Cinnamon Honey Flatbread

This is my very own creation so play with it!
 
Ingredients:
  • Honey (locally grown is very important!)
  • Organic raw sugar crystals or brown sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 cup 100% Whole wheat flour
  • Water
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Begin by mixing 1 cup of whole wheat flour with about 1/4 cup of water to start off. Add 1 tbsp of EVOO. Mix those ingredients well. This is actually the recipe for unleavened bread. Feel the consistency with your hands. Mix more water if it's too dry or a little more flour if it's to moist.

Then, add 1 cup of raw crystal sugar. Blend evenly. Get that rolling pin out and start rolling. Make sure to put flour below the mix so it doesn't stick to the cutting board or whatever you're using. Once you've finished rolling the dough thinly, add the cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Add as much or as little as you want. This is your chance to be creative! Bake for 20 minutes. You may leave it in longer if you want it crispier like a pita. It's up to you.
 
Cool it down a bit then serve and enjoy! This is a delicious and healthy dessert for the family :)


My Homemade Soup.

I've been asked repeatedly to post my recipe for my vegetable soup. To backtrack for a quick second: I hate soup. I know it sounds terrible, but it's true. It wasn't until I tasted this soup and tweaked it to spices and ingredients I loved, that I began to like soup.

So here it is:

Ingredients:
- 1 box of veggie stock (I prefer Swanson's but Progresso was on sale)
- 1 box of organic chicken stock
- 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 bahl of garlic
- 1 red onion
- 1 beet
- 2 shallots
- 2 carrots
- 1 lemon or lemon juice
-1 small bag of shitake mushrooms
- sea salt or himalayan salt
- pepper
- Bragg's Liquid Aminos
- 5 stalks of celery (I didn't have any this time around so I added broccoli)
- 2 cups of broccoli (I used everything you see in the picture)
- 1 cube of Goya seasoning (spanish cube of seasoning)
- Lean organic chicken (optional)

Step 1: Melt the oils and stalk
Step 2: Saute all veggies with seasoning cube
Step 3: Season chicken with salt and pepper and saute separate or with veggies
Step 4: Let all ingredients boil, then put in broth; let simmer for 30 minutes on med/high
Step 5: Add whole lemon or lemon juice, salt, pepper and liquid aminos
Step 6: Enjoy!

All Natural Chicken Stir-Fry

Recipe of the month: All Natural Chicken Stir-Fry

Ingredients:
  • Thai Noodles (rice and water are the only two ingredients)
  • Teryaki sauce (make sure it has NO High Fructose Corn Syrup) 
  • Organic Veggies (carrots, green beans, broccoli, peas, green onion)
  • Organic lean chicken tenders or breast
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 red onion (or any onion, red is my favorite)
  • 1/2 red pepper (you can add green and yellow as well)
  • Black pepper
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)   
Begin by boiling water and cooking noodles. While that boils, cut or shred chicken into small pieces (size is your preference). Place it into stir-fry pan with a little bit of EVOO on Medium to begin cooking and slowly pour some teryaki sauce on chicken as it cooks. 
 
Meanwhile, start dicing garlic, onion and red pepper. After chicken has cooked thoroughly, begin tossing in the vegetables, garlic, onion, red pepper and stir with bamboo spoon. Once noodles have cooked, drain, then add to stir-fry. Continue stirring and add black pepper. 
 
Serve and enjoy! Try eating with chop sticks to make it more interesting :)

New Website!!!

I finally have my new website ready! I'll be updating it constantly to keep it current.

Please visit my new site at www.SimplyJenelle.com.
You'll find the latest posts, recipes, my handbag store, arts and crafts and more, all in one place.

I'd love your feedback and your support in forwarding it to your friends!

The Right Oils.

When cooking, it is important to understand that while you may have healthy food ready to cook, saute, or fry (the latter not my favorite), if you cook with unhealthy oils, it is all for naught.

Most people have a negative connotation when they hear "fatty acids". Let's clarify this. There are bad fats, but there are good fats that our body needs.

