Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Best Smoothies for Antioxidants…Alfalfa Sprout Smoothies

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Alfalfa Sprouts

The What...alfalfa is a legume, actually a member of the pea family.

The Why...rich in beta-carotene and vitamin E

Other Reasons Why...great source of many vitamins and minerals—such as calcium, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, and many vitamins.

The Ingredients…

  • 2 cups fresh alfalfa sprouts
  • 3 cups kales leaves, packed
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup water
  • organic celery stalks
  • 1 small apple, cut into large chunks
    1 small frozen banana, broken into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons hemp, chia, or flax seeds
  • stevia to taste
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

18 Reasons to Start Drinking

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    Production Foods

 

 

So now that we’ve gotten off the detour of using organic body and skincare products, let’s once more begin our journey up the Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land–type game called the Raw Foods Pyramid…first by looking at the bottom tier of the pyramid—water.

 

 

 

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WHY

Water is one drink that you’ll want to consider the next time you’re feeling thirsty. It not only helps genuinely hydrate the body, it can help you feel better overall, and even look better. Here are some of the benefits you’ll reap, and some recipes to help you along.

Our bodies contain about 55-60% water…so the more hydrated, the healthier you will be.Water does such important things—such as transporting nutrients and flushing toxins out of our system…, so getting an adequate amount of water each day is very important.

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Let’s take a closer look…

1. Aging...Due to the antioxidant content of water, water helps your body fight free radicals, promotes healthy aging, and enhances your body’s ability to fight disease.

2. Antioxidants...Water contains the antioxidants that are needed to ward off free radicals and help the body flush out built-up toxins. Detoxing the body doesn’t have to be a one time or once a year event, you can help your body stay clean with daily attention to the foods that you’re taking in, as well as avoiding foods that are known as being toxic to the body. This sort of regular maintenance keeps you feeling great all year long.

3. Appetite…Eating when you’re not actually hungry can lead to weight gain and sluggishness,,,and can throw you off your natural eating cycle. Drinking a glass of water when you’re hungry instead of raiding the refrigerator or vending machine can help you make it until your next meal if it’s not quite mealtime.

4.Asthma and Allergies…helps keep your air passageways open because the body closes up these passageways in an effort to minimize water loss whenever we are dehydrated

5. Blood Pressure…Keeping your blood pressure in check is important because it will help keep you away from debilitating diseases like stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, or vision loss. Saying hydrated helps prevents your blood from becoming so thick that it increases your blood pressure,

6. Bone Health…Water may reduce the risk of osteoperosis and bone fractures in post-menopausal women. 

7. Body Temperature…cooling the body whenever you sweat by making you sweat more

4. Brain Function…protects brain structure and function, as well as producting hormones and neurotransmitters. Drinking water promotes clearer thinking and reasoning

8. Cancer…A healthy lifestyle gives you a better chance at staying healthy long-term and perhaps preventing serious conditions, such as cancer….especially cancer involving the urinary tract system.

9. Headaches...may help relieve the intensity and duration of headaches.

10. Hangovers…,Alcohol is dehydrating and toxic to your system, so you need plenty of water and nutrients to start healing.. Water can help prevent the unpleasant symptoms from drinking too much—such as thirst, fatigue, headache and dry mouth—because it is a diuretic. In fact, many people claim that drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage that you drink is great in preventing your having a hangover in the first place.

11. Hydration...When you meet your specific water needs you’ll enjoy the benefits of staying hydrated,…which is important for maintaining the right body temperature, helping your cardiovascular system, assisting in the cleansing of toxins, and having more energy to help each of your organs do its job better.

12. Joint Pain…maintains the ability of the joints to absorb shock

13. Kidney Stones…makes you have to pee more often, which prevents minerals from consolidating, crystallizing and becoming kidney stones

14. Muscles...Whether or not you’re trying to put on muscle, helping your muscles stay strong is a good idea.  Water makes a great contribution to the overall health of your muscles, and your body in general.

15. Nuttritonal Value…Drinking water will provide more vitamins and minerals., such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

16. Skin...Water helps your skin from the inside, as well as the outside. Staying hydrated will help your skin stay supple and smooth. Water makes your skin look healthy and vibrant…prevents your skin from becoming dry, flaky and tight…and helps prevent skin disorders and premature wrinkles..

