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Incredible Eggs

I love eggs. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and supper every single day. I don’t but I could. And it turns out that eggs are really very good for you. And when you think about it, the egg’s purpose is to bring new life into the world and to nourish that life until it reaches the point where it can survive on its own. No wonder eggs are one of the most nutrient-rich foods available to us. During the winter, chickens do not naturally lay many eggs. The return of the light brings the return of eggs; how cool is that?.

eggs

 Eggs Are Loaded with Nutrients

Eggs are loaded with vitamins. Rich in the B vitamin family, they also contribute vitamins A and D. Egg yolks are one of the greatest sources of riboflavin, B12, and choline, which may well not only help developing brains in utero, but protect us from age-related memory loss. In the mineral department, eggs are especially rich in selenium. Eggs are abundant in lutein which seems to be better absorbed by the human body than when it comes from vegetables, zeaxanthin and carotenoids, which protect our eyes from macular degeneration.
Some eggs even have significant amounts of omega-3 fats. So-called “Omega-3 eggs” have usually been fed flax seeds to raise their level of omega-3 fat. Interestingly, hens that have been allowed to feed on a variety of natural food for them (greens, grubs, etc) produce eggs with more omega-3 fat. “Pastured eggs” are one name for these hens, though note that “free range” hens usually don’t share this diet.

One egg provides 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat (1.5 saturated and 2 monounsaturated), and about half a gram of carbohydrate.

 But Isn’t it Bad to Eat Too Many Eggs?

egg yolkEggs have lots of cholesterol, so for a long time it was considered unhealthy to eat too many. However, there has been a lot more research on eggs and “they” are now saying that there really isn’t any  real evidence showing that eggs are in any way harmful to our health. Some studies actually show an improvement in blood lipids after eating eggs. It seems that this high-cholesterol food raises our “good” cholesterol rather than the “bad!”

Not only are eggs a low-cost and low-carb source of protein and other nutrients, but egg whites can provide structure to baked goods made with nontraditional ingredients such as nut flours and flax seed meal and can provide the basis for desserts such as snow pudding  or macaroons.

 Egg Selection

Eggs have a shelf life of about 60 days when refrigerated. In the United States, the “sell by” date is no more than 30 days after the day the eggs were packed. They should be used within 3 to 5 weeks after that date, according to the USDA. Eggs are best stored in the carton they came in in the coldest part of the refrigerator. To insure protection against disease such as salmonella (rare), thoroughly cook eggs. Egg whites can be frozen for up to a year. Egg yolks don’t freeze as successfully, but mixing ½ tsp salt in with each yolk will work. Hard-cooked eggs will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator; they do not freeze well.

Here is a yummy Frittata recipe for you:

Mushroom, Tomato, Basil Frittata

 

 

½ medium onion, minced

3 medium cloves garlic, pressed

1+1 TBS chicken broth

1 cup thinly sliced crimini mushrooms

½ medium tomato, seeds removed, diced

3 large eggs

3 TBS chopped fresh basil

salt and black pepper to taste

Mince onions and press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out their hidden health benefits. Heat 1 TBS broth in a 10-inch stainless steel skillet. Healthy Sauté onion over medium low heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.  Add 1 TBS broth, tomato, salt, and pepper and cook for another minute. Stir well, and gently scrape pan with a wooden spoon to remove any slight burning.  Beat eggs well, and season with salt and pepper. Mix in chopped basil. Pour eggs over vegetables evenly and turn heat to low. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until firm. Cut into wedges and serve.

Servings: 2

Calories: 143

Total Fat: 8 g

Total Carbohydrates: 6.7 g

Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g

Protein: 10.6 g

 

 

 

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Love Flax Seed Yet?

Did you know that just a few pinches of flaxseed added to your favorite foods can make a huge difference in the quality of your diet?

Flax is the plant from which we get linin, but it also has edible seeds and oil and people have been eating it for thousands of years. It has 3 grams fo fiber per tablespoon and has lots of beneficial nutrients including protein. What’s not to like?

When you start adding  more fiber to your diet, lots of good things can start happening, like lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke. The combination of oil and fiber in flaxseed make it an excellent laxative and an effective remedy for sluggish bowels and chronic constipation. Flaxseed contains plant estrogens called lignans. These natural compounds have been found to possess anti-tumor properties and appear to be especially beneficial in reducing the risk of breast and colon cancer. Eating flaxseed is believed to help prevent breast cancer, and now researchers from the University of Toronto found that it also may be useful in the treatment of the disease. As plant estrogens, the lignans in flaxseed can help alleviate some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, joint and muscle pains. That’s a lot of good stuff!

