Monday, April 27, 2009

My new plan...

So in order to keep myself from the after dinner muchies, and to get back on track with 20/20, I'm going to stick with my normal exercise and be strict with calories, but also add 45 minutes on the elliptical each night. That should burn an extra 350-ish calories per day, so that's 1/2 lb. per week extra.

This morning was not good. I usually don't weigh myself during the week, but this weekend was filled with snacks becuase I was at my parents, and now I'm up 2 lbs, so I'm at 174.... ugh!!! The next 5 weeks need to be 2 lb-ers. NEED to.

I really need to get myself centered and focused and not let the stress of things I can do NOTHING about get to me.... Any tips?? I've been really good at keeping my moods leveled out, but lately I've been back to my old self where I was either super happy/on top of the world or completely down in the dumps - which led me to binge eating, and 252.5 lbs.
If I could plan a wedding and lose 47 lbs., I should be able to lose it now, right? I have to keep telling myself I CAN!

Today I'm giving blood, which always makes me feel a little better, knowing I helped save up to 4 lives :)
It's all good, right?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week 5, Group Chat Tonight!

Reminder - Group Chat tonight, 8pm EST

Week 5 Results: 0 lbs. lost
Overall loss: -2.5 lbs.
Behind my own goal and group goal - 2.5 lbs :(

A topic to discuss at group chat - STRESS!!! And how it effects your eating habits, workout habits, or overall state of mind.
(Yeah, this one's really for me... enlighten me, please... because I just can't handle it anymore!)

Hope you're all on track with -5, and hope to see you all tonight at the chat.
I could really use some motivation and a swift kick in the butt! Thanks :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SuperFoods: I'm a slacker...

So I haven't been blogging the health benefits of the SuperFoods I've cooked for the last week. I've just been so busy! I'm going to try to catch up in this post though, because SuperFoods are just that important :)

SuperFood: Cinnamon!

Cinnamon is an excellent SuperFood because of its effects on blood glucose levels and triglyceride and cholestrol levels. These qualities are most beneficial to those suffering from Type II Diabetes.
Some other spices that show similar results are: Cloves, Bay and Turmeric
To showcase Cinnamon, I made Garden Harvest Muffins.
To incorporate Cinnamon into my daily life, I sprinkle it into my oatmeal every morning!

SuperFood: Avocados!

Avocados are an excellent souce of
  • Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Polyphenols
  • Lutein
  • Vitamin E

The monounsaturated fats in avocados are what help bring them to SuperFood status. They contain oelic acide, which helps reduce cholesterol. Avocados are considered a nutrient-booster because it improves the body's ability to absorb other nutrients.

It's important to remember that Haas avocados, the most common variety in America, is still rather high in calories, so eat them multiple times weekly, but remember to count the calories - 145 calories for half.

Usually I just chop it up and top salads, or make guacamole with avocados, but I did something a little different to showcase avocados: Sweet Potato Fries with Avocado Dipping Sauce

SuperFood: Red Bell Peppers!

Red Bell Peppers are an excellent source of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Carotene
  • Vitamin E

Red Peppers are a superfood because they contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants found in vegetables. Research shows that they lower levels of many kinds of cacner, heart disease, stroke and cataracts. One quarter of a red bell pepper contains more than twice the recommended daily value of Vitamin C! All peppers are high in Vitamin C, however red bell peppers are the ones rich in beta-carotenes.

I absolutely love red bell peppers. They're by far one of my favorite vegetables. The downside is they can be expensive, especially when you buy them organic, however it's best to buy them organic because you eat the skin. They're also much sweeter! Jarred roasted red bell peppers are much cheaper to buy, though I don't find they taste quite as good, they're a great substitute in the winter or when organic bell peppers are unavilable.

To showcase red bell peppers, I made one of my favorite dishes, Fajita Pasta!

SuperFood: Carrots!

Carrots are an excellent source of:

  • Carotenes
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C

Carrots have been shown to protect against lung cancer, lower blood pressure, guard against food poisioning, and they contain the most beta-carotene of any common food. It's also important to buy organic carrots.

