Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!
IMPORTANT NOTICE: AWG provides the Dietitian's Corner blogger(s) with free products and compensation for posts.
The content posted here is for general informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research evolves. You should not rely on any information here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals.
‘Tis the season for all things blueberry. If you love berries July is your golden month where almost all forms of berry are ripe and delicious. Blueberries are at their peak of freshness around July 4th, so get ready to start seeing blueberries popping into recipes at every turn. My favorite way to enjoy blueberries is by eating them fresh out of the carton as a snack, but if you like baking with berries here are a few great ways to incorporate this seasonal fruit into healthy treats.
Blueberry Chia Seed Muffins
Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal Bread
Watch for more delicious blueberry recipes this month!
When you’re asked to bring an appetizer or specifically a vegetable tray to your next gathering considering adding in a few different bright colored veggies. A typically line up for snack veggies is carrots, celery, cherries tomatoes and broccoli. While these are very nutritious and a great options for a snack, there are also some other colorful foods you could add to the selection.
*Consider thinly sliced beets. Spring beets come in many different varieties. When you cut a raw beet in thin pieces it can provide a crunchy option for dips and hummus.
*Jicama is a slightly sweet unique vegetable that has a celery like consistency.
*Heirloom cherry tomatoes are a great summer option. They come in different shapes and multiple colors to liven up a vegetable platter.
*Asparagus often gets over looked when it comes to veggies that can be eaten raw. However thin asparagus stalks are a perfect anytime snack choice.
*Endive leaves are a delightful crunchy option for creamy dips and scooping guacamole.
Don’t limit yourself to a store bought veggie tray. Selecting your own produce allows your offering to be more nutritious, colorful and fresh.
Beans aren’t just for burritos, dips and soup anymore. They can be an excellent way to add protein and nutrients to baked goods, salads and sandwiches. Believe it or not mashed beans make a great base for brownies! Black beans or chickpeas can kick up the nutritional content of a variety of desserts.
Beans are considered a legume like lentils and peas. They have about 115 calories per half cup while offering 7.5 grams of protein and fiber. Here is a great recipe for roasted organic chick peas. Use these as a salad topper verses using croutons. This will add more vitamins and minerals to your dish.
Be watching the Clearly Organic Blog for sweet treat recipes using plant based ingredients like organic beans.
June is national fresh fruit and vegetable month. This is the time of year that a surplus of produce is at its peak season and it’s a great time to visit your local farmers market. June is the perfect month to make a strawberry spinach salad with avocado. Although you can get avocados year round they are at their best in early summer.
My favorite way to enjoy national fresh fruit and veggie month is by mixing organic spring greens with lots of colorful fruit. Any combination of seasonal fruit atop crisp greens is a delicious way to celebrate the start of summer. Any easy homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette is just the right dressing for this salad combo. It’s a perfect blend of savory and sweet for a mixture of vegetables and fruit. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for a variety of colorful summer salad mixtures.
Due to the recent interest in more plant based foods grocery stores are stocking a more diverse range of baking flours, sugars and milk products. One of the options for sugar that is becoming more readily available is coconut sugar. This plant based sugar is made of the sap from the flowering buds of the coconut palm tree. The sap is then boiled to evaporate the liquid content and once dried the result is coconut sugar. It’s light brown in color and tastes similar to brown sugar but can be used 1:1 for regular table sugar in any recipe.
Coconut sugar does offer trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. Inulin is a fiber in coconut sugar that is known for helping to slow digestion. That is why some studies suggest coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index and is more diabetic friendly. Calorie for calorie coconut sugar is equal to regular sugar, both contain 16 calories and about 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon. Coconut sugar can offer a unique and different way to enjoy a sweet treat, while providing your body trace amounts of antioxidants and nutrients. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for upcoming recipes containing coconut sugar.
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!