Friday, April 23, 2010
This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Spinach is loaded with lutein. It’s a carotenoid found in spinach that is protective against eye diseases such as age-related cataracts and macular degeneration. The Lutein in spinach might be absorbed better if you eat it with a little fat, such as a small amount of olive oil, or the food that you’re eating it with contains some fat.
A carotenoid found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables fights human prostate cancer two different ways, according to research published in the the Journal of Nutrition. The carotenoid, called neoxanthin, not only induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, but is converted in the intestines into additional compounds, called neochromes, which put prostate cancer cells into a state of stasis, thus preventing their replication.
The nutrients in spinach can also help with conditions in which inflammation plays a role. For example, asthma, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis are all conditions that involve inflammation.
Vitamin E-rich Leafy Greens Slow Loss of Mental Function
Mental performance normally declines with age, but the results of Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) suggest that eating just 3 servings of green leafy, yellow and cruciferous vegetables each day could slow this decline by 40%, suggests a study in the journal Neurology.
Spinach contains choline and inositol, the substances that help to prevent atherosclerosis or thickening and hardening of arteries.
Spinach is also helpful in the following health issues : Anemia, Tumors, Constipation, Insomnia, Obesity, Neuritis (inflammation of nerves), Nerve exhaustion, High blood pressure, Bronchitis, Colon cancer, Prostate cancer, Breast cancer, Osteoporosis, Dyspepsia (chronic indigestion), Also helps ailment of the kidneys, bladder and liver.
Spinach salad with Strawberries and Pecans
8 ounces fresh torn spinach or baby spinach
1 1/2 to 2 cups cleaned and sliced strawberries
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled, optional
1/4 cup Canola oil or Olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder
dash dry mustard
Toss spinach with sliced strawberries, pecans, and cheese, if using.
Combine dressing ingredients in a jar; shake until well blended. When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over the salad and toss lightly.
Serves 4 to 6.
Potato and Spinach Soup With Lemon
By Anastatia Curley
The potatoes and parsnips give this soup body, and the spinach and lemon make it bright. It's sustaining, yet light and exciting.
Spinach and Pasta Soup
1 pound of turkey sausage
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 28 oz can of chopped or diced tomatoes
1 1/2 quart of chicken broth
3 quarts of water
1 pound of farfalle(bow tie pasta) or favorite small pasta
1 10 oz. pkg. of frozen spinach
2 15 oz. cans of small whit beans or canneloni beans
Heat an extra-large soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown, breaking it up with a spoon. Add the onion and garlic, and saute 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the spoon. Stir in the stock and 1 quart of the water, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Then add spinach, beans, and remaining quart of water (add extra water, if needed), and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until spinach is tender. Add salt to taste.
Number of Servings: 12
(this recipe I put into Spark Recipes so it can be put into my Fodd Tracker)
Crustless Spinach Quiche
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Vegan Spinach Linguine with Mushroom and Pepper Sauce
spinach linguine, enough for 2 people
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 small box mushrooms
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium jar spaghetti sauce
Wash and slice mushrooms. Cut peppers into 1/2 strips. Heat oil in pan. Add mushrooms and peppers. Stir fry over medium heat until peppers are wilted. Pour sauce over all and heat through. Put spaghetti on plate and spoon sauce over it. You can be very versatile with this recipe. You can use garlic and onion. You could also add a yellow pepper to make this very colorful. Serves 2.
Lentils & Spinach
1 bunch spinach, washed, drained and chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
1/2 cup chili peppers chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
sea salt to taste
1 cup cooked lentils
2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
Heat oil in a pan. Sauté crushed garlic, ginger & peppers for one minute.
Add chopped spinach. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Add cooked lentils, salt to taste and lemon juice. Cook and stir about 30 seconds
Serve on a bed of rice.
Chana Masala (Spicy Chickpeas) with Spinach
1 can chickpeas in water (also called garbanzo beans) or 1 1/2 cups precooked + 1/2 cup
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
juice from one lemon, (approx 2 tbsp )
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 large bunch of spinach or two handfuls, rinsed
In a large skillet or frying pan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add chickpeas straight from the can, including all the water. Add spices and lemon juice, cover, and simmer about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed, until chickpeas are cooked and soft.
Bay Scallops with Spinach
3 lbs of fresh spinach, stemmed and washed, not dried.
1 lb of bay scallops.
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled.
¼ cup of white wine.
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
2 teaspoons of olive oil.
