By Natural Advocate | February 28, 2014 - 6:30 pm - Posted in Foods

breakfastHere is the breakfast I made this morning. Not only is it healthy and contains a ton of healthy fats and proteins, but it also happens to taste fantastic – even a little indulgent because of the generous use of avocado.  I used about a half an avocado sliced up on top of the omelette.

It’s a three egg omelette, using only one and a half of the yolks to cut down on the fat and cholesterol.  A tiny bit of shredded sharp cheddar folded inside add a nice sharp, cheesy flavor. A bit of Real Salt on top and pepper help to season the eggs and add more flavor as well.

I used about 5 grape tomatoes on top, cut in half.  It was so good and it filled me up til lunch time, which is unusual for me.

Healthy fats (omega 3’s) do that though. They promote a feeling of fullness when you eat them, and they tend to tide you over a lot longer than a meal without any of them in it.

It’s super easy and you may even half at least half the ingredients lying around your house already.

By Natural Advocate | August 4, 2013 - 6:07 pm - Posted in Foods, Natural and Herbal Treatments

First in the news for today I have what I think is a really interesting and promising topic all at once.  The demand for organic produce and foods is growing exponentially, and the demand is more than what it being produced, creating somewhat of a shortage and providing a lot of opportunity for ambitious organic farmers.

Not only this, but this really creates such a demand that more and more farmers will think about going organic, and organic may soon become the new standard if it really begins to be the main choice of most people.  I for one, buy organic wherever I can but admittedly cannot always buy it when money is tight. This is especially true for the produce that is 2 to 3 times more when it is organic. 

The price discrepancy is coming more in line these days since organic produce is becoming more sustainable and widely grown, however there are still some fruits and veggies that are much more costly when they are grown organically.

This is simply due to demand as well as to the way the produce has to be grown in order to meet the organic requirements.  Some produce doesn’t require a ton of special handling and some requires a lot more, and may also yield less and therefore cost more per unit. 

Here’s the even better news though. It’s not JUST produce that is becoming more and more in demand in organic. It’s also animal products and by-products such as meats like grass fed and hormone free beef and chicken, organically farmed milk and more.  SO it spans the gamut on what people are demanding out of their foods these days. 

I think this can only mean good things for organic foods in general. Sure, there may be a squeeze in the meantime where people are finding the supply low and the pickins slim as well as the prices slightly higher, but in the long run this huge demand is going to result in a lot of innovation and evolution in the foods sector, which will ultimately lead to higher quality, lower cost organic foods for all of us.

In other news, I wanted to talk a little bit about a supplement that I’m getting back into lately that I think is important for healthy digestion and a healthy bowel and colon.  I’m talking about probiotics.

I really can’t stand yogurt every day, yet I really wanted a way to introduce healthy flora, or probiotics back into my intestines so I could more easily digest and eliminate foods without all the pressure, bloating and gas that often goes with having a yeast imbalance. 

When healthy organisms are outnumbered by the unhealthy ones (aka “yeast”) in the colon and intestines, it causes a lot of discomfort in the way of gas, bloating and diarrhea, and is thought to be a major cause behind the condition IBS, which more and more Americans are suffering from thanks to lackluster diets that don’t contain enough fiber and certainly have way too many antibiotics, which kill off the health probiotics in the colon and intestines, causing lifelong issues. 

Since many people don’t really care for yogurt and other foods that contain natural probiotics, they opt for supplements. I recently tried the Schiff brand of Digestive Advantage simply because it comes in capsule form, is convenient and does not need refrigeration, and is supposed to be coated in a protein that prevents the probiotic bacteria from being destroyed by the volatile acids in the stomach.

So far so good, but I’ve only been taking it a few days so I’ll follow up in a week or two after I’ve given it some time to work.

 

By Natural Advocate | June 16, 2013 - 2:04 pm - Posted in Foods

I was shopping at Marc’s as I do occasionally for my weekend shopping trips, and found a gluten free pizza crust  mix that I figured I’d give a try. I’m not a gluten free (GF) dieter, but the ingredients in this pizza crust mix seemed pretty healthy and I was curious what something like a pizza crust would taste like if  it were totally free of gluten.

