Healthy Eating

A is for Astaxanthin

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Blog, Healthy Eating | 0 comments

A is for Astaxanthin

  While I am a few days late on the #AtoZChallenge, but there is still plenty of the days in the month that I will not miss out on this fun opportunity to blog my way through the alphabet on vitamins, minerals and herbs. I am excited to share with you some really great info this month on one of my favorite topics and the importance to know the difference between quality supplements and synthetic ones. Let’s go ahead and get started with the letter A, is for Astaxanthin.  I first read about this super antioxidant on Dr. Mercola’s website. He is someone I have been following for over a decade now. What I have learned about this amazing antioxidant is it’s ability to support the body in many unique ways.  Where is Astaxanthin found? Astaxanthin is found naturally in orange and red fruits and vegetables as well as dark leafy greens, but mostly from lobster, crab, crawfish, Wild Pacific sockeye salmon, red trout, red sea bream, algae, krill and arctic shrimp. Wild Pacific sockeye salmon is the best source. This is because astaxanthin is found predominantly in marine life. A unique form of microalgae called,Haematococcus pluvialis is what these particular Pacific marine life eat. Once this micro algae is consumed, its intense red pigmentation results in these animals having red or pink flesh, or outer shells. (Fun Fact: While we don’t eat flamingos, they are born white, but turn pink because they eat foods with astaxanthin). What is Astaxanthin good for? It is literally good for every cell in your body from head to toe. It has been touted to INTO your muscles, your heart, your eyes, your skin and helps support and protect your cells to keep inflammation at bay, the same way it protects the algae cells. It works in and out of the the cell, protecting both the fat-soluble and the water-soluble parts of cells. This is a big deal since most antioxidants only protect one or the other.  How powerful is Astaxanthin?                   It’s a potent Ultra Violet B absorber and reduces DNA damage. In fact, some Hollywood actresses use this as their natural sunscreen protection. Eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in red and orange color helps protect the skin from UVB damage. UVB from the sun is what makes the skin burn, hence eating foods rich in red and orange keep the skin from burning. (this is why the cleaner and healthier your diet, the less you are likely to burn) It crosses the crosses the blood-brain barrier AND the blood-retinal barrier. Beta-carotene alone cannot cross over. It is important for both young and old alike to protect their brain from free radical damage. Our brains are made up of 75 percent water and is the fattest organ in your body, consisting of at least 60 percent fat. Our brains uses 20 percent of the total oxygen in your body. Eating good fats and antioxidants that actually crosses both barriers to support a healthy response is vital to keep our brain from many aging diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Let’s not forget eye health such as macular degeneration, while supporting your entire central nervous system.      Astaxanthin studies are showing that daily supplementation is ideal for those wishing to prevent cognitive diseases and maintain general brain health and has numberous benefits for those wishing to protect their brains as they age, specifically after the age of 40. Watch out for the imposturs:  While research is still going to show how beneficial astaxanthin is for our entire...

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How to Pick the Perfect Protein Powder

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Corn Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Eating, protein shakes | 1 comment

How to Pick the Perfect Protein Powder

I get quite a few questions about protein powders. Like everyone else I had my fair share. However, what people fail to realize is whatever your body doesn’t use up, it will get stored in your fat cells. And while low carb, paleo, SCD diets are all fine, we still have to be careful of higher protein diets. See my posts on Paleo Diet Good for Most and The Positives of Paleo). I want to teach you how to choose a healthy, high quality protein powder while disclosing the truth on protein powders. I think there is a time and place for protein powders, just not every single day. I also want to educate you how to read your protein powder labels so you can make a wise decision whether or not. After posting and asking which ones are the best I want to help you better understand what to look for in a protein powder. Most are junk and full of synthetic GMO junk, but there are some other good clean brands out there. To Whey or Not Whey? You wan to buy a whey protein concentrate powder that is a high-quality whey protein. It must be cold pressed, derived from grass-fed cows, and free of GMOs, chemicals, and sugar. This type of whey protein and how it is made contains all the essential amino acids, keeps its nutrients in tact and has higher nutrient value than commercial processed protein powders. When whey protein is heat pressed, it denatures the protein. Whey protein Isolate is a denatured protein, your body cannot process this form of protein (whether soy or whey). Since isolates are heat processed, it destroys all of the amino acids needed to help your body absorb protein properly. What often happens is companies will fortify the nutrients and vitamins back into the powder often with synthetic vitamins and sweeten it with junkie sugars such as sucralose, fructose and some other sugar alcohol that ends in “ol.” If you are not sure about how the protein powder is made, call the company and ask what type of dairy they use and how do they process it. Soy? Not so much.. Soy is a very, very hard legume to digest and most of us cannot digest it. It is a close cousin to peanuts, and some who have serious peanut allergies may need to stay away from soy too. Soy is best digested when it is fermented in the forms of miso, tempeh and natto. The problem is about 95% of soy in America is mostly a GMO crop. I recall back in my more active fitness days, I would drink my strawberry soy protein shake with my soy milk thinking I was sooo healthy…all it did was make my stomach more bloated and distressed. Protein powders should be easy to digest, not cause more distress. When the body is presented with a synthetic isolate, the body may need to draw on its stores of cofactors needed to better absorb the vitamins and minerals, namely proteins, carbs, fats, bioflavonoids, and enzymes, but this is not always the case. And men, soy may decrease your libido and can cause temporary infertility because it decreases testosterone. Women, it will mess with your thyroid too because of its high estrogen content. (You can read more here on The Whole Soy Story). My opinion, stay way from all forms of soy protein powders. Pea Protein and Rice Protein Makes a Perfect Protein If you are like me you want something that is gluten, soy and dairy free, but finding  one that tastes good...