Want more? Flaxseed is a great source of an essential omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid, which cannot be manufactured by the human body, they must be obtained from the diet.consumption of these beneficial fats has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing the clotting potential of the blood. The essential fatty acids in flaxseed have been credited with improving symptoms of dry eyes, psoriasis and eczema. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, making flax a popular remedy for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Amazing, isn’t it?

So, are you ready to experiment with Flax? You can buy it at most supermarkets and/or health food stores. Whole flaxseed can be eaten alone or added to other foods, but because the seeds may not be fully digested, other forms may be more beneficial. Ground flaxseed is easier to digest and simple to use. I buy the whole flax seeds and grind them in my coffee maker; it works perfectly. Once ground, you can add a tablespoon or two to hot or cold cereals or to a cup of yogurt. I also add about a quarter-cup of ground flaxseed to recipes, including muffins and breads, as well as meatloaf, chili and casseroles.

Flaxseed oil is best used as an ingredient in cold preparations, such as salad dressings and smoothies. While the oil is a good source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, it doesn’t have the protein that you find in the seeds.

Want a recipe?

Savory Muffins

I made these ones up years ago and still enjoy them today.

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup whole-wheat flour

2 cups wheat bran

1 cup oat bran 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Italian seasonings

¼ cup flaxseeds

2 egg whites

1 cup skim milk and 2 tablespoons vinegar Nonstick cooking spray DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together milk and vinegar; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree and egg whites.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, wheat and oat bran, salt and Italian Seasoning.  Stir in milk and vinegar mixture.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cups.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and lightly browned. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

12 Servings, 109 Calories, 2.6 g Fat, 22.5 g Carbohydrates, 7.6 g Fiber and 6.3 g Protein

Got Fiber?

I know we talk about fiber a lot, but our need for fiber will never go away… But what is it really, and what does it do for us?

By definition, fiber is the indigestible part of fruits, seeds, vegetables, whole grains and other edible plants. And here are four basic benefits of eating enough fiber:

  1. Reduces Inflammation: A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical a Nutrition found that c-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation and a predictor of future heart disease and diabetes – was inversely related to dietary fiber. As fiber consumption goes up, harmful inflammation goes down.
  2. Promotes a Healthy Weight: Not only does soluble fiber prevent the absorption of fat, but it also helps you to feel full longer. Less hunger means fewer calories… and therefore fewer pounds. Researchers have calculated that if Americans doubled their fiber intake, they could cut 100 calories from their diet a day – which equates to 10 pounds of yearly weight gain!
  3. Improves Gastrointestinal Health: Soluble fiber is the favorite “food” of the healthy bacteria that live in your digestive tract. And a healthy tummy is a happy tummy! Soluble fiber can help improve digestion, enhance nutrient absorption and provide significant relief of IBS symptoms.
  4. Improves Blood Sugar Balance: Soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, slowing their digestion and absorption and aiding in blood sugar balance. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that a high-sugar, low-fiber diet more than doubles women’s risk of Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes.

Let’s talk about the healthy weight benefit. How do fiber and fiber-rich foods control hunger and increase the  feeling of fullness?  Well, this happens partly because fiber-rich foods take up a large volume in the stomach, and partly because they promote and prolong CCK (cholecystokinin) to make you feel full longer–appetite is reduced directly by the bulk of the fiber and indirectly through the delayed emptying of the stomach and the release of brain and gastrointestinal-tract hormones which signal satiety. Pretty cool, isn’t it? Also, fiber is a natural way to reduce the body’s absorption of fat and sugar, as it slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, allowing glucose to be burned more efficiently instead of being stored quickly as fat. The higher the fiber content of a single food or a meal in total, the harder and longer the body has to work to digest it, which is a weight loss advantage in three ways: (1) the body burns more calories just digesting your food, (2) you stay full longer, and (3) your appetite is reduced because as the absorption slows down, so does the rate at which the blood sugar rises and falls.

