift around.

Your best plan of attack as far as packing your lunch neatly into a container is to think of packing your lunch as a three-step process…

  • 1.  First pack pre-shaped or bulky food.
  • 2.  Next, pack more flexible-shape food.
  • 3. Finally pack the smallest foods so that you fill in any gaps and help keep the food from shifting.

 

A few tools that might help you as you pack your lunches would include…

  • Reusable silicone cups to keep wet things away from dry things and hold loose items like blueberries in one place.
  • Reusable silicone or paper dividers to separate one food from the other, without mixing up the flavors. Lettuce leaves and other produce can also be an option.
  • Picks to help keep small foods, such as meatballs and berries, together.
  • Sauce Containers to store sauces separately so that food stays dry until lunch time.

A few great online sources for learning more about packing lunches and buying fun and interesting things that will make making your lunches less dreadful include…

  • Just Bento
  • Bento USA
  • BentoLand
  • Little Bento World
What’s In My…School Backpack of Our “Resident Four Year Old” —

What’s In My…School Backpack of Our “Resident Four Year Old”

Today the “resident four year old” starts pre-k for the fall…a moment that any fifty year old chasing a four year old 24/7 looks forward to all summer long.

I imagine that I will drop him off and then come home and sleep until it’s time to pick him back up…I’ll let you know…

So even though he’s only in pre-K and doesn’t need too many things to take with him to school other than his lunch, a stuffed animal, and a nap-pad…(oh year, teachers…good luck getting him to take a nap)…this made me think about upgrading out school and office supplies to more environmentally friendly options.

Even school and office supplies can be unfriendly to the environment, as well as toxic…

A few of the toxic chemicals that are sometimes included in school and office supplies include…

  • asbestos (a known carcinogen) in crayons
  • benzene (a probable carcinogen) in dry-erase markers
  • lead (a neurotoxin) in children’s water bottles
  • phthalates (linked to hormone and developmental problems) in 3-ring binders

Not only that many of the companies that make school and office supplies are not cruelty-free.

So it’s important to think about things like that instead of simpy running to Dollar General and buying the cheapest items so that you can cross them off that dreaded back-to-school school supply shopping list this year…

A few trains of thought as far as shopping for school and supplies include…

1.Backpacks…As far as backpacks are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose natural materials, such as cotton or hemp. Never choose PVC plastic at all costs.

2.  Crayons and Markers…As far as crayons are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose crayons that are composed from beeswax and soy products. Always avoid cheap crayons which may be laced with asbestos.

3. Lunch Boxes…As far as lunch boxes are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose reusable and durable, PVC-free lunch bags and lunch boxes that will last more than one season. Another great options, especially for adults, would be stainless steels. But whatever you do, avoid using plastic baggies and plastic wrap. Invest in a stainless steel water bottle….(I will look at a few more great options as well as ideas as to what to put in your lunch boxes in a future post).

4. Markers…As far as markers are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose water based markers. Many permanent markers contains chemicals such as xylene, toluene, and other VOCs…which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, my “one new thing learned at school today” for today.

5. Paper…As far as loose-leaf paper, notebooks, and binders are concerned, the main train of thought should be to shop for items made with recycled paper, and binders that either do not have a plastic cover or are clearly labeled PVC-free.

6. Pencils and Pens…As far as pencils and pens are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose pencils that are made from recycled materials or wood from sustainably managed forest…and pens made from recycled plastic.

Thankfully there are sources for better school and office supplies that you would typically find at the local dollar store…sure, they may be more expensive…and honestly, these options might not be way more expensive…but depending on how committed you are or are not about the above concerns in all areas of your family’s life, you may want to get out your debit card so that you can buy some really cool new gadgets for the new school year.

Finally, some really great places online to shop or at least browse at these other options include…

Not Only Can You EAT Water…You Can Also DRINK Mushrooms — August 27, 2018

Not Only Can You EAT Water…You Can Also DRINK Mushrooms

 

 

In the previous posts of the different types of coffee, one stood head and shoulders above the rest as far as most interesting…one that I had never even heard of—mushroom coffee.

