Overnight Oats - Grab and Go Breakfast

Thursday, January 28, 2016

They say (btw... who is they? In this case it's Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), anyway, they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It IS called Break Fast. After having fasted for 8 to 12 hours, (except for you midnight munchies people) yes your body is ready for some fuel. Breakfast provides you with the energy and nutrients you need to start your day off with mental and physical alertness. Studies show that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight (let's eat breakfast just for that!).

These overnight oats provide you with a healthy dose of nutrients.
      • old fashioned rolled oats - carbs, fiber, protein, minerals
      • chia seeds - omega-3 fatty acids, protein, minerals, fiber
      • yogurt - protein, calcium
      • blueberries -  fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants
If fixing a healthy breakfast just isn't in your morning routine then you really should try making overnight oats. The combination of ingredients is almost endless. Here is my favorite and a very basic recipe for overnight oats.

Blueberry Maple Overnight Oats

3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup almond milk (milk of your choice)
1/4 cup yogurt (I prefer greek)
1 Tbs. chia seeds
1/4 cup blueberries (I use frozen)
1/2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1/2 Tbs. pure maple syrup

In a pint size mason jar or a bowl, put all of the above ingredients in and stir. Cover with lid and put in refrigerator overnight.

The basic ingredients are oats and milk. You can add yogurt as a sweetener, or honey or stevia or none at all. Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. You can add any type of fruit; strawberries, peaches, pineapple, apple, pomegranate seeds, cherries or even mango. The next morning you can add toppings such as granola, nuts, seeds, peanut butter and even chocolate chips. Whatever excites your taste buds for the day!

Old Fashioned Oats
Oats and Almond Milk

All mixed up ready for the fridge

Blueberry Maple Overnight Oats

Dash of Wisdom: Overnight oats are great for breakfast but they are also great for lunch on the go too. If a pint jar is too much then cut recipe in half and use a half pint jar. I just love it so much I can down the pint jar no problem!

Eggs - Yes they are a Superfood

Thursday, January 21, 2016

  Eggs Are Good For You

Yes, yay! Eggs ARE actually good for us. Eggs are one of those foods that has gotten a bad rap. Research that has proven the egg is a superfood is slow to hit the nightly news. Who wants to admit they were wrong? Certainly not the American Heart Association.

Eggs = cholesterol = heart disease = FALSE

Research has proven, time and time again, that eggs and dietary cholesterol do NOT adversely affect cholesterol levels in the blood. In fact, eggs raise HDL (good) cholesterol. They also change LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL (which is bad) to large LDL. (read the studies I've linked)
Eggs actually lower cholesterol levels
Research has not shown a link between eggs and increased risk of coronary heart diseast

So let's talk about why eggs are so good for you. Fried, scrambled, hard boiled, poached, raw (umm, can't stomach that one) they pack a lot of nutrition in that little yolk.
A single large boiled egg contains:*
•Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
•Folate: 5% of the RDA.
•Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.
•Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.
•Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.
•Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.
•Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
•Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Zinc
The average egg contains:  78 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats.
Eggs also contain various other trace nutrients that are important for health.

Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet, containing a little bit of almost every nutrient we need. 
Look at the rich orange coloring of that yolk! From a free range chicken.
Eggs contain the antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, These nutrients are an essential component for eye health and defend against the damaging effects of free radicals. Studies have shown that consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients can significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Eggs contain choline. The choline in eggs is a crucial nutrient to help reduce the inflammation that leads to heart disease.

If you can get your hands on free range or pastured eggs, these are even better. They have more Omega-3s and are much higher in Vitamin A and E. Don't be fooled by a label that says "Cage Free".

Yes, these chicken are "cage free". Can you image what they eat?
(stock image)
Remember.....It doesn’t just matter what WE eat… It also matters what the food we eat, ate. And what vaccines they've had and antibiotic treatments, etc. Understanding? 

So thinking on this regard, not all eggs are equal in nutrition. It depends on how the hens were fed and raised.

Eggs from hens that are raised on pasture and/or fed Omega-3 enriched feeds tend to be much higher in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce blood levels of triglycerides, a known risk factor for heart disease. Studies show that consuming Omega-3 enriched eggs is a very effective way to reduce triglycerides in the blood. In one of the studies, just 5 omega-3 enriched eggs per week for 3 weeks reduced triglycerides by 16-18%.
 Laurie feeding "her girls"

This is my friend Laurie. These are her free range chickens and a rooster in there somewhere. They lay the beautiful brown, tan, blue, green, pink and white eggs. Sometimes you even get an egg that's a double yoker! The egg yolk is so much richer in color. The taste of these eggs is so rich in flavor also. They are amazing and don't even compare to regular store bought eggs.