Our body requires omega-6 fats, called linoleic acid, derived from fatty acids. But, where are most people getting fatty acids from? Refined oils, such as corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. Many restaurants and fast foods process their foods in high refined omega-6 fatty acids. The result of refined fatty acids in the body is inflammation, obesity, heart disease, and oxidized cholesterol leading to clogged arteries, to name a few.

Instead of refined oils, choose good omega-6 fatty acids such as grape seed oil, walnut oil, sesame seed oil, coconut oil, and my favorite extra virgin olive oil (evoo). Unlike refined oils that are high in saturated fat, good fatty acids are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The latter can actually help decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels, while refined oils can also lower bad cholesterol but they also lower good cholesterol and cause the oxidized cholesterol discussed earlier.

There is just too much to cover about the benefits of all these oils, but especially evoo. The benefits of evoo are extensive. "In Italy, physicians usually recommend olive oil to patients after they have had heart attacks. Olive oil helps decrease the stickiness of platelets, thus helping prevent coronary thrombosis and blood clots (What Would Jesus Eat?, Dr. Don Colbert, pg. 118)."

The three oils I use are Extra Virgin Olive Oil (of course), Grape Seed Oil (because this can handle heat at 400 degrees, unlike evoo), and Coconut Oil. The best part about these oils is not only their health benefits internally, but externally as well. I use evoo and coconut oil on a daily basis as body lotion and they're amazing!

How to make sushi.

Step 1: Lay out your Sushi Nori (Seaweed)

Step 2: Flatten cooked short-grained rice on seaweed making sure that you leave one inch on top and bottom.
Step 3: Lay on rice either avocado, salmon, or whatever your sushi choice may be, as shown above
Step 4: Begin to roll the sushi tightly. You may also purchase the sushi mat (but I use my hands)
Step 5: Water the top inch to help it stick when you roll it shut.
Step 6: Cut sushi roll in half
Step 7: Follow by cutting smaller slices as you like (I cut them into 6 even slices)
Step 8: It won't be perfect, but it tastes wonderful!
For a list of all ingredients click here. You can add Bragg's Amino Liquid in a separate small bowl. It tastes just like soy sauce. For this particular meal, I had leftover salmon and rice so I made a separate plate for us with steamed broccoli.
Then I finished it off by making a wonderfully colorful salad with spinach, beets (leaves, root, and stem), watercress, carrots, onions, tomatoes, feta cheese, craisins, apple cider vinegar, evoo, and lots of love =)

The Mediterranean Diet.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, yoyo dieting is one of the worst things you can do for your body. Women usually do between 8-10 diets in their life. What does that do? Ruin your metabolism. What's more is that when we say the word "diet" people automatically think weight loss program. Well diet is really just an eating lifestyle, not a temporary fix to lose weight only to then gain it back plus a little more.

I'm surprised I haven't recommended the book that changed my eating habits sooner. It's one of my favorite books that led me to change my way of eating to a healthier one: the way Jesus ate. 


"What Would Jesus Eat?" by Dr. Don Colbert has been such a motivation and a wonderful teaching instrument to help people understand what it is we are putting in our bodies and why we should eat certain foods. One of the best diets: Mediterranean Diet.

It's NOT hard and it tastes delicious. Most of the recipes I've posted are part of it (that I made up myself just using the right ingredients). There's no designated recipes, there's no counting points, there's no focus on just carbs, there's definitely no fat free foods involved or low fat anythings, it's just REAL food that's amazing! The foundation: Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

This really is a must read, regardless your religion. This book contains basic fundamentals to health, nutrition, vitality and living a full and healthy life!

Here's to your healthstyle!!!

Quinoa...

Last night, I made quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) for the first time. It was delicious! I made it into a rice pilaf with red pepper and carrots, with a side of wild salmon and steamed broccoli.

So what exactly is quinoa? Well it looks like a grain, tastes like one, but in fact is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. I actually thought it tasted a little like cous cous.

So what are the health benefits? Well here are just a few:
1. It's great for those on a gluten-free diet because it's not made from wheat.
2. It's a good source of magnesium (which helps relax blood vessels)
3. Good for cardiovascular health
4. It's a very good source of manganese and a good source of copper, two minerals that serve as cofactors for the superoxide dismutase enzyme (Superoxide dismutase, SOD, is an antioxidant that helps to protect the mitochondria from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.)

