Monday, November 25, 2013

The Power of Pomegranate


Sometimes called a Chinese apple, the pomegranate is rich in nutrients and a delicious treat for anyone willing to work hard enough to extract its seeds. Originally grown in India and the Middle East, the pomegranate was used in traditional medicine to remedy many ailments and conditions. While the pomegranates healing properties have not been substantiated by modern medicine it is very apparent the fruit contains many health benefits.

Pomegranates are very high in antioxidants that rival other “Superfoods” such as acai berries and green tea. These powerful antioxidants help protect you from free radical damage and can reduce inflammation within your body. The seeds provide excellent sources of vitamin C that help support healthy connective tissue and fiber to support healthy GI function.

High in vitamin K the fruit supports healthy blood circulation. Studies have shown adults with ischemic heart disease benefited from less ischemia during stress testing when they drank 8oz of pomegranate juice daily for 3 months over those that did not. Some studies also suggest the possible benefit of pomegranate juice reducing LDL accumulation, systolic blood pressure and vital infections.

Also high in phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron the pomegranate is a rich source of many vital vitamins and minerals. It is best to enjoy the seeds of the pomegranate as this unprocessed and fiber rich source locks in the most nutrients. However if you are on the go or just don’t like all the work that goes into de-seeding a pomegranate, its juice can easily be purchased in the store.

                                      Searching for a new way to de-seed a pomegranate?

Try cutting the fruit into quarters and submerging each quarter in a bowl of water. Gently rub the seeds until they fall to the bottom of the bowl. The white waxy part of the fruit will float to the top and be much easier to remove. The water also prevents the juice from spraying out and staining you clothes.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Enjoy Thanksgiving without Packing on the Pounds!

On average we eat as much as 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving! Knowing which foods to cut back on can make a healthy impact on your waistline while still enjoying the foods you love.

Biggest Offenders:                                                                                              
Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows 1 cup 590 calories                   
Pecan Pie 1 slice 500 calories                                                                                      
Apple Pie 1 slice 400 calories                                                                                      
Mashed potatoes with gravy 1 cup 345 calories                                                 
Cornbread stuffing 1 cup 350 calories                                                                     
Mac ‘n Cheese ½ cup 210 calories

Healthiest Options:
Skinless turkey 3oz 135 calories
Roasted Potatoes 1 cup 200 calories
Brussels Sprouts ½ cup 30 calories
Green Beans 1 cup 40 calories
Homemade cranberry sauce 1/3 cup 40 calories

Side by Side:
Turkey, white meat 4oz 180 calories vs. Turkey, dark meat 4oz 325 calories
Roasted Potatoes 1 cup 200 calories vs. Mashed Potatoes with gravy 345 calories
Green Beans 1 cup 40 calories vs. Green Bean Casserole ½ cup 225 calories
Cranberry Relish ½ cup 75 calories vs. Jellied Cranberry Sauce ¼ cup 110 calories
Pumpkin Pie 1 slice 315 calories vs. pecan pie 1 slice 500 calories

Calorie Cutting Tips:
Drink water instead of soda or juice; limit alcohol as much as possible
Eat light at breakfast and lunch to compensate for dinner
Appetizers can quickly add up, focus on the main meal and stay away from pre-meal temptations
Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (salad, green beans, broccoli, etc.) and the rest of your plate with small samplings of more indulgent side dishes
Take a sliver of pie instead of a whole slice
Skip dessert toppings like whipped cream and ice cream
Take a walk or play an active game, get the family involved and burn some extra calories

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Healthy Hummus

Hummus is delicious, healthy, and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Served as a dip with pita and vegetables or spread on a sandwich, this complete protein is a great staple for vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters alike.
The main ingredients in hummus are chickpeas and tahini, which are rich in fiber, protein, folic acid, calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Additional ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice are also great sources of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
Below is a simple Hummus Recipe I make to share with friends and family. I sometimes add fresh herbs or dried tomatoes to add additional flavor. Play around and see what tastes good to you!
Healthy Hummus Recipe
1/3 Cup Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tbs Lemon Juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 15oz Can of Chickpeas
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
In a food processor add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Blend for 1 minute until smooth. Rinse chickpeas well under water and drain. Add 1/2 of chickpeas to the food processor and blend until smooth. Add second half of chickpeas to the food processor along with the cumin and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick add some water until you reach a desired consistency. Serve with pita chips and vegetables. I also sprinkled some paprika over the hummus to add some color and extra flavor. Enjoy!