What Do I Do With Quinoa by Aurelia d’Andrea

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I can still remember the day I learned that quinoa is actually pronounced “KEEN-wah” and not, as I’d been calling it for an embarrassingly long time, “kwin-OH-ah.” That revelatory moment was nearly as profound as when I tasted quinoa for the very first time. How could I have been so slow to catch on to this delicious, fast-cooking, nutrient-dense food—and its proper pronunciation?

In the last couple of decades, quinoa has experienced a bit of a renaissance, but it’s been around for a very long time—5,000 years, give or take a few centuries. The Incas are credited with domesticating the wild weed, and it’s still a major crop in the Andes, where it is grown for a worldwide export market as well as eaten by local populations.
Technically, quinoa isn’t a grain, but a seed; like close cousin amaranth, the plant produces willowy flowers loaded with tiny grain-like seeds that spill out of miniscule husks when dried. It’s gluten-free and easily digestible, making it a healthy alternative to barley, rye, bulgur, and other foods in the wheat family.

Quinoa’s flavor (nutty and earthy) and texture (firm and mildly crunchy) lend it to many modes of edible enjoyment. I’ve been known to eat it straight out of the pot (I cook it in a rice cooker) with just a sprinkle of salt or a splash of soy sauce. It’s also an ace stand-in for any cooked grain you might serve with vegetables, and especially in main-dish salads; simply add a cup or two of cooked and cooled quinoa to a large salad bowl, throw in some chopped veggies—onion, bell pepper, corn, black beans, or even smoked tofu—then toss with your favorite vinaigrette. The quinoa absorbs all the delicious flavors and doesn’t go soggy, and it tastes even better the next day.

Besides the standard tan-colored quinoa, there’s a red variety with a firmer, even nuttier texture. It’s equally nutritious, but not as widely available as the regular stuff.

Read more here: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/blog/what-do-i-do-with-quinoa/

The Truth about ‘Healthy’ Oils

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Written by: Markham Heid

Olive. Canola. Corn. Walnut. Coconut. Flax Seed. Peanut.

There are dozens of cooking oils you can use to whip up your favorite dishes, dressings, and desserts. But which is best?

Olive oil is good for you, but not in unlimited qualities.

Well, consuming lots of olive oil lowers your risk for stroke, according to a recent analysis of more than 7,600 people conducted by French researchers. People who used olive oil for both cooking and as dressing for bread lowered their risk of stroke by 41 percent when compared to those who never used olive oil, according to the study.

Other research has shown that moderate olive oil consumption—defined as 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day—can improve your heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol, according to the FDA.

Olive Oil Healthy, But Beware of Calories

So, is olive oil’s healthy reputation well-earned? Yes, but there’s a catch, explains Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., a nutrition expert and author of “Read It Before You Eat It.”

“Apart from its association with heart health, olive oil is also a great source of cancer-preventing antioxidants,” Taub-Dix explains. “But just because olive oil is healthy for you doesn’t mean you should use it in unlimited quantities.”

Taub-Dix says olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon, which people tend to forget when drizzling it over salads or dabbing it with a chunk of bread. “We feel like if something’s healthy we should just pour it on, but that could turn your 50-calorie salad into a 350-calorie salad, and that’s no good,” she says.

If you’re worried about consuming too much but don’t want to sacrifice on flavor, reach for a heavier oil. The darker the olive oil, the more intense the flavor, Taub-Dix says.

Taub-Dix also cautions that, as with any oil, the word “light” on the label doesn’t mean the oil is any less fattening. “Light olive oil is lighter in color and in flavor, but it has the same number of calories,” she explains. (Related from MensHealth.com: Tossing salad with olive oil is one of our 100 Ways to Protect Your Heart.)

Which Oils Are Best for Cooking?

Olive oil isn’t just healthy; it’s also great for cooking, explains Rania Mekary, Ph.D., a clinical nutritionist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Mekary said all oils are either rich in monounsaturated fatty acids or polyunsaturated fatty acids. “This makes a huge difference when it comes to cooking,” she explains. The monos, like olive and canola oil, break down at higher temperatures than the polys, which can come into play whether you’re grilling, sautéing, or microwaving.

And oils—even healthy ones like olive oil—can become toxic when they break down, causing congestion of the arteries and joint disease, Mekary says. So you want to cook with those monosaturated oils that break down at higher temperatures.

If the oil itself starts to smoke, Mekary says, it’s too hot.

Canola Oil Good, Corn and Coconut Oils Bad

Both Mekary and Taub-Dix recommend canola oil as a healthy, less-expensive alternative to olive oil.

“The chemical structure is very close to that of olive oil, and it’s cheaper,” Mekary explains, adding that canola oil’s health benefits are also similar to olive oil, just less flavorful. She also says that most nut oils, such as walnut and almond oil, are healthy (though typically more expensive) options.

Which oils should you avoid?

“Corn oil,” Mekary says. “It’s cheaper, so it’s commonly used for cooking. But it degrades at a much lower temperature than olive oil.”

Four Tips to Make You Better (SUPER EASY)

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March 1st, 2013

Today I have four tips that I will help you get better. For you that might mean healthier. Maybe shed some pounds. Or at least maintain the pounds you’ve already shed. Regardless of your goals, there are a few simple nutrition tips and strategies that will benefit all of us.
And none of them have to do with eating x or not eating y.

First, learn to cook. There is no single more important factor that will permanently change your health, your body and set you up for permanent results. I admit cooking isn’t the easiest thing. But learning some basics around the kitchen is a must. Maybe try a local cooking class or pick up a simple cookbook or magazine and challenge yourself to try 1 new recipe per week. If you’re relying solely on take out or eating out, though, staying on track will be an uphill battle.

Second, eat what you love!
Eat what you love. I often hear people talk about eating “diet” foods like rice cakes, low fat this and low carb that. But if you don’t enjoy any of those foods, don’t eat them. You should enjoy what you eat. The challenge is eating the right portions of those foods you love. This might mean splitting a dinner with someone or enjoying an appetizer and a salad.

Third, be in charge when eating out. This may seem strange after I just told you to learn how to cook, but let’s face it, you will eat out on occasion. We all will. But be in charge and be smart about your choices. I say be in charge meaning you’re the paying customer; ask for what you want (within reason). Ask to swap the fries for a baked potato. Ask for a side of veggies instead of the rice. Ask for them to not put the bread on your table. You get the idea.

Piggybacking on #3, fourth, spend money on better restaurants when you do eat out. What do I mean by this? Rather than eating out at less expensive, not real high quality restaurants, or spending $10-$20 getting take out several times per week, save that and make eating out a more special occasion. You’ll spend more at that single time, but when saving by not eating out so regularly, it will be worth it in the end. You’ll A) get better food and B) not be eating out at less healthful restaurants the rest of the time.

There you have it – 4 super simple, yet very effective tips when permanently changing your health and body.

Read more at Men’s Health: http://blogs.menshealth.com/bellyoff-nutritionist/four-tips-to-make-you-better-super-easy/2013/03/01/#ixzz2MlBNjzwH