Archive for ‘Power Foods’

October 25, 2012

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

By: Dana Baardsen

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? So can it’s vinegar do the same thing too?

Apple cider vinegar is created after the apples undergo fermentation. During the apple’s fermentation process, it’s natural sugars turn into alcohol. Prolonged fermentation is what actually takes the product a step further, creating the vinegar.

The acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar creates antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which make it a great healing product. It can be ingested or topically applied.

Apple cider vinegar has a lengthy list of health benefits. Some health claims are:

  • Ridding toxins from the body
  • Relieving Allergies
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Aiding fat breakdown
  • Clearing Acne
  • Easing digestion / Preventing stomach illness
  • Regulating pH balance in the body
  • Relieving migraines
  • Slowing the growth of cancer cells
  • Cleaning head lice / Destroying dandruff

WebMD reports five health claims which are backed up by scientific research:

  1. Diabetes- “The effect of vinegar on blood sugar levels is perhaps the best-researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, one 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%”.
  2. High Cholesterol- “A 2006 study showed evidence that vinegar could lower cholesterol. However, the study was done in rats, so it’s too early to know how it might work in people”.
  3. Heart Health- “Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who didn’t. However, it’s far from clear that the vinegar was the reason”.
  4. Cancer- “A few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth.  Observational studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer“.
  5. Weight Loss- “For thousands of years, vinegar has been used for weight loss. White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people feel full. A 2005 study of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of bread along with small amounts of white vinegar felt fuller and more satisfied than those who just ate the bread”.

So if you have interest in trying ACV, you have a few options. Apple cider vinegar is actually sold in pill form, but if you want to indulge naturally on a daily basis, I would recommend adding a splash of the vinegar to a glass of water or fruit juice. Do not take apple cider vinegar straight, because the acidity can be detrimental to the linings of your throat and digestive tract. You must mix! I wouldn’t recommend mixing more than one tablespoon (three teaspoons) into your drink.

If you are applying the product topically to your skin or scalp, mix it with water first to see how your skin reacts.

Just remember, everything in moderation! Good luck!

🙂 I would like to close with a special quotation:

“From my experience with wild apples, I can understand that there may be reason for a savage’s preferring many kinds of food which the civilized man rejects. The former has the palate of an outdoor man. It takes a savage or wild taste to appreciate a wild fruit.” — Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples NB

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September 1, 2012

Benefits of Gardening

Samantha Cianci, Gardener, Dancer

Samantha Cianci, Gardener

By: Dana Baardsen

I invite you to explore Samanciland, an abundant oasis of green which would make any organic gardener wiggle their toes. Though the name might sound playful, Samanciland is more than just a pretty garden. It’s a source of nourishment and “therapy” for it’s owner.

Meet Samantha, an inspiring gardener and dancer who executes her ability to care for her plants extremely well.

I’ll let you be the judge!


gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardeninggardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

Not only does Sam grow and harvest the plants in her whimsical garden, but she cooks with them too! …Pretty impressive, huh?

gardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumb
gardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumbgardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumb

Samantha is definitely onto something, as scientific research supports the benefits growing a garden at home.

Here are five reasons why you should start:

1.Sweet Serenity: Planting and gardening elevates the  levels of “happy hormones” in our bodies as well as decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.

2. Gets the Blood Flowing: Maintaining a garden is actually a relaxing yet effective form of exercise. Burning those extra calories is definitely a plus!

3. Veggie Heaven: Gardeners are more likely to indulge in a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

4. Earth is My Mother: Working with floral, fruit, herbal, and vegetable plants will strengthen your precious bond with nature.

5. Ah, Satisfaction Baby: Wouldn’t it feel nice to know that your centerpiece or meals actually came from something you planted, grew, and harvested?

…So what are you waiting for? Go out there and plant something! Even if you don’t have the space outdoors, you can grow potted flowers and herbs indoors. Just remember, the most fruitful and rapidly growing plants are those grown with healing and loving hands. 🙂 NB

All photos in this blog were provided by Samantha! To check out more from Samantha’s garden– view her gardening and cooking albums.

August 14, 2012

Health Benefits of Basil

Basil, health benefits of basil, healing properties basilBy: Dana Baardsen

This fragrant herb serves as a beautiful, tasteful and healthful addition to the food you prepare.

Basil is an abundant source of Vitamin K and contains trace sources of other vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Iron, and Manganese.

This low-cal pop of flavor also provides flavanoids which protect our cell membranes along with “volatile oils” which fight unwanted bacterial growth.

