Posts tagged ‘fiber’

May 12, 2014

Don’t Fear the Sprouts!

no way

Do you remember when you were a little kid, and you would absolutely refuse to eat some food, no matter how good it was for you? Now, imagine years passing, you being an adult, and you still refusing to try something new because you didn’t like it 20 years ago. Sounds silly, right?

What if that food were a nutritional superstar, teeming with more vitamin C than an orange, packed with fiber, and dripping with heart-protecting and cancer-defying compounds? Would you still refuse to try it, knowing now how fragile life is and how important good nutrition is to your health?

And the Mystery Veg Is . . .

close-up brussels sprout

Yes, I’m talking about Brussels sprouts! Over the years, I’ve wanted to like them, have tried them at various points, and have turned away at the stinky smell and bitter taste that hit me about 3 chews in. They are beguiling to behold—tiny baby cabbages! Almost everything is cuter when tiny J And the lovely layers when you slice them open—much more interesting to behold than, say, a potato. Turns out, potatoes and Brussels sprouts are fantastic together!

Turn of the Tide

Oak Brussel sprouts by Brian O.

Crazy-good Brussels sprouts at Oak (Dallas, TX)

But my new love affair with these sprouts began a few years ago when I tried them at Oak, the delicious Dallas restaurant (http://oakdallas.com/). When the waiter told me that people came from miles around for Oak’s Brussels sprouts, I figured I’d give them a go. I almost lost my mind, they were so good! Quartered, tossed with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and Panko bread crumbs, and roasted until gorgeous golden brown with crispy leaves outside. I actually still dream about them. Turns out, anytime you get olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar near a Brussels sprout, you’re going to have a good time!

Green Science

green science

Brussels sprouts are members of the Brassica family, which includes such stellar greens as broccoli, kale, collard greens, and cabbage. Considering its family members, you can imagine the health benefits that these little beauties provide. They are jammed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals that lower cholesterol, destroy free radicals, and protect against cancer of all types. They are one of the vegetable kingdom’s best sources of vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting as well as bone building. They are also packed with vitamin A (healthy mucus membranes and vision), vitamin E (treating and preventing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer), magnesium, calcium, potassium—the list goes on!

But What About the Stink?

Happily, Brussels sprouts are full of fiber and extremely low on the GI index, making them ideal companions in your weight-loss efforts. They help fill you up without filling you out. But what about the stinky nature of these sprouts (both for them and for you)? They get their particular smell from their sulphur-containing compounds, the fragrance of which is amplified by boiling. To avoid filling your house with that pungent scent as well as cooking away all the nutrients, try steaming or roasting them. As for you and the gas that sometimes accompanies cruciferous veggies like sprouts and broccoli—I’ve found that the more regularly you eat these high-fiber foods, the more adept your body becomes at digesting them efficiently. This goes for beans too.

How to Prepare

The best way to prepare Brussels sprouts while preserving all the good stuff inside is to steam them, but roasting them is also a delicious option.

To steam: Half and/or quarter them lengthwise. Try to make the pieces similar so they cook at the same time. Add an inch or so of water to a pot, cover, and wait for water to boil. When water boils, add a steamer basket full of Brussels sprouts and cover. For halved sprouts, steam about 6 mins. For quartered sprouts, steam about 5 min.

To roast: Heat your oven to about 350-400 degrees. Half and/or quarter them lengthwise. Try to make the pieces similar so they cook at the same time. Toss with some olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, some balsamic (if you like), and even a dash of red pepper flakes. Arrange on a baking sheet with cut sides up, and cook for 30-40 minutes, until they are deep golden brown. Yum!

I found the following recipe and yummy variations on the Whole Foods website (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/oven-roasted-brussels-sprouts). I can’t wait to try them!

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

closeup roasted bs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until deep golden brown, crisp outside and tender inside, 30 to 35 minutes. The leaves that are loose will be especially brown and crispy. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Variations

Rosemary Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary to Brussels sprouts before roasting. During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add 1/4 cup pine nuts. Stir well and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender. Before serving, toss with 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese.

