Happy Fall everyone and blessings this weekend! I just wanted to share one of my favorite Fall dishes that’s loaded with flavor and tons of nutrients! Stop over to my new site at Freedom At The Crossroads , for the complete recipe!
Nutritious Summer Smoothie
Get the recipe and more right here!
Quick and Easy Food Storage Tips
We all know how expensive groceries can become especially when you move between seasons or making a huge shift in how you feed yourself and your family.
Making healthy nutritional choices doesn’t have to break the bank nor does it have to become an overwhelming experience. While you might think you’re saving money (i.e. buying processed foods instead of fresh produce, etc) by not buying organic and locally sourced produce (get my FREE quick and easy grocery guide for the EWG recommendations for produce in 2017), or stocking up on frozen meals, the truth is that the hidden health costs associated with these types of low quality “foods” are extremely high.
Don’t be deceived by marketing gimmicks and misinformation campaigns promoted by both big agribusiness and the processed food industry. Labels on our foods matter and so do the methods of food production. Foods that have been cultivated using conventional means (i.e. large-scale pesticide and herbicide use, etc) are much more likely to contain damaging levels of these residues. We as consumers can not rely on these industries to “self-regulate” as their track records have shown them to be less than honest when it comes to putting consumer safety and health above their stock portfolios.
Also, while the FDA and USDA have traditionally been the only real advocate for consumers, both agencies have been severely hindered and compromised by lobbying interests as well as well-crafted efforts to defund these agencies in an effort to misinform the public regarding our food sources, what’s in our foods, labeling practices by the processed food industry and big agribusiness.
The reality is this: what food you put in your mouth will either poison or nourish your body, depending on where it comes from. If it comes from a country with no or poorly standardized food safety requirements (i.e. mercury levels in fish, pesticide use in produce, additives in frozen, processed and or packaged foods, etc), YOU need to SERIOUSLY rethink your food choices!!
Part of being able to feed your family with safe nutritious foods means you must adopt a sustainable way of accessing the right foods for your table. In practical terms, that means finding ways to minimize waste and unnecessary costs due to spoilage and improper food storage.
With that in mind here are a few quick tips:
1. Store dairy products at the back of the fridge. While it may make for easy access, keeping your milk at the front of the fridge makes it more prone to spoilage due to temperature differences. This is because the back of the fridge is colder and will, therefore, give your dairy products are longer shelf life.
2. Place your meats on the bottom shelf so that their juices do not drip on other food items (i.e. produce, etc) and contaminate them. If space is an issue, place your meat products on a tray or inside a leak-proof container in order to catch any drippings. Better yet, prep and package your meats into manageable portions (i.e. serving sizes for soups, meals, etc) and then store them in the freezer until you’re ready to cook your meals. Also, separate lunch meats from raw meats in order to prevent illness associated with cross-contamination.
3. Like any other plant, well-hydrated herbs will last longer and be less likely to spoil when you store them properly. Fresh herbs, like basil, asparagus, and green onions will last a good while if you store them upright in a jar of fresh water. Simply trim the stems, cover them with a piece of plastic wrap, and place them in the refrigerator for storage and use as needed.
4. Be aware of where to store fruits and vegetables. Not all fruits and veggies require refrigeration and in some instances, refrigeration affects the taste quality of some fruits and vegetables. For instance, avocados (yes, technically it’s a fruit because it has a seed y’all), citrus, bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes do best outside of your fridge at room temperature or in your pantry. A quick warning though; don’t store onions and potatoes together due to the ethylene gas which can cause them to spoil each other faster.
5. I’ve been doing this for years ( thanks, momma), but did you know it really helps when you wrap your greens in paper towels. They’re great at preventing slimy residue from accumulating and making a science experiment in your bag of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy greens. Simply use paper towels to soak up excess moisture and lightly wrap your green in a few paper towels. This also works for leftover salad greens in food storage containers (minus the salad dressing of course).
6. Cover the crown of your bunches of bananas with plastic wrap. It helps to slow the release of that ethylene gas which is the meany responsible for breaking (the natural process that causes your produce to spoil) down one of my go-to mid-morning snacks. This is a good way to preserve your bananas if you’re not going to eat them right away.