As I said in that post, mushroom is simply regular coffee that has been infused with medicinal mushroom extract powders.

Mushroom extract powders can be created by isolating and spray-drying different types of medicinal mushrooms—such as Cordyceps, Chaga, Lion’s mane, Turkey tail, and Reishi.

Sounds extremely weird, but according to several of the reports that I read, mushroom coffee actually is prepared and tastes like regular coffee, not like mushrooms at all…with about half the caffeine found in regular coffee.

Scientific studies have shown that these medicinal mushrooms—such as chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps—are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, gut-friendly. These mushrooms also contain more than acai, blueberries, and cacao.

Although mushrooms have been used in Oriental medicine for millenniam, mushroom coffee has been around since World War II. Coffee was scarce, and many things were used as a substitute for coffee beans, including mushrooms, out of necessity. Mushrooms were first used as an alternative to coffee in Finland.

Mushroom coffee provides the health benefits of coffee, as well as the health benefits of the mushrooms…meaning that mushroom coffee contains extra nutrients and minerals.

  1. Antioxidants…Mushroom coffee contains many antioxidants—perhaps more than green tea, black tea and herbal tea.
  2. Brain Power…Mushroom coffee contains high levels of antioxidants and other compounds that may enhance your focus and thinking capabilities.
  3. Cancer…Elements found in certain mushrooms, such as the ergosterol peroxide found in chaga mushrooms, stimulate the immune system and has the ability to stop cancer from developing.
  4. Digestive System…Mushrooms contain high levels of special polysaccharides, more specifically those called beta-glucans or homopolysaccharides, that act help boost digestive health in various ways—such as decreaseing glucose levels, cholesterol and triglycerides.
  5. Nerves…Most mushroom coffee consists of a mixture of half coffee, half mushroom extract. This means that whenever you switch to mushroom coffee, you are probably only consuming  half of the caffeine that you normally do. Drinking less caffeine will improve focus and decrease the likelihood of having nervous energy after drinking a cup.
  6. Respiratory System…Mushroom coffee enables the body to use oxygen more efficiently.
33 Different Kinds of Coffee to Keep Even the Barista Confused — August 26, 2018

33 Different Kinds of Coffee to Keep Even the Barista Confused

 

 

 

I am a simple person. I have dwindled my wardrobe into a 52-piece capsule wardrobe, organized my spice cabinet alphabetically, and cleaned/organized every single room in my house this year in my quest for minimalism and a better lifestyle in general for my family.

So it’s probably not a big shock that I “like my coffee like I do my men—strong, dark, and steamy”…or whatever that expression is.

 

But rumor tells me that there are so many perhaps better alternatives to this black coffee, options such as…

 

1. Affogato–a single or dual shot of espresso mixed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

2. Americano—a single or double shot of espresso diluted with hot water

3. Bicerin Coffee—a shot of espresso, chocolate drink, and milk or cream all layered in a glass

4. Black Coffee—coffee with no dairy products such as milk or cream added

5. Bulletproof Coffee—a buttered coffee drink that supposedly helps you lose weight

6. Cappuccino—very similar to a café latte, but the foam and the chocolate sprinkles are more on the top than already mixed in

7. Cafe Latte—coffee with steamed milk froth and the micro-foam on top

8. Cold Brew—coffee beans steeped in water for twelve hours or more

9. Cortado—a Spanish beverage that contains coffee with a generous amount of warm milk

10. Cuban Espresso—a sweetened dark-roasted espresso shot with an addition of demerara sugar

11. Decaf Coffee—coffee that has some of the caffeine taken out

12. Double Espresso—two shots of espresso

13. Espresso—a single shot of espresso

14. Flat White— a single shot of espresso served with steamed milk

15. Galao Coffee—a Portuguese milky sweet coffee

16. Green Coffee—coffee that is made with coffee beans that haven’t been roasted to that familiar brown color that we all expect, supposedly great for those who are trying to lose weight

