Category Archives: Diet

Exploring The Real Truth About Matcha Green Tea

If you are a tea aficionado or you have just started drinking tea, there is a good chance that you have come across a lot of information about matcha green tea. Many dealers claim that this powerful green tea contains 137 times more antioxidants than regular tea. Matcha has been around for centuries and the preparation and serving of the tea is what really makes it stand out amongst the competition.

Created In A Unique Way

Did you know that matcha literally means “powdered tea”? When you make an order at a restaurant of traditional green tea, the components of these leaves are actually infused with hot water and later discarded. This is not the case when it comes to homemade matcha. When you consume real matcha tea, you are actually drinking the leaves, which contain most of the beneficial properties. Any good dedicated matcha drinker will know that the leaves need to be ground into a fine powder that is later made into a solution by mixing heated water with matcha powder until it froths.

More Caffeine Means More Energy

Most individuals consume coffee or tea for its powerful caffeine content. Whether you are looking for the energy to get out of bed or the energy to hit the gym, tea is without a doubt one of your best options. You might be surprised to learn that one espresso only contains a mere 64 milligrams of caffeine, while one teaspoon of matcha contains 70 milligrams of caffeine. That pretty much means that one-teaspoon of matcha tea could provide you with a much greater energy boost than your average cup of Joe. This could be the very thing that you need to make it through an extremely difficult day at work or in the gym.

Other Benefits

The benefits of Matcha tea continue on and on. This type of teach can strengthen the immune system, detoxify the body and help you burn more calories that ever before. It’ll also promote your mood and calm your nerves. With this tea, you can also improve your memory, focus and concentration. Suffice to say, there are tons of good reasons to drink matcha.

Tips For Buying Matcha Tea

When attempting to invest in Matcha green tea, you’ll need to put in extra effort to ensure that your money has been spent wisely. First and foremost, you should always try to obtain rich, green tea leaves. This ensures that the leaves are vibrant and have a high antioxidant level. It is also a good idea to choose an organic matcha. While it may be possible to buy matcha powder from many different countries, it is best to stick with a Japanese source. Stay away from Chinese sources whenever possible. It is also vital for the matcha to be stored in the appropriate manner.

It should have been stored in a cool, dry and dark space. This will ensure that the tea will deliver the best consistency and flavor. Do your research and choose your vendor carefully. If you do not, you may not be able to obtain the results that you’re truly after.

Fruit Smoothies are an Easy and Healthy After-School Snack

The key to making these smoothies creamy is frozen fruit so the ideal would be to fill up the freezer with some fresh fruit or buy frozen fruit straight from the supermarket.

Bananas can go brown and ripen soon after purchasing but instead of throwing them away, peel them and cut into chunks and place in a bag in the freezer. Bananas are the base of most great fruit smoothies.

Just note that you will need a blender to make these drinks and it doesn’t have to be an expensive addition to the kitchen. Hand-held stick blenders can be found in the supermarket for under $10. It’s a purchase that will pay for itself over and over in smoothies.

Milk or No-Milk Based Smoothies

Smoothies can be made with or without milk. If you or your child has any kind of intolerance to milk then try a soy-based smoothie or no-milk smoothie. I tend to use orange, mango or mixed breakfast fruit juice, but cold water is also a great option.

If making a milk smoothie, ice-cream or yoghurt can also be added if the idea is that you are trying to pump more calcium into your kids.

The smoothie recipes below normally make 2-3 large serves.

Simple Very Berry Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • Extra ice, optional

Simple Very Berry Smoothie Directions

  1. Pour the orange juice into the blender.
  2. Add all frozen ingredients.
  3. Blend on SMOOTHIE setting until smooth.
  4. If using a hand-held stick blender, place all the ingredients in a deep jug and move the blender up and down to crush the frozen fruit.
  5. Serve immediately over ice.

Tropical Mango Smoothie Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen mango (if you cannot get fresh or frozen mango, try canned mango as it works just as well.)
  • 2 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 2 cups orange or mango juice
  • Extra ice, optional

Tropical Mango Smoothie Directions

  1. Pour the orange or mango juice into the blender.
  2. Add all frozen ingredients.
  3. Blend on SMOOTHIE setting until smooth.
  4. If using a hand-held stick blender, place all the ingredients in a deep jug and move the blender up and down to crush the frozen fruit.
  5. Serve immediately over ice.

