• Foods

    My Favorite Foods

    Foods photoFavorite Foods

    Mangos; green outside, tangerine inside, firm and succulent

    Watermelon; firm jade rind, sliced fleshy, ruby red , excellent

    I love this round fruit; red or black juicy with pits, cherries

    Another fruit I adore is plump, red, and luscious, strawberries

    Shrimp; boiled, baked, or barbequed, you can’t go wrong

    Almond-chocolate ice cream won’t last at my house long

    This is just a sampling of my favorite foods

    Everything here depends upon my moods

  • Foods

    Donating to Your Local Food Pantry

    Food  photoI once heard a man talking in front of a large audience about his impoverished life growing up as a child. I’ll never forget what he said about it in regards to people ‘giving’ to their family. When they moved into a housing development and did not have any furniture, he said that people felt they were doing something beautiful by giving them their old, stained, ripped couch. Surely beggars can’t be choosers right? As a little boy, he didn’t understand the concept of receiving charity like that. He just couldn’t comprehend it. It made an impact on his life and his testimonial made me think about it because how often do we feel that if people have nothing then surely they should be grateful for anything they get right?

    In giving food to a local food pantry, consider if you would actually eat what you are buying. Why is it that people seem to think the very best thing to give are canned beans? Believe me, I know this because I have volunteered at food pantries and there comes a point where you have to put a sign on the door that says “no more beans please”. It’s like some sort of unwritten code that says the poor love canned beans or that is all they really need or maybe some feel it’s all they deserve.

    My church has a food pantry and we send out emails asking for food donations and we are very specific in that we want people who donate to please donate from their surplus. This means, if you buy Jif Peanut Butter, please donate the same brand to the pantry. Don’t buy yourself Jif and then the generic for the pantry. However, if you barely make ends meet and your pulling from your budget to stretch to buy food for a pantry then okay, get the generic but morally, I feel if we want to give to bless someone else in an unfortunate situation then it should be the same as what we would hope for if we were hungry and our children were hungry and could not buy our own food. We encourage people to give fun foods because everyone loves snacks. Our pantry is probably also the only one in the area that offers frozen meat and vegetables instead of strictly canned goods. Our members will often purchase from Angel Food Ministries and donate a unit.

    Often times, you may never see it but your neighbor who seems to be doing just fine may be feeding their children popcorn for dinner and eventually, secretly need a food pantry for a short time. (I have seen this as well.) Many people encounter hard times and need a little help.

    There are huge food pantries that are very organized and feed approved, impoverished families every month. Next, there are small, local food pantries typically run by churches that will help families who are in a rough spot and need temporary help. Smaller pantries can not usually afford to feed multiple families year round but will offer assistance for a few months. Many times there are people temporarily down on their luck and will not qualify for Government assistance and perhaps maybe not even a larger food pantry organization and really need help. As I stated previously about the family feeding their children popcorn for dinner is the very reason our church began our pantry. The family doing this had a nice house, nice income and yet it was the Holidays and he lost his job. Nobody knew they were suffering so badly financially that they couldn’t pay bills. On the outset they smiled and looked okay but inside, their cupboards were bare. Their neighbors didn’t know, nobody knew and it was found out by accident what they were living on.

    It seems that there is a stigma in that if a person needs food from a pantry that they must not want to work and only deserve what less than the best while we feast on the fat. Please, if you are the giving type and like to donate to pantries or if your work or community does a food drive and you decide to be a part of it, donate what you yourself would like. Be generous; give out of your abundance exactly what you would like if you were hungry.

    Donation Suggestions:

    Already complete boxed meals

    Tuna helpers and Tuna

    Pasta and Sauces

    Peanut Butter and Jelly or Honey

    Mac and Cheese/Canned Spaghetti or Spaghetti O’s

    Little Debbie Snacks, Raisons, Graham Crackers

    Cereal of all kinds

    Instant Oatmeal

    Canned goods

    Juice for children

    Toiletries and Household items such as detergent etc….

    Diapers of all sizes and Wipes

    Remember, it could be you or someone you love that needs help some day. Give what you think you would like to eat. Just because someone is down on their luck or poor doesn’t mean they want to live on canned beans and Spam.

  • Foods

    Power Foods for Women

    Foods photoWe all get tired throughout or work days. That mid afternoon crash is something we all have to deal with, or do we? Kick that crash out by having some of these delicious snacks that will give you the boost you need to get through the rest of your day, without breaking your diet!

