Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

Now that my husband has been officially declared as a type 2 diabetic, one of my priorities as far as our family meals has been to start cooking healthier than my Mississippi ancestry and love for foods such as Paula Dean’s Sour Cream Pound Cake have always taught me.

I have started exploring options to ordinary cane sugar, such as agave nectar and coconut sugar. Lately I have starting experimenting with date sugar.

But how do you use date sugar to make an awesome dessert…especially on holidays such as Father’s Day and the 4th of July?

So I have started my quest for new desserts to put in my recipe box to replace my recipe repertoire…such as this chocolate mousse pie made with a homemade vegan pie crust and coconut whipped cream.

Vegan Pie Crust

  • 1-3/4C flour
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 3/4tsp sugar
  • 6Tbsp cold vegan butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 6 Tbsp shortening
  • 5 Tbsp ice water

Instructions

  • Fill a small bowl with water and a couple of ice cubes.
  • Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Add the cold butter. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dough.
  • Add the shortening to the bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dough until the butter and shortening pieces are about the size of peas.
  • Incorporate tablespoons of additional water as required for the crust to stick together when pressed between your fingers.
  • Dump the pie dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate at least thirty minutes.
  • Place the wrapped disk on a large smooth surface. Unwrap. Sandwich the dough between two pieces of Saran wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 13″ diameter circle.
  • Generously grease a 9″ pie dish. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap. Invert the crust into the pie dish. Carefully remove the other piece of plastic wrap. Fit the crust into the pie dish. Lightly press the dough around the edge of the pie pan. Use scissors to cut excess dough from the edge, following the edge of the pan. Fold the dough over to make a double-thick rim of the crust. Use a fork to crimp the edges.

Chocolate and Date Mousse…This chocolate mousse has a delicate sweetness, an incredibly smooth texture, and best of all—it’s healthy for you.

  • 1/2C Hershey’s Cocoa…(Cocoa can actually be good for you because, depending on how the cocoa has been processed, it often contains a high concentration of antioxidants)
  • 1/2C Sunsweet pitted dates…(In a previous post, I shared the health benefits of dates and date sugar…so not going to reiterate…look here at this post instead).
  • 1-1/4C coconut cream
  • Optional ingredients…(use one or more of the following if desired)…a pinch of sea salt, vanilla extract, some cinnamon, more cocoa, cayenne pepper, a few drops of peppermint extract or fresh mint, finely chopped pineapple, rum, orange zest or extract, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coffee, Kahlúa, raspberries

Instructions

  1. Refrigerate the can of coconut cream overnight. This allows the cream to solidify and separate at the top of the can, leaving a clear liquid at the bottom. Once you are able to shake the can and no longer feel liquid moving, the coconut cream is ready.
  2. Carefully turn the can upside down. Open and discard the transparent liquid.
  3. Stir the dates with 1Tbsp water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave one minute. Drain. This allows the dates to not be as dry and helps your mousse to have a smooth consistency.
  4. Blend ingredients together until smooth.
  5. Taste and add any optional ingredients until you get the “flavor of the day.”
  6. Spread the mousse into a pie crust.
  7. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 14oz can coconut cream
  • 1Tbsp sugar substitute
  • 1tsp vanilla

    Chill the can of coconut cream for at least one day to allow it to separate and harden. Refrigerate your mixing bowl and beaters for thirty minutes.

Take the can of coconut cream out of the refrigerator. Scoop out only the hard coconut cream that should has settled at the top of the can.

Whip ingredients together until fluffy. Add any additional extracts, spices, and/or cocoa powder as desired.

Advertisements
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Date Sugar—What?! Why?! How?!

The What?!

  • Another natural sugar substitute that’s popular among raw food enthusiasts.
  • Date sugar is simply made by dehydrating and finely grinding whole dates into a granular powder and requires no processing whatsoever.
  • Date sugar has a lightly sweet, caramel-like flavor and the consistency of brown sugar.

 

The Why?!

  • Even though dates contain tons of fructose by ratio to their weight…about six times more sugar and calories than most other fruits….for example, five small apples have the same amount of sugar as four dates….dates also contain many important nutrients—especially fiber and potassium.
  • As far as sugar substitutes, date sugar has the highest nutritional value.
  • Fiber…Fiber is important for slowing down the absorption of sugar to your liver and regulating insulin. Fiber also fills you up faster.
  • Potassium…Potassium is important for flushing out toxins and balancing electrolytes.

The How?!

