Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why Should We Even Care About Vitamin A?

Does the thought of having night blindness, called nyctalopia, scare you? Basically night blindness is having difficulty seeing when lights are low. I wouldn't want that and I'm sure you wouldn't either. We want to see! You also would not want this, having foamy patches on the conjunctiva of your eye. There is a fancy name for this condition called Bitot's Spots. In addition, there is another situation of the eye that would be uncomfortable to have, that would be having dry eyes. Can you prevent all this from happening? There is a good possibility you can.

Vitamin A deficiency can place you in any of the above conditions. In order to prevent yourself from being deficient in vitamin A, indulge in pre-formed vitamin A called beta carotene. Beta carotene is the precursor to vitamin A. Your eye health will be in tip top shape when you have an adequate daily intake of beta-carotene rich foods such as pumpkin (tis the season!), carrots, dark leafy greens, spinach, orange juice, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe. The beta carotene will be better absorbed well in your body when you don't dip down too low in your fat intake. Without adequate fat, you won't be able to absorb vitamin A as well as the other fat soluble vitamins that our bodies need.

So as you are enjoying your pumpkin soup this season, just know that your eyes are thanking you, so that you can see the world clearly!

Mahan, L. K., Escott-Stump, S, & Raymond, J. L. (2012). Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th Edition. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier

Wedner, S. H., & D. A. Ross (2008). Vitamin D and Its Prevention. International Encyclopedia of Public Health. P. 526-632.

What is your favorite pumpkin dessert or entree? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Not a Fan of the Word "Superfood"

Image courtesy of worradmu @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There are so many articles calling certain food items "superfoods". If any of those foods were truly "super", then really...that particular food item should completely prevent...heal...or even cure...medical conditions.The reality is that when any one food item is featured in the "super" light, it is because it is rich in two or three nutrients..not all vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, and phytonutrients known to man all in one package.

When articles call certain items "superfood", this can lead some individuals to think that he or she should eat that particular food item every day or at least in most of their meals to reap the benefits of that particular food item. This can drive someone to limit their intake of eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans. Limiting food intake to the same food choices day in and day out will keep many from gaining the benefits other food items have to offer.

The key is to venture out on a daily basis when it comes to choosing food for your meals. Eating different food items from day to day...or at least from week to week...can certainly add "spice" to your life and keep your health in check.

For the fun of it, what has been your favorite "superfood"?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Backpacking Trip

Without a doubt, I love the great outdoors! Needless to say, camping is definitely fun and enjoyable, but what's even better than camping is backpacking!!  Backpacking takes you to places where the scenery is just absolutely gorgeous and the lakes are pristine and clean.
Our awesome group!

Early this month, we hiked up in Kings Canyon National Park. Our trip consisted of a 3 night stay up in the beautiful mountains. We started from Onion Valley in which the elevation was already about 9,200 feet. Then we hiked up, with some switchbacks, to Kearsarge Pass in which we immediately gained 2,560 feet of elevation and ended up at 11,760 feet. Yep, this was a difficult hike needless to say! From Kearsarge Pass, we proceeded to hike a few more miles to beautiful Charlotte Lake where we stayed a couple nights. The lake itself was peaceful with majestic mountains all around. The awesomeness of God was everywhere!

Bullfrog Lake
We then made our way to Bullfrog Lake where the guys continued to fish.  Several different types of trout were caught. Then we decided to spend our last night at Kearsarge Lake where the scenery there was different, but gorgeous and amazing in its own way.

Kearsarge Lake

Since we had to bring enough food for our 3 1/2 day trip, I am absolutely thankful for the different companies that make freeze-dried food! Freeze-dried food makes any backpacking trip delightful! I enjoyed the lasagna with meat sauce, fettucini with alfredo sauce, teriyaki chicken with rice, mashed potatoes, corn, and huevos rancheros. They were also delicious and repleted us well from all of our hikes. Thank you freeze-dried food companies!!

Just like any endurance sport, hiking up switchbacks is one major endurance activity. Hikes of this caliber also require the right nutrition and hydration plan in order to feel good, have energy, and have good blood sugar levels to keep everyone in good spirits!

Our backpacking trip was a great way to end the summer by being in the midst of God's beautiful creations!

What is your favorite freeze-dried food?

