Coconut Fat Facts: Is it Good or Bad?

Oh the debates! Talk about politics! Food decisions can be SO exhausting and coconut is one of those foods that causes a lot of hubbub and not a lot of clarity. It really comes down to personal experience and what you choose to believe.

So what do I choose to believe?

Well, I’m definitely of the coconut-fat-is-good-fat mentality and I trust and respect other bloggers and foodies whose research says the same! Fats are one of those things that have been given a really bad reputation over the years, when they are not the problem. Sugars and carbohydrates cause much more damage than fats, and coconut is a good, plant based, naturally-occuring fat which means it is great.

Some research suggesting that it is not good, is believed to have been a test conducted on hydrogenated coconut oil. Now, hydrogenated oils of any kind, produce trans fatty acid, which is responsible for a whole range of health issues. Virgin cold pressed organic oils, however, are balanced to counteract their own misgivings and are very safe to consume.

I love using coconut oil, milk and cream! Of course, everything should be consumed in moderation and coconut should be counted as part of a healthy fat intake, but it is a very healthy choice!

Coconut oil contains saturated fats, which can give folks a fright! But not all saturated fats are equal. Coconut fat content is made up of mostly medium- chain fats which are the fats that are quickly and easily processed by the body. Other saturated fats and trans-fats that are produced through hydrogenation, are long-chain and are not absorbed until they reach the small intestine. It is these fats that cause us problems.

If you’d like to read more about the scientific side of things, check this out Coconut: In support of good health in the 21st Century at http://coconutoil.com/coconut_oil_21st_century/

Now, to the yummier side of things…

Coconuts are also extremely versatile in the kitchen. I use Coconut milk and cream for curries, smoothies, ice creams and other desserts. The oil can be used for frying, chocolate making, cakes and brownies…. and even skin and hair care! I have a jar in the kitchen and one in the bathroom! I’ll be including quite a few coconut recipes in the guides, and I encourage you to feel free using coconut milk and oil in your own food experiments. So often I hear people say that coconut is fattening or avocado is fattening so they don’t eat them very often. Instead, when their bodies crave fats they turn to fast, processed foods! It is so much better to regularly eat healthy fats and feel good about eating them!

What do you like to use coconut for? Share your ideas in the comments section…

Turmeric: Why it Is Good for You and How to Use it

TurmericLet me start by saying that turmeric can be dangerous, my kitchen benches are proof that when bought in large quantities, turmeric can turn your kitchen yellow! However, it is precisely this that proves the potency and influence of this ancient spice.

It certainly deserves respect and a place in both the savoury and sweet culinary pursuits. And, definitely a stable jar that no one can knock over!

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in India and all over the world for a multitude of purposes. It is well known for its dying qualities, but even better know for its medicinal purposes. Turmeric is so good for you, it is ridiculous!

Here are just a few of the reasons why turmeric rocks:

  • It is thought to assist in reducing cancer growth and proliferation and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s
  • It is a natural liver detoxifier and is known for its anti-inflammatory ability.
  • For centuries it has been used to treat symptoms of coughs and colds
  • Chinese medicine uses it to treat depression
  • It assists in wound healing and has antiseptic and anti bacterial qualities
  • It is a natural pain killer and is especially treats inflammatory skin conditions
  • Helps to manage weight and weight loss through assisting fat metabolism
  • It is great for your blood and therefore assists women greatly by stabilising hormonal swings and reducing clotting and sweats

I include turmeric in my cooking almost daily and find it to be a subtle, easy addition. I add it to chocolates, which you’ll see in the Chocolate Guide, as well as cakes, soups, stews and rice dishes. The beautiful golden colour brightens your food and inspires its inclusion in just about everything! It makes a strong sweet drink with honey and almond milk that will cure just about everything, and is an essential ingredient in mexican food. The beauty of turmeric is that it has very little affect on flavour so you can feel confident adding it to your favourites.

