Category Archives: Nutrition

Healthy eating, cooking, and food budgeting tips

Tea Poached Apricots

When you think of tea, it’s usually for drinking–whether hot or cold. Well tea is also the perfect poaching liquid for your favorite fruits too! Here’s a quick and easy recipe for Tea Poached Apricots you’ve just got to try! We use WHOLE Bush Tea–our custom-blended tea–but you can use jasmine tea as well with equally tasty results.

Tea Poached Apricots
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 cups water
4 tsp WHOLE Bush or Jasmine Tea
1/3 cup Light Agave Nectar, or honey
8 ripe Apricots
1 cup creme fraiche or vanilla yogurt for garnish

Preparation:
1. In medium saucepan, bring water just to a boil. Add tea; cover and brew 5 minutes. Remove tea. Stir in Agave Nectar  or honey.
2. Meanwhile, thoroughly wash and dry apricots.
3. Add apricots to tea mixture in saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes until fruit is tender, but intact.
4. With a slotted spoon, carefully remove apricots to four serving bowls, 2 per bowl.
5. Raise heat under pot of reserved tea to high, and boil vigorously until tea reduces by half to a syrup.
6. Drizzle tea syrup over apricots, then top with crème fraiche or yogurt. Enjoy!

To order WHOLE Bush Tea visit Marketplace at WeSpeakLoudly.

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Filed under healthy eating, Nutrition, Recipes, WHOLE Kitchen

Eating Your Stress?

My relationship with food is out of control! I certainly was forced to realize this fact on a recent unpleasant meeting with my bathroom scale!

This has been a stressful year, with the death and illness of loved ones, family upheaval, and financial challenges. I live the perfect life for someone who can become a stress eater.  I work from home, and am a pretty good cook. So all day long, I am in close proximity to a fully stocked refrigerator and pantry that calls me away from my office. And I travel a lot too, so I’m often in a position of eating at weird times, and foods that are fast–not healthy. It’s the quintessential recipe (pun intended!) for mindless, stress-induced eating.

It’s amazing how food can morph into the answer to so many of life’s hard questions. Happy? Great! Let’s eat! Depressed or bored? No problem! Comfort is only a bite away! Want to celebrate and show your love to family and friends? Cook a feast of everyone’s favorite foods and gorge yourselves! Stressed out? Relief is just a fork-full away!

Eating equals immediate gratification! Problem is, it’s the aftermath fraught with the extra pounds, self-criticism, embarrassment, and feeling “icky” that can set you up for the endless feedback loop of self-sabotaging behavior.

I’m working to change my relationship with food, and have found a great book that is really helping. It’s called, “Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food” by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. It really is helping me to get a handle on my bad eating habits.

I’m just getting started with it, but I’ve already had an “Aha Moment” in reading it. I understand now that there are many different kinds of hunger–few of which have anything to do with the nutritional needs of our bodies. Our senses, our emotions, our habits all have the ability to trigger eating. Transformative stuff!

I highly recommend this book! Let’s read it together, and share ideas–and support!

Question: What triggers emotional eating for you?

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Filed under Health Topics, Nutrition, Self-Care

Heart Healthy Eggplant–Yum!

Heart-healthy eating means turning up the volume of  fresh fruits and veggies. One great tip I learned about building a nutrient-rich diet is make it colorful! The veggie spectrum from white to yellow to red to orange to deep purple means you’re sure to get the vitamins and minerals that Mother Nature intended for you.

I’m a fiend for eggplant, and love dips. So Baba Ganouch is one of my favorite dishes. It’s easy to make, and oh so WHOLEsome! Try this recipe, and see why I’m so in love!