17. Iced Coffee—coffee with ice in it…(as if you couldn’t  figure that out already)

18. Instant Coffee—coffee powder that is prepared by making fine grains from already roasted coffee

19. Irish Coffee—black coffee with whiskey and sugar added and topped with cream

20. Kopi Luwak—a premium coffee type prepared in Asia that requires collecting coffee beans that have been crapped out by a Civet…(sorry, I think that I’ll pass on this one.)…

21. Kopi Tubruk—an Indonesian coffee drink that is made by dissolving coffee beans directly into the boiling water

22. Long Black Coffee—a single shot of espresso with 70% hot water added

23. Long Macchiato—a double shot of espresso with a layer of cream and foam added on the top

24. Mocha—a single shot of espresso with a spoonful of chocolate powder, steamed milk froth and microfoam, and them more chocolate powder on the very top.

25. Mushroom Coffee…regular coffee that has been infused with medicinal mushroom extracts…(see next post, you know, the one that I haven’t even written yet(?!)…

26. Piccolo Latte—a shot of espresso or Ristretto served in a demitasse cup with steamed milk and a little foam on top

27. Ristretto—a single shot of espresso with the same amount of coffee beans but the half amount of water

28. Short Macchiato-–a single shot of espresso with a layer of cream and foam added on the top

29. Sweet Coffee—coffee that contains some sort of sweetener

30. Turkish Coffee—a stronger and more aromatic Turkish beverage made by using coffee beans that have been ground so fine that it doesn’t even need filtering

31. Vienna Coffee—a type of black coffee served with a whopping amount of cream on the top

32. White Coffee—a mild version of traditional coffee with less brewing and less intense taste

33. Yuanyang Coffee—a popular beverage from Hong Kong that is prepared by combining both the coffee and tea

14 Reasons to Drink Another Cup of Coffee This Morning — August 23, 2018

14 Reasons to Drink Another Cup of Coffee This Morning

For years it has been debated whether or not coffee is good for you or not…

Honestly, who cares?

Coffee has been given a bad rep in years past for causing various health risks…such as raising your blood pressure, making your heart race, impairing sleep, and even causing cancer.

But you are either a coffee drinker or you’re not a coffee drinker.

In fact, let’s first take a look at a few statistics as far as coffee consumption…

  • 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the globe each year.
  • 64% of Americans say they drink at least one cup of coffee daily.
  • 26% of adults say they drink only one cup daily.
  • 11% of adults say they drink at least four cups daily.
  • 102 billion cups of coffee are consumed by Americans each year.
  • 280.5 million cups of coffee are consumed by Amerian each day.
  • 2.7 cups of coffee are consumed by the average person every day of the week.
  • 26% of coffee drinkers say they’re addicted to coffee.
  • 46% of coffee drinkers who drink at least three cups each day say that they’re addicted to coffee..
  • 21,400 coffee shops exist throughout the country…one for every 14,000 Americans.
  • $36 billion in retail revenue happens per year.
  • 70 countries make and sell coffee.
  • 40% of the world’s coffee is produced in Brazil.

Having taken a look at these statistics, one thing is pretty obvious…

If you are a true coffee drinker, you are gonna drink coffee…and more coffee…and more coffee…regardless of what the so-called “experts” may or may not say, right?!

In fact, Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee per day, or 146 billion cups each year.

Actually there are health benefits to drinking coffee, so let’s ignore all the bad press…and make ourselves that we are doing ourselves a favor by drinking cup after cup after cup.

Just make sure that you don’t overload it with lots of cream and loads of sugar, and you can actually improve your health every single morning…(a Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha, for instance, has 580 calories and 75 grams of sugar…while a plain cup of brewed coffee contains only two calories, no fat and zero carbs.

Coffee contains many nutrients—including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin.

Coffee can improve your health in such ways as reducing your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, cirrhosis, gout, and liver disease.

