Posts tagged ‘nutrition’

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

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 30, 2012

Happy Friendship Day!


“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
– Anais Nin

Happy Friendship Day! Send love and appreciation to all of yours! ❤

July 24, 2012

Good Morning World ;)

quote, let her sleep, motivation, inspiration, power, strength, healing, nutrition, nourishment

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:

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 18, 2012

Sun-Protective Foods & Recipes

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

Source: via Dana on Pinterest

April 2, 2012

Those Little Screaming Voices. Shhh…

By: Dana Baardsen

Willow Tree, Vassar College: Photo taken on road trip

When I was seventeen I never would have dreamed of my life going in the direction it so effortlessly did. I was so naive and reluctantly I am now admitting that amidst the knowledge I have gained over the past years I still remain just as naive as I was, at seventeen.

See the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. The more people you meet, the more you realize you have no idea who you are and what your place in this world really is. It’s kind of startling and sad to watch years sneak past you…and people move in and out of your life.

So this photo was taken on a little road trip I took, at the know-it-all age of seventeen. I was sure I wanted to attend Marist University and study Child Psychology. Since I was in the area I made stops at other schools like Vassar College, and the Culinary Institute of America. I never would have imagined I would have no choice but to attend a state school. That was unheard of in my high school, especially for an honors student.

But of course like other things in life I had swallowed my pride and entered my first state school with the same hopes: Child Psychology. This is how I would somehow change the world…or so I thought.

Did I mention I loved that little road trip I took? Talk about freedom. Driving hours and hours from where you live to discover something so incredibly fresh and new…and beautiful. But how foolish was I to ignore the fact that the most inspired I felt was actually at the Culinary Institute of America.

That’s right. The Culinary Institute of America, and I had never taken a cooking class in my life! It’s been years since and I remember it just like it was yesterday. I must comment on how beautiful the actual campus itself is. If you are a reader in the Greater New York Area I would absolutely recommend taking a trip to the CIA.

At the CIA, gorgeous fountains and plants rest upon the exterior of the main building. But you can’t admire the scenery for too long, as the fragrant breeze toying with the sensitivities of your nostrils will draw you inside one of the most magnificent buildings in our country. Once you enter-forget the world. Just breathe, observe, indulge, and laugh.

The CIA has some of the most amazing food concoctions you may ever run into in your life. I may have shed just a single tear for the french pastries which sat snuggling perfectly together in flawless display arrangements. How beautiful were they! But the pastries were just the beginning. You see anything you could imagine was here, right in this building.

And what was I to eat in this amazing museum of food? I must have spent nearly ten minutes gawking at the menu. Finally a decision was made, I was going to order something I wasn’t even sure if I could pronounce it and when the young waiter with an accent asked me my selection I naturally said: Mac n’ Cheese. Yep…Mac n’ freakin Cheese. Well I guess my nerves got to me and I blew it but, common now. What do you expect of a naive seventeen year old girl? I didn’t know what half the stuff on the menu even meant, and even if I knew what it meant I had never tried it and certainly wasn’t about to.

Off I went to Marist, staring out of the car window at one of the most beautiful places I had ever known. It kept getting smaller and smaller, until it vanished. Haven’t seen it since. Marist was lovely, just like the pictures I had seen online of it.

Here I am, a junior in college with all the naivety in the world yet harboring just a little more direction. I know my passions now. They lay within the ever wonderful realms of food. Everything from the science and nutrition behind food, to the craft and creativity in inventing dishes, to educating others about the power of food through journalism. This is my dream-along with graduating with an associates from the CIA.

Sometimes, I have little voices inside of me screaming their lungs out at me-but I still ignore them. I quiet them for what I think is right. Had I listened to those voices inside of myself on my teenage road trip, I may of evaluated my decisions at the time. But honestly I’m thankful I didn’t rush into anything. I made amazing friends at the first school I attended and had the experience of a lifetime. I have no regrets, only a reminder to follow my heart and listen those damn little voices when they are screaming violently at me. NB

February 27, 2012

This Generation’s Tobacco: Sugar

getty images

The sweetest and saddest mistakes we make in life often pertain to good intentions combined with not knowing any better. In reality, a majority of parents would pass a lie detector test if they claimed that they would do anything for their child, even die. This is what makes it so unbelievably sad when we see parents who want to give everything to their child, but just don’t know how to do it the right way.

The first mistake we see parents make has to do with poor food choices. Parents often find themselves in this whirlwind of having a crying child who will only quiet down when they are fed with sweets or carbs.

If the parent caves into quieting a child with food, the child quickly become accustomed to being fed sugar or food to calm their nerves. The physical and mental associations formed at this point are outstanding and unfortunate. Once the sugar wears off withinin the child’s system, the tantrums begin again and parents who want to immediately calm down their child will just slip them another toxic food item. The cycle is vicious, never-ending, and worst of all a pre-cursor to full life sugar/food addiction for the innocent child.

What we need to understand as adults in America, is that we live in one of the most obese countries in the world. We are not perfect and just because something is on the shelves of super markets, doesn’t mean it is healthy or okay to feed to a child. Sugar addiction can form within any human, but because a child is so untainted by any substance and the fact that they are so much smaller than us makes it extremely easy for them to form a very strong sugar dependency/addiction which becomes extremely hard to get over.

