Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Get Your "Dairy" Aire in Shape For Summer!

The weather is crazy here in Korea. I'm still waiting to hit the beach in my new HIGH WAISTED bikini! But those of you in the rest of the Northern hemisphere are well in to summer.

Haeundae Beach near my house in Korea! This pic was taken
in the height of tourist season!! 
Summer= swimsuits!! (yay)

Most people are looking for a quick and easy way to lose that winter weight. The problem is.. there isn't a quick or easy way! Having a beach bod comes with dedication in the kitchen and in the gym/outside/moving your buns! There are a few things that you can do, however to put you on a good path. One is examining your diet as it is NOW. Look for the "hidden" culprits that are lurking between you and having enough energy to get your rear in gear. Look for those fat grams that are slowly and silently making their way into your daily menu.

FAT
Yes- more put into your mouth= more fat on your bod. BUT also, fat takes up precious calories/appetite that could be used to eat clean burning carbohydrates! Carbs= ENERGY to MOOOOOVE! yay!

Today we are going to be talking about a less than obvious culprit standing between you and your buns-o-steal. We are going to be talking about dairy.

This is not your typical anti-dairy rant...
There will be plenty of time for those later. This will certainly not be my last post about dairy... there is just SO much I have to say about it!!

BUTT in this post I will focus on the FAT you are DRINKING. That's right! It's usually pretty hard for people to conceive a drink as being fatty, but if you are drinking milk, you can count on the fact that you are drinking lots of  fat.

"But wait! I drink skim milk or 2% milk", you say!

What if I told you that 2% (fat) milk is actually 35% fat! What if I told you that Skim milk is actually 2% fat. And what if I told you that whole milk is actually 50% fat!!!!

Would you believe me?

This is one of those tricky illusions used by the dairy industry. Shame on them :)

Let's look at the numbers (math-phobics beware):

100 grams of whole milk contains 60 calories.
Its weight of 100 grams is distributed as follows:

88.3 grams of water
  0.7 grams of ash (solid residue)
  4.5 grams of carbohydrates (4 calories per gram= 18 carb calories)
  3.2 grams of protein (4 calories per gram= 13 protein calories)
  3.3 grams of fat (9 calories per gram= 30 fat calories)
_____________________________

Adding up to 100 grams total.

The 88% of milk's weight is only WATER and contains no calories at all. The remainder, 3.3 grams out of 100 grams are fat, which is why the label can "technically" read 3.25% fat. But we don't even need to count the water weight in this equation since it has ZERO calories!

Also, fat, carbs and protein do not all have the same calorie ratios. Fat has more than double the calories of an equivalent amount of carbs and protein. Each of the 3.3 grams of fat contain around 9 calories per gram- opposed to the carbs and protein that contain about 4 calories per gram, each.

So, the breakdown looks like this:
Fat:         3.3 grams x 9 calories=  29.7 calories (from fat)
Carbs:     4.5 grams x 4 calories=  18 calories (from Carbs)     
Protein:   3.2 grams x 4 calories=  12.8 calories (from protein)
                                                     ________
                                                      60.5 Total calories

With almost 30 Calories coming from fat of the total 60 calories, we can see that whole milk is 50% fat!!!!!! Yikes! Not even ground beef has that much fat!

Are you still reading this far? I hope so! It took me several times to understand this, but wow! It was worth all the sweat!  

Now that you know the truth about milk's fat content, let's talk about what we can do to lessen our dairy intake this summer. 

The Top Reasons People Say They Need Milk (and my suggestions):

1.) I'm thirsty
     Drink water! There is nothing more quenching than water. It will satisfy your thirst for sure.
     Get creative with your water! Add berries, lemons, oranges, rosemary, and watermelon to it! Talk
     about a PERFECT summer drink!

2.) I need calcium
     Dairy= Calcium is myth.
     There are lots of whole plant foods with more calcium than milk. The best part is, this type of
     calcium usually comes with magnesium and other trace minerals in it's package. Magnesium is
     just as important in bone health, as it helps your body absorb calcium and it makes up the bone
     itself!
     For good lower fat versions of calcium, look for:
         Sea Vegetables, sesame seeds, tofu**, collard greens, corn**, quinoa,  amaranth,
         figs, dried apricots,  broccoli, spinach, white beans, nuts, seeds, blackstrap
         molasses.
         And the list goes on and on!
Google: "Correlation dairy intake to osteoporosis"!
Studies show that countries with the highest
dairy intake, also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
Here is a chart showing the correlation
with hip fractures.  

