Healthy Start to Your Day

Quick oats!

What do you start your day off with? For me it’s sometimes a green smoothie, an almond butter toast with flaxseeds and chia seed toppings. Today, it’s my oatmeal. Midway through devouring my breakfast, I just had to snap a picture and blog about it. This was so simple to make. It didn’t require any frying. I literally just added hot water and waited 10 minutes. Then I topped it with cinnamon, ground up flaxseeds, blueberries, blackberries and half of a banana. This is what a healthy breakfast should look like. People often say, “oatmeal is boring!” I could see that, but then you should jazz it up. Be creative! Add cocoa nibs, which are cocoa bean pieces with nothing added to them. This would be for those chocolate lovers. Shredded coconuts and raisins are delicious too, or even some nuts. I added bananas for some sweetness because I don’t use sugars.

I think oatmeal is one of the healthiest most nutritious meal you can start your day off with. It’s packed with so many vitamins, fiber, and minerals. It’s also cheap, and easy to prepare. If you were to have a cup of basic quick oats everyday, it would cost you $.043. Can’t beat that!

Tell me what you think!

Enjoy & Eat Organic for Life!

Ugly, Not at All!

Check these carrots out. I plucked them up earlier this week from my garden. My children thought it looked hysterical.  Then my eldest son Justin asked, “what are you going to do with that?”  My response was simple, “eat it!” My youngest Lily said, “let’s juice it mommy!” So, we did just that.  I have a profound appreciation for these kinds of so-called “ugly” foods, and not because I grew these carrots, because it’s food not worth wasting. Huge problems exists in our food system today that we as consumers deal with on a daily basis. We have Big Agro over spraying pesticides and herbicides, Genetically Modifies Organisms (GMO) contaminating our foods, and so much more. One very important aspect that doesn’t get enough attention, is food waste.  In America alone, about 25% of produce is wasted before it even reaches the grocery store, and that’s just based off of looks.  The most notable new data showed that the United States waste $218 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, growing, processing, and transporting disposing food that is never eaten. Its food totaling 52 million tons sent to landfills annually. Those figures are disturbingly our reality. With high homelessness, starvation, and educational cut backs year after year, it’s disgraceful to know these staggering figures is due to food waste. 

We live in a world that is constantly judging looks, our socioeconomic status, religion and race. You probably didn’t realize it but, food also is highly judged.  Fruits and vegetables that are grown with disfigurations and scars are usually tossed to the side by retailers and consumers. They’re not considered edible by as many as 1:7 Americans. These foods end up as waste.  

Photo Credit: The Ugly Fruit And Veg Campaign

There’s nothing wrong with these foods and many consumers need to understand that.  Picking out the most perfect apple or the brightest orange doesn’t make them healthier for you. They are just as nutritious and edible as their unmarred brethrens.  Thanks to some amazing people over at the @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign, change is slowly taking shape.   They started petitions that targeted huge retailers that got amazing responses from people and organization who want to stop food waste. The support from other anti-food waste campaigners like Foodtank and EndFoodWaste.org also contributes to the awareness with programs and petitions.   Today, relailers like Whole Foods Market and Walmart are selling “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Change is taking place slowly but consumers should support by buying these ugly fruits and vegetables.   The next time you come across an apple with a dent or a conjoined carrot, buy it.  Irwin Goldman, a professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said, these fruits and vegetables aren’t genetic mutants. “They’re totally edible and in some cases, quite beautiful.” Don’t discriminate against disfigured foods. Buy’em, eat’em, cook’em or even juice’em and enjoy­čĄŚ
Resources:  ReFED – Rethinking Food Waste. Ugly Fruit – The 20 Billion Pound Elephant in the Room

5 Sweet Pomegranate Facts


Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Here’s a young pomegranate growing. In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February, and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May. The pomegranate tree is actually a pretty small tree growing 6 to 10 m (20 to 33 ft) high, the pomegranate has multiple spiny branches, and is extremely long-lived, with some specimens in France surviving for 200 years. The fruit is considered a berry, a gigantic berry if you really think of it with tiny juice filled seeds on the inside.  The pomegranate fruit offers beneficial healing properties. These are some highlights:

