{The smell of Autumn flavors: Pumpkin Pecan Pie Pancakes}

Summary:  Although pancakes are not the smartest/healthiest breakfast option….they are delicious, aromatic and decadent. Eating them once in a while won’t hurt anyone. I eat pancakes/waffles approximately once a month. That being said these are delightful! I was inspired once … Continue reading

{Mid week comfort food that’s semi-homemade: Vegan Ground Beef Fajitas}

{Peppery Vegan Ground Beef Fajitas} Summary: I find Mexican food comforting and fun. For me it makes the perfect date night or family night meal. More precisely I love fajitas…The idea of having lots of fixings and creating a wrap/burrito tailored … Continue reading

{Negative Calorie Raw Shredded Salad – load up on this to curve hunger}

Summary:  Have you heard of negative calorie fruits and vegetables? For those who haven’t….you can eat these amazing items without feeling guilty since the amount of calories these veggies have are burned during the digestive process! At least most of … Continue reading

Top 50 Fall Diet Foods for Weight Loss

Top 50 Fall Diet Foods for Weight Loss

Fall. There are many reasons why it’s a lovely season…however, health wise we get exposed to lots of sugary cravings: pumpkin pies, lovely pecan tarts, greasy gravy, buttery bread buns…you name it! So it can become quite of a challenge … Continue reading

The truth about Fat: good fats vs bad fats…do you know the difference?

For those who aren’t clear about the difference between good fats vs. bad fats. . . Most people know butter is terrible and that olive oil is a better cooking alternative. But why? Here’s the skinny on what separates the … Continue reading

Top 10 Superfoods for Women

Top 10 Superfoods for Women

Found this article on Yahoo News…You’ll be surprised with what foods made the list & which ones didn’t. Just for teasing you, I’ll give you the nicknames of the foods: the cancer-fighter, the skinny steak, the “it” spice, the next … Continue reading

Vegetarian nutrition – evidence based practice guideline

For all of the vegetarians and none vegetarians out there…I am sure most of you have wondered: Is it safe? Will I develop a nutritional deficiency? Will my biochemistry change? Will it help prevent diseases? The answer to most of these questions is yes. The nutritional deficiencies can be avoided if you ensure that your vitamin B-12 requirements are met by your diet. Why? Because one of the major sources of B-12 vitamin is meat & its related products. If you are a lacto-ovo-vegetarian this shouldn’t be a concern because you can obtain this vitamin from eggs, milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you do not eat any product derived from animals you should consider taking additional supplements. Why? Because B12 deficiency may lead to anemia and permanent neurological changes. B12 is involved in the formation of your red blood cells. Therefore this nutrient is key for proper oxygenation of your body. Additionally it is involved in the formation of DNA! So including this vitamin in your diet is essential! B12 protects and repairs DNA which is essential in reducing your cancer risk and slowing down the aging process. If you start feeling tired all the time and notice that you get shortness of breath while climbing a flight of stairs, exercising, or while performing other demanding activities…you should consult your doctor.

Additionally this vitamin may help protect against heart disease by reducing the production of a protein called homocysteine in your blood. High levels of this protein has been linked to higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

If you don’t like taking supplements cheese is the #1 vegetarian source of vitamin B12 (also known as Cobalamin). “Ah…the power of cheese.” I will rank for you the best cheese sources for obtaining this nutrient in a serving of 100 grams: Swiss (56%DV) > Gjetost (40%DV) > Mozzarella (39%DV) > Parmesan (38%DV) > Tilsit (35%DV) > Feta (28%DV).  Hence a great way of incorporating these cheeses into your meals is by adding Swiss or Mozzarella to your veggie burgers, Parmesan to your pastas, and feta to your salads. Eggs rank second on the list. Whey powder ranks third. Milk & yogurt rank fourth. Yeast extract ranks fifth as a natural source of B12. If you are not a full vegetarian, which sometimes means you eat seafood….Clams, oysters & mussels are the #1 source of B12. Shellfish provide from 400%DV to 1648%DV of B12!!! Other potent sources (in order) include: liver, caviar, octopus, fish, crab, lobster, beef, and lamb. Be careful not to exceed the necessary intake because these foods are also packed with cholesterol.

