Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!
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Alfalfa sprouts are a germinated alfalfa flower seed, which is an edible flowering plant. These crunchy sprout based vegetables are loaded with many beneficial nutrients because they are a seed that is harvested before the plant fully matures. This provides us with the benefits of a seed and bioavailable nutrients and enzymes through the sprouting process. You commonly see these unique looking sprouts atop salads, sandwiches and soups.
This low calorie nutrient dense food can help prevent diseases and lower cholesterol due to its antioxidant and fiber content. The addition of sprouts to many culinary creations can add texture, crunch, moisture and color. Alfalfa sprouts can also be added to smoothies, egg dishes, yogurt and soft cheese mixes. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for upcoming recipes that incorporate alfalfa sprouts!
Now that the weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining longer it’s time to allow our bodies more time outdoors to activate vitamin D. This fat soluble vitamin helps calcium, magnesium and phosphate absorb in our intestinal tract. The unique aspect of vitamin D is that it can be ingested from foods that we eat or it can be synthesized from sun exposure. About 10 minutes outside is all it takes to naturally activate vitamin D.
Foods containing vitamin D include fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. Most vitamin D containing foods in the US are fortified like dairy products, soy milk and some cereals. While we can achieve our vitamin D needs from dietary intake it’s also nice to allow the sun its chance to brighten our mood, boost our immune system and allow vitamin D time to activate. Take advantage of your spring and summer months with more time outdoors.
If you’ve ever followed a nutrition or fitness plan you have probably heard talk about the importance of protein and its ability to help build muscle. Protein serves many different functions in our body in addition to building and maintaining lean muscle mass. When protein is digested it’s broken down into amino acids which help balance hormones and form the building blocks of our brains neural network. Protein is a big part of what makes us feel full and satisfied at a meal.
People often ask how much protein they should consume in a day. The answer can depend on your weight, gender and fitness goals. However, the Recommended Daily Allowance for protein, set by medical professionals, is .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. A 150lbs person would need about 54 grams of protein per day.
A high protein diet is often recommended during a fat loss program because of its ability to digest slowly and satisfy hunger. The key to protein consumption is balance. It’s best to choose a wide variety of animal and plant based proteins while striving to have a combination of protein, whole grain carbohydrates and healthy fats at each meal and snack.
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.