Beat Winter Dehydration

Beat Winter Dehydration

Is it just me or is it easier to remember to drink your water in the summer?

Just because the temperatures have dropped, doesn’t mean your water intake can take a dip, too. Our hydration needs don’t change much in the winter months–our body functions still need water to make it function optimally.

In warm or cold weather, your body loses water the same way– through sweating, breathing and urinating. Whether you’re inside or outside, summer or winter, you’re losing water the same way and you need to hydrate the same way by making sure you’re drinking water. Exercise is an important way to not only stay fit, but detoxify your body though sweating. Replenishing your body with water after a workout is essential to restoring balance.

We are all different and have different activity levels, so the best real gauge of your own hydration status is your individual output. Hold on to your water here… this might get gross, but it’s important to know.

When you go to the bathroom, yellow urine means you need to drink more water, whereas clear or light yellow urine means you are well hydrated. Signs of dehydration are pretty easy to identify. Be aware of your body and catch them quickly. If you feel thirsty, have dry mouth, are light-headed, can’t focus well, feel tired or notice your skin is dry, then you need to drink more water.

Bottoms up!

How to Eat to Beat the Blues

How to Eat to Beat the Blues

The holidays are bearing down on us, and while this is a wonderful time of year for a good segment of the population, there are a lot of folks who find it difficult to cope with the hustle and bustle.

During the month of December, many people run around trying to do too much, spending more money than they should. The stress can start to take its toll!

For a lot of people, depression creeps in around the same time as the holidays. Maybe because of the stress of the holidays, maybe because the holidays aren’t particularly joyous for some reason or other or maybe because there isn’t as much sunlight as we need to get our feel good hormones. (This lack of sunlight leads to something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and affects roughly 5% of Americans.)

Now, if you’re feeling depressed, I would suggest you make an appointment with your doctor. Depending on the state of mind you’re in, you may be prescribed vitamin therapy, counseling and/or some sort of pharmaceuticals to help you out a bit.

When you’re feeling sad, it’s natural to reach for sugary foods that tell our brains we’re happy, but of course that’s not a great strategy, because once that “sugar rush” wears off, you end up feeling worse than you did before.

There are some foods you can start adding to your diet in the meantime that are known for their feel good effect on the body. Heck, whether you’re feeling blue or not, we could all use a pick-me-up, am I right?

The following tips may help you feel a little bit happier:

  • Ensure every meal contains complex carb-rich foods. Complex carbs perk up your brain’s energy center. Reach for healthy sources of carbs like squash, dark leafy greens, blueberries and dark-colored fruits. Make sure every meal has extra servings of these good sources of carbs.
  • Increase your intake of Vitamin B6. Low levels of Vitamin B6 may cause mild depression. Eat lots of fish, bananas, chicken, dark green veggies, and avocado to boost up your intake.
  • Eat two servings of folic-acid rich foods per day. Folate (folic acid) is also important to get more of when you’re feeling blue. Pile your plate high with broccoli, spinach or chard.
  • Eat fish. Mackerel contains fabulous acids that can elevate your mood.
  • Add Greek yogurt to your daily diet. The amino acids in yogurt help to regulate your stress hormones. But don’t eat the sweetened stuff! Plain only!

In addition to these dietary suggestions, you might also want to add some exercise to your daily routine. The world always looks a little bit better after a walk in the fresh air.

Fun with Fall Fruit

Fun with Fall Fruit

Can you feel the crispness in the fall air? The leaves are changing. The nights are colder. It’s sweater weather. It’s harvest time. I love this time of year. It’s finally cool enough to do some serious cooking without worrying about heating up your kitchen and the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables has never been better.

Let’s focus a bit on those fruits. Although they are great to eat just as Mother Nature created them, there are lots we can do to add some kick to our traditional meals as well. Have you ever tried chicken with apricots? How about pork chops with honey and apples? And adding an assortment of berries when roasting meats is simply divine!

