Recipe: Quinoa Toubbouleh – Salad

Quick, Simple, Fresh, and Healthy!

Adding quinoa to your green salad adds so much vital nutrients. Quinoa (pronounced “keenwah”) is one of few plant-based foods that is a source of complete protein that contains 9 essential amino acids. Our bodies can’t produce it, so this quality is especially important for vegans and vegetarians. Quinoa is gluten-free, high in iron, magnesium, B and E vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Quinoa is also very high in fiber and has a low glycemic index. Low glycemic foods are slowly digested and absorbed. They produce only small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. This is especially important for diabetics because quinoa doesn’t hit their blood stream quickly like white rice. I usually make a medium size pot, and use it throughout the week to create all kinds of salads. It saves me a lot of time in the kitchen. Here a recent recipe to enjoy. This serves for two people.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 2 big radishes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 pear
  • 2 cups of arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To cook the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa under cook water. Place quinoa in a pot with 1.75 cups of water. Place lid on top and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low for 15 minutes. Let quinoa cook before making the salad. This is why I usually do a big batch once a week.
  2. While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the rest of the salad by cutting up the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Dressing: Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, minced garlic, and chopping parsley.
  4. Once quinoa is cooled, add all the vegetable ingredients together. Pour the dressing all over and stir to coat well. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy.

There’s no wrong or right ingredient with making a quinoa salad. You can easily add whatever vegetable, fruit, even legumes, nuts and leafy greens you like. The idea here is to simplify your life with quick options for a more healthier plant-based diet.

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What I’m Reading Now?

I’m journeying on a new path to learn how to meditate. I need to bring calm, stillness, and peacefulness to my mind. I’ve heard and read about the many amazing benefits on practicing meditation, and I’m at the right stage in my life where I need it the most. With a full time career, three children, husband, and a dog; it’s a time much needed. I chose The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe to kick start my journey because it came highly recommended by Bill Gates. No, I don’t know him personally, although I wish! I follow his blog, gatesnotes. If you don’t, you should. He’s brilliant, Google him. Bill is the reason why I researched Andy in the first place. Andy is 47 with many years of training in monasteries in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Australia, Russia, and Scotland. He’s even an ordained Buddhist monk.

Andy’s approach to meditation is clear and easy to understand. He teaches amazing techniques, and they’re easy to apply to your everyday busy lifestyle. Andy also believes all you need is 10 minutes a day. Obviously, if you have the ability and time to meditate longer, by all means meditate. When you think of 10 minutes, it’s actually not that long; however, it’s hard for the average person to sit still with a clear mind. More importantly, the practice of meditation is about much more than simply sitting down for a set period of time each day. Andy says, “it’s about training in awareness and understanding how and why you think and feel the way you do, and getting a healthy sense of perspective in the process.” His book also looks deeper in the differences between understanding mindfulness and headspace. He even have an app called, Headspace available on IOS. I haven’t downloaded it yet, but I intend to. Let’s take a look at mindfulness, Andy explains it as the temptation to judge whatever emotion that comes up, and therefore neither opposing or getting carried away with a feeling. And headspace is the result of applying this approach. Headspace delivers a sense of ease with whatever emotion is present.

How many times you’ve been in a situation where someone pissed you off? It angers you, and you feel like you just want to explode. Then you move through your day retelling that scenario over and over to everyone you possibly can share it with. Instead of moving forward productively with your day, you dwell and relive that situation over and over again transferring that negative energy to your friends, love ones, and even into your workplace. This behavior is toxic and becomes debilitating to your mind, body and soul. Who wants to go through life this way? Surely not me! Knowing how to let go and release these toxic thoughts and energy is my goal.

Andy’s book offers four steps to help you achieve meditation. His Take10 summary is recommended to follow each and every time before you meditate.

  1. Getting Ready
  2. Checking-in
  3. Focusing the mind
  4. Finishing-off

The book explains in detail what you need to do in each step to get your mind and body ready. I’m almost midway finish reading the book. I feel more confident than ever. This book has already taught me about the layers of my thoughts, dealing with my emotions, and how to tackle each one as they come to mind. I’ve re-read many chapters and made side notes. It’s definitely a page turner. If you’re interested in learning how to meditate, this book may help you. I would love to hear about your journey or any suggestions on meditation.

Government Shutdown Curtails F.D.A. Food Inspections

Government Shutdown Curtails F.D.A. Food Inspections

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine food safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods at high risk of contamination because of the federal government’s shutdown, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, said on Wednesday.

— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/health/shutdown-fda-food-inspections.amp.html

Cranberries for Urinary and Prostate Health

Did you know that urinary tract infections or diseases affect both women and men? UTI’s can put men at risk for prostate illness as well. The British Journal of Nutrition recently published a study where research followed 42 men with lower urinary tract disease. They found that the men also had elevated PSA and non-bacterial prostatitis. The researchers assigned the men to take either a supplement with 1,500 mg per day of dried powdered cranberries or a placebo.

