The EatSmart Blog

Providing Tools and Tips to Live Healthier, Happier Lives

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

The Kitchen Makes the Cook: 5 Reasons to Upgrade to a Big Kitchen

I used to feel like it didn’t matter how much space you had, or how many tools you had in your kitchen. I used to think that if you were passionate about cooking, you could do your craft no matter what type of area you were cooking in. However, after recently moving from my tiny kitchen in my tiny studio Las Vegas apartment into a home with a beautiful — and large — kitchen, I have realized it’s simply not true. There is so much more you can do when you have more space to work with. If you are thinking about doing a kitchen renovation for your next household project, I strongly recommend getting to work. In the meantime, throw your current kitchen utensils and appliances in storage and relax a bit until you have the kitchen of your dreams. The following are five great reasons to upgrade to a big kitchen.

1. Save Money (Eventually)

While you might spend more in the immediate future on your new kitchen, you will save money in the long run. When you have the space to cook gourmet meals right in your own home, there is no need to go out and waste money on food at a restaurant. Throughout the long term, providing yourself with a useful and efficient kitchen will save you money for the rest of your life.

2. Eat Healthier

A big kitchen that enables you to cook more also empowers you to lead a healthier life. Even if you are grabbing a salad at a restaurant, it is still loaded with mystery ingredients, fats and processed foods. Control your ingredients and cook healthy foods in your beautiful upgraded kitchen.

3. Get Comfortable

A large kitchen will make this room the place in the house that everyone wants to be. It becomes a point of social interaction for you and your friends and family. Cooking will become a process that is not a chore, but it is a fun time where the entire family comes together to enjoy an activity before sitting down for a delicious home cooked meal.

4. Enjoy Your Tools

This upgraded kitchen will be better storage for all of the appliances you need to cook the variety of meals you enjoy. Whether you love your slow cooker, or you always have a reason to use your stand mixer, a large kitchen enables you to have all your favorite gadgets in one clean, neat and organized room. It also allows you to clear up precious counter space as well.

5. Be Creative

While living in my apartment, I cooked out of necessity. I did enjoy the process of cooking, but now in my big beautiful kitchen I truly feel I have found my passion. An upgraded kitchen with all of the supplies you need right at your disposal will allow you to explore the art of cooking and perhaps discover a passion you never even knew you had.

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, and you will want to treat it accordingly. For me, moving from a tiny apartment with a makeshift kitchen into a home with a state-of-the-art kitchen allowed me to find a passion I never knew I had. Now, I hope to make many memories with my friends and family, show off my cooking skills and sit back and relax as my guests enjoy some of my most creative and inspiring culinary creations.

About the Author: Originally from Georgia, Robin Harrington is the epitome of a Southern Bell, cooking included. Her deep love for authentic Southern Cuisine led her to where she is today – sharing it with the world!

Vegan Banana Bread

I wanted to make a variation of the banana bread found on this website, however our applesauce went bad and we had no eggs. I had already mixed some of the dry ingredients so I did some more research and compiled the following recipe using bits and pieces of different recipes.  It came out pretty good and I will definitely be making it again soon.

Ingredients:

180 g Whole Wheat Flour (1.5 cups)
60 g Flaxseed Meal (1/2 cup – if you don’t have Flaxseed meal, you can use another .5 cup of flour)
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
250 g or 2 Overripe Bananas (Mash them by hand)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Soy Milk
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
60 g Pecans (1/2 cup) – Use your favorite nut!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9×13 inch loaf plan.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, flaxseed meal, baking soda and baking powder.  Next, add the bananas and mash them in the bowl.  Add the vanilla, milk and maple syrup and mix.  Lastly, add the nuts.

Add mixture to loaf pan and bake for about 30minutes at 350.

Enjoy!

About the Author: Karen Welby is the Marketing Director of EatSmart Products. Outside of EatSmart, she is also a certified Health Coach and Personal Trainer.

The 5 Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies and How to Avoid Them

Nutritional deficiencies are incredibly common in the everyday population. General malaise is a common complaint across society. Almost everybody could benefit from increased energy, less stress and improved nails, skin and hair condition. Some simple changes to your diet could go a long way to improving your general health and well-being. Whether you’re a meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free or have other dietary requirements, these deficiencies are often the same. However, this advice is based on the majority of Americans who eat a varied diet including meat.

