Cranberry Apple Sauce

Cranberries are in season! Give this recipe a try, as you may want to consider incorporating into your upcoming holiday feast.

You’ll Need:

  • 6 medium apples peeled, cut into small pieces (Gala, and Pacific Rose work well)
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar (start with less and add to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple juice or other fruit juice

Directions:

  • Place apples and cranberries in food processor and pulse several times to chop.
  • Add sugar and juice; process until pureed.
  • Refrigerate 3 hours before serving.

How To Train Your Brain For Portion Control

CG Brain Lifting WeightsPeople will say, “I eat a lot because I am just that hungry.” However, it is closer to the truth to say that you are that hungry BECAUSE you eat a lot.

In other words, we train our brains to expect a certain volume of food. This happens physiologically and psychologically with the amount of food that you feel like is an appropriate amount for you.

Basically, if you eat large amounts, your body will start to assume that that higher volume is normal.

The good news is that the opposite is just as true. If you eat small bites, taste your food, and take your time with it, the amount of food you consume at a meal will decrease. If you are consistent with this practice, over time your body will start to assume that that lower threshold is normal.

This puts your body and brain in training!

This adaptation happens psychologically (how much you feel like you should eat), chemically (how much your brain senses you should eat before registering that you are full), and physically with the size of your stomach.  This is very good news because it means you can sculpt how much food your body craves.

Eat all you want. Just want less.

Mindfulness Month! Giving A Greater Gift.

There is no better time than December to practice mindfulness. So all month our theme will be the mindfulness methods that can help make this the most wonderful time of the year.

Great Experiences Five Star RatingGiving and receiving gifts can be a beautiful part of celebrations. However, finding the right gift can often cause more stress than it relieves.  As a solution, consider giving experiences as presents in stead.

Think about it. Will someone really remember that tie or pair of socks or standard ordinary present you typically give? The answer is no. They’ll appreciate it when you give it, but in a month or so all those gifts will blur together.

But, if you give an experience, this will be something they’ll always remember. If they have an outing, excursion, or even some kind of simple event, they will gain so much more.

Here are some ideas to create experiences for loved ones.

  • If you cook, prepare a full dinner as your gift. Your guests will relax as you host an a wonderful dining experience.
  • Plan a day of activities such as a trip to a museum, botanical garden, or show followed by a dinner out!
  • Provide a gift card to give a new hobby they may enjoy, such as pottery, a language, an instrument, or water colors.
  • Create the opportunity for a physical activity such as

dance, Pilates, water aerobics, or a climbing

wall.

Mashed Maple Sweet Potatoes

A fabulous way to use the in season sweet potatoes. Give this one a try and decide if you want to feature it at your Thanksgiving spread.

You’ll Need

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

  • In a medium saucepan cook potatoes, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 30 to 35 minutes or until very tender; then drain.
  • Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed.
  • Add maple syrup, butter, and salt.
  • Gradually beat in enough milk to make potato mixture light and fluffy.

Benefits of Portion Control

Mom Daughter and Son Confused by Dairy ChoicesOverweight, obesity, and the chronic disease conditions they bring are serious health concerns around the world. In the past we have often blamed certain molecules for the problem, such as fats, or carbohydrates, or sugars.

So solve this problem, we were coached that X% of the food you put in your mouth should be carbs, Y% should fats, and Z% should be made up of proteins. And it seems like every year someone had a new diet with a different ratio they wanted you to calculate for your meal.

This is so confusing!

Who can do that in the course of a crazy busy life? Who WOULD do it? Many people gave it a go, but zero people can live like that for long. And certainly no healthy culture around the planet micromanages molecules like this.

Portion Distortion Comparison

So maybe the real culprit is far easier simpler to understand.

Over the past 30 years overall calorie consumption has increased. One reason for this that, since the 1960s, portion sizes and even the size dinner plates themselves have increased each decade. With increasing volumes, obviously those higher volumes came with higher calories.

Maybe the real culprit is simply overconsumption? Maybe eating too much can lead to the excess calories that turn into excess weight?