These are only a few out of so many more. For a more detailed list of the health benefits of this amazing grain click here.

It's so easy to cook. You can even use your rice cooker. There are so many different recipes you can use to make it suit your taste buds, but don't miss out on all the health benefits this grain provides!

Natural...Beyond food.

It wasn't until recently that I fully understood what it was to be all around "holistic". I pride myself in eating organic produce, eating raw whenever possible, eating natural foods without additives, preservatives or food colorings, eating the best choices when out with friends, but all that can be in vain if I don't take care of what is going on the largest organ of the body: the skin.

Skin absorbs everything that is placed on it, almost as if it were food. Toxins and chemicals, as most of us know, are in most processed foods, but we don't give it a thought that most of the shampoos, conditioners, soaps, toothpastes, bodywashes and especially hair dyes are the same if not more. We trust that brilliantly marketed products are trustworthy because they're "made for the skin". Newsflash, they're not. In fact, they're more harmful then beneficial.

So where do you start? Here's a brief list of the top 10 synthetic ingredients that are in cosmetics and shampoos. Check your own bathroom and you will notice at least two in each product you own. There are very few organic products without all of them. I'll give you a great alternative later. Here's the list:

1. Methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl paraben: Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic.

2. Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA): Used in cosmetics as emulsifiers and/or foaming agents. They can also cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are ammonia compounds and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. They are toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time (they are in most shampoos and soaps)

3. Diazolidinyl Urea and Imidazolidinyl Urea: Widely used preservatives. The American Academy of Dermatology has found them to be a primary cuase of contact dermitites. They release formaldehyde (what they use to embalm corpses) which can be toxic.

4. Sodium Lauryl/ Laureth Sulfate: A cheap, harsh detergent used in shampoos for its cleaning and foam-building properties. Often derived from petroleum, it is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the phrase "comes from coconuts". It causes eye irritation, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, skin rashes and other allergic reactions (this is usually the second ingredient, after water, in most shampoos - sometimes even organic ones).

5. Petrolatum: Also known as petroleum jelly, this mineral oil derivative is used for its emollient (supposed to smooth the skin and reduce dryness) properties in cosmetics. It has no nutrient value to the skin and can interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dryness and chapping. Practically the opposite condition it claims to alleviate. They use it because it's incredibly cheap.

6. Propylene Glycol: Usually a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. It has been known to cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema. When you see PEG or PPG on labels, there are related synthetics so beware!

7. PVP/ VA Copolymer: A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since inhaled particles can damage the lungs of sensitive people.

8. Stearalkonioum Chloride: A quaternary ammonium compound used in hair conditioners and creams. Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, it is a lot cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbals, which are beneficial to the hair. It's toxic and causes allergic reactions.

9. Synthetic Colors: Used to make cosmetics and shampoos "pretty", synthetic colors, along with synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided at all costs (including in your food!!!). They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Many synthetic colors can be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). If a cosmetic contains them, don't use it.

10. Synthetic Fragrances: it's used in cosmetics and can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way of knowing what the chemicals are, since on the label it will simply read "fragrance". Some problems caused by these chemicals are headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritaion - and the list goes on.

These are just a few of the main ones but there are so many more. The key is to avoid any ingredients that are unnatural or manmade.

I have an excellent example of something that happened to me only last week. I found a lotion I purchased earlier this year. It was Acai Pomegranate scented lotion from Victoria Secret. I read the label and found parabens, fragrance, and sodium laurel sulfate. I figured since I'd paid $6 for the small bottle, I'd use it. BIG MISTAKE. I rubbed it into my hands and I broke out with a few hives right where I rubbed in the cream. Serves me right.