Cranberry Pecan Brussels Sprouts During the last 5 minutes of roasting, add 1 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 cup pecan pieces. Stir well and continue roasting until Brussels sprouts are tender.

Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad After roasting, allow Brussels sprouts to cool to room temperature. Toss with 4 cups baby kale mix, 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese and 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette.

i-heart-sprouts

I hope you will give Brussels sprouts (or any long-despised food from childhood) a chance. You never know—they may just become one of your very favorites!

Happy and healthy adventuring,

Brooke

December 4, 2013

Keep It Moving…

Image

Where’s the healthy options tray?

We hosted some of my family over the Thanksgiving holiday, and although I spend majority of the year coaching clients on best nutrition and exercise practices, I enjoy sharing meals filled with holiday favorites. Everything in moderation–even candied yams.

So, how do I emerge on New Year’s Day without weight gain or illness? I supplement. Say what you want about nutritional supplementation, but America’s disease stats aren’t selling me on the whole “you can get all your nutrition from food” practice of the past.

Before Thanksgiving week, I had just completed a 30 Days to Better Health detox program. Heading into the holidays, I knew my body’s systems were functioning optimally, so I enjoyed a few of my holiday favorites throughout the weekend.

Image

Be sure you know what is in your supplements and how they are made.

One of my favorite (and most beneficial) supplements is fiber. Your quality of health begins and ends in the digestive tract. Furthermore, the higher the quality of input, the higher performance you’ll receive from your body’s systems. Around holiday time, I commit to a daily fiber drink that contains 10 grams of a blend of soluble and insoluble fiber. This convenient packet travels with me, can be mixed on-the-go, and tastes great at any hour. You want a mix of both types of fiber in your system, and here’s why:

            Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

            Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Now I know most of you just made a mental note of certain foods listed above that you can’t eat. The reason I choose to supplement for health elements such as fiber, is because I rarely have the chance to consume high fiber foods. My life moves at a speed more conducive to nourishment on-the-go, and on those rare occasions we gather around the dinner table for a well-planned meal, most people don’t make recipes with high-fiber ingredients. Go figure.

Image

My advice for navigating through the holiday season? Supplement with quality fiber (and I don’t mean one mixed with a bunch of synthetic nonsense) and a probiotic for the duration to keep yourself satisfied and to keep the not-so-healthy-options (and toxic debris) moving through your digestive tract before they cause damage.

Here’s my usual morning meal during the holiday season:

Advocare’s Meal Replacement Shake (berry) mixed with Advocare’s Fiber drink (peach). Drinking this, post-workout, makes me feel like I can take on anything the day brings me.

Here are some other benefits of a high-fiber diet that nobody will discuss at the cocktail party:

            Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.

            Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.

            Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

            Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

            Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Image

I took a separate piece of luggage to the Mrs. United States Pageant in Las Vegas for my supplemental nourishment and workout gear.

I know fiber isn’t a glamorous topic, but neither is disease, obesity, and low self-esteem. There is a way to stay on track with your health goals, and enjoy your holiday season.

A final thought for you… based on several different studies I’ve researched, the average daily fiber recommendation for adults is 35 grams for males and 25 for females. With all the processed foods and drinks out these days, a little extra wouldn’t hurt us.

May 29, 2013

Time to Detox?

It's not a glamorous topic, but it'll make your health shine!

It’s not a glamorous topic, but it’ll make your health shine!

Hello friends… it’s your personal Detoxing Diva here, eager to help you move quickly from some not-so-great food and beverage choices this past weekend. I’ll start by professing: You didn’t do as much damage as you think, and it IS reversible. (Repeat often the next few days.) That said; let’s get to the good stuff.

Amazingly, I received an increase in orders for our Herbal Cleanse Monday evening and Tuesday morning. The fact this time period is right as folks are winding down there holiday weekend celebrations or making the challenging transition from “weekend mode” to “work mode,” leads me to think that lots of you are trying to un-do the weekend and get back on track with your clean eating and mean training. Let me help!

