Live Total Wellness

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Broccoli Boost - A Super Food For Every Body

The Broccoli Boost – A Super Food For Every Body

In our home, broccoli is one of our favorite vegetables.  Even when my daughters were little, they loved broccoli.  There's just something about those little power 'trees' as my girls called them.  But when former President George W. Bush made his shocking proclamation that he didn't like broccoli and that he wasn't about to eat any, you could almost hear parents across the country gasping. While some kids might have praised the proclamation as an excuse to justify their own broccoli beliefs, the popularity of broccoli has really never wavered. Parents still are finding ways to get broccoli on their kids' plates by using any means possible, even by pretending they're trees! We're going to peek inside and see what this versatile vegetable has to offer on the nutritional level.

What's In It for Me

Today, broccoli remains one of the best selling vegetables in America for many reasons. This low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetable has been praised for some miraculous health benefits. This list of benefits includes fighting cancer, boosting our immune systems, building stronger bones, and lowering the risk for cataracts. Broccoli earns its distinction as one of the top super foods in diets around the world.

Broccoli is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, B6, folate, potassium and manganese. We're familiar with most of these, of course, but did you know that folate is linked to reducing birth defects and heart disease? Along with these nutrients, broccoli is also a good source of protein, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, and iron.

The words super-food and antioxidant often go together, and broccoli is no exception. Rich in antioxidants, those damaging free-radicals don't stand a chance against broccoli. One of those antioxidants is Q10 which helps the body produce energy. Another specific component of broccoli’s superpower status involves a compound called sulforaphane which triggers potent anti-cancer enzymes. These enzymes are also effective in eliminating bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers.

And, you don't have to eat a lot of broccoli to get all these super nutrients. Just one cup of broccoli provides over 40 milligrams of calcium and almost 80 milligrams of vitamin C. That even beats milk as a nutritional food source. All this nutrition is available in only 25 calories, plus broccoli is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Choosing the Right Bunch

Selecting fresh broccoli isn’t difficult. Look for sturdy stalks with compact, dark green florets, and avoid wilted specimens with yellowing buds, as these stalks are already past their prime. Broccoli stores well in the refrigerator for up to three days before losing its vitamin content. In some supermarkets, you will even find hybrids like broccoflower or broccolini, which combine kale or cauliflower with broccoli.

Trim any leaves from the stalk and trim the woody end of the stalk off the bottom. If you prefer to eat only the florets, or your recipe calls for just the florets, cut the broccoli florets off the stalk, rinse under running water, and drain. Save the stalks for another recipe if desired.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Broccoli is one of the more versatile vegetables you can eat, holding up well in a number of recipes and cooking methods. Of course, the closer you keep your broccoli to its raw state, the more nutrients you will maintain.

If you are cooking your broccoli to serve as a side dish, you should only cook it for a few moments, until the florets turn bright green. Cooking broccoli for more time than necessary causes the nutritional benefits to deteriorate. If the broccoli becomes mushy during steaming or boiling, it's cooked too long. You may choose to flash-cook the broccoli in a microwave to keep the cooking time short and to maintain more of the nutrients. Although, the microwave debate still goes on about whether it reduces or destroys nutrients in broccoli. You decide.

Broccoli can be used in anything from stir-fry to casseroles, omelets, soups, and salads. The florets are a pretty, and nutritious, addition to many dishes. The stalks can be chopped and sauted, roasted, or cooked and pureed for a creamy broccoli soup. You'll find thousand of recipes using broccoli once you start searching.

Of course, we can't talk about broccoli and kids without talking about broccoli trees. My grandsons call them dinosaur trees. Raw broccoli florets look like little trees, so use this to your advantage when trying to get kids to eat their broccoli. With a bit of creamy dressing for 'snow,' make a little forest of broccoli trees and your kids will be tempted to gobble them up in no time.

It should also be noted that sprouts from broccoli have the same healthful benefits as the plant itself. Toss a handful of sprouts on top of a salad for a real boost of flavor and nutrients. Or, tuck a pile of broccoli sprouts into a tortilla wrap sandwich for a crunchy treat. Anywhere you want to add crunch, add broccoli sprouts.

No matter how you serve broccoli - raw, blanched, or steamed as a side dish, or as an ingredient in a main dish, you can't go wrong with this powerhouse vegetable. Besides the boost broccoli gives your immune system, and your overall health, broccoli is just plain tasty. This is one super food you don't want to skip.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why You Should NOT Eat Soy

It's interesting to listen as people talk about the pros and cons of soy. It was once touted as a great source of food including protein, as well as, medicinal for all types of health issues.  Now that more research has been conducted, the news reads that soy is NOT a food choice.