 

Let’s explore these health benefits more…

 

1.Alzheimer’s …Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, drinking coffee may lower your risk of ever getting Alzheimer’s in the first place, by up to 65%.

2.Brain Power…Studies have shown that coffee increases your brain power by improv various aspects of brain function—such as memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general cognitive function—because the caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect.

3.Cancer…Cancer, uncontrolled growth of cells in the body, is one of the world’s leading causes of death…but coffee appears to reduce your risk of getting liver cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, by 40%…and colorectal cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the world by 15%.

4,Depression…Depression, a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life, is incredibly common. In fact, about 4.1% of people in the U.S. currently meet the criteria for clinical depression. A Harvard study published in 2011 said that women who drank four  or more cups per day have a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. People who drink four or more cups per day are  53% less likely to commit suicide.

5.Energy Levels…Coffee can help you people feel less tired and have more energy levels because of its caffeine content. As caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream. and enters into the brain, the levels of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine, increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.

6.Heart…For years it was thought that coffee raised the risk of heart disease, but many recent studies have shown that this is not the effect. In fact, it is now believed that drinking three to five cups of coffee per day can lower your risk of heart failure by 11%…your risk of stroke by up to 30%….and your risk of cardiovascular disease by 19%.

7.Liver….Drinking coffee may be beneficial to your liver. Studies have shown that coffee can reduce your risk of getting liver cirrhosis, a condition where the liver has been largely replaced by scar tissue, by 66%…as well as lowering your risk of developing liver cancer by about 50%.

8.Longevity…Drinking around four cups of coffee a day can lower your risk of getting the serious life-threatening diseases—such as heart disease and cancer—also described in this list of health benefits. Over thirty-five studies have been conducted, covering more than 2 million people,  that agree with this belief.

9.Melanoma….According to the National Cancer Institute, drinking four or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day can lower your risk of developing melanoma by 20%.

10.Memory…Drinking two or three cups of coffee can improve your long- and short-term memory.

11.Metabolism…Several studies show that caffeine is one of the very few natural substances that can increase fat burning in the body and boost the metabolic rate. This is the reason that caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat burning supplement.

 

12.Parkinson’s Disease…Parkinson’s Disease is a common neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain and characterized by tremors,

There is no known cure for Parkinson’s, so it is definitely important that you do all that you can to keep from ever getting Parkinson’s in the first place.

Some studies have suggested that the caffeine in coffee may reduce your risk of ever developing Parkinson’s in the first place by up to 60%. Not only can coffee keep you from getting Parkinson’s, but two eight-ounce cups of black coffee can help to control the involuntary movements of people who already have the disease.

 

13.Physical Performance…Not only does the caffeine in coffee increase your metabolism, it also increases your adrenaline levels in the blood, your “fight or flight” hormone, which makes you ready for more intense physical exertion. In fact, drinking coffee about thirty minutes before going to the gym can improve physical performance by 11-12%, on average.

14.Type II Diabetes…Type 2 diabetes, elevated blood sugars in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin, currently afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.  According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.5 million people are diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes each year.

Coffee contains chromium, a mineral that helps the body utilize insulin. For this reason, drinking coffee can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 67%.

Increasing your coffee consumption by a couple of cups per day can decrease your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by at least 11%…up that number to at least six cups of coffee, and you can decrease your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by another 15%.

Veggies Tales — August 19, 2018

Veggies Tales

In addition to the leafy greens and fruits already mentioned in previous posts, vegetables—especially starchy vegatables——can help contribute to your daily water consumption. These low-calorie, high-fiber foods—such as lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes—not only often consist of as much as 95% water weight, but also are good sources of other essential nutrients—such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.
The best vegetables to incorporate to your daily diet if you want to eat your daily water, instead of drinking it are…

Baby Carrots…water content: 90.4%…My first question when I saw that baby carrots were high on water content was, “Gee, why not just say that carrots are good, not baby carrots specifically…but baby carrots contain more water than regular carrots, which contain 88.3% water.