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Almost Pizza

I am part of a women's small Bible study group. We rotate having our weekly study at each others' homes. In addition, to the leading the study, the host also provides dinner. Since we have been meeting faithfully for the past fifteen years, everyone has gotten over their bashfulness of preparing some type of meal for our study.

Last week, it was my turn to host.  I wanted to provide something easy, but delicious and nutritious. What came to my mind was mini pizzas. However, there are times...because I am a flexitarian.. that I want to provide an entree that is total vegetarian (some call it vegan, although not appropriate term since we still wear leather and silk and eat honey). So, I proceeded to dry run my mini pizzas using cheese substitute.

Well, I forgot to buy pizza sauce, so proceeded to make the "pizza" without any pizza sauce...hence the name "almost pizza". The result was not disappointing! I mixed just enough Vegennaise with Daiya cheddar style shreds. I spread the mixture across Rudi's whole wheat English muffins. Sprinkled some chopped tomatoes, green onions, and cashews on top (oh, and also chopped olives...just not pictured, because I ran out when I made them again.) I placed the topped English muffins on a cooking sheet in my oven for about 15 minutes or so or until shreds were melted at 415 degrees. And voila! You have a delicious, very low in saturated fat "almost pizza" that is very tasty. The combination of the Daiya shreds and Vegennaise is amazing! The only thing is that, this "entree" is not low in sodium, so mindful moderation should still be practice here. Not only will your kids loves these, but so will you!

I served the "almost pizzas" with a salad and soup and the gals were satisfied. So, just in case you're looking for an easy lunch or dinner idea for your family or friends, try the "almost pizzas".

Disclaimer: I was not paid by Daiya or Vegennaise companies to write about their products. All thoughts are mine and I regularly use their products, just because I like them.

What recipe have you developed that became your favorite after leaving it out an ingredient accidently?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"No Added Sugar" Challenge Update

My choice of dessert for lunch has been a sweet apple.
My friends and I are halfway through our challenge! We have been at it for three weeks. We meet every Tuesday for a lunch check-in meeting in which we bring our own food. Have we been perfect? Absolutely not. We all have all unofficially allowed ourselves one cheat day per week. Well, all but one. However, in the big scheme of things, my friends have been doing so well. I am proud of each of them.

For Shani, who loves to eat sweets throughout the day all day long, the progress and success she is making comes in the area of decreased amounts of sugary foods per day. She has stayed away from the doughnuts, etc, but has allowed herself to have frozen yogurt with her nephew and niece on her recent vacation. This is a far cry from where she started.

For Danelle, sugary drinks has been "her thing". Through this challenge, it made her realize how many times she goes to Starbucks previously. It was just a habit for her to go always without really thinking about it. Now she has cut way back and is hardly going. She is also realizing she is saving money! Danelle has found other alternatives of drinks, such as unsweetened teas, that taste good to her.

The group in general has become aware of how easy they all take in a sweet here and there without being mindful of what they are doing. This challenge has brought awareness to each of them. Again, no one has been perfect through this journey so far, but there is progress in decreasing everyone's sugar threshold for taste and crave. That is taking place slowly, but surely. The real challenge will be to continue the current behavior beyond the end of this "challenge".

How are you doing with your sweets intake?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gave That Homemade Energy Bar Recipe a Try!

Last week, I posted on my Facebook and Twitter accounts a link to the "Homemade Energy Bars" video by Runner's World Nutrition Editor, Joanna Golub. Well, I made the energy bars yesterday and it was delicious and satisfying! I wasn't the only one that thought that, but so did my running/biking/yoga buddy, Danelle, my Mom, and Tom all gave it a thumbs up. It is definitely a great "bar" for any pre or post workout/run/ride snack.

I used Laura Scudder's Old Fashioned Peanut Butter since there is no added sugar. The only "sugar" which is added in this recipe is honey and for the amount it calls for in relation to the dry ingredients, it really is not that much. The editor said to bake in the oven for 15 minutes. I baked it for 25 minutes. I wanted somewhat of a crunch. Next time, I'll put it at a higher temperature like 375 degrees instead of 350 degrees and then maybe it might be okay for 15 or 20 minutes.

