Organic vs. Conventional

Would you like to begin your journey to eat healthier? You may ask yourself what does that mean or where do I start? What does organic mean? Are certain foods better to buy organic compared to conventional?

I would like to help you answer these questions and choose the best foods for you. To start off, organic refers to food that have been grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, or fertilizers. By choosing organic foods you are supporting your local farmers, as well as reducing your risk of unhealthy chemicals and toxins. In the process, you are not only helping the environment but yourself as well. However, there are different organic labeling standards.  For example, 100% organic (fruits and veggies), organic, or made with organic ingredients. For more info…check out http://www.organic.org/

Choosing organic fruits and vegetables can put a strain on the wallet. I’m here to help you to distinguish between which foods are the most and least contaminated with pesticides. Prior to your next grocery shopping trip, remember this list as you make your selection of fresh produce.

For more info visit…http://www.healthyreader.com/2008/05/13/12-most-contaminated-fruits-and-vegetables/

12 Most Contaminated

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Imported Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

12 Least Contaminated

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Peas

Why Choose Coconut Oil…

In my last post, I mentioned about sautéing with coconut oil. Many people think of avoiding this because of its high saturated fat content. Let me try and persuade you to use this very versatile oil every once in a while or at least experiment with it.

Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid that is better able to be absorbed into the bloodstream where it can be utilized for energy very rapidly.  Many other oils are long-chain fatty acids that require a longer process for digestion (absorbed into the intestine, assembled into triglycerides, and eventually transferred to needed parts of the body via chylomicrons). Since coconut oil is readily absorbed, your body can use this fuel quickly as well as it having a decreased chance to be stored as fat. Besides this, coconut oil is high in lauric acid, capric, and capyrlic acid, which are anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. This is helpful to the body by fighting off infections, bacteria, fungi, or parasites.

You may have also heard about oils and their smoking point. Some unrefined oils such as flaxseed, extra virgin olive oil (first cold pressed), and pumpkin seed oil are very fragile, meaning they have a very low smoke point and should not be used for frying, sautéing, or baking. These oils work best as dipping oils for bread, salad dressings, or to season a dish after it has been cooked. However, coconut oil has a high smoke point, which is perfect for sautéing, baking, or frying. Choosing organic, pure coconut oil has a beautiful, fresh coconut aroma to it. If you are not a fan of coconut flavor, choose refined coconut oil, which still has the benefits to it, although it will not have the taste or smell of fresh coconut.

Go ahead and give coconut oil a try and let me know what you think.

Swiss Chard

Swiss ChardSwiss chard is one of my favorite leafy greens and can easily be incorporated into a variety of dishes. It cooks up just like fresh spinach, but be sure to use the stems as well. It’s full of vitamins A, C, K, as well as magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, folate, and many others.

I needed to make a satisfying lunch after a workout at the gym but did not want it to take too long as I wanted to be able to head outside to enjoy the sun and warm weather. What did I have on hand to use…a bunch of Swiss chard,  a can of spicy green chiles, a tomato, and kidney beans.

I chopped up the Swiss chard, stems and leafs, and added them to a sauté pan with the can of green chiles, the chopped tomato, and kidney beans.  Allow everything to heat up and enjoy! If you have onions and garlic on hand, sauté them first in a bit of coconut oil (or an oil of your choice)  and then add the remaining ingredients.

For a filling entree, serve over a bed of quinoa, buckwheat, or millet for a great gluten free meal.

Healthy Food

Healthy food…what it means to me. I like to think of food that nourishes the soul, provides satiety and supports the body with a variety of vitamins and minerals. With the abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains available, I love to to put together a creative, tasty meal that myself or my family will enjoy. Healthy food is vibrant, beautiful colors from red, orange, and yellow bell peppers to Swiss chard, kale, and other leafy greens along with blueberries, purple cabbage, and beets just to name a few.

Throughout this blog, I hope you’ll learn to love the kitchen and begin to create a variety of whole food nutritious dishes. One of my favorite mottos is that feeling great begins with what you eat.  I hope you will feel inspired to create and learn new dishes or new ways to prepare your favorite meals in a healthier way.  Every change that you embark on begins with one step at a time.

This is the perfect time of year to experience with new veggies. Local farmer’s markets have an abundance of fresh zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and leafy greens to choose from.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on healthy food and what it means to you!