There's a few excellent lines that are really wonderful with the ingredients:
1. Myshelle Dermaceuticals
2. Aubrey Organics
3. Jasons Naturals (careful with some of their products)
4. Tate's (probably the most amazing and natural line I've found but super pricey!)
5. Dr. Bronner's (great products and affordable - especially their body wash, all natural oils)
6. Weleda
7. Burts Bees

I've used a combination of several of these lines, but here's a cheaper way to be natural that I've used:
  • Olive oil for the skin as lotion, as shaving lotion in the shower, as shampoo (not recommended for oily hair), as face wash
  • Jojoba oil for the skin as lotion, great for cellulite, wrinkles, as shampoo, as face oil. I purchased jojoba oil because I noticed it was included in several products I wanted but were too pricey. This seemed to be a common denominator and I love it.
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Vitamin E oil (Jasons) - I use this twice a week on my face after cleansing it about an hour or two before going to bed so it starts soaking it in. It leaves my face resilient and soft in the morning. 
As far as hair dyes go, I don't think it's necessary to explain the harm of what you can already smell as it's being done. There are great alternatives to this as well: henna. Natural and even comes in color options like you'd get at your local drugstore. There's no amonia, no peroxide, and safe enough to be able to use it if you're pregnant.

Remember, you're not just feeding yourself through your mouth, your skin receives more toxins from the environment and outside influence than any other part of your body, and in addition to that, whatever you're placing on it as food. Just as you need nutrients in your body, so does your skin.
Feed it well =)


 

First time for everything.

Yesterday was my first time making sushi. No raw meat involved. I learned how to first make this at a Macrobiotics cooking class. I didn't realize something so simple could fill both my husband and I, but it did and it was delicious.

5 simple ingredients:
1. Brown short grain rice
2. Avocado
3. Organic Nori Sushi (seaweed)
4. Organic pickled ginger (P.S. Publix does NOT sell this organic. It contains Red 40 and Aspartame - stay away)
5. Braggs Amino Liquid for soy sauce

That's it =)

Then, I made banana chocolate chip bread for the second time. Don't have the ingredients with me right now but I did take a picture (it smells and tastes better than it looks)



Natural Health Seminar

I had my practice run at hosting my first Natural Health Seminar last month. I was a little nervous but I ended up doing fine and having the guests actually love it. That gave me such confidence and reassurance in myself.

Thing is, this is something I am so passionate about that it naturally just comes out of me with energy (at times too much) every time I have the opportunity to discuss it. So what am I doing? Creating the opportunity to discuss it better and share my knowledge thus far.

My passion for sharing what I've learned over the past five years is a result of seeing those I love and even those I've never met suffer with illnesses that could have been prevented simply by choosing to eat differently, healthier. As a result, our society is faced with various health epidemics, such as obesity, diabetes (in both adults and children) and heart diseases.

People, please understand: THIS CAN BE PREVENTED!!! There is so much I've learned and learning each day that it fascinates me to the point that I'll explode if I keep it to myself.

So that's where the Seminar comes into play... hope to see you at the next one =)

Chocolate Chip, Craisin, Flax Muffins

I've been making this recipe for about 2 years now and everyone who tries it, loves it =) It's full of fiber and all natural ingredients (which I love). So after having several people ask for the recipe, here it is:

1 1/2 cups - 100% Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup - Milled Flax Seed
1/2 cup - Brown Sugar (or raw cane sugar ~ absolutely NO white anything)
2 tsp - Baking Powder
1/2 tsp - Baking Soda
1 Egg beaten (may be substituted with Apple Sauce)
3 tbsp - Extra Virgin Olive Oil (you can use grape seed, coconut, or sesame oil, but it may change the taste)
1/2 cup - Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 - 1 cup (your choice) - Semi-sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 - 1 cup (your choice - Craisins

Mix all ingredients (dry first then add wet ingredients) and place in a muffin pan at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes (every oven is different so check often after 10 minutes). Yields: 12 muffins

Here you have a healthy snack or dessert that is full of fiber and great taste =)

The Lychee.

This past weekend, my husband took me to a fruit and spice farm that was hosting a fruit festival. I walked around in awe of how many fruits I didn't even know existed. One I had never tried was the lychee (scientifically known as Litchi chinensis).

This fruit reminds me of the mamoncillo, except the lychee doesn't stick to the seed as much as the mamoncillo does. The lychee has a hard outer layer that looks like a raspberry and an inside that looks like a jellyfish. The taste was incredibly refreshing. It tasted like a Hi-C fruit punch drink. It amazed me how we can process something so much to make it taste like something God created that was naturally delicious... and nutritious, I may add.


