Best selling author, seventh generation Texan, Jolene’s life, much like her stories, is filled with faith, family, laughter, dirty dishes and all of life's wonderful messiness. She knows that, as much as the world changes, people stay the same. Good and evil. Vow-keepers and heart breakers. Jolene married a vow-keeper who showed her that holding hands and dancing in the rain never gets old. When not creating strong heroines and wounded heroes, she teaches art at an inner city high school. She shows her students the world and they teach her about life. Writer of romance. Mother of four. Teacher of art. Jolene is a lover of life.
First of all you can not get high from hemp. Even though hemp and marijuana are both made from the Cannabis plant, hemp seeds contains less than a trace of THC which is the psychoactive substance in marijuana.
What hemp does have is a complete source of protein, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids. Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom. Quinoa is the only other example of a complete, plant-based protein I can think of. Hemp seeds are also rich in healthy fats. They have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 along with good amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.
Whole hemp seeds are high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. This is great stuff for your digestive health. I made the mistake of buying shelled hemp seeds. They have less than 1g of fiber, but all the other good stuff.
Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the gut. It is a valuable source of nutrients for the beneficial digestive bacteria, and may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to fecal matter and may help food and waste pass through the gut. Consuming insoluble fiber has also been linked with a reduced risk of diabetes.
This is great stuff for your digestive health. I made the mistake of buying shelled hemp seeds. They have less than 1g of fiber.
This week I will be adding three tbs of hemp seeds to one of my smoothies every day.
This is one I had today:
Three tbs of hemp
one cup kale
one cup red & black grapes
one cup frozen blueberries
one cup unsweetened almond milk
I threw it all in my Ninja for about 40 seconds. I like the bites of graped you can see in the smoothie.
I had a hard time finding healthy foods that start with H. Did I miss one? Do you know of any healthy H foods
Let’s all pretend it is still April 8 and we can talk about healthy foods that start with the letter G. Yes, in today’s A to Z Blogging Challenge it is all about the G. In my research for the perfect G food, I came across a receipe that had a sauce of ginger and grapes over garlic chicken. I added fennel and Greek yogurt and claimed it as my own. I tested it on my teenage sons. They ate it and came back for more! They said they liked the “sweet” flavor of the chichen.
First let’s look at Garlic. If my parents were cooking on the stove or over the fire pit, garlic was on the menu. We grew our own garlic. (well, they grew garlic and I ate it) They used it like other people used salt. You should too.
Garlic has some serious health benifts. It is credited with bolster immuity and keeping joints healthy. It is well documented that garlic is cardioprotective along with being an
Now ginger is new to me. I’ve always thought it was interesting, but had no idea what to do with the twisted root. A little will go a long way and you can store it in the freezer. Use it with fish, chicken, salad dressing. Anywhere you want to put a little snap to the flavor of your dish. It can be tasty in a smoothie also.
I love my Triple Zero Greek Yogurt in my smoothies so I thought it might make a good base for the chicken to keep it moist. That is when I discovered that my large 32 oz of yogurt was empty! This is very telling people. In the past when I would buy yogurt we never ate the whole thing – it would end up going bad. So to find it all gone, well that is evidence to our life style change. I ran to my H.E.B and found they were out also. So after ten minutes of reading and comparing lables I went with Stonyfield Organic Nonfat Greek Yogurt. Why did I spend so much time reading the lables?
Yogurt has been marketed as a health food and in it’s basic for it is. Conventional yogurt is rich in protein, calcium & potassium. The Greek varieties knocks it out of the park with double protein but half the sodum and carbohydrates of regular yogurt.
Now a word about this HEALTHY food. It is healthy as long as compnies are not adding to the natural yogurt. Look at the sugar amount on the lable if it is 10g or higher put it back on the shelf. Yogurt might naturally have up to 9g of sugar, if it has more than that the healthy food has been contaminated. You have to read the lable.
The good thing about raw fruit? You don’t have to worry about the added ingrdeents (well other than pestacides). The main stay of this sauce was organic seedless grapes (green, red and black)
Grapes are a healthy choice for people who are looking to cut calories or reduce fat. Each 1-cup serving contains only 62 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. A cup of grapes also provides you with some protein, fiber, and has only 15.78 grams of carbohydrate.