Eggs pack 6 grams of protein in them. Proteins are the main building blocks of the body. Getting enough protein in the diet is important. If you are not a big meat eater, like myself, then eggs are an excellent source of protein.

Another benefit of eggs is that they are very filling. Protein is a fulfilling macronutrient.
Because of this, when you have eggs for breakfast you are less likely to be snacking a couple hours later. In a study of 30 overweight women, eating eggs instead of bagels for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and made them automatically eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours.

Isn't she beautiful? One of Laurie's girls.

You can't buy these at your big box grocery store!
"Indeed, the research consistently and reliably shows that the cholesterol you eat has very little impact on how much cholesterol is in your blood.
If that sounds weird, maybe this will help...
You see, your body makes cholesterol. Lots of it, in fact. Every single day you produce between 1 and 2 grams of it on your own. (That's 5-10 times the cholesterol in a large egg.)
The interesting twist? When you eat more cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body produces less of it. And when you eat less cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body produces more.
That's because you have a cholesterol "set point." Think of it like a thermostat that's largely determined by your genetics, exercise habits, and stress. Funny enough, diet plays a surprisingly small role.
And here's another thing... cholesterol isn't so bad for you anyway.
In fact, cholesterol happens to be one of the most important nutrients in your body.
It's in every cell membrane (outer layer). It's a requirement for growth (in infants and adults). And it's required for the production of many hormones.
If all this is true, then why do so many people tell you to avoid eggs?
Simple: Egg paranoia has been based on the old assumption that eating the yolks will raise blood cholesterol (and increase your risk for artery and heart disease).
And even though the research has disproven the hypothesis -- for most of the population -- the medical community has been slow to reverse recommendations.

Regardless, researchers have looked at the diets of hundreds of thousands of people. And they've suggested that consuming eggs every day is not associated with cholesterol problems or heart disease.
(There's only one possible exception here: diabetics and the 0.2 percent of the population with familial hypercholesterolemia. More research has to be done to confirm this.)
Interestingly, in controlled trials -- the best kind of research -- where people were instructed to eat up to three eggs per day while on a weight loss diet, good things happened.
These folks lost weight, decreased inflammation and either maintained or improved their blood cholesterol levels." (quoted from authoritynutrition.com)

My favorite way to eat a fried egg. Salt, pepper and turmeric. 

My dash of wisdom.... Have a hard boiled egg for lunch or slice one on your salad at dinner. Go ahead, eat an egg for breakfast. I'd suggest you hold off on the bacon and pancakes and toast with jelly though.

Coconut Oil - Amazing Stuff!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

If you are not using coconut oil in your kitchen, bathroom and daily life then let me tell you…….You are missing out! Coconut oil is an amazing product. The list of health benefits is extensive. I absolutely love coconut oil. I use it every day. From my daily moisturizer (from head to toe), to cooking, frying, sautéing and baking. Any recipe that calls for vegetable oil; I use coconut oil. I even drizzle a little on my dogs food. They love it!

Why is coconut oil better than vegetable oil?

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) vs vegetable oils which have long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs). LCFAs are larger and very difficult for your body to break down. They add to the body’s toxic burden. LCFAs are also stored as fat. LCFAs are loaded with omega-6 fats. Too much omega-6 fatty acid is associated with increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, cancer and other diseases. When these oils are heated, their antioxidants become damaged and oxidize. Coconut oil is stable enough to resist heat induced damage. The coconut oil (MCFAs) are smaller and more easily digested by your body, so they do not get stored as fat. Coconut oil is an omega-3 oil, which has many benefits.

“The benefits of omega-3s include reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke while helping to reduce symptoms of hypertension, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joint pain and other rheumatoid problems, as well as certain skin ailments. Some research has even shown that omega-3s can boost the immune system and help protect us from an array of illnesses including Alzheimer's disease.” Omega-3 Benefits

About 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is made of lauric acid. Lauric acid is a compound with unique health promoting properties. Lauric acid is converted in your body to monolaurin, which has antibacterial, antiviral, and antiprotozoal properties. So put a spoon full in your frying pan then “lick the spoon baby”!

