Fresh Bowls of Fruits

20140213-095425.jpg
Starting the day off with a fresh bowl of fruit sets the tone for my day. It energizes me and makes me feel full. Having a fruit bowl also reminds me of a hot summer day especially, during these winter snowy days we’ve been having here in New York City. These bowls really brightens up my mornings. I couldn’t tell you when was the last time I had a bacon egg and cheese on a toasted bagel for breakfast. For the past three years my morning breakfasts have been much healthier and much more nutritious.

20140213-100939.jpg
A healthy breakfast should contain fruits or vegetables, nuts for added protein and sometimes a whole grain bread or oats. This type of combination of fiber, protein, and a small amount of fat will help provide the nutrients you need to carry you through the day. But for me, a fruit bowl does that same thing.

I can get really creative with my fruit bowls. Depending on what’s in season, I add in one or two citrus fruits, some berries, melons, bananas, apples and even some nuts. Fruit provides vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and potassium.

20140213-113233.jpg
If you notice in all of these picture, I mostly included orange and red colored fruits. Well, according to the International Carotenoid Society, these colors are known to be essential for plant growth and photosynthesis, and are a main dietary source of vitamin A in humans. They are thought to be associated with reduced risk of several chronic health disorders including some forms of cancer, heart disease and eye degeneration. Lycopene is a carotenoid, a natural color pigment that contributes to the red color of tomatoe and various other fruits and vegetables. The yellow/red fruits and vegetables contain mostly hydrocarbon carotenoids (carotenes). The common yellow ones are apricot, cantaloupe, carrot, pumpkin, and sweet potato that are the primary sources of beta-carotene and beta-carotene and several other hydrocarbon carotenoids.

20140214-105006.jpg
In part, the beneficial effects of carotenoids are thought to be due to their role as antioxidants. Antioxidants supports cellular activities by fighting off other chemicals known as free radicals.

Consider adding the following orange/red hue fruits and vegetables to your diet for more antioxidants.
Apricots, carrots, oranges, papaya, peaches, pumpkins, cantaloupe, sweet potato, winter squash, tangerines, nectarines, mangoes and butternut squash.
.

Advertisements

No Meat Required!

20130816-095740.jpg

The misconception in the United States is that you need to eat meat (animals) to obtain protein. Well according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, coauthor of The China Study with his son, Thomas Campbell, II, MD., spinach, kale, walnuts, quinoa, oats, and many other whole foods have about twice as much protein, per calorie, as a lean cut of beef.

Dr. Campbell also wrote Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (a must read). These books will teach you about proper nutrition and how different types of foods affect your body’s ecosystem.

I don’t need to eat a bacon egg and cheese on a toasted bagel for breakfast. I use to though, a very long time ago. I was brought up under the wrong pretenses. My apples, blueberries and walnuts is full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, protein (yes there’s protein in blueberries too), fiber, carbohydrates, omega-3’s, vitamins, and minerals. The benefits of eating a whole food plant base (WFPB) diet outweighs the benefits of a bacon and egg sandwich.

The closer we get to a WFPB diet the healthier we (Americans’) will be. CHOOSE wisely with your forks.

My Choice of Breakfast!

20130809-095145.jpg

Oats is considered a superfood in my book. It’s the best breakfast to start your day with. It’s high in fiber, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorous, and selenium. Just one cup has 5.94 grams of protein. Top it with some fresh berries, nuts or flaxseed to add more nutrients.

My preparation:
I cook 2 cups of oats on the stove with about 3 cups of water. Then, I add a cinnamon stick and simmer with occasional stirs for 30 minutes. Once it’s completed, I add organic almond milk. I would bring this to work with me, and it last a good 3 days. I use different toppings depending on my mood. It’s healthy and delicious.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as oats, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years.

People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.

For a more in-depth reading on oats and its nutritional breakdown click here.

My Healthy Breakfast Trio

20130320-092606.jpg

Oat meal with 3 tsp of wheat germ added and bananas. My favorite antioxidant powerhouse smoothie with spinach, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, OJ and ice. Lastly, my fresh lemon water. Simple, yet packed with an adequate amount of my daily natural vitamin intake.

The additional wheat germ will give me more fiber on top of the oats, vitamin B, folate, niacin, calcium, zinc, and iron.

