Posts Tagged ‘food’

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Cucumber & Salmon Appetisers

November 23, 2017

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Here’s a fresh appetiser that goes down a treat. Why just use cucumber, though? Use the filling in mushrooms or tomatoes, or as a side with breakfast eggs. Makes 16 (as an appetiser)

Ingredients

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
250g cooked salmon
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp chopped chives
to taste salt and pepper
1 large cucumber
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch chives

Method

  1. Peel strips of skin from the cucumber to make stripes of green and white. Slice into 2cm discs.
  2. Combine the mayonnaise, paprika and Tabasco in a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Flake the salmon into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl with the shallots, chives, salt and pepper, and gently mix in the spicy mayonnaise. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Use a melon baller to scoop out half the seeds from each cucumber slice to make a small cup.
  5. Divide the salmon mix between the cucumber cups, and garnish each with a cherry tomato slice and a couple of chive tops.
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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Roasted Garlic & Tahini Dip

November 24, 2016

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Which Is Worse: High Fructose Corn Syrup Or Sugar?

March 1, 2015

VBK-SUGAR_260868fWhile both sweeteners really aren’t great, high fructose corn syrup, which is found in a wide variety of highly processed foods and beverages such as baked desserts, salad dressings, ketchup, sodas, and ice cream, is the slightly more dangerous choice.

Too much of any sugar is bad for you—in excess, it promotes insulin resistance, weight gain, and inflammation that contributes to chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer. From a health perspective, some experts say HFCS (which is, obviously, derived from corn) is no different than table sugar (which comes from sugar cane and sugar beets), but there’s one difference between highly-processed HFCS and regular sugar that gives me pause: Some forms of HFCS may release more fructose within the body than does sucrose, or table sugar (which pales equal parts glucose and fructose). Glucose triggers feeling of fullness to help keep you from overeating, while fructose doesn’t.

Worse: a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition found that HFCS is significantly more toxic to female mice than table sugar is, harming their reproductive health and shortening their lifespan. Other animal studies suggest that high intakes of HFCS can slow brain function, impairing memory and the ability to learn.

There is also an environmental impact to consider, as the government-subsidized growing of corn requires large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides, and depletes the soil of nutrients.

Though some manufacturers, like Hershey, are doing away with HFCS in favor of ordinary table sugar, many still favor HFCS because it tastes sweeter than regular corn syrup, helps maintain a long shelf life for their products, and, until recently, has been relatively inexpensive. But there are better, healthier ways to add flavor, like a splash of maple or glucose syrup or adding vanilla or cinnamon.

Regular sugar can add to the pleasure of eating in small doses, but we consume far too much of it. In fact, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar daily, most of that coming from sugar-sweetened sodas, grain-based desserts such as cookies and cake, candy, energy drinks, ready-to-eat cereals, and yeast breads. So when you’re reaching for a snack, read ingredient lists carefully to avoid added sugars as much as possible. Or stick with naturally low-sugar options like air-popped popcorn, plain Greek yogurt, sorbet, and dried fruit.

Article sourced from: http://www.prevention.com/food/high-fructose-corn-syrup-versus-sugar
Written by Andrew Weil MD

Spring Clean Your Life

September 14, 2014

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Spring is here, and I enjoy using this time of year to prepare for the renewal this season provides.

One of the things you can do right now for yourself is prepare for the upcoming opportunities of the new season. Spring often inspires us to increase our fitness levels, participate in more activities outdoors and embrace a healthier way of eating — more greens perhaps as local food becomes increasingly available. Use this time to prepare yourself for those opportunities by getting organized.

Clutter, which has likely been accumulating all winter long, keeps us from moving forward, it blocks energy, it stops our creativity and it weighs us down. The more we have in your home, car, office, hand bag, computer hard drive, the more energy we need to attend to those things. Organizing, decluttering and preparing will put you in a physical, emotional and spiritual space that supports you in the new changes you have the opportunity to make this spring.

Here are a few steps to follow if you want to change you physical and spiritual landscape and prepare for spring:

1. Eliminate and purge.

You can apply this principle to all of your living spaces, or you can choose to apply it one room at a time. Evaluate what you have and what you need, keeping in mind the 80/20 principle that suggests we use about 20% of what we have and essentially do not really need the other 80%. Decide what you longer need or what no longer brings you pleasure, and donate it.

2. Make function easier.

Once you’ve gone through the elimination process, create a system to keep things neat and organized. Pick the system that you’re most likely to stay with and is most effective for your situation. Here are a few options to consider: baskets, file folders, storage containers, or dividers. When organizing your things, keep the items you use most often easiest to access. For example, organize and sort your clothing by season — take out your spring and summer clothes and find a storage solution for your winter clothes. Sort items by their function and keep like things together. For example, create “stations” in your home. In my very small kitchen I have a smoothie station where I keep my Vitamix and several Mason jars containing the ingredients I use daily to nourish my body.

3. Create a donation bag.

Keep a bag or box to which you can add items you longer want. Instead of allowing drawers and closets to fill up throughout the year with things you don’t need or want, create a place in your home where you can collect these items and then donate them in the spring as part of your regular spring cleaning. Check online for nonprofit organizations that will pick up your donated items, including small appliances, from your home for free.