  • Date sugar is not a good substitute for sweetening beverages because it remains grainy and does not dissolve well just placed in hot liquids, such as coffee or tea.
  • Even though date sugar doesn’t dissolve in hot liquids or baked goods, date sugar can still be a great one-to-one replacement for granulated or brown sugar in baking recipes.
  • Dates can be used as a binder for cookies and bars, turned into caramel, and also used as a sweetener for smoothies and salad dressings as long as the ingredients are blended well.
  • Date Syrup…You can also turn raw dates into a date syrup by boiling the dates and reducing the liquid until it’s the consistency of honey. This is actually a much better option than using date sugar when baking.
  • When using date syrup to replace granulated sugar in a baking recipe, be sure to use less date syrup than the amount of granulated sugar that the recipe calls for—about 2/3 cup date syrup for every one cup of sugar called for in the original recipe…as well as making sure than you reduce the amount of liquids called for in the original recipe.
  • Because dates have a low glycemic index, dates are actually a great sugar substitute for diabetics and for prediabetics who hope to keep their blood sugar in check….so, yes, adding this to my upcoming grocery list.
Getting Healthy, Instruments, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Coconut Sugar

Okay, so now that I’ve started shopping at stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods, I think that I’ve seen every product imaginable made from coconut and learned several really good reasons to keep a good supply of castile soap and coconut oil on hand, so why does it surprise me that the almighty coconut can also be used as a sugar substitute.

Coconut sugar, made by drying out the sugary sap of coconut trees, has been used for centuries in many countries, including Indonesia and Cambodia.

This syrupy liquid has a taste much like brown sugar…and though coconut sugar

may often be more expensive than regular granulated sugar, coconut sugar is a much better option than many other sweeteners currently found on the market.

Coconut juice, which is where a lot of coconut sugar comes from, is full of potassium, electrolytes and nutrients…coconut sugar has many benefits that you will not find in regular table sugar, it may require large amounts to really make a positive affect.

Like plain white sugar, coconut sugar contains vitamins, minerals, trace elements—such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium—as well as short-chain fatty acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, and phytonutrients—such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidins—that help reduce blood sugar, inflammation, and cholesterol.

Coconut sugar also contains about twice as much iron and zinc as the same amount of granulated table sugar…as well as 25% DV of potassium per four ounces…(okay, when you sit down to eat 1/2C of coconut sugar at one sitting, please call me…right?!)

Another reason that coconut sugar is better for diabetics than regular table sugar is the fact that it contains inulin, a fiber that helps slow glucose absorption and keep glucose levels in check.

Just like coconut oil and coconut water, coconut sugar is becoming a very popular item at health food stores across America. Coconut sugar is being used to sweeten everything from coffee and tea…to cookies, cakes, and pies.

The American Diabetes Association states that even though coconut sugar is a great alternative sweetener for those with diabetes to use, coconut sugar has the same calories as regular sugar and should be used in moderation.

When shopping for coconut sugar, remember that many products that are available on the shelf combine both regular sugar and coconhttps://www.texanerin.com/perfect-paleo-chocolate-chip-cookies/ut sugar…so remember to take time to check the label before tossing the coconut sugar into your cart. Avoid these brands.

Also take the time to look for organic coconut sugar that is unrefined, vegan, non-GMO.

So  I AM adding coconut sugar to my routine grocery list or tossing it out the window as another “What Not to Eat Now That You’re a Diabetic” item?

As far as the following Chocolate Chip Cookies made from coconut sugar, not sure if they’re really healthy or not…

But they taste great!!!

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Fiber–The How-Nots

So now that we have looked at exactly what fiber is, why we need it, and some of the best sources for getting the fiber that we all need, let’s finish this series of posts by looking at a few ways NOT to try to get the fiber that you need.

 

Taking a fiber supplement

Many people think that taking a fiber supplement is a quick way to reach your recommended fiber amount each day, but this is not the best solution. Sure a supplement can be used to start gettomg the fiber that you need, but fiber supplements will never take the place of real foods.

Fiber supplements come in a variety of forms—including powders you that are dissolved in water or added to food, chewable tablets, and wafers.

More drawbacks to getting your fiber from supplements instead of actual fiber-rich foods include…

  • not getting the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients offered by high-fiber foods….
  • not helping you manage your weight because they don’t offer the same feeling of being full as  high-fiber foods\
  • possible interactaction with certain medications—such as certain antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering medications, and warfarin, as anticoagulation drug

 

Fast Food

Fast food may seem like a cheap and convenient way to eat (and not have to cook), but most fast food meals are packed with calories, sodium, and unhealthy fat with little or no dietary fiber.

Even a seemingly healthy salad from a fast food restaurant is often light on fiber. In fact, iceberg lettuce provides less than one gram of fiber per cup. (Remember always choose the darker greens).