If you make this, I would highly suggest letting it completely cool off and even refrigerate before devouring. This way, it keeps together very well, especially after refrigerating. Otherwise, it will come apart if eaten too soon. 

You can find the video at this link. Click here.

This homemade bar is power packed with nutrients (high in protein for sure) with a satisfying flavor! One more thing, it is very, very easy to make. Enjoy!

Any homemade energy bar recipes you would like to share with us?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Nutrition Bit of the Day

For the past three weeks, I've had the privilege of supervising one of our dietetic student's community rotation at Drayson Center, the wellness center of Loma Linda University and Medical Center. My student, Staci Sellas, did a phenomenol job, in conducting one on one nutrition counseling sessions with clients of all ages. In addition, she taught a workshop on wellness and weight management.

Because Drayson has a digital "bulletin board" especially dedicated to nutrition information, I had Staci work on a series of "Nutrition Bits".  The following is one of the "Nutrition Bits" she worked on, which is a tip you can keep in mind on a regular basis.

(Sorry, that last food item listed is "guava", which I didn't realize I cut off converting the file.) So, just a little reminder to have a vitamin C source at every meal to make sure iron is adequately absorbed, especially if you're a vegetarian. Having adequate iron in your blood can make a difference in our energy levels and feeling good overall.

What "new fruit to you" have you tried lately?

Monday, August 5, 2013

San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon 2013

I'm backtracking here. Going back to a couple months ago. It was an overcast day while the  weather was perfect with a slight humidity. Overall, it was a great day for a marathon!

I wasn't planning on doing a full marathon this year, but one of my students said she did a full marathon back during winter quarter. That talk planted a seed in my head. I went back to ask her how many miles she trained up to.  She said nine!  I thought...that's crazy, but oh well...she did it! However, it was two months before June 2 and I was beginning to feel like I was going to miss out on my tradition of doing San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon, besides if my student can do it with little training, I thought I could do too!. 

Although I didn't train as I normally do, I believe doing the cross training of power yoga, mountain biking, and running got me prepared to do this run. Because I didn't read up on the course ahead of time, I was greatly surprised that the entire course was backwards! It was more of a challenge, especially having to tackle highway 163 towards the end of the run. Oh well, it definitely made it more interesting needless to say.  Despite training less, I was very pleasantly surprised to PR.

In a previous post, I talked about going back to using gels this year. My saving grace on this run was the Accel Gel. Having that constant influx of protein every third mile stabilized my sugars well and I felt really good on this run.

This year, one of my students that just graduated completed her first full marathon with us.  My other friend, Danelle, who usually runs with me, completed another half marathon and also PR'd.

For San Diego Rock 'n Roll 2014, we've already started recruiting our other friends and my other students. We want this to become a growing tradition! It's a great event to be a part of, especially because the community of San Diego supports it so well with all their love!

What half of full marathons have you participated in this year?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Product Review: Chobani Greek Yogurt

I am amazed at how hard Chobani works to create new flavors periodically. There are so many flavors to choose from now! My favorites are "Key Lime Crumbles" and now "Nutty for Nana". I have a special liking to a little crunch texture, so these delicious products provide just the right amount of crunch.

In addition, I appreciate the amount of protein Greek yogurt provides, as do any Greek yogurt products. However, Chobani does not use milk protein concentrates and animal-based thickeners like other Greek yogurt manufacturers do. Chobani does not like to use artificial flavors or sweeteners and loves to use real fruit with no preservatives! The added plus to their products is that they use 5 live and active cultures that include 3 probiotics. All good for a healthy gut.

I've enjoyed tasting the free samples provided by Chobani, but because I am on a six-week no added sugar challenge with my close friends, I've only had to try a couple spoonfuls of each new flavor. So if you'd like to add variety to increasing your protein intake, stocking up on calcium for your bones, or if you'd like to build a healthy gut flora, try Chobani's new flavors today!

Disclaimer: I was not paid by Chobani to write this review; however, I was provided with free sample products.

What is your favorite Chobani flavor?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Health Scare

To be honest, I've had a few major personal problems that has actually made it difficult to keep up with my blog. I'm hoping to resume consistency. One of the major difficulties I've experienced recently was a heath scare.

