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Eating the Rainbow for Better Nutrition

Edible Rainbow

 

Eating health is not only about cutting out the bad foods. It’s also about eating more of the good ones. The best way to give your body all the nutrients it needs is to eat the rainbow, and I don’t mean a rainbow of Skittles! The idea is to get away from all the processed junk out there and eat REAL food. I mean let’s think about it. Can you name a unhealthy fruit or vegetable? It’s alright, I’ll wait…The answer is NO! Vegetables and fruit are always better for you than the processed nonsense that are sadly considered food now a days.

In addition to the fiber, vitamins and minerals all fruit and vegetables contain phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are what give fruits and vegetables there color and sometimes aroma. Each phytochemical has it’s own nutritional benefits including the most popular antioxidants. You hear the word antioxidants all the time, but do you know what they actually do? Here is a small list of the “colors of the rainbow” foods and why you should be eating them.

Red – All red fruits and vegetables have a phytochemical called Lycopene. Lycopene has been discovered to have cancer prevention properties and is extremely beneficial for your cardiovascular system. It also slows the aging process by protecting your skin from UV rays. Here are a few examples of some red fruits and vegetables: Tomatoes, Red Bell Peppers, Strawberries, Cranberries, and Raspberries.

Orange – All orange fruits and vegetables have a variety of phytochemicals called carotene. Everyone has heard that carrots are good for your eye sight, but they do a lot more for you than you realize. Carotene helps with the maintenance of all the cells in your body. It also helps regulate and boost your immune system. Here are a few orange fruits and vegetables to include in your next meal: Oranges, Sweet Potatoes, Peaches, Carrots, and Orange Bell Peppers.

Yellow – Yellow fruits and vegetables are closely related to the orange fruits and vegetables listed above, therefor they share similar benefits. On top of the benefits they share with their orange counterparts, they are extremely helpful for inflammation. This means that they help when you are recovering from any injury or have any inflammation causing condition like arthritis. They include Yellow Bell Peppers, Lemons, Bananas, and Corn.

Green – Green fruits and vegetables tend to be what most people think of when eating healthy. Do you remember your mother telling you to “eat your greens”? Well like most situations, we should listen to our mothers and this is no exception. Green fruits and vegetables have most of the phytochemicals mentioned above including Indoles and Lutein. All these phytochemicals are said to help prevent cancer and cataracts. Green vegetables are the power houses of the vegetable world. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and romaine lettuce are bursting with vitamins and most importantly fiber. These vegetables are the key to feeling full on minimal calories. Here are a few green fruits and vegetables you may be missing in your diet: Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus, and Zucchini.

Blue/Purple – Blue and purple fruits and vegetables get there unique color from a group of antioxidants called flavonoids. These favornoids are essential for our brain power and memory, which all of us need with our busy schedules. Tufts Medical Center has said that these phytochemcials help our brains fire messages at a faster rate. This is a whole new level of “smart eating”. To make sure you are getting enough brain power through the day, think about adding these fruits and vegetables to your diet. These include Eggplant, Blueberries, Blackberries, Beets and Plums.

Not only will all of these fruits and vegetables give you the nutrients your body needs, they also will help you in the battle of the bulge. Most of these vegetables and fruits contain fiber and are composed of primarily water. This means they will fill you up faster and for fewer calories. The USDA now recommends that half of every meal you consume should be fruits and vegetables. So think about this when you are planning your next meal. A good way to think of it is try to make your plate “pretty” and fill it with as many vibrant colors as possible. Want to get your kids to eat healthier? Tell your kids they can get a “pot of gold” when they eat all the colors of the rainbow! You can use small chocolate candies covered in gold wrappers as there pot of gold treat. If you make the treat dark chocolate, it’s a win win for everyone. Dark Chocolate has antioxidants in it too! So get out there and get creative with your food! Try new things, and make eating healthy fun!

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Free Weight Loss Apps

I know there are some days that a girl needs a little help staying healthy. It’s hard to know where to turn when you want to be healthy but don’t know where to start. Thankfully, in our day and age there are apps for everything. I have used TONS of free weight loss apps. I am going to show you a few of my favorites that did wonders for me. Everything from teaching me actual exercises, tracking my progress, calorie counting … all for FREE!

free weight loss apps nutrition fitness exercise

Pandora – If you don’t already know, Pandora is a wonderful app that creates personalized radio stations using your favorite music. All you have to do is pick your favorite band, or a song that you love and Pandora will play music that has similar characteristics. I love it because it shows me bands and songs that I have never heard of before. It’s a great way to find new music. There is one downside to this app. If you get the free version you do have to listen to ads, and you can only skip a few songs at a time before Pandora cuts you off. If you pay for the full version, you can skip all the songs you want and no ads. Honestly, the ads are so short that it doesn’t bother me too much, but if it bothers you the full version is only 3.99 a month.

Podcasts – I am a big supporter of podcasts. Mainly because the people doing the podcasts are like me starting their own business, and giving advice and tips. You can find a podcast on pretty much everything. You can even find books on tape in every genre. I especially enjoy comedy podcasts like the Mark Maron WTF podcast. There are also a ton of nutrition podcasts as well, my new favorite is Latest in Paleo. I don’t 100% agree on everything he says, but he always has all the latest news about nutrition from all over the world. Podcasts are completely customizable and FREE! What’s not to love, it’s the radio only better material and no commercials.

Daily Workouts FREE – This is a great set of workouts you can download and reuse as many times as you want for free. It focuses on different body parts depending on what you want to work on like abs, arms, butt, legs and even cardio. It goes through a list of exercises in the time you set. You can even set it to 5 minutes for the busy person on the go. This is a great app for beginners just starting out. The exercise are easy to follow and again absolutely free. Of course, there is a version you can pay for with more exercises, but you can get by with the free version with no problem.