       
3.) What am I going to put on my cereal
     If you are in the US, consider yourself LUCKY! You have SO many options available to you.
     These options are just as easy as walking in the store and buying it off the shelf!
     Try almond milk, hemp seed milk, coconut milk, or organic soy** milk if you are desperate.
     Or if you are not in the US, you can easily make your own almond milk! ALMONDS, water and a
     blender! Simple! Or you could forgo your cereal and get in to some new breakfast foods!

    Check out this HILARIOUS commercial for Almond milk that my friend showed me! (Natt ;)





4.) But, I am a baby calf and I love milk! What do I do!? 
     Don't worry, honey! Just disregard this post- I wrote it with my human audience in mind ;) Your
     mother's milk is the PERFECT food for you! Just like human milk is the PERFECT milk for baby
     humans and beaver milk is perfect for baby beavers. :)
This is Gary. He lives in a farm on the campus of Western Kentucky University! He LOVES milk!
He has been fattening up quite nicely since birth thanks to the fat content in his mamma's milk!


Try a week or two without dairy and see how you feel! I felt SO great, I couldn't go back! If there is ever some hidden dairy in something that I eat, just like clockwork, I have a small breakout and get a mucousy throat! I notice a difference in my digestion as well. But NEVER take my word (or anyone else's word) for it! It's all about experimenting and experiencing for yourself. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. You are the only one with your best interests in mind!

Comment down below about your own dairy substitutes! We'd love to know what you found that works for you!!

Now go out there and take advantage of all the information the internet has!!

Research! Share your findings!

Start living your life "The Empowered Way"!

Find me on Facebook at "The Empowered Way" for dairy inspiration and thoughts. I still have my next video coming out this weekend! Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you get priority viewing :) My Channel!

Wishing you lots love and a "dairy-free" dairy aire,
   
 Meg



_________________________________________________________________________________

This post was written with inspiration from the book The 80-10-10 Diet. I dislike the use of the word "diet" here, because of the modern connotations it has. This way of eating is a lifestyle, not a fad or a get slim fast book- so don't let the name discourage you. I totally recommend reading this!!

For more information about dairy, I like to visit www.notmilk.com and www.pcrm.org

**All dietary suggestions pertaining (especially to soy and corn) made here assume non-GMO and organic foods.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Food That Hits The Spot!

It's getting HOT out.  If you can't stand the heat... turn off the stove and oven and add some crisp, fresh, raw foods in your life. I'm not talking about a raw recipe with 500 ingredients that needs dehydrated for 20 hours. I'm talking about SALAD.



Are you bored now?

Salad used to bore me. Iceberg Lettuce, ranch dressing, processed cheese and stale croutons.  Blah- never appealed to me.
I could never imagine being satisfied for a whole meal with the "salad" I just described above.
But...
A salad made from crisp organic leaves in varying shades of green with a sweet fruity dressing that is so nutrient dense that it leaves you feeling refreshed and satisfied. Sign me up!

*Before we get to the recipes, let's talk about some-

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT SALAD 
Salad should never be eaten for lunch. There are not enough calories (aka- ENERGY) in it to get you through the rest of the day. If you skimp on your lunch calories, you will undoubtedly be reaching for a coffee or a candy bar from the snack machine by 3pm.
[I know what you are thinking.... but if you are trying to lose weight, DON'T skimp on your calories from breakfast or lunch. Eat all the calories you care for as long as they are from low FAT plant sources!]

Salad should be eaten for dinner. As the day winds down, so does your need for energy (calories), so a salad is the PERFECT dinner time meal. It's a nice way to cool down after your commute or evening run. It is also easier on your digestion than a heavy meal, so it will help you sleep easier.
Although greens lack in calories, they certainly make up for it in the nutrition department. I just wrote about it on my Facebook page at "The Empowered Way" check it out!

TIPS FOR MAKING A PERFECT SALAD
- Always buy local organic greens! Large leafy vegetables are sprayed with SO MANY pesticides and it's impossible to wash off all the poisons. Obviously leaves have no "protective skin" to peel away so there is no avoiding a toxin overload. Rinsing under the tap, just won't cut it. Greens are cheap- splurge on buying good quality.
- Adequately drain all water after washing your greens. Use a salad spinner or just let them drip dry in a colander. No one likes a soggy salad with water in the bottom of their bowl!
- Add a variety of different types of leaves. Greens range from sweet to spicy and have all different colors and textures. Variety is key to an interesting final result! Check out the some of the greens that went in our salads tonight.