Basic Banana Smoothie Ingredients

  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 2 frozen bananas, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey, optional
  • Extra ice, optional

Basic Banana Smoothie Directions

  1. Pour the milk into the blender.
  2. Add the frozen bananas and yoghurt.
  3. Blend on SMOOTHIE setting until smooth.
  4. If using a hand-held stick blender, place all the ingredients in a deep jug and move the blender up and down to crush the frozen fruit.
  5. Taste to see if sweet enough. Add honey if required.
  6. Serve immediately over ice.

Quick, Easy, Healthy Chicken Breast Recipes: Simple Recipe for Special Low Fat Crockpot and Casserole Meals

Families in America eat a lot of chicken and that’s a good thing. It’s healthy, easy to cook and tastes great in a lot of different dishes. Every cook should have these three quick chicken recipes in her file.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Taco Stew Recipe

Everyone loves this simple chicken dinner, which cooks all day while people are at work and school, and can be served in a jiffy when it’s time to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small package of frozen corn
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 medium-sized jar salsa
  • 1 package low fat cream cheese
  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • lime

Directions:

  1. Lay the chicken breasts in the bottom of a crockpot.
  2. Cover with corn, beans and salsa and sprinkle the taco seasoning on top of everything.
  3. Cook covered on low all day.
  4. 30 minutes before serving, add cream cheese.
  5. Before eating, shred the chicken and mix everything together.
  6. Serve with tortillas or as a stew and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, avocado and lime.

Easy Curry Chicken Recipe

Use a favorite combination of curry spices with these simple ingredients to make a healthy, comforting and filling stew. Feel free to add other fresh vegetables like carrots, green beans or strips of pepper to the pot.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • plain vanilla yogurt
  • mango chutney

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Cut the chicken into large bite-sized pieces, add to the pot and sauté for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat up and add tomatoes.
  4. Chop cauliflower into large bite-sized pieces and add to the pot along with the chickpeas.
  5. Add curry powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for at least four hours.
  7. Serve over rice accompanied by yogurt and chutney.

Bird of Paradise Chicken Recipe

This easy to make chicken isn’t low fat, but it is incredibly delicious and worth every calorie. Sure to impress guests, cooks can have it made and on the table in 45 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 and ½ cups of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of sherry

Directions:

  1. Mix the eggs and milk together in a bowl and pour the parmesan cheese onto some wax paper.
  2. Dip chicken breasts into egg mixtures and then coat completely with cheese.
  3. Melt butter in a frying pan, preferably a cast iron skillet.
  4. Add the coated chicken to the pan and brown each breast on both sides.
  5. Pour the sherry over the browned chicken and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with wild rice and steamed sugar snap peas.

Herbal Healing: How to Make a Calendula Tincture

Calendula, or pot marigold, has many beneficial medicinal qualities that have been utilized by humans since the 12th century (University of Maryland Medical Center). Being anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral, it is a very useful herb for cuts and scrapes. When steeped in alcohol to create a tincture, this herb’s properties can be easily utilized to treat cuts, scrapes, bruises, burns, acne, heartburn, eczema, and cold sores, as well as many other conditions (Country Wisdom & Know-How). Making your own calendula tincture is a very easy process that yields a product that is cost-effective and highly useful.

About Calendula

Calendula should not be confused with ornamental marigolds (Tagets genus), used commonly in gardens. While often called “pot marigold,” calendula has no relation to those small flowers lining your mother’s driveway. It looks similar to a golden daisy (and belongs to the same family).

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, calendula contains a high amount of flavonoids (antioxidants that fight free radicals). Currently no one is sure what exact ingredient in the flower produces such healing qualities, though it has proven to be fairly effective when used topically. It is possible that it increases the blood flow to the wound and promotes the body’s production of collagen proteins, therefore helping to speed healing of the the wound.

In addition to healing burns, cuts, and bruises, calendula can be taken orally when extremely diluted. Calendula’s ability to lower stomach acid levels can be used to treat ulcers and heartburn, and is effective in tincture form. Add between five and ten drops (1-2 mL) of calendula tincture to two tablespoons (30 mL) of the tea of your choice. Due to the bitter taste of this tincture, there are benefits to ingesting a smaller amount rather than an entire cup (Country Wisdom & Know-How).

There has also been a study that shows calendula may have an effect against an unfortunate side effect of radiation for breast cancer patients. “Preliminary evidence suggests that calendula may help prevent dermatitis in breast cancer patients during radiation. In one study of 254 patients, women who used calendula lotion were less likely to suffer from grade II or higher dermatitis compared to those who used trolamine lotion” (UMMC).

