By: Leanne Ely
I shared some tips with you a couple weeks ago about grilling meats but there’s more to summer barbecue season than burgers and steaks!
Why turn on the stove to cook your veggies when you have a perfectly good hot grill already prepped? Never mind the fact that grilled veggies and fruits taste like something out of Heaven — if you know how to cook them properly!
Here are some of my best produce grilling tips:
Don’t use your veggie peeler. Don’t peel your vegetables before you grill them. Another reason why you need to buy organic produce! You’ll lose the nutrients and much of the flavor if you peel your veggies before they hit the grill. You’ll also get a smokier flavor if you leave the peels on. Remember the clean fifteen list and the dirty dozen when you’re trying to decide where to invest in organic produce.
Precook. Some hardier veggies need a bit of precooking to shorten the time they must spend on the grill. These types of vegetables would include: asparagus, broccoli, beets, artichokes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash and potatoes. Steam them or blanch them until they are only slightly tender, then pat them dry and cook them on the grill. That extra step will make sure the outside and inside of those sturdy veggies are cooked evenly. Vegetables like peppers, onions, eggplant, fennel, tomatoes and summer squash can be grilled raw.
Oil them. Rub a tiny little bit of olive oil (not extra virgin) or coconut oil on your veggies before you grill them. This will help prevent them from sticking to the grill, and it will also help keep them from drying out. Just a little bit because if there’s oil dripping from the food, you’ll experience flare ups.
Soak your fruits. Before grilling fruits, try drizzling them with honey or maple syrup, or soaking them in liquor. Talk about a flavor burst! Especially if you’ll be serving grilled pineapple or pears for dessert. Yes you can grill pears! You can also grill apples, watermelon and peaches. Reach for fruit that is firm and just barely ripe for your best options in fruit grilling.
Indirect heat. When grilling fruits and veggies, you want moderately hot coals or indirect heat. You may need to move them around throughout the cooking process to make sure they cook evenly.
Stick it to them. Skewers are great tools for grilling veggies. It’s tempting to make beautiful kabobs out of meat and veggies but if you want to ensure even cooking, skewer all the same type of veggie per skewer. Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, chunks of onion and pineapple are all wonderful cooked on skewers.
Use packets. Some veggies don’t lend themselves well to skewers or grill baskets. Peas, beans, sliced peppers, etc. For these lovely foods, try making a packet out of tin foil and cook them that way. This is also a good way to cook potatoes, or to cook other veggies with a sauce or topping of some sort.
There you have it.
Have I missed anything? Do you have anything to add?
by: Leanne Ely
Winter is here!
There may be snow on the ground, there is colder weather, lots of soups and stews, and then of course the stuffed up noses. It all sounds great until you’re blowing your nose every two seconds and your throat could pass for sandpaper. And if all that wasn’t enough, your lungs have to fight the losing battle of a cough so aggressive you feel as though the wind is constantly being knocked out of you.
Sometimes these are just symptoms of a small cold, but other times they could be the flu (and you’ll be able to tell since the flu symptoms are nearly 10 times harsher than a simple cold). But let’s look at some home remedies for these health violators before resorting to chugging a bottle of Dayquil.
We all know that vitamin C is a good thing to keep in your system when fighting a cold. You can make sure of that by taking your daily vitamins and maybe increasing the dosage of vitamin C for the duration of the cold or flu. A great herb to help combat your cold is Echinacea. Echinacea is a notable immune system booster and will also help take up arms against the germs with your white blood cells to help insure a victory.
There are also some very standard steps to taking care of yourself that I think we often neglect and opt to buy medicine instead. According to WebMD you must: blow your nose, rest, gargle, and shower. You have to blow your nose regularly because half the time we’ll only blow our noses when we can no longer breathe out of them, but try to do it a couple times an hour to keep that mucus out of your system. Stay rested because your body won’t have enough energy to keep to your regular routine while fighting off a sickness. I once got over a cold by simply spending an entire day in bed, drinking tons of water and sleeping a lot instead of pushing myself. Believe me it works.
Next time you feel a cold coming, get the upper-hand and try all the above. And I’ll leave you with one last little tip. If you have a sore throat that is distractingly painful and you lose your voice, I would recommend an herbal throat coat. Traditional Medicinals tea makes a great throat coat. Steep it and throw in some honey, you’ll feel noticeably better right away. It’s my quick fix if I need immediate relief. I wish you all a natural victory in this upcoming cold war!
If your mood’s out of whacka, try some maca
By: Leanne Ely
Maca is a root that belongs to the radish family. It hails from Peru, where it has long been valued for its health benefits. Nowadays, the rest of the world is catching on to the wonder of maca.
Used for everything from boosting libido to relieving symptoms of menopause, maca is quite the item to have in your natural medicine cabinet. Maca contains tons of minerals and vitamins, including B12, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron and magnesium. Over the centuries, maca has been believed to:
• Increase *ahem* endurance (wink wink)
• Boost energy levels
• Restore red blood cells
• Enhance cardiovascular health
• Heal wounds quickly
• Support tooth and bone health
• Increase muscle mass when combined with regular workouts
• Clear up acne
• Balance your mood
Maca is available in pill, powder and liquid form, and it can be used in yogurt, smoothies, salads or fresh fruit and veggie juices. Maca tends to lose its potency when heated, so try to consume it in cold foods.
You should not consume maca in large amounts, especially when you first start taking it. A tablespoon of the powder per day should be plenty. More than that can possibly throw your hormones out of whack.