Cauliflower…water content: 92.1%…Not only does cauliflower contain this much water, but cauliflower is also packed with vitamins and phytonutrients that help lower cholesterol and fight cancer, including breast cancer.

Celery…water content: 95.4%…Celery not only contains this much water, but three stalks of celery can also help meet your daily needs for other vitamins and mineral deficiencies—including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K…..while only providing eighteen calories.

Cucumber…water content: 96.7%…Cucumbers contain more water than absolutely any other solid food. Cucumbers also contain high levels of vitamin C, caffeic acid, sulfur and silicon..while having very little sodium and calories.

Green Peppers…Water content: 93.9%…All types of bell peppers—red, yellow, green—have a high water content, but green peppers actually contain more than the other two. Green peppers also contain just as many antioxidants as the brighter colored varieties. In addition, green peppers provide numerous vitamins and minerals—including vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta carotene, and folic acid.
Radishes…water content: 95.3%…I totally and completely LOVE radishes, but so often radishes are simply overlooked as we go through the produce aisle…yet, don’t be in such a hurry to choose everything else when shopping for fruits and veggies beca

Yes, You Can Actually EAT Water — August 16, 2018

Yes, You Can Actually EAT Water

 

 

 

Okay, so we all know now that water is important to our health for many different reasons…but sorry, water is still boring—even when “spiked” with spices and herbs…

Is there any other option that can help us reach out daily recommended two liters of water per day?

Fortunately yes…we can actually EAT our water by choosing foods that have a high water content…

Let’s look at a few of these options, using the Raw Foods Pyramid as a guide…

The levels of the Raw Foods Pyramid are…

  • Water
  • Leafy Greens
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Image result for raw foods pyramidSprouts and Legumes
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Herbs, Microgreens, and Juicing Greens
  • Seaweed and Nutritional Yeast

So looking at these levels, let’s see which foods help you reach your daily water needs…

 

Leafy Greens…Leafy greens require ample chewing and provide a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also help with acid indigestion, constipation, and urinary tract infections.

  1. Iceberg Lettuce…Although we have all been told to choose darker greens—such as spinach or romaine—because these have more fiber and nutrients such as folate and vitamin K, lettuce is the best leafy green as far as water content. Iceberg consists of  95.6% water…more water than any other leafy greens—including butterhead, green leaf, and romaine.
  2. Spinach…Even though spinach has less water content than iceberg lettuce—92% water, spinach provides more nutrients than iceberg lettuce—including magnesium, potassium, B-vitamins, lutein, fiber, folate, and antioxidants.
  3. Other leafy green options that will increase your water intake include kale, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, Swiss chard, cabbage, and watercress.
Mineral Water At Least Makes Drinking Water Much Less Boring — August 14, 2018

Mineral Water At Least Makes Drinking Water Much Less Boring

My very favorite segment of the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is when Charlie and his grandfather drink the bubbly water and float into the ceiling. If they can escape the reality of gravity and this great planet full of chaos and concerns simply by drinking bubbly water, wouldn’t we all be drinking it every day?

Yet, even though bubbly water will not help us reach great heights, there are many types of “bubbly” water available that can add interest to our newly established water drinking habit that not only help with staying hydrated, but also provide many other health benefits as well.

These options include…

  • Sparkling Water…Sparkling water is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide, either naturally or man-made, making the water sparkling or bubbly.
  • Natural Mineral Water…Natural mineral water—such as Perrier and San Pellegrino—is water than comes from a  a geologically and physically protected underground water source—such as an aquifer, underground reservoir, spring, or artesian wells—such as in Mihalkovo in the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountains, in Medžitlija in Macedonia, or most notably in Selters in the German Taunus mountains.
  • Seltzer Water…Seltzer water is a  genericized trademark originally used to market the water that comes from the infamous German town Selters, This natural sparkling mineral water has been commercially bottled and shipped from this town since the 18th century or earlier.
  • Soda Water…Soda water, also known as club soda, contains bicarbonate of soda, which gives them its own unique flavor. This water is popularly used for making mixed drinks—such as whisky and soda and Campari soda.
  • Tonic Water…Tonic water is a form of carbonated water that contains a bitter compound called quinine, along with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.