7. Did you know wrapping your bunches of celery in foil helps it stay fresh and crunchy for up to as much as four weeks? Yep, wrapping it up in foil and then placing it in your fridge’s crisper drawer will help extend the life of your celery. The foil does this by allowing just the right amount of moisture in, and the ethylene gas out.
8. Stop! Don’t wash all your produce at once. I know it’s counter-intuitive but it’s much better to wash your produce as you go if you want to maximize its shelf life. Unless you plan on freezing your food, you should only be washing things you’re ready to eat right away or soon after. This will reduce the chances of mold growing on damp produce.
9. Another “who’d a thunk it?” If you want to keep those berries mold free, soak them in vinegar. If you’re not going to consume them all at once, simply quick soak your berries in a solution of three parts water, one part vinegar in order to kill bacteria and prevent molding. Once you’ve done that, give the berries a thorough pat dry and store in the fridge.
10. Another great time saver and a great way to preserve your veggies to simply roast them prior to storage. By roasting vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, you can extend their shelf life. Not only that, it’s also a great meal prep tip to have cooked veggies on hand that you can quickly incorporate into any meal.
11. I can say this enough! Store grains in air-tight containers!! While buying in bulk is a great way to save money when grocery shopping, you want to make sure that you store it correctly so the extra food doesn’t go to waste. It’s critical that you make sure to transfer your grains into an airtight container to maintain freshness, as well as keep those pesky bugs away. Do yourself a favor by labeling your containers with the purchase dates so you’re able to keep track of expiration dates and avoid wasting stored foods.
12. Always Double-check your fridge’s temperature especially as the seasons’ change (i.e. summer vs. winter months). You want to make sure that your fridge is set at the correct temperature and that your thermostat is in proper working order to prevent spoilage and reduce the risk of food born illnesses. The recommended temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degree Celsius for those of you who are using the mks measurement system.
If you’re still not sure where to begin, grab my FREE Pantry Detox Gude GUIDE HERE
For the complete Introductory Produce, Shopping Guide grab a copy HERE!!
The Good, Bad, And The Ugly!
The “Ides Of March” (my little Shakespeare reference, hahaha) are not far off and before you know it, we’ll all be agonizing over those extra rolls we picked up over the winter months. Needless to say, that’s not all we picked up; less healthy eating, more of eating for comfort vs. eating for hunger, more sedentary vs. active, and the list goes on.
So let’s not beat ourselves up over that stuff, rather, let’s focus on solutions that lead to results that can actually be sustained and maintained over time! When I first started the healthy lifestyle journey, I remember being so TIRED of being sick and tired and because of that; hitting my version of “rock bottom” to the point where there was literally no way that I would stay on that hamster wheel!
I like to start a new season by detoxing my fridge so that I have the right “food” to go with a right “mindset” and that, equals success! Making the right nutritional choices for your health, are not that difficult to come up with nor are they unachievable. You simply have to change your mindset about what it means to be healthy and whether or not you value yourself enough to change your lifestyle.
Now some might say, “that’s easy for you to say”, and my response is, the following: guaranteed sickness, disease, and regret do not constitute an acceptable alternative. If you want to be fit, healthy and have a well-balanced lifestyle, you have to just do it and make the commitment or else you will never have the energy or drive to pursue those things that make life meaningful-simple!
We’re at a time in the year where it’s time to start digging through our pantries and closets and get into the business of throwing out those things we no longer need or want (a.k.a. detox). I’m a firm believer in keeping things simple and to the point. Case in point, any packaged food that lists ingredients I can’t pronounce (i.e. additives) or have been reduced to acronyms, I throw them out (or avoid buying them in the first place).
I just see that as code for stuff that’s either been banned in Europe for its associated health risks or based on my own personal research about certain ingredients in our food system that are suspect (i.e. no nutritional value or just haven’t been pulled by the Food and Drug Administration).
In the meantime, get educated about where your food comes from, get in the FitTribe Zone and get moving!
Also, here’s your FREE copy of my Pantry Detox guide and remember, “you are what you eat!”
To Bone Or Not? What’s The Big Deal?
