Whole Foods Wednesday – Zucchini

Who likes zucchini? I love it, and its pretty versatile too! We have used it as a base for taco boats, sautéed them, grilled them, and even grown them! Love Zucchini!

Do you know why Zucchini is so widely revered?

Here is a sampling of why!

  • Zucchini is 95% water, low in calories, and high in fiber
  • It’s a good source of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which plays a huge role in keeping your immune system healthy, and aids in fighting respiratory problems. The anti-inflammatory properties help keep your lungs open and clear.
  • The high fiber content also helps lower your cholesterol.
  • It’s good for your heart! Zucchini contains good amounts of potassium that helps reduce blood pressure, and the magnesium content helps keep blood pressure at a steady rhythm.

Oh, and good news for my fellow Diabetics! The abundance of Vitamin B in zucchini benefits us by breaking down the sugar in our bodies, and the fiber and pectin are vital in regulating our blood sugar levels!

In other words, eat more zucchini! 🙂

 

Superfood Saturday – Mushrooms

For most people, mushrooms are either liked, or hated… no middle ground. Where do you stand on them?

I am one who loves them – raw or cooked! I especially appreciate that they are low-carb but high-fiber — that’s a Diabetic’s dream! 🙂

So many varieties… give them a chance!

Do you have a favorite recipe that calls for mushrooms?

mushrooms

Superfood Saturday – Pumpkin

We pick them. We carve them. We illuminate them. But do we eat them? Some people do, and those people know what they are doing – pumpkin is a fantastic superfood for plenty of reasons, but one of my personal favorite benefits is the extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best!

But there are plenty of others, too, and you can also used canned pumpkin year round!

pumpkin

 

Superfood Saturday – Asparagus

Asparagus

I have to eat crow, here. I can very vivdly remember my mom making Asparagus Sandwiches (sauteed asparagus on toasted bread with salt and pepper), and gagging just watching her. She loved it, and ate it often, and I gagged. I didn’t like asparagus. Asparagus was just one of my two real vegetable holdouts as a kid. I didn’t like asparagus and I didn’t like Brussels sprouts. I have no idea why.

Fast forward to about… hmm 5-6 years ago, the roommate of my then-boyfriend (now husband!) grilled some up. I believe they had some Parmesan cheese, some balsamic, and salt and pepper. And I don’t quite remember how I agreed to try one, but I did. I think it was the fact that this kid, a chef, had such a broad knowledge of food, and such a variety of ways to prep it, that I really had this kind of unwavering trust – I would pretty much try anything he made, he had that much skill with food.

So I agreed to try it, and it was DELICIOUS. And I was HOOKED. My husband makes it frequently and I can never get enough, it’s so good.

And here’s the best part: it’s SO GOOD for you! It is loaded with all sorts of benefits! It’s a little superfood powerhouse!

 

 

Food Swap Friday – Sweet Potato Fries vs French Fries

French fries… okay, yes, they are good… but they are bad. So bad for you.

They are loaded with saturated fat, simple carbs, and sodium.

food swap - sweet potato vs french fries

A better option is fiber-packed Sweet Potato Fries! I wasn’t always crazy about them, but I started to come around and now I love them… and I find that, because they are sweeter, I need less of them to feel full and like I satisfied my craving.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber and beta carotene. They are also low on the Glycemic Index, making them a good choice for Diabetics.

Food Swap Friday – Salt

Are you someone who adds salt to your meals? Salt is easily the most used seasoning – in fact, without it, most things would taste very bland.

But like with everything, moderation is key. Another crucial measure is what KIND of salt you use. Yes, all salt is harvested from salt water… but thats where the equality ends.

Salt not created equal

I personally prefer to use Sea Salt, or Pink Himalayan Salt, as those still retain their trace amounts of minerals, as opposed to table salt, which has been stripped of any trace minerals during processing. Table salt also contains additives, which I try to avoid as much as possible.

It’s a pretty simple swap we have here. Yes, prices are different, but I am of the belief that it is better to pay a little more for something better, without additives, than paying less for something that not only contains additives, but has been stripped of any benefits it may have.

What’s your take? What do you use for cooking?

Whole Foods Wednesday – Sweet Potatoes

Do you like sweet potatoes? I like them in small amounts… a few “fries”, maybe a couple of tots, or about half of a sweet potato is enough for me. But they are very tasty, and certainly hold their own in health benefits!

sweet potato

Benefits of sweet potatoes include:

  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.
  • They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.
  • Their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
  • They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
  • They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.
  • Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
  • They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
  • Plus, Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain, which is very helpful for diabetics!

Got any good sweet potato recipes to share?