How to Make a Tincture

A tincture is best used topically for minor burns, scrapes, cuts, and bruises, as well as a diluted tea for internal use. If something only for minor skin irritations and other topical uses is needed, it may be more convenient or beneficial to make an infused oil or skin salve. But due to the versatility of tinctures, some find it helpful to have a jar on hand.

To make a tincture only a few ingredients are needed. Calendula flowers are a necessity. You can buy seeds (online or at your local garden shop) and grow calendula flowers yourself. Growing plants is a very rewarding process, and calendula is a very easy flower to grow that is not too picky about its soil. Once fully grown, cut the flowers (promoting growth of new flowers) and hang them upside-down to dry. Alternatively, if time is of the essence, you can purchase flowers or petals in bulk online. Often there are vendors on Etsy.com that sell the flower.

Alcohol is also needed, ideally between 80 and 100 proof (40-50% alcohol). Vodka is ideal, though an expensive brand is not at all necessary. The amount needed depends on the size of your jar. Do not use rubbing alcohol.

You will also need a glass jar (such as Ball jars), cheesecloth, and a dark glass bottle:

  • Gently chop or grind the flowers to release the volatile oils. The amount of calendula used should be a quarter of the volume of the glass jar (1/4 cup calendula for a one cup jar).
  • Cover the herb with three times as much alcohol as herb. Run a knife around the inside edge of the jar to release any air bubbles.
  • Close the jar tightly and place in a cool, dark place. For 2-4 weeks, shake the jar daily to ensure that the calendula remains covered in the alcohol.
  • After 2-4 weeks, strain the alcohol through the cheesecloth into another container. Gather the calendula into the cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess alcohol.
  • Pour the tincture into the dark glass bottle. Label the bottle and store at room temperature.

Cautions

Though calendula is safe for most people when taken properly, there are some precautions to take. Those that are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take calendula orally. Those with an allergy to ragweed and related plants should not take calendula. Also, calendula should only be used on minor wounds, as it sometimes may be too efficient at sealing a wound for deep cuts.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

Maximize Your Diet with Superfoods: What Makes a Superfood Super?

Before you run into the boredom of a diet rut, take a look at some new foods or revisit some of old favorites. The truth behind these foods may startle you.

Quinoa

Originating in the Andes of South America, quinoa offers a protein punch for a calorie bargain. While quinoa is generally employed as a grain, it is actually a “pseudocereal” packed with protein. In 100 grams (uncooked), this superfood contains 370 calories, 14 grams of protein, 7 grams of dietary fiber, and more than half of the daily dietary requirements of Potassium and Magnesium.

A great option for gluten-free cooking and for protein deficits in a vegetarian diet, quinoa makes a great compliment to a meal as a rice-substitute.

Lentils

Rich in dietary fiber and protein, lentils are a staple in any nutrient-rich diet. Available in a variety of colors, including yellow, green, brown and black, lentils, per 100 grams, uncooked, provide an incredible 31 grams of dietary fiber and 26 grams of protein for only 1 gram of fat and 350 calories. This super-legume also provides more than 60% of the daily nutritional requirement of Thiamine and Iron.

Try this superfood with a slow-cooker recipe or as a substitute for meat for a hearty and nutritionally charged meal.

Broccoli

A common vegetable on American dinner tables, broccoli is argued by many to be a “negative-calorie food” offering a great source of Vitamins C, K, and A. Per 100 grams, broccoli provides 2.6 grams of dietary fiber and 2.8 grams of protein for only 30 calories and 0.3 grams of fat!

In order to preserve its nutritional punch, try broccoli raw by adding it to a salad or an accompaniment to the main dish.

Spinach

While this superfood does have some negative press with respect to its link to kidney stones, spinach is another nutritious food reported to be a “negative-calorie food” and employed as a source of iron for those suffering with iron-deficiency. Spinach also provides an excellent source of protein and iron. For 100 grams of raw spinach, benefit from 2.2 grams of dietary fiber, 2.2 grams of protein, 460% of the daily nutritional requirement of Vitamin K, and 22% of the daily nutritional requirement of Iron for just 20 calories and 0.4 grams of fat.

Add some spinach to your dinner by employing it as a great addition to a basic salad or to cooked quinoa.

Acai

This berry, harvested in the Brazilian Rainforest, is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of dietary fiber per 3.5 ounce serving. Acai is also loaded with anthocyanins postulated to aid in fighting aging, high cholesterol, heart disease, strokes and colon cancer. The acai berry’s cost in calories? Only 154 calories per 3.5 ounce serving!

Commonly consumed as a juice or a smoothie, try this amazing berry blended with a banana and a splash of orange juice for a tasty and healthy breakfast.