The term “fat” sends most people running for the hills, but in reality, the GOOD fats are essential to your overall health and wellbeing.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are one of the most beneficial groups of nutrients for your brain and overall health. They build brain cell membranes, reduce brain inflammation, and promote new brain cell formation.
They can improve your mood and memory and give you protection against brain disorders ranging from depression to dementia.
Shockingly, most American’s are deficient. Do you get enough healthy fats?
Do you blanch your veggies? You might want to start!
Ever sauteed broccoli to see it go from vibrant green to a very unappealing, matte shade of “dirty-gray green”? Blanching helps keep your veggies vibrant! In addition to the color, blanching also locks in the vitamins in nutrients, shortens cooking time, helps remove the dirt and bacteria, and for veggies like Kale, denatures the enzymes that make it bitter.
My husband blanches our veggies when we cook, and it really does make a difference – the color alone is MUCH more appealing!
Who’s a blancher, here?
Ever gone to squeeze some citrus in, and felt like it was a desert, barren with no real juicy goodness? Or gotten a little juice, but is that all!? I used to think it was just my inability to squeeze harder at times due to my neuropathy/arthritis, but chefs all around the world say you should roll it, with pressure, on your countertop before squeezing, this allows the flesh to break up a bit, maximizing the juices you get out of it.
Who likes pomegranate? Who was also baffled when they tried to get the goodies out!? My mom gave me one, and while I love pomegranate, I had never in my life had to get the goodies out, so to say I was perplexed was an understatement. I was like *smash, smash* are you guys coming out to play!?
No need to get Hulk-like in trying to get to the goods… you can get at the pomegranate’s arils faster by slicing it in half, then submerging it in a bowl of water. The seeds will sink while the pith floats, making them easier to separate. Oh and also? You can AVOID stains (word to the wise, pomegranate, much like beet, can stain!)
I know, sometimes that midday crash is inevitable, no matter how rested or well-fed you are. It’s especially prominent in the summer, when the heat and humidity, plus the go-go-go-ness can totally deplete your energy levels.
Luckily, there is no need for an energy drink or to mainline iced coffee… these foods will help naturally restore your energy levels!
- Melons – 90% of their weight comes from water, so they play a key role in keeping you hydrated, which keeps your energy levels up.
- Polenta – the feat here is that Polenta is loaded with complex carbs, which are broken down slowly, so they keep your blood sugar on an even keel, providing a sustained energy release that lasts for hours without that dreaded blood sugar spike!
- Green Tea – Green Tea is rich in L-theanine, an amino acid that makes you feel alert and invigorated without the jitters that some people get from coffee (I personally can’t stand that jittery feeling!)
- Crab – these red pinchers aren’t just a tasty source of superlean protein, they are also packed with vitamin B12, which balances your mood and fights fatigue. B12 also keeps red blood cells healthy so they can ferry oxygen to our brains, helping us think clearly and stay energized!
- Brown Rice – Packed with complex carbs, brown rice is also a great source of Magnesium, which help keep your bodies metabolism levels.
- Lentils – Lentils have a powerful combo of slowly digested protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber, which could very well make them the ideal energy food.
There are plenty of others – do you know of any other good ones?
I learned this from a friend a few years ago and have done this every single time, since, because it really DOES make a huge difference in the life of your berries (and also helps minimize bad stuff being digested by you!).
I could eat my weight in berries daily, but because that’s not healthy, I try to be more reasonable about it… but I also HATE throwing away spoiled food, and for some berries, it seems you are barely in your driveway on the way home from the store and they are spoiling! This trick helps extend their life.
I personally use Apple Cider Vinegar because it’s what we always have in the house, but any vinegar will work. The pH of Vinegar helps kill any spores, which is what makes them go bad, the spores (and time, but the spores rapidly speed the rottening process up!).
I use a 1:8 ACV to Water ratio, but honestly, people have all sorts of ratio’s – I guess find what works for you? Gently swirl the berries around to help dislodge any dirt, and this lets the vinegar do its job of killing the spores (and also any bacteria!).
I soak mine for 10-20 minutes, and then I drain them. Then I rinse them VERY thoroughly (to get rid of any lingering vinegar). (No, your berries will not take on the vinegar flavor, I promise.) Then pat them dry gently with a papertowel. Store in a container lined with papertowels, and enjoy for several more days!
Ohhhh man, who here likes to grill seafood? I LOVE it. I love seafood, especially grilled! I think it has to do with being from the Ocean State… 🙂 These tips will help you maximize the flavors!
On Cedar Planks (Salmon, Trout, Halibut):
- Soak cedar planks in water for 1 hour. Preheat grill on High 10 min. Arrange fish on plank; rub any seasoning evenly over fillets.
- Place plank on grill; close lid. Cook 12-15 minutes on Med, until internal temperature reaches 130° (check by inserting thermometer halfway into thickest part of fillet.)
- Remove from grill; let rest at least 2 min.
“Steaky” Fish (Halibut, Swordfish, Tuna):
- Preheat grill on High 10 min. Coat cleaned grill grate with vegetable oil.
- Grill steak 1-3 min until color changes one quarter of the way up from bottom. Turn over; brush cooked side with basting oil. Cook 1-3 min.
- Turn steak again; cook 1-2 min until internal temperature reaches 130° (check by inserting thermometer halfway into thickest part of steak.) Transfer to clean plate; let rest at least 2 min.
“Flaky” Fish & Shrimp (Cod, Haddock):
- Preheat grill on High 10 min. Cover grill surface with quick-release foil. Drizzle fish with basting oil; season as desired. Reduce heat to Med.
- Grill fish 1-3 min until color changes one quarter of the way up from bottom. Turn over; brush cooked side with basting oil.
- Cook 1-2 min until internal temperature reaches 130° (check by inserting thermometer halfway into thickest part of fish.) Transfer to clean plate; let rest at least 2 min.
Whole fish in Foil (Bronzini, Snapper, Trout, Black Bass):
- Preheat grill on High 10 min. Arrange whole fish on single piece of foil. Cut 3 slashes at an angle across each side of the fish about 1/8th inch deep. Season with salt and pepper; top with any herbs, lemon slice, etc. Cover with another piece of foil; crimp edges tightly closed to create a packet.
- Reduce heat to Med. grill, lid closed, 10-15 minutes until internal temperature reaches 130° (check by inserting thermometer halfway into thickest part of fish.)
- Carefully open foil packet (use mitts; avoid steam). Let rest 2 minutes.
Clams, Oysters, Mussels:
- Preheat grill on High 10 minutes.
- Place shellfish on grill; cover. Cook until shell opens, about 5-7 minutes. Discard any unopened shells.
Cast Iron Skillet (all types of seafood!)
- Seafood grills up great in cast iron skillets – you never have to worry about it falling through the grill grates and cast iron’s even heating surfaces ensures it’s cooked to perfection.
Happy Memorial Day weekend! Ahhh one of my favorite times of year – Summer unofficially begins! It’s always a fun weekend, but it DOES come with it’s drawbacks – BBQ’s and celebrations are usually rife with plenty of food, and not all of them are easy to say no to! At least with these tips you know you are getting healthier, yet still taste food! Enjoy!