Magnesium
The most common nutritional deficiency in the average population is a magnesium deficiency, with an estimated 80% of Americans with symptoms. The average American diet only contains 50% to 60% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Magnesium deficiency prevalence and severity increases with age. Everyday symptoms of a lack of magnesium include insomnia, nervousness, restlessness such as muscle twitches and cramps, heart palpitations and depression. Serious magnesium deficiency can lead to heart attacks. There are three key foods to include in your diet to improve your magnesium intake: all green leafy vegetables, beans such as black beans and seeds, particularly pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

Zinc
A lack of zinc affects around 70% of the American population. The most well known sign of a zinc deficiency is white spots on finger nails. It affects different ages differently, with adolescents likely to exhibit symptoms as acne, delayed puberty and adults more likely to suffer from psoriasis, hair loss and impotence. Zinc can be found predominantly in beef, mushrooms, spinach and pumpkin seeds.

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
Vitamin D3 is perhaps a lesser-known vitamin, which may be a partial cause to its epidemic levels of deficiency. Vitamin D3 plays a vital role in keeping cancers, osteoporosis, rickets and auto immune diseases at bay and is required for efficient use of calcium. It can be found in shrimps and eggs, and in cod liver oil. When recovering from a fracture or serious allergic reaction it can be a good idea to include a supplement as part of a healthy diet. Particularly important for children is to get 15 minutes of sun exposure at safe times of the day as this can help with natural vitamin D levels, including vitamin D3.

Vitamin E
A lack of vitamin E affects men and women in different amounts with around a third of men showing signs of deficiency compared with only 20% if women. It is an important one to address because it can slow down reflexes and affect positional senses, both vitally important when driving or working machinery for example. Again green leafy vegetables are a great source, particularly spinach and chard, as well as almonds and sunflower seeds. If you are worried about getting enough vitamin E in your diet, including a tablespoonful of Organic Cold Pressed Wheat Germ Oil either on its own or in cooking can work better than a supplement.

Omega Fatty Acids (ALA, EPA, DHA)
The modern diet is more likely to be deficient in Omega 3 than in Omega 6 with again more than 70% of Americans not getting enough in their daily diet. Omega Fatty Acids are really important for the proper efficient functioning of the brain, memory, vision and healthy skin and shiny hair. The recommended daily allowance eaten on a regular basis can help improve concentration and memory at school and performance in examinations, as well as help reduce the speed of decline with degenerative dementia. Oily fish such as sardines and wild-caught salmon are ideal ways to get Omega fatty acids into your diet; try and eat two to three portions each week. Walnuts and flax seed are also high in omega oils, and using either as an oil substitute for vegetable oil can be the simplest change to increase your consumption.

Several of the recommended foods are suggested for more than one nutrient. By making sure that spinach, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are included regularly in your diet, as well as two portions of oily fish and getting some sun exposure can be all that is needed to eliminate the most common nutritional deficiencies and improve your energy levels, appearance and sense of health and well being over all.

About the Author: Lily McCann writes healthcare articles for an ethical online healthcare business. She likes to promote healthy eating at a young age as a good way to stay off medication late in life.

Summer Slim Down Giveaway

To show our fan appreciation and celebrate healthy living, we are partnering with our friends over at Aurorae Yoga for a Summer Slim Down Giveaway! THREE lucky individuals will win an EatSmart Precision Premium Digital Bathroom Scale AND an Aurorae Northern Lights Yoga Mat!

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Entering the contest is easy and can be done through the form below. Here is how you can win: (6 entries possible)

  • Fill in your name. (1 Entry)
  • Fill in your email. (1 Entry)
  • What is your favorite activity for staying healthy/fit during the summer months? (1 Entry)
  • Like this blog post. (1 Optional Entry)
  • Like Aurorae Yoga on Facebook. www.facebook.com/auroraeyoga (1 Optional Entry)
  • Like EatSmart Products on Facebook. www.facebook.com/eatsmartproducts (1 Optional Entry)

Giveaway ends on Monday, August 6 at noon EST. The lucky winners will be selected at random and notified by email. They will have 48 hours to reply back before a new winner is selected. (Sorry, but it’s limited to US residents only!)

Black Bean And Sweet Potato Enchiladas

You can’t beat a healthy and vegetarian Mexican dish!

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes – chopped small
1 can black beans
1/2 cup chopped onion
Handful of spinach
2-3 tbs olive oil
2 tbsp garlic (minced)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
Sprinkle of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
2 cups chopped tomatoes OR 2 cups of salsa (OR a combo of both)
8 ounces of Mexican cheese (topping – optional)
6-8 Whole Wheat Tortillas
Make 2 servings of quinoa, brown rice, couscous, etc.