Benefits and Uses of Coconut Oil

  • Replaces vegetable oil in cooking
  • As a natural SPF4 sunscreen
  • To lighten age spots when rubbed directly on the skin
  • To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
  • To support healthy thyroid function 
  • Topically to kill yeast or yeast infections
  • Topically, can help skin heal faster after injury or infection
  • Can help sooth psoriasis or eczema
  • Strengthens immune system and digestive system
  • Use in homemade: lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, diaper cream, sunscreen, body scrub
  • Season cast iron skillets
  • Use as an alternative to butter
  • Can help improve sleep when taken daily
  • Dilute essential oils for internal and external use (My essential oils)
  • For pets struggling with skin issues when used externally

tasty treat and healthy for my dogs
There is some evidence that regular ingestion of coconut oil can help prevent or reverse Alzheimer's,
reduce inflammation and arthritis. In a study in India, the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil reduced inflammation and healed arthritis more effectively than leading medications.
Study on inflammation and coconut oil

Coconut Oil for Weight loss
It helps to burn fat, decrease appetite and in studies it was especially helpful in losing belly fat! Hey, who doesn't want some of that!!
“Coconut’s ability to help you shed fat has been well established. A 1985 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health proved that a single injection of capric acid resulted in “initially rapid, then gradual decrease in food consumption and a parallel loss of body weight” in male rats. It might seem counter intuitive to assume that eating coconut oil (a fat) will contribute to fat loss, but it is actually quite logical. The key to understanding this phenomenon lays in the multidimensional ability of the MCFAs to control a variety of physiological processes. For example, in the 1985 study mentioned above, it was discovered that capric acid shows significant improvements in thyroid function, helps lower resting heart rate, and assists your body in burning fat for energy. More recently, the Obesity Research Journal published a study from Boston University Medical School that gives us a clue why MCFAs have fat burning ability.” study on obesity and coconut oil

Coconut Oil for Anti-aging 
According to research published in the medical journal Food and Function, coconut oil improves antioxidant levels and can slow aging. Coconut oil works by reducing stress on the liver and by lowering oxidative stress. study on anti-aging and coconut oil

A Dash of Wisdom on coconut oil:
- buy unrefined cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil (I buy from Sams Club)
- coconut oil has a melting point around 76 degrees (so it will melt in your hands)
- start now to incorporate this amazing oil into your life

You Are What You Eat - Drink a Green Smoothie

Thursday, January 7, 2016

You are what you eat. No, really you are. I’m not just saying that as a cliché. Your body is made up of billions and billions of microscopic cells. They are living, breathing, eating and reproducing all day. What are you feeding them? If you are feeding them the standard American diet then those poor things are probably in bad shape. Tired, sluggish and probably not reproducing as they should.

As you know, the standard American diet is a highly processed diet. Full of refined sugar and flour, synthetic and artificial ingredients, bad fats and even carcinogenic ingredients. Think about being in a smoke filled room. Each breathe you take is filling your lungs all the way down to the tiny alveoli sacs with chemicals and poison. This is making the lungs irritated, swollen and eventually blocked. The same thing happens when you feed your body bad food. The cells just don’t function properly. Once cells don’t function properly then the organs that they make up start to malfunction too. Then that my friends…..is called Disease. Heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, obesity, autoimmune diseases and so on and so on.

Go outside and breathe in some fresh air. A good deep breathe. Doesn’t it feel good? Your billions and billions of cells think so too. They love good clean oxygen and Good Clean Food!

My dash of wisdom today is this…..Start feeding your cells more nutrient rich clean raw food. Vitamin, mineral, enzyme, rich food. A very easy way to do this is with a Green Smoothie…..everyday! You would be getting 100 to 150% of the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. I would bet some of you don’t even get that in a week. No joke!

 32 oz. Green Smoothie
1 1/2 cups water
2 hands full of greens (about 4 or 5 cups)
1 banana
1 apple
2 cups frozen fruit
Blend in a high powered blender. Greens first, then add fruit until smooth.

So here is a very simple green smoothie recipe. I don’t always use a recipe because I just throw in lots of greens and then what ever fruits I have on hand. Use organic when you can. I will tell you that if your body is not accustom to a lot of fruit and vegetables (fiber) then you may visit the bathroom a time or two after drinking it. But hey that's good. Most people are constipated and literally full of crap who eat the standard American diet. You could start with more fruit, then eventually add more greens. I don’t add any sweetener but you could add honey, or stevia or even yogurt as a sweetener. You can also use coconut or almond milk, or coconut water as your liquid.

Having a 32 oz. green smoothie a day can result in the following:
Increased Energy
Better Digestion
Weight Loss
Improved Skin Tone
More Alert, Less Sluggish

Go ahead and try it. I'm telling you that you will feel so much better when you are drinking raw nutrient rich smoothies for breakfast than having donuts and juice. (feel better not taste better) Haha, no really, your taste buds will eventually change and not respond like an addict when they touch refined sugar.

(Yes, I know my smoothie isn't green. Blueberries + Strawberries = purple smoothie)