Red-Hot Wellness Trend: Infrared Saunas

by in Wellness, April 29, 2017

If you follow celebrities like Busy Philipps on Instagram, then you may have already heard about the latest red-hot wellness trend: infrared saunas. Celebs have been posting sweaty selfies from under crimson colored lights to extol the virtues of sitting in the wood-lined rooms. So we asked health and wellness experts to weigh in on why sitting in an infrared sauna can be good for you, and if a visit is worth your sweat equity.

Infrared saunas use the light from infrared rays to warm your body from the inside out. The small room gets hot, but the heat is moderate enough that you can comfortably stay inside the sauna for up to 45 minutes. Read more

Rhubarb, Beyond Pie

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, April 27, 2017

One of the few truly seasonal foods, rhubarb is available now through the summer. Long red and green stalks of rhubarb are often used as a fruit – think pie, jam, and sweet-tart sauces – but it is actually a vegetable.

Rhubarb facts

Perennial rhubarb plants must be subjected to a hard freeze in order to grow and flourish in the spring. Hearty Midwestern and Northern gardeners are rewarded for making it through the winter when rhubarb is one of the first plants – along with asparagus – to emerge from their gardens. Read more

The Dietary Perils of Being a Night Owl

by in Healthy Tips, April 25, 2017

Are you a morning person — awake early with the larks and sparrows — or a night person who stays up late with the owls? If you answered the latter, you may make less healthy dietary choices and be at a greater risk for obesity, a new study indicates.

Researchers in Finland who studied the behavior of 1,854 participants between the ages of 25 and 74 determined that, even though morning and night people tended to take in the same amount of calories, the timing of their intake and the kinds of foods they ate differed. Read more

Must-Try Recipe: Shakshuka

by in Healthy Recipes, April 22, 2017

It’s pronounced “shak-shoo-ka” but no matter how you say it, it’s downright scrumptious. Hailing from North African and the Middle East, this spicy tomato-based sauce with poached eggs may also be known as eggs in purgatory. You’ll be shocked how easy it is to prepare this vitamin-rich dish, so get your shakshuka on with these tips and tasty recipes

 

Health perks

Most shakshuka recipes include tomatoes, onions, peppers and. This veggie-heavy one-pot meal is relatively low in calories, but is packed with fiber and inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Canned tomatoes are commonly the star ingredient, which are higher in the antioxidant lycopene than fresh varieties. Eggs add healthy protein to make for a satisfying meal. Experiment with other protein-rich add-ins like beans and small portions of meat to add interest texture and flavor. Some recipes call for hefty doses of salt, so consider swapping in salt-free flavor boosters like spices and fresh herbs. Read more

Sneaky Ways Supermarkets Get You to Spend More

by in Grocery Shopping, April 20, 2017

If you’re like most folks who are on a food budget, you head to the supermarket with a list in hand. Oftentimes, however, you end up leaving the store with a cart filled with items that you had no intention on bringing home. Supermarkets are in the business of getting you to spend more, and many folks fall into their trappings. Here are 5 ways to help minimize overspending at the market.

Oversized carts

When you hit the grocery store to purchase a few items and are wheeling around a huge cart, adding a few more items may seem harmless. Those large carts filled with only a few items also makes you feel like you aren’t purchasing enough, playing on your feeling of guilt.

Instead: Use a hand-held basket, or many supermarkets now offer smaller sized carts that offer fewer items.

Hidden staples

How many times have you gone to grab milk and eggs and added just a few more items to your cart? To get to many perishable items on your shopping list, you’ll need to walk through other aisles which tend to be filled with snack foods and sugary beverages.

Instead: When walking through aisles filled with junk-type foods, focus only on what you need to buy. Also, make sure you eat before heading to the supermarket, so you don’t make these types of impulsive buys. Lastly, keep your kids at home if they tend to whine and beg for junk foods when you’re running through those middle aisles (my eldest son was one of those kids). Read more

4 Surprising Sleep Hacks You Haven’t Heard Before

by in Healthy Tips, April 18, 2017

File this under news you probably could’ve guessed: According to a January study in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the quality of your sleep determines whether or not you’re going to be in a positive or negative mood the next day. It’s not exactly surprising news, but it serves as a good reminder that getting a good night’s sleep is very important to your health. (And, according to The New York Times, a good night’s sleep is the new status symbol.) So while you know that avoiding caffeine and electronics before bedtime will help you catch some quality zzz’s, we asked a handful of sleep experts for their favorite — and most unexpected — sleeping tips:

