Sweet Things

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The sweet truth is that we all love processed foods, sugary drinks, desserts, and other baked goods just to name a few. Sugar is sweet, enhances flavor, texture, promotes browning of foods, aids in preservation and much more.

So here’s the sweet deal: Our goal is not to police, judge, or prevent you from devouring your favorite sweet indulgence. We just want you to have the sweet facts so you can make more informed decisions next time you are at your favorite donut shop!

Here are the some sugary facts:

  • 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon
  • The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which amounts to an extra 350 calories. (Source AHA)
  • Added sugar is hidden in 74% of packaged foods. (Source Sugar Science)
  • Too much fructose a common type of sugar can damage your liver just like too much alcohol. (Source Sugar Science)
  • Two greatest offenders are sugary drinks and breakfast cereals.
  • The body metabolizes sugar the same way- it does not say hey that is “honey” or that is “brown sugar”

 

Added versus Naturally Occurring

 

  • Added sugars according to the American Heart Association include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal). Added sugars (or added sweeteners) can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup).
  • Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose).

Get Label Savvy

According to the American Heart Association the line for “sugars” includes both added and natural sugars. Remember naturally occurring sugars are found in milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose). Any product that contains milk (such as yogurt, milk or cream) or fruit (fresh, dried) contains some natural sugars.

Next time you are grocery shopping have some fun and see if you can find some of these names on your favorite item. Always bare in mind that food that comes out of the ground and stays closest to its natural state will not have a food label. A good rule to have in mind is if the first and or second ingredient is sugar than skip the product.

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt sugar
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sugar
  • Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
  • Syrup

 

Peeke Performance

According to Dr. Pamela Peeke the world’s leading Food and Addiction Expert when you have refined sugar, it jacks up insulin. You turn on fat storage and turn off fat release. You can exercise all you want, but still won’t release weight. You can’t lose the fat because you locked it up with refined sugar. If you over-consume refined, processed sugars which are usually white such as table sugar, white rice, white pasta, white bread. They’ve literally been stripped of all of their original healthy nutrients and fibers and you’re left with, well, a lump of sugar!

Remember sugar is a simple carbohydrate and it is the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells. The food pyramid recommendation is we should be ingesting about 45-65% of our caloric intake of carbs as healthy carbs, not the refined stuff. We are ok with sugar as long as its in a natural state. These come primarily from plant sources, have tons of fiber which will keep you full as well as regular. They include whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.

OMG Breaks Down “Ose”

Here is a simple breakdown of sugar:

Glucose = Sugar in your blood

Fructose = Sugar you find in fruits

Lactose = Sugar found in milk and milk products

Sucrose = Table sugar

Maltose = Sugar found in malted (barley) beer

Never Fear OMG Is Here

Just a friendly reminder we are not here to judge, or asking you to throw out everything in your pantry. But be mindful of some guidelines set by the American Heart Association. To our lady friends limit added-sugars to no more than 100 calories per day  (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar). As for our gents and this is a bit unfair, but they are allowed 3 teaspoons more than us, 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of added-sugars).

There you have it. Now go and enjoy a piece of yummy fresh fruit which will benefit not just your body but mother earth will smile back at you!

Salad In A Jar?

Most of you know about oats in a jar, but salad in a jar?…. really? Yes – here is a simple salad that can be assembled ahead of time.

These are the ingredients that I used for this salad creation starting with the base:

  • Greek yogurt mixed with a little Dijon mustard salt and pepper to taste (this is the dressing)
  • On top of the dressing you can see some corn
  • Spinach
  • Shredded red and green cabbage for some crunch
  • Tofu pesto with pasta (protein + carb)
  • Sliced avocado because I just love avocado!

Always keep the dressing at the bottom, don’t mix until you are ready to eat! When you are ready……shake (and I mean shake with the lid tightly secured) the entire container so all the delicious goodness coats all your ingredients evenly. This was what I created with the ingredients I had on hand, feel free to experiment with what you like. This is a great and portable way to make salads a part of your daily routine on the go. Ciao!

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Simply Delicious!

Simply Organic- Sesame Ginger Salmon

Dish #1 Veggie Stir Fry

The wonderful folks at Simply Organic sent me an early Christmas box full of all kinds of fabulous seasonings  just in time for the holidays! They have a new product line called Steam Gourmet, which takes all the guesswork out of seasoning the perfect salmon or chicken! It comes with its own steam pouch to help create the perfect weeknight entrée and clean up is easy. This Sesame Ginger salmon was fabulous. Make it once eat it twice. The flavors of ginger, chili pepper and sesame seeds really pop in your mouth. Just try it and taste for yourself.