    Power foods by definition are those that are rich in many nutrients, low on calories, and have the most healthful benefits.

    1.) Blueberries

    Energy Boosting Carbs
    Fiber
    Vitamin C
    83 Calories (per cup)
    Anthocyanin

    Blueberries are full of energy boosting carbs, contain fiber to help your digestive system do it’s job, vitamin C, and anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is what makes blueberries blue. It also helps prevent against certain types of cancer! On top of all of that, one cup of these tasty delights only contain 83 calories! Add them to your breakfast, yogurt, or eat them straight to help your energy level jump to unheard of mid-afternoon levels!

    2.) Yogurt

    Probiotics
    Vitamin B12

    Yogurt has been proven to help the body protect against infection as well as help keep the digestive tract healthy. Vitamin B12 is well known to be an energy booster. Go for the low or fat free, and stay away from the over-flavored varieties.

    3.) Almonds

    Zinc
    Protein
    Magnesium
    Fiber

    Magnesium and fiber are two excellent energy boosting nutrients. Be advised that almonds are high in calories, and should be limited to only about 20 per serving. Also, eat them raw!

    4.) Peanut Butter

    Monounsaturated Fats
    Polyunsaturated Fats
    Fiber
    Arginine

    Peanut Butter is a delicious food. Not only that, it is portable, versatile, and can be added to just about any snack. Peanut butter has been shown to also combat diabetes and heart disease. In fact, The Journal of the American Medical Association said ‘Women who ate peanut butter or other forms of nuts at least five times a week lowered their risk of diabetes by 21 percent compared to those who didn’t.” Like any nuts, peanuts are very high in fiber and protein.

    5.) Avocados

    Fiber
    Vitamin C
    Vitamin B6
    Folate

    Just half of an avocado contains only 160 calories. It also contains an the same amount of fiber as a piece of whole wheat toast, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. It also contains folate, a nutrient that reduces the levels of homocysteine, a chemical known for causing heart attacks. So, in stead of using butter or mayonnaise on your sandwich, try using avocado butter!

    6.) Chili Peppers

    Vitamin A
    Vitamin C
    Antioxidants
    Capsaicin

    Capsaicin is the chemical that makes ‘hot’ foods ‘hot’. It is also a well known appetite suppressant. Studies have shown that people who eat foods containing chili, cayenne, or other ‘hot’ foods, tend to eat less calories in a meal. Not only will you eat less, but the peppers also kick your metabolism into overdrive. It’s win-win! You eat less, and metabolize more! So if you are having a mid-afternoon meal, try to sprinkle chili peppers or chili powder on it, if it fits the meal!

    7.) Apples

    Fiber
    Pectin Fiber
    Minimal Fat
    Boron

    Who would have thought? An apple a day, really could keep the doctor away! Apples are the basic staple of a brought-from-home lunch. Take one for your workday and you might be surprised at the health benefits they provide!

    Smokers, listen up! In a study presented before the American Thoracic Society, British researchers said “Apples were more effective than other fruits and vegetables in reducing the risk of developing serious disease, including lung cancer.” In another study, Dutch scientists found that smokers who ate an apple a day were half as likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term for emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

    Not only that, but apples contain fiber, as well as a type of fiber called pectin. Pectin helps to reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. It also contains Boron, which has been believed to increase your alertness and reduces calcium loss which could lead to osteoporosis.

    8.) Cranberries

    Potassium
    Vitamin A
    Lutein

    They are well known for their ability to fight off urinary tract infections. 10 ounces of juice per day is plenty adequate. In addition, research has shown that cranberries also help fend off colds and fight stomach bugs, gum disease, and certain types of cancer. Add cranberries to any of your cold or hot meals, or eat them as an afternoon snack. They add a wonderful taste to any cereal or yogurt, and are very healthy for you.

    9.) Fish

    Omega 3

    Eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids up two twice a week could greatly reduce your risk of heart disease. Pregnant women, however, should stay away from mercury rich seafood. Swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish are all high in mercury. Albacore tuna should be limited to 6oz per week.

    10.) Tomatoes

    Antioxidants
    Lycopene

    You say to’mayto’, I say to’mawto’. Tomatoes! The salad staples are packed full of healthy nutrients that are beneficial to your health. A single cup of spaghetti sauce will provide you with a full day’s recommended intake. Studies have shown that women with high amounts of lycopene in their diets have up to a 50% lower chance of developing breast cancer. Lycopene will also lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure. It may even help prevent macular degeneration and several types of cancers.