Directions:
Cook grain as instructed separately.

Heat frying pan with olive oil and garlic. Add sweet potatoes and onions. Let cook until potatoes are soft and onions are translucent (about 5-10mins covered). Add black beans and spinach. Let cook/simmer for another 5minutes.

Next, add 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp ground cumin, 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes/favorite salsa and bring that up to a simmer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Add any spices you like to increase spiciness!)

Start filling each tortilla shell with your grain on the bottom and bean/sweet potato mix on top. Roll up into enchiladas. Top with remaining .5 cup of salsa/tomatoes and evenly sprinkle cheese.

Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 – or until cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

About the Author: Karen Welby is the Marketing Director of EatSmart Products. Outside of EatSmart, she is also certified Health Coach and Personal Trainer.

Nutritional Tips for Cancer Patients

Guest post by Complementary Medicine Advocate, Jillian McKee.

Regardless if you have been recently diagnosed with cancer, are undergoing treatment, or are in remission, nutrition is of utmost importance. Eating may present a problem to many current or former cancer patients, including those with mesothelioma, due to changes in appetite or food preferences.  Nutrition can play an important part in your energy levels and how you feel overall as well as bolster your immune system and help you sleep better.

Here are some eating tips for cancer patients from the National Cancer Institute:

1.  Aim for a balanced diet.
Do your best to keep up a balanced diet with whole grains, dairy, fruit and vegetables, while limiting sugar, caffeine, salt and alcohol. Remember to allow yourself to have bad days and do your best on the days when you feel better.

2. Bump up the calories
If you have lost weight due to the cancer or cancer treatment, try to add calories to your diet in a healthful way. An occasional piece of pizza or a donut will be a tasty way to include some calories, but be sure to include extra calories from healthy sources such as protein bars, shakes or other healthy alternatives.

3. Get help
Ask someone to help you cook several healthy meals that can be frozen and then simply heated back up on the days when you do not feel like cooking. This can help keep you away from the drive-through and gives you easy access to a healthy meal with little effort.

4. Forget the schedule
One way to make sure you are eating well during or after cancer treatment is to eat when you are actually hungry, whether or not it is technically a mealtime or not. If you are truly hungry, you are more likely to pick healthy foods that will help bolster your energy and nutrition than trying to force down food when you have no appetite.

5. Supplements
Speak to your doctor or dietician about adding nutritional supplements to your dietary program. While most of your vitamins and minerals should come from healthy food, nutritional supplements can often help fill in the gaps for the days when you are not feeling well or eating quite as nutritionally as you could.

Remembering the importance of a healthy diet during cancer will help patients and their families work harder to provide a consistently healthy nutritional program during the course of cancer treatment and even during remission.

About the Author: Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment. Follow the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog.


Fish en Papillote – No dishes!

Guest Post by Janine McHale, owner of the blog, The Empowered Plate.

If you want to be fancy and impress your friends the French name is Fish en Papillote.  And seriously – no dishes, the fish and veggies steam together in a parchment packet so clean up is a cinch.  It’s versatile, you use whatever veggies you have on hand, what ever grain you happen to have and whatever spices you prefer. A little white wine also works nicely in this (or with it, too)!

It’s a great go to meal and it’s also good for my runners.  There are plenty of healthy carbs:  whole grains and veggies, some healthy fat and lean protein.  It’s filling but not heavy.  You can go shower after your run while this bakes and have a delicious dinner ready to go.

This is what I made last night:

1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 tilapia fillet
1 cup chopped swiss chard
handful of sliced cherry tomatoes
a few sliced shiitake mushrooms
sliced shallots
a drizzle of olive oil
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 thin lemon slices
fresh ground pepper
18″ of parchment paper per packet (or aluminum foil)

Put the parchment paper down on the counter and layer quinoa, veggies and top with fish.  I like to put the tomatoes on top rather than under the fish, it looks prettier.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish, drizzle with olive oil, fresh ground pepper to taste and top with the two slices of lemon.  Crimp the edges of the parchment to seal.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes.

About the Author: Janine McHale is a certified holistic health counselor and the owner of The Empowered Plate.  She empowers busy women and runners to reach their goals of weight loss, better nutrition, stress management and more energy via nutrition and lifestyle tweaks.  Need help with preparing quick healthy meals for yourself and/or your family?  Send her an e-mail at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com!