Towards the end of the school year, I had completed my annual mammogram. The results in the mail said there was an area of concern and that an ultrasound had to be done. I've been told the results usually end up begin benign and that the MDs just want to make sure. Because of my teaching schedule, I had to postpone the ultrasound and it got postponed even more due to a back-logged schedule of others having ultrasounds completed. 

During this "unknown" period of some kind of unrest, I still had to finish up the school year and run my 3rd full marathon. Finally the ultrasound appointment came. I got scared when for the first time in having an ultrasound completed that an MD came walking right in. That wasn't a good sign. The radiologist said that they are still unclear of that certain area and that a biopsy was the next step. I was beginning to be more alarmed, disappointed, fearful, and sad. Two aunts on my mom's side had breast cancer as well as one aunt on my dad's side. The stakes are high for me. 

There was some more waiting that took place with my MD taking an eternity to write the order for my biopsy. I must admit, I gave in to milkshakes at this time...my drug of choice for "comfort". The order for the biopsy finally came and then came the biopsy appointment.

Before the biopsy, I was told that they wanted to take another ultrasound to see if they still needed to do the biopsy. I was hopeful I didn't need one since family and friends were praying for my health. Low and behold, they came back saying I still needed the biopsy. After the biopsy...there was still MORE waiting time. Now I was really crying for being so anxious being in the waiting game.

During this waiting period, I prayed a different type of prayer. I did ask God for no breast cancer; however, if it is breast cancer, I asked Him to help me get through the journey that would lay ahead of me. I never prayed this type of prayer before. I would pray it "my way", but "His will be done". This time, I sincerely prayed His will be done, because I knew God would help me get through the difficult journey. I did come to being at peace waiting for the results.

Finally, after calling and calling and calling my MD's office, I received the news...the news that the results were negative! Oh, I have been thanking God big time!!  At least for now, I don't have breast cancer and pray I never will.  However, what I learned from this journey was truly to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight". Proverbs 3:5 and 6.

Going through this scare, incapacitated me so much that I was so numb. I was not able to work on my dissertation or own my blog.  I have learned to keep leaning on God even more. Many thanks go to my parents, relatives, and friends who kept praying and supporting me. I've also learned to be more grateful for my MDs who didn't want to take any chances by going ahead and taking all the proper tests needed.

Thankful to God and thankful for my sunflowers in my garden.
For future difficulties that will come up, lean on God to help get you through each day. It is the only way to go.

What experiences of waiting have you had lately?

Monday, July 22, 2013

The No-Sweets Challenge Begins Tomorrow!

My yoga buddies decided to celebrate my birthday last Thursday, even though there were already plans to celebrate it today. No worries. I am not complaining! However, we all happened to be at the same yoga class on this particular Thursday and also planned for the celebration at Cafe Rio afterwards.

During our meal, my friends started to talk about sugar intake. We were specifically talking about added sugar intake and not the much needed complex carbohydrate food sources. Being the registered dietitian of the bunch, I piped up and mentioned how my ignorant mind back in my twenties thought that eating added sugar was causing my acne. So, I decided to cut out all sweets for at least four months. Although the plan didn't zap out my acne at that time, what did happen was a pleasant transformation of my taste buds. I use to love eating ice a lot back in the day, but ever since the cutting back of sweets for several months straight, I now... cannot... to this day, take more than a few bites when it comes to desserts of all sorts and sips of sugary drinks.  I'm satisfied with just a few bites and sips, because my tastebuds cannot take more than that. My tastebuds have been re-trained. I am absolutely satisifed with just a little bit. This story encouraged my friends that we should go on a challenge together, since one of them ate four doughnuts in one day the day before and the other loves her sugary drinks.

Now, I don't need this challenge to decrease my sugar threshold, but I'm thinking I need to give my buddies support. So, tomorrow will begin our six week "no-sweets challenge". All sugary desserts will be temporarily avoided as well as sodas of all kinds. Only fruits juices that are 100% will be allowed, but because we are also endurance athletes, sports drinks, gels, and chews will be allowed with choosing the items with the lowes added sugar content. Fresh and dried fruit will be allowed. Canned fruit is allowed if packed in its own natural juice.Since Greek yogurt is not really considered a dessert, but a food item that is healthy, that will not be eliminated and will most likely stick to the plain flavor.  I

Shani purchased for each of us a little notebook from the 99 cents store. We are to log what we eat for the next six weeks minus portion sizes. If one of us is tempted to have a sweet dessert, she must call one of the other gals in her moment of weakness

Will see how my friends do as well as me. You are more than welcome to join us starting tomorrow! This is not to deprive us of sweets permanently, its just an attempt to lower everyone's sweet tooth threshold!