Okay, so everyone is talking about it; some even making huge claims about the near-miraculous benefits associated with taking copious amounts of “bone broth” and incorporating it into your daily nutrition plan.
So what is it? What’s the big deal?
For those wanting a few more specifics, the Mayo Clinic definition or term for bone broth is, that it is essentially stock derived from roasted bones (typically, beef or chicken) which may or may not still have some meat attached. They are then cooked for 24 hours or more with the goal being to extract the gelatin from the bones as well as release the nutritious minerals contained within the bones. The final step in the preparation process is to strain the broth (and season to taste) from the bones and then season to taste.
I don’t know about you, but spicy chicken soup, pepper soup, and broths have been a mainstay in my family for years! Not only that, traditional Nigerian pepper soup (in all it’s regional iterations) has been a cure-all for everything from recovery from malaria to the common cold! Is the science to back it up? the jury is still out on that although there are a few studies out there that seem to suggest that there are “some” medicinal benefits to consuming bone broth.
Will I be stepping out to my fave health food store to buy some bone broth or bone broth supplements? Nope! Especially when I have all the “traditional” ingredients, spices, and secret stashes (available at African food stores only, lol), in my own pantry-Boomsie! If there are any real “medicinal” properties, they lay in the spices themselves; everything from turmeric (a natural anti-inflammatory), curry (also contains turmeric), and nutmeg, to garlic, and so forth.
If you really want to detox YOUR body, start with detoxing your pantry! After all, if your pantry is loaded with toxic crap, so will YOU be TOO!
Get your copy of my beginners’ pantry detox guide right here!
To Vegan or Not?
Every day there seems to be some new toxin that we’re being exposed to in the environment; an environment that our current government seems eager to pollute even more by relaxing regulations on the fossil fuel industry, big Agra-business, etc. So what’s the alternative? Do you trust regulatory agencies to do their due diligence for you, the consumer in terms of ensuring that our food sources are secure, safe to consume, and toxin free? Or, do you become your own advocate and educate yourself about where you food choices as well as put your money where your health is?
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to making choices about what “foods” we will allow in to our bodies and in the bodies of our loved ones. Key among them is, “is it safe to eat?”, “is it healthy?”, and the real kicker; “can I afford it?” Now I am sure you’re asking, “what does going vegan have to do with it?” For me, going vegan is simply a spectrum of food and nutritional choices based on one’s own personal decisions and calculations predicated on the issues I mentioned earlier. Given the current state of affairs both nationally and globally (i.e. obesity, climate and environmental crisis) we owe it to ourselves, families and communities, to be proactive about our health and that of the world we live in. We no longer have the luxury of blindly buying foods based on marketing gimmicks and misinformation!
From a healthcare standpoint alone, diets high in fruits, veggies, nuts, (i.e. Mediterranean diet, etc) or largely plant-based, are associated with significantly reduced occurences of chronic disease, obesity, cancer, and so forth. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you need to shift your diets (nutritional sources) away from processed and packaged stuff that masquerades as food.
Will it take work? Yes, but no more than usual (if you prep your meals ahead of time, plan your meals for the week while you watch tv, etc) and your wallet will thank you! In the end, consuming less animal products will save you a lot of money as well as lower your chances of having to pay a visit to the both the cardiologist and oncologist sometime in the future.
I’ll let you ruminate on that info for a bit and in the meantime, ask yourself what’s holding you back from taking the right steps to bring your fitness and life in balance. Better yet, if you really want to gain back your power and get off that hamster wheel going nowhere, book a clarity call below and get up and GO!
Nuts not fluff: Incorporating Nuts and Seeds As Part of a Healthy Diet
People often ask me why I’m so obsessed about seeds and nuts and I could rattle off a whole slew of information (see sources below) about why they’re so great. After watching their eyes invariably glaze over from information overload, I’ve since discovered that less is more, and simplicity is a gem worth appreciating. The simple answer lays in the fact that we (meaning homo Sapiens) are at our optimal health and fitness when we adhere to a diet that is both diverse and nutritionally dense. This is in both the historic and evolutionary record ( I won’t bore you with the details) as well as the current health crisis many in the industrialized (as well as underdeveloped nations) are facing in terms of ever-increasing numbers of diabetes, cancer, as well as autoimmune diseases.