Try baking up some of those apples. Just remove the core then add some raisins, a little honey and cinnamon in the empty space. Bake for thirty minutes at 350 degrees. YUM! And just think of all the calories you just saved yourself by skipping the traditional apple pie (save that for Thanksgiving).

Another fun way to serve up your fruitful bounty is in a Fall Fruit Salad. I’ve included a recipe for you below but feel free to get creative with this one. Add or subtract fruits to your heart’s content. For a flavor that is more tart try adding some dried cranberries. You can add some extra crunch with a few almonds or even chopped celery. There’s no limit to the fun you can have with your fall fruit.

 

Print Recipe
Fall Fruit Salad
Course Desserts, Salads
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Desserts, Salads
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the apple, pear, peach and grapes.
  2. Toss with yogurt and chill.
  3. Stir in the walnuts just before serving so the walnuts will maintain their crunch. You can also garnish this with mint if desired.
Treat Yourself with Tangerines

Treat Yourself with Tangerines

It’s citrus season in the Untied States-that time of year when you can find those little citrus sweeties all over the grocery store. Tangerines are in season from November through April.

There are three major types of tangerines that we tend to find here in the western hemisphere: tangerines (tangerine is a type of tangerine), mandarins, and tangelos. These cute little fruit are smaller than oranges, and they also tend to be easier to peel because the peels are much looser, so they make a wonderful snack. Kids love them and, really, who doesn’t?

You start finding tangerines around Thanksgiving. The most common tangerine varieties we find here are Dancy and Fairchild.

Mandarins are known for their exquisite sweet flavor and their light orange color. Satsuma, Clementine, Royal and Honey are the most commonly found varieties of mandarin in the US.

Tangelos are very juicy and have quite a mild flavor. A hybrid between a tangerine and a grapefruit, tangelos aren’t as sweet as the other types of tangerines.

There’s a lot of nutrition packed into these small orange fruits.

A single tangerine contains:

1 gram of protein
2 grams of fiber
45% of the Vitamin C you need for the day
6% of your RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) of Vitamin A
4% of your RDA of calcium, magnesium and potassium
2% of your RDA of manganese, copper, phosphorus and zinc

Tangerines also contain notable amounts of: Vitamin B6, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin and riboflavin.

So much goodness in these yummy little guys!

I love tangerine segments in green salads and they’re divine in coleslaw (really!), but don’t forget to pop out the seeds!

Print Recipe
Mandarin Orange Teriyaki Chicken Salad
Half of a peeled Mandarin Orange on a white marble surface
Course Salads
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Half of a peeled Mandarin Orange on a white marble surface
Instructions
  1. In a large zipper-topped plastic bag, combine chicken and teriyaki sauce; seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Drain and discard marinade.
  3. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; add chicken; cook and stir for 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink; transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  4. In a large bowl, combine salad greens, frisee, chicken, oranges, carrot, almonds and green onion.
  5. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine remaining ingredients; shake well and drizzle over the salad; toss gently to coat.
Recipe Notes

NUTRITION per serving: 299 Calories; 13g Fat; 25g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 49mg Cholesterol; 1066mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 2 Fat. Points: 6

Getting creative with pumpkin

Getting creative with pumpkin

With the end of November comes the end of pumpkin season. You know what that means-we need to make the most out of this year’s harvest because you just can’t find a good pumpkin any other season!

Why not challenge yourself to see how many ways you can enjoy pumpkin this week?

Let me give you a few ideas to start with:

Appetizer: Pumpkin soup, anyone?  For bonus points, serve the soup in half of a hollowed out, roasted squash. How pretty would soup in a squash bowl be on the Thanksgiving table this year?

