Edible Seeds & Why They’re Good for You

Written by: on Monday, November 3rd, 2014

I love this chart highlighting the benefits of seeds. We’re not conditioned to think of seeds as a food here in America—but we should. (I personally love flax and chia seeds because they’re chockfull of omega-3s [I sprinkle them on my oatmeal every day] — and sesame seeds, which I sprinkle on my salads, because they’re high in calcium.) Take a look and find a seed to try in your diet.

6 Edible Seeds: Here is why you should sprinkle them into your diet
“6 Edible Seeds” on Health Perch

A Delicious, Super Healthy Snack

Written by: on Monday, April 28th, 2014

Chia Pod BananaI picked up some Banana Chia Pods while I was doing my weekly grocery shopping—and I have fallen in love! This convenient snack only contains three! ingredients (which follows my simple, healthy eating philosophy): chia seeds, coconut milk, and real bananas. The banana definitely tastes fresh…and there are no added sugars! Plus, one container contains 259 milligrams of potassium—a mineral key for so many things like regulating blood pressure and keeping your kidneys healthy.

These snacks are also rich in fiber and omega-3s (of course, because chias are chockfull of omega-3 fatty acids). Take a look at the ingredient label, below. Bottom line: definitely try these yummy treats—particularly as a substitute for more sugary snacks. (You can buy a 12-pack for $40, about $3 a snack, at thechiaco.com.au; just be sure to click the US flag at the bottom of the page…otherwise, you’ll be ordering from Australia!) The only downside: they use a lot of plastic for this one snack (plastic top, plastic spoon included, and plastic cup); while I do recycle plastic, I want to find a way to re-use these snack pods to make buying these worthwhile. (I think they’d make a great on-the-go snack container for kids on long car rides!) And while I’m not a fan of plastic at all, glass chia pod containers are never going to happen unless I make my own banana chia pudding…stay tuned!

Chia Pod Nutrition

The 6 Best Pre- and Post-Workout Foods

Written by: on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Chocolate milk good workout snack

Who would have thought this childhood fave would turn out to be so good for you?!

If you ask most people what’s the best pre- or post-workout meal or snack, they’ll probably mention sports drinks, protein powders, protein bars, and anything but plain old food.

Well, this is continually being proven wrong by researchers, sports nutritionists, and exercise specialists.

The latest research by McMaster University professor Stuart Phillips shows that the top foods for athletes—and regular exercisers—are:

1) Chocolate milk: offers post-workout water, protein, electrolytes, and carbohydrates—and not to mention, it tastes good too! According to Phillips, chocolate milk helps rehydrate your body after exercise and recharges damaged muscles. For these reasons, it’s far superior, he says, to water and sports drinks when it comes to post-workout recovery.

For more information on chocolate milk, click on rechargewithmilk.ca (full disclosure: this site, recommended by Phillips, is sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada—but it’s actually quite informative and packed with good information—why I’m okay with linking to it. They’re also sponsoring the giveaway at the end of this piece…and free stuff is always good!)

steel cut oats

Try steel cut oats: they take longer to cook (about 30 minutes) but have double the fiber of rolled oats!

2) Oatmeal: contains carbs, fiber and B vitamins (which are key for the breakdown of carbs into glucose and energy in the body—among other things).

Oatmeal, with protein-packed almonds, is the perfect pre-workout meal (particularly if you’re exercising in the morning). I also like to add dried cranberries, zest from a lemon, cinnamon (which helps control blood sugar), and a drizzle of agave nectar into mine. Just had a bowl this morning!

3) Salmon: rich in protein, iron, vitamin B12 (critical for healthy nervous system functioning and making blood cells) and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain function, reducing inflammation in the body, and normal growth and development.

My favorite way of cooking it: Marinate it in a little lemon juice and spices (try O&Co Salt & Herb Mix for Fish, $8.50; www.oliviersandco.com/salt-and-herb-mix-for-fish.html), drizzle with olive oil, and cook covered at 400ºF for 20 minutes. Shut off the oven, take off the cover, and let sit in the warm oven for another 15 minutes.

4) Blueberries: high in carbs (key for energy) and free-radical-fighting antioxidants (more free radicals are produced in the body during exercise).

I like to add frozen blueberries to almond milk and blend up with a frozen banana and some agave nectar—the perfect fuel-up smoothie!

grilled salmon

Did you know? Salmon is rich in selenium, a free-radical busting antioxidant.

5) Sweet potatoes: chockfull of iron (which helps your body produce oxygen during exercise) and antioxidants beta-carotene as well as vitamins C and E.

Don’t have the patience or time to cook them in the oven? Simply puncture a few times with a fork and cook them on high in the microwave, on a paper towel or plate, for 4 to 5 minutes.

6) Yogurt: high in calcium (important for strong bones and muscle contractions) and energy-boosting vitamin B12. Look for yogurts with little to no added sugar and gut-busting lactobacteria or acidophilus (healthy bacteria that helps digestion).

I love Greek Fage (pronounced “fah-yeh”) Total 2% yogurt with granola (for carbs and taste) and a tiny bit of honey mixed in.

There’s no Gatorade on Phillips’ list, no packaged protein bars, no fruity gummy chews.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’ll probably still stick these into my bike “bento” snack pack (http://www.teamestrogen.com/prodFB_840200.html) for races because they’re so convenient, but the important take-home message from Phillips’ research: you don’t have to spend a lot of money on processed sports foods at other times.

Real food is still your best bet.

[Read more…]