Archive for the ‘Natural Foods’ Category

Avoid Genetically Modified Foods

In December, 2010 Dr. Mehmet Oz did a segment on the Dr. Oz Show about genetically modified foods. The subject of GMO foods or “Genetically Modified Organisms” is an important topic for the everyday person to understand because GMO ingredients are used in most processed foods.

Much of the corn, soy and canola grown in the United States is genetically modified. These three crops are used in many derivative ingredients such as HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) a sweetener found in “processed foods and beverages, including breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments” (source: Wikipedia). Ingredients made from the soybean is also widely used – soy oil, textured vegetable protein, animal feed, etc. Canola oil is a major ingredient in the food industry. ... Read More

Non Dairy Almond Milk

It is easier than one would think to make non dairy almond milk. All you need is some raw almonds, water, vanilla extract and raw honey or blue agave nectar as a sweetener. There can be many reasons why you would want to use a non-dairy milk instead of cow’s milk. You can use it in cooking recipes, cereal, blended drinks, etc.

Start by soaking some raw almonds in water overnight (between 8 to 12 hours). The next day, rinse the soaked nuts and add them to a blender along with 4 cups of water, sweetener and a little vanilla extract. Simply blend it and strain it.

If you make a lot of nut milk, you can buy a nut milk bag. You can obtain one online from many sources at a reasonable cost. It will make the straining step a lot easier and you can reuse the bag over and over.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb raw almonds
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (raw honey or blue agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Soak one lb of nuts in water in a 2 qt. mason jar overnight (8-12 hours). The next day, rinse the nuts and add the soaked nuts, with 4 cups of water, vanilla extract and sweetener to a blender. Blend until smooth – not too long – only as long as you can hear it it rattling in the blender. Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag and refrigerate.

Shown below is a photo of all the ingredients: left to right – sweetener, vanilla extract, raw almonds and an empty mason jar.

Start by soaking the nuts overnight (between 8 and 12 hours).

Rinse the nuts and add them to a blender with four cups of water, sweetener and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Note: don’t overdo it. If you use a nut milk bag, if it is blended too finely it can clog the mesh.

I’m going to strain it with cheesecloth, here. I am using a basket-style coffee maker funnel…

Place the cheesecloth over the coffee maker funnel.

Strain the blended mixture through the cheesecloth.

Squeeze it all out and you’re done.

Perfect substitute for cow’s milk when a non-dairy milk is desired.

Mediterranean Salad Dressing

You can make your own homemade salad dressing very easily in about 5-10 minutes with this healthy recipe. The main advantage is that you can control the ingredients – you know what’s going into it.

The main ingredients of this salad dressing are olive oil and red wine vinegar. These are typical ingredients found in Mediterranean foods so I call it “Mediterranean Salad Dressing.” It also has a spicy flavor because it has curry powder, pepper and Dijon mustard. Place it in the refrigerator after mixing and shake it up real good before using it. ... Read More

Herb Roasted Chicken

Ahhh, tasty herb roasted chicken with crisp skin! You can cook this yourself with some basic ingredients in about an hour and a half. Buy a whole chicken – preferably pasture raised (as organic as possible … not corn fed and not fattened up with hormones and antibiotics). I try to buy chicken that doesn’t contain any hormones or antibiotics, but it can be tricky getting the correct information.

Currently, there are some chickens being peddled as “Free Range” which are pretty much meaningless. The term, “Free Range”, does not mean it was not fed with corn laced with chemicals, and the terms “no added hormones or antibiotics” doesn’t mean that the growers didn’t add the chemicals into the food, so caveat emptor, “Let the buyer beware.” ... Read More

Canned Foods

Canned foods should be avoided wherever possible because the lining of the cans nowadays contains a toxic chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA has been linked to “birth defects of the male and female reproductive systems in over half of 97 cans of name-brand fruit, vegetables, soda, and other commonly eaten canned goods,” states the Environmental Working Group (the EWG). The EWG also states that “BPA is associated with a number of health problems and diseases that are on the rise in the U.S. population, including breast and prostate cancer and infertility.”

This is a big reason for cooking your own food. Always try to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and prepare them yourself on the spot. Fresh cooked foods will be at their peak of nutritional value and is one of the main working principles of my eating plan to lose weight. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but please, for your own safety and health,  try to avoid canned foods as much as possible.

How the Stars Stay Slim

Here’s a great post I found by Amy Spencer at Health.com called “How the Stars Get And Stay Slim: Private Chefs Dish Up the Goods“. It illustrates my points about the importance of eating natural foods and cooking to lose weight.

In the article Amy Spencer points out these facts:

  • Stars hire private chefs
  • They buy and cook natural foods

“Stars pay to eat right. And they pay big”, says the writer, who also points out,
“A full-time private celebrity chef earns an annual salary of up to $150,000 plus health benefits; the average rate for such chefs in Los Angeles not on salary is about $350 to $500 per day”

The Importance of Natural Foods for Weight Loss

The writer also quotes Suyai Steinhauer former contestant on “Top Chef” and Bethenny Frankel, a finalist on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” in 2005. Suyai Steinhauer states, “The higher famous people are on the food chain, the more they spend on the ingredients they eat.” I have found this to be true with our household food bills, but the average person doesn’t require a star’s salary to eat well. We shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. It is true that food is generally more expensive at Whole Foods, but if you plan your meals and shop accordingly it is not out of reach for the average person.

In the article Bethenny Frankel points out: “When losing weight can make or break a shot at a role for a client, Frankel steers the star toward a healthy diet rather than a quick-fix fast.” This backs up my point that it is more important to lose weight slowly than quickly. There is always the danger that if you lose weight too fast you stand a greater chance of re-gaining it.

The Importance of Cooking to Lose Weight

My eating plan stresses the importance of cooking. This has always been a missing fact in my earlier attempts to lose weight. In fact, this is one of the secrets to permanent weight loss. In the article, Amy Spencer points out: “Celebrities already have one thing going for them when it comes to making their diets better and healthier: ‘Just having a chef do the cooking makes things seem better tasting than they are,’ Frankel says. ‘At home, I don’t steam greens and make brown rice plates. It wouldn’t taste as good if I made it myself.'”

Well, that might be true for a celebrity, but believe me, your cooking can taste good. Cooking is not difficult and does not have to be time consuming, either.