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.

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Still Harvesting My Greens in November

Just got in from the gym and decided to make myself a protein green smoothie. This is always a quicker option than cooking, especially when your tired. Check out my beautiful bouquet of greens. Just freshly cut from my garden. It’s November and cold here in New York, however my collard greens, curly leaf kale, Tuscan kale, and parsley are surviving strong. Even the two days of frost we had a couple of weeks ago. Kale and collards are cool-season greens that are part of the cruciferous family along with cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and bok choy. They grow best in the springtime and fall and can tolerate frost. Leafy greens are power food packed with power nutrients. Plus all greens are low in calories. And a serving of just about any of the deeply colored ones contains your daily supply of vitamins K and A, most of your daily vitamin C, and a hefty helping of fiber, B vitamins and essential minerals. They’re great additions to smoothies too.

  • 1/2 cup of kale
  • 1 cup collard greens
  • 1/2 cup of figs
  • 1 cup of flaxseed milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp of organic Maca powder
  • 1/2 cup of ice

Check out the protein content on this plant-based flaxseed milk. It taste sooooooo good. I bought it from Whole Foods.

Benefits of kale

  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Kale
  • Glucosinolates and Cancer-Preventive
  • Kale also extend to its cholesterol-lowering ability

Resource: The World’s Healthiest Food – Kale

Pickled Hot Peppers

Pickling hot peppers is an island delight for Jamaicans. I’ve watched my mother preserve her peppers this way for decades, and now it has become one of my favorite things to do with my homegrown hot peppers.  This is also a wonderful way to preserve your hot peppers.  You can use any type of hot pepper or vegetables to add to your jars.  My mom loves to put carrots in hers. I’ve done it before in the past and it comes out just as great.  For this recipe, I’m keeping it simple.  I had a lot of peppers to start with so these 4 jars is equivalent to 4 pints/16 oz. You can also modify this recipe by decreasing the vinegar to 2 cups per jar. 

Ingredients 

  • 4 Large onions sliced
  • 4 Green bell peppers 
  • 8 Scotch bonnet peppers
  • 4 Ghost peppers
  • 24 Habanero peppers 
  • 4 Tbsp Dried Pimento seeds (whole allspice)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar 
  • 8 Cups White Vinegar 

Cooking tip: Wear protective gloves and goggles (optional). When done, wash all tools and surface with cold water and soap. 

Instructions

  1. Sterilize the mason jars in a large pot with boiling water for 30 minutes. 
  2. While your jars are boiling slice your onions and peppers into desired shapes. Leave the seeds. 
  3. Remove jars with a tong and set aside to cool. 
  4. After about 10 minutes, layer the vegetables, peppers, and pimento seed in the jars. 
  5. Warm the vinegar and sugar in a pot on the stove.  Do not bring to a boil. 
  6. Pour warm vinegar into jars and set aside to cool.  
  7. Tighten carefully with the lids. 

You do not have to refrigerate your jars.  I know some people who do.  It’s optional. These jars are beautiful to give away as gifts. Just add a ribbon to make them even more special.  

Enjoy! 

Homemade Tomato Sauce

     When August and September rolls around and you have a sea of freshly picked tomatoes, there’s only one thing I could think of, pasta sauce. After I’ve shared and eaten and picked, it’s time to preserve for the winter. As if I live in the wilderness. I don’t obviously, but it’s cost effective to preserve for later uses.  My tomatoes were at its ripest and that’s what you want. The reddest, sweetest and densest tomatoes. 


INGREDIENTS

  • 10 pounds fresh tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 garlic clove, halved
  • 2 basil springs 
  • 3 bay leaf

PREPARATION

Step 1:  Cut tomatoes in half horizontally. Squeeze out the seeds and discard, if you wish. Press the cut side of tomato against the large holes of a box grater and grate tomato flesh into a bowl. Discard skins. You should have about 8-9 cups.

Step 2:  Put tomato pulp in a low wide saucepan over high heat. Add salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a brisk simmer.

Step 3:  Reduce the sauce by almost half, stirring occasionally, to produce about 4 1/2 cups medium-thick sauce, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. It will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or may be frozen.

I freeze mines. Let it cool completely and insert desired amount in ziplock freezer bags. I like the quart sizes. Enjoy!!

Chia Seeds: Plant-based Obsession 

     Add Chia Seeds to your smoothies for a healthy alternative for protein. Chia seeds are easy and versatile in diets. You can bake them in muffins, breads, make pudding, and add them to your drinks.  According to the National Nutrition Database for Standard Reference, 100 grams of chia seeds contain 16 grams of protein, 30 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 34 grams of dietary fiber, 630 mg of calcium, 7 mg of iron, 335 mg of magnesium, 860 mg of phosphorus, 407 mg of potassium, 16 mg of sodium and 4 mg of zinc. Chia seeds also have vitamins such as vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin E. Chia seeds also have no cholesterol!  They’re super easy to store and inexpensive. A ten ounce bag can cost you less than ten dollars, and it’ll last you a month.  

How do you enjoy your chia seeds and why do you incorporate them into your diet?

     For me, I’m dairy-free so the plant-based calcium benefits are extremely beneficial for my body. Calcium is needed for healthy bones. The good thing about it, I have healthier alternatives. Cutting dairy out was hard for me since I’ve grown up eating every dairy option to mankind. Now as an adult, it had to go.  After some tests and self observations, I realized dairy was the demise to my body’s existence. I was plagued with severe eczema, constipation, acne and a weakened immune system. Once I stopped, things moved along smoother, my skin cleared, and even the mucus significantly reduced in my body.  I wake up now in the mornings without that yellow mucus in my eyes, and my throat isn’t corroded with slimy gook.  I feel much lighter, and my immune is much stronger. I recover better from colds which I rarely get.  