  • Foods

    Foods that Relieve Stress

    Foods photoTimes are tough. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. For some people that means living with stress. The effects stress can have on a person are profound. According to WebMD, stress can have a negative affect on the heart. It can also cause back pain, headaches, an upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea. Those are just some of the common symptoms.

    Stress over time can also affect the body. For instance, WebMD says over time it can cause your immune system to become weak. If you are stressed a lot you’ll likely get sick often. They say stress can also cause high blood pressure, low fertility and acne.

    Stress can also affect a person emotionally. WebMD says stress can affect the way a person feels, thinks and acts. For instance, when someone is stressed they may feel tired all the time or worry too much.

    So, now that you’re aware how stress can affect your body and well-being let’s talk about relief.

    Relief can come in many forms. For instance, you could exercise, get the recommended eight hours of sleep or eat to relieve stress. The best way to cope with stress is to find a method that works best for you.

    For the sake of this article we’ll focus on food. According to WebMD, food can fight stress in various ways. Some foods contain a calming brain chemical, while others can lower adrenaline.

    Below are five foods that WebMD says can relieve stress.

    Comfort Foods
    Many comfort foods contain a calming brain chemical. An example, of a comfort food is a bowl of warm oatmeal.

    Complex Carbs
    Complex carbs are great at relieving stress because they help the brain make serotonin and make people feel balanced. Some examples are whole-grain breakfast cereals, breads, and pastas.

    Oranges
    Oranges have tons of vitamin C, which can reduce levels of stress hormones, while strengthening the immune system.

    Spinach
    Spinach has lots of magnesium, which can regulate cortisol levels.

    Bed time snacks
    Eating a bedtime snack can help you sleep better. It can also help the brain release serotonin. For instance, a glass of warm milk makes for a great bed time snack because it can relieve anxiety.

    Being stressed shouldn’t be taken lightly. Finding a way to relieve stress should become a priority because the affects it can have on the body or a person’s well-being are profound. Focusing on foods is just one of many methods that can work to relieve stress. If you choose to focus on food, it’s important to monitor what you eat. Make sure you’re not eating too much or too little. It’ll also be important to make sure you are eating well.

    List of SourcesDiet

    1. for stress management slideshow: stress-reducing food. WebMD.
    2. Stress Management – Effects of Stress. WebMD.
  • Foods

    How To Save Money On Groceries Now: Top Tips for Saving on Your Food Bill

    Groceries  photoWith crashing stock markets and closures looming like summer storm clouds, American’s purse strings are pulled tighter than ever before. Your average working family’s income is now going toward the rising cost of household bills instead of savings and investments. Desperate times call for desperate measures but saving money on food doesn’t always have to be at the expense of quality. Check out these money saving tips to help you save a bundle on your grocery bill.

    Buying Generics

    OK, so generic brands might not have the best reputation but it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. Many generic brands are almost exactly the same as their name brand counterparts. In fact, many are made in the same factories and plants. Just because the products aren’t name brand doesn’t mean they are sub par. But buyers should beware of off brand vegetables and cleaning products. The veggies tend to have undesirable pieces (ex: stems) and cleaning products can be watered down.

    Coupons!

    That mailer in the mailbox every week used to be trash but don’t be so quick to head to the can. Take some time to browse through it because they often have good deals and can point you to the super markets with the best sales. Weekly mailers usually come toward the end of the week (Thursday or Friday) and are good for the coming Sunday to Saturday.

    Price Club Cards

    Most of the larger chain markets have “club cards.” It only takes a second to fill out the paperwork and you can usually get your card on the spot. These are good for taking advantage of “members only” deals which can change from week to week. “Club cards” are especially useful during the holiday season because they often allow shoppers the chance to accumulate points to earn free products like holiday hams and turkeys.

    Super Stores

    Super stores are a good choice because they allow shoppers to but in bulk and save money on gas. Instead of running around town picking up this and that, shoppers can do all of their shopping under one roof.

    More money saving tips include buying locally made products (they cost less because it has to travel shorter distance), visiting farmer’s markets for fresh produce, and turning leftovers into new meals.

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  • Foods

    The Food Network is Making Me Crazy

    Food photoDoes watching the food network make you feel inadequate as a cook sometimes? Yes, I do refer to myself as a cook because the title of chef requires more knowledge and training.