Historically soy beans were NOT used as a food.  The root of the soy plant was used as a form of adding nitrogen to soil.  Soy was not used as a food until the discovery of fermentation.  Fermented soy such as miso and tempeh ARE considered food sources.

As soy was used through the ages for feeding cattle, the left over product was used as food additives such as soy "lecithin" which, I can't believe, is actually made from the oil sludge of soy oil.  This is what we have in our food!  YUK!

Here is a video by Dr. Joseph Mercola.  He is an internationally renowned natural health physician and founder of  Dr. Mercola provides a review of health problems as a result of eating soy and other details about why you should not eat soy.

As you can see, soy in any form that has not been fermented should not be eaten.  Make sure you read labels on foods, especially pre-packaged foods.  If you see soy in any form, stay away!  Fresh fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods are best.  Packaged foods usually contain some form of soy in addition to other additives that can cause many health issues.  Be aware!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Mighty Oat

The Mighty Oat – A Super Food Close To Your Heart

As kids, my mom always made sure we had a hot breakfast on those cold mornings. Oatmeal was actually one of my favorites. We would add either brown sugar or honey and boy was that a great way to start the day! Today, I still love oatmeal for breakfast however these days you'll find me adding nuts and stevia instead of brown sugar or honey. Also, some seeds make it even more nutritious.

Even though my mom knew the benefits of oats, this food gained a special distinction as a super food back in 1997. At that point in time, the Food and Drug Administration made the claim that there is an association between a diet high in oats and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. With that announcement, oats, oatmeal, oat bran, and oat flour skyrocketed in popularity. Now it's placed right up there in the top 10 super foods. Let's take a look at what else this well known, but not totally understood, grain has to offer.

Outrageous Nutrition for a Lifetime

We know that oats, along with other whole grains, provide protection against heart disease, potentially extending the lifespan of people who include this food regularly in their diets. That would seem to be enough of a reason to add oats to your diet, but there's more. This is a high fiber, high protein food that's low in calories and rich in important vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, and selenium.

Beta glucan is the main ingredient responsible for lowering serum cholesterol levels. Oats also contain special antioxidants called avenanthramides. Together these two elements have been shown to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels when oats are consumed on a regular basis.

Oats have a low glycemic index which means the energy from this food burns slowly and stays with you to satisfy your hunger for a longer period of time. Having nutrients released slowly into the bloodstream and throughout the body helps stabilize blood sugar levels, eliminating the spikes which can cause many health problems, concentration problems, and dieting problems. In addition, the B vitamins contribute to strong healthy skin, nails, and hair.

Along with other whole grains, studies have found that consuming oats can aid in the battle against breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and asthma in children. With this sort of super food on your side, why wouldn't you eat it? For more ways oats can help with health see the Six Health Benefits of Eating Oats.

Countless Ways to Enjoy

Oats are an inexpensive and widely available grain that can be easily incorporated into meals at any time of day. Oats are easy to store in containers or airtight bags, and have a very long shelf life.

A bowl of hot cereal in the morning is the most familiar way oats are served. Whether you buy raw oatmeal or quick cooking, you are starting off with a good basis for nutrition. Vary the toppings and you vary the recipe enough to eat servings of oatmeal a number of times each week without getting bored. Add berries, seeds, nuts, stevia, or protein powders to boost the flavor and superpowers of your oatmeal.

More than just a breakfast cereal, there are a number of other ways to incorporate oats into your daily diet. Oats can provide a toasty coating for baked or broiled fish, and are often used to make hearty muffins, cookies, and other desserts. Don't forget about convenient trail mixes or granola bars. Oats are often the central ingredient in those tasty treats.

Mixing oatmeal in as a binder in ground meat for burgers, meatloaf, and meatballs is another way to 'sneak' more nutrition into your diet. Oats also play center stage in a number of bread recipes, whether as a main ingredient or to add just a bit of heartiness and crunch.

As part of your healthy diet, oats provide enough significant benefits for healthy living to make them a vital part of your good diet.

Perfect Oatmeal

A perfect way to start a day of healthy eating! And who would have thought that a bowl of oatmeal could provide over half of the daily value for those hard-to-find omega-3 fatty acids as well as 109% of the daily value for manganese. Enjoy!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes


2-1/4 cups water
dash Celtic salt
1 cup organic regular rolled oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh, frozen or dried fruit or berries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
1 TBS flaxseeds


Combine the water and salt in a small saucepan and turn the heat to high.
When the water boils, turn the heat to low, add oatmeal, and cook, stirring, until the water is just absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, fruit, nuts, and flaxseeds. Stir, cover the pan, and turn off heat. Let set for 5 minutes. Serve with stevia and milk if preferred.
Serves 2

Friday, July 01, 2011

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