Egg Head

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“Say!  I like green eggs & ham!  I do!  I like then, Sam-I-am! Green Eggs & Ham, Dr. Seuss

 

“If you could choose to master a single ingredient, no choice would teach you more about cooking than the egg. It is an end in itself; it’s a multipurpose ingredient; it’s an all-purpose garnish; it’s an invaluable tool.’ -Michael Ruhlman

“I love eggs so much!  I feel like my day hasn’t started until I have had my eggs.  I’m probably going to die from high cholesterol!” -Norah Jones

Every day, we are bombarded with marketing messages and half truths about many products or commodities.  Companies like to highlight the best and unique qualities of their offerings to make people become customers.  The marketplace is highly competitive and each company needs to stand out to consumers in some way.  Sometimes, companies and the general public even demonize products to make others look good.  For example, consider hygiene products.  Some commercials marketing body washes, toothbrushes, or shavers put down older, yet still effective products in their category.

One food that carries a bad reputation is the egg.  The egg has a rough and interesting history in nutrition.  Sometimes, it is seen as a gold standard of lean protein.  I’m sure you have heard the saying “the incredible, edible egg.”  Sometimes, the public has demonized eggs for their cholesterol content in the yolk.  They believed that the cholesterol in egg yolks raised blood cholesterol and lead to heart disease.

In fact, the bullied egg is just an egg.  It cannot take on properties such as good or evil.  It doesn’t think or do anything.  It’s just an object until people act upon it in some way.  In most cases, eggs can contribute to a healthy well rounded meal plan.  Some reasons why eggs are great include:

  • They provide a good source of lean protein; 7 grams per egg
  • They do not cost a lot
  • Each egg contains only 75 calories
  • They are low in salt
  • They are low in carbohydrates
  • They are extremely low in saturated fat
  • They are versatile and fit with many other foods

These benefits and nutrition facts are just the beginning.  I’m sure you get the picture so I won’t drone on about it.  The next question is, “How do I eat my eggs?  Here’s a list to get you started:

  • scrambled
  • fried
  • overeasy
  • “sunny side up”
  • in an omelet
  • on whole grain toast
  • over whole grain oatmeal.

Eggs can be a tasty and versatile addition to a healthy, well rounded meal plan.  They are easy to cook and do not cost much.  Be wary of the reputation(s) the public puts on certain foods.  They are not always accurate.  As Always, Easy, Move, and Improve!

Kitchen= A Cooking Lab

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“The kitchen’s a laboratory, and everything that happens there has to do with science. It’s biology, chemistry, physics. Yes, there’s history. Yes, there’s artistry. Yes, to all of that. But what happened there, what actually happens to the food is all science.” Food critic-Alton Brown

No-one is born a great cook, one learns by doing” – Chef Julia Child

“It is important to experiment and endlessly seek after creating the best possible flavors when preparing foods. That means not being afraid to experiment with various ingredients.” – Chef Rocco DiSpirito

Every now and again, I get inspired in the kitchen.  I look at things a different way and want to experiment.  I come up with concoctions that some people would consider weird or odd.  But, to my surprise they come out quite tasty!  For example, I make a  cookies and cream protein shake in a shaker bottle with milk and ice after my workouts.  One day, I decided to blend my same shake with a scoop of hazelnut chocolate spread. It came out AMAZING!  I was wowed by the taste and texture change!  Another time, I needed to make a quick meal.  We had cooked noodles already, but I wasn’t feeling red sauce.  Instead, I mixed 1 tablespoon with a few shakes of garlic powder, minced onion, and parmesan cheese.  Viola, homemade garlic parmesan pasta sauce!

I’m sure most people would say these recipes are too simple or easy to make.  But, I just want to make a point here.  You can view your kitchen as a science lab.  You see, cooking is a form of science.  Different cooking methods use heat, cooling, mixing, blending, and others to create chemical and physical changes to the ingredients.  When these ingredients react and/ or interact with each other, the possible combinations are endless!

Long story short, cooking is a skill.  Anyone can learn the skill.  It comes with trial and error.  It’s ok to move out of your comfort zone in the kitchen.  Trying something new can be an exciting experience.  That’s how you can get better.  The resulting dishes you make may surprise you!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

*Readers: Have you ever cooked up anything in the kitchen that was new to you?  How did it go?  Comment below and let us know your experiences!*

Veg Out

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“The easiest diet, you know, is eat vegetables.  Eat fresh food, just a really healthy sensible diet like the ones you read about all the time” -Drew Carey

“If it came from a plant, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don’t“-Michael Pollan

“Soups are a great way to introduce a lot of vegetables [to kids]. Stir-fries, too, because they contain so many different shapes and colors.” Emeril Legasse

I got it all the time from patients and clients.  It became an excuse I expected.  You’re not the only one to think it.  I’m positive you have said to yourself:  “I just do not like vegetables alone.  I can’t stomach fresh vegetables by themselves.”  While I admit vegetables are not the tastiest or most appetizing foods, I don’t deny the value they bring to a diet.  Plant foods, especially vegetables, add many health benefits to a well rounded diet.  High in nutrients, vegetables help protect against disease, especially cancer and cardiovascular disease.  They are very low in calories so they do not promote weight gain.  In fact, they fill you up quickly and may help promote weight loss!