As a result of never having tasted or seen the lychee fruit, I decided to research its nutritional benefits. This is what I found:

The Lychee contains on average a total 72 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. On average nine lychee fruits would meet an adult’s daily recommend Vitamin C requirement. A cup of Lychee fruit provides, among other minerals, for a 2000 Calorie diet, 14%DV of copper, 9%DV of phosphorus, and 6%DV of potassium.

Lychees are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Most of the energy in a lychee is in the form of carbohydrate (sugar). Lychees are high in polyphenols, containing 15% more than grapes, a fruit commonly referenced as high in polyphenols

Naturally, we purchased a pound of this exotic fruit (origin is Asia and India) that now grows in Florida. It's a delicious snack that's out of the normal fruit pattern, which I love.

Try to find and taste this fruit if you haven't already =)

Feast...

Last night was a wonderful night! I was able to host my cousin, her boyfriend and my sister. So naturally, I decided to finally try my hand at lasagna.

I've actually been avoiding this meal since I first started cooking because of the enormous challenge this meal usually is. Well, I finally took it on head first with no recipe, no directions and no specified ingredients.

Turns out, my guests loved it! There were things I'd tweak for the next time, but for being the first time, I had to say it wasn't too shabby (and I'm my worst critic).


Then for dessert, they were in the mood for chocolate chip cookies. Instead of buying premade ones in the store, I made it from scratch with all natural ingredients I always have in my kitchen. Another hit! Didn't take long and it was delicious =)


The Color of Food.

Take a look around in the grocery store and see the thousands of products available. All different shapes, colors, textures, and tastes. Most of them unnatural. 

What makes fruit punch red? Let me give you a hint...it's not fruit. That's right, food coloring! Red dye to be precise. What makes fruit snacks for kids all the colors of the rainbow? Again, not fruit. More food coloring. Medicines, cosmetics, and foods all contain colorings which are ingested into our bloodstreams daily.

Food coloring is in so much of the food Americans consume. Why? Because we create processed, unnatural, artificial foods that we want to see reflect the color of what it's imitating or just a fun array of color choices as in candy and snacks.

Here's the deal with food coloring: it's toxic to our bodies. Today, most colorings are made from petroleum (yes, the source for gasoline, kerosene and asphalt). Most people do not know this but even though a dye is prohibited from use in foods, it does not mean its banned from use in medicines or cosmetics. "If it's unsafe to swallow a dye in food, how can it be acceptable to apply it to the skin or swallow it in the form of medicine?" (Jane Hersey)


Red Dye No. 3
  • Has been shown to cause thyroid tumors
  • Represents 20% of the uses of dye
  • Used to color maraschino cherries
  • Is partially banned by the FDA but still found in some cosmetics and drugs applied to skin
  • Three different FDA Commissioners tried - and failed - to have this chemical removed from the food supply
  • Has high "lipid solubility" or its ability to dissolve in fatty tissue, including fatty tissues of the brain
  • In combination with light, Red No. 3 interfered with the way nerve cells release neurotransmitters
  • Registered by the Environmental Protection Agency as a pesticide
  • "Consumption of Red No. 3, which has estrogen-like growth stimulatory properties...could be a significant risk factor in human breast carcinogenesis (cancer)." (Estrogenic and DNA-damaging activity of Red No. 3 in human breast cancer cells, Dees et al, Environ Health Perspect 1997 Apr; 105 Suppl 3:625-32) 
  • Red No. 3 was shown to cause abnormalities and reduced mobility of sperm in mice.  (A study on the reproductive toxicity of erythrosine in male mice. Adbel et al, Pharmacol Res 1997 May; 35(5):457-62)
FD&C Blue No. 2  
  • Manufactured through a chemical process that includes: formaldehyde, aniline, several hydrozides under ammonia pressure, and heating in the presence of sulfuric acid.
  • Contains lead, mercury, and arsenic

These are two examples of facts corresponding to food dyes. ALL food coloring is made up of similar ingredients and can lead to possible behavioral and learning difficulties, cancer, birth defects, etc. 