One of my favorite ways to eat carrots are in cabbage and carrot slaw. Almost every day, Pumpkin and I snack on some organic baby carrot sticks! Here's a delicious way to enjoy carrots - Carrot and Raisin Salad

SuperFood: Shiitake Mushrooms!

Shiitakes are an excellent source of:

  • Potassium
  • Niacin
  • Iron
  • Riboflavin
  • Selenium
  • Fiber
  • Protein

Mushrooms, and specifically Shiitakes, have been shown to keep the immune system healthy and strong, improve eyesight, hearing, circulation, impotency, stop migraine headaches, tumors, and cancer. Shiitakes have also been shown to help lower cholestrol.

I love mushrooms, I especially utilized them when I was a vegetarian as they are a great textural substitute for meat. To showcase Shiitakes, I made Shiitake Marsala Burgers!

SuperFood: Artichokes!

Artichokes are an excellent source of:

  • Folic Acid
  • Potassium
  • Inulin

Artichokes have been shown to assist in liver function, aid digestion and help gallbladder problems, lower cholesterol, reduce fluid retention, and stabilize blood sugar levels.

I absolutely love artichokes, they're so delicious and perfect for bulking up pasta dishes. Tonight I showcased them in a pizza - Beckon Desire!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm the CHAMP! haha

So here's the official data for the race:
5k - 143 Participants
Dad - 26:00, 49th place
Ash - 28:56, 71st place

10k - 96 Participants
Dad - 57:11, 52nd place

Ash - WINNER OF THE 18-24 AGE DIVISION!!!!!!!!!!!
And I wasn't at the awards b/c I was watching the 10k, so I didn't hear my name called, but I got a reusable bag and a waterbottle today! I'm the champ! LOL

I'm not going to lie, I think it's hysterical I won my age division... I'm happy, but I feel like this race had to have been a fluke. How the heck did I cut 2 mins in 3 weeks AND on a hilly course?! Ahhh, we'll see how I do May 16th at the Coach Hep 5k :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

20/20 Girls!

Don't forget, we have a group chat tonight at 8 PM EST!
See you there :)

PS - Think of some topics you might want to discuss!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

YAY YAY YAY Best day EVER!!!

Today was the Spring Run at the YMCA. My dad ran it with me, it was WONDERFUL!
Last November, I did the Fall Run, same course, and I finished in 32:42
Today, and this isn't totally official, but I finished around 28:55!!!!!!!!!!!

Not only did I set a new PR, but I broke the 30 minute time, and even got it under 29 minutes! That's 2 minutes off my last 5k, only 3 weeks ago!!!
I'm kind of in shock. And a little scared to match it or beat it at the next 5k on May 16!
Dad did a great job too, around 25:50 for the 5k and 57 for the 10k. He ran both. He's a superstar. Don't you love the vintage running t's? That one was from 1988... haha!

Then Dad left for Cincinnati, so I decided to go to the IU Baseball game where JJ is the Athletic Trainer. It was gorgeous out today, mid-70's, sunny and fantastic.

I stopped by Bloomingfoods for lunch, I grabbed some sushi, fruit and a ginger carrot salad, which was amazing, and I'll be re-creating soon!

To make the game even better, if the pitcher strikes out 12 people, everyone at the game gets a coupon for a free snack attack pack from a local pizza place, which includes pizza, breadsticks and soda (when we redeem that, I'll need to go for a long run.... but I love free stuff!)

Then I got home and took Pumpkin on a long walk, and she demolished her Easter present while I blogged :)

Best Day EVER!!!!!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Weigh-In

I'm not surprised, I pretty much cleaned up the Easter candy. This week I'll really focus on getting a -2 to compensate. The weather is getting warmer and nicer, and I've found that as much as strength training helps get cuts and muscle, running is what really drops the weight for me.
I need to work on this tendency I have to pig out at holidays. I always am in the mindset of 'I'm on vacation' so I just eat and eat and eat all day long. I know most people gain at the holidays, but I seem to gain, and then take the time before the next holiday to get that weight off, and it's just this awful cycle from Thanksgiving to my birthday (May 14). My real losses come in the summer -which is good because that's where we're headed! I'm sure when I get to my maintenance weight it won't be as bad, but right now it's just like, ugh, can I please get to the 160's!?

