Super Savory (and Healthy) Spinach Dish

We all know that eating leafy greens is beneficial for our bodies, but did you know that spinach has been documented as a strong combatant against both ovarian and prostate cancers? According to the Journal of Nutrition, a carotenoid (the pigment that gives produce its color) in spinach has been shown to fight prostate cancer by dramatically destroying cancer cells. Similarly, a flavonoid (yet another type of pigment) found in spinach has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Spinach has also been shown to improve cardiovascular, joint and gastrointestinal health as well. What’s more, it’s a good source of fiber and low in calories, so eat up!

Add it into anything
Throw a handful or two of spinach into the following entrées or side dishes and you will be pleasantly surprised:
• Substitute spinach for lettuce on sandwiches or salads
• Add a bag of fresh baby spinach to a chicken stir-fry
• Coarsely chop a cup of spinach and add it to a frittata or omelet
• Sprinkle on top of your favorite homemade pizza
• Simply steam on top the stove and toss with a little olive oil and sea salt

Savory Sautéed Spinach
3 strips turkey bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces widthwise
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bags of baby spinach
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Dash of sea salt

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove spinach and set aside. Add garlic and cook over heat for one minute. Slowly begin to add spinach. As the spinach begins to wilt in the heat, add a little more until all of the spinach has been added to the skillet. Remove from heat and toss in bacon, then vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Serves: 4. Enjoy!

A Simple, Quick and Healthy Meal For Winter

When I was a little girl, going out to eat was one of my favorite things to do with my family. We really didn’t go to restaurants very often, and I never understood why until I had kids. I am the oldest of four, and can sympathize a little better with the debacle my parents had to deal with in simply getting us out of the house, into the car, waiting for a table, sitting at a table, waiting for food and praying that the tantrums didn’t get too loud through the meal…and that was probably just the tip of the iceberg,

Now that I’m an adult with two “spirited” little girls, trips to restaurants are few and far between. I’m sure things will get easier after my two-year-old realizes that there is a very good reason why her mommy and daddy took her knife away before she could use it, or after my four-year-old understands that talking the ear off of every man, woman and child within eye shot isn’t exactly polite.

That said, my kids are pretty good, but I do prefer to cook at home most of the time for reasons of nutrition – and that will always be the bottom line.

Here is an easy, yet wholesome recipe that I enjoy and has been a home run with my kids’ taste buds, too! Oh, and I’ll be taking a page out of Sandra Lee’s book, turning this bad boy semi-homemade.

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Bolognese
Spaghetti squash is a really great vegetable to cook with, and serves as a great alternative to pasta. Here is what you need:

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 lb Lean Ground Turkey
1 Jar of Muir Glen Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce (I like Muir Glen, but suit yourself to what you like)
1 tbsp Coconut Oil (Don’t have coconut oil? You should! Feel free to use olive oil as an alternative)
1 tsp minced garlic
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 375. Fill a 9 x 13 pan with just under and inch of water. Set aside. Cut spaghetti squash in half, length-wise, and seed. Pierce the flesh with a fork a couple times. Place the squash face-down in pan and put in the oven for 40 minutes.

Brown the ground turkey over medium heat, then add the garlic. As a side note, the health benefits of garlic are greater with it hasn’t been roasted or fried. Add the jar of pasta sauce. Cover and let simmer over low heat.

After 40 minutes, check the squash. You’ll know it’s done when you can easily stick a fork or knife through the flesh. When it’s done, remove water from pan and turn squash over. Taking a fork or spoon, scrape the squash into a bowl. It should easily fall out – resembling spaghetti. Add coconut oil to the squash and toss until the oil melts. Coconut oil solidifies in cold weather, but melts quickly at warm temps. Add sea salt to flavor.

By now your bolognese sauce should be done. Serve the sauce over the squash and enjoy!

5 Tips to Look Young, Stay Lean and Keep Strong Bones

1. Your Body’s Very Own Human Growth Hormone (hGH) is greatly regulated by three things: sleep, exercise and diet.

If you’re sleeping five hours a night or less, eating nothing but frozen meals and getting very little exercise, you’re missing all the benefits of human growth hormone.
These benefits include:

  • increased energy
  • increased fat metabolism
  • improved bone density
  • faster post-exercise muscle recovery
  • improved immune system function…and many more.

2. Exercise + Vitamin D = Better Bones You may be a spring chicken now, but don’t take your bone health for granted. Regular exercise and a diet rich in vitamin D are two of the best things you can do to prevent looming hip fractures and brittle bones! According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, by the end of this year, about 12 million people over the age of 50 are expected to have osteoporosis and another 40 million to have low bone mass. By 2020, it is expected to increase to 14 million cases of osteoporosis and over 47 million cases of low bone mass.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, which means its best absorbed with fat. Where can you get vitamin D?

  • Cod liver oil (Yep, I know it sounds gross, but it’s just oil. My entire family has been taking a tsp every morning for over five years. It’s the BEST source of vit D)
  • Salmon (Naturally contains fat, so you don’t have to pair it with anything else)
  • Eggs yolks (Eat your eggs – they’re really good for you. Hard boil them, stash them in the fridge and eat them as a snack with some vegetables.
  • Fortified foods. When a food has been fortified with vitamin D, it’s been pumped in at the back end. Not quite as healthy, but if you get it this way, at least make sure it’s not fat free or it won’t be absorbed.  These foods include cereals, yogurt, milk, orange juice. Most of these are high in sugar. I don’t like to “push” anything, but becaus
    vitamin D is so important, I will push cod liver oil.
  • Supplements. Technically, cod liver oil is a supplement. You can also buy vitamin D in capsule form. This is fine. Again, take with a form of fat, like string cheese or a small handful of almonds so it’s absorbed.

3. Muscle Loss of Up to 1% per Year
It’s estimated that up to 1% of muscle every year affects the general population over the age of 25. Exercise has more than obvious positive effects in slowing this trend in muscle loss. Needless to say, regular moderate exercise has a type of panacea effect on the human body. Keep in mind, exercises that have shown to make marked improvement range from tai chi to triathlon. You decide what works best for you and your lifestyle. After you decide, do it – and don’t wait. Great ways to build strength include:

  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Strength Training
  • Pilates
  • the list goes on and on

4. Some of the Best Calories Come from Fats
Our society still gravitates to all things fat-free, believing them to be better. OK, maybe not you – but probably a lot of the people you know. More important than anything is the QUALITY of fat we eat. Healthy fats give us energy, help our brains function better and help our bodies absorb vitamins (including the much-needed vitamin D) among many other benefits.Sources of healthy fats include:

  • olive oils
  • avocados
  • raw nuts
  • coconuts oil
  • eggs

5. Stay Looking Younger Longer
We’ve already established that an unrefined diet, exercise and sleep regulate human growth hormone (one factor that keeps us young), but when these three components are in sync, they help to detoxify our system (via sweat, digestion and restoration) which keeps us rejuvenated from the inside out – and I mean literally. Going on an occasional “soft detox” (eliminated all sugar, alcohol and refined foods) can do wonders. Detoxes don’t have to be expensive or painful. Get creative with what you want to do. Here are a couple suggestions:

  • Eliminate all gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oat-containing foods) for one week. See how you feel. Pay close attention to any aches that may have diminished.
  • Eliminate all alcohol for two weeks (Did you lose a pound or two? Probably.)
  • Eliminate all refined carbs for a week. (This is a toughie, but you can do it. Cereals, breads, pastas, cookies, candy, etc….gone!)

 

If you’re not connecting with me yet on Facebook, stop by sometime, I’d love to see you there!