Grow and harvest fresh basil leaves or purchase at your local food store!

You can toss into a garden salad, layer into a sandwich, or chop and sprinkle over your favorite pastas and sauces. Pour some ice water over basil leaves and garnish with a lemon for a rejuvenating, cleansing drink.

Incorporate this herb into your life for some flavoring accompanied with undeniable health benefits. NB

August 3, 2012

Happy Watermelon Day!!

watermelon, diet, fitness

By: Dana Baardsen

Watermelon is a summer-fruit staple. Aside from attracting admirers of all ages, this drippingly-good treat is packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Score!watermelon salsa, nutrition, health, diet

Watermelon also helps regulate the electrolyte balance within our bodies which can be offset during excessive sweating. It’s like this fruit was designed for the hot days!

There is no better way to celebrate National Watermelon Day than by biting into a piece yourself.watermelon drink, watermelon soda

Try a delicious watermelon salsa, with chopped red onions, cucumbers, even pineapple. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with multigrain chips. Enjoy this refreshing dip!

Then, cool off with a yummy sparkling watermelon drink. Add fresh watermelon juice to sparkling water and splash with lime juice. Garnish with a lime wedge and some mint leaves! NB

July 7, 2012

Keeping a Fitness Journal…

By: Dana Baardsen

Deciding whether or not to keep a fitness journal? Here are five reasons why you should consider jotting down your routines and eating habits:

1. It keeps you organized: Keeping a fitness log is one of the most brilliant things you can do if you’re trying to get in shape. Not only will it force you to sit down and reflect on your workout routines and food intake, but it will absolutely motivate and keep you focused on your goals.

2. It curbs your behaviors on a daily basis: By writing down the foods you’re eating and the activities you partake in, you will become more proactive in the decisions you make regularly.

3. You can look back and see what worked and what didn’t: By tracking your progress, you can refer to old notes and see which factors had the most profound effects on your fitness. Were you working out on the days when you felt happy and well rested? Did you tend to eat healthier or notice more strength when you ran on a daily basis? etc.

4. Helps balance sleep: When you keep a record of the hours you sleep every night you will become more conscious of assuring you get the sleep you need! Sleeping properly repairs the body, regulates metabolism and provides energy. Don’t skimp on the zZz’s.

5. Enjoy sweet victory: Congratulations! You have a new body, a new feel, and a whole fitness journal to idolize  and keep as a trophy of your personal success.

So, now that you want to create a fitness journal…how do you do it?

Simple. Do what works for you.

Keep your thoughts written down on post-its, calendars, or be more traditional and write in an actual journal.

You could be a little tech-savvy and open up a word document on your desktop…or even blog about your fitness goals!

Don’t hesitate to do a little research online and find a server designed specifically for fitness logging: http://www.myfitnessjournal.com/.

If your crafty you can design a fitness scrapbook and keep photos of your progress and your favorite inspirations! The possibilities are endless…

Remember: It’s okay to be honest in your journal…even if you fail to complete what you intended to! After all, keep in mind the truest and realest tracker of your fitness progress is your own body. 

Have fun! NB

June 30, 2012

What is Yucca?

yucca, what is yucca, yucca food, yucca health

freshfruitfarm.com

By: Dana Baardsen

Yucca is a root vegetable which grows naturally in Southwestern United States and South America.

This unique veggie can be compared to having the same consistency of a potato, yet blander in flavor. Aside from being a staple in several South American dishes, cooked yucca holds health benefits which trace back to the Native Americans.

Not only are there claims of yucca healing arthritis symptoms, but this root vegetable contains resveratrol which prevents blood vessel damage. Another powerful healing property of the yucca is it’s saponin content. Saponin particles attach to cholesterol and prevent the body from absorbing it. Incorporate yucca into your diet if you consume foods high in cholesterol!

The yucca plant actually develops beautiful edible flowers which are high in thiamine and some b vitamins. Check out this quick cooking demonstration:

You should also note the flour produced from the root, is gluten-free!

Step out of your comfort zone and enjoy this yummy earth food! You can serve yucca instead of bread, or even make yucca fries. Have fun! NB

June 18, 2012

Sun-Protective Foods & Recipes

By: Dana Baardsen
Click: Sun-Protective Foods & Recipes: Slideshow
iVillage.com (NBC Universal)

Source: soc.li via Dana on Pinterest

June 15, 2012

You Are What You Eat…

Food, Diet

June 14, 2012

What the heck is Jicama?

