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Drunk In Love!

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This week’s blog is dedicated to the throwback… you know – our favorite hashtag – #TBT. I know its not Thursday, but I’m just different, so today #TBT stands for throwback Tuesday. Stay with me now! So one of my good friend and graduate school cohorts, Eric Meisner, has a super cool blog dedicated to all things old fashioned, in other words, the throwback. Last week he talked about throwback eats and classic comfort foods. He threw me off with the pork chops and applesauce, but but I digress. His post made me reflect back to my childhood and all of the yummy eats (and drinks) that I had the privilege of devouring…

Growing up, I was such a picky eater, and oddly enough the things I enjoyed were very odd. Among many of my favorites were the 25¢ cartons of Jungle Juice, (lemonade flavor of course) or anything for that matter that I could afford to buy in multiples at the Bodega for under $1.00. Don’t judge me, times were hard in the 80’s. Nothing compared however to my all time favorite – Coconut flavored Yoo-Hoo. My mommy used to by them for me by the 6-pack and on a good day I would have both coconut and strawberry flavored milk… ahhhh the good ole days! Those days are long gone and so are the makings of Coconut flavored Yoo-Hoo. Moment of silence for all the flavored milks that are no longer with us…

Note: two thumbs down to the Yoo-Hoo people who decided it was a good idea to leave coconut out of the official Yoo-Hoo history & storyline. Never fail though, I found this cool 15 second video memorial for #TBT fans

 

The other day I was making my own milk and thought: I wonder what would happened if I tried to flavor this myself. Not only would it be healthier than the good ole 80’s concoctions of yesteryear, but also the possibility that it might not taste half bad spurred me to action. Yes folks, I made fruit flavored milk and it was amazeballs! Granted it’s no Coconut Yoo-Hoo, but it’ll do for now… that is until this petition to bring the original back to shelves is passed through congress.

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Ingredients:

  • Cashews
  • Dates (pitted)
  • Filtered water
  • Coconut butter
  • Organic Strawberries (or whatever berry you prefer – I used blueberry in the jar on the right)

Are you interested in helping to revive the 8th wonder of the world? Cool I knew you would be.  Click here (using your Facebook or Twitter account of course) to sign the petition Love you, mean it 🙂

 

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Run, Eat, Repeat!

So here we are at another running season and I’m still a fatty and my minute per mile run time is so slow, I might as well be walking. I’ve been running for over 10 years so what’s the problem you ask… I’m greedy! It’s really that simple. With the amount of knowledge and experience that I have collectively about nutrition and running in my brain, I should be an Olympic Gold medalist at this point in life. The unfortunate thing for me is that I eat way more than I run, and the things I eat are generally detrimental to my running… the struggle continues! *sigh*

This season I’ve decided to run with a run coach because the “let’s wing this sh*t and hope for a personal record” approach just isn’t working. Also, starting tomorrow (right after I get through this last box of Cheez-Its), I’m deciding I should probably up my nutrition game. To get a jumpstart on this, I recently had a chat with my runner friend Alli to not only share my thoughts on nutrition and running, but also to pick her brain regarding her approach to running and nutrition. Here’s an excerpt of that fab conversation:

Alli: If you run first thing in the morning, do you find that it’s better to run on an empty stomach or eat something before beginning your run?

Nekesha: For me, I find that it’s better to run in the late afternoons. However as the temps rise in the summer months, early mornings are more achievable. If I’m opting for early morning run or race, I typically don’t eat (if running 3-4 miles or less). If its a longer run, I suggest eating something small (i.e. banana, LäraBar, etc.) at least 30-45mins prior to the run to allow for proper digestion.

Nekesha: What about you, do you prefer/recommend morning workouts and if so what are your suggestions as it relates to early morning runs/workouts? How does the climate in the North affect your decision?

Alli: I prefer evening runs, after the workday is over. Running always seems to clear my head and gets rid of all the stress that occurred in the day. I find that I can relax and enjoy the rest of my evening after a good run. However, in the summer months, I do make an effort to go out for early morning runs, due to the temperature (just like you noted). I can’t stand the humidity, so I will make myself get up and go out for a 6am run a few times a week during the summer. BUT, this really only occurs in the summer, since it’s very difficult for me to drag myself out of bed that early! And just like you, I don’t typically eat anything before a shorter run. But if I’m going to do 5 miles or more, I’ll often eat a Nutri-Grain bar about an hour or so before I run.

Alli: Is there a particular food that you like to eat before running that provides you with sustained energy during your run?

Nekesha: I try to stay away from sugary foods and carbs because contrary to popular belief; those things can make you quite sluggish. I know its been said that carb loading before a long run or race is advised but the truth is, for carbs to replenish glycogen stores and give you energy, you would need to eat them at least a week before the run. Therefore eating them the night before or morning of probably does you more harm then good. Here’s two articles that talks more about that:

Nekesha: What about you, is there a particular food you like to eat before running?

