Tag Archives: olive oil

Condiments Revealed! What’s Really in 14 of the Most Popular Condiments

condiments

Condiments are one of the easiest ways to amp up the flavor in your foods. While the addition of some condiments provides flavor and little else, some can actually ramp up the health factor of your meal, while some of your favorites may be heaping hundreds of calories and unnecessary sugar, fat, and salt onto your already healthy meals, sabotaging your efforts to eat lighter and cleaner.

Anything in excess can be bad for you, so just because a food is low in calories doesn’t mean it’s free license to eat as much as you’d like. To keep our condiment analysis true and accurate, always stick to recommended portion sizes.

7 Basic Steps for Cleaner Eating Without Going Paleo

Salsa: 1 oz, 8 calories, .9g sugar

Veggies, herbs and spices, what could go wrong? If you’re whipping up your own, not much, but grabbing a jar of name brand salsa off the shelf can mean you’re pouring on preservatives, chemicals, loads of sodium, and even added sugar if you’re a fruit salsa fan. Big companies will pump their salsa full of preservatives to keep it shelf stable. Think about it — how else can “fresh” veggies sit on a shelf for weeks and still be edible?

If you go fresh and all natural, salsa can be an amazingly healthy and delicious option for just about anything. If buying from the store, you should be able to recognize every ingredient on the label. If making your own, dice up fresh roma tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic and a little jalapeno and pile that pico high to sneak in an extra serving of veggies. Try it on eggs, over chicken, or mixed with brown rice and kidney beans for a satisfying meatless Mexican filling. (more…)

Oil Pulling: Is it Legit?

Surely you’ve all heard about oil pulling by now, right? It’s the latest natural health trend that has blown up over the last several weeks. You’ve probably seen the images all over Facebook as so many have been experimenting with this seemingly odd practice of swishing cooking oil in the mouth to improve a myriad of symptoms. The technique is ancient, but does that mean it’s effective?

oil pulling

For starters, oil pulling is a simple procedure. You choose a vegetable based oil, like coconut, sesame, sunflower, or olive oil, you take anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon, put it in your mouth and swish it around for up to 20 minutes.

Depending on the source, people claim the art of oil pulling whitens teeth, strengthens gums, improves the pain associated with sensitive teeth, prevents cavities, eases the symptoms of migraines, detoxes the body, clears out the sinuses, improves sleep, improves halitosis, and even aids in the recovery of a hangover. The list could go on and on…

The practice of oil pulling is believed to be about 3,000 to 5,000 years old. The technique falls under the blanket of Ayurvedic medicine, referring to ancient Indian medicine created in India.

Being a granola-head with loads of skepticism, I was anxious to try oil pulling and research the validity of it’s claims at the same time. So, that’s what I did. I swished organic coconut oil around in my mouth for several evenings, while I read articles and reached out to experts. (more…)

The Skinny on Fat: Why this Nutrient is Essential for Weight Loss

Fat makes you fat, right? Wrong.

For years, all fats have been made out to be a delicious incarnation the devil. As a health and nutrition coach, I get questions all the time from my clients about low-fat diets and avoiding avocados and olive oil in case they cause weight gain. Some have even justified eating an entire bag of Twizzlers because it says, “No Fat”.

healthy fats

Listen up: Fat is not the enemy! At least, not entirely.

Let me be clear in saying that there are many kinds of fats, including the saturated and trans fats found in candy bars, processed foods, and T-bone steaks—these are generally no good. But there are also the natural fats found in whole foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, salmon, coconuts, and olive oil, which are so, so good!

(more…)

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil: Which Healthy Fat Should You Cook With?

The tide seems to be slowly shifting away from demonizing fat. While my family doctor admits my cholesterol is “so good it isn’t even on [her] chart,” she still isn’t comfortable with the fact that I cook with lard. Coconut oil and olive oil, however, are much more acceptable fats for food preparation. Fat is not unhealthy; it supplies energy, helps us feel more full, balances blood sugar, promotes cell growth, decreases inflammation throughout the body, and regulates hormones.

Not all fats are equal, though. Trans fats, or “hydrogenated” fats, have been considered contraband at my house for years. In addition to lard, coconut oil and olive oil are staples in my kitchen. The question of which to use for a specific recipe is more complicated than just the ingredient list. There is a bit of a science to cooking (and shopping) that can help you ensure that the recipes you use provide the full nutritional benefit to your family and do not create unintended health consequences.

coconut oil

Why the Smoke Point is So Important

When fats or oils reach a certain temperature, they begin to break down and lose nutritional value and flavor. At this point, called the smoke point, carcinogenic oxygen radicals are also generated. Recipes need to be evaluated by comparing the oils used with the temperature at which they are prepared. (more…)

Health-Conscious Foodies Must Discover Seitenbacher’s Organic Oils

Even though I have lost several hundred pounds, this has not diminished one iota my love of good food. Even when I was tipping the scales at close to 450 pounds, I adored fine dining, unique flavors, and overall great food finds. You see, I wasn’t that morbidly obese guy who spent all day eating fast food. Did I eat drive thru? You bet I did, but I also have more of a refined palate than that.

