Because I posted the benefits of artichokes, I thought it was best to follow up with a recipe containing artichokes! Here is a spinach artichoke dip that I found on Martha Stewart’s website that I changed a little to make it a little more healthier. Also there is no baking/oven involved!

Here is the link to the actual recipe:http://www.marthastewart.com/344269/spinach-and-artichoke-dip

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 3/4 cup low fat yogurt
  • 4 ounces neufchâtel cheese or a lighter cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together.

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– High in fiber: A large artichoke can contain about a quarter of the recommended daily intake of fiber.

– High in antioxidants: quercertin, rutin, anthocyanins, cynarin, luteolin, and silymarin are some of the antioxidants in artichokes

– Supposedly prevents the risk of cancer: Artichoke leaf extract is said to induce apoptosis and reduce cell proliferation

– Increases bile flow: The pulp of the artichoke leaves contains cynarin, an antioxidant, which increases bile flow. Bile is the fluid produced by the liver that breaks down lipids

– Good for the liver: some antioxidants in artichokes, such as cynarin and silymarin, help the liver.

– Great for digestion: Artichokes are a natural diuretic, improve gallbladder function, good for the liver, and aid digestion.

– Reduce cholesterol levels: Inhibits HMG-CoA reductase, which reduces cholesterol. They lower bad cholesterol (LDL), while raising good cholesterol (HDL).

green-kale

– Green foods contain the pigment, chlorophyll, which act as a detoxifier. It can also help bad breathe, neutralize free radicals, and aid blood to deliver oxygen to cells.

– They are also rich in antioxidants, protecting the body from toxins ingested and from the environment.

– Green foods help balance our pH level, since they are alkalizing. Now, with modern diets, our meals tend to be more acidic.

– They have nutrients that help the immune system and help fighting bacteria and viruses.

– They also contain many essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C, E, K, and B.

Food Cravings and Nutrient Deficiencies

Found this amazing photo! Here are a list of cravings and what nutrients you are usually lacking when you have those cravings. Also, they add in a list of some healthier food options containing those nutrients you need!

We all have that weakness food. That food in the grocery store that we know we shouldn’t buy, but we just have to put it in the cart, or hidden somewhere in the pantry so we are not tempted, but end up not having just one piece, but the whole entire box. Eating healthy IS hard and there are going to be times when one craves a cookie, chips, a burger, or fries. But how do we manage these cravings? How do we make sure that we only take a little, and not end up engorging ourselves in our unhealthy foods? It’s all about portion control and substitutions. I have many weaknesses, but my biggest is probably instant spicy ramen noodles. Although, I buy the ones without MSG, it is packed with sodium and probably has absolutely NO nutrients. So my post here is all about how to take those delicious cravings and unhealthy foods and make them “healthier” (or at least add more nutrients) and feel fuller on less.

Chocolate:

 

I would suggest buying dark chocolate and when you do eat it, throw in some nuts or dried fruit with it. The nuts will fill you up faster and the fruit will give it some natural sweetness to the dark chocolate (if dark is too bitter for you).

Ramen Noodles:

Now whenever I am craving ramen noodles, I will split the ramen noodle in half, and then add broccoli or whatever other vegetable. I still get the delicious taste, but with half the processed noodles, while still feeling full afterwards. Plus the vegetables add nutrients to the sodium packed meal.

Chips:

One of my newest obsessions is kale chips! Not sure if they are actually as healthy as they say, but are probably healthier than most potato chips. Also, it is very easy to make your own chips without all the processed additives. Just thinly slice any type of root vegetable (mandolin slicer works best), put it in a pan, throw in a little olive oil and salt, and bake until crispy. Same goes for fries, you can easily make them yourself!

Sweets:

I’d say substitute it with fruit.

*adapted from Martha Stewart’s Molasses-Ginger Cookies to be healthier (http://www.marthastewart.com/338963/molasses-ginger-cookies)

As much as I wanted to use chia seeds and avocado to substitute the egg and butter… it just made the cookies have the weirdest consistency. Also, for all those people who need an iron boost, these cookies contain molasses (as stated from the name) which contain lots of iron.

Makes 24 medium cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup truvia
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger (optional)

Directions:

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat over to 375°F.

In a medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, white pepper, and salt.

In an electric mixer beat butter, sugar, truvia, and molasses. Then add in the egg.

Add in flour mixture and mix until smooth.

Add in raisins and crystallized ginger (optional)

Make 1 1/2 inch balls of dough and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are firm and middle is slightly soft.

Let cool on a wire rack.