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Gluten Free Easy Oven Pancakes

Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Family Health, Food, Gluten Free, Healthy Eating, Recipes | 0 comments

Gluten Free Easy Oven Pancakes

Keine Rafflecopter-ID angegeben. :-( I love cooking, but I love baking even more. My kids are pancake kids lovers. Every. Single. Morning. And while I don’t mind making them, it is time consuming. Tina contacted me asking if she could post on of her recipes on my site. This is one of those breakfast recipes that you throw together in a bowl, mix and put in your casserole dish. These are the type of recipes I love the most. I happily agreed to put one of her recipes up and since this is the last day of Celiac Awareness Month, I wanted to share one of her recipes, Gluten Free Easy Oven Pancakes. Believe me when I say, this is easy! So make these pancakes, sit back and enjoy your morning cup of coffee. Easy Oven Pancakes • 1/2 cup high heat oil (Sunflower, Safflower, Coconut) • 6 eggs • 1 cup almond milk • 2 tsp. vanilla • 1 cup gluten-free flour • 1 tsp. baking powder • 1 tsp. salt Instructions 1. Pour the canola oil into a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish. Put it into the oven and set the temperature to 425 degrees (let the dish warm with the oven). 2. In a medium bowl, mix the 6 eggs with the almond milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) with a whisk. Then combine the wet and dry mixtures, whisking it to get the lumps out. 3. When the oven is preheated, carefully get the dish out and pour in the batter. Put it back in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. 4. When the time is up, remove the dish from the oven, cut the oven pancake into squares, sprinkle cinnamon and serve with Grade B maple...

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The True Dangers of Food Dyes

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Family Health, Food, Healthy Eating | 0 comments

The True Dangers of Food Dyes

If you have been following me for quite some time you know there are a few things that really get my blood boiling. Food dyes ranks high on my list and it really disgusts me to see how much food dyes is in our food supply. I’ve written about How to Rid Food Dyes in my Chicago Parent column and how food dyes is the chemical form of salicylates. The problem is that it is not always so obvious where food dyes are lurking. Many folks ask, why do food companies use food dyes? The main reason is because we eat with our eyes first. If it is bright, shiny and pretty we have already made up our minds to eat something before we have even tasted it. Many people including kids will not even eat green candy since it has a negative connotation to bitterness. The FDA has over and over again stated food dyes are safe for consumption even though organizations like Feingold.org has listed numerous studies stating they are indeed harming our children. Food dyes and food additives are not researched or tested before going into our food supply for safety. Scary, isn’t it? But is ok, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits nine different colors to be added to foods, and the agency certifies each batch for “purity and safety.” Well, the amount of dye certified has risen from 12 mg per capita, per day in 1950 to 62 mg/capita/day in 2010.  Until recently, a study published in Clinical Pediatrics reported the content scores of food dyes in breakfast cereals, candies, baked goods and other foods. Children can consume up to 300mg of food dyes in just one day alone but it can take as little as 35mg for the child to be effected. Target Mini Green Cupcakes had the highest levels of any food studied containing 55.3mg of artificial food dyes per serving. You can read more about how high your “favorite foods contain here” The Center for Science of Public Interest found several more disturbing fact regarding food dyes in our food supply and published a 50 page document discussing how food dyes effect our bodies. For example, have a child with asthma? These dyes can make symptoms worse:     The following dyes used in medicines, foods and cosmetics were recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs as being broncho-constrictors as long ago as 1985: Red No. 2 Red No. 3 Red No. 4 Yellow No. 5 Yellow No. 6 Blue No. 1 Blue No. 2 – Pediatrics. 1985 Oct;76(4):635-43 Source: Feingold.org Let’s not leave out the growing epidemic of Eczema and atopic dermatitis which links many food dyes and preservatives causing inflammation in these young and growing bodies. How else is food dyes effecting our children’s minds and bodies? ADHD/ADD/Hyperactivity/SPD often coined as “wiggly” Inability to focus/short attention span Inability to fall asleep, resists going to sleep or can’t stay asleep (disrupting dopamine and serotonin levels) Aggressive/defiant behavior (random pushing/hitting, throwing objects) Accident prone, poor coordination, looks disoriented Can alter taste and texture issues Chronic bed-wetting after potty training age and more!   If you notice any of these things (check out feingold.org) within an hour to 24 hours of consuming foods high in food dyes, then your child most likely has a sensitivity to food dyes. Yet studies show kids in Europe do not have the high rates of ADHD, eczema, Autism as the United States does and many of it is being linked to the food dyes (and food preservatives) we consume for human consumption that the...