Alli: Since I often run in the evening, I’ll usually eat a granola bar while still at work around 4:30 or 5pm. Since my commute is about an hour, I don’t usually get to run till around 7pm. This gives me plenty of time to digest the bar and it gives me some energy to get through the run. I agree about staying away from those sugary foods – they may make you feel great at first, but as you get into your run, you’ll start to feel sluggish and tired.

Alli: Do you notice a difference in your running based on your diet? For example, consuming a high-fat diet versus a diet lower in fat?

Nekesha: Absolutely YES! Currently my diet is in shambles. I eat whatever I want and my running has been adversely affected as a result. That old saying: You are what you eat is so true. If you eat nachos and doughnuts, you feel like a big fat doughnut while out running… and that’s if you even have the energy to go run after consuming all that bread and sugar. A balanced diet of all 3 macronutrients (good carbs, good fat, protein) is what I always recommend for optimal performance. Perhaps one of these days I’ll take some of my own advice!

Nekesha: Alli, what are your suggestions for new runners or runners looking to return to the sport as it pertains to diet and have you noticed that changes in diet have positively/negatively affected your run performance?

Alli: A well-balanced diet is a must for any runner – whether new to the sport or not! Have you ever tried working out while your hung-over? It’s terrible! Why? Because your body isn’t properly nourished. One tip that is easy to follow is to stay hydrated. I fill up a huge cup at work and drink water throughout the day. I also take a general women’s multi-vitamin, to help fuel my body with all the proper nutrients. And finally, yes, I try to eat a somewhat healthy diet, consisting of a lot of lean protein like chicken to provide me with sustained energy. I found a great book on Scribd: 100 questions about sports, nutrition and exercise [by William Carlos Butler]. It addresses a lot of topics, including the timing of meals and snacks as it relates to exercise and information on vitamins and minerals for an athlete’s diet.

Nekesha: Wow and its a FREE book too #Winning. Thanks Alli for the conversation and reference materials. Hopefully something we’ve said will help our readers (and myself) to get up, get out, and get running… and eating better!

For more info on Alli’s running antics, click HERE to visit her blog.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Food, Marist IMC, Running

 

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Healthy Doesn’t Have to Hurt… The Pockets

So the great recession has subsided but the unemployment rate in the United States is still holding steady at 7.3%. This means that over 20 million people in this country are still unemployed… T.W.E.N.T.Y million people! This got me to thinking about all the things I take for granted, like the ability to even eat healthy. Some 20+/- million people don’t even have that option because lets face it; healthier options are generally more expensive than the non-healthy alternative. For example McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese meal (includes fries and large drink) cost a mere $5.49 and if you’re feeling fancy, you can opt for a deluxe quarter pounder meal for a whopping $5.79. Now considering that The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams (mg) per day, and the deluxe quarter pounder alone (not including the fries and 2-3 other meals per day that you still have to eat), has 1280mg of sodium by itself, now what? Paging Dr. Oz!

On the flip side of the equation, the only thing $6.00 is going to get you in a typical grocery store is 1 pineapple ($4.99) and some mushrooms ($1.99)…Yum! And there’s still that little thing called tax, ok so forget about the mushrooms 😦 . So now what’s a normal non-culinary chef trained person who can make something spectacular out of pineapple and mushroom to do?

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That got me to thinking about how to eat healthier on a budget. There are several ways that I know to do this and this week I wanted to share some alternatives that have worked for me:

1.) Trader Joe’s is your friend: This isn’t to say that there aren’t a ton of other grocery store options but I’m particularly a fan of this chain because:

  • They offer an array of antibiotic-free meat and poultry
  • Their products are sourced from Non-GMO ingredients
  • TJ’s buys direct from suppliers whenever possible; this results in direct savings passed onto the customer. Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices for the customer, so TJ’s decided not to even bother with that.
  • Last but not least, my favorite: TJ’s has its own snazzy iPhone app #winning

2.) Buy frozen: Frozen fruits and veggies often are half the price of fresh, in some cases have an infinite shelf life when kept in freezer, and you can buy in bulk to get more of a discount.

  • Also because time is money, buying frozen is great because the produce is usually pre-washed and pre-cut, which saves preparation time.

3.) Buy generic: I like Kellogg’s frosted flakes as much as the next person and I know you get what you pay for but in the spirit of eating to live instead of living to eat, raw foods like rice, pasta, eggs, milk, etc. most times taste just like branded foods once you get used to them, and buying store brand will save you money on packaging and advertising.

4.) Go Local: Try a local farmers market, pick your own farm, farm sharing service or food co-operative

5.) Choose wisely: Many stores have websites that allow you to see what’s in stock and on sale. Take advantage of the Internet to find what’s on sale/special this week. Also other websites like the Food Network offers a myriad of suggestions (i.e. Healthy Foods Under $3) pertaining to buying healthier food alternatives.