Isn’t that awesome!  

     An article by Thomas Campbell, MD points out the importance of getting calcium from plant-based sources without dairy in your diet. Dairy causes a lot of problems. Find out what those are here.  I’ll stick to my plant-base options. Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds yields 18% per serving of calcium. It’s the perfect addition to my smoothies along with spinach and kale which also have calcium. There are so many plant-based options for calcium. Explore them and be healthy! 
Resources:

Why Consume More Plants? 

Why Can Too Much Protein be a Protein?

My Radishes Are in Season 

I love adding radishes to salads because it adds a beautiful color, flavor, and dimension. They have a slight pepper taste that’s tolerable to small children, and an apple like crunch. Slice them thinly and add them to your salads. These red beauties are healthy for you especially, if you have blood pressure issues. They’re known for regulating pressure and reliving congestion. Radishes have antibacterial, antifungal, and detoxifying properties. They’re an amazing source of fiber, which is beneficial for keeping your digestive system smooth and regular. Radishes are also a natural diuretic, purifying the kidney and urinary systems and relieving inflammation. If you want to boost your vitamin C levels, just add some radishes to your diet. Try this simple salad with kale, radish, figs, bell peppers and some grapes. No dressing required, just a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add some zing.  
  
Growing radishes literally takes about 60 days to mature…it’s very easy to grow. The Old Almanac reccomends planting 4-6 weeks before the average date of last frost. Direct sow the seeds in your garden ½ inch to an inch deep and one inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Thin to about 2-inch spacings. Radishes need sun and even watering. Within 4-5 days the seeds will germinate. When they’re ready, you’ll see a a vibrant red ball. The longer you leave it in the ground, the bigger the radish. 

How do you normally enjoy your radish? Do you also grow them? I would love to hear from you. 

Resources:  Planting Radish Radish Nutrition Facts 

Strawberries Are Back 

Strawberries are back and in full-swing of things at the Union Square Green Market.  They’re super sweet, juicy, and delicious!  You’ll never find these beauties at your supermarket.  What also sets these beauties apart from the regular store-bought brands is there texture. The strawberry from the local farmers are much more tender and delicate, thus making them more juicy.

They’re in season now so stop by your local farmers market and get’em while you can.  To find your local farmers market click here.  Nutritional information on strawberry can also be found here

Enjoy😋

Vegan Banana Bread

This vegan banana bread recipe is eggless and dairy free. I used mostly organic products, with the exception to the baking soda and powder. You’ll enjoy this banana bread even more because it’s filled with healthy ingredients, and it’s also delicious.

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Prep time: 20 minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan. I used coconut oil for greasing.

Ingredients:
• 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• Pinch of salt
• 1 cup Turbinado sugar
• 1/2 cup coconut oil (or any other)
• 3 ripe bananas
• 1/2 cup of apple sauce
• 1 tsp vanilla
Optional additions
• 1/3 cup wheat germ
• 1 cup raw crushed walnuts
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 1/3 Chia seeds

Instructions
In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder. Then, in a separate bowl smash the bananas until the big lumps are out. Mix in the oil, vanilla, applesauce, sugar and salt.

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Now, gently fold in the dry ingredients into the wet making sure everything is mixed in well. At this point you could add any of the optional ingredients. In this recipe I added wheat germ, walnuts and raisins. Pour finished batter in the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Serving: 8 Slices

Enjoy!

Detox Green Juice Recipe

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I just completed Food Matters Free 3 day detox cleanse, and honestly, I feel amazing!

James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch are the brilliant filmmakers of ‘Food Matters‘ and ‘Hungry For Change‘. Two MUST SEE documentaries! They are the masterminds behind this cleanse.

In this detox, they combined fresh juices, a green salad, and a potassium balancing soup. There was no added sugars, breads, whole grains, or dairy. Strictly vegan! Just real organic vegetables and fresh juices. I love to eat so choosing the right detox was critical. Most detox programs usually eliminate food. Well, Food Matters plan had the perfect balance for me.

When starting any detox plan choosing the right time is key to your success, and consulting with your healthcare professional is extremely important.

Below is the green juice recipe from Food Matters detox cleanse.

2-3 Kale leaves
1 Lime
2-3 Celery stalks
1-2 Cucumbers
Optional detoxifying additions
Parsley
Coriander
Cilantro
Romaine can be added as well

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Sources
For more information about Food Matters click here.

Happy New Year & Happy Detoxing!

Fruit Fact: Grapefruits Fight Free Radicals

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Free radicals causes cells in our bodies to breakdown, and foods that are high in vitamin C can significantly reduce and prevent oxidative stress on our cells. Thus grapefruits, carrots, oranges and tomatoes to name a few, are exceptionally high in vitamin C.

Oxidative stress is now thought to make a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases (arthritis, vasculitis, glomerulonephritis, lupus erythematous, adult respiratory diseases syndrome), ischemic diseases (heart diseases, stroke, intestinal ischema), hemochromatosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, emphysema, organ transplantation, gastric ulcers, hypertension and preeclampsia, neurological disorder (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy), alcoholism, smoking-related diseases, and many others.

An excess of oxidative stress can lead to the oxidation of lipids and proteins, which is associated with changes in their structure and functions.

Oxidative stress also causes premature aging and wrinkles. If you don’t want to look old before your time, choose the right foods.

The foods we choose to eat contributes to the health of our cells. What we put in our bodies everyday significantly affects us on a cellular level. If you choose to smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs, your cells will be damaged. If you choose to eat processed foods and junk foods, your cells will be damaged. It’s easy science. Know the facts and make wiser choices.

To read more about oxidative stress and to obtain the article where I found this information click here.