Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking with Applesauce

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Being the wife of a type 2 diabetic makes you reconsider the old ways that you have learned to cook, not only in WHAT you cook, but also in HOW you cook.

You become more aware of the amount of saturated fats, sugar, and calories contained in your baked goods.

For example, check out these facts about the nutritional value of Paula Deen’s Sour Cream Pound Cake found in my last post. I’ve been making this cake for about thirty-five years my self and eating it for about fifty, but never stopped to really think about the ingredients until here lately.

But still, being from the Deep South, I absolutely love to bake and would gladly put my sour cream pound cake in competition with anyone else’s at any upcoming state fair this fall.

But how do I still manage to make moist, delicious baked goods that will rival any competitors while also keeping my type 2 diabetic husband’s blood sugar and cholesterol levels in line?

One way is by replacing some of the fat called for in cookie and cake recipes with applesauce.

So this holiday baking season, I plan on making at least some of my traditional recipes using applesauce so that at least some of my offerings will contain less sugar and perhaps even healthy(?!)…since apples have been shown to have great health benefits.—such as helping to prevent cancer, reducing your risk of cardiovascular difficulties, acting as an antioxidant, and diminishing the effects of bad cholesterol.

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Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

When I started this blog, I had no intention of turning this into yet another food blog. There are enough of those out there already.

Instead I wanted to talk about my journey to take our family to a more minimalistic and healthier lifestyle, especially since my husband was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Some of the topics that I have learned more about so far in this journey have included…

  • How to deal with insomnia
  • Which cruelty-free products in my daily so-called “beauty” routine
  • What clothes to include as you switch to a minimalistic capsule wardrobe
  • How to read nutritional labels
  • What foods you can eat on a Raw Foods Pyramid

Even so, changing our lifestyle from the typical “Deep South” menu where everything is deep-fried or has lots and lots of cheese and heavy cream on it has taken priority right now.

So in these next few posts I’m going to be looking at the next rung of the Raw Foods Pyramid…

Leafy Greens…

Growing up in the Deep South, I never thought that I would actually enjoy eating, much less, cooking…things like turnip greens or collard greens. But now I actually enjoy eating them…especially when they’re served with lots and lots of bacon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume at least three cups of dark green vegetables each week.

Thankfully, there are several varieties of leafy greens out there…I find the idea of eating three cups of mustard greens or collard greens still repulsive, but my Mom would be so glad that I actually do eat them now instead of feeding to the dog while she wasn’t looking.

So which ones should you choose and how do you use these before they sit too long in your food rotter, if you’re anything like me…

All leafy are packed with important and powerful nutrients, and most can also be found year round. This makes adding them to your menu for the week quite an easy task.

As far as nutritional value, all leafy greens are typically low in calories and fat….and high in protein per calorie, dietary fiber, vitamin C, pro-vitamin A carotenoids, folate, manganese and vitamin K.

Studies have shown that eating leafy greens may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent, a fact that I wish that I’d known when I first got married 32 years ago. Leafy greens have also been shown to improve your eyesight, bone health and skin elasticity while helping your blood to clot normally.

And even better, there are so many more varieties that can keep you from feeling like you are simply eating the required bowl of bagged salad every single night, night after night…

Some options that we will be taking a look at are…

  • Arugula
  • Beet Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Boston (Butterhead)
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Collard Greens
  • Edible Green Leaves
  • Endive
  • Iceberg
  • Kale
  • Microgreens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)
  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnip Greens
  • Watercress

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

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.
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

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%.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Cup of Hot Tea

Okay, so I realize that not everybody has had the privilege of growing up in the Deep South where people don’t even bother to take drink orders, but simply pass around huge glasses filled with ice tea as soon as your butt hits the restaurant dining table chairs…

So how do you make that Mississippi nectar that is the pride of the hospitality state?

Sure lots and lots of sugar is important, but many other factors are important also—such as the technique/process you will be using, the quality of the water used, temperatures, and time.

But there are many factors that go into making the perfect cup of tea, including…

1.The Method…What method you use when making your tea is a personal preference, but here are a few options…

French Press…The same French press that you use to make coffee can also be used to make tea. Using a French press allows you to brew several cups of tea at one time. A French press also allows you to steep and serve your tea in the same vessel. However, you could easily over-steeping your tea since the tea leaves simply sit at the bottom of the press after you make the tea, instead of being taken out.

