Where Trouble Melt Like Lemon Drops

LLemons are happy fruits. I love just having them around the kitchen. They bring sunshine indoors.  Lemons are to bring joy and happiness. Even Judy Garland as Dorthy, sings about troubles melting like lemon drops in Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Lemons bring happiness. The home remedies that use lemons are endless. They are one amazing little fruit. I’m going to freeze some lemon juice to add to my ice cold water. lemons-1
The health benefits of lemons are due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper,  calcium, iron,  magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and protein. Lemon is a fruit that contains flavonoids, which are composites that contain antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. It helps to prevent diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion and many other problems, as well as improving the skin, hair, and teeth. Wow, I need to start putting lemon in my water everyday.
lemon-2
Studies conducted at the American Urological Association highlight the fact that lemonade or lemon juice can eliminate the occurrence of kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, which prevents the formation of crystals.
Next time you make a smoothie, cut a lemon in half and squeeze some juice to perk it up.
kiwi smoothie a
Do you add lemon to your fish and chicken or maybe your water?  What is your favorite healthy L food?

 

 

 

Kale & Kiwi sitting in a tree…

K in healthy food gives us Kale and Kiwi
K in healthy food gives us Kale and Kiwi

No surprise that Kale and Kiwi are on the list of healthy foods. Kale is a dark green that packs more iron in a serving than beef (calorie for calorie). It’s rich in carotenoids lutein & zeaxanthin.

Okay, and that means???

Kale delivers these to the retinas and they absorb the sun’s damaging rays. The nutrients in kale have been shown to help bone health, aid in natural (non-stressful) detoxification and it may lower the risk of cancer.

kale-2
K in healthy food gives us Kale and Kiwi

It can get a little tough and bitter, so I take the stems off and with a little almond milk with smoothies or oil for salads you can “massage” the leaves to soften them. I also like the baby kale. Adding a fruit such as strawberries or kiwi helps too.

 

Kale is what's happening in healthy foods
Kale is what’s happening in healthy foods

Kiwi:

The fuzzy skin of a kiwi can be eaten the same way the fuzzy skin of a peach can be eaten. It’s great when mixed with other fruits such as strawberries, pineapple and banana.

Kiwi! Antioxidant protection, potassium, fiber, magnesium and zinc and lots of vitamin C
Kiwi! Antioxidant protection, potassium, fiber, magnesium and zinc and lots of vitamin C

It is actually a giant berry and has more vitamin C than an orange. It’s loaded down with fiber, vitamin E, polyphenolis, potassium, magnesium & zinc. And it is my nephew, Kennan Ward’s favorite fruit. (Kennan is another great thing that starts with K).

 

 

Kale, Kiwi  & Banana Smoothie

  • 2 kiwi, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup of kale
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • quarter of avocado (love the color)
  • handful of sliced almonds
  • Half a lemon squeezed into mixture
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt

kiwi-smoothie

 

 

 

 

And there you have K – as you can tell I substituted spinach for kale (I didn’t know I was out of kale). I think this might be one of my favorite smoothies. What about you? Do you have a favorite kale or kiwi recipe or maybe another food in the K family?

Hopping Jalapeno – They are good for you.

Healthy foods for J is Jalapeno
Healthy foods for J is Jalapeno

These mild peppers come with only 4 calories and just 0.91 gram of carbohydrates in a serving. If you looking for low-carb you can’t get any better. They also have less than a gram each of protein and fat.

What they do have is a rich amount of vitamin C and A. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that works to project cells from damage. Vitamin A is known for helping keep skin and eyes healthy.

Capsaicin is the stuff that makes your eyes water if you get too much. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
If you want the milder peppers avoid the older one with the white wrinkles. The older a pepper gets the hotter it gets. Just like us girls. 🙂

Jalapeno Peppers are mild on the heat level.
Healthy foods for J is Jalapeno

At first I was just going to give you a pepper popper recipe, but I thought there has to be a way to add them to my smoothie list. I have to confess when it comes to heat I’m a baby.