17.  Tooth Decay…Water keeps the mouth clean and reduces your chance of having tooth decay.

18. Weight Control…Water will naturally quench your thirst and make you forget about mindlessly reaching for drinks loaded with sugar, so it’s an easy way to cut calories from your diet. Water can also act as a natural mild diuretic…helping you get rid of that excess water and bloating.

 

 

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HOW

In order to enjoy the complete benefits of water listed above, you should be drinking eight or more cups of water per day….or half your body weight in ounces.

Think that this will never happen…I did also when I first started trying to get a handle on my weight and my health…

But I’ve been drinking two liters of water per day for the last three years.

In the next post, I’ll show you how I mastered this habit…and how I maintain it.

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.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Honey—The Why?!

Now for the most important question about monofloral honey—or at least to me and my family at this time as we rethink our diet and learn more about nutrition…

Do we add/keep monofloral honey on our Grocery IQ app or not?!

Just like I did in previous posts on why we should all be eating avocadoes and blackstrap molasses, let’s look at the nutritional benefits of honey in a way that corresponds to the nutrition labels.

  1. Serving Size…Honestly how much honey you eat at one time is totally up to you—how sticky do you want your toast to be—how sweet do you want your hot tea to be…but for our purpose, we’re gonna look at the nutritional value of 1Tbsp.
  2. Calories…Each tablespoon of honey contains about sixty-five calories.
  3. Basic Nutrients…Now as for those specific nutrients contained in monofloral honey—such as carbohydrates, fat, protein, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar—that all of us typically eat in adequate amounts….honey contains little fat (zero grams), dietary fiber (.2grams), or protein(.3grams).
  4. Vitamins and Minerals…Monofloral honey actually contains very few vitamins and minerals, but let’s take a look at how much honey does contain…
    • Folate (B9)…1%…2 μg
    • Iron…3%…0.42 mg
    • Calcium…1%…6 mg
    • Magnesium…1%…2 mg
    • Niacin (B3)…1%… 0.121 mg
    • Pantothenic acid (B5)…1%…0.068 mg
    • Phosphorus…1%…4 mg
    • Potassium…1%…52 mg
    • Riboflavin (B2)…3%…0.038 mg
    • Sodium…0%…4 mg
    • Vitamin B6…2%…0.024 mg
    • Vitamin C…1%…0.5 mg
    • Zinc…2%…0.22 mg

There are benefits of honey in general—such as being a natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antibiotic—but monofloral honey not only provide these benefits, but also many other benefits and unique properties that make them even more beneficial.

These benefits are related to the following conditions…

    1. Acid reflux…Monofloral honey can help reverse acid reflux damage.
    2. Infection…Monofloral honey often contain strong antibacterial elements—such as hydrogen peroxide and antioxidants.
    3. Cancer…Monofloral honey controls the side effects of radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
    4. Digestive conditions…Monofloral honeys are good for stomach health. They  have prebiotic benefits that help to improves digestive health, such as helping to soothe an upset stomach or constipation. These honeys can also encourage the stomach to regenerate itself, helping heal gastritis naturally.
    5. Fatigue…Monofloral honeys can give you more energy and help you combats fatigue and hypoglycemia.
    6. Immunity…Monofloral honeys, especially those produced from local sources, make your immune system more effective.
    7. Respiratory conditions…Monofloral honey helps you recover from respiratory infections more quickly, as well as helping you deal with seasonal allergies due to pollen.
    8. Skin conditions…Monofloral honeys are good for all skin types. They help prevent acne by reducing bacteria and the excess sebum that these bacteria feed on and by calming skin irritation. As far as dry skin, monofloral honey nourishes, hydrates, and restores radiance.
    9. Sleep…Monofloral honeys can help you fall asleep faster.
    10. Sore throat…Monofloral honey is good for sore throat and cough, common cold and tonsillitis.
Getting Healthy

Fiber—The Why?!

  • Okay, now that we know what fiber is, why do we need fiber in the first place?

 

Fiber, especially soluble fiber, is important for many reasons, including…

 

1. Acne…Fiber—especially psyllium husk, a type of plant seed, can flush toxins out of your body, improving the health and appearance of your skin.

 

2.  Diabetes. A diet high in fiber—particularly insoluble fiber from cereals—can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, eating soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar, regulate your blood sugar levels, and help lower cholesterol.

