Why Sugar Takes a Toll on Mental Health

Posted on October 24

There are at least four potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on mental health:

1. Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health.

2. Sugar suppresses activity of a key growth hormone called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes healthy brain neurons. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, which animal models suggest might actually be causative.

3. Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression.

4. Sugar impairs the microbiome and its influence on the modulation of stress response, immune function, neurotransmission and neurogenesis

In 2004, British psychiatric researcher Malcolm Peet published a provocative cross-cultural analysis of the relationship between diet and mental illness. His primary finding was a strong link between high sugar consumption and the risk of both depression and schizophrenia. According to Peet:

“A higher national dietary intake of refined sugar and dairy products predicted a worse 2-year outcome of schizophrenia. A high national prevalence of depression was predicted by a low dietary intake of fish and seafood.

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6 Unusual Ways to Cook With Cauliflower

Posted on October 22

1. Popcorn

Cauliflower popcorn is a fun alternative that boosts veggie intake. Instead of serving roasted cauliflower as a side dish, serve smaller, popcorn-size nuggets as a snack and toss them with popcorn-style toppings, such as Parmesan cheese and smoked paprika; everything but the bagel seasoning; or garlic powder and salt.

2. Creamy Soup without the Dairy

You can add two cups of the puree to a can of tomato soup for a creamy version that adds a whopping six grams of fiber. Also, individuals who can’t tolerate dairy foods and/or don’t eat any foods from animals can now enjoy a plant-based creamy soup.

3. Hash Brown "Potatoes"

To make them, boil 1 pound cauliflower florets; drain and mash with 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; then stir in 1/3 cup shelled hemp seeds, 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds, 3 minced scallions, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 large organic eggs, and sea salt, rosemary, black pepper (or cayenne pepper) and turmeric to taste. Then drop the mixture onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, forming 12 (3-inch diameter) patties; bake in a 475-degree oven for about 25 minutes (flipping patties halfway through baking); and serve them warm alongside scrambled eggs or dolloped with organic sour cream or a dairy-free alternative.

4. Tabbouleh

Why stop at rice when thinking about cauliflower as a grain substitute? Use it in a tabbouleh-style salad instead of bulgar, along with parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon and olive oil. Riced cauliflower stands in beautifully when you want an all-vegetable dish.

5. Super Smoothie

Use frozen cauliflower florets in smoothies! Add 1/2 cup cooked cauliflower to your favorite smoothie. It makes smoothies super creamy and thick for just 15 calories, but the best part is it adds fiber, vitamin C, and other disease-fighting compounds!

6. Healthy Cheese Sauce

You can make a cheese sauce healthier by adding cauliflower. Simply cook cauliflower and garlic, add some vegetable broth and milk, season with salt and pepper and add some shredded cheese (such as cheddar or Parmesan). Blend it all together, and you’ll be surprised how creamy and savory it is. The sauce works great as an Alfredo sauce or cream sauce.

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Sheet-Pan Teriyaki Ginger Sesame Chicken & Broccoli

Posted on October 16

Ingredients

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into pieces
8 oz broccoli florets
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 and ½ tbsp sesame seeds

For the Marinade:

½ cup teriyaki sauce (no soy teriyaki by Primal Kitchen)
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp honey (local, raw honey)
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the marinade: Add teriyaki sauce, oil, honey, ginger, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and salt/pepper to taste to a small bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are combined and set aside.

In a large bowl, add in chicken, broccoli, bell peppers, and HALF of the marinade (reserving the rest for later) and toss until evenly coated. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

Spread chicken and veggies on an oiled baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, and continue cooking until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through.

Drizzle remaining marinade over top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy as is, or serve over rice or quinoa!

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Mint Chocolate Chip Iced Latte

Posted on October 10

Ingredients

1/2 cup strong coffee, chilled
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
6 fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons sweetener of choice (I use stevia)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
shaved chocolate and/or chocolate sauce

Instructions

-In a small pot, heat almond milk over low heat.
-Add fresh mint leaves and heat for 5 minutes.
-Remove from heat and strain off mint leaves.
-Stir in sweetener and cocoa powder.
-Add ice cubes to a large glass. Pour in chilled coffee.
-Top with almond milk.
-Sprinkle with shaved chocolate if desired.

Notes

-Alternatively, add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract to almond milk instead of using fresh. No heat is needed.
-Make a hot version by skipping ice & using hot coffee instead.
-Use any kind of milk you prefer. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract if not flavored vanilla.

Nutrition

Calories: 42, Fat: 2.7, Net Carbohydrates: 2.2, Protein: 1.3

Mint-Chocolate-Chip-Iced-Latte-Recipe

4 Impressive Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Posted on October 08

Eye health — Pumpkin is one of the richest sources of beta-carotene you’ll ever find. The vegetable’s bright color is a giveaway of this plant’s beta-carotene levels. When digested, beta-carotene turns into vitamin A, a nutrient that may help maintain healthy eyesight.

Cell health — Carotenoids found in vegetables such as pumpkin may help fight free radicals. One example is helping lower your risk of skin damage due to ultraviolet light exposure.

Cancer risk — Increased carotenoid intake may help lower the risk of gastric cancer.

Heart health — The antioxidants found in pumpkin may help reduce bad cholesterol levels, helping promote a healthy cardiovascular system.

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The Healthiest Fall Foods To Stock Up On Now

Posted on October 01

Autumn is officially here and the harvest season also brings a plethora of fresh produce like root vegetables, juicy apples, pumpkin and winter squash.

