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!*

Happy Easter

This year, Easter Sunday is on Sunday, April 20 2014.  For most, this means Easter Baskets full of chocolate eggs, jelly beans, large chocolate Easter bunnies, and much more!  We also usually have a large Easter dinner meal.  Depending on your tradition, that could mean sliced ham, casseroles, hard boiled eggs, or, if you’re like my family, pasta and red sauce!  With all this great food and  good company, it can be easy to go overboard with the foods we eat.  Here are some tips to make your Easter healthier! 

Instead of candy in Easter baskets, try these:

  • Whole pieces of fruit
  • Bags of popcorn
  • Small toys
  • Granola Bars
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Fun books

If you are planning to eat a large Easter dinner, follow these tips:

  • Fill your plate only once
  • Drink water
  • Have a small meal a few hours before
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables

I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy Easter!

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

 

 

Do Your Research

Ok so you’ve decided to make a change in your life.  You want to lose weight, become healthier, or just learn some new things.  But, you wonder where to start.  In today’s day and age, we are bombarded by information.  We can find things on the internet, in the newspaper, or from our next door neighbor.  We can read blogs, research articles, news stories, take classes, or just read our facebook feed. With all this information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to determine fact from fiction.

So how do you determine what’s true and what’s not?  For the best results do your research.  Read up on a topic from several sources.  Pick from the most reliable sources in that field.  On the internet, anyone can all themselves a professional.  Make sure you are reading information from a reliable source. 

For starters, read articles from websites with endings such as .org, .edu, and .info.  Only read blogs and webpages from trusted professionals with reliable and science based credentials including and not limited to MD, CSCS, ACSM personal trainer, and RDs.  You wouldn’t get advice about nutrition from a computer professional, would you?

Better yet, contact a professional in your area.  We are always happy to provide information and guidance.  We can even work with you one on one and give you individual advice.

Check these great resources for science based information:

Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics: http://www.Eatright.org

American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org

American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org

American College of Sports Medicine: http://www.ACSM.org

National Strength & Conditioning Association: http://www.NSCA.com

 Everyday: Eat, Move, and Improve!

Be Wary of Fad Diets

This past month, U.S. News ranked the most popular diets from best to worst.  You can read them here: http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-overall-diets

Fad diets and special diets are popular for their promises for weight loss and a healthier life.  This is pertinent especially in January when everyone has made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.  However, some weight loss diets are more effective and safer than others.  Some weight loss diets are just downright wacky.  U.S. News ranked the Dash Diet, the TLC Diet, and the Mediterranean Diet as the best 3.  The worst 3 diets included the Dukan Diet, the Paleo Diet, and the Raw Food Diet.

Still having trouble choosing the correct diet for you?  Want to find out if a diet is a fad diet?  Here are some things to look for to find a fad diet:

  • If the diet promises rapid weight loss
  • If the diet does not recommend exercise
  • If the diet has special rules and regulations
  • If the diet claims to be a “scientific breakthrough”
  • If diet claims tend to be too good to be true

As Always, Trust Your Gut!

FIND YOUR DRIVE

Have you heard about the term motivation? You most likely have.  Motivation is our drive to action.  We can be driven by money, prizes, or rewards (external motivation).  We can also be driven by our inner thoughts, dreams, or goals (internal motivation).  Why am I speaking about motivation on a nutrition & exercise blog you ask??  Because, motivation determines ALL we do, especially eating right & exercising.

That’s right, we all have a certain degree of motivation toward eating right and becoming fit.  Everyone has a different motive.  It can go from becoming healthier to just fitting in an old pair of jeans.  It can go from losing 50 pounds to running a marathon.  Most importantly, you need to find YOUR DRIVE.

Find what moves you to action.  Find what you’re longing for.  Write it down.  Think on it every day.  Finally, ACT on it.  Work toward your goal daily and continually remind yourself of your inner drive.  Remind yourself of your drive on those hard days.  I guarantee you will have difficult days.  The secret is to stay hopeful and motivated on those them.  In the end, it will be worth it!

As Always, Trust Your Gut!