Tag Archives: health

The “Joy” of Cooking: Foods We Should And Should Not Be Eating

Despite what Gordon Ramsey may think you don’t have to be a carnivore to be a foodie. I have been saying for over a year that I want to try being a Pescatarian – well I finally made the leap. It may not be forever, but it is so much easier than you think.

I started really paying attention to my body: my body when it was hungry, “starving,” and my body after I ate. Yoga really helped me to get to this point of awareness. A lot of us get that tummy right after eating a nice meal, but is that really okay? And is there a difference between bloating and just feeling stuffed? I would say: absolutely! (image)

Here’s the problem, these things we think are so healthy, are just as bad as those awful foods we love – doesn’t that just piss you off? So I began using Calorie Count to track my calories and the nutritional value of the foods I was consuming. Yes, dark red kidney beans are a great source of protein and fiber, but if it’s coming from a can it is extremely high in sodium. The sodium has been a huge issue. I am still trying to figure out how anyone can keep their sodium to no more than 2300 mg a day on a regular basis without being rich or having a personal chef. I also realized that the sodium could be the reason I get that tummy, and then I realized that gluten may also be a factor here. I had switched almost everything to wheat: wheat bread, wheat pasta, wheat crackers. Our body is actually not built to handle wheat… not really barley or rye either. I would get really frustrated because many health sites that I really respected kept giving wheat substitutes, and we shouldn’t be eating it.

So here is a list of foods that I have come across that may make it easier to create a truly healthy lifestyle.

Quinoa (fresh)

This is a great choice for vegetarians and pescatarians. This stuff is seriously high in protein, delicious, and gluten free. It is also versatile: try it in soups, salad, wraps, stir fry, or by itself. The boxed quinoa doesn’t really count though, it’s pretty high in sodium. (image)

Brown Rice

Brown rice is great because if you love rice it is one of the healthiest; you get a lot with just a little, and it’s gluten free. You can do so much with brown rice. (image)

Soba Noodles

I found out about Soba through Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, Goop. These are japanese noodles, usually served cold – I rarely eat mine cold. They are great in stir fry, and even with marinara. They are gluten free because they are made from buckwheat, so they are also lower cal, and actually have some nutritional value. The catch is that they are of course a bit more expensive for a smaller amount. Tip: these cook extremely fast, so keep your eye on it and remove from heat as soon as you see they’re softened. (image)

Dry Mixed Beans

I really had no idea what to do about the beans, there was no way I was going to bust out the crock pot everyday. Also, homemade beans are only okay to eat for about four days. So I bought a box of 12 mason jars for 10 bucks. Add the beans, boiling water, onions, and garlic, let it cook for about 75 minutes, and you have fresh, low sodium beans ready to eat right out of the jar. (image)

Athenos Original Hummus

I love, love, love hummus, but you have to be so careful. This stuff is seriously high in sodium. Athenos is one of the healthier brands I have found. I usually only use it on wraps.  (image)

Udi’s Bread

I was so excited about this bread because it was gluten free, and low cal. Unfortunately, Calorie Count gives it a D. I think this is because it has 300 mg of sodium. However, if you’re lowering your sodium everywhere else, this bread is great. I also love that the slices are a bit smaller than your average loaf. (image)

Lemons

I like fruit but I never crave it. I know some people who really overdo it with the fruit, so be aware of the sugars here. They are natural sugars, but there is still a recommended amount. I’ve been squeezing half a lemon in 6 oz of water once a day. I’m sure you’ve heard the lemon water rumors. It helps with cravings, gives me the fruit I need, and is surprisingly refreshing. (image)

Broccoli

Pretty much the greatest thing you can eat. Buy fresh or frozen, and put it in everything. (image)

Amy’s All American Veggie Burgers

These are delicious and the perfect size for Udi’s bread. You really don’t need any seasonings, because the flavor is amazing. Don’t be afraid to get creative, you can ground this up and use in tacos and wraps, or even salads. (image)