Since so many legions of people swear by the GF diet, I figured I wanted to see how bad it would be to try something that fit that diet criteria.  So I picked it up without a second thought, and got some pepperoni, some pizza cheese and some pizza sauce to go with it.

I ended up making a pizza with onion and pepperoni, and I made it for lunch. Here’s how the Hodgson Mill Gluten Free pizza crust mix works. First off, know that it’s not a one step deal.  You need to make sure you have about 30 minutes of prep time because it does require a bit of time to sit.  First when you simply add the yeast packet (provided in the box set) to the warm water, you need to let that sit together for about five minutes.

Then, once you mix the olive oil, eggs and the pizza crust mix in with that, you have to let the dough rest in a dark place covered in  plastic wrap for another 20 minutes.  It ended up taking a bit longer than I would have liked, but I wanted to follow the recipe correctly.

The dough was extremely sticky and I had to add quite a bit of corn starch to my hands when working with it so it wouldn’t just stick to my hands in one big glob and be impossible to spread on the pizza sheet.  I made one 12 inch pizza. The box makes enough dough for two 12 inch to 10 inch pizzas though, so it was a pretty good deal since the whole box only cost me about $3.50.

Once I got the dough all spread out, I had to put the dough into the oven for ten minutes to let it cook a bit before the toppings were added (this was in the directions, I assume so that the crust could cook through before the toppings were added, avoiding a gooey mess of a crust.)

Then it tells you to take the crust out and brush it with olive oil. I brushed mine with melted Olivio butter since I wanted it to be slightly buttery flavored.  So, how did the crust turn out for me?  All in all, the Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust wasn’t bad.  I’m afraid I actually got low quality toppings though, which dampened the whole thing.

If you’re looking for an exact replica of flour-based pizza crust, you won’ t get it here, however it’s not a hugely noticeable difference. It didn’t really rise though when cooked, it just stayed in the same shape and cracked in a few places when baked. So don’t expect the typical puffy pizza crust you get when dealing with real wheat flour.

The crust is made with primarily brown rice flour, so the nutritional value is much better than traditional pizza crust in my opinion. My husband wasn’t crazy about it, but I knew that it was Gluten Free and that there would be some textural differences, so I was ok with the trade off. I must say, it seemed to fill me up much quicker too, which is an added bonus!

By Natural Advocate | May 28, 2013 - 10:11 pm - Posted in Foods

Diabetes is one of the leading “background” causes of several health problems that you just don’t want to have to deal with. It’s often linked to obesity, although the excessive eating and calories often is what leads to the diabetes, not the other way around.

It’s linked to heart disease, blindness, slow wound healing, a compromised immunity, depression and mood swings, and just about every other health problem you can think of that is either very unpleasant to live with and makes like much less pleasant, or downright life-threatening.

This is why you want to try to live a lifestyle that thwarts diabetes at every turn.  While it is true that many people become diabetic in their old age, even this is preventable. Conventional medicine has lead people to believe that age is a death sentence when it comes to certain ailments and that we are all fundamentally flawed in that we will all eventually fall victim to the diseases that often follow us through old age.

However, this isn’t true. We are often masters of our own fate if we are willing to make a few compromises in our life. In the end, they really aren’t compromises, they are things you will find you enjoy once you get used to them and the terrific way you feel. While it is true that some forms of diabetes are strictly hereditary and cannot be avoided by diet and lifestyle changes, the majority of diabetics can help their situation through these conscious choices.

1.)  Apples. Apples are a highly fibrous fruit that also contains pectin. Pectin is a special fiber found in abundance in the apple which is resistant to absorption by the body, meaning apples are low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast the sugars in a given food release into the blood stream and cause high blood sugar.

2.)  Cinnamon. Cinnamon has been shown in studies to actually help to control the blood sugar in the body. I’ve actually used this trick quite a bit when I’m hungry and I feel my blood sugar going down and up too quickly, and it really does help once it absorbs into the blood stream (this can take about ten to fifteen minutes at least).