Tea Ball Infuser…Tea ball infusers are basically teabags that you fill yourself with whatever loose tea you would like and then steep in your tea until you get the strength of tea that you would like. These hinged mesh spheres are obviously more “environmentally friendly.”

Tea Brewing Strainers…Tea brewing strainers are small mesh baskets that you fill with loose leaf  tea and then pour hot water on top of the leaves. As the hot water passes over the loose tea leaves, your tea is “brewed,” but this is probably not your best option because you can’t is not very popular and control how long your tea brews.

Teabags…Of course you already know what a teabag is, and this is the most common method of making tea. This method is the most convenient, even though not the most “environmentally friendly.”

Teapot…Teaposts are always a great choice, but not all teapots will deliver the same results. Two factors to consider when choosing a teapot are whether or not the teapost has a built-in strainer to help infuse the tea or requires use of a separate straining device….and what  material your teapot is made from so that you can know that the brewing temperature is ideal or not for the type of tea which you will most likely be making.

2.  The Temperature…Even though most of us would assume that in order to make tea, you must bring your water to a rolling boil, this is not always the case. In fact, different types of tea require different temperatures. Bringing your water to a rolling boil can actually keep your tea from reaching its fullest flavor potential.

As a general rule, white tea and green tea should be made with the lowest temperature, about 175 degrees. Oolong and black tea should be made with a medium temperature, about 200 degrees. And mate, rooibos, and other types of herbal tea should be made with the highest temperature, about 210 degrees.

Bringing your water to a full rolling boil and then letting the tea cool down to the ideal temperature also will negatively impact the flavor of your tea.

3. The Time…Time can also affect the flavor of the tea. Different steeping times will create subtle flavor differences that you may or may not like. The best thing to do is to take the time to steep any new type of tea that you may be trying in thirty second intervals until you find the steeping time for that particular tea that you like best.

4. The Water…Water is obviously a very important ingredient to a great glass of tea, almost as important as the sugar. Only use water that is fresh and cold.  Avoid using tap water that has been sitting in stagnant in your kettle for any length of time or that has already been boiled previously. Always use cold water instead of hot water. Hot tap water tends to carry more minerals—such as calcium and lime—and can mess up the flavor of your tea.

Getting Healthy

Back Where I’m From, Sweet Tea Flows Like Water

In an earlier post, we had look at the best teas for helping you get to sleep, but this time let’s look at tea as far as helping you stay hydrated. Later as we move up the pyramid, we’ll then look at tea again as we clean out our spice cabinet and learn what’s really in all those red and white McCormick canisters that have probably been there for how long?

 

Tea obviously contains water…

After all, tea is made by infusing dried, crushed leaves or herbs in hot water

 

And tea contains herbs…

Herbal tea has been used in medicine in southern and eastern Asia for thousands of years, and drinking herbal tea has many health benefits—such as settling your stomach, burning fat, curing a cold, relieving muscle tension and twitching, calming the stomach, improving your mood, helping to manage stress, helping you lose weight, and helping you feel less stressed, sad, or anxious.

The people of the ancient Shang dynasty in China first introduced to our side of the globe by serving it to Portuguese missionaries during the 16th Century. The popularity of tea spread quickly throughout Europe and Asia.

 

But which tea?!

There is such a wide range of tea brands and varieties that choosing which tea to actually buy can seem mind-boggling….almost like choosing coffee or your favorite donut at Dunkin’ Donuts…

 

So which teas are best for when?!

Just like everything else, each of us probably has an opinion on which tea is their favorite, which brand to buy, how to make it, and so forth…

So in this post I have decided to simply list as many different types of tea as I could think of, and start exploring these different types of tea before we reach the herbs/spices rung of the Raw Foods Pyramid.

 