Dark grapes have anthocyanins. It’s what gives them their color; the darker the fruit, the higher the anthocyanin content. A natural antioxidant, anthocyanins protect your body from damage from free radicals produced as your body breaks down food, reducing the risk of cell damage and death and potentially slowing down the aging process. A study published in the 2010 “Annual Review of Food Science and Technology” found that anthocyanins may help reduce inflammation and cancer activity, alleviate diabetes and control obesity. Yes, I will be adding more grapes to my diet.
Antioxidents: We hear that word a great deal. A study published in “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine” in July 2013 said that grapes may prevent oxidative damage because of the antioxidants and antiglycation that are found in the little fruits. Glycation is a protein cross-linking process that leads to harmful consequences, which may contribute to the development of many age-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Man, grapes are sounding better and better.
So I made this Glazed Chichen with Grapes, Ginger, Garlic & Fennel
6 thinly sliced skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 TBS olive oil
Freshly ground Himalayan Pink Salt & Black Pepper
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1/5 cup of nonfat organic Greek yogurt (no sugar added)
3 cups of seedless grapes ( 1 c. red, 1 c. green 1 c. black)
TBS fresh Fennel
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 TBS honey
1 1/2 bold spicy mustard
Make sauce: The yogurt, grapes, ginger, fennel go into the blender. It will be a beautuful pink color. Whisk in honey and mustard.
.Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Run chicken with the oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Place in the roasting dish with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Marinate for ten minutes.
Heat oil in saute pan ( I actully used cocunut oil here) over medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides. Return the cooked chicken back to the pan (I use a stone roaster from Pampered Chef)
Cook for fifteen mintes, uncovered, until chicken is cooked and tender.
In a clean saute pan heat remaining sauce over low heat until thickened. Drizzle over cooked chicken and serve. (confession – It was getting late so I just poured the remaining sauce over the chicken for the last 10 minutes in the oven.) The drizzling probably looks better.
So I’m looking for more ginger recipes. Do you have one? What about G…what’s your favorite healthy food that starts with G?
If I hurry this post will be for April 7th, the day of F in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. For our healthy foods there is one that brings to mind sweet childhood memories and another that is all new to me.
When my parents moved us back to the Texas Hill Country the twenty-seven acre property they bought, included a fig and peach tree. I remember people coming to fill bags of fresh fruit. My mom would make preserves, but they still produced so much fruit she was always giving it away. Along with their quarter acre garden and chickens we always had fresh food. Any heath issues I have now I can not blame on my childhood. Memories like these make me wish I could thank my parents for so many things I took for granted, but I digress.
Figs: These little fruits are high in vitamin A, K & C along with a gram of fiber in one fig. Just a few can give you about 20% of the RDA. For their size, figs are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat. Not only are figs high in fiber, but they deliver potassium and magnesium also. Figs and fig leaves a have been shown to help prevent chronic diseases and help in weight management. Be careful if you are on a low sugar or low carb diet. To much of a good thing can be bad for you. You might need to limit their intake or you will lose the health benefits of eating figs. (Fig Newtons do not count as a health food. just FYI).
Oh, flaxseed. How did I not know about you? So so tiny yet so full of good stuff. The flaxseed has one of the largest nutrient payoff for it’s size. Did you know they have over 100 times more phytonutrients than oats, wheat bran, or buckwheat? What phytonutrients? ( I had to look it up).By Laura Dolson Low Carb Diets Expert, says, “Phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals, are compounds found in plants (apart from vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients) that have a beneficial effect the body. There are over 30,000 of them, yet only 100 have been analyzed and tested. Phytonutrients are what defend and protect our trillions of cells from disease. They have similar effects as an antioxidant, boosting the immune system, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and cellular repair. Along with flaxseed, highly colored vegetables and fruits tend to be highest in these chemicals, but tea, chocolate, nuts, and olive oil are also great sources of phytochemicals as well.”