Anyway...April's 5K is tomorrow! It's the YMCA Spring Run, and my Dad is here to run with me! Yesterday we took a run on the trail together, and he helped me with my form (I cross my arms when I run rather than hold them straight). He said that will help propel me forward, like a train...It's funny b/c when he runs, I think he looks kind of funny. Oh well, if it makes me faster... He also thinks I'll PR tomorrow, but this course is pretty hilly, so I'm not so sure.

I'm thinking that since I'm only doing the 5k at 8am, while dad does the 10k at 9am, I'll run a few laps around the park, which is 1 mile, so I get in some more mileage.

How did everyone else do with their weigh-in? Hope you were able to resist the Easter baskets better than me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thank-You's :)

If you haven't noticed, this blog was recently made-over by Ashley, a wonderful reader, blogger, and talented designer! I absolutely love the design, thanks, Ashley :)
The link to her blog design site is, and her email for designing is

I'd also like to thank my sister, Kristine, for my Easter basket present, this workout top!

I love it for so many reasons! Mostly because as you can see, I'm getting awful tan lines from my current workout tanks which have wide straps. It's amazing how tan I've gotten just from running outside 3-4 times per week!
I also love it because it's from TARGET! Which means it's super cheap ($17 compared to Nike's $40 tanks!) which means I can go buy more! It was very water resistant and kept me nice and cool!
Thanks, KK :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SuperFoods: Salmon, Pear and Turkey Breast

Today I am covering 3 SuperFoods in one post. While some readers have found the SuperFood posts to be boring, I can't disagree more! Saying your health and eating what your body needs and the knowledge of what you can eat to prevent cancers/diseases and promote mental health is boring is just crazy!

So let's talk Wild Salmon! It's an excellent source of:

  • Marine Derived Omega 3 Fatty Acids

  • Vitamin B

  • Selenium

  • Vitamin D

  • Protein

  • Potassium

Sidekicks: Alaskan Halibut, Caned albacore tuna, Sardines, Herring and Trout

Salmon is considered a SuperFood because above all, it contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which the body cannot produce on it's own, but needs to function. Long ago, when all animals were free-range, they contained Omega 3 Fatty acids, but now most animals are not free range. Now most packaged meat is higher in Omega 6 fatty acids, which we are now getting too much of.

Here are some ways to get more Omega-3's

  • Eat Omega 3 enriched eggs (free range/cage free)

  • Cook with canola oil rather than corn oil

  • Eat walnuts, pecans and pepitas

  • Sprinkle wheat germ on yogurt

  • Add flax seeds to muffins, bread, and pancakes

I don't eat fish or seafood, so I am not knowledgable about the mercury scares and which fish to choose wild or farm raised, however if you consume fish often, please check out the following sites to learn more:

Skinless Turkey Breast

  • Low-Fat Protein

  • Riboflavin

  • Niacin

  • Iron

  • Zinc

  • Selenium

What makes Skinless Turkey Breast a SuperFood? It is the leanest source of meat protein on the planet, it has heart healthy nutrients that cut your risks of cancers, and it contains many valuable vitamins and minerals. What makes it even better is what it doesn't have - lots of saturated fat, only .2 g. per 3 oz.! To compare, 3 oz. of fresh ham has 5.5 g. saturated fat, and 3 oz. flank steak has 4.5 g. saturated fat, which is linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

What turkey does have that makes us really want to eat it is selenium, which plays a role in thyroid hormone metabolism!

My favorite way to consume turkey is getting 99% fat free ground turkey breast (make sure you get the 99% fat free, not the 85% or 90%). I love to use it in place of ground beef. I haven't been able to find organic ground turkey, but I have seen amish, which I think could be organic, but they only sell whole amish turkeys, which I don't normally buy. I usually buy Honeysuckle or Jennie-O (which is constantly shown on Biggest Loser).