- If you realize your leaves have turned floppy and lifeless, don't throw them out! Put them in a cup of water. The same way you would flowers! They will perk up and be back to perfection in an hour or so depending on how far gone they were. Some lovely friends taught me that and I will forever be grateful to them for it. [Shout out to Tina and Monika <3] 
- Eat your salad with chopsticks. They are the PERFECT tool for salad munchers :)
  [Yes I live in Asia] ^^





Want some easy and delicious salad dressing ideas that you will LOVE? Here are a few of my faves...


FUN AND EASY DRESSING RECIPES

Orange Tomato Celery Dressing



Ingredients:
Navel Oranges
Cherry Tomatoes
The TOPS of Celery Stalks

Don't throw away those leafy celery tops. Throw them in the blender with peeled oranges and tomatoes! You will still have a slight hint of celery in the dressing and they won't go to waste! Blend until smooth (or not).. it's all about making what you like!








Mango Pico de Gallo Dressing



Ingredients:
Cucumbers
Cherry Tomatoes
Chopped Mango
Dill Weed (optional)

Put cucumbers and tomatoes in the food processor until chunky (like Pico de Gallo). Then mix in the chopped mango and the dill with a spoon.




Tropical Fig Dressing


Ingredients:
Bananas
Mangoes
Figs (fresh only, please)

Blend all ingredients together. You may need to add a little water in this to get the blender going.


**NOTE: I have purposefully left out measurements for the dressings. You really CAN'T go wrong here. Just listen to what your body wants!  Am I the best recipe giver or what!? :)

If none of these recipes tickle your fancy, try blending your favorite smoothie and pouring it over your greens. Greens make for a good digestive combination with just about anything, so as long as your smoothie follows good food combining rules, you should be good!

Just get in your greens and you will reap the benefits!


Be on the look out for my new video coming out in a week or so! I'm going to talk about how to begin a healthy lifestyle... it may not be how you think!

Like "The Empowered Way" on Facebook to get daily tips and inspiration!


Love and Crispy Salad Greens,

Meg


Tonight's salad. Mixed greens with the Mango Pico Dressing!!
YUM!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Importance of RIPE fruit

People are quick to cross fruits off their "lists" because the fruit has given them some of the undesirable  effects listed below. In doing so, they lose potential to reap the benefits of all the nutrients, fiber, and perfect water that that fruit has to offer! 


Has a banana ever made you constipated? Have oranges or kiwis ever given you blisters in your mouth? Chances are you have experienced some side effect of eating un-ripe fruit. My hope in this post is to educate about the importance of fruit being ripe before you eat it. 


What it means when a fruit is "ripe"
After a fruit is picked, it starts letting off a gas called "ethylene" at a faster rate. This gas increases enzyme activity in the fruit.  Enzymes break down the starch and pectin in a fruit to bring it to ripeness. The enzyme that breaks down the starch in a fruit is the same enzyme in our saliva! So, basically a ripe fruit is pre-digested. (yummy!) Breaking down starch, makes the fruit sweeter and easier to digest. Breaking down pectin makes the fruit softer. So, when a fruit is "ripe" it is softer, sweeter and easier to digest. Ripe fruit is usually always more nutritious as well. 


             **Bananas especially take on super powers when they get fully ripe! Google it to find out how! **




                   
But why does this happen? Are the plants catering to our bellies? NO! (and yes)

 As a plant ripens, it's immune system is weakening so that the parasites (us) can eat and digest it. Then (before the days of indoor plumbing) we eat it and expel the seeds in a perfect fertilized package to continue the growth of the species. If a plant is not eaten by an animal, this same process happens, but the fruit continues to be broken down into a softer and sweeter goo that eventually returns to the soil along with it's seeds. 


The consequences of eating unripe fruit
If a fruit is unripe, that basically means that nature says it's not ok to eat it. The plant is not ready to reproduce. There are several signs that will tell you if a plant is unripe to eat. You should pay attention to these signs, as they will have consequences if you disobey.  For example, if you bite a fruit and it is acidic to the taste, or burns your gums or tongue, chances are it's not ok to eat. You will probably end up with blisters in your mouth. If you eat a fruit that is too hard, chances are it will not taste good, nor will it be juicy. Who wants that? If you ignore the signs and eat the fruit anyway you will have digestive problems. These range all along the spectrum, most falling at the end of slowwwwww movinggggg bowels. This is what give bananas a bad rap. Don't' eat a banana unless it smells sweet and looks like these:


My bananas from today. Perfect specimens of ripe, sweet, deliciousness!