Here is a sample of some dyes found in over-the-counter medicine:
  • D&C Red 7, D&C Red 22, D&C Red 27, D&C Red 28 (red dye used to kill fruit flies), D&C Red 30, D&C Red 33
  • FD&C Blue 1
  • FD&C Yellow 6
  • D&C Yellow 10
Dyes that are permitted in foods:
  • FD&C Red 3
  • FD&C Red 40
  • FD&C Yellow 5
  • FD&C Yellow 6
  • FD&C Blue 1
  • FD&C Blue 2
  • FD&C Green 3
Though it was difficult initially to rid ourselves of all food coloring, it's not as bad as you may think.  Always read labels and make sure you try as much as possible to stay away from this.

Chances are, if the food has artificial coloring/dyes, the nutritious content is low and you probably shouldn't be eating it.

Now, fruits and vegetables, those are the natural colors of life that provide a healthy life. They are colorful, natural, healthy and nutritious.  

For natural ways to color food for baking, visit your local health food store    

Truth About Soy.




In the past few years, soy production and sales have taken off. Our society has regarded soy as purely healthy food, but let me take this time to clear up some misconceptions about this bean:
Soy is a complete protein. What does that mean? Where other plant derived protein is lacking in one or more of the essential amino acids (our bodies make 12 out of 20 amino acids, but the remaining 8 need to be supplied by food we eat), soy has them all.
So what’s the problem? Let’s talk about two types of soy: non-fermented and fermented.
NON-FERMENTED = bad
The soy in this country is primarily non-fermented soy in the form of soy-protein isolate and soy milk. This is where the majority of the problems stem from because it is a highly processed, devitalizing and toxic food source.
“It is interesting that the soy industry promotes soy as a healthy way to prevent or treat osteoporosis when soy has been shown to deplete the body of vital minerals and vitamins necessary to maintain optimal bone structure and function.” (Dr. David Brownstein)
Soy-protein isolate contains enzyme inhibitors that block the body’s ability to digest protein. In addition, soy has been known to decrease fertility, cause thyroid problems, cause Vitamin B12 deficiency, lower metabolic rate (making it difficult to lose weight) among other things.
FERMENTED = good in moderation
Fermented soy, such as tofu, miso soup, tempeh, and natto are easily digested and assimilated into the body. It has been proven to lower cholesterol, remove the risk of heart disease, decreases menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately, by eating too much soy in our diets, it does more harm than good. “High consumption of isoflavones, which are the estrogen-like plant chemicals contained in soy, may stimulate the production of breast cancer cells. It may also increase the chances of developing serious reproductive, thyroid, and liver problems.” (Kate Murphy)
SUMMARY
Soy does help with several issues; however, it only helps if it is fermented soy, not the genetically modified (processed) soy found in over 60% of grocery store foods AND only in small portions (not daily). If you find it too difficult to eliminate soy completely out of your diet, opt for the natural forms of soy.  
Despite what the soy industry says, fermented soy is eaten sparingly by Asians. When it is used in moderation, soy does not have the same negative influences on minerals, vitamins, and the thyroid that non-fermented form of soy does. Please remember to stay away from non-fermented soy, but I rather you stay away completely =)

Dr. David Brownstein, Natural Way to Health, “Dangers and Misconceptions About Soy and Your Health”, December 2008, Vol. 1, Issue 8.
Dr. Don Colbert, I Can Do This Diet (2010): 80-81.
Kate Murphy, “The Dark Side of Soy,” BusinessWeek.com, December 18, 2000, http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_51/b3712218.htm (accessed September 19, 2009).

Always eat breakfast.


I'm sure you've heard many times that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day". Guess what? It is!!! Breakfast is really "breaking the fast". The last meal you had was the night before probably about 10-12 hours prior to waking up.

I loved Dr. Don Colbert's analogy of breakfast and how it affects the rest of your day: "When it comes to breakfast, think of your metabolic rate as a fire in the fireplace. By morning, the fires of metabolism have all but gone out. In order to get the fire going again, you need to eat a healthy breakfast."

So what is a healthy breakfast? One that gives you energy and boosts your metabolism. I'll discuss great breakfast options in a minute, but first let's talk about metabolism. 