Here are a few tips on how to use dried turmeric powder:

  • Rice dishes: add a teaspoon to fried rice, steamed rice, or risotto to give it a golden hue and reap the health benefits.
  • Curry: even if you still haven’t felt brave enough to start making curry from scratch, add 2 teaspoons to any curry paste! I guarantee it will be fabulous
  • Stew: Whether it’s a spicy vegetable stew, or a classic chicken cassarole, turmeric will slip nicely into your recipe. Give it a go!
  • Beverages: Anything milk based will take turmeric really well. My milk of choice is homemade nut milk, but it will work well with dairy, soy, hemp, oat or goats as well! Try adding a teaspoon to your morning smoothie or, try the aforementioned hot honey and turmeric milk. The hot milk drink is my staple go-to drink when I have aches and pains or PMS!

I hope I’ve given you some tips and confidence with using turmeric. Once you’ve mastered using the powdered stuff, you might even like to branch out to using it fresh! One step at a time.  I’ll be filming myself making the healthiest, tastiest mexican beans with turmeric soon, so keep an eye out!

Quinoa: A low G.I. Seed That is Easy to Cook With and Very Very Yummy

Quinoa A low G.I. SeedHeard of quinoa? Tried it before? Quinoa is one of those foods that many people have heard of, but few have tried! It is wonderfully versatile and I’d like to give you a quick run down and encourage you to use it…

Now the first thing I can tell you is that it is pronounced keen-wah! 🙂 Nothing worse than saying it wrong to some snotty health food shop lady, I’ve been there, it’s not fun.

Quinoa, from my knowledge and use, comes in three colours. The basic one you’ll find in the supermarket is the white one, but you can also get the nuttier flavoured brown and black varieties in bulk stores. For anything you use it for, any colour quinoa will do, I personally like to combine all three!

As for why it is good for you, quinoa is a very special seed because it is a seed that behaves like a grain but is much more nutritious! Quinoa is high in protein and contains all eight of the essential amino acids. In one cup of quinoa you will get 20% of the folate you need per day, 30% of magnesium, 15% of iron as well as a good dose of copper, manganese and fiber.

That’s a hell of a lot better than what you get out of wheat pasta or rice, let me tell you. Imagine if you replaced just a few of your carb favourites with quinoa, you’d really be doing your body a favour! This earthy seed is a great low g.i., easy-on-the-blood-sugar alternative to pasta and rice. It also, conveniently for me,  works beautiful in sweets as it has a gentle, nutty flavour and a soft texture.

A question I often get is… “How do you cook it?!” Now, that’s easy to answer… just like rice and pasta! Put 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of dried quinoa in a saucepan. Put the stove on high until the water starts boiling and then drop it off to a simmer, with the lid on. It takes about 15 minutes to cook, give or take, and if it is cooked, but still watery, feel free to strain it. It will be soft and fluffy when it is ready, the black and brown varieties tend to take a little longer.

Once it is cooked, add your quinoa to salads, pasta sauce, serve it alongside curries, stews and roast vegies. The options are endless! You can cook it in milk with sultanas, goji berries, cinnamon and honey for a delicious morning porridge. I also love to spice it with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon to have with stewed apples.

The options with quinoa are endless!! What are your quinoa ideas? The best way to start cooking with quinoa is to have some in the cupboard for when you’re in the mood to try something new!

Top 6 Cheap Healthy Meals for You

Doctors and nutritionists advice everyone to eat well balanced diets, as it is only in doing this that the body can stay healthy for a long time. A well balanced diet should consist of carbohydrates, proteins, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals.There is a wide range of food varieties that contain these, and are cheap too. Many people however relate well balanced diets with the rich, and rarely check on what they are putting in their mouth or stomach.  This myth is however untrue, because there are many cheap healthy meals that one can choose from, and still live a healthy life.  This was ascertained by a research that revealed that, most of these foods actually cost less than $5 in any store.

Discussed below are some of the best and highly nutritious foods you should try at home, or in your favorite food joint.

1.    Brown Rice:

This is a special delicacy in most traditional cultures. Brown rice provides approximately 170 calories, a few grams of fiber and 5 grams of proteins. This is a meal great enough to enable the body grow healthy every day, and you do not have to worry about gaining weight. Brown rice is categorized under cheap healthy meals for its nutritional value, and how it can be served. You can serve it as a salad, have it fried or with stew too.

2.    Multi-grain Pasta:

This is for those who love pasta or wheat products. Pasta made form whole wheat grains is a great and healthy meal for everyone. It is easy to digest and doesn’t pose any healthy risk to the body too.  One serving of multi-grain pasta provides the body with about 190 calories for energy production, 8 grams of protein (which is enough for the body), and a few grams of fiber. Fiber aids in food movement around the digestive tract, and prevents bloating or constipation.  Whole wheat meals have a ranking in the top cheap healthy meals in the market today.