2 teaspoons of salt.
1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest.
Freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for 20 seconds, stirring continuously.
Add the spinach and toss occasionally until wilted.
Drain off the liquid and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the scallops and sauté for 1 minute or until just cooked through.
Remove the scallops from the pan and add the lemon juice and wine.
Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, for 15 seconds.
Remove from the heat, then toss in the scallops and season with the remaining salt and pepper to taste.
On serving plates, place a mound of spinach in the middle and surround with scallops.
Different combos for Spinach Smoothies:
handful of spinach
1 1/2 cups of fresh pineapple
2 cups of water
One package of fresh baby spinach
One frozen banana
One cup of frozen blueberries
½ cup of frozen strawberries
One cup water
Creamy Tropical Green Smoothie
1 large banana, ripe and peeled
1/4 avocado flesh
6 oz spinach, fresh
3/4 cup pineapple, frozen
3/4 cup mango, frozen
4 ice cubes
1 tablespoon coconut milk powder
1 packet of stevia (optional)
1 1/2 cup pure water
Pour water in first. Then place the banana and avocado closest to the blade with the rest of the ingredients on top. Blend until smooth.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Today is Earth Day. We are all here on a healthier quest for our bodies. Don't we want the same thing for Earth? A carbon footprint is defined as: The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Have you ever stopped to think about the impact on the earth by using those plastic bags instead of reusable canvass bags. You as just one individual/family have the potential to replace some of the estimated 1,000 plastic bags that each family brings home every year by using reusable canvass bags. Multiply that by everyone in the United States and that is impressive.
It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the amount of plastic bags the US uses per year. If we all stopped using them just think how much the cost of gas would come down.
The production of plastic bags requires petroleum and often natural gas, both non-renewable resources that increase our dependency on foreign suppliers. Additionally, prospecting and drilling for these resources contributes to the destruction of fragile habitats and ecosystems around the world.
A plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose.
According to the Wall Street Journal, only 1% of plastic bags are recycled world-wide.
According to the British Antarctic Survey, discarded plastic bags have been found as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as The Falkland Islands.
An estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles, whales, and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags which block their digestive tracks. Discarded plastic bags mistaken for food. Turtles think the bags are jellyfish, their primary food source. Once swallowed, plastic bags choke animals or block their intestines, leading to an agonizing death.
Ireland, the first European country to impose a tax on them, has decreased plastic shopping bag consumption by 90% since 2002, reducing overall plastic bag usage by 1.08 billion.
In the past five years, over a dozen countries have banned or put a tax on disposable bags.
Why hasn't the United States? Sure some stores give you 5 cents back for using one but we really need to ban them. People have had years to get used to using the canvass bags.
What else can you do to help save the environment:
Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets.
Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes.
Recycle printer cartridges.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and energy.
Insulate your home as best as you can. Install weather stripping around all doors and windows.
Plant trees to shade your home.
Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
Use cold water instead of warm or hot water when possible.
I could go on and on. there are so many ways we can be green and reduce our carbon footprints. I think the reasons above are painless and will also help us save money. We are all here in a journey to become healthier. So I will ask again don't we want the same for our planet?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Life is a grindstone. But whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us."
—L. Thomas Holdcraft
RunToMyDreams wrote a blog yesterday entitled, “ Accent the Positive and Eliminate the Negative. She is always positive and I really admire her for that. All of us here on Spark People really need to accent the Positive in order for us to reach out goals.
It real got me to thinking and I felt the need to blog about it as well. I think it is so important for all of us to remain positive, to live in the present, and not dwell on the past.
Life is an experience . Everyday the scenario changes up. Circumstances change through out the day and we are faced with choices as to how we are going to handle it. You get to choose how you react. You can look at every situation in one of two ways, it is either good or bad. It is how we choose to respond to those circumstances that will determine our success on our journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Positive thinking is a mental attitude that is conductive of our growth and success. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects it finds.
Negative thinking is enemy of our new healthier and victorious life. Our mind is a powerful thing. Our thoughts can make or break our life. Negative thoughts will distract your focus from the important and drain your energy.
Balancing positivity vs negativity is the difference between victory and defeat.
If something “bad” happens to us we can either choose to see it as something that is polishing us up to make us stronger, more successful, and our lives better or we can choose to accept defeat, wallow in it, and have a grand ole pity party.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
You will never see me use bottled salad dressing. I usually just make a salad dressing of extra virgin olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and various spices.