What is your sweet tooth addiction that you would like to overcome?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nutrition Bit: Oatmeal by Robert Esparza, Dietetic Student

Most days of the week, oatmeal is an important part of my breakfast meals. Let's revisit the goodness of oatmeal and be reminded why it is good for us. Here, one of my dietetic students, Robert Esparza, shares with us some nutrition bits about oatmeal.

Robert Esparza will be graduating with his MS in nutrition and dietetics a month from now.  Loma Linda University will be soon proud to call him an alumnus.  Robert has been an outstanding student with great work ethic and will make a wonderful contribution to the world of nutrition.

Enjoy the goodness of oatmeal and make it a part of your healthy lifestyle!

If you are interested in becoming a registered dietitian, please visit Loma Linda University's website. www.llu.edu/nutrition.

What is your favorite morning cereal and why?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Product Review: Accel Gel

Variety is the spice of life and that includes changing up sports aids for my palate. Last year, I was really into using solely sports chews and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'm the type that eating the same thing over and over can make my taste buds get into a state of burn-out.

For my long runs this year, I have put back in the gels. I still do not like them one hundred per cent, because of the "stickiness factor". However, I have been feeling really good on my long runs taking Accel Gel on a schedule. What I love about this product is that it has 5 gms of protein in every pouch. However, it is one of the lower ones in carbohydrate offering only 20 grams of carbohydrate. The recommendation is to take in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate every hour of your run or ride. The supplemental protein in the gel certainly stabilizes blood sugars better, making me feel really good from start to finish.

This may not be the gel for you, but it is worth giving it a try. Your run or ride may be more enjoyable if you infuse your activity with a few grams of protein every hour. If "Accel Gel" is new for you, start slow and see how your digestive system handles it.

Cheers to your next long run or ride!

What is your favorite sports gel, chew, or beans and why?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flexible or Not to Be Flexible?

Did you think I was going to talk about yoga? Well, guess what? This is not a post about yoga.  I'm talking about work-out routines and plans.  Are you one that likes to have each day of the week planned out as to which days are allocated for cardio and which days are allocated for weight training and that it is the same schedule from week to week to week? This is where you don't want to deviate from your routine, because it helps you stay on track of your program.  If this is what works for you, then by all means, you have got to stick with this plan.

On the other hand, you might be like me.  I need to have variety or flexibility within my week from week to week to week; otherwise, if I stay with the same routine from week to week, then for my personality, this would lead to burn-out...again, for my type. When training for a marathon, I like to have the same day of the week-end for my long runs, but then I switch up my days during the week for my short runs, my mountain bike ride, weight training, and yoga and even switch up yoga instructors. This mix up routine from week to week keeps me refreshed in a sense and I don't get tired of training.  So, does this sound like you?  This certainly works for us who always needs variety in life.  If this is you, then either continue with this plan or try this plan out.

Being flexible in our work-out programs and routines or staying regimented from week to week is not wrong at all. We have to experiment and go with the flow that works best for our personality and make-up. If your current work-out routine hasn't worked well for you, try the other way, whichever way that may be for you.  See if it prevents burn-out and keeps you staying motivated to keep moving. The basic bottom line of all this is, don't ever stop exercising or working out. It's one of the several important elements to keep our bodies, the temple of God, in tip top shape so that we may be able to love and care for those around us.

Please feel free to share your work-out schedule with us and what has worked best for you. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Call 'Em On It!

When out on a training run or ride, many of us have learned to depend on gels, chews, or jelly beans for fuel. They come in extremely handy when it comes to taking in carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium during those longs rides and runs.  These important nutrition elements are crucial in helping us feel good and energetic from start to finish. 

Last week when I was about to purchase a few gels at our local bike shop, I looked at the expiration date on the gels.  I was so disappointed and in disbelief when I saw that the "use by" date on the gel packaging was over two months ago! I immedately went to one of the workers at the bike shop and called him on it. Needless to say, he was embarrassed and tried to brush off that "oversight".