I’m sure there are other guaranteed ways to eat healthy on a tight budget. If you’re reading this, do you have any healthy eating on a budget tips that you use? if so please let us know…after all sharing is caring 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Food, Marist IMC

 

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Got Milk? Don’t Believe the Hype

Word on the street is that “milk does a body good,” but did that ad campaign specifically say it should or had to be cow’s milk? Perhaps it was implied, but I’m of the opinion and research shows that:

  • Cows milk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… and besides, shouldn’t cow’s milk be consumed by baby cows?
  • After a human mother has finished nursing her baby, something odd happens — a cow takes over! Why is that? This makes us the only mammal on earth that consumes milk in their adulthood, and as a matter of fact, we are the only species that consumes the milk of other species.  *insert blank stare*

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I know what you’re thinking, here’s yet another super healthy, PETA loving, eco-conscious weirdo trying to tell us that something we grew up on is quite possibly dangerous. On the contrary, I’m by no means employed by the Healthy Police, and my membership in the, “make everyone go vegan or die” club, expired ages ago. My philosophy: If you like it, I love it! But as somewhat of a health food blogger, I like sharing the reasons why I’ve chosen a specific lifestyle or eating regimen, and for those looking for alternatives, it’s my hope that my blog or Pinterest pages can/will provide those suggestions.

So back to the cows… there have been many articles written about the fact that human beings are not designed to drink any milk except human milk. Additionally, not only is consuming dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream) not healthy for humans, its not all that fun for poor Mrs. Cow either. Here are just 6 of the myriads of reasons I found why we should eliminate or at least reduce the consumption of dairy:

  1. Cows produce milk for the same reason humans do―to nourish their young, so for ever gallon of milk in your grocers freezer, there’s a calf in a pasteur somewhere thirsty as hell.1
  2. When not on a factory farm (producing milk for other people’s children), cows can live to be 20 years old, but cows used for milk are usually slaughtered for low-grade hamburger meat when they’re around 4 years old.1
  3. There are 9 million cows living on dairy farms in the United States. They spend most of their lives in large sheds or on feces-filled mud lots, where disease is rampant.2
  4. Prominent medical doctors now claim that dairy consumption is a contributing factor in nearly two dozen diseases and ailments in children and adults (i.e. iron deficiency anemia, allergies, diarrhea, heart disease, colic, cramps, gastrointestinal bleeding, sinusitis, skin rashes, acne, increased frequency of cold and flus, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, etc.).3
  5. If for whatever reason, you still want to consume cow’s milk, you should know that after pasteurization and homogenization, most of the nutrients and benefits of milk are destroyed.4
  6. Contrary to popular belief, drinking cow’s milk is nutrition-less due to modern farming methods. There is evidence to prove that nearly all cows (unless raised by you or a farm you know well) are full of toxins, pesticides, antibiotics, bacteria, and hormones.4

Ok I know what you’re thinking now, so where am I supposed to get my calcium from now that you’ve thoroughly grossed me out and scared me milk-less? Don’t fret; there are tons of alternatives (i.e. almond, coconut, cashew milk) that have all the calcium you need. I don’t suggest the boxed, overly processed variety of these milks either. Recently I’ve begun making my own milk and it’s easy as 1-2-3; processing time takes less than 10 minutes.

Here’s a picture of my process using sunflower seeds. Note I’ve started using a simple strainer instead of squeezing liquid through a nut milk bag (noted in the video below) and it works perfectly:

ImageHere is a “how to” video link by Chef Joy. She shows you two super simple ways that you can make Almond milk. You can use her process with any nut/seed you prefer.

Cartoon Photo Courtesy of Natural News

6 Reasons Courtesy of:

  1. http://www.peta.org/features/dairy-industry-cruelty/
  2. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/facts/environmental-health-reasons-dairy.htm
  3. http://www.waoy.org/9.html
  4. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/is-cows-milk-meant-for-human-consumption-part-1/
 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Food, Juicing, Marist IMC, Paleo, Whole30

 

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Nekeesh’s Quiche

It’s been a long time, shouldn’t have left you..

I woke up this morning with the “fail to plan then plan to fail” mindset and decided to make breakfast for the rest of the week. I wanted to have a good dose of protein and carbs all in one so I decided on a quiche. Fancy huh? Not so much…it’s actually the easiest thing I’ve ever made in life and only takes about 10mins (or less) to prep and 30mins to bake. Here’s the info:

INGREDIENTS
▶1cup pre steamed or sautéed shrimp
▶1 cup (approx) Broccoli Florets
▶1/2 bag of Trader Joes Sundried Tomatoes (only $1.99 in store)
▶12 large Egg Whites or 1.5carton of “All Whites” Egg Whites
▶Mrs. Dash, Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute or whatever you usually season your eggs with

DIRECTIONS
▶Dice shrimp & broccoli
▶Line oiled cake pan, round glass casserole dish or muffin tins with broken broccoli florets, diced shrimp and tomatoes
▶Pour egg whites and seasoning over everything
▶Bake on 350 for 40-45 minutes or until eggs are baked all the way through.

