Pass the Quinoa

This food may not be on your radar yet, but it should be– it is called quinoa (pronounced, KEEN-wah) and it’s native to South America. Quinoa can be utilized as a substitute for grains or pastas, although it’s actually a seed more closely related to spinach or beets. It has a slightly nutty flavor, and boils the same way as rice, with a 2-to-1 ratio of water to quinoa. It can be used in a variety of dishes as a replacement for rice or pasta, prepared as hot breakfast cereal, added to soups, and much more.

Nutritionally, quinoa has more protein than grain does, but also has a higher fat content (a large portion of that fat being monounsaturated, which is heart healthy). It’s considered a complete protein, because it’s high in essential amino acids like lysine(crucial for growing and repairing body tissues), and is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Some of the nutritional benefits are dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese—plus it’s popular amongst vegans and those who are lactose intolerant because it’s a good source of calcium (twice the amount as in whole wheat). Additionally quinoa is gluten-free— it doesn’t even belong to the same plant family as wheat, barley, rye and oats.

Getting into more detailed health and wellness benefits, quinoa has been deemed an ally to migraine sufferers because of its high magnesium content, which helps relax blood vessels, thus also making it known to aid in reducing hypertension. Additionally, we know protein & fiber are two dietary essentials for the regulation of blood sugar and are both found in quinoa, so the effects of daily consumption of quinoa are being studied for the possible risk reduction of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, free radicals (which cause oxidation damage to the body) are removed by the S.O.D. enzymes (superoxide dismutase), which is an antioxidant that is synthesized through the manganese, copper and zinc (all found in quinoa), which—don’t lose me—is known to slow the effects of aging and eliminate cancer cells. With all these great nutritional/health benefits, why not try it!

One cup of cooked quinoa is about 222 calories, 39 carbs, 4g fat, 8g protein, 5g fiber. There are tons of great recipes out there on how to use this versatile food, so get to cooking, and let me know your favorite recipes!! Enjoy!

Using a Smaller Plate

Hi everyone! The topic for today is an easy way to cut down calorie intake without much effort. Sounds great doesn’t it?!  Okay, let’s face it, if you have extra storage of body fat, you know diet and exercise are the key factors to removing it. The term “diet” does not necessarily mean you should “go on a diet,” but simply make changes to the one you already have.

Today, I will discuss the simplicity of Using a Smaller Plate. Overall, in the past few decades portion size has significantly increased, along with obesity. Coincidence? I think not. My restaurant philosophy differs slightly from my at-home philosophy due to factors that you can easily change while at home, but not so easily while out. Let’s discuss the at home meal time scenario. Okay, so it’s time to grab a plate of food for dinner you’re (1) so hungry and (2) you love this meal, so (3) you reach in the cabinet and grab the largest plate you can find, then (4) you begin to load on the food—yum! Well, while you’re loading on the food, you’re (5) loading on the calories too. My suggestion to lighten the calorie load is simple, use a smaller plate.

As you (strategically) place food on your small plate, your portions will/should decrease in size. Now you can enjoy a taste of everything (the same tastes as on a large plate) without gorging on larger portions. Anyone who has seen me eat knows I clean my plate every time—as much as I take is as much as I eat. So if you’re anything like me, you will stuff yourself silly just to finish, and stuffing yourself (or myself) only leads to higher calorie consumption, which leads to longer workouts to burn them off, or fat storage.

So next mealtime when you reach into the cupboard, grab a smaller plate (or bowl!) and see if your meal tastes just as good off of that piece of dishware!

Have you tried Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are an amazing and almost tasteless addition to my hydration regimen. Chia seeds can be added to food or beverages, they make you feel fuller longer, they are an extremely rich plant source of Omega-3, and they have many other great health benefits– but you don’t have to take my word for it, check out this read, and find them at your local health food store. Enjoy!

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