I had the good fortune of being in Baltimore for the FitBloggin’ convention last fall, which helped me network with tons of like-minded people in the health and fitness world, as well as aid me in furthering knowledge on my health journey. It just so happened that the natural products expo (Expo East) was right next door! I wandered over there and was like a kid in a candy store! Being the foodie I am, one of the booths that stuck out was Seitenbacher’s selection of oils.

Being a foodie I not only enjoy EATING the food, but also COOKING it (so I can then eat it). There are some bad food oils out there that aren’t too good for you, but this, being the natural products expo, I was expecting something exceptional, and I was not disappointed. (more…)

Add Full-Fat Dressing to Your Salad to Make it Healthy

I grew up in the nutritional era where fat was seen as the enemy against our waistlines and health. Every food came out with a “New! Fat-Free” version of their product. Our kitchen was loaded with fat-free cheese, yogurt, crackers, even cookies. Those cookies were awful, but they were now “better” for us because they were fat free. It seems this is not the nutritional trend of this era.

While it’s confusing to hear at times, fat is no longer our enemy. In fact, those poor guys can come out of hiding and proclaim that they were actually healthy for us all along. So healthy in fact that research is telling us that in order to make our healthy salads even healthier, we need to put fat on them in order to absorb the nutrition of the salad.

Wow, really? Put fat on your salad? Can this be right? (more…)

Top 10 Must-Haves on Your Grocery List for Weight Loss

When you lead a busy life, grocery shopping can be a time-consuming chore. If you’re beginning a new diet, you have probably seen a number of resources that offer sample grocery lists and suggested items that deserve a permanent place in your pantry or refrigerator.

While those lists can be helpful, they are sometimes more confusing than useful. Recently, we caught up with Caroline Cederquist, M.D. and founder of BistroMD, a gourmet meal delivery service developed by physicians. Cederquist shared her top ten grocery list items that she recommends patients purchase when they want to eat a healthier diet.

“The shopping list consists of top 10 mainstay items that help you stay on track, lose weight, and add lots of flavor to meals and snacks,” Cederquist said. “A lot of these items can also be used to substitute higher calorie foods for healthier ones.”

(more…)

How to Grill Simple Summer Seafood

With a summer heat wave affecting most of the country, home cooks are more enthusiastic than ever about recipes that don’t involve turning on the oven or stove. If you’re already tiring of salads, sandwiches and simple grilled chicken, it’s time to look to the sea for some grilling inspiration.

Lauren Salkeld , Senior Editor, Epicurious, likes to keep things simple when she’s preparing or cooking seafood on the grill.

Use healthy oils. Sometimes people perceive fish to be difficult to grill because it falls apart during the cooking process. “Fish often falls apart because it sticks to the grill,” said Salkeld. “Be sure to gently rub or brush fish with oil and you shouldn’t have too much trouble.” To keep your favorite fish figure-friendly, opt for a heart-healthy oil, like canola or olive.

(more…)

What Your Nails and Skin Say About Your Diet

Whether you’re male or female, healthy nails and hands are typically seen as signs of physical beauty. According to Dr. Ariel Ostad, a Manhattan Board Certified Dermatologist, changes in skin and nails can signify health problems, some of which can be helped or prevented by eating a healthy diet.

“Skin and nail changes should be given the same level of attention and scrutiny as other physical symptoms men and women experience within their body,” said Ostad. “All too often, we only see a doctor for symptoms we can feel such as stomach or back pain. Visible changes to nails and skin can be indicative of conditions such as skin cancer or other systemic issues.”

While a perfectly manicured hand is one where the nails are strong and smooth, with no discoloration or jagged cuticle, most people have less-than-perfect hands. While regular visits to the dermatologist, proper moisturizing and protecting your skin from UV rays are all good practice, what you eat can also help prevent the issues that cause skin damage – and help improve damage that has already been done.

Look at your skin and nails for cues that it’s time to change up your diet. If you suspect there is an underlying issue, be sure to see your doctor or health care professional.

(more…)

4 Tips for Making a Healthier Panini

Sandwiches are great for lunch and perfect when you need a quick dinner to tide you over when you don’t have time to make a traditional meal. To make that quick dinner a little more exciting, opt for panini –  sandwiches that are grilled so that the ingredients meld together to create a delicious combination of flavors.

Panini are easy to make if you have a panini press, but if you don’t have the space or resources to procure fancy kitchen equipment and appliances…

Tip #1: Use What You Have. If you don’t have the budget or counter space to afford a panini press, you can still whip up a delicious grilled sandwich. Kathy Strahs, author of the popular sandwich blog Panini Happy recommends using the appliances you already have on hand, like a pan or appliance in your kitchen, to make the perfect sandwich.

(more…)