Fresh Garlic

Many of us, especially us college graduates who still find ourselves cooking like we did when we had no time or money, use garlic powder or garlic salt; fresh garlic won’t have the sodium or calories these will. I know garlic salt is so yummy, but if you have to use it, use it sparingly and rarely. (image)

Honey

I used to put three teaspoons of sugar in my coffee and tea. Now I have one or two cups of hot tea a day with maybe a teaspoon of honey, some cinnamon sprinkled on top, and sometimes a thin slice of fresh ginger. I find that black tea is the best served this way. Green and white tea with honey and ginger tastes a little weird to me. (image)

I am still learning so if you have any tips please, please share. I am especially interested in finding gluten free wraps, and possibly other gf breads. Also, any great fish recipes would be much appreciated.

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Things We Can Do To Make The World A Better Place In 2012

The year 2011 was a year of putting things in their place, of speaking out, and fighting  for a country that did not have to thrive on greed to get ahead, but needed a reminder of the small, wonderful things that once made it great. It has been a hard year, a year of learning, but also a year of greatness realized.

I have put together a list of things we can do to continue showing the world that we want to be better, and will accept nothing less.

1 | Never Stop Protesting

The Occupy Wall Street movement not only represented the voice of millions, and fought against greed – it gave us a chance to see if we would learn from our past mistakes. Previous protests have been treated similarly, in the way that authorities will find every reason in the book to put a stop to it. In the new year, not only should we continue to stand up for our rights but we should be proud of those who do, and remember what past protests have meant to our history, our country, and the world.

2 | Embrace Change

A new generation is on the forefront of a disturbed society – one that lives to work, and has questionable character, if any. However, things are changing, and with change comes resistance and denial. This year, let go of this resistance and allow yourself to slow down, quit trying to always get ahead. Instead, enjoy where you are while you pace yourself on the journey to who you will become.

3 | Stop Conforming

There always seems to be two sides in every situation, rather it is politics or simply a generational demeanor or trend. Every once in a while you will find someone who is neither one extreme nor the other. This is what I call a balance; one is not trying to be anything or choose a team. These people agree when they agree and disagree when they disagree. The funny paradox about conforming is that trying to go against the herd has its own “follower” aftertaste. So in 2012, don’t try to be something you’re not, just be comfortable in your own skin – it is truly enchanting.

4 | Make You Better First

Before you start trying to figure out how you can contribute to the betterment of mankind, make yourself happy. I think this is where so many great speakers and leaders went wrong; they were so concerned with getting their point across and seeing the changes that they lost themselves and were consumed by it. This year, spend time with you, give yourself time to think, and really figure out what path is going to make you the happiest in the long run. Even if it is scary, remember that nothing great was ever easy to come by, but the sooner you get over the hump the sooner you can get on with your life.

5 | Fix The Celebrity

This year brought many interesting celebrity confessions and realizations – no need to name names. This section refers to fixing our mentality of the celebrity. Sometimes the fact that someone out there makes 30 million dollars a movie while my president is telling me we are in a recession makes me so angry I could scream. However, on the scale I am currently on, I can’t fix that and I have no interest in communism or seeing to it that all celebrities make the same as me. I do think it is a ridiculous amount of money for a movie, and I hate that me watching old reruns of Two and a Half Men may be supporting someone’s weird drug habit. In the new year, I hope we all can be more aware of a celebrity’s economic standing, their humanity, and the fact that they probably don’t really look like that in real life.

6 | Set An Example By Doing, Not Preaching

So often I hear people talking about what others should and should not do – this is never based on the receiver’s own good but usually some kind of agenda. This coming year, rather than knocking on doors, or telling someone to be more like you – do something that really helps out. Volunteer somewhere, join the Peace Corps., get five people to start recycling, learn about another culture so you can become more understanding of worlds unlike your own. Most importantly, do not do it for any other reason than that it is right, and it makes you happy.

7 | Do Your Research

In 2012, make it a point to research before you simply believe something you hear. I believe one of the biggest reasons we have a two party system and war is because we are all under a huge misunderstanding. People base so much of their beliefs on hearsay rather than actually doing the research and forming their own opinions. Don’t just believe what someone stands up and says to you, anyone can do that.

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