  1. Banana Tea—Dr. Oz RecipeNot only will banana tea help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer, but bananas are rich in both potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help your blood vessels and muscles relax.
  2. Basil Tea…Basil tea is made with fresh or dried herbs. Basil tea is perfect for helping with digestion.
  3. Black Tea…Black tea contains a lot of caffeine, which will obviously, or hopefully, help you stay awake and alert throughout the day….as well as other health benefits—such as repairing lung damage caused by cigarette smoke exposure and reducing the potential of stroke.
  4. Catnip TeaCatnip Tea?! Really?! Before now I only thought that catnip was just fun to give your cats, but the organic compound nepetalactone that is found in catnip is actually used in medicine to treat many things, including insomnia.
  5. Chai Tea...The traditional Indian spices in chai tea serve as a natural stimulant—helping to facilitate energy production within the body, boosting energy and mental clarity—all without that afternoon, post-caffeine crash.
  6.  Chamomile TeaChamomile Tea does the opposite of black tea…instead of  providing you with a huge dose of caffeine to keep you overstimulated and hyper all day, chamomile tea helps get rid of all that anxiety and stress. Chamomile tea has also been shown to provide many more health benefits—such as boosting blood circulation, getting rid of bloating and indigestion, and helping you get a good night’s sleep.
  7. Ginger Tea…Ginger tea provides just enough of a boost of natural energy boost to keep you feeling like you can tackle the world, improves circulation, and helps whenever you are feeling nauseous,
  8. Green Tea…Green tea can calm you down and make you feel relaxed. It contains L-theanine that boosts the brain waves, giving you a similar sensation that is experienced during meditation.Green Tea will help relieve a whole host of ailments including a slow metabolism and icommonly called the ‘wonder tea’….It’s packed with antioxidants, lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure and even fights tooth decay.
  9. Honeybush Tea…This caffeine-free tea has a sweet, fragrant taste. Honeybush has a calming effect, reducing stress and easing the mind. It is also a powerful antioxidant, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
  10.  Indian masala chai…can keep your mind positive every day. It has properties that can lift up your mood and make you feel happier. This chai promotes positivity by stimulating your body to generate serotonin, a chemical that stabilizes the mood.
  11.  Lavender TeaLavender tea treats a variety of ailments, like agitation, anxiety and insomnia. Lavender is known for its mood stabilizing properties, reducing stressful feelings and acting as a muscle relaxant.Usually the first “natural” ingredient that I think of when thinking about ways to help relieve stress and calm down for the night is lavender, but I never knew that you could buy lavender tea…actually I’d never looked for it before…Lavender tea is your best option whenever you are sleepless. It promotes relaxation that places you in a sound and undisrupted sleep. Drinking lavender tea can also help improve blood circulation, and keep your nervous system in top condition. You can drink a cup every day before bedtime.
  12. Lemon or Orange Tea….to boost your mood. These two teas taste great and are effective in relaxing your body. Their scent will also calm you down.
  13.  Lemon Balm Tea…Lemon balm is an herb in the mint family. It has been used for thousands of years to induce a clam state. It promotes restful sleep, improving impulse control and reducing feelings of rage…Lemon Balm TeaLemon Balm Tea…Lemon Balm tea is good for anxiety, panic attacks and if you are feeling stressed. Adding a little honey to herbal teas is also beneficial and can make them a little more palatable too….Lemon balm is a herb commonly used to treat insomnia and to help with anxiety and stress. Lemon balm is often combined with other herbs, such as chamomile and valerian, to create a very powerful tea for insomniacs.
  14.  Lemon Verbena Tea…Lemon verbena is a plant native to South America. This herb, also known as lemon beebrush, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps regulate hormones. It’s mood-boosting properties help to reduce anxiety and depressive thoughts.
  15. Lemongrass tea…. This tea contains essential oils that help your body calm down. It is the best natural anti-depressant.
  16. Oat Straw Tea…Oat straw tea is made from the grassy stem part of the oat plant. Oat straw is considered a “nutrient dense” herb and is especially great for soothing the nervous system, helping to manage everyday stress, cleansing the liver and gallbladder, and supporting a healthy circulatory system.
  17. Oolong Tea…Oolong tea is high in antioxidants and is known to reduce bad cholesterol levels. For years, it has been considered the best tea for weight loss for both men and women. For the most optimal benefits, it is important to consume at least one glass, 2 to 3 times every day.
  18. Passion Flower TeaPassion flower tea is made from the leaves and vines of the passion plant, which is native to Mexico and Central America and was named “passion fruit” by  Spanish missionaries in Peru, who saw the flower’s design as being symbolic of the Passion of Christ. Passion flower tea contains many important nutrients—including vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants.
  19. Peppermint Tea…Peppermint tea can help calm your mind and body. It is the best tea for your emotional wellness. If you have been suffering from a heart-breaking experience, all you need is a sip from peppermint tea. You should feel better after emptying a cup….Peppermint tea is the tea of choice whenever you are looking for something to help calm stomach problems such as indigestion before you go to bedPeppermint tea is known to soothe an upset stomach. It helps reduce nausea, stomach cramps, heartburn and motion sickness. It is also a known antispasmodic, reducing the chance of vomiting…Peppermint Tea….If you are feeling bloated, you can’t go past good old
  20. Rooibos Tea…This sweet, nutty tea is popular in South African countries. It is naturally caffeine-free, yet boots memory, focus and concentration. Rooibos tea also relives nervous tension and improves mental clarity.
  21. St John’s Wort TeaSt John’s Wort is a popular natural anti-depressant that helps relieve anxiety and stress, two of the most common causes of insomnia. But before using St. John’s Wort, make sure that is safe for you to use, based on your current state of health and any other medications you are currently taking.
  22. Tart Cherry Tea…Tart cherry tea is for the anxious people. It is effective against anxiety or restlessness. Drinking a cup of tart cherry tea will slow down the blood flow, just like how the lavender tea works. You will begin to feel more relaxed afterwards.
  23. Valerian TeaThere has been much debate as to the effectiveness of valerian and valerian tea, in helping people deal with insomnia and anxiety, even though people have been using the root of the valerian plant for its sedative properties for centuries.
  24. White Tea…White tea is both unfermented and uncured. In addition, is known for its potent anti-cancer properties, and is also shown to be highly effective for weight loss.