The researchers tracked the men for six months while they took either a powdered cranberry supplement of 1,500 mg a day or a placebo, and then evaluated them with the International Prostate Symptom Score. This test evaluates urination, average flow, total volume, and post-void residual volume. The men taking cranberry showed significant improvement. There was no improvement in the control group. It makes common sense that if cranberries help wipe out UTI’s, it’s responsible that they would also help your prostate as well. Also, the men who took the cranberry supplement experienced lower PSA levels. It is likely that one will have to take 1,500 mg of dried cranberry powder in order to have effective results as did the men in this study, a dose that is easily obtainable both in health stores and online.

There are many ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet. It’s not just an American traditional Thanksgiving side dish. Cranberries can be added at any time throughout the year. Dried cranberries especially are delicious in salads and baked goods. Swap out your usual raisins for cranberries. Another way to incorporate cranberries into your daily diet is by adding them to smoothies. Frozen cranberries are available all year round. both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It’s also worth noting that cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin E, two pivotal antioxidant nutrients. And in addition, they are a very good source of the mineral manganese, which is needed for proper function of some forms of the enzyme superoxide dismutase.

How do you incorporate cranberries in your diet? Please share…

Source: “The effectiveness of dried cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms,” Vidlar A, Simanek V, et al, Br J Nutr, 2010; 104(8): 1181-9.

Do Collagen Supplements Help Skin, Hair, Nails and Joints? – The New York Times

. Is there any truth to the claim that collagen supplements will help my skin, nails, hair, digestion and joints?

A. Some small studies suggest that collagen supplements may have limited benefits, but the evidence is far from definitive, and marketing claims seem to have gotten ahead of the science.

Collagen is the main structural protein in animals — humans included — and plays a vital role in tissues like bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and skin. It’s also increasingly popular in nutritional supplements, which claim to replenish these same tissues.

— Read on www.nytimes.com/2018/08/24/well/live/do-collagen-supplements-help-skin-hair-nails-and-joints.html

Kale-A-Bration Time! 

I’ve coined the term, Kale-a-bration because that’s how I feel when my kale plants are thriving beautifully.  There’s a celebratory feeling that comes over me every time Im in my garden.  Kale is my new go-to because it goes in practically every dish I make.  From salads, cold or hot pasta dishes, soups, green juices and can’t forget my smoothies.  My kale patch serves my family of five well, and I still have enough to share with my friends and family.   There’s nothing better than freshly picked kale. The flavors are so strong and the leaves are full of life and vigor.  Growing my own garden saves me a lot of money. What I grow serves my family through the summer and winter months. I freeze my greens, tomatoes and so much more for the winter months.  My favorite is definitely the kale plant. 

Kale is very easy to grow and extremely versatile. It also grows well into the cold winter months.  This superfood is packed with a slew of vital nutrients our bodies depend on.  Just one cup of chopped cooked kale contains 1180% of the daily requirement of vitamin K, 98% of vitamin A and 71% of vitamin C, 27% of manganese, 6% calcium, 22% copper and so much more!  There’s also a mixture of antioxidants like cartotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin – help promote eye health, protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration) and flavonoids (more than 45) which have anti-cancer properties.  It also contains 10% dietary fiber and only has 36 calories! 

The brassicas vegetables are highly nutritious for fighting cancers. It’s beneficial to eat them everyday.  The kale variety I’m growing is known by three names, Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale and Tuscan kale.  It’s one of my favorite to plant because it’s easy to grow from seed, cooks exceptionally well, and the crop loves the cold, so I’ll continue harvesting from this patch way into the winter months. I’m also growing cabbage, collards, bok chow, broccoli and cauliflower. A healthy blend of the brassica family.   My garden is grown with no pesticides or herbicides. I take careful pride in what I plant and how it’s maintained. If I have pest, I don’t spray harmful chemicals.  I rely on ladybugs 🐞 and praying mantis to eat aphids and other small pest, which usually infest my brassicas. If you’re interested in organic pest control, order from Peaceful Vally

My Fibrous Fig Tree

Capelas variety

     My fig tree blessed me with a bountiful harvest this year. I’ve always wanted a fig tree in my yard.  Once my husband and I closed on our first home, that same week I had my mini-potted fig tree planted in my back yard.  The first summer it didn’t produce much, but this year, it quadrupled in size and bared the sweetest fruits.  Fresh figs are extremely delicious to eat and very full of fiber. Eating fiber-rich foods have great advantages for losing weight and even reducing your breast cancer risk.  I came across a study done on postmenopausal women.  The results of a prospective study involving 51,823 women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit-fiber compared to those consuming the least. 

     In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. Fruits richest in fiber include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes. When choosing a high fiber cereal, look for whole grain cereals as they supply the most bran (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 grams of fiber). Adding these fiber-rich fruits to your cereals will boost your fiber intake. 

Resources: Study – Dietary fiber intake and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer defined by estrogen and progesterone receptor status–a prospective cohort study among Swedish women.