Every now and then I do buy a turkey breast, but usually it's just ground or cutlets. When you buy deli turkey, it's important to look for the natural kind, something with lower sodium and nitrates because the sodium in deli turkey can be especially high. It's important that you thoroughly cook turkey, but don't overcook it because being so lean will dry it out. I have so many recipes for ground turkey on my blog, here is a link to the turkey tag!

20/20 Update

A 20/20 member, Kristi, has decided to manage the google doc to chart our weight losses. You'll be getting an email from her with instructions. If you're not sure which name you are, you can email me, but I think everyone knows by now.

Also, I'd like to join a buddy group. I think you all know my personality now, how far I am from my goal, preferred exercise, etc., so if you think your group would be a good fit for me, let me know :)

Thanks so much for being so understanding about this, you're all awesome and I'm glad this challenge will still go on, just modified a bit!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Re-Cap

I had such a great Easter weekend!
Exercise: On Saturday, Kristine and I (below) went to Lunken Airport to run the 5 mile bike/run/walk trail. The trail start moved, but Kris didn't know, so we ended up parking 1/4 mile away from the start/finish, so we did 5.5 miles. I ran it in 58 minutes, which I'm super excited about! At the end, my knees were pretty sore, but I felt good! It's the longest run I've been on since the Thanksgiving 10k, so it felt really good to get back out there and run far on a new trail.
The trail itself is around the airport, and I hate planes, so it was a little scary having planes fly overhead... but I survived - lol.
The first 1.5 - 2 miles are straight and LONG... you just keep running as far as you can see, basically the length of a runway! That section is right next to the very top green looking snake that's really a creek, the paved trail is right next to it. I'll definitely go back to Lunken next time I'm at home in addition to the 5 Mile trail because Lunken is good for distance and working on endurance, and the 5 Mile Trail is good for hill training.
We had planned another run today, but it was cold and raining, so we opted out. I'm thinking I'll do a Jill video tonight.

Food: I didn't do so hot there. Good thing I exercised to make up for it :) I met up with my friends Jay and Mike and Moe's, but to be healthy, I got a streaker burrito (no wrap) with no chips, so that was good. For breakfast each day I had oatmeal, nothing extravagant. What killed me most was the chocolate and cookies. I love some Easter chocolate :)

This week I'll have to be really careful to stick with my calories....My April 5k is on Saturday, the YMCA Spring Run. My dad is coming out from Cincinnati to run with me - yay!

Now my favorite part of Easter - the egg hunt! This year, JJ was in Iowa with the baseball team and Becky is in Switzerland, so only Kris, Dan and I were home. Kris helped mom hide the eggs, and Dan and I were the hunters. I found 2 dozen and he found 1. I'm the champ :)

The Challenge

I've been reflecting on this for the past week, and I've come to a decision about the future of the blog and the challenge. I don't want this to come across as negative and like I'm abandoning the challenge, but it's grown into this black hole in my life. I sincerely want everyone to reach their goals and I'm more than happy to help, but it's taking up so much time and it has become a distraction rather than a motivator for me.
Also, I am not qualified to be giving out some of the advice people are asking me for and I really think some people should seek professional help rather than be contacting me. I simply don't have the time to be recording everyones progress and sorting thru them to find out who is losing and who reached milestones and then there are some people who are just not emailing me back and I just honestly can't be putting so much effort into this when I'm getting nothing back from it except emails telling me what I've forgotten to do or what I still need to do, whose name is wrong and who I forgot to record, etc.

I'm still going to challenge myself, and I hope you all challenge yourselves too, keep in touch with your buddy groups, go to chats, etc., however I am not going to be tracking weight each week, sending chat transcripts, etc. This could honestly be a full time job, and I already have one of those!
I'll make a post each week with my personal loss, and you all can respond with yours, I'm really happy to hear your success stories, but the dedication of time is just too much for me right now.
And just to clear some things up, this blog isn't just about the challenge and for the challenge, it's about how I became and continue to be healthy. If people have problems with my posts are SuperFoods, just don't read the blog. If you think I'm too preachy about organics and green lifestyles, don't read. I don't want to alienate people, but no one is forcing you to read this.