 helping you feel refreshed and optimistic….

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

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

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

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.
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

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.

 

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

But Water Is SO Boring and Has Absolutely No Taste

Okay, so now we’ve established the fact that drinking water each day is important in maintaining our overall health and well-being. Water is required for all sorts of  reasons—including flushing toxins and waste products from our bodies, helping with digestion, keeping us “regular,” preventing dehydration, helping with weight loss, hydrating the skin, reducing the signs of aging. treating fatigue, adding shine to dull hair, preventing chapped lips, maintaining a health immune system.

But drinking the suggested amount of water can often be a challenge.

I have been drinking two liters of water each day for about five years now. The two things that I have found work best for me in reaching this goal have been a simple two liter Coke, (yeah, I am from the Deep South), bottle and an infuser bottle that I take with me everywhere…and have left how many in my grocery cart at Walmart and had to replace…

Like I said earlier, my two favorite tools for helping me drink more water each day have been a 2-liter Coke bottle that I fill each day in order to finish by the time that I go to bed that night, and an infuser water bottle that I take with me everywhere I go.

But there are several other tools and techniques that can help you start drinking the water that your body needs each day, so keep reading…

THE WHO…(no, not the band…your co-workers, family, and friends)…Just as with any other goal, having other people—such as your spouse or a friend or a co-worker—can help you in your quest for drinking more water. To me this seems rather extreme, but this could actually be fun is you challenge a co-worker to see who can drink more water

 

THE WHAT

  1. The Little Water Bottle…Carrying a small refillable water bottle everywhere you go, whenever you go will help you get into the daily habit of drinking more water throughout the day.
  2. The Big Water Bottle...In addition to carrying a small bottle of water with you, I have found it helpful to go ahead and pour a pitcher with how much water you have decided to drink each day. This serves as both a reminder and an easy way to make sure that you drink your full amount of water. I simply use an empty 2-liter Coke bottle.
  3. The Water Filter…Invest in a filter….You can get water filters both to filter both your tapwater as well as the pitcher or bottle that you use. We will be taking a look at a few options in a later post…For now, just realize that they might actually be worth checking into.
  4. The Straw….Using a straw actually does make a difference because you end up drinking faster, and drinking more at one time.
  5. The “Seltzer” Machine…Making your own carbonated water with the help of a home “seltzer” machine, such as the Soda Stream, might encourage you to drink more water also.

 

THE WHEN

  1. Before Meals…Drinking a full glass of water before every meal makes you feel full and helps you eat fewer calories.
  2. Morning...Drink a tall glass of lukewarm water as soon as you wake up.  Drinking this water will give you more energy to face the day ahead.
  3. Once Per Hour…Have one glass every hour on the hour will ensure that your water quote is met by the end of the day.
  4. Specific Times Throughout the Day…It is easier to start a habit if you link this new habit with an already existing daily activity. Drink a big glass at certain parts of your daily routine—such as when you first get up, just before leaving the house, when you sit down to work, whenever you get up from your desk at work to take a bathroom break, after your brush your teeth in the morning, and right before you eat lunch.
  5. Whenever You’re Drinking Alcohol….Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage that you drink in order to avoid having a hangover the next day.
  6. Whenever You’re Exercise…Drink water before, during and after exercise.
  7. Whenever You’re Hungry…Drink water if you’re feeling hungry. Thirst is often confused with hunger.