Main: Make dinner in a pumpkin! First, cut off the top of the pumpkin and hollow it out as if you were making a jack-o-lantern. Sauté some diced onions until they’re soft, and then brown some meat in the same pan. Stir in some sliced mushrooms; coconut aminos; leftover rice, cauli-rice, or quinoa; water chestnuts; diced tomatoes . . . get creative! When everything in the pan is nice and hot, spoon the mixture into the hollow pumpkin. Put the stuffed pumpkin on a baking sheet and put its hat back on it. Bake in a 350-degree oven for an hour or so. At serving time, put the pumpkin on a serving plate and scoop out servings. The roasted pumpkin counts as your vegetable for this innovative one-pot dish!

Side Dish: Make miniature, single-serving stuffed pumpkins using a similar recipe as above, but use smaller pie pumpkins and serve one to each dinner guest. These would make perfect side dishes for your Thanksgiving Dinner.

Dessert: There are so many ways to use pumpkin in desserts. I’ve shared a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake on my YouTube channel, and it is one of our family favorites. But you can find recipes for everything from pumpkin bread pudding to pumpkin donuts if you search Google for five minutes!

Smoothies: I have a great pumpkin smoothie recipe below!

So, get creative in that kitchen with those fresh pumpkins in savory and sweet dishes! Pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin brownies….

Here’s that recipe for pumpkin smoothie:

Print Recipe
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
orange smoothie in a glass with a blue straw on a table next to a small decorative pumpkin
Course Smoothies
Cuisine Smoothie
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Course Smoothies
Cuisine Smoothie
Servings
serving
Ingredients
orange smoothie in a glass with a blue straw on a table next to a small decorative pumpkin
Instructions
  1. In a blender, place all ingredients; blend until smooth and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

It's ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is preferred.

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10 Fall Super Foods

10 Fall Super Foods

Harvest time is like Christmas for me. So many delicious and healthy foods are in season that I can hardly eat enough to get in all the foods I want to eat. I’m popping these Fall superfoods into my smoothies (sweet potatoes), soups (pumpkin), and desserts (pears).

I like to bulk up on all of the healthiest foods I can this time of year to help get my immune system in tip-top shape for cold and flu season.

There are plenty of superfoods in season during the fall, so buy them frequently and eat them often!

Here are ten of my favorite fall superfoods:

 

Pomegranates.

Pomegranate juice is full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and folate. Either juice those gorgeous red orbs inside the pomegranate fruit or sprinkle them on your salads.

 

Pumpkins.

Full of fiber, B vitamins, and potassium, pumpkin is a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s not just for pie! Add cooked pumpkin to your smoothies, soups, and chilli. Why not?

 

Apples.

Not only crunchy and sweet, apples are rich in antioxidants and high in fiber. An apple a day is great for you, but choose organic. Apples are high on the Dirty Dozen list.

 

Brussels sprouts.

One of my favorite of all superfoods, Brussels sprouts contain loads of Vitamin K, folate, and iron. As long as you don’t overcook them, brussels taste absolutely out of this world.

 

Parsnips.

A good source of fiber and potassium, parsnips resemble carrots, but they have a sweeter flavor and a much lighter color. I love parsnips pureed in soups or roasted with other root vegetables as a side dish.

 

Pears.

This sweet and juicy superfood has 4 whole grams of fiber per serving. It’s also a good source of copper and Vitamin C. If you’ve never tried a baked pear, you don’t know what you’re missing.

 

Cauliflower.

This cruciferous veggie may help prevent cancer and lower cholesterol. It’s a great source of Vitamin C. Cauliflower is fantastic as a low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes or rice.

 

Squash.

Butternut squash, acorn squash…. so many squashes! I love them all. Squash is a great source of Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. I use squash in soups and as side dishes frequently through the fall.

 

Sweet potatoes.

Chock full of Vitamin A, iron, and anti-inflammatories, I love sweet potatoes. Why cook their white counterparts when you can get so much more nutrition from these guys?

 

Cranberries.

Rich in Vitamins C and E, potassium, iron, and folate, these antioxidant-filled berries are one of the healthiest things you can eat. Use them in your smoothies, cocktails, oatmeal, salsa… anywhere you can fit them, do it 🙂

 

I just love eating beautiful food. Don’t you?

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