This is not a matter to take lightly. Any food item with an expiration date should not be taken into the body, because who knows what kind of situation you could be placed in.  Food that is beyond an expiration date can possibly make any individual sick and not feel good.  Beyond the expiration date, food can get terribly spoiled even in a gel form.

Be an advocate for yourself.  Look at those expiration or "use by" dates.  Let the store manager know if there are any nutritional supplements that are expired. Call him or her on it! Don't think that just because you are in a reputable sports store you are safe purchasing any "food item" there.  Look out for yourself and for everyone else who will be purchasing those same nutritional sport aids as you.  We would all be doing ourselves a big favor when we are looking for each other's health and making sure we all have a good run or ride!

What situation have you found yourself in looking at expired food items at a store?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bottom Line...Make it Do

It was almost 6:00 earlier this evening and the weather cooled to a perfect temperature. I was getting excited that my mountain bike ride and running hill repeats afterwards was going to be so enjoyable in this cooler temp!  After putting my front tire on my bike and pumping up the tires, I proceeded to put on my helmet and gloves.  Last, but not least, I was about to switch to my mountain biking shoes...or so I thought.

Oh my heart sank when I realized I only brought my left shoe!!  I have clipless pedals, so I need my special cleats underneath my shoes.  I have no idea, in this whole wide world, why I was so absent-minded and only packed one shoe.  I thought...well, I should just only run then...but, no...I was really looking forward to riding too...I don't want to leave here disappointed...I better make this ride happen somehow some way my brain commanded!  I also thought...just like Nike says..."Just do it!".  I had also taken a picture and sent it to Tom of my shoes.  He replied with a text saying "Make it do or do without". 

Ever since I switched to clipless pedals, there instantaneously was no turning back!  It definitely makes me feel one with the bike with greater "power".:)  Not being connected to my pedals has been a foreign thought and feeling now.  However, I proceeded to ride with one mountain biking shoe and one running shoe.  If anyone was going to laugh or stare, I was going to not care one bit.

I'm so glad I went on with my wonderful ride looking "unique" at my feet.  If anyone noticed, maybe they thought I'm trying to start a new trend...so be it.  So, on the days you plan your work-out and you haven't brought all you need, just proceed...make it do or do without.  The workout/exercise can still happen somehow or some way.  Well, let me take that back...one exception.  If you forget your helmet, don't ride...and just run.  Never ever ride without a helmet.  However, back to my "message" here, nothing should stop you when you have plans to exercise regardless the situation.  Bottom line...Make it Do!

What situation have you found yourself in which you didn't have all you need for your exercise and what did you do?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Recipe Redux: Spearmint Green Drink

This month's Recipe Redux's theme is fun!  It is "Green with Herb Envy".  We are to use a green herb in a non-traditional way.  Since I have gotten into making myself a green drink/smoothie most days of the week for the past three months, I thought...hey, why not add some spearmint into my green drink.  Now before I go on, I am NOT, NOT, NOT one of those that advocates for ONLY juicing diets or ONLY blended fruits and vegetable diets. I have added a blended green drink to my nutrition intake to add variety and a fun way of taking in fruits and vegetables, but NOT to replace eating fruits and vegetables in its natural form.

So, there are a ton of recipes out there for making "green drinks/smoothies" and basically, you don't need a recipe.  You just throw in whatever fruits and vegetables your heart desires. However, when I added a handful of spearmint leaves to my usual "mix", it sure added a nice different dimension to my already delicious green drink! Therefore, I present my non-recipe Spearmint Green Drink

Have your blender ready to go.  I love using my decade old Vitamix.  This is what I added:

I cut up and cored an apple, unpeeled a banana and threw threw them into the Vitamix.

From Trader Joe's, I used the ready to go kale and threw in a handful of it in the blender.  Maybe it was about 1 cup or so.

Then I threw in some frozen mixed berries.

I added a couple tablespoons of the powdered green drink mix from Trader Joe's and about a cup of almond milk.

Last but not least, I threw in the spearmint leaves, which maybe might have been about 2 tablespoons or so.

I turned the Vitamix on high until a smooth texture was achieved.

After pouring the drink into a glass, I topped it off with a couple spearmint leaves.  