    My fascination with the food network started out of boredom from the same ole staples in my kitchen. Some of my regulars would be baked chicken, rice and green beans. Occasionally, there would be spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a roast. Then on a have-to-put-something-on-the-table-night there were franks and beans, hamburgers and french fries, sandwiches or pizza and salad.

    And then the mouth watering Sunday dinner consisted of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams and cornbread with homemade lemonade or iced tea. Banana pudding sometimes if they were lucky.

    My family never had a problem with Sunday dinner and neither did I. But I was getting tired of Monday through Friday’s meals.

    As I became more frustrated we began to eat out more. And the more we ate out we began to get sick of that. Don’t want to eat at home and don’t want to eat out either.

    So what do I do? Run out and apply to the top culinary schools in the country? Perhaps visit one of those establishments where you can prepare your meals a week in advance. Both of those options required either time or money or both.

    So what did I do? I turned on the food network.

    My sister had been trying new recipes out on the family and most of them came from her favorite cooks on the food network. Some dishes were hits and some were misses. But the ones that were hits were different; flavorful. I wasn’t use to having these flavors on a daily basis. And I liked them.

    So I started watching some shows on the food network. I tried 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and Emeril live to name a few. But the one that stood out with me was Iron Chef America.

    I watched and watched very carefully. Meals were prepared from beginning to end in front of my eyes.

    I’m not really one to follow recipes. I prepare by using the method of cook to taste which works well for me because who better than myself to be the judge of my own cooking.

    So what did the food network teach me? It didn’t exactly teach as much as giving me ideas. It got my creative juices flowing and opened my mind to healthier options.

    For the first time in my life I started using olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh vegetables, chicken broth etc…

    I sauté, grill and bake things in ways I never thought of preparing before. I’m cooking vegetables like, squash, zucchini, colored bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower on a regular basis. I even tried broccolini courtesy of my sister, but I didn’t particularly care for it. But I tried it and that’s what matters.

    I’m using new phrases like EVOO-extra virgin olive oil for you amateurs out there. And I finally figured out what a reduction is. And that one had me stumped for a minute.

    The food network is great but I would also like to give honorable mention to Top Chef courtesy of the Bravo network. I watch for entertainment purposes in addition it has introduced me to new techniques that I’ve never heard of.

    Lastly, I would like to give an honorable mention to Hell’s Kitchen courtesy of the Fox network. It provides me with non stop laughter and several ways on how not to do things in the kitchen. And for some reason I like Chef Ramsey.

    Until next time Bon appétit!

  • Foods

    Gyminee.Com – Workout and Food Tracking

    Food  photoWith exercising and eating properly becoming more important than ever, a great way to track your progress is to use an online diary such as Gyminee.com. The site is free to join and provides a wealth of information to help you achieve your diet and exercise goals.

    One of my favorite parts of the site is the workout programs and exercise instructions. By entering information about yourself, Gyminee helps you to create cardio and weight training workout routines to achieve individualized results. If you do not want to spend time to create your own routine, you can use other routines that users have shared. Gyminee’s library has tons of different exercises. Everything I could think of was included. A great feature is that they have video showing you how to do each exercise properly to maximize results and minimize injuries.

    The site allows you to track your exercising such as the sets, reps, weights, distance, heart rate, and more. I find it very quick and easy to enter this information after my workout because there aren’t a lot of complicated options. Gyminee even provides graphs for you to look at to see your progress.

    Another of Gyminee’s major features is its online food diary. I used to keep a paper diary but found that I am much more likely to keep it up to date on the computer. The database has 67,000+ foods so almost everything you can eat is included and if it’s not you can add your own. The nutrition labels for the foods you eat can be viewed on the website. The site tracks your intake of calories, fat, carbs, protein, and other things to help you manage your goals.

    A neat feature that many similar websites do not have is GymBuddies. You can have an online partner who will support you when you are doing well and provide support when you have having trouble. There are also fitness groups for all different kinds of activities where you can connect with other people who share your goals.

    There are a variety of friendly fitness and weight loss challenges where you can compete against other users. I find this really keeps my motivation level high because I like watching my name moving up the rankings.

    I have been using Gyminee for a couple months now and have found that it really helps me track my progress. I am much more likely to watch what I eat if I know I will be recording it later. The competition and fitness companions motivate me to exercise even on days when I do not feel like it. I recommend this website as a valuable tool for anyone who wants to take better care of their health.

  • Foods

    Sea Meat the Wonderful Food

    Meat  photoIf I were to list the food I love to eat

    Without a doubt it would be sea meat.