I just add a little of this and a little of that. My basic tahini salad dressing is tahini, fresh lemon juice, sea salt, cayenne pepper, splash of water. I just mix it and thin it out with the lemon juice and water. I will sometimes add a place of olive oil. For those of you who need precise measurements here are a few recipes:
Creamy Tahini Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients by blending with a fork. Don't be shy with the pepper.
Makes: 2 to 4 servings, Preparation time: 3 minutes
1/2 pound silken tofu
1c. olive oil
1/4c. white wine vinegar
2t. onion powder
1/2t. garlic powder
1t. veggie salt
Mix in blender until smooth.
Tahini Salad Dressing Version II
1 cup tahini
1/2 bunch fresh curly-leaf parsley (chopped)
1/3 cup lemon juice
4 crushed garlic cloves
1/8 cup tamari soy sauce
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil
Blend all ingredients and store in refrigerator.
Goddess Dressing with Parsley
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup oil
Add all the ingredients, except for the oil to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and creamy. Slowly add oil until well mixed. Dressing will be thick, but you can always add a bit more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
Spiced Tahini Dressing
1/2 ts Whole cuminseed
1/2 ts Whole coriander seeds
1/4 c Tahini; (sesame seed paste)
1/4 c Hot water
2 ts White-wine vinegar; or to
1/2 c Sour cream
PreparationIn a dry small heavy skillet toast cuminseed and coriander seeds over moderate heat, shaking skillet, until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool spices completely and in a mortar with pestle or in an electric spice or coffee grinder grind fine. In a bowl whisk together tahini and water until smooth and whisk in spices, vinegar, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Dressing may be thinned with additional water if necessary. Makes about 1 cup.
1.You can use these salad dressing on a simple salad of fresh tomatoes, sliced onions, and cucumbers.
2.It is great over any green salad.
3. You can put it over steamed be vegetables in place of that awful cheese sauce Moms use to disguise the fact they are getting vegetables into their kids without a revolution at the dining room table.
4. You can use this as the salad dressing over a cous cous salad. Just cook your cous cous, chop up your veggies, and mix. Yummy different cous cous version. Great for sides for dinner or makes a nice salad for lunches to bring to work.
I make a cabbage salad, yes another cabbage salad. Cabbage is good for you and I am constantly concocting new ways to eat it. It is such a powerhouse of Vitamin C, great for Cancer prevention, loaded with fiber, is rich in iron and sulfur, and a really cheap vegetable to eat. Red cabbage contain anthocyanin (red pigment/color) is an antioxidant that can help protect brain cells, thus can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Travelnista’s Middle Eastern Cabbage Slaw
4 cups thinly sliced cabbage - Napa Cabbage works well here as well as green cabbage
some thinly sliced red onions
1 large shredded carrot
½ cup of chick peas
1 Tbsp tahini
some fresh squeezed lemon juice
splash of water if needed
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of cumin-optional
Mix cabbage,onions, carrots, and chick peas in a big salad bowl.
In a separate smaller bowl mix tahini, lemon juice, a splash of water if needed, and your spices till blended well and the tahini is thinned out.
Mix together and eat. It does make 4 servings but I eat the whole bowl as a meal. Zippo calories for an entire meal if you ask me but oh so healthy.
Winter Squash Puree With Tahini
Courtesy of Recipes by Health by Martha Rose Shulman
This popular appetizer from the Middle East is a sort of sweet-tasting hummus, in which winter squash substitutes for chickpeas. This recipe is an adaptation of one by the cookbook author Clifford A. Wright.
2 1/2 pounds winter squash, like butternut
1/3 cup sesame tahini, stirred if the oil has separated out
2 large garlic cloves, halved, with green shoots removed
Salt to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
Pomegranate seeds and extra virgin olive oil for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush lightly with olive oil. If using butternut squash, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy membranes, and lay cut-side down on the foil-covered baking sheet. If using a thick slice of squash, scrape off any membranes. Bake 45 minutes to one hour, or until very soft. A knife should cut through it without resistance, and the skin should be wrinkled. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then peel and transfer to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the tahini, and puree until smooth and creamy.
2. Combine the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle, and mash to a paste. Add to the food processor along with the lemon juice and cumin, and blend together. Add salt to taste.
3. Mound the puree in a wide bowl or on a plate. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top, and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve with warm pita bread.
Yield: About 3 1/2 cups.
