Antioxidants = Pigments of Color

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Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Experts believe that damage to our cells play a huge part in a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), arthritis, and many more. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables can play a major role in fighting off this damage to our cells and keeping our immune system strong.

As my journey continues through The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I continue to see the incredible value that fruits and vegetables have on one’s health and wellness. To put it simply – incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet as much as you can, as often as you can – it’s a no brainer. The health benefits are irreplaceable.

Generally speaking, the more colorful the fruit or vegetable is, the more antioxidants it contains. A few of the major antioxidants are beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. Below you will find a list of specific fruits and vegetables that contain these powerful antioxidants.

Beta-carotene and other carotenoids: Apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnip and collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon

Vitamin C: Berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, orange, papaya, red, green or yellow peppers, snow peas, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes

Vitamin E: Broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds

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Kale Chips Kraze!

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It’s true…kale has become one of the most talked about leafy greens within the last year, rightfully so, because of the incredible health benefits it contains.

Kale is a vegetable that is dynamic and can be eaten raw, steamed, cooked and even baked – which is my favorite! Kale is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol. It is especially high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C and Vitamin A, providing you with at least 100% of your daily intake in just 1 cup of kale chips.

This past weekend I bought a HUGE bushel of kale from the local market and literally debated in my head what I should do with all of this kale. I am not a big fan of eating raw kale unless I put it in my smoothie so I decided to whip up some kale chips, which to my surprise were a huge hit so I wanted to share with you all how to make them and keep them in the house for an easy, healthy snack — a great alternative to potato chips too!

How to prepare Kale Chips:
Ingredients
• 1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Sea salt or garlic salt, for sprinkling
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.
Variations include adding soy and sesame seeds OR adding a bit of parmesan cheese for a bit of a cheesy flavor.
Cheers to Mindful, Healthy Living!

food anxietyFeeling anxious about something? Instead of reaching for those chips or cookies try going for a walk, maybe hit the gym with some friends or even just do some yoga stretches to relax the body and the mind. Exercising will release endorphins which are natural occurring chemicals in the brain that release a “feel good” feeling, typically known for reducing anxiety and stress. Re-evaluate the situation before turning to food. Be mindful.❤

Food for Thought – Primary vs. Secondary Foods

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A lot of what we have been learning at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition has been very eye opening and educational for me.  This being said, everything I have learned thus far has been incredibly exciting but one of the most powerful concepts that has stuck with me and I feel is a very important concept to share is the difference between Primary and Secondary Foods.

What are Primary and Secondary Foods? 

Primary foods become what surrounds us and makes us who we are; specifically, our relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality.  When one of these is out of whack or just plain stinky at the time, it can throw our entire emotional well being off, ultimately disrupting our plans to maintain a healthy, well balanced lifestyle.

Secondary foods become the food we eat on our plates that nourish our body.  When our primary foods are balanced, the secondary foods become, well, secondary and we don’t eat because we are stressed, bored or just sad, we eat because our body requires the nourishment.  This makes perfect sense to me knowing the effects that my primary foods can have on my health and well-being and eventually my secondary foods. 

For example, from 2010-2011, I went through a period of time where I felt that my life was misplaced. I was in a long distance relationship debating for over a year whether or not to move and change my career and leave my family and friends.  I also had a job that was extremely stressful and taxing. It was an incredibly overwhelming and exhausting time for me.  I ate fast food once a day, went out with my friends on the weekends overindulging on adult beverages, half assed my workouts because I didn’t have the motivation to get a good sweat going and ultimately felt incredibly defeated at the end of the day. 

It was a never ending cycle, until one day I woke up.  I decided to do something for myself and change my life for the better.  I had no idea the happiness it would bring to me at the time but I decided to take a chance as I knew something needed to change.  I made the decision to pick up and move closer to my boyfriend.  I found a job that was a positive move in my career, I found happiness and contentment living in the same city with the person I loved and knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I continued to develop and grow my relationships with my family and friends despite the distance and I worked on creating a healthy balance between everything I know now as “primary foods”.  I can happily say that I finally feel that I am on the right path to a happier and healthier me.  INN has taught me so much over the past several months, one being that primary foods certainly make a difference!

I challenge you to take this time to reflect on your primary foods and see what areas you can improve on.  Your health and happiness will naturally fall into place.  The nutrition aspect is a work in progress but as a Health Coach in training, I am confident myself or another Health Coach you feel comfortable with will guide you and teach you the fundamentals of nutrition that work best for your body, creating a healthier, happier YOU!  