We hear all the time about thin people having a "fast metabolism", but many don't actually know what metabolism is or does. Metabolism is defined as the chemical processes continuously going on in living cells or organisms that are essential for the maintenance of life. Basically, it is composed of ALL the chemical reactions in the body. The metabolic rate is contributed by all those reactions, such as your heart pumping, lungs breathing, liver doing all 500 functions its meant to do, muscles working...etc. 

Since it takes energy for your body's organs to function properly, the metabolic rate is simply the rate you burn calories in a nonactive state (aka: doing nothing...=p). Typically, our bodies burn up to 75% during this nonactive state. So many factors make up the metabolic rate, but one of the biggest factors is: SKIPPING MEALS. 

When you have not eaten for more than 12 hours, your metabolic rate goes down by 40%. This is why it is so important to eat breakfast. A good breakfast boosts your metabolic rate and gets your day going strong.

Here are a few breakfast options that are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals to start your day strong:
  • Kashi or Cascadian Farms cereals (contain 6-10 grams of fiber per serving)
  • Oatmeal with raisins 
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Fruit
  • Fresh Orange Juice or Fresh Apple Juice
  • Pancakes
  • Plain yogurt with fresh fruit and wheat germ
  • Almond milk*

For all you coffee lovers, that is not a complete breakfast =). I've heard many of you tell me that eating breakfast makes you nauseous. Start slowly, but for your health, you MUST train yourself to eat a healthy balanced breakfast. Skipping meals, especially breakfast (which is the meal that jump starts your metabolic rate and energy for the rest of the day), will lead to a lower metabolic rate and weight gain.    
 

 *I'll be blogging soon on Cow Milk...stay tuned...

My favorite pizza.

About a year ago, I couldn't say what I can now: I love to cook! As a result of searching out healthier ways to cook dishes I love, I've been creating in the kitchen. Something I've never done.

Because we love pizza but don't eat anything white - as in white flour, white pasta, white bread, etc. - I began making unleavened bread from scratch. From there, an array of dishes came. One being my new favorite pizza.

I don't know the exact measurements because I change this pizza every time. Today it happened to be absolutely amazing (but at least I remember what I did)!

First, I make the dough. Three ingredients is all you need: 100% Whole Wheat flour, EVOO, and water. Simple enough.

Start with 2 cups of flour, 1 tbs of EVOO, and add water until you get the proper consistency. If it feels too sticky just add a little flour.
Then, roll it out. For extra taste, add some garlic salt =)

Then comes the best part...the toppings. Here's what I've used in my pizzas:
  • Spinach
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh onion
  • Fresh garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
I'm sure there's more, just add the ingredients you love (and that are healthy), bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes and ENJOY!

Healthy American Classic.

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to make an classic American dish: Hamburger and fries, BUT with a healthy kick of course =)

Let's start off with the fact that it was not red meat. We made a delicious turkey burger on 100% Whole wheat thin bread from Nature's Own and homemade potato chips. 

Here's what we did:

Turkey Burger
1 lb - lean ground turkey
2 tsp - Bragg's Amino Liquids (or soy sauce but Bragg's is so much better for you)
1 tbs - lemon juice
1/4 cup- organic ketchup or tomato sauce
1/4 cup - chopped onion
1/2 cup - Japanese bread crumbs (you can use any bread crumbs)
Pepper - use as you like 

Bread = Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat flats

Toppings:
Spinach, Mustard, Organic ketchup (contains NO High Fructose Corn Syrup)

Potato Chips
1-2 thinly sliced potatos (don't remove skin, it contains nutritional value - fiber)
Place on baking pan (spray the bottom so the potatoes don't stick)
Lightly coat EVOO and then garlic powder or garlic salt
Put in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes

This makes an absolutely deliciously healthy meal. I promise!



Vitamins and Minerals do what?


We have always known vitamins and minerals to be good for our body, but sometimes we don't really know off hand what they're good for in terms of keeping us healthy and how they support our many bodily functions.