Top Tips to Travel Stress-Free

To celebrate the arrival of summer, we asked our fans to share their top tips to travel stress-free. We received many responses, the best of which we wanted to share with you. Perhaps, some of these tips will help you as you prepare for your summer vacation!

From our Fans….
I like to roll all my clothes to help keep from wrinkling. I have found it actually gives me more room in my bags, which in turn saves money on bags. Also I roll an extra outfit and put it in my computer case, so lost luggage is not as much of an issue. – Kathy Smith

Bring plenty of entertainment like books, iPod, etc., and get to the airport nice and early! - Colleen Mckillen

It’s a good idea to pack items in the same place in your bag each time you travel. Once you start to remember the system you’ll spend far less time rooting around looking for something. – Robin O’Sullivan

When driving, plan ahead for detours and sight-seeing. A travel plan that only accounts for the actual travel time can be stressful if there is a schedule that has to be followed when you get there. Not to mention the fun, touristy things you might want to hit up and learn about.  My worst trip was a 26 hour straight drive from Nebraska to Oregon, we didn’t stop for anything except bathroom breaks and had a cooler of food to eat on the road.  The least stressful was one where we allowed ourselves time to stop and picnic, try new restaurants and check out the sights along the way. Take time to smell the roses, they always say. It really is good advice. – Mary Juett

If you wear glasses, keep an extra pair as standby in your hand luggage incase you break them on flight or while travelling … I once took off my glasses, kept it on my lap and slept off on flight and when I woke up I realized that I had accidentally sat on it and it broke into 2 pieces!! Learnt from my silly mistake! – Ann Mathew

Planned Adapative-ness! Make a list a week before departure with all your daily essentials. Include everything that your use to get ready to go about your day and all medicines. Add extra sunblock decide what you want to do for fun on vacation. Enter destinations and phone numbers in your phone contact list. When you leave enjoy the fact that you are prepared and when things don’t always go as planned call it an adventure! You did what you were supposed to do and it is not your responsibility to worry about unexpected stuff. Just make a change. – Shari Smith

Leave the family at home! And just take your dog. – Olivia Rubin

Research your destination thoroughly and sign up for any discount sites such as Groupon several months in advance for your destination city to take advantage of deals. Use Entertainment books to save on dining out. I like to dine out at finer restaurants at lunch when the same entrees are less expensive and of a smaller portion, saving my budget and waistline. – Nancy Reid

Travel off-season. You’ll save money and the crowds will be much lighter. – Kay Lynn

Make sure to have a streaming music app on your phone so that you can listen to whatever type of music and or comedy type shows along the road trip. – James Jones

What’s your best stress-free travel tip? Please share in the comments below!

Charity of the Month for July 2012 – She’s the First

For July 2012, have been in contact with a very unique non-profit, She’s the First. We will be donating 50 cents for every new Facebook LIKE acquired during the month of July. (So spread the word!) We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011.

She’s the First is a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate. In the process, She’s the First fosters leadership and self-awareness in young Americans, by inspiring them to lead creative fundraisers and correspond with sponsored students.

Read more about She’s the First from active team member, Rachael Detello:
I was the first in my family to graduate from college and because of that I had the courage and resources to move 3000 miles away from home to pursue my dream of working in the film industry. Today, I am the story editor for a Hollywood action film director. Without an education, none of this would have been possible. So when my college roommate asked me to be the media producer of a new non-profit she and her friend were starting, I jumped at the opportunity.

Our non-profit is called She’s the First. The organization sponsors girls’ education in the developing world so they can be the first in their families to graduate from high school. Four out of five girls in countries they impact won’t graduate. They take a grassroots approach to their fundraising with over 30 chapters at colleges, universities, and high schools. They teach students in the US how to creatively fundraise and build their own leadership skills in the process. In March, the Los Angeles chapter, which I am a member of, held an improv comedy fundraiser. We raised enough money to send two girls to school for a year! Everyone deserves the opportunity that I had, to pursue an education and better their lives.  She’s the First makes this dream a reality for hundreds of girls.

About Rachael: Rachael is a 2010 graduate of Syracuse University. Rachael left her home on the east coast to pursue a film career in Los Angeles. In August of 2011, Rachael joined Simon West Productions as Story Editor, where she develops and pursues new film and television ideas.

Click here to help donate:

If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email karen@eatsmartproducts.com. The donation amount will be capped at 500 new followers/likes.

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