3.)  Fish. I’ve found that fish is one of the most satisfying meals I can eat. It keeps my blood sugar stable for hours compared to other types of animal protein I’ve eaten at dinner or lunch time.  It is pure protein, and usually very low in fat as well. Pair it with an omega 2 fat like olive oil to cook it in, and you’ve got a “glycemic superstar” since omega 2 fats act as a stabilizer to the blood sugar and appetite regulator.

4.)  Mint tea. I’ve also found that drinking organic mint tea (made strong and concentrated) has helped immensely with my blood sugar stabilization.  I add a bit of stevia for some sweetening without affecting my blood sugar, and it can keep me stable for at least an hour on its own.

5.)  Any fiber-packed veggie.  Veggies like broccoli, cabbage, dark green and leafy veggies and green beans for example, are resistant to absorption because of their high fiber and low sugar content.  They are an excellent accompaniment to any protein based meal because they can keep you fuller than just the protein itself and because they also contain high levels of vitamins and minerals to boost your energy levels and keep them sustained for hours.

 

 

By Natural Advocate | May 19, 2013 - 7:55 am - Posted in Foods

I remember the first time I saw this term, I was like what the heck is wheat belly? But I thought I had an idea. I thought that they were talking about that bloat that so many Americans have in the belly area. I was right, but there is more to the story than just the physical effects that wheat (aka gluten) can have on your body.

Wheat and its by-products are used in thousands, make that millions, of American foods today. Even the most innocent looking product on the shelf, say a sauce or something like that, can have some form of gluten in it. Only the jarred and canned products that proclaim “GF” or Gluten Free don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients.

So why all the fuss about gluten? Isn’t whole grain wheat something that is healthy? I mean how many times have we all been told that eating whole grain breads and bread products is better for us? So how could this plant based food that is fiber rich in its raw form be bad for us?

Well, not everyone believes that gluten is bad for you. Let’s get that straight right now. However, there is a growing legion of followers for the GF or gluten free diet. And many of the followers of this diet claim they’ve never felt better, and never found it easier to control their weight – and their “wheat belly”.

Wheat belly is the term used for the visceral fat that is wedged in around all the organs of the belly area. Often times, we get “guts” here when we gain weight, and some think that eating wheat-containing products is a major cause of this type of serious fat accumulation.

As you likely know by now, belly fat is very dangerous. It is linked to a host of problems such as heart health issues, diabetes and other conditions that are life threatening, so reducing fat in this area is vital if you want to stay healthy and vibrant late into life. Fat in this area really puts a lot of stress on the body. It makes you pump more blood, and puts more stress on the heart than it can take, and over time this wears on your heart and overall circulatory health.

Certainly, some people truly are gluten sensitive and need to eradicate it from their diet. That is a different story. But there are many now who follow the GF way of eating that aren’t truly gluten sensitive, at least not in the medically identifiable sense or a diagnosed sense such as celiacs disease.

They just find that following this diet makes life a lot easier for them. The proponents of the GF diet cite our modernized varieties of wheat as the reason behind a multitude of problems, including obesity, diabetes, skin problems including accelerated aging, and more. I must say, it’s quite an interesting and sometimes very compelling argument that I’ve read with much fascination because some of it really does make sense.

However, you must know that eliminating wheat from your diet in every sense is VERY hard in today’s society. Eating out becomes very difficult. As I mentioned before, even the most seemingly innocent foods often contain some form of gluten. It is often used to thicken sauces and other products, and you may even find it in foods like ice cream and thin sauces such as teriyaki and soy sauces in some cases!

Canned soup is usually out of the question since it often contains it as a thickening agent too. There are a lot of foods that are out of the picture unless you specifically purchase them as GF. However, I would suggest trying the diet if you think you might be sensitive to gluten for a week. If you feel much better and instantly begin to feel thinner and your “wheat belly” goes down pretty fast, well then you just might be on to something.

 


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