3.    Whole Bread or Brown Bread:

This is an excellent choice for breakfast, and can also be used as a snack in between meals. Brown bread contains fiber, proteins and enough calories to keep the body going for a few hours. The good thin with having brown bread is that, there are no artificial preservatives added, hence no risk of becoming obese or other diet related conditions. It is also very cheap to buy too.

4.    Fat Free Yogurt:

Yogurt provides the body with proteins and calories to keep the body functioning properly for long. It is however not advisable to take yogurt if you have any case of lactose intolerance.   Fat free yogurt can be found in almost every store or super market, and goes for less than a dollar. Taking about 250gms of yogurt is enough to keep you hydrated and also paves way for a great skin too. Yogurt can be served as a smoothie, parfait or taken as a quick healthy snack.

5.    Frozen Vegetables:

Vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, especially spinach. Vegies are cheap to buy too, and make great side dishes alongside beef, chicken or turkey stew. Frozen vegetables are rich in fiber, which enhances digestion, a few proteins and provides the body with about 100 calories.  Consuming vegetables doesn’t have any effect on your body, and can be taken by persons seeking to maintain their body shape and mass. Vegies worth $2 can be served to about 5 people.

6.    Refried Beans:

Beans are mostly used as a side dish in most homes today. These contain about 150 calories, a few grams of protein and fiver, and also supplement the body with calcium and iron, a rare commodity to be found in most foods today. Any nutritionist will recommend refried beans as they are among the top 6 cheap healthy meals you can find in the market.

Apart from these foods, you can also make fresh juice or fruit punch from home cheaply, and all you need is a juicer. Taking fresh fruits helps supply the body with essential vitamins and anti-oxidants, which help boost your body’s immunity and fight free radicals too. It is only in eating well balanced diet every day that your body can be strong enough to handle life’s challenges.  Moreover, you can find cheap healthy meals in dedicated restaurants that serve only the best to their customers.

6 Healthy Food Ideas For Better Life And Living

healthy food ideasThey say you are what you eat, and for most of us, that’s not good news. Making changes can be easy and delicious though, so turn things around in your life by discovering healthy food ideas that are flavorful and effortless to adapt to.

Starting With Your Shopping Cart

Your entire relationship with food should change, beginning with how you shop for it. While you don’t have to spend all your time and money in the gourmet or organic section, you do need to buy basic foods that are healthy and have delicious plans for them. Look for leaner and trimmer meats, whole-grain bread, pasta and rice and add your favorite vegetables to the cart. Avoid sabotaging your intentions by grabbing a bag of chips on your way to the checkout too. Remain loyal to your commitment with every purchase.

Changing How You Prepare Foods

Salmon can be one of the best foods for your heart, because it’s loaded with beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. However; if you fry it in lard you completely defeat the purpose of having it! Grill it with a savory rub instead, or let it soak up a delicious marinade. Asparagus contains plenty of fiber, beta-carotene, lutein and B complex vitamins, but if you top it with something high in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Steam and spice it, then top it with almonds for extra vitamin E and magnesium. Changing how you prepare foods is just as important as changing the foods you eat themselves.

Turning Healthy Food Ideas Into Amazing Meals

Many people are under the false impression that you’ve got to have a lot of talent or education to be a culinary wizard, and that’s simply not true. Preparing food requires basic knowledge and logic more than anything else, and doing so in a manner that’s beneficial to your body is more about self-discipline than it is a degree. You know what’s bad for you, so avoid it. Learn and experiment with different cooking techniques until you find your knack for it. Once you’ve got the basics down, add your own individual flavor, style and charm and you will be creating incredible meals that anyone would feel honored to sit down to. Buy or download a few cookbooks to get you started, then let your imagination and artistry take over.

Adding Your Own Touch To Foods

Modifying your diet to incorporate healthy food ideas should not mean forcing yourself to consume things you don’t find palatable. Take your own tastes and wrap them around different recipes and ingredients so that they are more appealing to you individually. For example, if you have never been a vegetable person, but can’t get enough pasta and marinara, start blending broccoli and  spinach right into your sauce! You won’t even know it’s there when you eat it, but you’ll be gaining all the health benefits of great greens. Use whole wheat pasta, low-fat cheese topping and sea salt for delectable dining that’s actually food for you. Avoid trying to force any food ideas, because any positive results you experience will be short lived.