4. Eliminate clutter hot spots.

Flat surfaces, drawers, the back seat of your car and sometimes handbags can become repositories for all sorts of unwanted or unused items. Mail and paperwork are classic examples of the clutter that can accumulate easily when left unattended. Devise a system that works for you in addressing your mail and paperwork as it’s generated. Take a few minutes each week to place important documents in these files and recycle any unneeded paper, or, when possible, go digital, and file your documents electronically. By implementing a system for use and function after you’ve purged, you’ll likely feel much lighter, energized, renewed and inspired after your hard work, providing you with the motivation and energy to continue moving forward with your goals and embracing the newness of spring.

5. Upgrade your home’s energy.

Rearrange your furniture. Get a new houseplant. Play upbeat music. Open your window, even just for a few moments. Diffuse tangerine and peppermint essential oils. Invite new energy and life into your home to become a happier and healthier human being this spring.

By using early spring to organize your living and work spaces, you can position yourself to achieve the health, wellness and personal goals you’ve been working toward!

This article was sourced from: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12988/5-strategies-to-spring-clean-your-entire-life.html

Sweet Poison – sugar, it never fully satisfies our cravings.

August 12, 2014

addiction
In the last 24 hours, I’ve drunk several cups of coffee, each one sweetened with a sugar cube. I’ve eaten a bowl of porridge sprinkled liberally with brown sugar and I’ve enjoyed on three separate occasions, a piece of my date and apple birthday cake, to which the chef tells me he added one cup of castor sugar.

This is pretty standard fare for me (birthday celebrations notwithstanding) and although occasionally I fret that my sugar intake is perhaps a little high and that I should reign it in or else risk all manner of health problems down the track, I continue to indulge my sweet tooth. Although after listening to David Gillespie present at Happiness & Its Causes 2011, I’m seriously thinking I really do need to wean myself off the white stuff.

Gillespie, a former lawyer, is the author of Sweet Poison: why sugar makes us fat, whose thesis is that sugar, or more specifically fructose (of which folk are consuming, on average, about one kilo a week), actually does much more that pack on the kilos. It also makes us physically ill and exacts a significant toll on our mental health.

What we’ve come to identify as sugar is actually a combination of two molecules: fructose and glucose, the latter an indispensable element to the body’s healthy functioning. As Gillespie explains, “The glucose half is fine. It’s more than just fine; it’s vitally necessary for us. We are machines that run on the fuel of glucose.” Indeed, all the carbohydrates we consume – and which for most of us constitute about 60 per cent of our diet (everything else is proteins and fats) – are converted to glucose.

Fructose, on the other hand, is not metabolised by us for fuel but rather converted directly to fat. As Gillespie says, “By the time we finish a glass of apple juice, the first mouthful is already circulating in our arteries as fat.” But even worse than that, fructose messes with those hormonal signals which tell us we’re full so that we keep on eating sugary, fatty foods.

Two hormones in particular are affected, the first one being insulin “which responds immediately to the presence of all carbs except fructose,” says Gillespie. “When insulin goes up, appetite goes down. So insulin tells us, ‘all right, you’ve had a meal, stop eating’. Fructose does not provoke a response from insulin and in fact, over time, it makes us resistant to the signals we do get from everything else we eat.”

Leptin is produced by our fat cells and works as our “on board fuel gauge” in that the more fat cells we have, the more leptin we produce and the less hungry we are. The problem with fructose is it “makes us resistant to that signal,” says Gillespie.

And yes, this leads to all manner of health problems including Type 2 Diabetes and its associated symptoms including lethargy, blurred vision and skin infections, and what Gillespie says is “significant damage through something called glycation”, the destruction through the excessive production of so-called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) of our skin’s elasticity which causes hardening of our arteries and brittle skin, both unmistakable signs of ageing. Gillespie also cites some biochemistry studies that have found fructose accelerates the growth of pancreatic cancer tumours.

These are just some of the physical effects. The addictive quality of fructose means it’s also a bit of a downer and that’s because of how it interferes with the balance of two feel-good hormones in the brain, dopamine and serotonin. Gillespie explains, “It significantly ramps up our dopamine (released when we anticipate pleasure) at the expense of our serotonin (released when that pleasure is delivered).” In other words, it never fully satisfies our cravings, and as anyone who’s battled an addiction knows, unfulfilled cravings are never much fun.

Article sourced from: http://www.thinkandbehappy.com.au/eating-way-health-happiness/

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Chicken stuffed with Ricotta, Sundried Tomato & Bacon

August 8, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Harbour

stuffed chicken

 Serves 6
Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • ½ bunch silver beet
  • 3 rashers short-cut bacon, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (500g) tub ricotta
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 12 chicken thigh fillets

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Melt butter in a skillet over low heat and add onion.
  2. Remove the silver beet leaves from the stalks. Dice the stalks and add to the onion mixture, and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chopped bacon to the onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Chop the silver beet leaves. Add to the pan, along with the garlic and sundried tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Put the ricotta into a mixing bowl. Add the onion mixture and stir to combine. Add the egg and parmesan and mix well.
  6. Open each thigh fillet out and place on a chopping board. Cover with a piece of baking paper and hit with a meat mallet or rolling pin to flatten to a thickness of about 1cm. Place a generous Tablespoon of the ricotta mixture onto each thigh fillet and fold over. Carefully transfer to the baking tray using a spatula or egg flipper. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and bake a further 10 minutes to brown the chicken slightly.
  8. Serve with steamed greens.

Note: Any left-over filling can be cooked in muffin pans for around 25 minutes (or until lightly browned) and enjoyed for breakfast or lunch.

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