    Sea meat, sea meat is this some new fad?

    No It isn’t it’s the best you’ve had.

    The meanies at PETA call them sea kitties

    But they have no idea and that’s such a pity

    All slimy and gooey on their shiny outside

    Yummy and tender baked broiled or fried.

    So get a sharp hook and a small piece of bait

    And get yourself sea meat, oh boy I can’t wait.

    Omega fats and protein sea meat is so high

    But with bad things it is low and I tell you this why?

    Sea meat is so good with any old dish

    Eat all you want all the sea meat you wish.

    But be careful of what type you will eat

    Not all is the same, this is true with sea meat.

    Some sea meat is bad if you love the planet

    Choose wise the sea meat you feed your aunt Jeannette

    Mackerel is great a sustainable fish

    Swordfish is bad so low on my list

    Tuna is yummy but it pays a great price

    And salmon is great, but you had better think twice

    Orange Roughy is totally off of my roll

    That sea meat has really taken a toll

    Pollock from Alaska, now that’s a good one

    And hybrid striped bass my my such fun

    Eat herring and sturgeon that is raised on a farm

    So you eat your sea meat and your causing no harm.

    So be a good buyer and fisherman too

    Then all can have sea meat, we all can thank you.

  • Foods

    Food Choices and Preparation Tips to Reduce Stress, Depression and Anxiety

    Food  photoWhen stress hits, my first instinct is to run for McDonald’s. I crave greasy food, or at the very least, food that is carb heavy. This is certainly one instance when my gut instinct doesn’t lead me in entirely the right direction. While I may crave carbs or greasy food, there are better diet choices when I need to relieve stress.

    Make a fresh fruit salad.

    Fresh fruits rich in Vitamin B (like those that are yellow and orange, as Oprah’s Dr. Ro points out) are great choices when you are trying to fight stress and anxiety. Head to a local farmer’s market, or visit a grocery store. Stock up on fresh fruits and combine them into a delicious fruit salad. For a twist, add a bit of orange juice for an extra kick of Vitamin B, make individual serving sizes, and freeze them.

    Switch to brown bread and rice, instead of white.

    Generally healthier for you than the empty carbs in white bread and rice, brown bread and rice can also help you avoid depression, stress, and anxiety. As the Telegraph reports, whole grains are also rich in Vitamin B, and are some of the carbohydrates that can help relieve stress. If you’re having a difficult time making the switch, consider adding fresh vegetables to your brown rice, or eating your brown bread with butter. Holistic Online also notes that whole grains help release serotinin, a common neurotransmitter mentioned for people suffering from depression and anxiety.

    Fill your plate with broccoli.

    Broccoli is another food that helps relieve stress. Boiled, steamed, with or without butter – the choices are limitless for this versatile vegetable. Broccoli is rich in vitamins and minerals and Holistic Online notes that vegetables such as broccoli not only help with stress, but with general health and well-being. Add a side of broccoli to chicken or steak to complete and highlight any meal.

    Drink more water.

    The addition of water alone isn’t enough to decrease stress, but it can be an essential component in a healthy diet, especially when taking the place of soda or alcohol. While soda (and other caffeinated beverages) and alcohol can intensify the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression, water simply quenches your thirst. Replacing less healthy beverages with water can help relieve your stress.

    Bake meat, rather than fry.

    Meats can help reduce stress in a variety of ways when you make them correctly. While burgers with full fat and fried chicken can actually work to increase stress and anxiety, baking your chicken in lemon juice and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper can actually help reduce it. Not only does meat cooked in low fat ways help reduce stress, but the simple act of cooking can create a stress-free environment.

    While I may crave carbs or greasy food, there are better diet choices when I need to relieve stress. Focusing on healthy food choices and the manners in which you prepare your food can work wonders towards relieving your stress on a daily basis.

    Sources:
    Holistic Online; http://www.holisticonline.com/Stress/stress_diet.htm
    Oprah Radio; http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahradio/bgreene/bgreene_20080426
    The Telegraph; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/5061370/How-diet-affects-your-stress-levels.html

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  • Foods

    Food is Good

    Food  photoSome people are just like me
    They will always eat broccoli

    Carrots are a tasty treat
    Doesn’t matter if you have meat

    Onions are great whether raw or cooked
    Just be sure on Hotdogs you don’t get hooked

    Spinach is good in salads or quiche
    But it’s not in everyone’s food niche