So throw some in your smoothie! Make sure you blades chop them so they don’t wash straight through you. You can also grind them right before you eat them to make sure all the nutrients are easily available to your system.
While it’s not technically a grain, it hangs out well with them in the vitamin and mineral data, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax well, doesn’t compare.
To make it even better, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. All of this makes it a great food for weight loss and maintenance.
But wait there is more! Flax Seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
I add a couple of tablespoon to almost all of my smoothies. Here is one I tried with figs! It was delicious, maybe even one of my favorites.
1.5 cops of fresh Spinach
1 cup of frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons Triple Zero Greek Yogurt
one cup of unsweetened almond milk
Okay, so bring on the F foods I forgot and if you have a favorite flaxseed or fig smoothie share please!
Today in our A to Z blogging challenge we have E. Eggs come in a perfect package that can even help your garden grow (composting). Eggs have gotten a bad reputation for causing high cholesterol. It’s been claimed that because of the level of cholesterol in the egg, they must be bad for the heart.
There has been several research projects in recent years that examined the relationship between egg consumption and the risk of heart disease.
Guess what they found? Yep, they found no association between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke. Even with the yellow part. Go figure.
What we do know is that eggs are a high protein food and protein is the most fulfilling macro-nutrient.
This little package has only 77 calories, but delivers 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of the good fats.
Eggs are the beginning of life and contain a little bit of almost every nutrient we need. This just might make them the perfect food.
Along with all that protein, a single egg contains
Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
Folate: 5% of the RDA.
Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.
Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.
Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.
Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
Eggs also have decent amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Zinc.
Eggs contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so our bodies are well equipped to make full use of the protein in them.
Getting enough protein in our diet is tough and there are some studies that indicate that the current recommendation may be too low. Eating adequate protein can also help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pressure, optimize bone health and keeping eyes healthy. Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body. So eat an egg.
Go ahead and get a couple of eggs, scramble, boil, poach or fry them. My favorite might be served in a breakfast taco (corn tortilla) turkey bacon and avocado.
This sounds like the beginning of a great adventure. Day four in the A to Z Blogging Challenge brings us the letter D. At first all I could find were Dandelion Greens. (Yes, I’m making a face) If you like them, well… that’s good and you should keep eating those bitter green stems. I hear they’re good with eggs. (My mother taught me not to gag.) I would rather spend time talking about dragons, dry wine and dark chocolate.
I had seen dragon fruit in the store but it looks so exotic I had no idea what to do with it, so I waked right past. With the challenge I wanted to take pictures of it and I went to on-line videos on-line. What did I find? It is one incredible fruit that is easier to use than it looks. It also has a very mild flavor (between a kiwi and melon).
Before we get the knife and dig in, lets look at everything this gorgeous fruit can do for you.
Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C and fibers that help provide an overall healthy body. Dragon fruit boosts immune system and promotes healing of wounds and cuts.
Because of the richness in fibers, Dragon fruit aids in the digestion of food. We have learned how important this is to a healthy body and weight loss. Studies also suggest that Dragon fruit promotes the growth of pro-biotics.
Dragon fruit can help lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes. Studies also suggest that the the glucose found in Dragon fruit aids in controlling the blood sugar level for diabetes patients.
Dragon fruit prevent formation of cancer causing free radicals.
Dragon fruit helps to control cholesterol level. Dragon fruit is also rich in flavonoids that are known to have favorable effects against cardio related disease.
Dragon fruit improves eye sight.
Dragon fruit improves memory.
Wow! So why have I waited do long to try it?
With the mighty dragon flying into my kitchen you would think I’d be done with the Dd, but there is more! I am loving my smoothies, but enjoying a meal is still important. Remember I’m in this for the long haul so I need to be able to sustain this new lifestyle.
This evening when I got home the sun was just starting to set and the breeze was cool, so we grabbed a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon along with some dark chocolate, strawberries and raspberries. Now set back and relax. Yes, wine (the dry kind has the most health benefits.) It does have to be a dry. Here’s a list:
In the Mediterranean diet, wine has also long been considered one of the key health-promoting components.Some population-based studies point to a relationship between wine intake and improvements in insulin sensitivity. When your body is more efficient at using carbs, you will have better health and easier fat loss.
