have you heard of pitaya?

untitled

Here’s a fruit that caught my eye!

Also known as dragonfruit, this little beauty is not only cool to look at, but is delicious too!  While it may be a cousin to the kiwi, it definitely differs in taste.  It is actually a cactus and only blooms at night displaying little white flowers known as moonflowers.

The best part is the nutritional punch they pack!  Here is what Natural Food Benefits has to say about this little powerhouse.

Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) Cholesterol
Keeping a heart healthy low cholesterol diet? Don’t worry about your cholesterol Dragon fruit cholesterol is not an issue. Dragon fruit is both low in cholesterol and has little to no unhealthy cholesterol producing fats (certain fats which are metabolized to cholesterol contribute to increased cholesterol levels more than even cholesterol itself in food sources of cholesterol).

Dragon Fruit Vitamin C
The amount of vitamin C in dragon fruit is high, and because the dragon fruit is a natural fruit providing you with a rich balance of nutrients coming along with the vitamin C, you absorb the Vitamin C in dragon fruit efficiently when you eat dragon fruit as part of your fruit healthy diet.

Dragon Fruit Antioxidants
Eat dragon fruit as a good natural source of anti-oxidants which help to prevent the dangers of free radicals which can cause cancer and other undesirable health detriments. The number, quantity, and variety of antioxidants in real foods like dragon fruit is completely unmatched by any food supplement or pills – even those claiming to have ‘antioxidant’ health benefits. Nothing compares to the rich array of nutrients and antioxidants in a real natural food like the dragon fruit.

Dragon Fruit Fats
Dragon fruit does have a small amount of fats because there are so many seeds in the edible part of the fruit. There can be literally thousands of the small black seeds in any given dragon fruit, and like most seeds and nuts they have both fats and protein in them while the flesh of the fruit itself has virtually none.


Dragon Fruit Fiber
Pitaya, or dragon fruit has lots of dietary fiber with almost 1g of fiber per 100g of the fresh dragon fruit. Of course, the amount of dietary fiber in dragon fruit which is dried on a gram for gram basis is much higher than the amount of dietary fiber in dragon fruit as the fresh fruit.

images

BOTTOM LINE?  The flavor is sweet and fruity and unlike anything you have tasted before.  Some say it has an earthy taste like a raspberry-strawberry mix.  Check and see if your grocer carries the Pitaya!

stress much?

stressed-out-mom(source)

Yeah….me too.

When most women talk about stress they are usually referring to an emotional stress or tension.  And what constitutes as tormenting stress to one may be a cake walk for someone else!   (who are those women?)  Either way, any ‘stressor’ can trigger the body’s automatic stress-response system.  Now you’re going to welcome in illness, such as a common cold, a heart attack or even cancer.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

TIPS FOR EATING DURING STRESS

  • Don’t forget breakfast!! If you are running on empty, stress will be much harder to manage
  • Slow down!  Eating quickly can cause digestive problems, which will only make things more stressful
  • Don’t diet!  (It’s about time someone said that!) Changing your eating habits can be stressful even during the good days!
  • Pass on the cocktail and caffeine!  They will affect your mood and sleep patterns.
  • Listen to your body!  Avoid foods that cause discomfort and get plenty of sleep at night.

Good nutrition is extremely important during those bouts of stress.  Your food will provide energy, vitamins and minerals for dealing with stress and help to attack any negative nellies that are zeroing in on your immune system.

Take a hike!  No seriously….get outside.  Go for a walk and take some deep breaths.  Look up at the clouds and remind yourself of the important things in life….and count your blessings!  Be grateful for waking up!  Can’t park up close to the store?  Thank God you have two good legs and can probably use the extra steps to burn some calories.

When you see what you DO have, you’ll have a stronger sense of peace and that stress will begin to disappear….

Count-your-blessings-copy

miracle fruit? yes, please!

MiracleFrtLgLeaf05(photo source)

Synsepalum dulcificum……..yeah, it’s easier to call it Miracle Fruit.