Baba Ganouch

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
2  large garlic cloves, peeled
½ teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 drops liquid smoke flavoring
Sea salt to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

1.    Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
2.     Tear off a 6-inch square of foil. Place garlic cloves on foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap loosely into a cooking pouch.
3.    Roast the eggplant uncovered and garlic pouch until they are soft, about 20 minutes.  Let the eggplant and garlic cool.
4.    Cut the eggplant into large cubes and place into a food processor. Remove garlic from cooking pouch and add to food processor. Add any remaining olive oil to the food processor, process until smooth, and transfer to a medium bowl.
5.    Add tahini, lemon juice, liquid smoke flavoring and cayenne pepper to the eggplant mixture, and stir until well blended. Add salt to taste.  Garnish with parsley if desired. Serve with pita chips or fresh pita bread. Serves 4.

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No Time For Breakfast? How About Apple Cobbler?

Got a crockpot? Until now, I thought of mine as a great way to prep soups and stews for dinner. But I’ve discovered that my trusty crockpot can cook a wide variety of WHOLEsome breakfast meals too! All you have to do is throw in all the ingredients before you go bed, and you’ll wake to the wonderful smell and yummy taste of a hot breakfast!

I happen to love almost anything apple! Cobblers, crisps, pies–you name it. But I don’t often have time to bake them. No problem! I found this recipe for Apple Cobbler made in the crockpot that is quick and easy to prepare. Here it is!

Crockpot Apple Cobbler
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: Overnight (6 hours)

Ingredients:
* 2 cups peeled, sliced tart apples
* 2 cups granola cereal
* 1 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/4 cup honey
* 2 Tbsp. melted butter

Preparation:
Spray inside of 3-4 quart crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Combine apples, cereal and cinnamon in crockpot and mix well. Stir together honey and butter and drizzle over apple mixture. Mix gently. Cover crockpot and cook on LOW 5-7 hours until apples are tender. Serve this crockpot cobbler with your favorite flavor of yogurt, if desired. 4 servings

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Filed under healthy eating, Nutrition, Recipes

Get On The Ball!

Introducing, the Exercise Ball!

Introducing, the Exercise Ball!

Hello Queens! Glad you made it over to WHOLE Express! This is the first of a new feature series especially for “mature” sistahs 50 and over we’re calling “Fit & Fabulous!” This is the 411 on growing older gracefully, and being your healthiest self. You’ll want to sign-up for an RSS feed on these posts so you won’t miss a word!

It’s Healthy Aging Month— time to get on the ball! I’ve discovered this wonderful, inexpensive, fitness ball and absolutely love it! You can shape up every inch of your body with this ball, and strengthen your core in the process.

Now don’t be intimidated by the size of the model in this picture! Very few of us are that size–myself included! Focus on the ball–it’s well worth checking out. It offers low-impact exercises that will allow you to gently work your way towards the toned, firm frame we’re all capable of creating.

Getting to the Core of the Matter

Now that we’re in our middle years, it’s time to pay special attention to our “Middles.” I don’t know about you, but after birthing a baby, and the stretch of time, my abdominal muscles are pretty loose–how ’bout you? Aside from it being flabby, and creating a “muffin-top” effect in our clothes, loose abdominal muscles can also be a source of back pain and the harbinger of other future health challenges like diabetes and hypertension.

This exercise ball is a great way to get at those hard to isolate upper and lower abdominal muscles by expanding your range of motion as you do sit ups.


Doing sit-ups just got fun–well maybe not fun (how could they be?) but at least more interesting. Sit-ups on this ball (as pictured) offers several distinctively different advantages to those done on the floor:On the Ball!

  • By draping your lower back over the ball, you’re expanding the range of motion far beyond what you can achieve by laying flat;
  • It nestles in the curve of your back, providing full back support at every angle of your sit-up; and
  • Balancing on the ball requires that you engage all the muscles of your lower body and trunk, so it promotes full body firmness!

Just like you see in the picture, doing crunches on the ball is pretty self-explanatory, but here are a few tips:

  1. Start by sitting on the ball with feet firmly planted on the ground shoulder-width apart.
  2. Interlock your fingers and place behind your neck, then slowly raise your upper body in the traditional sit-up.
  3. Be sure to keep elbows level with your ears at all time. Remember, you are raising your upper body with the abdominal muscles, not pulling up through the neck.
  4. Squeeze your booty tight as you raise your upper body to fully engage the muscles of the lower back and upper thigh.