Here is some advice to making a “healthy” fast food run…

  1. Choose a veggie burger if available. Veggie burgers usually contain two or three times more fiber than a beef patty
  2. Choose nuts or salad instead of fries or potato chips.
  3. Choose whole wheat breads or buns
  4. Look for salads that include other vegetables, nuts, and legumes
  5. Select beans as a side dish

 

Processed Foods

Many manufacturers, no, make that most manufacturers are way more interest in profit margin instead of the health of their customers. These food companies try to project a healthier image for their products, even though the foods themselves are actually not healthy at all.

For example, just how healthy to you think that foods marketed as high-fiber alternatives—such as a Kellogg’s To Go Milk Chocolate Breakfast Shake, FiberPlus Antioxidants Chocolatey Peanut Butter Chewy Bar, Fiber One Double Chocolate Cookie or 90 Calorie Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Weight Watchers Chocolate Crème Cake, or a Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle ice cream bar—really are…especially when compared to clean food alternatives.

Many food items that claim to contain high amounts of fiber—such as Fiber One bars, cereals, instant oatmeal, pasta, and English muffins—actually have added fiber in them that aren’t good fiber sources at all.

The food industry claims that these additives are beneficial for getting the fiber that each of us needs, but these additives will never replace the nutritional value of fiber-rich foods.

And we all know that simply adding one of the following fiber doesn’t exactly turn cookies, brownies, bars, and shakes into beans, bran, berries, and broccoli.

A few of the additives that the Food and Drug Administration is currently studying that are commonly added to processed foods that are available on grocery store shelves include…

  • Bamboo Fiber
  • Calcium Polycarbophil
  • Gum Acacia
  • Inulin
  • Litesse
  • Maltodextrin
  • Methylcellulose
  • Modified Starches
  • Polydextrose
  • Resistant Wheat Starch
  • Retrograded Corn Starch
  • Soluble Corn Fiber
  • Wheat Dextrin
  • Xylooligosaccharides
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Fiber—The How Else?!

IMG_4473-1

Okay, now we know specifically which fruits and vegetables can help us reach our DV of fiber, but what else can help us reach this daily goal, or the goal of getting seven to ten grams of fiber at each meal.

Let’s take a look…

Legumes

Black Beans...Black beans are a nutrient-dense legume that contain fifteen grams of fiber per cup, as well as other important nutrients—such as protein, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, folate, flavonoids, and antioxidants.

Chickpeas...One cup of chickpeas contains 12.5 grams of fiber per ½ cup, (but also 400 calories), as well as other important nutrients such as protein, copper, folate, manganese, omega-6 fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. Chickpeas provide 84 percent of your daily recommended amount of manganese per cup. Manganese is important for helping you have the energy you need each day.

Edamame...Edamame contains four grams of fiber per ½ cup.

Green Peas...One cup of cooked peas contains 8.8 grams of fiber, as well as other important nutrients—such as vitaminC, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamine, manganese, folate, vitamin A, protein. Green peas are also packed with powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and phytonutrients.

Kidney Beans…Kidney beans contain 5.7 grams of fiber per ½ cup. Kidney beans also contain 7.7 grams of protein…(more on protein later)…

Lentils...Lentils contain 15.6 grams of fiber per cup, as well as other key nutrients such as protein, iron, manganese, phosphorous, and folate. If fact, lentils are one of the top 10 high-folate foods. Folate is essential for pregnant women, individuals with liver disease and people on certain medications.

Lima Beans…One cup of lima beans contains 13.2 grams of fiber, as well as other important nutrients—such as copper, manganese, folate, phosphorous, protein, vitamin B2, and vitamin B6. In addition to the outstanding fiber per serving, lima beans offers nearly 25 percent of the daily recommended iron for women.

Navy Beans...Navy beans are by far one of the best sources of fiber—containing over nineteen grams of fiber per cup, which is 34 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake.

Refried Beans…Refried beans contain 4.4 grams of fiber per ½ cup.

Split Peas…Split peas contain sixteen grams—over half of the recommended intake—of fiber per ½ cup, as well as a third of the folate recommended daily, and many other important nutrients as well—such as protein, thiamine, folate, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-6 fatty acids…(and, no, split peas are not simply green peas that have been split).

Sugar Snap Peas…Sugar snap peas contain four grams of fiber per cup.

Nuts and Seed

Almonds…One cup of unroasted almonds contain 11.6 grams of fiber, as well as other important nutrients—such as protein, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, riboflavin, and omega-6 fatty acids. Be sure to choose  almonds that are labeled as raw, natural, or unroasted to get more fiber for your calories.

Flax Seeds…Whole flaxseeds offer up to seven grams of fiber per two tablespoons.m as well as other important nutrients—such as protein, thiamine, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia Seed…One ounce of chia seeds contains 10.6 grams of fiber, plus many other important nutrients—such as protein, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids..

