Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!
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Coconut has recently become the new trendy ingredient that’s popping up in all kinds of products. From food to water, skin care products and even straight coconut oil for use on your hair and lips. What’s behind the recent excitement over this long standing natural oil? A growing number of studies have shown that adding coconut oil to your diet can be a great way to improve your well-being, overall heath and appearance.
One of the central health benefits of coconut oil is its medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s), this substance helps to build and maintain muscle mass. Which in turn boosts your bodies energy expenditure and ability to burn calories. MCT’s have also been linked to improved brain function, memory and disease prevention. Next time you’re preparing vegetables for a stir fry, making popcorn or baking consider trying organic coconut oil for its health benefits and delicious flavor.
This bright Spring vegetable is well known for its vast health benefits. It’s a great source of fiber, vitamin K, folate and iron. Asparagus is also very versatile in the ways it can be prepared. Not only is this super food good raw it can also be roasted, steamed, sautéed, pickled or baked. Since we are entering into asparagus season it’s the perfect time to add this unique vegetable to your next recipe.
One of the most beneficial aspects of asparagus is its natural folate content. Folate is one of the vital nutrients that helps ward off heart disease, cancer, depression and is a key component to healthy pregnancies. Consuming just one cup of asparagus provides half your recommended daily allowance of vitamin K. This vitamin helps calcium absorb and can promote bone health. The iron in asparagus also promotes bone and joint health. Therefore, next time you’re walking through the produce department consider adding a bundle or two of fresh asparagus to your cart!
Whether or not you have Irish roots St. Patrick’s Day seems to draw most people into a state of celebration around green beer and corned beef. Although these are St. Paddy’s Day originals here are a few other festive and healthy ways to enjoy this Irish holiday.
Try our Shamrock Smoothie. This green minty drink is where healthy meets indulgence. The vibrant green color comes from Mother Nature – Spinach! However, the added sweetness from bananas and dark chocolate make the smoothie seem like dessert.
Potatoes are an Irish staple. Try this simple sweet potato recipe for a fun and delicious way to roast any kind of spud. Organic sweet potatoes are a filling and nutritious way to balance out any meal, any time of year.
Stay hydrated with mint or lime infused water. Sticking with the green theme is the essence of St. Patrick’s Day so keep yourself hydrated after your green beer with fresh mint water. Limes and oranges are also great citrus add ins that make water refreshing and easy to drink.
When someone is diagnosed with a food allergy or intolerance it’s common to receive a list of foods and products that they should avoid or eliminate from their daily meal plan. While it’s very important to steer clear of foods that cause your body discomfort and illness, it’s also helpful to focus on all the foods you can still enjoy. The list of foods people can continue to enjoy is always much longer than the list of foods you should eliminate.
It’s important to open up your possibilities and take away the negativity and limitations that food allergies and intolerances can often bring. Food allergies often make people more dependent on natural ingredients, fruits, vegetables and organic products. By looking at the positive side of any lifestyle change we can all benefit from embracing new stages in our lifelong journey for health and wellbeing.
If I’m honest I spent many of my younger years joyfully scarfing down a bowl of cereal for my breakfast. I’m still guilty of an occasional carbohydrate based first meal, but after experiencing a hearty protein and vegetable based breakfast (or any meal for that matter) it’s hard to want anything else. Studies show that people who consume high protein, moderate calorie, breakfasts are less hungry throughout the day and showed favorable changes in hormone and brain signals that controlled appetite and cravings.
Some great hearty breakfast options are eggs sautéed with veggies and a little cheese. Plain yogurt or cottage cheese mixed with berries are an excellent option. Even whole grain bread with egg and avocado is a delicious and nutritious way to start your morning. The main hinderance for most people when it comes to breakfast is the simple reality of time. Cooking real food does take longer than pouring a bowl of cereal. However, if you want to be serious about breakfast it can be done in advance. Prioritizing cooking breakfast one day a week or prepping food the night before is all it takes. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for some hearty breakfast recipes that can provide multiple days worth of delicious meals.