Split open de-seed and scrape the ribs out. Stuff with cream cheese and shrimp then wrap in bacon.
Split open de-seed and scrape the ribs out. Stuff with cream cheese and shrimp then wrap in bacon.

But with yogurt, vanilla and a bunch of blackberries a touch of zap is fun and refreshing. If you have a problems with the all the seeds in blackberry switch them out with cherries.

Blackberry & Jalapeno Smoothie

Blackberries, jalapeno and Greek yogurt
Healthy foods for J is Jalapeno
  • 1 cup of frozen blackberries (or cherries)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 jalapeno (scrape out insides and chop)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Vegan Smart Vanilla nutritional shake

 

 

 

I couldn’t think of any other J healthy foods. Can you and do you love jalapeno peppers or avoid them?

Ice Ice Baby, Can Ice Help You Lose Weight?

I for Ice. Yes it is a healthy food.
I for Ice. Yes it is a healthy food.

I LOVE ice. Crushed ice is the best. When I’m sick or sad I want ice. Ice helps me wake up in the morning. I eat ice the way some people need coffee. At work I start my day getting a large cup of ice.

If I start feeling sluggish I refill my mug of ice.

 

 

 

Ice water can speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat. (a little bit anyway)
Ice water can speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat. (a little bit anyway)

My favorite ice is from Sonic. I’m thinking many other people like it too because they started bagging it for sell. If I have good ice I will drink twice a much water.

So when I saw that drinking cold ice water could help with fat loss – well, I printed that baby up and put it in my healthy food file.

The science behind this claim? When the body is exposed to cold tempertures it will go into over drive to keep the core temputure at a nice warm 98.6 degrees. Metabolism will rev up it’s internal  heater to get your body back to toasty happy  tempture.

For every 16 ounce of ice water you can burn and extra 17 to 18 calories. It doesn’t sound like much, but for not getting on the bike it is extra calories you wouldn’t have burned otherwise. So yes, drinking ice waters burns more calories than are in the water & ice (hint: there are no calories in water or ice which iswater in solid form. More ice is more water). So if you are changing your diet and moving more, drinking ice water can give you a little edge.  I love it when something I crave has good benifits.

Do you love ice, crushed ice? I couldn’t think of any other I foods once I saw ice was good for you.

Health Benefits of Hemp

HFirst 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.

Hemp - an complete protien source and no, it can't make you high.
Hemp – an complete protien source and no, it can’t make you high.

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:

For my smoothie: Hemp, organic banana, organic kale, organic red and black grapes and organic frozen blueberries with unsweetened almond milk.
For my smoothie: Hemp, organic banana, organic kale, organic red and black grapes and organic frozen blueberries with unsweetened almond milk.
Smoothie with black & red grapes, kale, banana and unsweetened almond milk.
H in the A to Z Blogging Challenge

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

 

Garlic, Ginger, Grapes & Greek Yogurt does a Chicken Good

GLet’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

Galric and Ginger going on a dinner date. I added a little fennel and it got interesting.
Galric and Ginger going on a dinner date. I added a little fennel and it got interesting.

effective antiviral.

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 a healthy food choice - the darker the better
Grapes a healthy food choice – the darker the better
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
Galric and Ginger going on a dinner date. I added a little fennel and it got interesting.
  • 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
  1. Make sauce: The yogurt, grapes, ginger, fennel go into the blender. It will be a beautuful pink color. Whisk in honey and mustard.
  2. .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.
  3. 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)
  4. Cook for fifteen mintes, uncovered, until chicken is cooked and tender.
  5. 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?

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Give a Fig About Flaxseeds?

FIf 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).

Figs are full of vitamin A, C & K along with Fiber potassium and magnesium
Figs are full of vitamin A, C & K along with Fiber potassium and magnesium

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).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.

spinach, flaxseed, triple zero Greek yogurt and unsweetened almond milk
Figs are full of vitamin A, C & K along with Fiber potassium and magnesium
  • 1.5 cops of fresh Spinach
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 2 figs
  • 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!