Sesame Salmon

Here I have a simple stir-fry veggie bowl topped with the decadent salmon. This may appear as though you spent all day perfecting your salmon recipe but no one has to know you had some help! Sip on your favorite glass of wine and call it a day.

Dish #2 Island Tacos

Being from the beautiful Island of Fiji what does a girl with delicious leftover salmon do- you got it make tacos! These may look fancy but very easy and simple to assemble. These are ingredients that I used to make the salmon tacos- you can get creative, add what you like or have in your kitchen.

IMG_1689Final product!

IMG_1691Here is a video. Enjoy!

 

 

Breakfast Unplugged!

U.S breakfast consumption is trending downward. According to statistics and national breakfast consumption databases, fewer Americans eat breakfast everyday compared to years past, consequently fewer people are reaping the considerable health benefits of breakfast consumption. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but according to a recent survey conducted by the University of North Carolina revealed that in 1965, 86% of adults were consuming breakfast that # dropped to 75% in 1991 and to 44% in 2010. (in 47 years there has been about 49% decline)

Here is a quick demo of a healthy and convenient breakfast option. Enjoy!

 

Healthy Snacks

Healthy Snacking

1. Fruit with cottage cheese: ½ cup cottage cheese topped with ½ cup of mixed berries, melons, banana slices, unsalted nuts and or seeds that are your favorites!

2. Mixed Nuts or Trail Mix: Mixed unsalted nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Eating nuts helps your heart.

3. Hard-Boiled Egg: High in protein, iron, B vitamins, and minerals, including folate.

4. Bread-less Rollup: Top 2 slices of low-sodium deli meat (turkey, chicken) with 1 slice of low-fat cheese; add a slice of tomato, cucumber or some lettuce to spike the nutritional value!

5. Nut Butter Rows: Try dressing carrots, celery sticks, sliced apples or dried apricots and dates (remove the seed inside) with your favorite nut butters (Unsalted crunchy almond butter and walnut butter are my favs) You can place fresh blueberries on top of the nut butter for added nutrition benefits and deliciousness!

6. Bean-and-Cheese Minis: Take 1/4-1/2 cup canned rinsed and drained black beans add diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a slice of cheese on a Tortilla cook on a nonstick pan until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!

7. Shake It: Blend 1 banana and your favorite berries with 1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice and 1 cup of low-fat chocolate milk or soymilk, add 1 cup of ice.

8. Simply Edamame: Just one cup of edamame has 17 grams of protein and loaded with Magnesium and other key vitamins and minerals. Buy them fresh and steam for about 6 minutes, or use the pre-cooked frozen variety and briefly microwave to defrost (about 2 minutes).

9. Lay-down your Hummus: Put 2 tablespoons of your favorite hummus in the bottom of the container. Stick a handful of vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, and snow peas are a great mix!) on top.

10. Fancy Platter: Make a mini cheese plate with your favorite cheese sticks, whole grain crackers and a handful of unsalted nuts and or berries.

11. Nutty Banana: Take a whole peeled banana, cut it in half, spread your favorite unsalted nut butter on each half, line it with some blueberries or sprinkle with cinnamon for added health benefits!

12. Greek Style: Grab a container of low-fat or non-fat unsweetened Greek yogurt, top with ½ cup of fresh berries and chopped unsalted nuts of your choice! For added yumminess add some Granola.

13. Grape and Cheese Kabobs: Take your favorite cheese, cut into cubes, rinse some grapes. Stack them on toothpicks, portable and delicious!

14. Almondilla: This creation is a twist on a quesadilla. Take a Sprouted Ancient Grains, tortilla smear with your favorite unsalted nut butter, (almond butter is my favorite hence the name) layer with sliced bananas.  Fold the tortilla in half like you would with a quesadilla. Place on a non-stick pan to get the sides slightly toasted. Enjoy the ooey gooey deliciousness!

15. Overnight or Same Day Oats: This is my favorite power breakfast, or snack. It is packed with Nutrient Dense Foods. Here is a pictorial step-by-step process. Take a jar; I reused my almond butter jar from Trader Joe’s. Add uncooked rolled oats (not instant)

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Now sprinkle some Sesame Seeds.

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Add some chia seeds, which contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.

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Sprinkle some delicious granola, or any store bought granola would work as well.

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Add some walnuts, loaded with heart healthy nutrients.