The reason I said our Herbal Cleanse is because I have a long-standing relationship with Advocare nutritional products, and the Herbal Cleanse product is an all-inclusive herbal detoxification system to “right-set” your body to cleanse itself of unnecessary toxins and to welcome the nourishing attributes of your diet and supplement choices. Good fats, bad fats; wholesome carbs, simple/bad carbs… who cares if it all gets stuck in your gut and intestines to rot?

The 10-day detox system comes in two flavors--citrus and peach.

The 10-day detox system comes in two flavors–citrus and peach.

Advocare’s WELL, TRIM, and ACTIVE lines helped me move from a flabby, skinny chick to a lean, mean, competitive machine. Okay, I’m not a machine, but I was a pretty good pageant competitor for several years, dropped 10 pounds of fat and gained muscle strength, completed two marathons and 12 half-marathons, and excelled in the corporate world for 12 years fueled with Advocare—and I’m not done yet! I retired my corporate heels to focus full-time on helping others find, create, and live their healthiest life. It’s now my job to make you aware of how important it is to detox your body regularly (among how to implement other healthy habits.)

Becoming an informed nutritional enthusiast, and an Advocare Advisor, helped me represent myself well whether I was on the marathon trail, the corporate stage, or the pageant stage—and everywhere in between. Advocare is one of several great supplement companies available to you, but I can only speak to the scientific research, NCAA-approved, athlete-endorsed attributes of Advocare’s products. For these reasons and more, I trust Advocare for myself, my family, and my clients.

        If an all-inclusive detoxification system isn’t your thing, here are some helpful tips to help your body rid itself of unnecessary toxins you may be carrying around. As for that over-indulging that may have occurred (you don’t have to tell me), don’t beat yourself up. Part of living life is enjoying the moment and not worrying about occasional slip ups. Dust yourself off and get back on the healthy road.Implement positive talk ASAP! Do not let one bad meal (or one day of forgetting you’re a health god or goddess) send you spiraling into a well of woes. Accept the past and fill your week with good, clean decisions.

Essentia Water Water for blog Sweat is fat crying

      Pick up some Essentia Water and chug-a-lug. People under-estimate the power of good clean, high-pH water and its ability to flush toxins quickly through your systems. Water is fuel for your digestive system. Don’t ever let your tank register empty!

      Put on your favorite workout attire and get moving. Exercise and sweating are both excellent detoxification strategies. This is the week to challenge yourself. Get after it!

      Detox your mind. When cravings hit, and you recall some of the treats you consumed over the weekend and start to miss the tastes—STOP! Food is not anyone’s true source of emotion. Something else is making you happy, sad, joyful, somber… figure out what it is and get to know yourself a little better. Consider jotting down some of your thoughts.

      Be fiber-friendly. Most Americans do not get enough fiber. Make it your mission to consume more fiber this week. An added perk will be speeding up the detoxification process for your body. Yay!

To check out Advocare’s Herbal Cleanse product, go to: www.fitandfunlifestyle.com. You can learn more about the system, ingredients, and what makes it so great for your body. As a treat for you, here’s one of my favorite fiber-friendly recipes using Advocare’s fiber drink powder. (You can also substitute your own favorite powdered fiber.)

A yummy way to get your fiber!

A yummy way to get your fiber!

Fiber Muffin Recipe

DRY INGREDIENTS

6 packages Fiber drink

1 3/4 cup whole wheat or gluten-free flour

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

DIRECTIONS

Mix dry ingredients together. Then add the following ingredients:

1/3 cup honey

1 cup applesauce- the kind without sugar added

2 egg whites

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup soy milk or almond milk

Fold in one large chopped apple.

Spoon into a non-stick muffin pan or use paper muffin cups in your pan. This makes 12 muffins, and you may pile the batter up as they do not raise much. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.

Happy detoxing, friends!  — Lacey