Pistachios…One ounce of pistachios contains 2.8 grams of fiber, along with 6 grams of protein.

Walnuts…One cup of walnuts contains 7.8 grams of fiber, as well as other important nutrients—such as protein, manganese, copper, omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. Walnuts have been shown to improve verbal reasoning, memory and mood and are believed to support good neurologic function.

Okay, as a newbie nutritional novice, I didn’t exactly see whole grains on my food pyramid, but who in their right mind would bypass any benefit that could be attained from the one category of food that probably got us in the most trouble in the first place—BREAD and PASTA!!! So…here’s the “whole” story…

Whole Grains

Barley…One cup of Okaybarley contains nine grams of fiber.

Brown Rice…Brown rice contains four grams of fiber per cup.

Bulgur…Bulgur contains four grams of fiber per 1/2 cup.

Cereal—Cereals such as Bran Flakes, Fiber One, and All-Bran can at least six grams of fiber to your diet. When shopping for a good cereal that contains fiber, look for cereals that have at least 6 grams of fiber per serving. For example, Fiber One contains 14 grams of fiber in each 1/2 cup…All-Bran contains 10 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup. One cup of Bran Flakes contains 7 grams…One cup of Shredded Wheat contains six. Finally one cup of cooked oatmeal contains four grams of fiber.

You could also try adding a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal. Dry wheat bran contains six grams of fiber per 1/4 cup.

Also try adding crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to muffins, cakes, and cookies.

Psyllium Husk...Start adding psyllium husk to gluten-free baked goods, such as breads, pizza dough, and pasta….(more on this later)…

Whole Grain Bread…When shopping for a good cereal that contains fiber, look for cereals that have at least 6 grams of fiber per serving

Whole-Grain Crackers

Whole-Grain Flour-–Start substituting whole-grain flour for half or all of the white flour, since whole-grain flour is heavier than white flour. In yeast breads, use a bit more yeast or let the dough rise longer.

Whole-Wheat Pasta…Whole wheat spaghetti contains four grams of fiber per cup.

*****

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Avocado—The What?!

IMG_4912

The first word that you probably think of whenever you hear the word “avocado” is most likely “guacamole”

And if you’re like me, you rarely saw avocados when you were growing up in any other location than the local Mexican restaurant.

 

Since avocados and Mexican food always seem to go hand in hand, then it is no shock to learn that the avocado is believed to have first originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico, where archaeologists have discovered avocado pits lodged in caves dating back to at least 10,000 B.C.

 

Today Mexico remains the largest avocado-growing country in the world, but avocados have also become an important cash crop for California, since having first been introduced from Mexico to California in the 19th century. Over 95% of all United States avocado production takes place in Southern California…60% in San Diego County alone.

 

Avocados have become a superfood of choice for many who are overhauling their eating habits.

Their unique appearance, taste, and health benefits have moved avocados from being a novelty food item once used only in guacamole, to now being a staple ingredient on many family grocery lists and an important ingredient…in everything from avocado toast at breakfast to avocado mousse for dessert.

 

Avocados are available in many varieties, but most of the avocados found in your local market will be ‘Hass’ avocados, the most common cultivar of avocado. It is this Hass cultivar that currently account for 80% of all avocados cultivated in the world in any given year.

All ‘Hass’ trees are descended from a single “mother tree” raised by a mail carrier named Rudolph Hass, of La Habra Heights, California. Hass patented the productive tree in 1935, and the “mother tree” finally died of root rot and had to be cut down in September, 2002.

These Hass avocados are the typical avocados that are medium-sized ovals with black, pebbly skin.

The flesh of these avocados is green and not particularly sweet. They have a distinct and subtle flavor, and a smooth texture. These avocados can be used in making both savory and sweet dishes.

 

So here are a few points about choosing and storing this new addition to my Grocery IQ app…

1.It is not necessary to buy organic. Avocado already has a very thick skin that protects it from any pesticides.

2.  Do not refrigerate avocados as soon as you get them home from the store. Most of the avocados that you find at the local market have been picked while still unripe, and will require another four or five days to ripen. Once the avocado is actually ripe, it will yield to gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed.

Some supermarkets sell fully-ripe avocados. These avocados have been treated with synthetic ethylene gas in a “ripening room,” a practice that has now become an industry standard, since first being pioneered in the 1980s by Gil Henry, a farmer from Escondido, California, after watching hidden footage films from a hidden supermarket camera which showed shoppers repeatedly squeezing hard, unripe avocados, putting them “back in the bin,” and moving on without making a purchase. (Sorry, but doesn’t that count as part of the “food processing” that so many of us are trying to avoid right now?!)