Focus on staying awake
“I know it sounds counterintuitive,” says Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm, “but it actually works.” Dr. Kansagra says this technique known as paradoxical intent. “It lessens anxiety, giving your mind a chance to relax enough to fall asleep,” Kansagra says. Science backs this theory up: According to a 2005 study at the University of Glasgow, participants who focused on staying awake had an easier time falling — and staying — asleep than those who focused their efforts on trying to sleep. Read more

Stay Young with HIIT Workouts

by in Fitness, April 15, 2017

Let’s face it, aging isn’t always glamorous. As we get older, our metabolism begins to slow, our muscles weaken and we’re not as fast or agile as we used to be. Thankfully, research shows that exercise, especially high intensity interval training, or HIIT, can help prevent weight gain, improve muscle strength and reverse the signs of aging.

A new Mayo Clinic study indicates that high-intensity aerobic exercise can reverse some aspects of aging at the cellular level. In this study, researchers compared high-intensity interval training, resistance-only training, and combined exercise training in seventy-two healthy, but sedentary individuals for a twelve-week period. While all training types improved lean body mass and insulin sensitivity, only high-intensity interval training and combined training improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function. Read more

Moldy Foods: When to Toss, When to Keep

by in Food Safety, April 13, 2017

How many times have you found cucumbers or cheese in the fridge with mold? Should you just cut off the moldy area or toss? Some molds can be toxic and make you sick. Find out when it’s okay to keep it, and when to throw them away.

What’s the Deal with Mold?

Molds are fungi that are transported by air, water, or insects. Although you can see the green or blue fuzzy dots on bread, cheese, meats, fruit, and vegetables, they have branches and roots that are can be growing very deep into the food. Some molds can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Under the right conditions, a few molds can produce poisonous toxins that can make you sick. Although most molds prefer warm temperatures, they can easily grow in your fridge. They also love salty and sugar foods like jams and cured meats.

So which foods should you keep verses toss? You don’t want to be that person who just tosses everything in the trash, which can lead to lots of unnecessary food waste. Here’s a list of what you should keep verse toss based on the recommendations from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Jams and Jellies: Discard

Don’t scoop out the mold and use the rest. The mold found in jams and jellies could be one that produces dangerous poisons and can be deeper than you think. Read more

Market Watch: Asparagus

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, April 11, 2017

The arrival of asparagus at farmer’s markets makes it official: spring has finally sprung. Thick or thin, green, white, or even purple, asparagus reins supreme for a few short months — beginning in March or April, and ending sometime in early June. It’s said that this member of the lily family was the favorite vegetable of Thomas Jefferson. King Louis XIV of France was another fan, referring to it as the “king of vegetables.” Today, it retains its hoity-toity reputation, with chefs devising entire tasting menus to showcase its bright, springy flavor. For home chefs, asparagus can lend a sophisticated feel to an ordinary weeknight dinner, not to mention an Easter feast.

 

Asparagus facts

Closely related to garlic, onions, and leeks, asparagus is high in fiber, and a good source of iron, vitamin C and folate.

While thickness is a matter of taste, there’s no arguing about freshness. Choose stalks that are bright in color and firm, with tightly closed tips. Avoid any spears that are bent, or have open flowers. Wrap the ends of a bunch of asparagus in a wet paper towel, place in the crisper drawer and store up to three days. For best results, though, cook asparagus the same day you purchase it. In addition to tasting better, fresher asparagus will also retain more Vitamin C. Read more

Trend Alert: Riced Vegetables

by in Food News & Trends, Healthy Recipes, April 8, 2017

Remember when “rice” was a just a noun? Nowadays it’s become a verb and an adjective to describe one of the hottest veggie trends around. These tiny chopped pieces of vegetables have found their ways into all kinds of recipes, and can offer a hefty dose of nutrients.

 

Riced revolution

What started out as a new-fangled way to use cauliflower has evolved into so much more. Cauliflower “rice” came on the scene as a popular grain free alternative to rice. Riced cauliflower can be used as a standalone side dish or as the star ingredient in traditional recipes like fried rice and baked casseroles. Using a vegetable-based option in place of grains lowers the calories and carbohydrate counts but this swap isn’t completely a nutrition win. If you compare one cup of cooked rice to the same portion of cooked cauliflower, rice contains more fiber, protein and magnesium but less vitamins K and C.

As with many food trends, the “riced” craze has continued to advance. Instead of just cauliflower, ricing other veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots has begun to gain momentum. There is also more variety of flavored rice vegetables. Check ingredient lists as some are seasoned with flavorings that can up the sodium content. Read more

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