It’s not about red or white, it has more to do with dry or sweet. Dry wines have a lower sugar count. Sorry to say for many of the fruity wine lovers that dry wines generally have less than 1 gram (g) of carbohydrates (sugars) per ounce while the carb content of sweet wines can be upwards of 1.5 to 2g per ounce. Yes, it seems the dry wine is the good guy.
Healthy living in not about starvation and denial – it’s about finding balance and moderation. Pour a glass of your favorite wine, and munch on some berries with the dark chocolate. The mix of flavors on your taste buds is divine.
So when it comes to Dds what did I miss? Any favorite treats or places that just make life better?
Good Monday morning to you! It is April 4 and the third day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge and we have the letter C. Today I’m exploring some classics and some new-to-me foods.
Coconut comes in the dry form or the fresh brown shell. I’ve never been able to eat the crispy white flakes that come in a bag. If you want to stop me from eating a cookie or cake, sprinkle some of that…stuff on it and (shudder) I won’t touch it. Now the fresh coconut is a whole other story. Don’t let the hard shell stop you from buying one of these babies at the store. They are easy to open and use.
Using a Philips screw-driver with a hammer or a wine bottle opener make holes in the three “eyes” of the coconut. Use a cup or bowl and drain out all the water. Some have mistakenly called this liquid coconut milk – but that is a different product that is make with the coconut flesh. Once all the water is out place the coconut in the per-heated oven (350) for 10 to 12 minutes. This helps pop the flesh right off the shell after you smash it. Smashing it can be fun. Either hit it with a hammer a bunch of times or throw it down hard against a concrete floor. It should break easily into several pieces. It will be good for about a week in your refrigerator.
You can use a cork-screw or a Philips screw-driver with a hammer to punch holes in the three “eyes” of the coconut.
The water doesn’t have the same nutritional value as the fruit, but it is a great way to add flavor to anything from a smoothie to rice. The Coconut itself contains a healthy portion of potassium that may help reduce stroke risk according to some research. It is high in fat and amino acids, which is good for muscle formation. If you’re losing weight you want to take care not to lose muscle. When you add it to your smoothie or sprinkle it over a salad the small amount of fat makes the nutrients of the other fruits and veggies more bio-available.
Carrots are a “mom” veggie. One of the vegetables she told you to eat along with broccoli and spinach. Well, once again she was right. They are nutritional rock stars and now you can find them in reds, purples and yellow along with the tried and true orange.
Even though they taste sweet, carrots are low in sugar and have almost no fat. So they get a high score when you need something to chew on but don’t want a great deal of calories.
Slice them up and they can sweeten your smoothie.
Coconut/Carrot Smoothie: Perfect for a warm summer day.
orange beet (if you can’t stand the beet add pineapple or mango. If your goal is to bring down blood sugar level be careful of the pineapple)
One medium banana
One tb of organic Chia
Cup of unsweetened Almond/coconut milk
2 Tb of Oikos Triple Zero Greek yogurt (Vanilla)
1/2 of a fresh squeezed lemon.
I toss it in my Ninja for 35 seconds and I might even put it in the freezer for 30 min to get a really ice cold treat.
Something that is very new to me is chia seed. I had heard of chia tea, but didn’t really know what it was other than a new trending “health” kick. I have learned that despite their tiny size, this gift from mother nature packs an incredible amount of good-for-you nutrition. With just two tablespoons it will deliver 11 grams of fiber, four grams of protein, five grams of plant based omega-3 fatty acid and just about 20% of your daily calcium needs. So throw them into you smoothie or mix them with your oatmeal and yogurt. That little crunch will add up to a lot of nutrient.
At my H.E.B I have found organic cocoa chia granola. For a snack on my drive home I’ll mix it with cashews or almonds. Maybe a little dried fruit. (again if you have blood sugar concerns be careful of dried fruit)
I have also discovered Mamma Chia granola mixes. They come in a variety of flavors. Two of my favorites are Vanilla Almond Clusters and Cinnamon Pecan Clusters. (noticed how I slipped in other C names? hehe).