This turned out to be so cool and refreshing to the palate.  If you ever try this non-recipe one day, I hope you enjoy it!

Please take a look down below at the other wonderful recipes contributed by my fellow Recipe Reduxers!

What is your favorite smoothie drink that you make at home?
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Monday, January 14, 2013

It's True What They Say..."Variety is the Spice of Life"!

When going out to eat, do you just stick to the usual? Maybe the usual for you might be American, Mexican, Italian, and Chinese over and over again. What about being adventurous and expand the experiences of your taste buds to other types of food like Soul food, Mediterranean, Vietnamese, Indian, Peruvian, Thai, or Filipino?  It's always exciting to try out other textures, flavors, herbs, and spices that are delivered in a wonderful dish.

There are various reasons why we don't like certain ethnic foods. There might have been times you tried other certain types of food, but was eaten around a bad experience or memory. Sometimes this may cause a person not to like that particular type of food and is not revisited. I'm sure not many people are like this next example, but one person I knew has a strong running streak of racisim in this individual's blood (I know...sad), so this kept this person from enjoying a certain type of food for many years. Another reason why we might think we don't like a particular type of food is because we were never introduced to it, so our taste buds never cared for it in the first place.

As we move forward in life, let's do our best with God's help to let go of the past. Moving forward with a loving, positive attitude in life can help us enjoy each day more and more, despite the challenges we face every day. This may sound a little silly, but don't deprive yourself of some good food out there just because it was eaten on a difficult day way back in the past. That negative experience is long gone. Give that particular type of ethnic food a try once again. Treating yourself to amazing ethnic food you haven't ever tried in life or will revisit once again might give you a surprising, pleasant palatable experience.

It might be boring eventually to stick to one type of exercise activity over and over again, not to mention over use and burn out. It's best for our muscles and brain to engage in different activities to keep things fresh. So, the parallel here is if we eat the same type of food over and over again, our taste buds might get burn out. Therefore, during those occassional times you go out to eat, venture out once in a while on an ethnic or type of food you normally don't eat or like and add some variety to spice up your life a bit through good food!

What is an ethnic or type of food you are going to revisit or willing to try for the first time for 2013?  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why Cook?

Cooking is just more than a means to an end. The end being able to eat something decent. Cooking is not just another chore. A chore which produces a product, which again is something decent to eat. If you look at cooking through those lenses of a means to an end or a chore, then that's what it is! However, if you view cooking through a different lens, then your outlook on cooking can be that.

Try looking at cooking as another technique to help you destress, unwind, and relax. You're thinking..."What????  That's ridiculous. Cooking to me is a pain!". Well, for those of us who do not have natural abilities to cook delicious dishes or have not gone to culinary school to become a chef might just dread cooking.

We don't have to have amazing skill to enjoy cooking. Entrees or side dishes can be made simply, but still be oozing with wonderful flavor. Even for those of us who are not culinary geniuses, preparing a simple dish can be relaxing. The act of chopping vegetables can be an opportunity to just let your mind go and enjoy the process. Stirring a pot of beans as it's boiling and adding seasonings can bring on a feeling of relaxation knowing that you will be enjoying something good in a few moments. The act of cooking is what you make it out to be.

I personally enjoy cooking myself. Of course, I have to admit the clean up part is not fun for me. However, I was not one to say I love cooking before! The more I learned to cook good for you, good tasting dishes, the more I became better at chopping veggies and everything else that needs to be chopped and the more the process of preparing meals has become enjoyable. I am human like everyone else though that can get tired from working so hard earlier on in the day, so I understand when cooking is the last thing on earth you want to do when you get home. But once I changed my viewpoint on cooking, it has made for a relaxing activity for me. Besides, when I cook I have control of putting healthy ingredients into my culinary creations and I get to save some dollars along the way by bringing lunches to work.

Again, preparing and cooking entrees and side dishes does not have to be fancy, contain a ton of ingredients, or contain a ton of steps to produce a delicious, healthy outcome. For me, the calming effects of cooking comes through the simple dishes. The satisfaction of knowing you have prepared healthy dishes for you and your family and a positive outlook on the cooking process will naturally have you cooking more in the future. Cheers to cooking more in 2013!   


What keeps you from cooking on a regular basis?