Start by doing 10 (if you can), sit up and rest for a minute. Repeat the sequence twice. That’s it! Get on the Ball!

Questions: How many sit-ups can you do? What goal are you going to set for the number of sit-up you’ll do every day?


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Filed under Exercise, Fit and Fabulous!, Weight Loss

Edamame!

Edamame! A healthy snack!

Edamame! A healthy snack!

Looking for a high-energy snack? Check out one of my favorites–Edamame! Better known as soybeans, these little pods are high in protein, low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Most times, I have a bowl of these green wonders nearby. Shelling them has kept my hands out of the potato chip bag on many occasions! You should try them. They’re quick to make, fun to eat, and easy on the waistline.

You’ll find them in the freezer section of your grocery store, or Trader Joe’s (my favorite store!) if you have one nearby. Can you boil water? That’s all you have to do to fix Edamame. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a large pot with water. Add a generous amount of sea salt–about 2 tablespoons. Cover pot and bring water to a rapid boil.
  2. Remove lid, and add a full bag of frozen Edamame (14 oz.) Set timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Edamame will float to the top when they are cooked. After 5 minutes have elapsed, if all Edamame have not risen to the top, you can add 2 more minutes, but no more! Be sure not to over-cook them!
  4. Place a colander in the sink, and carefully dump the entire pot full of water and Edamame to drain.
  5. Rinse immediately with cold water to shock the Edamame and stop the cooking. This will preserve their firmness and beautiful green color.
  6. Dust with 1 tablespoon of sea salt and shake to distribute evenly.

How to eat Edamame: Feel the little mounds under the skin of the Edamame pod? They are the edible part. To get at these little nugget, gently squeeze the pod and the Edamame will pop right out–usually 2 or 3 beans per pod. They’re frisky little beans, so hold them close to your mouth so they’ll drop right in. Enjoy!

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Filed under Nutrition, Weight Loss

Eat More, Lose More Weight. Really!

For those of us who struggle with our weight, reducing the amount of food we eat is thought of as the key to losing weight. It’s true, to a point. But squeezing down consumption to extremely low portions is unsustainable, and will leave you feeling hungry all the time. That’s not good!

HOW you manage your consumption is the single most influential factor in weight loss. It’s all about what you eat.

Coffee Latte and a cinnamon roll

Coffee Latte and a cinnamon roll

Take breakfast for example. does your typical, breakfast look like this? It might be quick and easy, but what nutritional value does it give you? None! And check out the stats: a whole milk latte can be 180 calories or more, and the cinnamon roll? 400-600 calories! And those decadent cinnabons? 813 calories! So best case scenario is you’re chugging 510 calories, and worst case, 993! And ladies, the classic cinnabon has 32 grams of fat! Beware!

Now check out a healthier alternative. You can have a bowl of whole bran flake cereal

A healthier option!

A healthier option!

with skim milk, a banana, 1/2 english muffin with sugar-free jam, coffee, and orange juice for about 495 calories*! And this whole breakfast has only 2.7 grams of fat.

According to What\’s Cooking America an extra 200 calories a day can add up to 21 extra pounds added to your body every year!

So you choose. Pay attention to how you start your day–and to all your meals. You’ll find that healthier choices will give you more food to fuel you with energy throughout the day.

We’re so hooked on this better eating approach that we’re going to scope out healthier lunch, dinner, and snacking options and break down the stats. So subscribe to an RSS feed to WHOLE Express so you won’t miss out on any good tips.

Question: Do you skip breakfast, or grab in on the fly? What can you do to make a healthier breakfast choice?

*Calorie count are merely estimates, and can vary according to brand and portion sizes.

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Filed under Nutrition, Weight Loss