Anyone remember this regarding berries:
"Red and sweet are good to eat, but I swear by this sonnet, the greens ones will make you vomit." It's a great rule to remember to avoid a disaster :)


Nature doesn't rush. Why should we. Let's wait for our fruit to be perfectly ripe before enjoying it. It will taste better and will be of greater benefit to you


TIPS:
- Don't put fruit in the fridge before a fruit is ripe. This ruins the ripening process.
- Find a dry spot to ripen your fruit to avoid mold. (especially in the summer)
- To speed the ripening process: 
      1.) Use a container with a tight lid or a sealed brown paper bag. The lid and the sealing  
           helps trap the ethylene gas, so it will be able to affect the fruit faster.  
      2.) Place a fruit near other fruits. Apples and bananas give off more gas than other fruits.   
           So keep this in mind when storing your fruit.
- Take in to consideration when you will need the fruit and buy accordingly. If you will be using it right away, buy the ripest one possible.  
- Never let not knowing how to tell if a fruit is ripe or not stop you from trying something new. Just Google it! You'll be glad you did!
- Keep unripe or nearly ripe fruit out on display on your counter. It makes for a beautiful decoration AND it's a great reminder of what you have available for a snack. Oh and the smell. I love coming home from work and being greeted by the smell of ripe bananas.  
My fruit stash I keep at stocked school. Notice my rainbow art project on the wall and
my doll made from a milk bottle?
Oh the joys of being a preschool teacher. :) 



It's easy to tell if most fruit is ripe. Squeeze for softness, smell for sweetness, look for non-greenness (it's a word, ok) But some fruit is not so easy to tell...


ABOUT CITRUS FRUITS:
To some, the concept of a ripe orange is a new one. Oranges are not like bananas or melons that can be squeezed or looked at to determine ripeness. But here are two pretty reliable ways to tell if an orange is good to eat:
        1.) THE WEIGHT: Hold the orange in one hand and focus on it's weight. Compare it with other oranges. The heaviest one usually will indicate the sweetest, juiciest, freshest one! 
This is a TANGERINE! HUGE and amazing! A little expensive... but WORTH IT!
              
        2.) THE SKIN: The skin will be looser and easier to peel as the fruit becomes riper. This 
              is very easy to tell with a fruit like the orange. Test for looseness before buying.  



DID YOU KNOW.....
A fruit is actually the plant's ovary!? I LOVE plant ovaries, don't you? They are so much more interesting and beautiful than animal ovaries. I would safely bet they taste better too.



Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, just post below! You can also find me on Facebook at "The Empowered Way" I update the page everyday! 
Look out for my next video coming on Saturday!!

Search for knowledge. Be inspired.  
Start living THE EMPOWERED WAY!

Wishing you lots of love and ripe fruit,

Meg


Sunday, June 10, 2012

RECIPE VIDEO: Orange Pineapple Aloe Juice

Hey guys! This week's video is for Orange Pineapple Aloe Juice!!
Aloe is so overlooked in the western part of the world as a food! In Asia, aloe has been used as a food and a medicine for thousands of years! In the video I briefly explain why we should add aloe in our diet! You don't want to miss this!


 You can find this recipe on YouTube here:  Orange Pineapple Aloe Juice

If you have any questions, let me know! I'd love to hear from you!

Enjoy! Here's to living happy, healthy and free. Here's to living THE EMPOWERED WAY!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Can't Afford Healthy Foods?

I have talked to so many people that tell me, they simply cannot eat a healthy diet because it is too expensive. But is it really?

When a person comes to the realization that food is literally the material that MAKES your body, (opposed to only amusing your taste buds) food takes on a new meaning. Food is our FUEL. If you have low energy levels, look at what you are eating. It will make sense. If you are suffering from any mysterious ailment and you don't know why this is happening to you, look at what you are eating. You will become enlightened.

"Pay for quality food now OR make up for it in hospital bills, medicine costs, time off of work, low quality of life LATER." This has been the rebuttal by the health community for a long time, right?

But this article shows the ACTUAL monetary cost of eating healthy may be less than eating "junky". Left with no more excuses why you and your family eat junk, what are you going to DO about it?  The key word here being “DO”. This blog is all about action!

The Empowered Way is a place for encouragement and support- but it is first and foremost a place of honesty and getting "real" with ourselves. It is a place of gaining knowledge that can empower us to change our lives and the lives of our families. 

We are not victims of health, we create it. We are not victims of our lives, we create our lives. If there is anything you feel you are a victim of- change your focus. Start your life today! 



                            Start living life “The empowered way”!