Physically, a child’s body becomes dependent on the sugar which is why they don’t “feel right” if they haven’t had their sugar fix. Mentally, because they are so used to crying or throwing tantrums until they are given sugar, they form an association with the feeling of calm and safety to sugar. This is the subconscious monster which can ruin a teenage/adult life. Even if at the older ages they understand the addiction, there is something rooted deep inside of them which associates sugar and food with safety and comfort.

The best thing you can do as a parent is be aware of the toll that the drug, sugar, can take on your child. Try your hardest to educate yourself on how to raise a healthy happy family. One of the biggest common misconceptions is that healthy food is so much more expensive than unhealthy food. I’m telling you right now that it is not! Compare prices of a bag of potato chips and a head of broccoli… you do the math! Then compare calories, sugars, and fats and see which one is really the most costly to you.

I’m just a gal studying nutrition, but to back up the above information, I just want to mention that government officials have been having an ongoing debate on considering a sugar tax. “We tax tobacco and we tax alcohol. We decided as a society that those things are causing enough problems that a tax was justified. Are we at that point with sugared beverages?”-Kelly Browne, Director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

To answer Kelly’s question, many health conscious individuals think so including Barry Popkin, PhD, author of The World is Fat: The Fads, Trends, Policies, and Products that are Fattening the Human Race. He claims, “A tax will reduce energy intake for all age groups, and will produce reductions in weight and the risk of diabetes. Every scholar in the world knows this except a few funded by the sugar industry.”

So it’s up to you mom and dad! Listen to the frustration of your child and the latest medical and political information being released about sugar, or continue filling your offspring with one of the deadliest chemicals known to man. You set the example.

February 27, 2012

Product Review: Starbucks Fruit & Cheese Bistro Box

The box contains cheeses like Brie, Gouda and Aged Cheddar. The cheese is complimented by crisp slices of green apple and wholesome 9-grain crackers. Also included are roasted almonds and sweet dried cranberries.The box was just as satisfying as it was healthful.

The Bistro Boxes are sold as snacks, and even the cashier made sure I knew he thought the Bistro Box was just, “the most delicious and perfect snack”. Unfortunately I don’t believe that the Bistro Boxes should be treated as “snacks”. One Bistro Box can run you close to 500 calories. Not only that but more than half of the calories come from fat.
As delicious, healthy and wholesome as the Fruit & Cheese Bistro Box is, it is important to keep in mind that the cheeses, and almonds create a high-calorie, high-fat small meal. If you grab a Caramel Frappuccino with your Bistro Box, keep in mind that you are adding another 410 calories to your “snack”. One afternoon snack at Starbucks can add up to almost 900 calories!
I would definitely recommend trying the Bistro Boxes at Starbucks, but just keep in mind they might not be the best deal if you’re on a low-cal, low-fat diet.

February 14, 2012

Five Weight Loss Secrets

Hi friends! Peter told me there was some interest in learning about dieting for weight loss while maintaining energy. Remember these five things next time you try to shed some lbs:

Tip # 1: Eat Balanced Meals

So if you know anything about weight loss, you should know that weight loss is what occurs when we consume less calories than we burn throughout the day. This is about as basic as it gets-however several of us cut calories so drastically that we actually make it harder for our bodies to lose weight.

Why? When you eat an extremely low amount of calories, your body has barely any energy for ANYTHING…including burning fat. That’s right- your body actually needs calories to burn fat.

When we don’t have sufficient caloric intake, our bodies go into “starvation mode” which is a natural process of storing the calories we consume as fat. Not only are you storing the calories you’re eating, but you won’t even have enough energy to actually burn off the fat you want to.

Tip # 2: Eat Nutrient Dense

The best way to “eat” while dieting is to munch on foods which are rich in nutrients and low-cal. These foods not only fill you up without threatening your overall caloric intake, but nutrient dense foods will also energize you. Foods which have nutrients support every cell, tissue, and organ system in our body. It is only when we have adequate nutrient intake that we have optimal energy throughout the day as well as a fully-functioning metabolism.

3.5 oz of fresh broccoli has 35 calories and is an abundant source of vitamins and minerals
3.5 oz of french fries has upwards of 300 calories in addition to having a high sodium content and barely any vitamins or minerals

Tip #3: Drink H2O

Up until recently I didn’t know why water was so great for dieting, aside from the fact that water actually flushes out our bodies of built up toxins.

In addition to providing this great service, H2O actually curbs appetite. When we are hydrated we don’t crave food as much because we don’t need water. Often times when we are craving foods, it is our body responding to the water content in food which we don’t even recognize. Make sure you are hydrated before you decide if you’re really hungry.

Sip throughout the day and you wont find yourself heading toward the kitchen as much!

Tip #4: Consume Fiber!

Fiber consumption is one of the most important things we can do to protect our bodies. Not only does high fiber intake correlate with low rates of colon-cancer and other related illnesses but fiber actually helps our body process food quicker- thus storing less calories and keeping our digestive system healthy.

Tip #5: Avoid these “Healthy” Foods

When dieting the following foods should be consumed moderately and not in excess because of their high calorie, fat, or sodium content: Almonds (& other nuts), Avocados, Olive Oil, Potatoes, Soups, Granola

Avoid consuming fruits or fruit juices in excess while dieting due to their high sugar content. Sugar eventually turns into fat in the body…even if it came from fruit!

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