This plant from West Africa has a berry that is completely organic, all natural, non-GMO and contains an active glycoprotein called miraculin. 

When you eat this little berry, the miraculin temporarily binds to your taste receptors (buds, I call ’em) to block the ability to taste sour flavors and even alters many other flavors in food like spicy, salty and bitter tastes!

The miraculin is considered to be a sugar substitute.  And this little berry, my friends, could change the way we look (and taste) our food!  Imagine…enjoying all kinds of ‘forbidden’ foods again!  It’s true!  Lemons taste like candyLimes taste like a sweet orange!  Can you imagine squeezing lemon juice into your coffee to sweeten it naturally?

WHERE CAN I GET IT?

If you are not going to wait and grow your own berries, then you can purchase it in a tablet form.  This is the most practical way because the berries are freeze dried and then formed into tablets, which give them a longer shelf life.  You can find them from www.mberry.us or even on Amazon HERE.  If you buy frozen berries, do not thaw them unless you are going to consume them right away.  Let them come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.  And if you get the whole berry, don’t eat the pit, of course.

Also keep in mind that the effects of the miracle berry last approximately 30 – 45 minutes and varies with each person.

Here is a simple recipe taken from the Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook that I highly recommend if you are going to try out this berry!

SWEET YOGURT PARFAIT

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

1/4 cup granola

Combine the yogurt and lemon juice.  In a tall glass, layer half each of the yogurt, berries and granola.  Repeat.

When you are ready to eat, let the miracle berry tablet dissolve on your tongue and then enjoy the dish!

YOU JUST SAVED 144 CALORIES BY REPLACING 3 TBS. SUGAR!

miracle-berry-eating-lemon(photo source)

sick and tired of being sick and tired?

tired1

Most of the foods we eat are obviously not good for you……no matter how good they taste.  Especially all these fun treats we have around the holidays!  These foods include sugar, trans fats, dairy products, fried foods, junk foods, carbonated drinks….oh the list goes on and on.

Turns out, when we eat these foods, we can’t stop – and that’s when we overeat and just never feel fully satisfied.

Why?

The reason  we feel tired, sluggish and bloated (but not satisfied) is because we are not getting enough nutrients from the foods we are eating!  We are filling ourselves with low-nutrient food and lots of chemicals.  Our digestive system is working overtime to process these foods and in the meantime, they have decided to stick around….for days…..undigested.  Ick.

Sugar, put down the sugar!!!

sugar-addiction

Says Dr. Oz, in his book, You on a Diet, “Simple sugars create a rebounding effect.  You’re feeling blah, so you eat a 3 Musketeers.  That sugar surge works like an electrical jolt, and you instantly feel more energy.  But less than two hours later, that energy surge (in the form of elevated blood sugar levels ) plummets, and then you feel blah again.  Your conclusion?  You must need another Musketeer!  That rebound effect can put your body in biological turmoil, where you eat to feel better, though what you’re eating is actually making you feel sluggish, so you swirl and swirl around, always feeling like you need to eat.”

What’s a person to do???

  • Eat a little fat 20 minutes before your meal (70 calories or so like 6 walnuts, or 12 almonds)
  • Fill up on fiber in the A.M. (think oatmeal, cereal, whole grains and fruit)
  • Change your plate (try using a smaller or kid’s version of a plate for smaller portions)
  • Slow down, turbo (take your time, put down your fork and chew, chew, chew)
  • Get spicy (add a little hot pepper or salsa to your food to increase your metabolism)

Start simple by eating a large salad.  Nix the croutons, heavy dressing and cheese.  Have fruit for a pick-me-up snack.  Add more veggies to your dinner, drink lots of water and YOU, my friend, are on your way to a healthier, happier YOU!

VegetableMyths_Spinach

thought about a macrobiotic diet lately?