I do want to thank all of the people who have been so kind to me and believe me, I know there are more nice and thankful people than rude/mean. Honestly, I just don't have the time to do this for 167 people when it's really not motivating me at all, just stressing me out.
Best of Luck!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

SuperFood: Yogurt!

Today's featured SuperFood is: Yogurt!

Yogurt is an excellent source of:

  • Live and active cultures
  • Complete Protein
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • B 2 and 12

Yogurts many benefits come from two things, prebiotics and probiotics. Probiotics are living bacteria that have health benefits while prebiotics feed the probiotics. Prebiotics help the body absorb calcium.

It is important that your yogurt states it has 'live active cultures' or it will not contain pre- and pro- biotics.

yogurts can help the body reduce it's cancer risk. The probiotics have been seen to stimulate the immune system, as well as neutralize mutagens that cause cancer.

Yogurt is acutally ok to eat by the lactose intolerant because the probiotics in yougurt have already digested the lactose. There is also evidence that yogurt can help to relieve eczema and milk allergies.

I personally love yogurt, I have it every day for lunch! But here are some ways to cook with yogurt: Waldorf Chicken Salad, Baked Saffron Yogurt Rice with Spinach, Very Berry Frozen Yogurt, Tzatziki with Chickpea Patties, Chicken Tikka Masala, Burmese Yogurt Baked Chicken

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

SuperFood: Broccoli!

Today's featured SuperFood is Broccoli!

Broccoli is an excellent source of:
  • Sulforaphane
  • Indoles
  • Folate
  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-Carotene
  • Vitamin K

Some Broccoli Sidekicks are: Brussels Sprouts, Red and Green Cabbage, Kale, Turnips, Cauliflower, Collards and Kohlrabi

Broccoli has been shown to fight cancer, boost the immune system, lower occurances of cataracts, support cardiovascular health, build bones, and decrease inflamation.

Broccoli is a natural chemopreventive in that is slows down the progress of cancer at many stages. The glucosinolates in broccoli are the cancer fighters. Broccoli's cancer fighters have been shown to especially fight breast and prostate cancer because the indoles work as cancer fighters against hormone-related cancers.

Tonight for dinner, I made Penne with Broccolini and Crispy Prosciutto

Here are some other dishes I've made with broccoli, or with broccoli as a side: Creamy Broccoli and White Bean Soup, Kung Pao Chicken, Spicy Chinese Chicken and Veggies

Week 2 Milestones

Congrats to our Week 2 5+lbs. lost Girls!

Jen M
Jessica T
Amy Ma
Megan A

You are doing such a great job, and we're so proud of you!
Please print this off and hang it on your wall, or post it in your blog if you're a blogger :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

SuperFood: Blueberries!

Today's SuperFood is Blueberries! Dr. Pratt states, "Blueberries contain more powerful disease-fighting antioxidants than any other single fruit. They're absolute powerhouses in the world of health-promoting foods."

Bueberries are an excellent source of:

  • Polyphenols
  • Carotenoids
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

Blueberries have been shown to preserve congnitive abilities, precent Alzheimers, prevent cancer, improve cardiovascular health, prevent diabetes, improve capillary circulation, combat UTI's, strengthen blood capillaries and improve circulation.

Some sidekicks to blueberries are: Purple grapes, cranberries, boysenberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, blackberries, and cherries.

Blueberries are perhaps most revered for their effects on brain health. Blueberries can help protect the brain from oxidative stress, which reduces age-related conditions, like Alzheimers and dementia.

It has been discovered that Wild Blueberries contain more anti-oxidant power than commercial blueberries, and those are more commonly found frozen year round.

Every summer, my mom and I go to a you-pick blueberry orchard that is only open 1 Saturday per year from 8am to noon. It's so much fun, and a wonderful tradition. We freeze some of the berries, but they tend to never make it that long! Last year we picked 18 lbs.! I highly recommend checking out you pick, it's much cheaper, it's fun to do, and it's good exercise on the quads when you're squatting under the blueberry bushes for a few hours!

For dinner tonight, I made a 3 course meal featuring blueberries: Blueberry Chipotle BBQ Meatballs with Blueberry, Mint and Lemon Quinoa Salad and Mixed Greens Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette.