 

And now that we have looked at the different types of bubbly available, let’s think about the health benefits of adding carbonated water to your diet….benefits such as…

  1. Blood Sugar…The bicarbonate found in mineral water helps maintain a healthy pH of the blood so it doesn’t become too acidic or too basic and improves glycemic control.
  2. Bones…Unlike soft drinks, mineral water does not contribute to lower bone mineral density and osteoperosis….mainly because unlike Cokes mineral water does not contain the added risk of having a lot of phosphorus and not enough calcium. In fact, drinking one liter of sodium-rich sparkling water for eight weeks can lead to better calcium retention.
  3. Digestion…Mineral water may help treat digestive problems—such as constipation.
  4. Heart…Carbonated water has several beneficial effects on cholesterol, inflammation and blood sugar. People drinking mineral water regularly can reduce their risk of developing heart disease within ten years by 35%.
  5. Motion Sickness…Carbonated beverages without caffeine are known for their ability to help calm that queasiness.
  6. Weight Loss…Just as plain old water does, carbonated water helps you feel full longer…perhaps even better.

 

Now that we have established the fact that sparkling mineral water is a better alternative to Coke...for many reasons…such as Cokes being about a hundred times more erosive to teeth than sparkling mineral water, not containing any sugar or calories, and not being loaded with insulin-raising sugars or filled with extremely health-hazardous fake sugars like aspartame…

And now that we have also established the fact that sparkling water is also perhaps a better alternative to regular tap water…for many reasons…such as the possible, or probable, presence of dangerous toxins in our water supply…as proven by the findings of 316 different chemicals in tap water throughout the United States…

 

Let’s check which options of ready-to-drink carbonated water are the best ones to grab out of all the available alternatives.

  • (to be added later)

Final Thoughts…

  1. Make sure that you are choosing a sugar-free, unflavored sparkling mineral water that doesn’t contain any calories, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial flavors, citric acid or any other acids, and any other additives.
  2. Spike sugary fruit juices with sparkling water.
  3. Try infusing your sparkling water just as you would regular water…with options such as watermelon, rosemary, blueberries, cucumber, lavender, and mint.
Cool As a Cucumber — August 11, 2018

Cool As a Cucumber

If lemon water was water with lemon, or lemon with water…then what do you think cucumber water is?!

Exactly?!

But do you know the health benefits of cucumber water and why cucumber water has been served at day spas and health clubs all over the world for decades?!

First let’s look at the health benefits of the cucumber itself…

  1. Cucumbers are a great source of vitamin B, potassium, and magnesium.
  2. Cucumbers are very nutrient rich and good for you.
  3. Cucumbers are an antioxidant.
  4. Cucumbers consist mainly of water.
  5. Cucumbers contain “fisetin,”an anti-inflammatory that helps improve brain health.
  6. Cucumbers contain lignans, polyphenols which may help lower your risk of certain types of cancer—including ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer.
  7. Cucumbers contain lots of fiber.
  8. Cucumbers contain very few calories.
  9. Cucumbers contain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that we all need.
  10. Cucumbers will make you feel more “satiated,” or full, and you won’t eat as much.

 

Cucumbers have been touted to be a great way to avoid or treat various diseases—including cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, vision loss.

While this may not be necessarily true, there are many advantages to adding cucumber water to your daily routine and healthy lifestyle.