Hmmm…..the macrobiotic diet.  I’ve heard of it but had always associated it with hippies….maybe chained to a tree.  Turns out, it’s one of the healthiest way of eating and has been practiced throughout history.  It’s based on nutritional balance  and is a flexible pattern of eating that differs according to climate, environment, condition of health, sex, age, activity level and personal need.

Well!  That means it could be slightly different for each person, depending on the season and environment.  So what can I  eat?

The Standart Microbiotic Diet consists of:

  • Whole grains and grain products
  • Soups
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Sea vegetables
  • Fish and seafood
  • Fruit
  • Pickles
  • Nuts and Seeds

There are more guidelines to the macrobiotic way of life (read: hippie) that might keep someone from adopting the entire lifestyle because of these things to avoid:

  • Most exotic and rare woods
  • Aluminum
  • Non-recyclable plastics and packaging
  • Treated non-stick pans and cookware
  • Formica
  • Animal products
  • Copper
  • Products containing lead
  • Disposable products
  • Recyclable plastics
  • Enamelware
  • Alloys other than stainless steel
  • electronic kitchenware

So, if you’re not ready to get rid of your oven, microwave, ziplocs and Tupperware…you might just want to follow the diet by incorporating these healthy foods each day.  Also throw in a LOT of spring water and teas.

You can get more info on the microbiotic diet HERE.

Eating healthier makes good sense and helps you to shine from the inside out!!

check yourself, before you wreck yourself…

Yeah, you heard me……..Is your diet being WRECKED?  Are you puzzled why some of those pounds just keep hanging on?  (Me too….)  But after a little investigating, I found some pretty interesting foods that can wreck your diet…

“Hmm…maybe I’ll just have a salad for lunch”…

 OH NO SHE DI’NT!!

Some foods that we think are healthy can be sneaky little diet wreckers. University of Pittsburgh nutritionist Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, shares a few of these “food frauds,” starting with Caesar salad. Just a small bowl has 300-400 calories and 30 grams of fat, thanks to loads of dressing.

Food Fix: Use only 1 Tbs. dressing and 2 Tbs. tangy, Parmesan cheese.

“Instead of ice cream, I’ll just have a fruit smoothie”

That “healthy” berry blend at a smoothie shop can have a whopping 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories or more, little protein, and often no fresh fruit. Fruit “concentrates” are often used instead of fresh fruit. And sorbet, ice cream, and sweeteners can make these no better than a milkshake.

Food Fix: Get the “small” cup. Ask for fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, milk, or protein powder to blend in protein and good nutrition.

“It’s time for a snack…the energy bar HAS to be a good choice

Many of these are simply enhanced candy bars with more calories (up to 500) and a higher price tag. Their compact size also leaves many people unsatisfied. “Three bites and it’s gone,” says Bonci, who advises hungry athletes and dancers.

Food Fix: Choose bars that have 200 calories or less, at least 5 grams of protein, and some fiber, which helps provide energy when the sugar rush fades.

“I don’t eat red meat, so I’ll have the chicken”

With healthy beans and no red meat, what’s the problem? About 1,000 calories and plenty of saturated fat — cheese, sour cream, and the fat in the jumbo flour tortilla all contribute. And when the burrito is as big as your forearm, the serving is just too big.

Food Fix: Share one. Or try a soft taco with fajita-style grilled meats and veggies on a corn tortilla with tasty low-calorie salsa.

“I’m watching my sugar, so DIET Coke please”

Sugar-free foods sound like a no-brainer for weight loss. But a problem arises when we choose an artificially sweetened food or drink, then feel that we deserve a large order of fries or a jumbo dessert.  Upsizing the fries adds nearly 300 calories to your meal. If your calorie intake exceeds what you burn off, you’ll still gain weight — and you can’t blame the sugar-free foods.

Food Fix: Watch your total calorie intake..

“It’s water!  How bad can THAT be?”

