Squash: Soup or Sautéed

IMG_0047Yellow squash is rich in vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, fiber, folate, and phytonutrients. They are also high in water content. Butternut squash is also rich in fiber and carotenoids. While yellow squash is more of a summer vegetable and butternut squash a winter one, you can eat then all year long. I’ve included recipes for both types.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into wedges

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. butter

4 cups chicken broth

Salt

White pepper

Nutmeg

In a large saucepan, add one chopped onion (sweet or yellow) and sauté in butter until translucent. Add chicken broth and squash. Simmer for 20 minutes. Using an immersion hand blender, mix until squash chunks are no longer visible and soup is creamy. Add salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

Sautéed Squash and Potatoes

2 yellow squash, sliced

2 white potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. seasoning salt

1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

Kosher salt

Pepper

Canola oil

Using a mandoline or knife, slice squash, potatoes, and onion. Add a small amount of canola oil to a heated pan. Add squash, potatoes, onion, paprika, garlic and onion powder, seasoning salt, and Cajun seasoning. Stir, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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Did You Drink Your Juice Today?

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A couple of years ago, I started experimenting with juicing. I found an old juicer that my mother-in-law had laying around the house, and I decided to try it out. It still worked even though it was old. I tried a combination of watermelon and lime. It didn’t taste bad at all, but I made quite a mess. (No big deal if you clean all the time). It wasn’t until my husband and I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” that juicing became part of our lives. (If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it on Netflix). In this documentary, Joe Cross goes on a 60-day juice fast to lose weight. He also has an autoimmune disease that causes him to break out in a hive-like rash. He was successful in his weight loss; he was 90 lbs. lighter after 6 months and was able to better manage his disease. He was also able to help others do the same. They didn’t all fast for 60 days; it was either 10 days or 30 days.

Our cells need micronutrients, which are found in fruits and vegetables. Besides weight loss, juicing has many other benefits such as increased energy levels and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Basically, you will see a difference in your overall health across the board.

Now , you may be wondering if it’s better to eat those fruits and veggies instead of juicing them. Well, when you see the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that it takes to make one or two glasses of juice, you’ll understand. It would be better to drink all of that than to eat it. Don’t get me wrong, you should still eat fresh fruits and veggies. At the time that we saw this documentary, my husband was struggling with his health. The doctors had run all sorts of tests. Finally, a specialist told him that he just needed to lose weight. He decided to try a modified version of the 60-day juice fast. Even though I didn’t need to lose weight, I wanted to support my husband. I found some juice recipes online at http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com. We had juice in the mornings along with 2 liters of water. I would also have a bowl of oatmeal or Special K with fruit. We would take family walks since the weather was nice at that time. For lunch, we would have salad usually, to get our raw vegetable intake. We would have regular dinners, which consisted of eating fish three times per week. On the other days, we would have chicken or turkey. Very seldom did we eat beef or pork. Half of our plates would consist of veggies with one quarter meat and one quarter of a starch if at all. We ate healthy snacks, like nuts or granola. In 3 months, my husband had lost 30 pounds and had more energy. His blood profile numbers were excellent. His doctor was even able to take him off a few of his medications. I was proud of the way that he took charge of his health.

If you’d like to try juicing, it’s best to experiment with fruits and vegetables that you like. Apples, oranges, carrots, mangos, and pineapple add sweetness. Add ginger root for some flavor as well. For some green, add spinach or kale. Beets are good also with the beet leaves; the leaves actually are flavorful. Beet juice has also been shown to lower blood pressure (Graedon). As I previously mentioned, you may find additional juicing tips and recipes at http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com.

As far as purchasing a juicer, a Jack LaLanne is best since he was the one that started it all. If that’s not within your budget, there are many other juicers out there. Some people don’t necessarily want to invest their money into buying one, but this is for your health. Some have said that juicing is too messy and involves so much clean up; again, this is for better health. Folks are always talking about the new diets that they trying in hopes of losing weight. Those solutions are only temporary. Once you go back to your old habits, the weight will come back as well. You need to make permanent changes to keep those results that you want. I saw first hand the benefits of juicing. If it can help my husband, it can help you, too. There’s no harm in giving juicing a try.

Works Cited

http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com

Graedon, Joe and Terry. National Geographic. Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies. Washington: National Geographic Society, 2012. Print.

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My Son the Picky Eater

I’m remembering that this time last year, my son did not like to eat table food and drank from a bottle.  Now, at 2 1/2, he drinks from a straw and eats much more of a variety of foods.  He eats green veggies, oatmeal, chicken, turkey, and fish to name a few.  And he loves water!  How is THAT for progress?!  He’s hesitant to try new foods.  If it looks different from what he’s used to seeing, he won’t eat it right away if at all.  (Smart kid!). If he doesn’t like something, he drops it on the floor for the dog, who gobbles it up.  He looks out for his buddy.

To give you some background information, my son was born premature at 26 weeks.  His occupational therapist is amazed and very pleased with his progress.  It’s really a blessing.  He’s our only child, but a very special one that always makes us proud parents.

How To Lower Cholesterol Without Medication

Sometimes, maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult This is especially true when trying to lower your cholesterol. You should try to make small changes first to see if that would help lower your numbers. Your total cholesterol reading should be less than 200. The key is to increase your fiber intake. Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines to prevent absorption into the body (Griffin). Oatmeal, apples, citrus fruits, strawberries, beans, and lentils are good sources of soluble fiber.

Nuts like walnuts, almonds, and pecans lower LDL (low-density lipoproteins) or “bad” cholesterol and also the risk for a heart attack. Fish contains unsaturated fat, which also lower LDL cholesterol. This includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. “Olive oil and avocado are two of the richest sources of monounsaturated fat in the human diet”(National Geographic). Olive oil lowers LDL cholesterol as it raises HDL cholesterol. HDL is high-density lipoproteins or “good” cholesterol. Garlic also helps lower cholesterol as it slows the development of atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries (National Geographic). Olive oil and garlic are two of the best ingredients to use for cooking. For instance, you can sauté vegetables in olive oil. You can add fresh garlic to soups or salads.

Saturated fats, of course, appear to raise LDL levels. “The American Heart Association, for example, recommends limiting saturated fat to 7 percent of a person’s total daily calories” (National Geographic). Meats, dairy, eggs, and processed foods are high in saturated fat. It is always best to read food labels.

Juicing is another way to get healthy. Many people do not like the taste of natural fruit and vegetable juice. It’s a matter of choosing the right combinations of fruits and vegetables. For instance, combining a few cups of watermelon with a lime in a juicer can taste great over ice. Pomegranate is another great choice. Its juice contain antioxidants that can help prevent cardiovascular disease (National Geographic). There are many juice recipes on http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com. The only downside to juicing is that it’s messy. So, if and when you decide to try juicing, don ‘t wear your best outfit. There is also a recipe for “Detox Soup”, which contains zucchini, broccoli, celery, kale, and leeks. It is low in calories and high in fiber.

All of those “statin” drugs are prescribed for high cholesterol. We know them as Lipitor, Altoprev, Pravachol, Zocor, Lescol, and Crestor (WebMD). They lower the amount of cholesterol that the body makes. If you follow a healthy diet and watch your fat intake, you can avoid taking any of these medications.

Works Cited

http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com

http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/GC/high-cholesterol-medications

Griffin, R. Morgan. “Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide”. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements.

National Geographic. Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies. Washington: National Geographic Society, 2012. Print.