You also should not take maca if you have a hormonal type of cancer like ovarian or testicular. Those suffering from high blood pressure or liver issues also should speak to a healthcare provider before taking maca, or any supplement for that matter!
Food For Thought
The many health benefits of cod Liver oil
By: Leanne Ely
Our grandmothers had it right in a lot of ways. For example, while not many moms and dads in this day and age force cod liver oil down the throats of their children, there’s a good chance that your parents or your parents’ parents were given no choice but to take a daily dose of the stuff.
In the late 1800s, cod liver oil was used as treatment of rickets in undernourished children. Adults suffering from symptoms of arthritis also took a daily dose of cod liver oil in those days because it was believed to lubricate stiff joints.
Cod liver oil is making a comeback now, and for good reason.
Take a look at the health benefits one gains by supplementing with cod liver oil:
• soothes bronchial asthma
• reduces heart disease
• fights early stage kidney disease
• regulates the immune system
• relieves migraines
• inhibits the growth of cancer
• reduces the risk of lupus
• lowers blood pressure
• reduces risk of stroke and heart attack
• lowers LDL cholesterol
• reduces symptoms of arthritis
• reduces formation of blood clots
• protects the arteries
• thins the blood
• reduces incidence of tooth decay
Cod liver oil is one of the highest quality forms of vitamin A available and if you aren’t eating a diet rich in organ meats or butter from grass fed cows, there’s a good chance you’re deficient in this essential vitamin. Vitamin A is required for good eyesight, healthy skin, production of red blood cells, immune system regulation and gene regulation. If you’re deficient in vitamin A you become susceptible to many infections disease.
In addition to vitamin A, cod liver oil is also a good source of vitamin D and it contains essential fatty omega-3 acids as well.
Worth taking a daily dose of the stuff, wouldn’t you say?
When you’re out shopping for cod liver oil, you will find the actual liquid oil which comes in many different flavors. Heads up! They’re all yucky. You might want to try taking it in capsule form!
Choose cod liver oil that hasn’t been deodorized, distilled or bleached. It also should have no artificial vitamin D added. I recommend reaching for fermented cod liver oil because the oil hasn’t been distilled or heated and more vitamins are retained. I personally take fermented cod liver oil on a regular basis.
Speaking of vitamins, Saving Dinner now has supplement packs! The Daily Does It has everything you need for less than $2/day. Click to learn more
Food For Thought
Eat for your teeth
By: Leanne Ely
As we get older, so do our teeth. And the average North American diet is not conducive to dental health. Many of us suffer from enamel erosion and tooth decay, either from our highly acidic diet (carbonated beverages, wine, lemon water, etc.) or from lack of proper nutrition (or a combination of the two). Perhaps you didn’t realize that poor nutrition can lead to tooth decay, but it can. It can also lead to the erosion of that hard outer layer of enamel that makes your teeth white and shiny. When that enamel is gone, your teeth take on a yellow tint and your teeth become sensitive to hot and cold.
Conventional medicine has been telling us for many years that loss of enamel is irreversible. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
But, there is a substantial amount of research telling us that this is not true, that damage to teeth can be reversed through remineralization.
To fully understand the link between your teeth and what you eat, let’s take a look at the structure of your tooth. Teeth are made up of four layers. The roots of the teeth are coated with a mineralized tissue called cementum. The pulp layer contains the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth. The dentin is a protective mineralized layer of the tooth between the pulp and the hard outer enamel layer. That outer layer of enamel is the most mineralized and hardest layer of the tooth.
Those layers of minerals can only be built from the nutrients and minerals we put into our bodies.
One of the big reasons so many North Americans suffer from poor dental health is because of our nutrient-poor diet rich in white flour and sugar.
When our diet is not high enough in the nutrients needed to grow healthy teeth, that outer layer of enamel will be poorly formed and it will dissolve more easily, allowing tooth decay to settle in.
If your teeth aren’t in great shape, you should take comfort in knowing that it is possible to reverse damage to your enamel by changing your diet. Your teeth are built with minerals and they have the ability to heal themselves with your help. I’ve also read of people actually reversing cavities through nutrition—a concept that most dentists are unfamiliar with!
You can spend the entire day Googling research in remineralizing teeth and I recommend you do because it is absolutely fascinating. But to help get you started, if you’re interested in eating your way to better teeth, I would suggest a diet that includes the following:
• Bone broth (get as much calcium as you can! What better source than bones?)
• Lots of pastured butter because of its high amounts of Vitamin K2, which is key to bone and tooth health.
• Quality cod liver oil, which is one of the highest sources of Vitamin A (also key in tooth health)
• Vitamin D supplements and lots of sunshine! Vitamin D has been shown to reverse cavities and to cause fewer cavities to form.
• Eating lots of animal products including organ meats; full fat, pastured dairy; wild caught fish and pastured eggs. Meat, eggs and fish, along with high amounts of raw and cooked vegetables, will give your body many of the nutrients and vitamins you require for overall health, including dental health!
• No grains! Grains in the diet act as anti-nutrients. When you eat them, those good minerals have less chance of being absorbed by the body.
• No white sugar or processed foods
• Limit the amount of nuts and fruit you eat. Nuts contain phytic acid, which is not helpful for nutrient absorption. Fruit should be limited to one piece per day because it is high in sugar.
A diet like this—high in fat-soluble vitamins—will help you maximize the absorption of minerals in your body. It’s what we all should be eating anyway, really! But by also supplementing with additional vitamins D, A and K2, you will almost surely see a difference in your teeth. Now that’s worth smiling for!