Saturday March 29, 2014
The World Health Organization has recommended that daily sugar intake should be below 10%
of total caloric intake a day, with 5% being the ideal target. We know that sugar contributes to dental erosion, weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation and obesity. So why are we still consuming it in such large quantities? Despite our best efforts to curb our sugar intake, there are two important factors that are working against us.
Sugar is addictive
. Eating it sets us up to crave even more of it.
Secondly, refined sugar is now a common additive in many processed food products such as breads, condiments, cereals, fruit snacks and frozen foods, just to name a few. It is present in almost every single beverage there is, except for water. How easily we are taking in large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup just from drinking.
We live in a time when most people work full-time, and meal planning and preparation is a luxury that some people can't, or don't afford themselves. While we are more aware than ever of the dangers of sugar consumption, we are challenged by the time required to choose and incorporate fresh, whole foods and healthful ingredients into our meals.
The real solution to this is to learn ways to make food prep easier, and less time consuming, so that we can make more meals ourselves, know what we are eating, and be conscious of our sugar intake. By eating out and/or eating processed, packaged foods regularly, we are sabotaging our best efforts at eating sugar-free and/or sugar-reduced meals.
Arm yourself with a little knowledge. Know how to convert and measure ingredients
so you are better able to make dishes yourself at home. Understand natural alternative sweeteners so you can banish the sugar bowl for good. Learn about a few good substitutes so you can bend a recipe to meet your diet requirements. Knowing the basics of cooking will lead you to eating the way you want to, without having you missing the sweetness of sugar. Set with a little knowledge and the necessary ingredients, you'll be eating out less, and enjoying meals more.
Saturday March 29, 2014
Stop what you're doing and go have a look in your kitchen cupboard or your pantry. What is in there? Are you prepared for sugar-free or sugar-reduced eating? The best way to succeed at any change in your eating is by arming yourself with the right tools. Or in this case, the right foods.
A well stocked pantry means you can reach for the necessary ingredients or substitutions the next time you want to make a yummy sugar-free recipe. And doing this will help you avoid sugary, processed, store-bought snacks.
It's a bit of a commitment to do the shopping and organizing necessary to have a well-stocked pantry, but once you do you'll thank yourself. So what to have on hand? This will differ with taste, but a list of commonly used basic staples
is a good start.
When shopping for these, or other pantry staples, sample a few varieties, open your taste buds to something new and experiment with different brands. Is there room for a new balsamic vinegar, or a natural alternative sweetener you've read about?
This list doesn't include specific ingredients for baking, such as flour. If you are avoiding gluten you may like to have a variety of gluten-free flours on hand such as coconut flour, brown rice flour or almond flour. These are all very good options for gluten-free baking, but often they are often used in combination to create desirable texture and flavor, so having more than one is ideal.
The same goes for alternative natural sweeteners. Liquid stevia is terrific in smoothies and lucuma powder will sweeten a dessert. While they both provide sweetness in place of white sugar, they are best used in different ways. Learn more about alternative sweeteners for sugar-free eating
at its best.
Email me with some of the pantry items that help you stay on track.
Thursday March 27, 2014
I like to think that if you don't like a particular food, you may not have found the way you do like to eat it yet. Cooking methods are transformative. Here is yet another yummy and healthful party dip for your entertaining pleasure. Roasted eggplant dip
is made using only a few ingredients. It can be dressed up with fresh herbs, and served with crudité.
Although less utilized in North America, this wildly popular Mediterranean ingredient is used in various dishes such as baba ganouj, ratatouille and caponata. When choosing eggplant, select one that is glossy and evenly colored. It should feel firm to the touch. Eggplant, like so many other vegetables, are best when fresh and young. They tend to get bitter as they age.
Grilled eggplant take on a mild smoky flavor. To prepare for grilling, salt and thoroughly dry the eggplant. Brush the slices with oil and grill over a medium-hot fire until soft and cooked through. Grill eggplant pieces for about 8 to 10 minutes turning occasionally. Avoid charring it. Eat grilled eggplant slices as part of a grilled vegetable salad, or place it between two slices of crusty Italian bread for a yummy lunch.
When grilling or roasting, it is best to keep the skin on. However, if you find the skin of the eggplant to be especially tough, you can peel, or partially peel the skin of the eggplant prior to slicing it.
How do you like to prepare and eat eggplant? As always, I'm interested to hear about your experiences with new ingredients. Send me an email.
Tuesday March 18, 2014
You may not have a lot in your fridge at the moment, and wondering what to make for your next meal. If you have a few eggs in there, you may have more options
than you know.
Eggs have been called the perfect food. With good reason. They are portable, affordable, easy to prepare, high in protein and as versatile as a food can be.
Don't make the mistake of relegating eggs to breakfast.That would be discounting them as solely a breakfast food, when they are so much more. Fresh, high quality eggs taste good and can be the star of any meal. Dishes like Eggs Benedict, Baked Eggs, Heurvos Rancheros, quiche and omelettes all rely on the humble egg to create something special.
One of the best ways I've enjoyed eggs was in a gratin. This one was prepared with a light puree of mushrooms and an onion and cream sauce. Finished with Swiss cheese and broiled, it was a memorable egg dish, unlike many others.
Eggs are one of those foods that we tend to prepare as they were prepared for us growing up. My Mother has a way of soft boiling eggs, then chopping off the tops with a swift slash of a knife. Then they are broken over cubes of toasted bread. One could call this peasant food but it is one of the tastiest and simplest ways to enjoy this wholesome food.
What's your favorite way to eat eggs? Have a recipe I should try? I'd like to hear from you. Send me an email about your adventures in the kitchen.