3.  If you want your avocados to ripen faster, then place them in a paper bag along with an apple or banana. This will expose the avocados to the ethylene gas that they need to fully ripen.

4.  After using part of an avocado, the rest of the avocado may be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

5.  Add lime or lemon juice to keep them “pretty” after peeling, especially if serving as part of a buffet. The flesh of the avocado is prone to enzymatically browning when being exposed to air.

6.  Propagating Your Own…Remove the pit from a ripe, unrefrigerated avocado fruit. Stab the pit with three or four toothpicks, about one-third of the way up from the flat end. Place the pit with the toothpicks attached in a jar of water. Four to six weeks later, you should start seeing roots and a sprout. Plant the pit in a pot of soil once the stem has grown a few inches. Keep watering it every few days, and eventually you may end up having a very large avocado tree…or another something to keep a “resident four year old” entertained at least.

 

 

    • that adding avocado to a meal helps further carotenoid absorption. (9)…To promote a healthy, shining complexion, simply rub the inside of an
  • avocado peel on your skin and use…Mix in some therapeutic essential oils and you can easily make a cost-effective lotion instead of pouring out money for that store-bought stuff filled with irritating chemicals!
  • Avocado can also be used to make homemade hair masks to replenish, moisture and add shine….4. Cancer Prevention…Several studies have surfaced recently touting
  • avocado as a cancer-fighting food. The Journal of Nutrition and Cancer published the results of a study, for instance, claiming that the phytochemicals in
  • avocados are so powerful that they could prevent the use of chemotherapy in people with oral cancer! (10)…Researchers from Ohio State University are taking this theory one step further and attempting to figure out exactly how this phenomenon happens. A preliminary study published in 2011 suggests that the specific phytonutrient combination within each
  • avocado may hold the key to its anticancer effects. (11) Research suggests that phytochemicals extracted from
  • avocados help induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit growth, and induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancer cell lines. (12) Studies indicate that
  • avocado phytochemicals extracted with 50 percent methanol help in proliferation of human lymphocyte cells and decrease chromosomal changes….Another reason that
  • avocados are being linked to reduced risks for both cancer and diabetes is their MUFAs. These have been shown to offer better protection against chronic diseases compared to other types of fatty acids because of their ability to lower inflammation. (13) Beta-sitosterol is also highly protective of the prostate and linked to better immune function and lower prostate cancer risk, while carotenoid antioxidants are beneficial for preventing skin cancer — making eating
  • avocados a great way to fight skin cancer with food. (14)…

 

  • avocado benefits for weight loss! (16)…6. Better Digestive Health…As you now know,
  • avocados are one of the best fruit sources of fiber. Depending on the size of the
  • avocado, one whole fruit has between 11–17 grams of fiber! That’s more than nearly any other fruit and most servings of vegetables, grains and beans too.
    High-fiber foods are important for anyone with digestive tract issue because fiber helps shift the balance of bacteria in the gut, increasing healthy bacteria while decreasing the unhealthy bacteria that can be the root of some digestive disorders. Fiber also helps add bulk to stool, makes it easier to go to the bathroom, and helps pull waste and toxins through the intestines and colon….Fats are also essential for digestion and nutrient absorption because they nourish the lining of the gut. A low-fat diet can result in constipation or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a fluctuating disorder of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by abdominal pain and change in bowel habits….. Protection from Insulin Resistance and Diabetes…According to a large group of studies, weight maintenance with a MUFA-rich diet improves fasting insulin levels in insulin-resistant subjects. Ingestion of a MUFA-dense food (such as

 

  • Avocado Recipes…Mango
  • Avocado Salsa
  • Avocado Bison Burger
  • Avocado Soup…Chocolate
  • Avocado Mousse
  • Avocado Pizza.
  • avocados with nearly any meal or snack — even as a burger topping at your neighborhood BBQ. One pilot study with research supported by the Hass
  • Avocado Board and conducted by researchers at UCLA found that adding half of an
  • avocado to a 90 percent lean burger may cut down on compounds that lead to inflammation, which could, in turn, be associated with heart disease. The study was conducted on 11 healthy males ages 18-35, and while further research is needed on other individuals, the results of this pilot test are promising. Compared to eating a burger by itself, topping it with half of a fresh Hass
  • avocado adds not only great flavor and texture, but could also add beneficial anti-inflammatory responses during digestion. Score!…You can get inventive, if you’ve got culinary inclinations, too: A halved and pitted
  • avocado topped with an egg, sprinkled with chives and a little sea salt, and baked for about 15 minutes is an easy way to impress friends when you’re stumped about what to bring to potluck brunch. Adding
  • avocado to a smoothie with other nutrient-rich foods or fruits can be a great post-workout snack, or a healthful way to start the day. For dinner,
  • avocado and tomato salad (or, let’s be honest, adding
  • avocado to just about any salad) with a little balsamic vinegar is a tasty treat that’s also diet-friendly….So, there you go: There’s a lot more to this simple, mighty superfruit than you might have previously thought — so go ahead and order that side of guac.Image
  • Avocados are the darling of the produce section. They’re the go-to ingredient for guacamole dips at parties. And they’re also turning up in everything from salads and wraps to smoothies and even brownies. So what, exactly, makes this pear-
  • avocado is popular in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content….Generally,
  • avocaa chips (left)….It is used as the base for the Mexican dip known as guacamole,[4] as well as a spread on corn tortillas or toast, served with spices….In the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, and southern India (especially the coastal Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka region),
  • avocados are frequently used for milkshakes and occasionally added to ice cream and other desserts. In Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines[54] and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk or water, and pureed
  • avocado. Chocolate syrup is sometimes added. In Morocco, a similar chilled
  • avocado and milk drink is sweetened with confectioner’s sugar and hinted with orange flower water….In Ethiopia,
  • avocados are made into juice by mixing them with sugar and milk or water, usually served with Vimto and a slice of lemon. It is also common to serve layered multiple fruit juices in a glass (locally called Spris) made of avocados, mangoes, bananas, guavas, and papayas.
  • Avocados are also used to make salads.
  • Avocados in savory dishes, often seen as exotic, are a relative novelty in Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Brazil, where the traditional preparation is mashed with sugar and lime, and eaten as a dessert or snack. This contrasts with Spanish-speaking countries such as Chile, Mexico, or Argentina, where the opposite is true and sweet preparations are rare….Sliced
  • avocado…In Australia and New Zealand, it is commonly served in sandwiches, sushi, on toast, or with chicken. In Ghana, it is often eaten alone in sliced bread as a sandwich. In Sri Lanka, well-ripened flesh, thoroughly mashed with sugar and milk, or treacle (a syrup made from the nectar of a particular palm flower) is a popular dessert. In Haiti, it is often consumed with cassava or regular bread for breakfast.
    In Mexico and Central America,
  • avocados are served mixed with white rice, in soups, salads, or on the side of chicken and meat. In Peru, they are consumed with tequeños as mayonnaise, served as a side dish with parrillas, used in salads and sandwiches, or as a whole dish when filled with tuna, shrimp, or chicken. In Chile, it is used as a puree-like sauce with chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs; and in slices for celery or lettuce salads. The Chilean version of Caesar salad contains large slices of mature
  • avocado. In Kenya and Nigeria, the
  • avocado is often eaten as a fruit eaten alone or mixed with other fruits in a fruit salad, or as part of a vegetable salad.
  • Avocado is a primary ingredient in
  • avocado soup.
  • Avocado slices are frequently added to hamburgers, tortas, hot dogs, and carne asada.
  • Avocado can be combined with eggs (in scrambled eggs, tortillas, or omelettes), and is a key ingredient in California rolls and other makizushi (“maki”, or rolled sushi).
    In the United Kingdom, the
  • avocado became available during the 1960s when introduced by Sainsbury’s under the name ‘
  • avocado pear’.[22]…Unusual avocado variety from Cebu, Philippines…

*****

  • Avocado Body Scrub…Avocado Body Scrub–Bold Sky
  • Avocado Deep Conditioner..Ingredients…one half mashed ripe avocado, one egg, a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil, 2Tbsp olive oil…Benefits…adds shine…can help restore luster to your hair…rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids…will smooth and moisturize your locks without weighing down fine hair
  • Avocado Face Mask…1/2 of a mashed ripe avocado, 2Tbsp honey… Benefits.. extremely hydrating…Best for…all skin types, especially dry skinreduce the risk of heart disease
Getting Healthy

Cannery Row

Processed foods are much more than Mighty Kids Meals from McDonald’s, and definitely includes foods that you probably would never have ever even considered “processed food.”

A processed food is any food item that has been altered from its natural state, through any “processing method,” regardless of how small that change might have actually been—including canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration.

In fact, every food item you currently have—-every food item in your pantry, fridge, and freezer—and every food item that is boxed, bagged, canned or jarred—and every food  item that has a list of ingredients somewhere on the package is indeed a “processed food.”

If a food not as it is found right from the vine, bush, tree, or whatever else God Himself may have put in on, then that food is considered a “processed food.”

If you do happen to find any single-ingredient food item that has been ground or put into a jar with no added chemicals, that food item is a “real food.” Anything else that you find as you clear out your fridge, freezer, and pantry should probably be making its way to a trashcan about now…

Like “What Not to Wear” when they come in and clear out and dump most of that poor victim’s clothes into the big metal trashcan, we’re doing the same thing here…except the name of this show is “What Not to Eat”…and perhaps could also be called “Hoarders” if you’re anything like me.

Processed foods are not “real foods,” and should never replace those “real” foods, drinks, dishes and meals that we all know really do belong on our plates and that we all really should be eating.

 

 

The NOVA Classification System

The NOVA classification system, developed by Brazilian academic Carlos Augusto Monteiro, organized foods into the following four categories…

1.  Unprocessed or minimally processed foods…such as fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, fish, and milk.products that are pre-prepped for convenient use – including chopped veggies and roasted nuts

2.  Processed culinary ingredients—such as table sugar, oil, and salt

3.  Processed foods—such as tuna, beans, tomatoes—that have been processed in order to lock-in nutrients and flavors at their peak

4.  “Ultra-processed foods—such as frozen and pre-made meals, frozen pizzas and microwavable entrees, breakfast cereals, soda, instant soups and pre-packaged crackers, chips, and cookies—that have been chemically processed and made solely from refined ingredients and artificial substance

 

 

So what’s wrong with “processed food”?

It is this fourth category of processed foods that we should concern ourselves most with, and the first category of food products that we probably all need to eliminate from our diets.

These foods are packed full of things that none of our bodies need—such as synthetic additives, preservatives, artificial colors, emulsifiers, sugar and artificial sweeteners, fat, and salt.

Back when I was in my early twenties, I constantly ate ice. I remember laughing when people would tell me that I should stop eating ice because I would end up losing the top back tooth where I first bit down on a huge chunk of ice and my lowest back tooth on the opposite side where I bit down on that ice next. Guess what, they were right?!?! Twenty years later, I ended up having to have those two teeth removed.

I refuse to take that chance of not listening to the people twenty years older than me telling me to make the changes that I need to now in order to save my overall health. Losing two teeth when you’re forty because you failed to listen to what people were telling you back when you were twenty, is a whole lot different than losing your overall health and well-being when you’re sixty because you failed to listen to what people were telling you back when you were forty.

Right now, I am going to focus on removing this “worst category” of processed foods from what my family eats. Eliminating this category will hopefully help prevent us from having to face many more of the biggest health problems in America—such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancer.

About 90% of the money that Americans spend on food is spent on processed items…(gee, would that other 10% be spent on eating out…that’s actually “processed food” too)…

Basically, over half of what the average American eats in any given day fall into this last category…(we should all be so proud of ourselves, right(?!))….

 

We would all be so much better off if we could all simply eliminate two foods in particular off of our weekly grocery lists—soda, and

Soda…Soda, coke, “pop,” whatever the heck you call it in your neck of the weeds…oops, I mean woods…Regardless what you may call whatever might be in that cup that isn’t filled with water or sweet tea or lemonade or juice or beer or Kool-Aid…the fact is that the stuff in that other red Solo cup is one of America’s worst enemies. Mass-produced soda contains 35 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can. Mass-produced soda and sweetened “fruit drinks that contain less than 5% juice combined contribute to 40% of the US intake of “added sugar,”…the amount of sugar Americans consume which is over what actually should be consumed.

Mass-produced soda derives 100% of its total calories from sugar. Mass-produced soda contains 140 calories per serving. Being that one can of mass-produced soda actually contains two servings, a typical woman limiting herself to a 1400-calorie-per-day diet only needs to drink five cans of Dr. Pepper to meet her calorie demands for the day…no food allowed?!

Another food that should be eliminated from our American diet altogether is “pre-packaged cakes, cookies and pies.” It’s way too easy to eat entirely way too much of these foods without even realizing how much you have actually eaten.

Having our grandmother bake us awesome-tasting cakes, cookies, and pies and send them to us in a care package is one thing.

Having food scientists “engineer” us awesome-tasting cakes, cookies, and pies…and then offer them to us in creative packaging in quite another.

Our grandmother baked such foods for us and put them in packages because they loved us.

Food scientists engineer such foods for us and put them in packages because they simply want to take our money.

 

Getting Healthy

Join Me for the Journey

IMG_4473-1

Because there isn’t necessarily one single type of “raw food diet” that must be strictly adhered to…but several different variations of a “raw foods diet” out there, all with different advice and degrees to which foods can be cooked…I have given myself permission to pick and choose exactly what I myself want to eat on a daily basis…(not that I didn’t obviously do that before now, but before now the main question that I would have asked the “resident four year old” would have been if he wanted chicken nuggets or a burger with those fries)…

 

The main guideline is that about seventy-five percent of the food that you eat should be uncooked.

As far as how much to eat, as long as you are eating raw and vegetarian foods,you can basically eat whatever you want, whenever you want.

 

Foods that can be technically included on a proper “raw foods diet” actually include far more than just fresh produce. Other options include fish, seaweed and other “sea vegetables,” fermented foods, sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, herbs, spices, beans, and perhaps even pasta, boiled eggs, and even some raw dairy products.

 

 

So instead of tackling one meal at a time or one diet at a time, I have decided to take a detailed look at the foods that make up what people call “The Raw Foods Pyramid,” starting with the lowest level on the pyramid and working my way up. Then based on that information, I will be better informed as to what my options are and what truly works best for myself and my family.

 

After all, changing your way of eating and/or your lifestyle in general—whether it be by switching to cruelty-free products or managing time more effectively or beginning new habits—is all about taking even the smallest step, only one step at a time—as long as that step is taken in the right direction.

Trying to completely change your diet overnight and thinking of developing better eating habits as a “quick-fix” solution will most sabotage your efforts. Introducing these higher-fiber, raw foods into your diet more slowly not only will make this transition easier, but also might mean that you experiencing fewer digestive problems and food cravings along the way.

So I have decided that, for our family at least, this “raw food diet” will become an important part of our overall diet on a long-term, not some short-term weight-loss…the main mission at the moment is to simply start gradually adding more and more nutritional foods to our Southern diet and lifestyle.

Soon I will do another “What Now” on Superfoods…what I learn about “raw foods” and then superfoods will hopefully also become a hinge on which to base our weekly menus and grocery lists based upon.

 

Anyway, I like the idea of adopting what many people refer to as the “80/20 raw diet,” which consists of eating “raw” 80% of the time and having cooked foods for the remaining 20%….(thanks goodness for that twenty, right?!)…

Join me for the journey, not only as I begin exploring the “Raw Foods Pyramid” layer by layer, but also as our family begins to…

 

1. Avoid foods that have been refined, pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

 

2.  Choose better quality animal products, and eat them only in moderation…just like I now dowith craft beers.  Choosing better grades of meat and eating fewer of them will lower exposure to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones…while at the same will supply important nutrients and fatty acids—such as arachidonic acid, conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.

 

3.  Learn to cook smarter and more “delicately.” Where I’m from, most of our favorite foods are deep fried, and sometimes even in lard. Where I live now, our State Fair is quite famous for introducing a new fried food of choice each year—such as deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried Oreos, and even deep-fried ice cream. So this year I will be taking time to learn not only how to “cook” food at temperatures less than 100 degrees, but also how to blend, dehydrate, soak, steam, juice, sprout and also use my slow cooker to its full potential.

 

4. Replace all unhealthy products such as sugary snacks, refined grains, pizza, canned soup, fruit drinks, canned foods, and sweetened yogurt…with healthier choices.

5.  Replace bad fats—such as any hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, soybean oil, canola oil and vegetable oils—with good, healthy fats—such as extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.

 

6.  Set up a healthy pantry and fridge…Other foods that I am considering on adding or keeping on the slate—or better yet in my fridge or in my pantry—include various types of sprouted seeds, cheese, fermented foods—such as yogurts, kefir, kombucha, kimchee, sauerkraut, nuts and nut butters, cold-pressed extra virgin olive or coconut oil, fresh herbs, freshly squeezed vegetable juices, fermented veggies, and herbal tea.

 

Join Me for the Journey!!!

Getting Healthy

Now What?!…Raw Foods Diet

IMG_4473-1

The next series of posts will be what I consider my breakfast posts. However, instead of talking about breakfast and the foods that you would most likely expect me to devote my time to right now, I plan on writing about my feeble attempts to adopt some sort of a “raw food diet.”

Mainly I am doing this so that I won’t have to cook…kinda like the fact that I use huge recyclable cloth bags whenever I go shopping—not to save the environment, but so that I can crame more into each bag and, as a result, make fewer trips from my car into the house…and also so that I don’t have to worry about some high school kid filling bags so full that the $200 worth of groceries that you just bought end up as one huge compost pile in your driveway.

Pursuing a “raw foods diet” involve eating mostly, or only, unprocessed and uncooked foods that are actually “raw.”…go figure.

Some followers of the raw food diet do eat raw fish and meat, raw eggs, sushi, and unpasteurized dairy. But most people who stick to a “raw foods diet” adhere strictly to stick to a strictly vegetarian diet that only includes foods that are organic, uncooked, and unprocessed.

Foods that can be included on a raw foods diet include vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits, sprouted grains, and beans—none of which can have been heated above a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 104 and 118 degrees.

Being brought up in the Deep South, this should be interesting. Our typical breakfast, when we actually have time to grab something other than a granola bar as we head out the door, typically consist of bacon, big biscuits with lots of gravy, grits with cheese, and  so forth. This should be fun?!