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I absolutely love baking, but the ingredients usually require lots of butter, white flour, and sugar, serving very little nutritional value. Here, I have compiled baking substitutes to make your baked goods a little bit healthier.

DAIRY REPLACEMENTS:

Butter — apple sauce or banana (good for cakes, cupcakes, breads), avocado (good for cookies, but may turn them slightly green)

Egg — 3 tbsp warm water and 1 tbsp flax seeds or chia seeds

SUGAR REPLACEMENTS:

Agave nectar or maple syrup — for cakes, breads, cupcakes

Truvia or any natural sweetener (be sure you don’t use any artificial sweeteners, which is even WORSE than cane sugar) — for cookies

*I also tend to use 1/2 the sugar required in the recipes… because they are usually too sweet for me

FLOUR REPLACEMENTS:

Whole wheat flour — you get fiber that you wouldn’t have gotten using white flour

Amaranth or Quinoa flour — These are for people who have a gluten intolerance or simply going gluten-free (also, you can’t even taste the difference between that and white flour)

So allergy season is now here, and I have been encountering countless amount of people who are having horrible allergies. Though I am usually the first person to get allergies in the spring, I ended up not having any at all! Every year I would start stocking up on Claritin and would literally have to take it everyday until the fall. So what has changed from this year to last? I am NOT sure if this is helpful to other people, but I DO know that this is the only major difference in my diet since last year. I went gluten-free. I have been reading that most people with allergies and asthma are intolerant to gluten and so since I have been cutting gluten out of my diet, I have not been experiencing any asthma or allergies. Is gluten the reason I’ve been getting allergies? I don’t know. But I do know that I have greatly reduced my allergy symptoms. It could be eliminating gluten or it could be the lack of processed foods I am eating now because I cannot eat gluten. I would suggest possibly trying a gluten-free diet for maybe 1-2 weeks and seeing any results. Anyways, I have read up on some remedies for allergy problems and here are some things to reduce your symptoms:

HERBS:

– Alfalfa, Ephedra, Goldenseal, Horehound, Mullein leaf, Stinging nettle (Actually tried and works!), and wild cherry bark

RECOMMENDATIONS:

– Eat more fruits, veggies, grains, nuts and seeds (raw) –> High fiber diet

– Yogurt or soured products few times per week

– AVOID Processed/junk foods (this should be done even if one doesn’t have allergies)

– Shower and change clothes when you come indoors

— Doesn’t exactly have to do with eating healthily, but there ARE foods that can help.

One thing that I have so much trouble with is falling asleep. It can take about an hour to even TWO hours before I actually fall sleep, and if I sleep too early, I end up waking up so many times in the middle of the night. So, I’ve read up on insomnia and cures for sleeplessness and here are some tips! What I find most helpful personally is drinking warm milk with honey, doing yoga about 1-2 hours before sleeping, staying off electronics an hour before going to sleep, and reading a nice book in bed.

Milk and Honey

1. Eat the right foods before bed. I’ve noticed that when I eat certain foods before bed, I am unable to go to sleep. Some foods, however, help me sleep at night. My personal favourite is drinking a warm concoction of milk and honey.

Foods to eat: high in tryptophan, melatonin, calcium, or magnesium

– Turkey

– Bananas

– Yogurt

– Milk

– Whole grain crackers

Foods to avoid: high in tyramine which increases release of a brain stimulant

– bacon

– cheese

– chocolate

– sugar

– sausage

– potatoes

– wine

coffee

2. Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch

French Clock

3. Establish a set of habits and follow them consistently for a better sleeping cycle:

– Go to bed only when sleepy

– Set an alarm clock and get out of bed at the same time every morning

– Do not nap during the day

– Exercise regularly in the late afternoon or early evening

Neutral bath

4. Take a hot bath an hour or two before bedtime

5. Keep the bedroom comfortable, quiet, and dark

This is a project for my english class. The “Put your money where your mouth is” is a project to help us, the students, actually do something about a problem in the world. My problem that I am trying to fix is food-related health problems.

So… Healthy eating. What is it? There are millions of facts, rumours, myths, and advertising all circling around health and wellness. My goal in this blog is to try to sort out fact from fiction. To help people get a little more healthy. To give tips. I am not a dietician nor a nutritionist, and I definitely don’t know everything about being healthy. But what I do know is that I have made steps to improving my health and they have worked for me. I no longer get asthma or allergies, and I rarely ever get mid-day crashes. Not everything that I post on here will be helpful for everyone, but I will be sharing what has helped me or what has helped other people.