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The Benefits of Home Juicing (Infographic)

Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Food, Healthy Eating, Vegan | 0 comments

Juicing is all the rage and while I don’t exactly promote juice cleanses, I do feel making your own juice is healthy and beneficial.  After seeing this info graph, you will see why, but pulled a few facts from this graph: Only 15% of Americans actually eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables everyday. ONE cup of homemade juice contain at least 60% less of sodium compared to an equivalent store bought brand. In just over two months, you can save 71% in making a juice at home compared to buying one at the store I have never been a fan of letting kids have store bought juice, honestly it is like letting them drink sugar water and seeing the sodium content, you are setting up them up for health problems later in life…you can see my post on Chicago Parent on Why Your Kids Don’t Need Juice, that is how strongly I feel about it.  The only juice I really like to buy is the Mariano’s Orange or Orange and Carrot Juice. It is made fresh and it separates…means you have to shake it up to blend it, which most juice companies add “stuff” for this to happen.  In July of 2013, the FDA has an limit to the amount of arsenic they are allowing in apple juice…not exactly what I want to be giving to my kids these days. Are you concerned about cost? Don’t worry, this info graph really breaks it down and how much money you can save in the long run with the upfront cost of a high quality juicer.   What do you think? Do you think juicing is all the rage or will you reconsider not buying juice for your family?   The Benefits of Home Juicing Infographic by Macy’s. This post is sponsored by Macy’s. I was invited to this opportunity by Blue Polo Interactive and received a Macy’s gift card for my time. All opinions expressed in this post are my...

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Cranberry-Pomegranate Salsa

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Corn Free, Food, Gluten Free, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegan | 1 comment

I have to say, this has been one of my favorite recipes besides my Banana Nut Paleo Granola.  I’ve made this Cranberry-Pomegranate Salsa about eight times a few different ways since December started and each time it has been a hit. Since visiting Pasolivo Olive Oil Farm, I have been in love with their citrus olive oil and have used in a few recipes including my Citrus Glazed Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Leeks and salad dressings. This recipe does use this olive oil, but don’t worry, I’ll explain how to use my favorite orange juice in this recipe too. For the first time I am doing a wine pairing with this dish! I do enjoy a good glass of wine and appreciate the importance of it also being made organically and sustainably.  My wine pairing is a Pinot Noir from Tolosa Vineyards in Edna Valley located in San Luis Obispo, California.  It is a SIP Certified Wine. Something I learned about on my trip to Paso Robles in October.  This wine really makes the citrus flavor pop out in this salsa.  It really is a wonderful a pairing. I served this in the Christmas Tree Ecofoil tin for a festive chip holder. Ready for this tasty and crowd pleasing recipe? Here it is!!   Cranberry-Pomegranate Salsa 1 bag of cranberries (TJs sells them for $1.99/bag) 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds 3-4 cloves of garlic (I don’t play games) 3-4 green onions 1 jalapeño (deseed as much as you want, depending on how much heat you like) 1/2 c of cilantro cut up 1/4 c of coconut palm sugar juice of one lime (or 4 drops of lime oil-this really brings out the flavor) 1 T of Grade B Maple Syrup 2 T of Pasolivo Citrus Olive Oil 1 tsp of crushed red pepper 1/2 tsp of celtic salt (this is a very nourishing salt and worth the buy to use all of the time!) Directions: In a food processor (depending how big it is) mix cranberries, garlic, jalapeño, green onions (saving one for slicing). Chop up ingredients in the food processor. You may have to do this in 2 batches if you have a smaller food processor like I do. I love my KitchenAid one. Place into a bowl. Add in chopped cilantro, coconut palm sugar, syrup, olive oil, red pepper and celtic salt.  Dice up one green onion to make the greens pop out more. Serve and enjoy Watch the liquids in this recipe or it will be more like a relish. Which is fine, but it is nice to have the consistency less liquid. My favorite chips is to serve this with White Bean Beanito chips. With some added protein and fiber, you really have a complete and healthy snack eating this salsa. I love this side dish and you will want to make this before they send back the fresh cranberries for the season. In fact, I highly recommend getting yourself a few bags so you can enjoy this as a New Year’s Eve party app!   A big thank you to EcoFoil Pan company for sponsoring this recipe. I hope you enjoy a creative way you can use their eco-friendly pans as a party  platter/dish that makes it fun to...

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