 

The simple fact that cucumber water helps you reach your daily goal as far as drinking water is important in and of itself for various health benefits—including not only making sure that you stay hydrated, but also many other things—such as…

  • adding vitamins and minerals that supplement the rest of your diet
  • assisting in the cleansing of toxins
  • helping each of your body’s organs do its job better
  • helping you have more energy
  • helping your cardiovascular system
  • maintaining the right body temperature
  • providing antioxidants
  • providing nutrients are derived from whole food sources, not synthetic vitamins, so that any nutrients will be better absorbed and utilized by the body

The question now becomes not if you should add “stuff” to your water, but other than cucumbers, besides cucumber water can also be bland…what else could you add to your cucumber water to make even that taste better and be more nutritious?

The answer to making cucumber water even more palatable include…

  • Lemons…Lemons contain lots of vitamin C, which acts is a natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and metabolism booster.
  • Limes…Limes, just like lemons, have a lot of vitamin C along with other nutrients.  In fact,  one lime can provide almost 48% of your daily vitamin C…and vitamin C is important for protecting your heart, supporting better eye health, improving gum health, soothing digestive problems, and reducing fevers.
  • Mint…Mint is another rich source of Vitamin C, as well as several other important nutrients—including calcium, fiber, and magnesium. Mint also provides an extra boost of antioxidants, and provides a unique flavor that really makes this drink delicious and crisp.
  • Pineapple…Pineapples contain high amounts of vitamin C and manganese, along with plenty of B vitamins.
  • Rosemary…Rosemary is a great source of iron, calcium, and potassium.
  • Thyme…Thyme can take care of your Vitamin C needs for the day all by itself.
When Life Gives You Way Too Many Lemons — August 9, 2018

When Life Gives You Way Too Many Lemons

Sometimes life gives you lemons…then there are times when life gives you more lemons than you can handle.

Just like when you buy one or lemons at a time, you’ll probably end up using them before they go bad, but if you try to save money and buy the big bag of lemons, you’ll probably end up throwing out how many?!

Anyway, what should we, or can we, do when life gives us more lemons than we could possibly handle?!

Those answers will be shared later, but first I wanted to share a little bit more about the nutritional value of lemon water and tips on how to use/make/keep more lemon water on hand.

Nutritional Value

Lemon water can quench thirst better than any other drink, but lemon water also provides our bodies with plenty of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and vital trace minerals—such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

1.Vitamins…One cup of fresh lemon juice provides 187 percent of your daily recommended serving of vitamin C and 6% DV of vitamin B6.

Vitamin C...Vitamin C is important for many different reasons. These include…

  • decreasing the severity and duration of respiratory infections like the common cold
  • helping to produce collagen, which is important for smoothing out fine lines in the face and keeping your skin healthy
  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing the health hazards that are a result of stress
  • reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • strengthening your immune system

2. Antioxidants…Lemon juice contains powerful antioxidants that helps protect cells from damaging free radicals….keeping your skin looking fresh, and helping slow down the aging process, and strengthening your immune system.

3. Electrolytes…Electrolytes are hydrating minerals—such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

4. Citric Acid…Lemons are loaded with citric acid. Citric acid provides many health benefits. These benefits include helping your body with digestion by interacting with various enzymes in your body and stimulating the secretion of gastric juice…and preventing kidney stones by increasing urine volume and hydrating you enough so that your body can flush out kidney stones quicker.

Finally, that same one cup of lemon juice contains…

  • 61 calories
  • 21 grams carbohydrates
  • 0.9 gram protein
  • 1 gram dietary fiber
  • 31.7 micrograms folate (8 percent DV)
  • 16% DV of copper.
  • 5% DV thiamin (5 percent DV)