Homeopathic Cough Remedy with Raw Honey

     My grandmother on my paternal side taugh me this homemade remedy for coughs and sore throats. Since the weather has changed here in New York, one of my kids already caught a sore throat. ‘Tis the season of battling sicknesses, so what’s the best remedy for treating a sore throat? It’s Honey!  I actually remember the first time my grandmother whipped this honey concoction up for me. I had a sore throat with a dry cough, and I was constantly gargling with salt water. I must have been between eleven or twelve years old. She said, I was irritating my throat even more and that I needed something to soothe it.  We went into the kitchen and she chopped up onions and covered it with raw honey in a glass. It sat for one hour before I had a table spoon full.  

     Surprisingly, it tasted good and within a few minutes my throat felt less irritated and after about ten minute my cough was lesser.  The taste of the onions was pronounced but the honey makes up for it.  My twist on my granny’s recipe is adding garlic. I make this every year around the fall and throughout the winter months. I give it to all my children from the youngest of six years to the eldest, who is fifteen.  It is a very simple and effective remedy, and it works for us, and it may even work for you.  
Recipe 

  • 2 Medium Onions
  • Raw honey
  • Half head of garlic (5 gloves) 

Directions

     Peel and slice the onions evenly. Peel and cut each garlic in half.  Place everything in your jar (I purchased mines from IKEA). Pour the raw honey over everything until majority of contents are covered. Cover lid and let it sit on your counter overnight for 6-8 hours. I like to give it a little stir after the times up.  I give 1 table spoonful which is equivalent to 2 teaspoons to my children. Depends on the severity of the situation, a child may get 2 spoonful an hour.  Overtime, I store on the counter or even in the fridge. You could always add more ingredients overtime if you’re running low. The onions will eventually breakdown. I usually eat them when I take a spoonful. The hardest part is to get the kids to eat it. 

     I highly recommend using raw honey for this recipe because store bought honey sometimes have additives like high fructose corn syrup. Please read your labels!  These three natural ingredients have the capability to fight colds, coughs, allergies, sore throats and even boost your bodies immunity.  Honey is truly an amazing substance.  It is a natural sweetener and it encompasses an intricate chemical composition of carbohydrates, free amino acids, vitamins, trace elements and flavonoids/antioxidants. Not to forget anti-bacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.  Studies of the antimicrobial effect of honey have demonstrated its broad-spectrum antimicrobial actions against upper-respiratory tract infections.  Honey has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of coughs for a very long time (1).  Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, which is a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications to soothe cough(2).  This home remedy, works better according to the study.   Honey naturally soothes. 

     The antibacterial and antiviral properties of garlic controls infection from bacterias and viruses.  Onions and garlic are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects.  Onions antioxidant rich flavonoids provides us with the benefits to keep chronic unwanted inflammation under control (3). The use of honey is also prohibited under the age of one due to poor immunity against Clostridium Botulinum, a potential contaminant (4).  Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine”, prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses.  Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion and fatigue. It’s great for flavoring your food and to treat illnesses. 



Resources: 

(1) Study: Bactericidal activity of different types of honey against clinical and environmental isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

(2) Study: Honey for Treatment of Cough in Children

(3) Study: Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of quercetin oxidation products from yellow onion (Allium cepa) skin.

(4) Study: Incidence of Clostridium botulinum in honey of various origins.

WARNINGS ⚠️ 

Homey is NOT for children under one years old. My mission is to extend the knowledge of healthly eating through this blog. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program.

7 Warning Signs You Must Not Ignore

  
Have you ever heard of the term “thin-fat syndrome?” Well, Dr. Mark Hayman says, “it means you are under lean but over fat – not enough muscle and too much fat (especially belly fat).”  Diabetes does not discriminate.  It doesn’t matter if you are skinny or obese, you could be at risk.  Type 2 diabetes is growing rampant in the United States and you need to learn about the signs.  Type II is called “adult onset diabetes” or “non-insulin dependent diabetes” because it most often affects people over forty years old. 

See if you’re vulnerable and what to do next. 

  1. Waking up often during the night to pee
  2. Feeling unusually thirsty
  3. Unexplained weight loss or gain
  4. Frequent yeast infections
  5. Blurry vision
  6. Tingling in the hands and feet
  7. Cuts that don’t heal well or infections that are difficult to get rid of

If you notice even one of these symptoms of diabetes, it’s worth bringing it up with your doctor and asking for a blood test (usually the A1C) to check your blood sugar levels.  The best approach to avoid or reverse it is exercise and diet, which is key regardless of how much you weigh.  Rochelle Naylor, MD, an endocrinologist of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center recommends cardio and strength training, which can both improve insulin sensitivity. Aiming for 30 minutes a day at five times a week is the minimum requirement.  Curbing the processed foods and simple carbohydrates is important. Not to mention, adding more fiber-rich foods and vegetables into your diet will give you the right balance. I’m a huge advocate for a whole-food plant-based diet.  

Eat clean and get physical! 

More resources: Early symptoms of diabetes and typical medical treatment