So here's a quick list* that you can refer to regarding these natural substances and what they can do for you:
  • Vitamin A; Retinol; Beta-Carotene  = Fights infection; healthy vision and skin; bone growth; cell division
  • Vitamin B; Thiamine = Energy release; growth; healthy nervous system
  • Vitamin B2; Riboflavin = Energy release; growth; healthy eyes, skin, hair, and nails; formation of red blood cells
  • Vitamin B3; Niacin = Manufactures hormones; healthy eyes, skin, hair, and nails
  • Vitamin B5; Pantothenic Acid = Adrenal function; anti-stress
  • Vitamin B6; Pyridoxine = Protein metabolism; growth; infection protection; forms red blood cells and neurotransmitters; maintains hormone balance; healthy immune function
  • Vitamin B12 = Forms red blood cells; protects nerves; DNA formation
  • Biotin = Metabolism; fat synthesis; waste excretion
  • Vitamin C = Makes collagen; antioxidant; aids in iron absorption; essential for formation, growth, and repair of bones and skin
  • Calcium = Healthy bones and teeth; nerve impulses; muscle contraction
  • Choline = Metabolism
  • Copper = Blood and bone formation
  • Vitamin D = Calcium absorption; immune function
  • Vitamin E = Antioxidant
  • Folate; Folic Acid = Fertility; health during pregnancy; essential for healthy cell formation
  • Iodine = Thyroid hormones; metabolism; growth; reproduction
  • Iron = Forms red blood cells; circulation
  • Vitamin K = Protein created for blood clotting; bone health
  • Magnesium = Enzymes activation; energy production; cellular reproduction; muscle relaxation
  • Manganese = Antioxidant; energy production
  • Molybdenum = Iron usage; DNA metabolism
  • Phosphorus = Strong teeth and bones
  • Potassium = Fluid and pH level regulation; blood pressure regulation
  • Selenium = Antioxidant
  • Sodium = Fluid regulation
  • Zinc = Immune function; tissue formation
These are just a few of the more common vitamins and minerals. There are several more unlisted here but this is just to give you an idea of how these are used in our bodies.

You will always here me saying I recommend vitamins and minerals be absorbed in their natural state (fruits, vegetables, whole grains..etc), but there are times where supplements are necessary.

*List gathered from An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods by Elise Marie Collins

A salad to write home about.

I wanted to share an easy lunch or dinner salad recipe that is easy, delicious and of course healthy =)

Here are the ingredients:
  • Organic Spinach leaves
  • Carrots
  • Tomatos
  • Feta Cheese
  • Cashews, Almonds, Walnuts
  • Craisins
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I have also made it with the following added which makes for an excellent meal:
  • Black olives
  • Cooked and seasoned red beans
  • Organic chicken (cooked with sea salt as the seasoning)
This can easily be your days serving of vegetables. Please note, there is NO ranch, italian, or blue cheese dressing. Keep it fresh, keep it natural and it will keep you healthy!

Bon Appetit!

A great morning start.

This morning I was able to make my husband breakfast. So, I decided to make an all-American favorite: Pancakes! But...this was a very healthy pancake that leaves you full with just one. I took a typical recipe and tweaked it with all natural ingredients and few extras =)


Here it goes:


1 3/4 cups - WHOLE Wheat Flour (make sure you do not use white)
2 tbs - brown sugar
2 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - baking soda
1/4 tsp - salt (organic, kosher or sea salt is best)
1 egg - slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups - Almond Milk (either Vanilla or Original) <-- Here's the catch
3 tbs - extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1/2 - flaxseed (or whatever you desire...lol - didn't really measure, just poured)
Cinnamon - sprinkle away =)
100 cups - Love =p

***You can add raisins, blueberries, strawberries or any other fruit***

Mix it all together and start the pancakes. Spray the pan using fat free cooking oil spray, but NO butter. Then top it off with 100% maple syrup (yes there is only one ingredient in this...maple syrup). Don't kill this healthy pancake mix with fattening High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated syrup!

I actually poured a little syrup all over my one pancake and let it soak in. I didn't have to refill or add anything else. It was delicious.

P.S. I was the one who would put butter on my pancakes after it was cooked in butter and used so much syrup it would drown my plate. Trust me...this is good, filling and nutritious.



Bon Appetit!