Monday, June 17, 2013

Easy Healthy Changes

Recently I've incorporated some healthy foods into my diet, and I'm excited to share them with you all!!  These days there is so much info out there that it's hard to really keep track of it all and incorporate everything that's "Good and healthy" into one's diet so I've decided along with the lemon water which I posted last year to add  a couple of more foods that are easy to consumed on a daily basis or at least a couple of times of in a week !

Starting with this awesome oil I picked up from our very own St.Lawrence Market here in Toronto, it's a rich pumpkin seed oil extracted from the pumpkin seeds that grow high up in the Austrian Mountains.

When I opened the bottle the aroma just hit me, it's so intense but not bitter and it tastes AMAZING! Check out the colour, you'll know it's good for you just by looking at it!

I received a pamphlet with my bottle to read all about the health benefits, and it's absolutely a must for men as well to ward off prostate cancer, so if you have the means to find some of this stuff  please give it a try.

It's a great dipping oil, or you could take a tablespoon before bed as the man from the shop advised me, he claimed you'll never need to take multivitamin again!

(his words not mine, and I'm not telling anyone to stop taking their vitamins!)

UPDATE: Recently I've become aware of the use of hexane (a chemical) which is used to extract oils from seeds and other forms of vegetation.  I contacted the Styrian Gold company to ask about the method of extraction and if hexane is part of the "process" of extracting oils from these Austrian pumpkin seeds. To my surprise they were not able to give me ANY information about the process or if hexane is or isn't used which is a real shame.  I expected one should know the entire process A-Z when it comes to your product and that they would at least have made the trip over to Austria to see what goes on over there however it doesn't seem like they are interested in that so I'm just letting you all know. I'm also not going to be able to continue replenishing my supply and being their customer until they can tell me for sure.

UPDATE: I managed to speak with the owners (lovely couple!) at the Home & Garden show earlier this winter of 2014 and they mentioned their recent visit to Austria and the process of extracting the oil from the seed, which is all done with salt water and pressing, no chemicals (no Hexane, no nothing!) which is such great news for all of us. So go ahead, grab and a bottle and enjoy!

Next up: The walnuts! Rich in omega 3 and one of my all time favourites! I wrote about them in this post here back in Autumn  

Just don't forget to soak them a couple of hours before eating.  If you enjoying having a snack while watching your favourite tv show in the evening then as soon as you wake up set some of these out in a bowl on the counter (I store my walnuts in the freezer) and top them up with some cool water and by evening they'll be ready, just drain and enjoy!  So crunchy, so good!
This one is actually two tips in one, but we'll start with the vibrant olive oil.  Lately I've been learning quite a bit about olive oil from a fabulous local shop that opened up in the GTA (General Toronto Area) by the name of Olive That! They claim to sell the freshest olive oil on earth, it's stored in large stainless steel barrels and you're able to sample all their fresh olives oils before buying (wouldn't an olive oil tasting be a fun thing to do with someone special or a bunch of girl friends?! ) 

Some of the crucial information I've learned about olive oil is that it should be treated more like a juice (juice of an olive fruit) and it has a shelf life of between 6-8 months. It also MUST have a crush date (when the olives were crushed) to understand and estimate the shelf life of the oil, stores are supposed to be able to provide you with all that information and if not then DON'T BUY. 

This really makes me rethink where I'm buying my olive oil and already I've stopped purchasing it from regular supermarkets. 

On to the next healthy food, yogurt or greek yogurt. Studies have shown that consuming yogurt before a meal will prevent fat from being stored in parts of the body (especially the abdomen) - this was mentioned on the Dr.Oz show a while ago.

In our Middle Eastern diet we eat a lot of yogurt already, from breakfast to strained yogurts, as well as a yogurt drink which is just watered down yogurt with a pinch of salt. Perfect accompaniment to the main meal of the day!  

From yogurt to kefir.. in case you're worried about not getting enough probiotic ( like me, always forgetting to take pills and really don't keep track of how much yogurt I'm eating on a regular basis) thankfully there is a solution: Kefir!

I heard that Kefir has 3 X the probiotics of yogurt and taking 1 tbsp a day is all you need.  I bought a container and took a tbsp a day for an entire week, at that point it ran out and now I'm about to pickup my third container next time I'm at the grocery store.

Such an easy tip that has put my mind to rest regarding consuming enough probiotics, and while you're at it give a couple of drops to your pets too (dogs/cats!)

I'm in the process of researching Kefir and even considering purchasing the kefir grain cultures to turn my own milk into kefir, much more economical!  Head over to Cultures of Health if you want to learn more about Kefir and how to make it.

Before reaching for the pasta, or even rice try switching it up with Freeka, it's a Middle Eastern green wheat that has had the husks burned off and this process infuses the grain with a smokey and delicious flavour when cooked.  It's dry, and you can find it almost anywhere now since it's taken off so well over the last year! 

We talk a lot about quinoa too here, and I've incorporated buckwheat flour as well as spelt and even kamut flour into my pantry so far.  
Spelt flour is fabulous in cookies and breads and the other day I threw 1/3 cup of kamut flour into my regular  pancake recipe, it was great! 

We all know all about the health benefits of fish, and unfortunately those of us who don't live near the ocean or have access to fresh clean fish don't always meet our dietary requirements (I'm very guilty of that) 

Growing up we ate fish on a regular basis, it was a family affair where we all sat together picking the flesh from the bone and constantly being reminded by our parents to "Be careful of the small bones". When our tummies were full of the delicious fish everyone had to wash up really well or else our hands would smell fishy for the rest of the week! At the end of the ritual my mother would bring out a tall glass bottle of a lemon "cologne" that my father used to buy from his trips abroad and we'd all line up to get a couple of drops sprinkled on our palms which we'd rub vigorously together. 

Here in Canada fish was almost always frozen, and very expensive. Luckily there are options though, since most people prefer the nice convenient fillets whole fishes or lesser favored options like mackerel and sardines were decently priced and that's what we bought from time to time. 

So my last tip is to eat more fish, more of those healthy oily fishes (try to avoid anything with a high mercury level) and since we're all living in a time now when our oceans are unstable please try to seek sustainable options. 

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing about these foods. 

No comments: