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.

It’s The Sugar, Sweetie: But Is It Good For Me Or Not?

Bowl of Sugar Cubes

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

Is Sugar Even That Good For You?

That all depends on how much you eat. Sugar is used as fuel for all the cells in your body, especially your brain. In fact, nothing consumes more sugar (in the form of glucose) than your brain. It may only be about 2% of your body weight, but it consumes ~20% of all your glucose. 

So yes, sugar is critical to your health.

But those in the US consume more sugar than any other culture on the planet. If you live in the US then on average you consume about ¼ of a pound of sugar every single day. That’s about 10x greater than the recommended amount. At these levels, research demonstrates that it can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

So no, sugar is terrible for you.

 

It’s Not About The Sugar. It’s About Us.

Over-consumption is the problem. Eat too much sugar, and you will encourage chronic health problems, overweight, and obesity.  Eat that very same sugar in control, and it’s just fine for you. So the message is that we should stop making sugar bad for us.

How? Don’t over-consume it.

 

Enough Is Enough, But How Much Is That? 

Sugar on counter and many highly sugared foodsThere is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. But a good rule of thumb is to start by removing the additive sugars from the food products you consume. If you read the ingredients and see high fructose corn syrup, added sugar, maltose, dextrose, or other form of syrup then choose something else.

Just a note. Carbohydrates found in normal real food breaks down into simple sugars. So even though you eliminate the sugars that others are putting into your processed food products, the amount naturally found in real food will be more than sufficient for your body’s energy needs.

 

Quinoa with Herbs


Talk about a nutrition powerhouse… Quinoa is packed with fiber and protein and good for cholesterol control.This grain is the perfect base to a meal. The herbs in this dish make it pop!
You’ll Need
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 14.5 ounces chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt to taste

Continue reading “Quinoa with Herbs”

Zucchini Pancakes

Eat like a Mediterranean and start off with these being your first course.

You’ll Need

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Olive oil 

 

Directions
  • In a bowl mix all ingredients except olive oil together.
  • In a frying pan, on medium, heat enough oil to cover bottom of pan. Once oil is heated add tablespoons of batter to pan. Brown on both sides.