Incorporating seasonal foods in your daily diet is a great way to make your meals more flavorful as well as nutritious—without breaking the bank.

So, take your healthy eating game a notch higher this season by loading up on these seasonal superfoods that I recommended:

Apple: Apples are full of vital nutrients including Vitamin K, potassium and immune-boosting Vitamin C. You also get plenty of dietary fiber (pectin) from both its skin and its flesh. This form of soluble fiber helps improve blood sugar control, aids digestion and helps with cholesterol management because its peak season is fall, apple has an optimal taste and texture during autumn months. Besides eating them as is, you can eat them with nut butter, add them to your salads, enjoy them baked with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top or blend them into your pancake batter.

Eggplant: Eggplant is a great low-calorie vegetable to cook with. One key health benefit of eating eggplant is that it's a good source of fiber. It's is also full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and vitamin B6. You can grill or roast the versatile vegetable, turn it into a dip, stuff it with a healthy filling or toss it in your salads and wraps.

Pumpkin: Canned pumpkin contains beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A, which is great for your eyesight. Additionally, pumpkin is a good source of potassium. Whether you choose to make a savory pumpkin soup, include it in your muffins for an extra Vitamin C and potassium punch or whip up a creamy pumpkin spiced smoothie, you’ll be able to reap its nourishing benefits.

Butternut Squash: Butternut squash is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals–of which are beneficial to your health. The primary vitamins and minerals in butternut squash include beta carotene antioxidants, vitamin C and manganese. Beta carotene is the precursor to Vitamin A which is important for your eye health.

Leeks: Nutrient-dense and low in calories, leeks bring a mild-onion flavor to your hearty fall soups and cruciferous packed salads. They are rich in antioxidants and sulfur compounds, including kaempferol and allicin, which offer protection against heart disease and certain types of cancers. Apart from soups and salads, you can add them to your favorite pasta and stew recipes, mash them into a sauce or eat them roasted.

Pecans: Pecans add a crunch and texture to your favorite fall eats. These nuts are a source of Vitamin E (which is both immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory), heart-protective B-vitamins and magnesium–which can improve your mood and lower your stress levels and your blood pressure. They are also an excellent source of fiber. Just one ounce of pecans provides 10% of your daily fiber needs. You can throw them in your favorite oatmeal and trail mix recipes, sprinkle them over salads or add them to your breakfast parfait for an added crunch.

Brussel Sprouts: These cruciferous veggies pack in potassium, iron, and heart-protective B vitamins—including B6 and thiamin. Brussel sprouts contain prebiotics which probiotics feed off. Combining prebiotics with probiotics boosts their gut-healthy benefits. Brussels sprouts can be used in a number of ways. You can enjoy them sautéed with a bit of olive oil and sea salt, toss them in a casserole or add them to a salad, stir-fry or pasta recipe.

Parsnip: Parsnips contain essential nutrients such as Vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. They are also a great source of fiber–with 7 grams in one cup. The versatile root veggie can be added to soups, stews or made into fries.

Beets: Both golden and red beets include fiber, iron, potassium and folic acids. If you're tired of eating roasted beets, blend them to make a dip, turn them into baked chips or sneak them in your desserts.

Swiss Chard: This leafy green is an excellent source of Vitamins A and K and dietary fiber. It is a perfect ingredient to add to your green smoothies. Also, it tastes great in a light sauté and serves up well in soups.

Cranberries: These bright red berries not only spruce up your salads and festive fall dishes but also serve to benefit your overall gut health and immunity. The low-calorie superfood is high in vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants.

Pomegranate: These sweet and tart gems add antioxidants and a unique burst of flavor to your favorite autumn drinks and dishes. While antioxidants can be found in many fruits and vegetables, pomegranate juice has, on average, more antioxidant capacity than red wine, grape juice, or green tea.

Other nutrient-dense whole foods that you should eat more often this season include celery, pears, red grapes, sweet potato and cauliflower.

fall veg

Have you Been Told By Your Doctor That You Will Be Type Two Diabetic for the Rest of Your Life?

Posted on September 30

*Weight loss immediately after diagnosis is the most effective way to send type 2 diabetes into remission, new research has found.

Patients who shed 10 per cent or more of their body weight in the first five years have the highest chance of setting themselves on the road to recovery, a study by the University of Cambridge found.

Obesity is the biggest risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and the disease affects around 400 million people worldwide.

It puts sufferers at risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness and amputations, but can be managed long term through lifestyle changes and medication.

It is also possible for sufferers to return their blood glucose levels to normal through diet, exercise and weight loss.

Friday Funny....

Posted on September 27

Low Carb Blueberry Muffins (Keto/Paleo)

Posted on September 25

I have been experimenting with different recipes and have come up with one that I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

(BTW.... I have never been a baker, but I feel zero guilt when I eat one of these!)

Ingredients:

2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup of granulated monk fruit (granulated xylitol or stevia)
1 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup butter (measure sold, then melt)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pint blueberries

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sweetener, baking powder and sea salt.

3. Mix in melted butter, almond milk, eggs and vanilla. Then fold in blueberries.

4. Evenly fill the 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes.

I chose to use a bit of the coconut flour as it adds more sweetness to the muffin, but I did not like it when I used 100% coconut flour. You can also use coconut oil instead of butter, but it is a bit more "greasy".

1 muffin: 210 calories, 3 grams of net carbs, 7 grams of protein and 19 grams of fat.

muffin

Common Sources of GMOs...

Posted on September 18

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