Jicama

By: Dana Baardsen

Alright, so you may or may not have heard of the South American root vegetable- Jicama. Either way, you should know that it is a great food to incorporate into your diet. Here’s why:

First of all, it’s delicious. Jicama has a crispy sweet flavor which is somewhere in between the flavors of an apple and water chestnut.

Secondly, It’s easy. Jicama can be eaten raw or cooked. It is easy to slice, chop, julienne, or whatever you feel like! You just have to peel off the outer layer first.

Thirdly, Jicama is low-cal, fat-free and nutritious. It provides lots of fiber and Vitamin C.

There are three main nutritious qualities about Jicama which actually contribute to weight loss:

  • Jicama contains Vitamin C which utilizes glucose for energy rather than storing it as fat.
  • There are significant amounts of fiber in Jicama. Fiber is what helps your body eliminate waste. Without fiber your body would begin to harbor harmful toxins and it would also become more difficult for you to lose weight.
  • The most unique quality about Jicama is that it contains significant levels of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid actually will help you control and lose weight because it takes the calories from food and helps the body use those calories for energy, rather than storing the unwanted cals as fat.

My favorite way to eat Jicama is to either chop it fresh and toss into a salad, or make Jicama Fries. It’s so simple, all you have to do is coat your chopped Jicama with a small amount of olive oil, and let them bake in the oven. You can season the fries with whatever you like…the flavor of Jicama is so versatile you could season the fries with anything from garlic to cinnamon. NB

April 29, 2012

Going to the Gym? Spike Your Energy Levels.

Energy, Work Out, Gym, Fitness, Health

Isaac Hinds Photography

By: Dana Baardsen

Carbs are…Good?

Strength and Conditioning Journal reported the benefits of eating complex carbohydrates prior to light or intense exercise. Our bodies first take energy from carb sources in the body, and then begin to take energy from protein. By eating a small amount of complex carbs before working out, your body will actually still burn energy from fat, but continue burning energy from the complex carbs rather than stealing protein from your muscles. By consuming complex carbs in moderate amounts you are protecting your body’s protein stores. Even though you might want to refrain from eating to decrease body fat percentage, you are doing your body a disservice by not providing yourself with enough power and energy (through food) to endure a full fat-burning work out.

Electify Your Cells.

Aside from complex carb consumption, it is important to remember your electrolyte balance and more importantly the Sodium Potassium Pump. The Sodium Potassium Pump works on a cellular level, allowing our muscles to contract properly. To see if you are maintaining adequate nutrient levels, check out the Super Food Tracker on mypyramid.gov.

Sodium and potassium are major electrolytes in our body. Remember when you sweat, your electrolytes are pouring out from the surface of your skin. Maintain your electrolyte balance by sipping on a sports drink or try coconut water for a natural electrolyte-packed drink. There are several home-made electrolyte drink options available as well.

Can you say B?

If you aren’t getting enough B vitamins, you can kiss an energizing workout goodbye. Consider the B vitamins best friends to your metabolism. Though preferably obtained through food sources, but you can reap the benefits from supplements. The B’s are water soluble, so whatever your body doesn’t need…will be removed as waste.

B1 (Thiamin) : A large proportion of the thiamin consumed in the United States comes from enriched grains used in foods such as breakfast cereals, breads, and other baked goods. Pork, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, are also good sources.

B3 (Niacin) : Meat and fish are good sources of niacin. Other sources include legumes, mushrooms, wheat bran, asparagus, and peanuts. Niacin added to enriched flours used in baked goods provides much of the usable niacin in the North American diet.

B5 (Pantothenic Acid) : Pantothenic acid is particularly abundant in meat, eggs, whole grains, and legumes. It is found in lesser amounts in milk, vegetables, and fruits . Pantothenic acid is susceptible to damage by exposure to heat and low- or high-acid conditions.

B6 : Animal sources include chicken, fish, pork etc. Good plant sources include whole-wheat products, brown rice, soybeans, sunflower seeds, and some fruits and vegetables such as bananas, broccoli, and spinach.

B12 (Cobalamin) : Animal sources include chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk.

Inhale…and Exhale.

Air! Only.

If you’re serious about maintaining your energy levels and stamina, then get rid of those stinky cigarettes. Not only will ciggies give you lung cancer, but they will slow you down tremendously. Ick.

Oxygen, carried by our red blood cells, is one of the most important factors in upping energy levels. Don’t smoke up your oxygen supply, rather practice slow breathing exercises prior to working out.

Whether your busting moves on the dance floor, pumping iron, or running a marathon you will have a greater shot at getting more from the workout if you practice controlled breathing.

So remember, breathe– don’t wheeze. NB

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