This month will focus on reversing the overconsumption trend for your long term health. Here are some of the principles we’ll cover.

  • When you eat in control, the amount of food your body consumes becomes self-limiting. So instead of gobbling your food, take your time with it.
  • Food choice matters too. Higher quality foods leads to lower quantity consumption.
  • Real foods naturally have no additive sugars and more fiber in them. This combination leads to greater satisfaction at the meal and therefore controlled consumption.
  • By contrast, processed food products have less nutrients, natural fats, and fiber, which leaves you hungry for more. So you get less nutrition and more calories in the process!
  • By controlling the quality of the food you eat, and the amount you consume of it, in the end you will be able to eat all you want, but just want less.

Garlic Green Beans

You may want to start sampling dishes now to use as a yummy holiday side dish. This one is bursting with flavor.

You’ll Need
  • 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Directions
  • Steam beans for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender crisp.
  • If you want to preserve the color of the green beans, rinse briefly under cold water to preserve color, but do not chill.
  • Cover and keep warm.
  • In a large bowl, combine garlic and remaining ingredients.
  • Add warm green beans and toss until well coated.

 

 

It’s The Sugar Sweetie: What Is The Healthiest Sugar?

This month we focus on sugar consumption: which to eat, which to avoid, and how to change your own cravings for the better!

Packets of Artificial SweetenersYou might think that the healthiest sugar is the one with zero calories, such as the array of artificial sweeteners.

But there is a great deal of conflicting information available on artificial sweeteners, and whether they are safe for human consumption. Some groups claim that they are, while others claim that they are not. Meanwhile, both of them claim to be supported by scientific research.

We cannot solve this debate here, but while we’re waiting on science to suss it all out for us, perhaps we can rely on some common sense in the mean time.

  • Artificial sweeteners can be up to 200 times sweeter than sugar. Eating anything this sweet can essentially train your tastes to expect higher levels of sweetness. Obviously this can increase your cravings (and therefore your consumption) of highly sugared foods.
  • Also, artificial sweeteners offer zero nutrition for you. By contrast, there are sugars that are actually healthy for you!

 

So What Are The Healthiest Sugars?

light and dark brown sugar

Glucose itself offers energy, and that’s fine. But if you add more energy than you’re burning it will be converted to storage — fat. This will be true no matter which sugar you choose, and none of them provide any added nutrition. What does that mean?

In white sugar, you only get sugar. That’s all. But unlike white sugar, darker versions have minerals in them, most notably calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, selenium, iron, and magnesium which are so healthy for you (see below).

All of these minerals in brown sugars comes from molasses. And the darker the sugar, the more molasses is present. Therefore, the more minerals are present.

How much of these do you get with, say, two tablespoons of molasses? Remember, the RDI (listed below) is the amount recommended to consume in an entire DAY, which you will get with just two tablespoons.

  • For Your HeartMolasses dripping from a spoon
    • Vitamin B6: 14% of the RDI.
  • For Your Bones
    • Calcium: 8% of the RDI.
  • For Your Blood PressureMagnesium: 24% of the RDI.
    • Potassium: 16% of the RDI.
  • For Your Energy Levels
    • Iron: 10% of the RDI.
  • For Your Brain:
    • Selenium: 10% of the RDI.

 

What About The Calories?

By the way, those two tablespoons of molasses have the same number of calories as an apple. Zero people worry about the caloric impact of eating an apple, because it carries so much nutrition along with it (unlike artificial and white sugars). So if you want to choose a sweetener that is actually good for you, remember the rule: darker is better.

 

 

Spiced up Grits

A perfect side dish to complement a variety of meals

You’ll Need

  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced
  • 2 Serrano chilies, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup white hominy quick grits
  • 1 ½ cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

Directions

  • In a skillet melt butter and saute the bell pepper, onions, and chilies until the pepper is tender.
  • In a large saucepan heat the milk, water, salt and pepper to boiling.
  • Gradually add the grits, stirring constantly, and reduce the heat when they have all been added.
  • Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until thick, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the bell pepper mixture and cheese.