If you do not like vegetables on their own, there is still hope.  veggies are one of the most versatile food groups.  They can be eaten alone or made with other dishes mixed or cooked in.  Try out these strategies and stick with your favorites:

  1. Add chopped vegetables on top of a thin crust cheese pizza (limit pieces of pizza)
  2. Cook them in a soup/ broth
  3. Add chopped vegetables to your pasta sauce
  4. Blend them in your morning smoothie
  5. Mix vegetables in a cold pasta salad
  6. Add them to your eggs/ omelets
  7. Add them to your favorite low fat sandwich
  8. Mix cooked vegetables into a rice dish
  9. Cook vegetables in a slow cooker with your favorite lean meat
  10. Dip vegetables in your favorite hummus

This list is only a start.  Play with the idea.  Be creative.  Someone just like you came up with the ideas above.  There are no rules really.  Make it a point to add vegetables to your daily routine.  As Always Eat, Improve, and Improve!

Top 10 Ways to Cut Calories

It’s common knowledge that to lose weight, one must burn off more calories than they take in.  People get encouraged often to “cut” calories out of their day.  However, sometimes people do not know where to cut these extra calories.  For starters, take a look at this list:

  1. Eat smaller portions
  2. Add vegetables
  3. Limit snack foods
  4. Drink more water
  5. Drink less sugary beverages
  6. Drink more water
  7. Eat at home more often
  8. Eat more grilled foods
  9. Limit desserts
  10. Limit fried foods

If you have more questions on how to lose weight, or these fail, consult a dietitian.  They are trained to identify extra calories and suggest alternatives.  Did I miss any? Share your favorite ways to cut calories in the comments below!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

            Happy early St. Patrick’s Day everyone!  This is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  I love the color green and am proudly 25% Irish.  And, who couldn’t forget the fact about the great food and green beer?

            Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is an awesome day.  However, like all holidays, it can be a recipe for disaster.  If you are trying to lose weight, bring down your blood pressure, or just be healthier, this holiday may turn into a minefield.  There are temptations all over the place!  Before you go grab a corned beef sandwich, shamrock shake, or shepherd’s pie, be cautious.  Most traditional St. Patrick’s Day foods are riddled with calories, fat, and salt! 

            So, what to do?  Totally disregard this holiday?  I wouldn’t go that far.  Here are some ideas for a healthier St. Patty’s Day celebration:

  • Get all decked out: Dress up!  Wear all green and wear festive accessories to celebrate this holiday. 
  • Spend time with your family.  Holidays are a great opportunity to get together and share in each other’s company. 
  • Enjoy nature!  Hopefully, where you are winter has run its course and it’s finally green outside.  Take a walk in the park or run through the trails in the forest.
  • Finally, cook something healthy and green.  There are so many great recipes online you can check out.  Some examples include green smoothies, garden salads, green peppers, broccoli, spinach & eggs, and even green mac & cheese.  Check out this website for more!

 

http://greatist.com/health/healthy-green-recipes-st-patricks-day

 

Keep working to eat, move, & improve!

 

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right!

March is National Nutrition Month!  This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”. Taste has been shown to be the #1 factor in our food choices.  Our likes and dislikes are so unique and personal to us.  There is also almost an infinite amount of foods and tastes we can choose from.  

Did you know that out tongue only accounts for 20% of our taste?  It can only recognize 5 different tastes:

  1. Umami (savory)
  2. Salty
  3. Bitter
  4. Sweet
  5. Sour

Our nose does the rest!  With our nose and any combination of these 5 tastes, there are endless possibilities!  So, to celebrate National Nutrition Month, try something new and explore your tastes.  Try new recipes.  Try new exotic foods.  Give some of these foods a try:

  • Hummus
  • Salsa
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Guacamole
  • Stir fry
  • Edamame
  • Mango
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Pineapple
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Greek Yogurt
  • & Many more!

For healthy & tasty recipes, try these sites:

cookinglight.com

allrecipes.com

sparkrecipes

heart.org

 

 

Be Food Safe

This post is the 9th in a series of 10 named “10 Simple Steps To Make Good Habits More Delicious” from the Sport, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Group.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans stresses that food safety is important when preparing foods.  When cooking, it is important to prepare foods correctly in order to prevent bacterial growth and the spread of germs.  Food poisoning can be very harmful (& painful).  It has been reported each year that 76 million Americans have been affected by foodborne illness, including 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.  Here are 5 principles to prevent foodborne illness from affecting you and your loved ones:

  • Clean: Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards before and after contact with any raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Separate: Keep raw meat and poultry away from foods that will not be cooked.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your cooked foods.  You can’t always tell if the food is safe just by how it looks.  Most meats need to be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.  Chicken and leftovers need to be cooked to 165.
  • Chill: Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours and keep the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.  Keep the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Avoid Cross Contamination: Use separate cutting boards for meats & vegetables so that bacteria is not transferred!

As Always, Trust Your Gut!