You can add just about anything you’d like to this recipe to make it to your liking. Some suggestions are pre-cooked ground beef/turkey, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc.

(bottom picture is lined pan before adding egg whites)

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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Food

 

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TGIF – Chicken Apple Meatballs

TGIF Followers!
One of my favorite things in life is chicken-apple sausage. However traditional sausage is usually very processed and full of preservatives and other things that quite possibly might be the reason why children these days have Triple-D boobs at the age of 9. I decided to try making something similar without all the crap. I chose cupcake sized meatballs because i’m not in any sort of denial about how greedy I am, therefore I need pre-fixed portions of food…even the “good for you” food. These easy meatballs provide the perfect portion-controlled balance of sweet and savory. This is an experiment and my first time making these so lets pause briefly for a prayer that they turn out ok…

FYI I used a combination of 1/2lb of 98% fat free ground chicken and 1/2lb of ground turkey. You can use which ever meat your heart desires (beef, pork, bison, etc.)

Ingredients
▶Extra virgin olive oil for spray
▶1/2 lb ground chicken
▶1/2 lb ground turkey
▶1 large or 2 small red apple (peeled and diced finely)
▶Medium onion, diced finely (about 1/4 cup diced)
▶2 garlic cloves, minced Pantry
▶1 egg, lightly-beaten
▶1/4 cup almond meal
▶1 tbsp honey
▶3/4-1tsp each of: garlic powder, jamaican jerk blend, cayenne pepper, Trader Joes 21seasoning salute & fine herbs from Savory Spice

▶(Note: Season to your likeness, the above are just my faves…you perhaps can you use simple sea salt and pepper if you prefer)

Directions
▶Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

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▶Preheat oven to 375 degrees
▶Lightly spray cupcake tins
▶Form mixture into meatballs w/your hands or use ice cream scooper

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▶Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until meatballs are lightly-browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

Perfect as a breakfast side with eggs & Paleo oatmeal or lunch with mashed sweet Potatos

Side Note: I’m thinking it will be a good idea next time to brown on the stove-top before baking in the oven…hmmmm

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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Food

 

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K.I.S.S

For the most part I’m a pretty simple chick. You can usually catch me in Jeans and a white tee, with the most simplest of jewelry, no make-up and no fancy condiments on my food or ice in my water. Simple!

Embarking on any new diet or life changing journey can be quite overwhelming. Just deciding what I would eat this week and which store to get all this healthy food from without going poor was quite the feat. What I’m learning is that not all of your food and preparation need to be as difficult as Chinese arithmetic. I mean if you like spending 2 hours in the kitchen making fancy grain free pancakes, quiche, and sugar free muffins, have at it; but me, myself and I keeps it simple.

There are tons of simple Paleo offerings for meals, especially breakfast–the most important meal of the day. I can appreciate anything that takes a few moments to shop for and even less time to prepare. If you’ve decided to embark on this or any new journey, my advice is to embrace the challenge with a K.I.S.S ~~> keep it simple stupid 🙂

I did so with a breakfast this week that consisted of simple egg white muffins and cold pressed green tea (see tomorrows post for my green tea potion and simple preparation). I prepare the muffins on Sunday and they last all week. I prepare the green tea every night and its ready to go in the a.m.

Egg White Muffins:
▶Sautéed shrimp (cooked just enough to remove the excess water)
▶Sun dried tomatoes
▶Or any other ingredients you would like in an omlette.
▶Trader Joes 21 Season Salute (or preferred flavors of Mrs Dash)

Some other suggestions are:
▶Ground beef
▶Turkey burger
▶Shredded chicken
▶Mushrooms
▶Onions
▶Spinach

Directions:
▶Lightly coat muffin tins with olive oil spray
▶Fill each slot with veggies/meat and egg whites (carton egg whites or egg beaters will do…or you can use beaten whole eggs)
▶Make sure each slot is no more than 3/4 of the way full so they don’t boil over
▶Bake 20-25minutes at 350 degrees. Use a toothpick to ensure they are done all the way through before removing.

As you can tell by the recipe above, I’m not related in any way to Barefoot Contessa or Martha Stewart…told you, Im simple! So I’ve taken the liberty of looking up another recipe for you that’s inclusive of all the fancy measurements and every step you’ll ever need to make some simple egg (white) muffins. 🙂 Click the link below

Paleo Egg Muffins from Paleo Spirit

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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Food

 

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