Posts tagged ‘healthy tips’
The last day of 2011 has arrived, and quite quickly I must say! It seems like the past six months have flown by…yet I feel like I say this every year :)
2011 has been a wonderful twelve months for me — this year has been one of ups and downs, many surprises, new adventures (blogging included), discovering more about myself and embracing who I am all while striving to be a better wife, daughter, friend and colleague…and blogger!
Thank you my lovely readers, for stopping in and allowing me to share my kitchen creations with you. I’m still amazed at all the people who drop by and read what I have to say on my humble little space. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Here’s to a blessed new year in 2012! I was emailed the following and just had to share :) Wishing you a….
Love able FEBRUARY
Fool less APRIL
Now to count down the “Top 11 Recipes from 2011” :)
And the number one recipe for the year is….
1. Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Aioli
Love, hugs and health to you all!
If you’re in the mood for a savory main dish try turkey chili with almond butter or healthy kung pao chicken or tofu
Is dessert calling your name? Try flour less chunky monkey cookies or vegan maple almond spice biscotti
Have you cooked or tasted amaranth? In case you are not familiar with this tasty gluten free ancient grain, I thought I’d share some info that might encourage you to do so :)
According to About.com and Teri Gruss, “the word amaranth means “everlasting” in Greek…this tiny seed has endured the ages, as an important food source for ancient civilizations in South America and Mexico, to its current resurgence as a highly nutritious gluten-free grain.”
Top 10 reasons to incorporate amaranth into your diet:
1. Amaranth contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain-and more protein than wheat. One cup of raw amaranth contains 28.1 grams of protein. Oats are a close second with 26.3 grams of protein.
2. Amaranth is an excellent source of lysine, an important amino acid (protein). Grains are notorious for low lysine content, which decreases the quality of their proteins. The high lysine content in amaranth sets it apart from other grains. Food scientists consider the protein content of amaranth of high “biological value”, similar in fact, to the proteins found in milk. This means that amaranth contains an excellent combination of essential amino acids and is well absorbed in the intestinal tract.
3. Another advantage of the protein content of amaranth is that the primary proteins in amaranth are “albumins” and “globulins”. In comparison, the major proteins in wheat are called “prolamins”, which are considered less soluble and less digestible than are albumins and globulin proteins. Bottom line- the amount, types and digestibility of proteins in amaranth make it an excellent plant source of high quality proteins.
4. Amaranth is second only to teff in calcium content.1 cup of raw teff contains 347 milligrams of calicum, amaranth 298 milligrams. In comparison, 1 cup of white rice contains 52 milligrams.
5. Amaranth contains more magnesium than other gluten-free grains.1 cup of raw amaranth contains 519 milligrams of magnesium, followed by buckwheat with 393 milligrams and sorghum with 365 milligrams. In comparison, an equal amount of white rice contains 46 milligrams of magnesium.
6. Amaranth contains more iron than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 15 milligrams of iron. Teff is a close second with 14.7 milligrams of iron. In comparison, white rice contains 1.5 milligrams of iron.
7. Amaranth contains more fiber than other gluten-free grains.1 cup of raw amaranth contains 18 grams of fiber- buckwheat and millet contain 17 grams. In comparison, white rice contains 2.4 grams of fiber.
8. Amaranth is slightly lower in carbohydrate content compared to other gluten-free grains.1 cup of raw amaranth contains 129 grams of carbohyrates, white rice 148 grams, brown rice and sorghum 143 grams and teff 141 grams of carbohyrdates. Oats contain 103 grams of carbohyrates, making them the lowest carb gluten free grain.
9. Amaranth is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids(as are most whole grains) and it contains vitamin E in similar amounts to olive oil.
10. When you add amaranth in amounts up to 25% of total flour used in gluten-free recipes you improve the nutritional value, the taste and texture of gluten free baked goods. Additionally, amaranth is an exceptional thickener for roux, white sauces, soups and stews.
You may be thinking….if amaranth is such a nutritional powerhouse, why not use it exclusively in gluten-free baking?
Amaranth, by nature, absorbs water very easily. That’s what gives it great emulsifying properties. But if amaranth is used solely in gluten-free baking recipes, baked goods become too dense. Breads will not rise properly and pancakes and cookies become too heavy. The key is combining a variety of gluten free flours and starches to create a blend that mimics the properties of gluten.
Go on and add amaranth to gluten-free flour blends, sauces, soups and stews to significantly improve the nutritional quality of your gluten-free diet.
Here’s a simple recipe for amaranth in a couscous style – lightly studded with creamy goat cheese, flavor-packed sun dried tomatoes and crunchy walnuts. The tangy cheese and dried tomatoes compliment the nuttiness of the cooked grain while the walnuts add great texture – couldn’t be more simple!
Sun-dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Amaranth “Couscous”
1 cup uncooked amaranth
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (dried or oil-packed)
2-3 Tbsp goat cheese, crumbled (feta cheese or other could also be used)
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp chopped walnuts
drizzle of olive oil, optional
Rice Cooker Method:
1. Add amaranth and broth/water to your rice cooker. Set on rice cooking mode until cooked. Let stand for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and transfer to a mixing bowl. (Note that amaranth will not fluff as much as traditional couscous)
2. Add chopped tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Toss lightly and drizzle with olive oil if desired. Serve warm or room temperature. Enjoy!
1. Add amaranth and broth/water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir and lower heat to simmer for 18-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and grains are cooked.