It is no small coincidence that our propensity for, and our over indulgence in so-called “quick” and “processed” foods have a strong connection or link to the incidence of the above mentioned diseases and associated syndromes. The bottom line, is that processed foods, our dependency on them, coupled with a lack of adequate exercise (daily), has brought us to the brink of a near pandemic. Add to that unsustainable environmental and agricultural practices, and a grime picture begins to unfold for the human race; but a solution for one problem at a time please.
In simple terms, nuts can be defined as “small dry hard-shelled dry fruit or seed with a separable rind or shell an interior kernel” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition). A much more detailed definition is provided by the National Institutes of Health (see National Institutes of Health website) which states that nuts are “nutrient dense foods with complex matrices rich in unsaturated fatty and other bioactive compounds: high-quality vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds.” Translation? nuts constitute a dense powerhouse store of complete nutrients (i.e. fats, fibre, carbohydrates, etc).
All that being said, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. While nuts are nutrient dense, they do contain fat and that means you must balance their intake with other sources of vital nutrients that contain fewer calories as well as fats. The key take away here is “BALANCE”; in terms of nutritional intake (i.e. amount per serving, etc) as well as lin proportion to other nutrient sources. For instance, a balanced intake of nuts (and or seeds, i.e. sunflower walnuts) at one sitting relative to other nutrient sources, would be equivalent to 1/3/ cup or 1 and 1/2 oz of nuts 3-4 servings per week for a 1,600 calorie diet and 4-5 servings per week for a 2,000 calorie diet (American Heart Association: 2013 Healthy Diet recommendations;Eckel, Robert H. et al. “2013 AHA/ACC).
While similar to seeds in terms of nutrient content, seeds are, in simple terms, the embryonic stage of a plant housed in a protective outer shell or hull. The dietary guidelines for seeds are similar to those for nuts, but the caveat remains the same; balance, balance, balance, is the mantra we should all stick to when it comes to nutrition, health (mind-body) and fitness. Why am I pushing them? I’m a firm believer in balance and the pivotal role it plays in our health and fitness within the context of a healthy and free lifestyle. My own personal experience alone has driven home the inherent power of a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet; not only that, from a physical fitness perspective, a poor diet will doom you to failure and injury (i.e. failing to fuel your body the nutrients required for both recovery and muscle growth).
From a female perspective, I’ve come to learn the importance of incorporating dietary balance into my daily regime as a means of negating undesirable effects of changes in hormonal levels, stress, and illness recovery. While nutrition and fitness alone can not wholly stave off the negative impacts of illness, disease, time, and so forth, they are powerful resources in our arsenal that are available to help us achieve optimum fitness, health, and the freedom to pursue our goals and passions.
Remember, getting fit and healthy requires that you first make the decision, develop a plan, and take action. For more information as well as assistance regarding how to get started on your journey, join the FitTribe of fellow women who are getting stronger everyday!
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Eckel, Robert H. et al. “2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk.” Circulation, vol. 129, no. 25 suppl 2, Dec. 2013, doi:10.1161/01.cir.0000437740.48606.d1.
Ros, Emilio. “Health Benefits of Nut Consumption.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3257681/.
You, your food and…
Your food and you!…
So it’s a new day, a new season, and with all of that comes a whole new set challenges. The fall season kicks off the hustle and bustle of preparing for upcoming holidays and the stress of all those unwelcome bills that come with multiple gift buying, household preparations, and travel expenses. So how do you STILL fit in a healthy eating and fitness plan? Well, you simply stick to the P.L.A.N. and remain focused on your goals (i.e. living a balanced and healthy lifestyle,etc).
I’m not saying there are no challenges in maintaining your health and fitness goals, but it is more than possible to be aware of what you’re eating, finding and using your “me” time to work out (it’s also an excellent way to deal with stress), and staying balanced in all (or most) areas of your life. Experience has taught me that the best way to do this, is by taking a step back and finding joy in the little things-a crisp sunny Fall day, an invigorating walk along the trails, or simply enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee on the front porch (backyard, on the veranda, in front of your balcony, etc).