Here are a few ways to reflect and work on balancing out your primary foods:

1)      Allow yourself to evaluate your relationships.  Is there an area that needs attention, perhaps a friendship that needs repair?

2)      Is your job stressful and leaving you feeling anxious when you try to sleep at night?  It may be time to re-evaluate and see if there is another option for you within the same field/company.  Talk to your manager and communicate how you are feeling. It may just be as simple as getting up from your desk and taking a few 10 minute walks throughout the day to relax. 

3)      Have you been out of the “work-out” routine for so long and can’t seem to be inspired to get back in it?  Start slow, do a few things here and there to get your heart rate elevated.  Keep a log of your activity each day and document how you feel.  Read fitness blogs, magazines, talk to other fitness gurus in your office – get inspired!

4)      Spirituality – this is always a touchy subject for me as I feel that this topic is very personal.  Keep on doing what you’re doing and consider exploring if you feel so inclined. 🙂 

Cheers to Mindful, Healthy Living!!

Chicken “Fried” Rice!

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Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Here’s what I will be making for dinner tonight, a recipe that is packed full of nutrients and tastes so delicious. It can be easily modified as well for those following a vegan diet. Makes a great entrée!

Ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil if you prefer)
• ½ onion, peeled and diced
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 1-2 egg(s), beaten (optional for vegan diet)
• ½ zucchini, diced*
• ½ cup of green peppers, diced*
• ½ cup of red peppers, diced*
• ½ cup of button mushrooms, sliced*
• 2 cups cooked long grain brown rice
• 3 tablespoons shoyu**
• 1/3 cup of water
• sea salt to taste
• ½ pound of chicken or tofu, chopped (optional for vegan diet)
• 2 scallions, minced

*You can use any array of vegetables you would like (other options that taste well are peas, broccoli, corn, etc).
** Shoyu is a dark brown soy sauce made from soybeans that have been naturally fermented; contains wheat. This can be found in most grocery stores.

Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onion and garlic for approximately 2-3 minutes. Add in remaining vegetables and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add egg and mix until cooked. Add sea salt for taste. Add cooked rice, shoyu and water to pan mixture. Cover and steam for 3-4 minutes. Garnish with scallions.

Cheers to healthy cooking!

Sunday Morning Omelet with a few Anti-Inflammatory Sides!

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Omelets are an excellent way to incorporate vegetables in your morning meal.  I use anything from tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, green and red peppers, and maybe a tiny bit of cheese if your digestive system can handle it ;).

I typically do 1 full egg and 1 egg white to cut down on the saturated fat from the yolk.  I then, chop up all my vegetables and place them in a small pan with a tsp. of olive oil and sauté for a few minutes.  I whisk my eggs and the tiny bit of cheese mixture together and add to the veggie mix.  Cook on medium to low until most of your egg mixture is not runny and then with a spatula flip over and cook ~1 min and then fold over like an omelet.  Voila!  Delicious and nutritious breakfast for any morning!

I also add some blueberries, which are an anti-inflammatory food for those of you who have autoimmune diseases and have some silent (internal) inflammation.  Blueberries are good for my Hashimoto’s to reduce any internal inflammation.  I also added a Food for Life, Gluten Free, english muffin.  Why Gluten Free?  Products that contain gluten can also have an inflammatory response, not to mention it can prevent your thyroid from producing thyroid hormone, something that I, having Hashimoto’s, wants to avoid as much as possible.  Gluten free english muffins are perfect for breakfast and don’t make me feel bloated or weighed down and lethargic. 

For more information regarding my story and Hashimoto’s, please visit here.  Any questions regarding anti-inflammatory foods, please contact me at lacey.maiman@gmail.com . I would love to hear from you!

Rise and Shine!

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Good morning!! It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Hoboken, NJ. Woke up craving some fresh juice so I made some and drank most of it before I remembered to take the picture (it was that good). Thankfully, I remembered and was able to capture the last few sips for you all. 🙂

Apple Carrot Ginger Juice!
– Carrots are the richest plant source of vitamin A, contain high levels of beta-carotene and a good source of potassium.
– Apples contain antioxidants that help protect “good” cholesterol levels in the blood.
– Ginger root reduces nausea, pain and inflammation, and provides heartburn relief. It also aids digestion and may help to boost the body’s thermogenesis and metabolism.