Here are two other things I've made with blueberries: Blueberry Oat Pancakes, Double Crusted Blueberry Pie.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

SuperFood: Dark Chocolate!

Today's superfood is Dark Chocolate!

Dark Chocolate is a great source of Polyphenols.

It is recommended that you don't eat more than 100 calories worth of dark chocolate daily, and adjust your diet accordingly to compensate for the 100 calories. Make sure it's dark chocolate and not milk or white, because the milk intereferes with the effectiveness of the polyphenols.
Dark chocolate is considered a SuperFood because it contributes to lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow.

When you buy chocoalte, it is important to look at the cocoa solids percentage. Anything 70% and over is what you should shoot for.

This chart from SuperFoods Healthstyle shows some of the polyphenol richest chocolates:
Newman's Own Sweet Dark Chocolate - 955 mg
Dove Silky Dark Chocolate - 811 mg
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Wolf Bar - 811 mg
Cadbury Royal Indulgent Dark Chocolate - 765 mg
Hershey's Special Mildly Sweet Dark Chocolate - 676 mg

As far as cocoa powder, it's best to go with natural cacao rather than Dutch process, which is best for baking because it has been treated to neutralize alkaline, making it stable for baking and such.

Tonight for dinner, I made Chicken Mole, which had a delicious chocolate flavor from natural cocoa powder.

If you look on my blog's chocolate tag, you'll be inundated with baked goods, which aren't exactly healthy... so I tried to find some of the savory/dinner/somewhat healthy chocolate dishes: Vegetarian Cincinnati Chili, Chocolate Oat Pancakes, Figs Filled With Almonds and Chocolate, Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows, Chocolate Sorbet

Saturday, April 4, 2009

SuperFood: Cabbage!

Today's featured SuperFood is Cabbage!
Cabbage is an excellent source of:
  • Folate
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins B, C and E
  • Potassium
  • Beta-Carotine
  • Calcium

Sidekicks: Red Cabbage, Napa Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Bok Choy

Cabbage has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, lower risk for heart disease and stroke, cut risk of cataracts, speed ulcer healing, inprove digestive health and reduce the risk of spina bifida.

Cabbage contains antioxidants which have been shown to reduce the risks especially of stomach, lung and colon cancer. Sauerkraut has especially been shown to improve digestion.

Of all cabbage varities, raw green cabbage contains the most folic acid and antioxidants. I love eating vinegar based slaw salads, or dinner salads bulked up with shredded cabbage. It's a great filler and it's very cheap!

The recipe I made tonight with cabbage is Mu Shu Vegetables.

Here are some other recipes containing cabbage: Jicama and Green Apple Slaw, Lowfat, No Mayo Coleslaw, Baked Eggrolls, Rice Noodle Slaw Salad Bowls, Asian Salad with Chicken Potstickers and Ginger Carrot Dressing, Stuffed Cabbage Stew, German Red Cabbage, Asian Cabbage Toss, Irish Chicken and Bacon with Cabbage

Friday, April 3, 2009

SuperFood: Spinach!

Today's featured SuperFood is Spinach! I absolutely love spinach, it makes a delicious salad when topped with fruits and nuts, and it's great for bulking up pasta dishes. I personally like to buy pre washed, bagged, organic baby spinach because regular spinach in bunches can be very sandy and sometimes tough.
Spinach is a great source of:
  • Beta Carotene
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Polyphenols
  • Potassium
  • Folic Acid

Spinach also has been shown to reduce the risk of cancers, offers antioxidant protection, protects against eye degeneration, anemia prevention, offers cardiovascular disease prevention, and reduces the risk of age related macular degeneration.

Some of spinach's sidekicks are: kale, collared greens, arugula, bok choy, and seaweed.

Spinach is one of the most nutritious foods on earth calorie for calorie. It's popularity has drastically increased, with consumption 5x higher now than in the 1970's. This is mostly because it is widely available in the market pre washed and bagged, as well as frozen and pre chopped.

What makes spinach so important in cancer prevention is its glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid content. These are two critical antioxidants that the body produces naturally, but production slows down as we age. Supnach also contains carotenoids lutein and beta-carotine, which are also important players in the fight against cancer.