JeFit – This app is very similar to the app above, but it is not for beginners. I just discovered this app and I am completely in love. This app is perfect for a person who already goes to the gym, and is looking for a better way to structure their workout. I have a specific gym schedule where I work on different body parts each day, which most people do. It gives your muscle groups time to rest while working on others (but I’ll save explaining that schedule for another day, stay tuned :) ). You set up your gym schedule right from the app. Set up which days you want to work on abs, arms, chest, etc. And from there you add exercises that work on those body parts specifically. They have an incredible list of exercises to choose from, even a few that I didn’t know about. If you are serious about your workout, this app is a must have!

My Fitness Pal – So of course, you can spend hours at the gym but if you ruin it by eating junk it won’t get you anywhere. This is where My Fitness Pal comes in. Think of this app as your calorie/food diary. Using this app, you can count how many calories you are eating at any given meal by selecting the food from their database and adding it to your diary. You will be amazed at some of the calorie counts of your favorite foods. It may cause you to re-think what you thought was healthy. But being informed is the first step…right?! You can even scan barcodes of food to add it to your diary, which saves a ton of time and let’s face it…It’s pretty cool! You can also figure out how many calories are in your mother’s meatball recipe as long as you know the ingredients. This app even has a section to let you know how many calories you burned at the gym that day and it will subtract it from your calories in your diary. It is a great way to track your progress too, and see where you may be going wrong in the food department.

 

So there is my list of free weight loss apps that have helped me during my weight loss journey. And the best part about them is they are FREE! And we all have spent a lot of unnecessary money on weight loss schemes, don’t fall for it.

There is nothing better than some knowledge, hard work, and determination with some help from some free weight loss apps along the way of course. :)

Jamie Oliver TED Talk Video

jamie oliver ted talk poster

I wanted to take a moment to share something with you guys today. I just finished watching the Jamie Oliver TED talk about his ideas on obesity and nutrition in this country. You have to check this out!  He is an incredible chef, and person. He spends his life traveling the country educating the world on food. Which we are in desperate need for.

There are a lot of things going wrong in this country, we all know this. But the obesity issue should be priority number one. And of course, it is very dear to my heart because of everything I have been through. I grew up extremely unhealthy and miserable. I had food habits that were appalling. And reversing those habits the way I did (losing 100 pounds) was the hardest thing and most rewarding thing I have ever done. However, after all of that. I can’t help but think how much easier it would have been if I never had those habits in the first place. That is why Jamie Oliver does what he does.

He brought up a great fact that we are so concerned with violence in this country. It is on the cover of every newspaper, and a topic of every political debate. But in the rank of leading causes of death in this country, it is at the bottom! What is at the top? Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes. All are caused by unhealthy habits that can be prevented! Obesity cost us 10% of our health care bills and over 150 billion dollars a year! And they are expected to double in next 5-10 years.

So here’s the link, it’s a short video. I strongly suggest you watch it. It’s only 20 minutes long and its extremely motivating. Watch. Listen. but most importantly Act! Think about what Jamie says and apply it to your life. Get out there. Learn about food and change your life for the better.

TED Talk – Jamie Oliver

Also, sign his petition to put pressure on leaders who can help us create change and begin to reverse the obesity epidemic through improving food quality and security.

Food Revolution Petition

Shrimp Pasta with Spinach, Kale and Tomatoes

Rating: 51

Total Time: 30 minutes

Number of servings: 4

Per Serving 354 calories

Fat 12 g

Carbs 34 g

Protein 30 g

4

Shrimp Pasta with Spinach, Kale and Grape Tomatoes

This delicious recipe is a lighter version of shrimp alfredo. It's everything you love about the cheesy cream sauce, but jazzed up with nutritious baby spinach and grape tomatoes. This way you can still have the pasta you crave, but feel less guilty about it afterwards. Also you won't feel like a beached whale after eating this delicious shrimp pasta dish. This dish is high in dietary fiber, protein, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. This is the perfect guilt free pasta dish you can have any night of the week. It is quick, easy and nutritious!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb bag of precooked shrimp, tails removed
  • 1 9oz bag of baby spinach
  • 1/2 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup of frozen kale
  • 1 cup of organic whole wheat pasta (whichever type you prefer)
  • Sauce

  • 1 tablespoons of butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • a touch of cayenne pepper (add as much as you like)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
  2. Add the pasta and cook per the instructions on the box. Usually 8-10 minutes for al dente pasta.
  3. Drain pasta and set aside
  4. You start the sauce by first making a rue. I used a wok for this recipe (honestly because I just bought one and was excited to use it), but you can use any deep saute pan you have. Melt the butter in the pan, and add the flour. Cook for about 2-5 minutes to ensure you do not have a flour taste in your sauce.
  5. Then add the milk slowly while whisking. This will prevent a clumpy sauce. (Ew)
  6. After adding the milk, cook until the sauce is somewhat thick (it won't be very thick because this is a lighter "cream" sauce)
  7. Add your cheese and spices. I used a touch of cayenne pepper for this recipe because I like a little kick to my food. However, you do not have to. This is the point where you would taste the sauce to make sure if it needs anything aka salt and pepper.
  8. After the sauce is exactly how you want it, add the pasta, spinach, kale and grape tomatoes. You will want to cook this for a good 5-10 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
  9. Because the shrimp is already cooked, you want to add it last. Only cook it long enough to heat the shrimp through. Try to avoid overcooking the shrimp. Overcooked shrimp is the worst!!
  10. After the shrimp is heated through, put the pasta into your favorite bowl, and feast!