Furthermore, the advantages of practicing a vegetarian diet are multiple. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has conducted a study about the effectiveness of vegetarian diet in treating obesity, hyperlipidemia, and Type 2 Diabetes. If you are interested in this topic –  guidelines about how to conduct a proper vegetarian diet and its potential health benefits are found in the link below. The primary goal of this  research study was to implement:

Hope this post was helpful…Leave comments regarding these topics or past experiences.

{Not all greens are created equal: why Spinach is the best}

There is probably a book out there somewhere written solely about spinach. When you’re a child and you first look at spinach you think: “well then… a leaf.” Then you see cartoons like Popeye the Sailor crush everyone after a quick fill of this same leaf. So here I am… a 12 year old kid… witnessing this cartoon character turn from a helpless weakling into a spectacular, brutal killing-machine-stud-like-robot after eating… some leaf? It comes as no surprise that the “got-milk” and Wheaties marketing campaigns were more successful at attracting a crowd (with their star-studded lineup of world class athletes). Its also no surprise that when in need of calcium we turn to milk. Interestingly enough 3.5 ounces of milk has 113 mg of calcium while spinach has 100 in the same 3.5 ounces. Spinach has 20 calories though as compared to milks 60 for this same amount. Milk also boasts 3.25 grams of fat to spinach’s… 0.4 grams… and inversely… spinach boasts 2.2 grams of fiber to milk’s… 0 (although I am sure there are some fortified ones now). So let us take a deeper look at this wonder leaf:

  • Spinach contains Vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E (all useful in some way to your everyday health).
  • Spinach contains 18 of the 20 amino acids (except glutamine and asparagine)
  • The 0.4 grams of fat it does contain include vegetable oils such as Oleic acid which is packed with anti-inflammatory, disease fighting properties.
  • Least impressive sounding, but likely important : Fiber.

Now fiber is something that merits further exploration. Most of us in the western world receive much less fiber than we should due to the immense amount of processed food out there (breads, pastas, and rices in particular). There is plenty of evidence that fiber is great for both colon and cardiovascular health. In the colon it speeds up transit time of feces and increases its bulk (absorbing plenty of toxins on the way). The way it affects cardiovascular health is much more complex (and not fully understood). The best understood mechanism has to do with fiber rich food effects on blood sugar levels (as compared to their processed, low-fiber counterparts). Foods that are low in fiber and nutrition are easily and quickly digested by the body. This fast digestion leads to an abrupt blood sugar surge in our bloodstream. This in turn leads to a reflex insulin surge as the body attempts to control the rising blood sugar levels. Repeated cycles of this abrupt insulin release leads to increased insulin receptor resistance (they become desensitized). Continued desensitization ultimately leads to loss of proper function and we get the fertile ground for development of type II diabetes (which is primarily caused by this same insulin resistance mechanism). As some of you may know a diagnosis of diabetes quintuples your risk for acquiring cardiovascular disease. Another issue is that consumtion of these processed foods (namely white rices, pastas, and breads) in the long run lead to a chronic state of huger. Nutrition and not bulk is most important in satiety mechanisms in the body. If you constantly consume fiber-rich, nutritionally packed foods your body will not be deficient in nutrients (and hence will not be hungry all the time). When we constantly consume empty calories all we get is hungrier and hungrier…while our belly gets bigger and bigger. This same belly fat is one of the best indicators for progression to systemic cardiovascular and diabetic disease development. The larger your waist the higher the chance of developing illnes. The link between high fiber diet and lower cardiovascular risk becomes clear. There are other mechanisms currently being explored such as fiber causing an increased excretion of bile salts (and in this fashion increasing cholesterol excretion), but further research is being done on that front. So next time you feel like having a salad… dump the lettuce and turn to Popeye’s favorite treat.