Spinach is high in oxalates (an organic chemical that can combine with calcium to form calcium oxalate, an insoluble chemical the body can not use) therefore spinach should not be eaten daily. Twice a week, and preferably raw, is best.

Here is the dinner I made tonight with spinach: Balsamic Veggie Quesadillas

Here are some others I've made: Spinach Chicken Meatballs with Orzo Pasta Salad, Roasted Beet Spinach Salad, Harvest Spinach Salad, Spinach and Sausage Lasagna, Zuppe Toscana, Spinach and Ricotta Crepes, Pear, Spinach and Pecan Rolls, Spinach and Veggie Dip, Baked Saffron Yogurt Rice with Spinach

Thursday, April 2, 2009

SuperFood: Lentils

Today I am blogging about lentils. They fall under the category of beans, but since there are so many types of beans, I'm going to try to hit a few and focus on the individuals rather than beans as a whole.

Lentils are a source of:
  • Low-Fat Protein
  • Fiber
  • Potassium
  • Folic Acid
  • Magnesium

There are many varities of lentils, brown, yellow, red, green, large, small, they're very versatile!

Some Bean/Lentil sidekicks are: String beans, Sugar Snap Peas and Green Peas (my favorite!)

Lentils are a SuperFood because they lower the risk of heart disease, stabilize blood sugar levels, prevent and combat anemia, reduce obesity, and relieve constipation.

Lentils are a great dried bean because when boiled, they cook in only 20 minutes, where most dried beans need to be soaked overnight. Also, red lentils can cook even faster than that. They are featured in many cuisines around the world, and are very inexpensive. They are often considered a better source of protein than animal meat because a cup of lentils provides 17 g. protein and only .75g fat. Lean sirloin contains 7x the fat!

Tonight for dinner, I created a recipe using lentils - Lentil, Barley and Goat Cheese Patties. They are similar to a veggie burger, but I ate them without buns.

Here are some other lentil dishes I've made: Butternut Squash and Prune Khoresh with Lentils, Harira Soup, Sausage and Lentil Stew, Dal Bhat (Nepalese Spiced Lentils), Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

SuperFood: Soy

The first SuperFood I'm going to feature this month is Soy. Though lately I've found some reasons to question soy consumption, with a little more research, I've found more factual information about it; how it should be consumed, the risks associated with it, and how it can be a very healthy superfood!

Soy is a wonderful source of
  • Plant Derived Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin E
  • B Vitamins
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Protein

Some Soy sidekicks are: Tofu, soymilk, soy yogurt, soy nuts, edamame, tempeh and miso

Soy also has been shown to reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, reduce cancer risks, manage diabetes, lower risks for osteoperosis, lower risk of heart disease, ease menopausal symptoms. Soy is very good for you, and 1/2 c. can be consumed daily to get 18-20 g. of protein, or about 40% of most people's daily recommended value.

Now, regarding the cancer/estrogen topic:

Dr. Steven Pratt says, "Soy is perhaps the most misunderstood SuperFood. While its health benefits are undeniable, the controversy surrounding the relationship between soy and breast cancer has obscured the value of this extraordinary food and has made some people nervous about redular soy consumption. I can reassure you that soy is a safe and healthful food when eaten in whole food form. Information about the health effects of soy supplements is less clear, so I advise patients to stick with soy in whole-food form."

All literature I have read suggests that soy in whole food form, helps to reduce risks of cancer. However, so much of the soy consumed by the general public is not in whole food form, it's in processed form and oils, used in so many prepackaged items.

Overall though, soy is most definitely a SuperFood! Just don't forget if you have a family history of breast cancer, you might want to check with your doctor about consumption.

Here is today's featured recipe on my cooking blog: Sweet Pea Ravioli (Vegan, tofu is used in place of cheese and cream)

And here are a few more recipes with soy:

Barley and Edamame with Grapefruit, Summer Rolls, Spicy Thai Coconut Tofu Soup, Sweet and Sour Tofu with Peanut Noodles and Veggies, Vegetable and Tofu Pad Thai, Tofu Lettuce Wraps