Growing Your Own Great Healthy Food

One of the best ideas in great eating is to learn how to grow some of your own food, or even just the spices. Depending on where you live and how much free time you have on your hands, plan an appropriately sized garden and start enjoying fresh herbs or vegetables. Gardening won’t just produce flavorful organics for you to enjoy, but the activity itself can be exercise and stress reduction therapy all rolled into one. If you live in a city dwelling, set up a window box and cultivate basil, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Each has its own unique and healthy properties that can heal you, improve things like respiratory and immune function and add a world of flavor to foods without adding calories, fat and sodium.

Following Up With A Smarter Lifestyle

No matter how well you eat at the kitchen table, the rest of your life needs to be considerate of your health too. If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, for example, you’re simply not doing your body justice. Other factors like drinking, smoking and stress can be very counterproductive to healthy food habits. Evaluate your entire lifestyle and determine what’s holding you back from healthy, then start initiating the positive changes that will get you where you want to be.

Adapting to a new,healthier diet isn’t difficult, so long as you make tasty choices. Base those choices on healthy food ideas to begin with and there’s no limit to the enjoyment. You will benefit in countless ways, so why not get started soon with these cheap healthy food ideas ?

High Protein Snack Foods

Here are some yummy yet high protein snack foods that could quiet down those growling tummies of yours that are complaining because you have not fed them in awhile because you want to be “healthy.” If you are the type of person who works out a lot and does eat a great amount of protein so as to keep the muscles you have been working on to stay in top shape, you are not alone. Do not despair, it is always quite a tricky job to find the right foods to eat.

You never want to overfeed yourself with protein especially with meat, so what could you really take in that is healthy? Well, you need high protein snack foods.

Interestingly, milk is considered almost a meal alone. Is filling, contains fat, has good protein and also contains a large amount of nutrients. Milk does not have a large amount of protein per say, but it has fair amount. If you really want to get more protein form milk, then add powdered milk on milk.

Quite ironic, don’t you think? But this actually works. Good powdered milk would be cheap. It is also wise to add some carbs to your snack so grab a complex carb (like wheat bread) and enjoy your healthy snack foods.

If you are so tired of stuffing your oral cavity with those meaty stuffs and grinding with your teeth all those meat, then a protein powder could be the answer. Most protein powders contain 30 grams of protein per scoop, this is already enough as a snack. Blend in some delicious choco protein powder with milk and you would be having a great snack. Also, adding the complex carbohydrates would be great.

Nuts are another in the high protein snack foods category that has a large amount of good fat and are healthy! Nuts do not have the evil Trans Fat and this is just what the body needs. These nuts are not the ones that are coming into your mind right now with the added flavorings and salt and covered with, who knows what. These nuts are plain and simple and contain no preservatives and additives and what have yous.

Better yet, get a serving of trail mix. You can eat the nuts with fruits. This is a very healthy diet.

Get a whole wheat bread, a glass of milk and make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. This is by far, the ultimate adornment of a healthy snack, satisfying and filling. Use a peanut butter that doesn’t have too much ingredients on it, the ones that are close to natural and organic.

Ranch House Roast Beef Sandwich

Ranch House Roast Beef SandwichKaiser rolls, also known as hard rolls or Vienna rolls, are used in this mouthwatering roast beef sandwich recipe. This roast beef sandwich contains onion, tomato, lettuce, cheese, and ranch dressing. The fillings are generous so the sandwiches are secured with toothpicks.

These roast beef sandwiches make good tea party sandwiches because they are not too big. Ranch dressing is used in this roast beef sandwich recipe and it is made from buttermilk or sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, minced onion and various other seasonings. Many roast beef sandwiches contain salad too and this recipe is especially nice.

Ingredients –

4 large Kaiser Rolls

12 ounces Roast Beef, thinly sliced

8 thin slices Red Onion

8 slices Ripe Tomato

4 slices Provolone Cheese

shredded Lettuce

Ranch Dressing

Preparation:

Slice roll in half. Evenly distribute roast beef on bottom half. Drizzle salad dressing over beef. Layer with onions, tomatoes, cheese and lettuce. Cover with roll top and secure with toothpick. Serves 4.

Healthy Snack Foods

Taking in some healthy snack foods – the idea could be quite unfamiliar for most of us. Today, we are so used to eating junk foods, drive-thru meals, express, etc. We admit that it is unhealthy, but what do we do about it?

There are a lot of healthy snacks that we can choose from, starting from the most basic, that we learned from school as children. We are talking about the fruits, vegetables, cheese and the protein packs, in the likes of white meat.

What we do with our diet is our responsibility and we have to pay for it in the future if we do not take care of it. For some of us, we are paying for our early digressions already. But for many of the illnesses, we can reverse the negative effects or control it by just eating healthy from now on.

You can check the internet to gain more info on healthy snack foods.

Also, if you must make frequent visits to the snack bins, refrigerator like a bad habit, choose food items that have high protein, enough carb and low fat to help to curb and satisfy your appetite for a longer time.

Like what we give to our children, we give them unhealthy snacks right; junk foods here and there – all with high salt, fat and a lot of chemicals for their processing. You are not a bad parent if you do. You can give your children these food items, but probably just once in a while, not every day (which most parents are doing).

Most of us think that we should have a standard meal plan in place of three times daily, with light snacks just in between. What others who are controlling their appetites are doing is more like this – eating a lot of meals every day. If you have small but frequent meals a day, you will eat less because you are not escalating your appetite and not gorging yourself on big ones.

When you contain your meals, you can take it up a notch by replacing the high sugar treats you used to have with fresh fruit and veggies. Fruits are loaded with vitamins and other nutrients.

If you want to have sweets, then choose to have a little snack of dark chocolate because it has antioxidants. You can also have sweetened yogurt.

It would be wise to replace the junk foods like chips with dry crackers or multigrain crackers. These crackers have low fat. If you do not like crackers, choose a low-salt pretzel.

In general, avoid highly processed foods. If possible, stick with organic and be sure to balance your meals. Remember, anything taken in excessive amount is a bad thing.

Best Chicken Salad Sandwich Recipe

Chicken Salad SandwichFor the best chicken salad sandwich, why not try out the following recipe? There are a lot of different chicken salad sandwich recipes and this one includes celery and bell peppers, which give a wonderful crunch to the chicken salad sandwich. Mayonnaise, salt and Mrs. Dash add flavor to these sandwiches. Mrs. Dash is a tasty seasoning mix and comes in nine flavors.

Any flavor would work well with the following chicken salad sandwich but the lemon pepper blend or the tomato basil garlic blend would work particularly well here. Alternatively, the original blend adds plenty of flavor. For healthy tea sandwiches, try this yummy chicken salad sandwich.

Ingredients –

2 cups coarsely chopped Cooked Chicken Breast
1/2 cup thinly sliced Celery
1/2 cup chopped Green Peppers
1/2 cup chopped Yellow Peppers
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1/2 teaspoon Seasoning Salt
1/2 cup Mayonnaise

Preparation:

Combine all and mix thoroughly. Serve as salad or sandwich filling. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Alaska Salmon Salad Sandwich

Alaska Salmon Salad SandwichSalmon salad is a very popular dish and a lot of people are looking for the perfect salmon salad recipe. How about making a salmon sandwich to combine the delicious indulgence of salmon with bread to make a hearty snack? In the following recipe, Alaska red salmon is combined with yogurt, celery, green onions, pepper, and lemon juice to make the perfect sandwich filling.

Salmon is healthy because it is high in omega-3 values and the soft, edible fish bones in canned salmon are a rich source of calcium. This salmon salad sandwich is quick and easy to make and delivers rich nutrients and well as satisfying your hunger.

Ingredients –

1 (15 1/2 ounces) can Alaska Red Salmon
1/3 cup Plain Nonfat Yogurt
1/3 cup each chopped Green Onions and chopped Celery
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Black Pepper, to taste
12 slices Bread

Preparation:

Drain and flake salmon. Stir in remaining ingredients except pepper and bread. Season with pepper to taste. Spread salmon mixture on half of bread slices; top with remaining bread. Cut sandwiches into halves or quarters. Makes 6 sandwiches.