Three Things

threethings5-13

1. One. I love wine. Two. I love chocolate. Looks like both things may be good for your gut! Two new studies have linked some species of good bacteria to lifestyle factors. Plus, they have found some factors that are associated with a negative impact on bacteria diversity. These include antibotics and other medications. These studies are following many that are looking into the gut microbiome and the possible link to helping diagnose and treat diseases using them.

2. Fancy juice doesn’t cleanse your body of toxins. Duh! Shout out to New York Times for writing this article. “The human body is well designed to eliminate wastes and toxins, and a number of organs play a role.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – your kidneys and liver will do the work of “detoxifying” your body for you! Now, if you enjoy fancy juices and drinking them for pleasure (while paying attention to the amount of sugar they contain) then drink away!

3. There are many vegetables that are overlooked. We also think about the basics, right? Broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, etc. But, what about artichokes, fennel, collard greens, and kohlrabi, among others. I love when nontraditional vegetables are highlighted as nutrition powerhouses because it allows us to explore other flavors and nutrient profiles. Try some of these veggies next time you want to change up your vegetable routine!

Raquel

Smoothie Boosters

Smoothies are one of my favorite quick and healthy meals. Whether you are trying clean out your fridge or are in a hurry – smoothies are the solution. Smoothies can easily turn into sugar bombs if you aren’t careful. It’s extremely important to add some protein, fiber, fat, and essential nutrients to the mix! Side note: protein powder is another great addition besides the ones listed below. I keep all of these in my pantry at all times. They are good to have on hand for a variety of other uses.

DSC_0679

Top 6 Smoothie Boosters

1. Oats – Oats add bulk and fiber to your smoothie. Per 1/4 cup you get about 4 grams of fiber. They won’t change the flavor and are a great source of manganese, copper, biotin, and molybdenum. Molybdenum assists in chain reactions in the TCA-cycle for energy.

2. Unsweetened coconut flakes – Coconut adds medium chain triglycerides and a nice tropical flavor. MCTs provide about 10% fewer calories than long chain fatty acids which are rapidly absorbed and metabolized as fuel. Instead of being stored as fat they are used as energy. Unsweetened flakes cut back on sugar and calories versus the sweetened flakes.

3. Chia seeds – Chia seeds are packed with fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help to decrease inflammation and promote glowing skin. They are responsible for cell membrane health which influences how much water is kept in a cell meaning healthier skin.

4. Ground flaxseed – Flaxseed is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Not only do they promote glowing skin, but they also promote heart health by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol.

5. Hemp seeds – Hemp seeds are a complete protein. This means they contain all of the essential amino acids. Three tablespoons provide 10 grams of protein! They also contain magnesium, iron, and vitamin E.

6. Turmeric – Turmeric is a spice from the ginger family. It adds an earthy, spicy flavor to your smoothie. It is a great source of antioxidants leading to anti-inflammatory effects inside the body. Antioxidants help fight free radicals which can decreased your risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Raquel

How To: Build a Better Salad

The salad bar can be your best friend or a stealthy enemy. Knowing how to build a healthful salad is key to a nutritious meal. All those add ons may seem like a good idea – some croutons, bacon bits, dried fruit, cheese, and creamy dressing – but they pack on the calories, sugar, and fat. Even a salad loaded with vegetables can be missing a few key nutrients (i.e. protein, iron). My tips are fool proof. Build a nutritious salad at any salad bar or at home!

salad bar.jpg

Step 1: Choose your base. Mixed greens, spinach, romaine, and iceberg lettuce are the usual suspects. Always choose the darker greens as they have more potassium, iron, and calcium than the lighter options.

Step 2: Add all of the colors. More colors means more nutrients! Red vegetables (tomatoes, red bell peppers) have lycopene and anthocyanins. Orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes) have vitamin C and beta-carotene. Green vegetables (broccoli, cucumbers, green bell peppers) have folate, potassium, and calcium. White vegetables (mushrooms, onions, cauliflower) have potassium and magnesium.

Step 3: Protein please. This step is more versatile than you may think! Plant protein is perfectly acceptable on a salad, as long as you don’t forget to add it. You options may include chicken, shrimp, beans, quinoa, and eggs. P.S. Don’t be fooled by protein “salads” made with mayonnaise or other heavy ingredients. Skip those.

Step 4: Add a crunch. A small portion of croutons can be acceptable. If there are whole wheat croutons that’s even better. Seeds or crunchy chickpeas are a better option. The crunch will be the smallest addition to your salad.

Step 5: Dress it up. This step is crucial! Any salad can take a turn for the worse on the last step. Your best option is simply olive oil and your favorite vinegar or lemon. If you need a little more than that a mixed balsamic vinaigrette also works. Stay away from creamy calorie bombs and you’ll be in the clear.

What’s your favorite salad combo? Tell me below!

Raquel