For the everyday woman who’s life is at the crossroads and who feels like she needs not just her health and fitness in balance, but life in general, I say, WELCOME! I have found that every woman is unique in terms of her story and her needs, especially at the “crossroads”. Why? The answer is relatively simple. The needs of a woman who is already stressed, out of balance both physically and mentally (i.e. overweight, frustrated, overwhelmed) is different from one who has her career, obligations, and family on track, etc but just needs “some” help losing a few pounds and leaning how to eat healthy!
The sad truth is that most of us women (especially if you haven’t seen 30 in a min😜) struggle with a chaotic and unhealthy life, but rather than valuing ourselves enough to change it, we choose for one reason or another, to stay on that hamster wheel going no where!
We need to admit and own our truth when it comes to our relationship with food and by extension , how we relate and perceive ourselves as well as others. we seem to be ignorant of the fact that FOOD plays an important role in our lives and an important aspect of culture. I guess like so many other things in this high-tech age, this is just one more thing that has become lost in the matrix of ” sameness” perpetuated by a media that serves itself rather than the welfare of society at large.
I’m not saying we bear no responsibility in own health, but I AM saying is that, the media bares some responsibility in terms of pushing “unhealthy” images and ideals of what constitutes beauty, a “healthy weight”, “healthy” foods (i.e. so called fat-free, zero calorie) etc. Our current mainstream media has in large part become the mouth piece of big Agra-business and corporations more interested in their bottomless than the wellbeing of society.
This is why I do what I do! I decided to get active and advocate for women’s health and to empower other women to fight back and reclaim their health, fitness. My goal is for women in my zone of influence to become knowledgeable about their food sources and equip them with the necessary tools to gain control of their health and nutrition. I’ll always remember these wise words of my mom, “knowledge is power” and “the gates of the school-house are still open”!
If You are tired of UN-healthy crap being packaged and marketed to you as healthy, “low” in fat, etc, then get involved and educated about who controls your food- you are what you eat folks! The hard truth is that, if after all that hard work of getting fit and adopting a healthy lifestyle you’re still depending on big Agra-business and the fast food / packaged food industrial machine to give you good (derived from sustainably grown, mostly pesticide free or organic) quality food, dream on. An educated public is an empowered one, and too often that empowerment is in conflict with the bottom line of these corporations.
So what do I do to cut out the crazy and NOT break the bank? I keep it simple. Stick to mostly seasonal produce, buy my produce from local farms, buy organic where necessary (avoid the “dirty dozen”) and get involved in a local or community farm if at all possible. At the end of the day you, and your family are worth the time and effort, believe me! On a side note, my yummy red shrimp pasta dish 👇🏽 did NOT break the bank, contains mostly organic ingredients, and was both healthy and nutritious! #BoomShakaLaka 😜
As always, you can reach me both here and facebook, or just drop me a line…
The beauty of the nut: The health benefits of eating seeds & nuts
The research bears it out (even if I had not arrived at this conclusion from my own fitness journey); there are huge gains to be made from consuming seeds and nuts as part of a healthy diet. As one who has a fair share of basic anthropology and archaeology course work (background in biological anthropology) I’m far from surprised that some of the same food sources in early human history, have shown themselves to have been beneficial within the context of health. As outlined in serveral journals (follow this >>link<< for researched benefits of adding nuts and seeds to your diet) , while they do contain a significant source of fat (the “good” variety, i.e monounsaturated fats) they are also extremely nutrient dense.
A key take away from my own personal research and experience (i.e fitness journey) is to always ensure that you incorporate a variety healthy nutrient sources into your diet. Yes our bodies need fat just not the crap at your local fast food, wannabe be “restaurants”. There are no substitutes for healthy meal planning and food choices.You want to lose weight, get fit and healthy? Then you have to be willing to do the work, educate yourself about your food and where it comes from, AND live the healthy lifestyle! This is the reality of maintaining your health and fitness AND to sustain those achievements, YOU must maintain it. A good guide to eating healthy is provided by the >> CDC<<, but you can’t rely on one source of information to access the information you need to “fight” the “food wars”, YOU must get engaged in the food production process yourself (i.e. advocate for clear labels on food items, support organic and local farmers, etc).
Now that I’ve said and done my part, what about you?..👣