This is the green layer for the smoothie on top of the post. I did add chia to the one in the picture, this one has flax seed. Top: Cucumbers, Green grapes, avocado, spinach, kiwi, fresh lemon, you could also add a bit of fresh coconut. I added unsweetened almond milk and blended for 30 to 40 seconds.
The bottom layer (purple): Frozen strawberries, blueberries, shredded beets (to taste or take them out), chia, Triple Zero Oikos Greek Yogurt and unsweetened almond milk.
There are so many C foods – do you have a favorite I left off or a smoothie using any of these foods. I’m always looking for a new smoothie to try. Have a great week.
Welcome to day two of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Today we are exploring healthy foods in the B column. The reason I put bacon in the title was not to tease you, but to bring out the point that living healthy is not about denial. It’s about making daily choices that benefit your body and mind. you can still enjoy the things that you love. Moderation is good.
I’m in this for the long haul so I want to able to maintain not destroy. I still cook real bacon to a crunchy crisp and eat a slice with my eggs every once in a while and I’ll add the bacon dripping to my potato salad…we don’t eat it that often so might as well make it right.
As I eat better and fill my body with rich foods of the earth I found I don’t really crave sweets or fatty foods as much. That might just be me. Check in with me next year and we’ll see how I’m doing.
Now back to the food of the day: Bananas, Berries & Beets.
You can’t go wrong with Bananas. They’re one of the most consumed fruit on the planet. They provide potassium and fiber and help the body absorb calcium, so they are perfect with that skim milk or almond milk smoothie. They also add a creamy texture, like the avocado.
They’re also a feel good fruit. Banana’s increase the level of dopamine, serotonin & nor-epinephrine…you know, the stuff that makes your brain happy. Yes, bananas can ward off depression. So instead of the gallon of ice cream eat a banana. At least cut one or two up and add to the ice cream. (and it will absorb the calcium)
If you’re looking for something with high benefits, but low calories pick up some berries! Blueberries are my favorite. They help maintain healthy levels of blood sugar even lowering it,(perfect fruit if your diabetic or just trying to lose weight) protects vision and improves memory. It is another brain food that helps keep your cognitive skills sharp. Along with all that, they provide vitamins C and K and manganese. The compounds that give them their beautiful vibrant color is linked with helping inflammation and building up your immune system. Blackberries also have much of these healthy characteristics and are high in fiber. (we love our fiber, but *side note* remember you need to drink plenty of water to help the body processes easier.)
BEETS!!! Beets? Yuck. Yes!! Beets are awesome in so many ways.
The betalain that gives the deep, rich red color of the beet is an antioxidant that could help ward off cancer and other diseases. It pretty much has a whole alphabet of vitamins, along with potassium boosting your immune system. The greens of the beets are good too. They carry a whopping 44 milligrams of calcium, so pair it with a banana (in a smoothie) and your bones will thank you.
With all that, we’re still not done with the beet. It has compounds that can lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. It helps your hard working muscles and joint relax. (anti-inflammatory) Yes, beets are worth the time. So find a way to eat them. They are jammed full of hard to get nutrients. If you don’t like smoothies, try roasting your beets or cut them very thin and add them to your salad with some bacon & walnuts.
To get this rich color you can’t add green to this smoothie.
1/2 Peeled and sliced beet
1 cup frozen organic organic blueberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 organic banana
1 Tb flax seed
1 cup Oikos Triple Zero Nonfat Greek Yogurt (Vanilla)
1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk
For the smoothie above
1 cup of organic spinach (fresh or frozen)
1 organic banana
1 cup of organic blueberries
1 hand full of organic blackberries
1/2 beet peeled and sliced
2 Tb Oikos Triple Zero Nonfat Greek Yogurt (Vanilla)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
For a note on color:
*Warning* When you mix colors opposite on the color they neutralize each other – you know, green & red, purple & yellow, orange & blue turn into browns, greys, & swamp water green. All those colors that look vibrant next to each other turn dirt colors when the blades mangle them together. That is way you see so many of my smoothies before the blend. 🙂
So do you have a favorite healthy B food I left out? Broccoli, beans, Brussels sprouts…