Romaine Salad with Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini, well stirred
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tbls. lemon juice
2 tbls. soy sauce
1 tbls. honey
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/2 lb. romaine lettuce, torn
6 radishes, thinly chopped
1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth
Add more water, a little at a time if needed
Toss together all salad ingredients with enough dressing to coat
Chocolate Tahini Smoothie
2 cups water
4 Tbsp Tahini
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
4 Tbsp raw honey or agave nectar
3 frozen bananas
Combine all the above ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth! Pour your drink and enjoy.
Papaya, Banana, Tahini Smoothie
1/2 of a Papaya (peeled and de-seeded)
1 ripe Banana
2 tablespoons raw Tahini
Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Mmmmmmm Good!
Kelp Noodles with Green Onion Tahini Alfredo
You can substitute the shirataki noodles, soba noodles, or any pasta.
*****here is the link for the Middle Eastern Slaw if you want to put into your Food Tracker
Monday, April 19, 2010
Blue Agave Plant
I was not going to blog about this but have changed my mind. I have been getting questions on this in my Spark emails and it has been the discussion in a number of teams I am on. Today I received in my personal email a newsletter from GreenSmoothieGorl.com and guess what the topic was. Yuppers!
I am no expert but I know what works for me and this is my opinion on the subject. Each of you needs to make up their decision whether to use agave or not.
I feel agave is the flavor of the month. Right now everyone has an opinion. You have to consider the sources where the info is coming from. The corn fructose people are of course knocking it. I was taken aback by Kevin Gianni's (the Raw Renagade) blog on agave. I really like the things he writes. He is one of my Raw gurus. Now I don't know what to think. I will say that agave nectar and blue agave nectar are 2 different things.
I personally like agave. I think it falls into the category of one day butter is good for you and then, oh no, now you have to use margarine. They all keep changing their minds. One day coffee is bad and the next day it is bad. I have never drunk coffee myself. I personally don't think it is good for you. How can it be good for you if you have withdrawal symptoms from not using it? I understand those headaches can be brutal till the caffeine is out of your system.
I find my body reacts better using agave. Sugar or fructose corn sweeteners make me feel sluggish plus want to eat more sugar. Agave does not. Agave is also better for my with my Diabetes.
Here is a good site to look at. Look at the different sections before you make YOUR decision about agave. www.organicagavesyrup.com/index.html I have the link below so you can just click on it. It is the last link I posted at the bottom.
If I have to choose between agave, corn fructose, sugar, or artificial sweeteners I will choose agave.
Now as for the email I received here is the link to the email I received today:
Here are the important parts that I have reprinted:
" First of all, Dr. Miracle didn’t exactly say that, although he allowed it on his web site. Mercola is a brand, a big company, employing lots of people, including staff writers who write stuff for the site and newsletters. The chiropractor named Joe Mercola doesn’t do the research and writing. So when I say “Mercola” in this article, I mean “it” (the company/brand/staff), not “he” (the founder of the company)."
"Controversy, right or wrong, unfortunately, adds to Mercola’s 7-figure mailing list and profits. Mercola (and the chiropractor himself) may or may not be aware that it is wrong about agave. Comparing it to high-fructose corn syrup, or to tequila, is a tenuous, false, almost ridiculous exaggeration. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the organic chemistry differences."
"Mercola’s staff writer acts as if fructose is poison. Yes, fructose is the sugar in high-fructose corn syrup, too. One point Mercola and I agree on is the fact that the highly refined sweetener HFCS is deadly. But fructose is the sugar in fruit, too! Is it possible that fructose can be either good or bad?
Here’s a key point Mercola overlooks. Agave’s sugar is a long-chain polymer of fructose, which is not absorbed by the body and therefore passes through you. Thus there’s a much-reduced impact on your blood sugar of consuming agave (versus HFCS, cane sugars, and honey). It’s not hard to document that agave’s glycemic index is one-third that of sugar or honey."
"But as sweeteners go, if you’re going to use them—and please use all concentrated sweeteners sparingly—raw, organic agave is a very good option. And another of my favorite sweeteners, stevia, contains a compound called steviasides, which shut down insulin production in the pancreas—stevia is an even better (calorie-free) option, especially for diabetics.
So, the answer to the question, is agave a superfood or a poison, the answer is, “Neither one.” Don’t fear it. Don’t overuse it either." Ronin Openshaw
If you use or are thinking of incorporating agave in your diet I would read the entire blog she wrote because it really breaks it down and gives examples as to why Robin Openshaw is saying what she is saying. I would also read these:
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