Thirteen Tips on Filling Your Tumbler

  1. Add even more flavor to your lemon water by adding a few springs of mint, a teaspoon of maple syrup or raw honey, a slice of fresh ginger, a dash of cinnamon, slices of other fresh citrus fruits such as limes and oranges, cucumber slices, and so forth
  2. Always use fresh lemons, not artificial lemon from a bottle.
  3. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning gives the body a chance to absorb these vitamins effectively and can provide a little immune boost….
  4. Drink lemon water at warm or room temp water to avoid shocking your system.
  5. Drink lemon water consistently in order to reap any health benefits.
  6. For a sore throat, gargle frequently with lemon juice, diluted half and half with pure water.
  7. For the relief of heartburn, taking a teaspoon o lemon juice in half a glass of water.
  8. Juice several lemons at one time into an ice cube tray. Freeze. Pop a few cubes in a glass of water to have fresh lemon juice at the ready anytime.
  9. Keep your breath sweeter by drinking a glass of lemon water after meals and first thing in the morning.
  10. Replace your morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water.
  11. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into ice cube trays and freeze. Use instead of “regular” ice.
  12. Use more than just a single wedge of lemon in your mug.
  13. When buying lemons, choose lemons that are fully yellow and, if possible, organic. If the fruit is still green, it isn’t fully ripe. Avoid lemons that look dull or wrinkled or that seem excessively hard.

There are many uses for lemons around the house other than their simply lounging in sweet tea glasses with their best friend, ice…or squishing them in the juicer to make fresh lemonade…or drinking as lemon water.

So what to do with those extra lemons that are sitting there slowly rotting on your countertop?

 

Here are a few options…

1.  Air Freshener…Cut a few lemons into quarters. Put them in a pot of boiling water to release citrus-infused steam into the air.

2.  All-Purpose Cleaner…Fill a Mason jar with lemon peels and white vinegar. Shake. Put in a cool dark place for about two weeks. Drain the liquid into a spray bottle.

3.  Ant Repellant…Squirt lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance.

4.  Clogged Tub and Shower Drains...Boil a big pot of water on the stove. Pour it down the drain. Wait for the water to drain. Slowly pour 1C baking soda down the drain, using a spoon or funnel. Add 1C lemon juice. Use your tub stopper or a rag to cover the drain. Wait 30min. Uncover the drain. Pour more boiling water down the drain. Repeat until your drain is no longer clogged. Do this once a quarter to prevent those big clogs from building up again.

5.  Coffee Pot…Stir together a few tablespoons of lemon juice, a tablespoon of Kosher Salt, a few ice cubes, and a tablespoon of water in the pot..Rinse with warm water once the stains are removed.

6.  Cutting Boards…Clean after each use by scrubbing 2tsp salt onto the board with a lemon half and rinsing.

7.  Faucet Polish…Rub faucets with lemon peel. Wash, dry, and buff with microfiber cloths.

8.  Fridge…Add the juice of a lemon to a sponge. Place it in the fridge overnight.

9.  Fruit and Vegetable Spray...Mix together 2Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and 1C water in a spray bottle. Spray on fruits and veggies and then rinse. This will keep apples, avocados, and other fruits and veggies their natural color and avoid browning.

10.  Garbage Disposals...Cut three or four lemons in half. Remove the pulp. Fill each empty rind with a few tablespoons of baking soda. Place the rinds in a bowl in an out-of-the way spot. Keep the lemon halves there for a few days or until you don’t notice the citrus smell anymore. Then, if you have a garbage disposal, send the rinds down it — they’ll clean and freshen your drain on the way.

11.  Laundry Detergent Booster.…..Add 1C lemon juice to the washing machine during the wash cycle.

12.  Microwave…Combine 3Tbsp lemon juice with 1 1/2C water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 5-10 minutes. Wipe away the softened food with a dishrag.

13.  Mosquito Repellant...Break block of 100% organic beeswax into pieces. Place in a glass bowl over a pan filled with simmering water. Melt over medium heat. Stir citronella oil into the melted wax.

14.  Pots and Pans…Rub the cut side of half a lemon all over them, inside and out. Buff with a soft cloth.

15.  Roach and Flea Repellant.…..Mop your floors with the juice and rinds of four lemons and 2 liters water.

16.  Stain Remover..First try to get as much of the dirt out as possible. Next cover the stain well with lemon juice, scrub it with some Kosher salt, and throw it in with the next load of laundry.

17.  Tarnished Silver…Dip a cloth into lemon juice. Rub the tarnish off. Rinse.