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Add a tablespoon or two of your favorite unsalted crunchy nut butter. I use Trader Joe’s Almond Butter. Rich, creamy and delicious!

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Finally add your favorite low fat milk or dairy alternative. You can also add fresh berries. Place in the fridge until you are ready to consume. When you are ready for a power pick me up, stir all the ingredients in the jar and enjoy!

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grilled-vegetables

Safe Grilling Tips for Summer

Summer is in the air! Its time to get outside and start grilling your favorite fruits, vegetables and meats. Here are some food safety tips to prevent any foodborne illnesses and what you need to know Safe Grilling Tips for Summer.

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What is Soy Lecithin and Why is it Found in So Many Products?

I found this great article about soy lecithin which lays out everything you need to know about it.

If you read nutrition labels and ingredient lists, you’ve probably come across “soy lecithin” more than a few times. It’s actually a very popular ingredient – one of  the top 10 most used ingredients in processed foods.

But what exactly is it? What does it do?

And most importantly, what are its health and nutrition characteristics?

What you need to know:

Lecithins are oily substances that occur naturally in plants (soybeans) and animals (egg yolks).

Some people use lecithin as a supplement because of its high choline content. Choline is a micronutrient that is good for heart health and brain development. But that’s not the reason it is used as an additive in foods.

Soy lecithin possesses emulsification properties. This means it can keep a candy bar “together” by making sure that the cocoa and the cocoa butter don’t separate. It is also used in bakery items to keep the dough from sticking, and to improve its ability to rise.

You can also find soy lecithin in places you wouldn’t expect, like tea bags, cough drops, prescription medications and even asthma inhalers!

Soy lecithin (also marked as E322) is extracted from soybeans either mechanically or chemically using hexane. It’s actually a byproduct of the soybean oil production.

Why do food companies use soy lecithin?

Since soybeans are one of the cheapest crops in the US (thanks in part to federal subsidies to growers), it makes sense to use a cheap, natural soy derived emulsifier in food processing.

Is there a soy lecithin allergy?

Most people with soy allergies needn’t worry about products containing soy lecithin, because it is derived from the soybean oil, whereas the allergy itself relates to the soy protein. However, if you read though the comments below, you’ll see that some people with soy allergy are sensitive to soy lecithin as well.

Who should avoid soy lecithin?

While there are vastly differing opinions on the health benefits or detriments of soy lecithin, it is still easy to explain who would not want to use it:

  • People with severe soy allergies who want to play it safe.
  • People who avoid refined oils – soy lecithin is made from soy oil, which is usually made through a chemical process using hexane.
  • People concerned about GMOs.  Unless a product is certified non-GMO, you can assume that the soybeans used have been genetically modified.  Products marked non-GMO or USDA organic should be non-GMO, but have been found on occasion to contain GMOs.

SCiO Handheld Molecular Scanner Analyzes Food, Drugs, and Neglected Houseplants

A new device launching on Kickstarter today aims to simplify the process by utilizing spectrometry to analyze and provide real-time information on any food that you aim it at. Dubbed SCiO, this molecular scanner from Tel Aviv-based company Consumer Physics takes spectrometry technology found commonly in laboratories and industrial environments and places it in a consumer device not much larger than a common USB drive.

The process is simple: pair SCiO to your phone via Bluetooth, hold it about an inch away from an object, such as an apple, and press a button. In just a matter of seconds, SCiO supposedly analyzes the actual chemical makeup of the apple, sends the data to the cloud, and accurately identifies the fruit and provides nutritional information about it. The food app can also give information about how ripe that apple is.

Additionally, SCiO can also scan medication. During a live demonstration we attended last week, Consumer Physics’ co-founder Dr Sharon scanned two brands of ibuprofen, and SCiO was able to identify which pill was a generic brand. When we asked what other medical-type applications SCiO could have, Sharon explained that SCiO won’t be marketed as a medical device at the start, but has the capability of scanning the skin and bodily fluids and could evolve into a medical device if there is enough interest from consumers.

The sky is the limit for potential applications; while SCiO will ship with the ability to identify a large number of food and medication, the company will rely on its users to help expand the database. Consumer Physics will also release an application development kit so programmers can create their own apps that use SCiO. One unique application we saw was how SCiO could also help you develop a green thumb. Scan a plant with the included plant application, and it will let you know if your plants are in need of water.

If you want to get your hands on a SCiO, you can pre-order one now through Kickstarter for $149.

To read more about it click here!

 

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