When you think of what’s in season the month of February your mind might wonder to dark chocolate, gummy shaped hearts and red velvet cake. Although these foods are mighty tasty they are not going to provide us the nourishment our bodies need all month long. Surprisingly February offers a wide variety of vegetables that often get forgotten and overlooked in the produce department.
Leeks are at their peek in January and February. Don’t be intimidated by this large green onion looking vegetable. It has a nice mellow flavor that goes great in soups, casseroles and vegetarian dishes. Winter greens such as kale, endive, collards and chard are perfect options for a unique texture and flavor in salads and wraps. The Clearly Organic blog has a colorful and delicious recipe for a collard green wrap.
Once you try a beet prepared well I promise you’ll go back for more. Beets are also an intimidating vegetable that most people don’t think to purchase on a regular basis. However, February is a great time to try our roasted beet recipe. They are simple and delicious.
Keep watch for more recipes with some of Februarys finest seasonal vegetables.
One commonly overlooked health tip is the importance of getting a good nights sleep. Recent studies show that more Americans are struggling with chronic sleep loss than ever before. A consistent battle with lack of sleep can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and weight gain. Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, moodiness and impatience. Appetite fluctuations are also common when you lose sleep. Studies show people are more likely to reach for high carbohydrate and sugary foods when they’re over tired.
A few benefits of seven or more hours of sleep can be improved memory retention, elevated mood and motivation, disease prevention and increased cardiovascular health. The importance of sleep for our overall well-being can often be overlooked. It’s never too late to start prioritizing more consistent rest and a good nights sleep.
After the holiday season of eating, drinking and merriment many fitness centers see a rise in gym membership and attendance. However, regardless of this enthusiasm statistics show that gym attendance is typically back to its regular numbers by mid-February. No matter what your New Years health and wellness goals involve here are a few simple tips to stick with your good intentions.
A bonus tip that’s always well received is Reward Yourself. No one has to be told twice to cut themselves a little slack. Treat yourself to a little relaxation on your day off from working out or plan a fun event to look forward to celebrating your accomplishments.
A new year always brings about an opportunity to step back and evaluate how we want to begin another season of life. New Years resolutions are a common time to make health goals and lifestyle changes. At the root of most New Years resolutions is a habit change, and habits are a big part of our overall wellbeing.
There’s a significant amount of psychological research behind the process of habit formation and change so we can be confident that for most people habit change follows a similar cycle. Here are a few simple ways to identify a potential need for habit change. These 3 tips come from Charles Duhiggs best selling book, The Power of Habit.
1. Pinpoint a trigger or cue for a certain behavior
2. What is the action you take, or the behavior itself
3. What is the outcome or benefit from the behavior
Once you identify a habit you’d like to change use this structure to solidify your desired result. An easy way to remember the components of habit change according to author James Clear is 3 R’s: Reminder, Routine and Reward. Establish a reminder for your new habit, make it part of your daily routine and reward yourself along the way. Enjoy the journey of establishing new habits in the New Year!
Recently a Clearly Organic customer wrote in asking about foods that are acceptable for a fructose intolerant child. It’s always a challenge to adjust your families meal plan to accommodate various dietary restrictions. However, it is definitely possible to make healthy and delicious meals that are void of specific allergen containing substances. A fructose intolerance is a digestive disorder that results in impaired fructose absorption. This causes higher concentrations of fructose in the intestines, leading to discomfort and potential medical complications.
It’s always important to first consult your doctor regarding specific dietary needs for any allergy or intolerance. For those affected by the unique condition of fructose intolerance it’s good to avoid high fructose foods such as juices, apples, pears, peas, grapes, watermelon and papayas. It’s also wise to read food labels and limit or avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, maple flavored syrup and palm syrup. Specifically read ingredient lists on cereal, granola bars, sweetened milk products and cured meats.
Lower fructose foods are generally safe to consume. Berries, carrots, avocado, green beans, bananas and lettuce are considered low fructose foods. The best type of meal plan for a fructose intolerant person is one that contains natural unprocessed foods. Most vegetables, whole grains, natural proteins and fish are great options for any healthy meal plan.