Vitamins are commonly added to bottled water and advertised on the front label. But some brands also add sugar, taking water from zero calories to as much as 125. “Often the vitamins don’t contribute much,” Bonci says, “but the calories can contribute a lot.”

Food Fix: Refrigerating tap water may make it more appealing to family members. Or try packets of crystallized lemon to add flavor without calories.

“I only drink 2% milk”

Two percent milk sounds healthier than “whole” milk. But it still has more than half the saturated fat of whole milk. Here’s what’s in a cup of milk:

Whole Milk (3.25%) = 150 cal., 8g fat, 5g sat. fat Reduced-fat (2%) = 130 cal., 5g fat, 3g sat. fat Skim (nonfat) = 80 cal., 0g fat, 0g sat. fat

Food Fix: If you like whole milk, blend it with 2% for a while, then 1%, then skim, until you get used to the taste of nonfat milk.

“The turkey dog is what I’ll have”

The nutritional content of turkey hot dogs varies from brand to brand — and some are real turkeys when it comes to health. It may say “less fat” on the front label, but when you check the fine print on the back, you find there’s still plenty of fat left in each sausage.  (Plus…check out the ingredients! Eew!)

Food Fix: Compare nutrition labels for the lowest fat content; there are some really good choices now available. Or only eat them a few times a year.

“No donuts for me, I’ll have the muffin!”

Muffins masquerade as a healthy choice for breakfast. They beat doughnuts, they’re still mainly sugary little cakes of refined flour. One store-bought muffin can hit 500 calories with 11 teaspoons of sugar.

Food Fix: Go no larger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Or look for 100-calorie muffins at the store. They limit calories, and some brands are a surprisingly good source of whole grains and fiber.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE WRECKING BALLS THAT MESS WITH OUR DIET!!!!  (all courtesy of webmd.com)

wanna burn some calories?

It’s almost a NEW YEAR!!!!  I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be one that is remembered for a loooong time!  I don’t know why, but I think it’s going to be a good one….(I’ll let you know when things change)…

So….what does this mean?  It means that it’s time to think about burning some calories!!  I have found some different………..yes, VERY different ways to burn 100 calories and shrink that muffin top!!!

Let’s take a look, shall we?

1.  Twirl 123 times in your office chair

2.  Do 780 jumping jacks

3.  Slather on lip balm 765 times

4.  Swing a lasso over your head 375 times

5.  Play chopsticks on the piano incessantly for 41 minutes

6.  Shear 3 sheep….6 minutes per sheep

7.  Wiggle while you watch tv for 40 minutes; fidgeters can burn almost 350 calories than couch potatoes

8.  Polka for real for 23 minutes

9.  Indulge in  your inner dork and do 27 underwater handstands

10.  Let a Great Dane walk you for 13 minutes, at 5 mph

11.  Chew calorie free gum for 9 hours

12.  Lift and lower a soy sauce bottle 170 times with your right hand, and 170 times with your left hand

13.  Play Twister for an hour and 8 minutes

14.  Kick off your Sunday shoes and dance to the first four songs of the “Footloose” soundtrack

15.  Spend 53 minutes learning the French alphabet

See?  There are many, many ways to burn those calories!  But FIRST, ya gotta get off the couch!!!!

Remember:

Sources: ACE Fitness Matters, American Council on Exercise, American Fitness, caloriesperhour.com, Diabetes Care, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Health, International Journal of Obesity, Journal of Health, The Journal of Sex Research, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Obesity, The Ohio State University, Oxford Polytechnic, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Science, Shakaihoken Kobe Central Hospital in Japan, WomensHealth Magazine.

http://cache-02.cleanprint.net/media/swf/flashcomm.swf

diet buddies…

Sandi  announced that she was going to start a diet to lose some pounds she had put on recently. 

“Great,” Cheri exclaimed. “I’m ready to start a diet too. We can be dieting buddies and help each other out. And when I feel the urge to drive out and get a burger and fries, I’ll call you first.”

“Wonderful,” Cheri replied. “I’ll go with you.”