2. Let stand for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and transfer to a mixing bowl. (Note that amaranth will not fluff as much as traditional couscous)
3. Add chopped tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Toss lightly and drizzle with olive oil if desired. Serve warm or room temperature. Enjoy!
***On my to do list: Create a cake or quick bread using amaranth flour….to come! Anyone have a flavor suggestion?
A few other ways to enjoy amaranth:
- To make an amaranth porridge, cook amaranth in a ratio of 1:3 with water. Add sliced apples, chopped almonds or walnuts and a touch of cinnamon, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes).
- Heat amaranth in a heavy, dry skillet over medium heat until the seeds begin to pop. Serve with almond or coconut milk and fresh berries for a healthy breakfast.
- Mix popped amaranth seeds with honey or molasses to make a treat known as “alegria” or “joy” in Mexico
- Or try my amaranth grits with my tomato-sauce poached eggs
When I have a lot on my mind and things are hectic, the quality of my sleep really diminishes. In today’s world, it seems like everyone is on-the-go and can’t get enough sleep each night…I try to get about 7 hours of sleep a night on a weekday and on the weekend, I usually sleep for about 8 hours or so.
In college, I ran on fumes with little to no sleep most nights…bad idea! After researching the importance of sleep and how it affects so many aspects of my health, I have made it a point to get more shut-eye. Not only are we recharging our batteries for the next day, sleep replenishes the body, helps to repair tissue, eases the mind, and sleep helps with weight loss.
I don’t have a recipe for you today but if you have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, here are 12 tips I came across to help achieve a better night’s rest.
12) Skip the water or fluids before bed
Guilty as charged! I don’t drink enough water throughout the day when I am busy so I try and make up for it in the evening…resulting in several runs to the bathroom during the night.
What you can do to help: It is best is to stop drinking water or fluids a couple hours before your bedtime to decrease the chances of sleep disturbances from potty breaks.
Tips: If you always have a large glass of water before bed, maybe cut the amount in half and drink more early in the evening (and throughout the day!!)
11) Keep the morning roasters for the morning
I am not a coffee drinker but I do enjoy a warm cup of hot tea, particularly when it’s chilly in the morning! I try and buy decaffeinated teas and avoid caffeine in drinks (unless we are talking about chocolate…guilty again). Caffeine is a stimulant that is produced to keep us alert and function.
What you can do to help: If you crave coffee in the afternoon, switch it up to decaf. Caffeine stays in the body for a long time, and can keep you awake long past your set time for bed if you drink it in the afternoon.
Tips: Keep your caffeine intake to the morning, and switch to decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon, or avoid caffeinated beverages all together.
Tips: Since exercise stimulates the system and gives you extra energy, avoid exercising right before sleep unless you do not want to sleep. Try to exercise in early afternoon or morning to help ensure you get a great night’s sleep
8 ) Say No, No, No….to Nicotine
Nicotine, which is commonly found in tobacco and smokeless tobacco products, has a stimulating effect on the body.
What you can do to help: If you can, take the steps to quit. That is the first and best step in helping you to avoid nicotine. If you are unable to, or do not want to, then avoid smoking or using smokeless tobacco before bed.
Tips: Remember that nicotine is a stimulant to the body. Even though the initial phase may relax you, the body is still stimulated which might make it harder to fall asleep.
Tips: Keep work and emotional conversations out of the bed and bedroom to help ease anxiety, and help you sleep more like a baby.
What you can do to help: Avoid watching TV, using your laptop for work, and leave your cellphone away from your bed.
3) Write it and Forget it
Stress throughout the day can translate to bad dreams or inhibit sleep.
What you can do to help: Keep a journal by the side of the bed so, if you do wake up for something related to the stress of life, you can write it down. This allows you to write it and forget it, allowing your body not to get overstimulated and keeping you up longer than you need to be.
Tips: Keep a pen and a notebook by the bed to jot down those ideas that you have during your sleep, so you are not constantly thinking about them.
What you can do to help: Try not to go to bed hungry by replacing high-calorie meals with smaller-calorie meals to keep your belly feeling full and satisfied.
Tips: Eat a small nutritious snack before bed to ease you into dreamland.
-Lowfat milk or cheese
-Seafood, meat or poultry
-Whole grains, such as a bowl of cereal with skim milk
-A peanut butter sandwich
-Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top (try my superfood buckwheat granola)
-A sliced apple with one ounce of cheese
1) Let the cat do the napping
Taking long naps during the day may prevent you from getting to sleep at night, or keeping you asleep throughout the night.
What you can do to help: Now there is nothing wrong with napping during the day. Taking a nap 8 hours after you wake up has been shown to be beneficial to your health. Disrupting your natural sleep cycle can be detrimental to a good night’s sleep, though. Avoid naps during the day if you can; if not, try to keep the naps to a shorter period of time. Sometimes napping is important to catch your body up and help recover from the sleep debt.
Tips: If you do need to nap, try to keep the nap to only 15 to 20 minutes to avoid disturbing your sleep at night.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. If you are unable to sleep or are still experiencing restless sleeping, make sure to follow up with your doctor to rule out any more serious health problems that you might be experiencing.
A good night’s sleep can leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to face any challenge that might come your way. Sleep can also be your little secret to the fountain of youth, helping in the anti-aging process. Incorporate these tips to help you finally catch some of those Z’s that you have been after!
Sweet dreams :)