 

3.  Digestive System…Soluble fiber can also help treat many cases of constipation,

Fiber functions as a prebiotic, feeding the friendly bacteria in the intestine and shifting the balance of bacteria, increasing healthy bacteria, while decreasing the unhealthy bacteria that can be the root of some digestive problems

Fiber also provides bulk in the intestines, while helping balance the pH levels in the intestines. It promotes regular bowel movements and helps prevent or treat problems—such as constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis (inflammation of the intestine), hemorrhoids, gallstones, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, and ulcers.

 

4.  Heart Disease…Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, is an important element of any heart-healthy diet. Failing to get enough fiber in your diet will cause your digestive tract to not work efficiently or effectively (not sure which word should be used here)…which in turn could lead to high cholesterol levels and eventually heart disease.

 

5. Immunity and Risks…High-fiber diets may help lower your risk of certain diseases—including diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

 

6.  Nutritional Value…Soluble fiber creates a gel in the digestive system because it bonds with fatty acids. This gel causes food to stay in your stomach for a longer amount of time, allowing for better absorption of nutrients.

 

7.  Obesity…Fiber is a key factor in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and helps us feel more satisfied with fewer calories.

Also, high-fiber foods—such as fruits and vegetables—tend to be low in calories.

Finally, because fiber works to regulate blood sugar levels, fiber can help you avoid insulin spikes that leave you feeling drained and craving unhealthy foods.

 

Getting Healthy

Daddy Always Said, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

Most likely whenever you look at the ingredients label for any typical packaged food, you won’t have a clue what many of the ingredients listed are, and probably won’t be able to pronounce many of them either.

Those ingredients are most likely artificial chemicals that have been added for various purposes—such as to make the foods hopefully taste, look, and have the texture of unprocessed or minimally processed foods. These ingredients are also used to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product, increase shelf life, disinfect and deodorize, hide odors, and sweeten our foods.

Big food companies must think that they are doing both ourselves and themselves a huge favor…by making our foods more palatable, while at the same time making a larger profit themselves.

In fact, as consumers get used to the taste of a certain food, even more and more of these additives are usually added to those food items by the “food engineers” of these big -brand food manufacturers in order to keep them or make them even more addictive.

And as if that list of ingredients shown on the package that you just looked at isn’t long enough already, most also contain even dozens more additional chemicals that aren’t even listed on the label.

However adding all these additives can affect the health of everyone who eats that manufacturer’s products…including their own workers.

Health problems that can result because of all these additives include allergies, heart issues, hyperactivity, diabetes, obesity, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, hair loss, and even cancer.

For example, the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging periodically conducts laboratory testing of foods. One study involved the testing of thirty different macaroni and cheese products.

One chemical in particular, that the Coalition was looking for was phthalates, a hormone-disrupting chemical that manufacturers use when making rubber, plastics, adhesives, sealants, and printing inks…and that also poses a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and children.

The Coalition found phthalates in 29 of these 30 items, including eight of the nine Kraft cheese product items tested.

Another study conducted by the University of Hawaii of almost 200,000 people found that those people who eat the most processed meats—such as hot dogs and bologna—have a 67% higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Sorry, Oscar Mayer, but my dad died from pancreatic cancer. Crossing hot dogs and bologna off my grocery list permanently.’

We should all learn how to avoid such additives.

One way is to refuse to buy products with ingredient lists that…

  • are longer than the Santa wish list of my “resident four year old”
  • contain the words “artificial flavor. “Artificial flavor” is not actually an ingredient. Who in the heck even knows what “artificial flavor” is?
  • have words that are too hard to pronounce
  • have words that have more than twenty syllables

What exactly do the words “artificial flavor” mean?

Just like we previously learned, when doing a previous “What Now” unit on taking the perfect cruelty-free shower…as far as health and beauty products are concerned, the word “fragrance” can be code-name for a whole slew of we-really-don’t-want-to-tell-you-because-if-we-did-tell-you-then-you-probably-wouldn’t-buy-this ingredients…and when it comes to food, the words “artificial flavor” are basically code-name for that exact same thing.

Any time that you see the words “artificial flavor” listed as an ingredient, you should realize that this is a proprietary blend of several different ingredients that are considered “trade secrets.” For “marketing” reasons, manufacturers can get by without listing exactly specific ingredients make up their “artificial flavor.”