  • Pomegranate has anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Pomegranate has anti-angiogenic properties, meaning that they may help to stop tumors from acquiring a blood supply, preventing those tumors from receiving the nutrients that would allow them to grow larger.
  • Pomegranate is one of the few foods (mushrooms are another) that contain natural aromatase inhibitors. This means that they inhibit the production of estrogen, which can reduce breast cancer risk. 
  • After treatment for prostate cancer, two studies have shown that pomegranate juice or supplements slowed the increase in PSA.
  • Protects Against Heart Disease. Consume the pomegranate juice to reduce oxidative stress.  The pomegranate reduces LDL oxidation (a contributor to atherosclerotic plaque development). 


References 

How to cut a pomegranate?

Fruit Facts: Pomegranate 

Aviram M, Dornfeld L: Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis 2001, 158:195-198.

Aviram M, Volkova N, Coleman R, et al: Pomegranate phenolics from the peels, arils, and flowers are antiatherogenic: studies in vivo in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein e-deficient (E 0) mice and in vitro in cultured macrophages and lipoproteins. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2008, 56:1148-1157.

Wolf B: Pomegranates: Jewels In The Fruit Crown. 2006.

Panchal SK, Ward L, Brown L: Ellagic acid attenuates high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats. Eur J Nutr 2012.

Adams LS, Seeram NP, Aggarwal BB, et al: Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2006, 54:980-985.

Khan N, Afaq F, Kweon MH, et al: Oral consumption of pomegranate fruit extract inhibits growth and progression of primary lung tumors in mice. Cancer Res 2007, 67:3475-3482.

Toi M, Bando H, Ramachandran C, et al: Preliminary studies on the anti-angiogenic potential of pomegranate fractions in vitro and in vivo. Angiogenesis 2003, 6:121-128.

Tips For Planning Healthy Meals 

If you’re like me, you probably don’t have much time during the week to cook. Working full-time, juggling three children, a husband, house work, blogging and social life; cooking have to be quick and easy for me. By the time I reach home, I’m exhausted.  What works for me is planning ahead.  On the weekends, I buy all of my fresh produce for the week, and having healthy staples in the pantry is helpful.  These items will keep you sustained! 

My staples: Peanut or almond butter, lentils, chickpeas, breads, pasta, canned crushed tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, almond or coconut milk, cauliflower, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs.  

I enjoy going grocery shopping. Not many people do but I look forward to it.  My go-to stores are Whole Foods, Trader Joes and of course, the farmers market. You might be wondering, why I go to so many stores?  First, I enjoy it. Secondly, we all have different needs and wants.  Lastly, the farmers market is a must for fresh seasonal produce, organic pastured raised eggs, organic apples, and wild caught fish. We go through apples like grapes in my household. 

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I’ve found that a small amount of time invested in menu planning saves me time and energy.  The key meals to plan are the evening meals.  Breakfast is easy (oats, French toast, cold cereals, etc.) and lunch, my husband prepares every morning for the children. Dinner is my specialty. 

It is extremely important to consume a variety of plants to make sure we are getting all the nutrients we need.  The produce I buy gets chopped up and mixed into so many different dishes for the week.  When I make my organic brown rice pilaf, there’s about 5-6 different vegetables chopped up in it.  It’s amazingly delicious. My vegan lasagna is also fast and furious.  

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The no-boil lasagna cuts my time in half.

´╗┐Plus, there’s always a green salad with our dinner.  The point here is to plan ahead, cook enough, and incorporate plenty of fresh plants in your meal.  Many people tend to buy frozen produce, remember fresh is always best. 

Tips to consider:

  1. Set aside time to plan a menu for the week. 
  2. Make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for these recipes. 
  3. Select three or four main dishes, and plan to prepare enough for each person.  
  4. Add some fresh vegetables for salads and side dishes. 
  5. Save your menus and shopping list for future uses. 

Enjoy!