So fiber helps you lose weight and/or maintain your ideal weight, but there is so many more benefits of fiber! It also helps you maintain  healthy cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart attack and developing diabetes, promotes bowel regularity and fecal energy excretion: calories are removed with the bowel movement (fiber flush effect) and improves immunity.

How much fiber should you eat?  You know it!  Shoot for 35 g daily! So eat those fresh vegetables and yummy fruits and beans and grains!

Peach Souffle

This is a pretty cool Peach Souffle. But it’s really more like a breakfast dish than a dessert in my book. Either way, it’s full of great protein, has no wheat, only stuff that’s good for you, and tastes quite delightful. Worth a try!
8 eggs, whites and yolk separated
5 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4  tablespoons xyletol–I guess you could use maple syrup as well.
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
For the topping:
1 cup slivered almonds
4 T shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons  xyletol
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place coconut oil and peaches in a baking dish.
photo (8)
Separate eggs and whip egg whites until peaks form. In another small dish, mix yolks with vanilla and xyletol. Gently fold this mixture in the egg whites once peaks form, and place over peaches. Bake for 15 minutes.
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While it’s baking, mix all topping ingredients together and gently spread over the egg mixture in over after 15 minutes. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. That’s all there is to it!
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Fiber, Carbs and Labels

Fiber is a carbohydrate, but since it isn’t digested, it kind of doesn’t “count” as a carb. But it really is a carb. How can that be?

Fiber doesn’t impact blood glucose negatively. Actually. fiber  affects blood sugars positively by slowing the impact of other carbs ingested. So, if you are a person who reads labels (which is a great idea, by the way), the general grams of fiber isn’t always the real picture– you ought to look for the effective carbohydrates (carbs minus fiber). For example, a serving that has 6 grams of carbs but 5 of fiber only has 1 gram of effective carbohydrates.  Bottom line: Fiber is a  carbohydrate but provides no calories or “useable” carbs.

Almost all the non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits are the ones that are highest in both fiber and nutrients.

Here is a list, roughly in order on this carb/fiber scale. For foods not on this list, you can always check out http://www.nutritiondata.com.

Almost All Fiber:

Flax!! There is almost no usable carbohydrate in flax seeds. It is very high in both soluble and insoluble fiber (about one third of the fiber is soluble), and has a pile of nutrients to boot. Flax is just could be the ultimate low-carb fiber source. 1 T ground flax has 2.0 grams of carbohydrate, 1.9 of which is fiber.

Chia Seeds have a fiber and carb profile similar to flax seeds. (Remember that I sell these if you are interested).

Vegetables that are close to all fiber:

Mustard Greens, Chicory, Endive

More Fiber Than Usable Carbohydrate:

Wheat Bran: ½ cup raw, 3 grams usable carb, 6 grams fiber

Unsweetened Coconut and Coconut Flour: 1 ounce, 2 grams usable carb, 5 grams fiber

High Fiber Cereals: Check the labels carefully, but a few high fiber cereals are also low or fairly low in carbohydrate. Examples: All Bran with Extra Fiber; Fiber One Collard Greens: 1 cup chopped, cooked, 4 grams usable carb, 5 grams fiber

Avocado, Hass : 1 medium avocado, 3 grams usable carb, 12 grams fiber

Spinach and Chard : 1 cup chopped, cooked � 3 g usable carb, 4 g fiber ; Frozen 1 10 oz package � 3 g usable carb, 8 g fiber : 6 cups of raw spinach or chard=about 1 cup cooked

Broccoli: 1/2 cup chopped, cooked, 1 gram usable carb, 3 grams fiber ; 1 cup chopped, raw, 4 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber

Cauliflower : 1/2 cup pieces, cooked,1 gram usable carb, 2 grams fiber ; 1 cup raw, 2 grams usable carb, 2.5 grams fiber

Blackberries: 1 cup, raw, 6 grams usable carb, 8 grams fiber

About as Much Usable Carb as Fiber:

Asparagus: 1/2 cup pieces, 2 grams usable carbs, 2 grams fiber

Celery: 1 cup chopped, 1.5 grams usable carb, 1.5 grams fiber

Eggplant: 1 cup raw, cubed, 2 grams usable fiber, 3 grams fiber; 1 cup cubed, cooked, 5 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber

Lettuce, Romaine: 1 cup shredded, .5 gram usable carb, 1 g fiber

Mushrooms: 1 cup, sliced, raw, 1 gram usable carb, 1 gram fiber

Radishes: 1 cup raw, sliced, 2 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber

Red Raspberries: 1 cup, raw, 7 grams usable carb, 8 grams fiber

High Fiber, but Not As Much Fiber as Usable Carb

Rice Bran: 1/4 cup 8 grams usable carb, 6 grams fiber

Cabbage: 1 cup raw, chopped, 3 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber ;1/2 cup cooked, chopped, 2 grams usable carb 1 gram fiber

Bell Peppers: 1 cup chopped, raw, 4 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber

Snow Peas (edible pod):1 cup whole, raw, 3 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber

Zucchini Squash : 1 cup cooked, sliced, 4 grams usable carb, 3 grams fiber

Strawberries: 1/2 cup sliced, 5 grams usable carb, 2 grams fiber

By the way, talking about labels, all nutritional information is really only an estimate. Every food varies in composition from one to another. The particular variety of plant or animal, where it grew, the weather, the fertilizer – many factors go into the final product. Think about wines for example: even the flavor varies based on where the grapes grew. And this is just as true for every other fresh food and the products made from it, so that we can never know exactly how many carbs or calories or vitamins are in any particular strawberry, unless you analyze that particular strawberry. Since nutritional labels are derived from a certain batch of food, they will reflect this variation. The USDA database takes averages from many batches of the food to come up with their numbers. The numbers may change when more data comes–that’s how there can be such a variation in the calorie count programs that are out there.

The serving size on the label is not always perfectly clear either. If a label says that 1 tablespoon of a food has one gram of carbohydrate for example, that could be anything from .51 grams to 1.49 grams because they are allowed to round up or down. That’s not a big deal if you are eating one serving, but there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so the error could be as much as 8 grams in either direction!

There you have it!

 

Zucchini Boats

Maybe you have as many zucchinis as I do, and maybe you have a few jumbo ones like I did… so you might enjoy this recipe! I meant to do it with ground meat, but I did not have any, so I decided to make it a vegetarian dish. I meant to put some black beans and chickpeas, but I did not have any (maybe I should go to the grocery store…) so I substituted with corn. It was delicious, but obviously, you can change the ingredients according to your mood of the day–or content of your cupboards!

ZUCCHINI BOATS

2 T olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 large zucchinis

2 onions, diced

2 red peppers, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 large tomato, diced

1 can of corn, drained

Salt, pepper, fresh or dried herbs (I used basil)

Grated Romano cheese

On the stove, gently heat olive oil. Add garlic and all diced veggies. Add corn, salt, pepper and herbs. Let it all soften a bit.

photo (1)

In the meanwhile, slice the zucchinis in two and hollow them. Place them on a cookie sheet.

photo (2)

Add the hollowed part to the veggies.

When veggies are a bit softer, scoop them into the hollowed zucchinis. Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes.

photo (3)

Sprinkle some Romano cheese on top for the last 5 minutes.

Enjoy! My husband and I certainly did…

 

Salty Sweet Almond Treat

When I saw a recipe for these online, I kind of got scared and curious all at once. They looked so good, but the recipe seemed so intimidating…. but I tried it, tweaked it, made it mine and love it! My favorite part is the grains of salt when I bite into the treat. But you decide for yourself! And no, these are not difficult to make. But yes, they look pretty fancy!

Salty Sweet Almond Treats

Coconut Oil

Almond butter

Coarse Sea Salt

Unsweetened Cocoa

Honey

Line six muffin cups with paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In saucepan, put 1/4 cup coconut oil. 1/2 cup almond butter, 1 tablespoon honey and a pinch of coarse sea salt. Let it all melt. Put 2 tablespoons of this mixture in each muffin cup; keep the rest of the almond mixture. Place muffin pan in freezer for at least 10 minutes.

photo (4)

In saucepan, put 6 tablespoons coconut oil. 7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, 2 tablespoons honey and a pinch of coarse sea salt. Let it all melt. Place this chocolate mixture on top of the almond layer in the muffin cups. Place muffin pan in freezer again for at least 10 minutes.

photo (5)

If necessary, reheat/remelt the rest of the almond mixture and divide it between the six cups once the chocolate layer has hardened. Sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top and freeze once more until solid, at least 30 minutes.

Store in freezer or regrigerator.

SO. YUMMY.

photo (3)

 

 

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