Bananas are packed with potassium, fiber, vitamin C and B6, and manganese.

My spinach berry smoothie has: antioxidants, vitamin C and K, fiber, folate, omega-3, copper, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, vitamin A, iron, vitamin B6, B3, B2, B1, E, protein, selenium, choline, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Spinach is so rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s also concentrated in health promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids that will provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.

Day 1 of My Vegan Diet: Breakfast

20130218-094520.jpg
For breakfast on my first day of my 14 day vegan diet, I had 2 slices of Ezekiel bread with some crunchy peanut butter. This Ezekiel bread is really delicious and healthy. It’s made with 100% sprouted whole grains. It’s basically, flour less!

This bread was inspired by the holy scripture verse Ezekiel 4:9:

    “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side.”

I call it my holy bread. I love to eat it with peanut butter. Peanut butter is very healthy. However, not all peanut butters can measure up. The only ingredients your peanut butter should have is peanuts with or without salt.

On the serious side, take a look at your peanut butter ingredient label. If there are ingredients listed other than salt and peanuts, dump it! You don’t need the additives.

20130218-100556.jpg
Take a look at this popular brand Jif which claims to be the #1 choice of mom’s. Its loaded with different types of hydrogenated oils and sugars.

20130218-100838.jpg
This is my peanut butter. Look at the difference. Need I say more!

What are the Health Benefits of Wheat Germ?

20121113-132841.jpg

    The health benefits of wheat germ are enormous. It is a grain fortified with vitamin E, folate (folic acid), phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, magnesium and essential omega-3 fatty acids and fatty alcohols. It is an excellent source of fiber.

The grain of wheat which gives rise to a new plant when sowed is called the wheat kernel or wheat berry. It is the seed which gives birth to the embryo. The germ is that part of the wheat grain which helps in reproducing the plant and therefore has a high concentration of all the nutrients. The good healthy fat in the grain is mostly found in this part. The bran is the outer fibrous layer. The middle layer between the germ and the bran is known as the endosperm. It is this part which is actually milled for flour. When wheat is processed to make everyday all purpose flour, the germ and bran is removed and thrown.

20121113-133541.jpg
THIS IS THE BRAND I BUY!

    More and more research shows the advantages of incorporating the germ in our daily diet. Due to high levels of nutrients, the germ is separated from the grain and made into health supplements. I love adding wheat germ to my oat meals, pancake mixes, muffins, and cake batters.

Nutrients Behind the Health Benefits of Wheat Germ
The nutrients which are found in the germ of wheat are as follows:

•Fiber
•Iron
•Magnesium
•Manganese
•Protein
•Omega-3 fatty acids
•Phosphorus
•Potassium
•Selenium
•Vitamin E
•Zinc
•Complex Carbohydrates
•B Vitamins such as folate, Niacin, Thiamine and Vitamin B6
•Calcium

Health Benefits of Wheat Germ
Vitamin E found in it, is a powerful antioxidant when it comes to skin health and beauty. Vitamin E boosts immunity and has anti-aging properties and can prevent heart diseases and even cancer. It can help control LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and promote cardiovascular health. Wheat germ protein aids in muscle development and does wonders to overall energy, stamina and wellbeing. It contains octacosonal which improves mental agility and alertness. It is used in supplements, especially the ones used in weight loss.

    It also improves metabolism and balances the hormones in the body which in turn helps to cope with stress. Vitamin B boosts immunity, aids digestion, gives healthy skin and enables the body to heal quicker from wounds. Folic acid brings down the homocysteine levels in blood and prevents damage to the arteries.

Wheat Germ Oil
The unsaturated oils extracted from wheat germ are a rich natural source of vitamin E. Wheat germ oil can be used as a supplement to boost your intake of this vitamin, which promotes red blood cell formation and supports your immune system. Vitamin E may have antioxidant properties which counteract cellular damage and reduce the harmful effects of environmental toxins. Some cosmetics companies promote wheat germ oil as a product ingredient that may moisturize skin and hair, diminish the effects of aging and reduce the appearance of scars.

Resources:
http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/natural-foods/natural-weight-loss-food-wheat-germ-ga.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/health-tip/HT00375/rss=6
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/health-gains-from-whole-grains/index.html