Nutrition and Health Benefits of Flax, Chia and Pumpkin Seeds.
Jamaican Style Steamed Snapper Fish
- Medium to large sauce pan depending on size of fish.
- 1 whole red snapper fish gutted and cleaned
- 1/4 each red, green, yellow, orange bell pepper chopped
- 2 stalks thyme
- 1 clove garlic shopped
- 1/4 medium onion chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
- 1 dash sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 small carrot chopped
- 1 small potato chopped in small cubes
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tbsp seasoned salt
- Place whole fish in a sauce pan
- Add add all ingredients in pan on top of fish
- Cover and let steam for approximately 10 minutes on medium heat
- Lower temperature to low heat and let simmer for another 15 minutes or so until potatoes and carrots are tender.
My philosophy has always been to eat whenever I am hungry, I just make sure I am conscious of what I eat by making healthy choices.
Weight gain is the result of regularly eating more calories than you burn, not when you eat. I eat 5-6 times during a 24 hour period. This may include me having dinner at 10 pm, as a result of having a late lunch or working late. I have not gained weight or seen any noticeable increase in my body fat percent. If you have experienced weight gain, this has occurred because of excess caloric intake and not the timing of your meals.
The body does not have a clock that determines that food consumed after 6 pm should be stored, especially carbohydrates as fats. Each one of our bodies have a certain amount of calories that can be consumed without gaining weight, and as long as we do not exceed that number, weight gain will not occur.
While I do not count calories, based on the types of foods that I eat and the frequency of which I eat, I would say I consume over 2,500 calories per day. Therefore it is imperative that I expend more calories than I have consumed, to not gain weight. That said, I do not rely on exercise alone to burn calories. Depending on the type of exercises, some days I only burn about 500 calories during my workout.
Approximately 3,500 calories equals a pound of body fat, so to loose 1 to 2 pounds per week you must maintain an average caloric deficit of 500 to 1000 calories per day. However a person could burn 500 calories during exercise and spend the rest of the day participating in sedentary activities.
Keep in mind the amount of energy/calories expended while at rest amounts for, approximately 70% of your total daily energy expenditure. Therefore, about 70% of your total daily caloric intake is required to sustain vital bodily functions such as digestion, respiration and blood circulation.
Again, eat when you are hungry, choose your food wisely and make sure you are burning more calories that you consume. Starvation is not the key to weight loss!
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Reference: NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, 4th Edition.
Some popular diets suggest we should eat very small amounts of carbohydrates, but I am here to tell you we need our carbs. That said, not all carbs are created equally and we must be very careful of the types of carbs we consume.
When we think of carbohydrates we think of foods such as rice, potatoes, yams, bread and pasta. However, when we think of carbs we should be thinking of foods such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, lentil, bell peppers, apples, oranges and berries. All fruits and vegetable are carbs but not all carbs are created equally.
There are several links between carbohydrates in your diet and your health. Most of the world depend on carbohydrate rich plant foods for sustenance. Carbohydrate rich foods such as, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes not only provide energy but are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and phytochemicals, which all play an important role in lowering the risks of chronic diseases such a high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.
High carbohydrate intake is the basis of a healthy diet, as carbs contains less calories per gram than the high fat diets that us Americans are used to and that promises to help us
lose weight. Carbohydrates contains only 4 kilocalories per grams compared to 9 kilocalories per gram for fat. Therefore, a diet rich in carbohydrates provides fewer calories and more volume of food than the typical American high fat diet that reek havoc on our hearts and overall health.
The importance of carbohydrates in the body
The two main carbohydrates in foods are simple carbohydrates (sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starches and fiber). Simple carbohydrates are naturally present in fruits and milk, in the form of galactose, fructose and glucose.
Glucose is the primary fuel for most cells in the body and the preferred fuel for the brain, red blood cells, and nervous system – as well as the fetus and placenta for women who are pregnant. Even when fat is burned for energy a small amount of glucose is needed to break down fat completely. In the absence of carbohydrates, both proteins and fats can be used for energy. Although most fats can be used for energy, brain cells and red blood cells requires a constant supply of glucose. When carbohydrates are unavailable the liver cannot break down fat completely, instead it produces small compound called ketone bodies. As the concentration of ketone bodies increases, the blood becomes very acidic. The body loses water as it excretes excess ketones in the urine.
Eating your apples, bananas and berries is ultimately fueling your brain with energy and providing essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. Other simple sugars are sucrose, which is common table sugar, lactose, common sugar in milk and maltose, which is a broken down product of starches.
Alcohol sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is very rarely discussed. Like most other sugars they taste sweet and provide energy to the body. However, they are absorbed more slowly and the body processed them differently. Alcohol sugar is mainly used as a sweetener in processed foods such as, gums, breath mints and candies. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but those candies, mints and gums that you see labelled as sugar free are not. These products usually artificially sweetened with some form of alcohol sugar.
Starch is a complex carbohydrates and is the major storage form of carbohydrates in plants.
Rich sources of starch include:
- grains such as wheat, rice, corn, oats and barley,
- legumes such a peas, beans and lentils, and
- tubers such as yams, potatoes and cassava.
All types of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains contain dietary fiber. Fiber is not found in animal foods.
Foods rich in dietary fiber include:
- whole grains such a brown rice, rolled oats and whole wheat bread and cereals,
- legumes such kidney beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), peas, peas and lentils,
- fruits such as apples bananas and berries,
- vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots and spinach, and
- nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Blood glucose levels
Blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar levels, is closely regulated by the body to maintain an adequate amounts of glucose for cells. If your blood sugar level drops too low, you will become shaky and weak. If it gets too high you will become sluggish and confused and have a hard time with breathing. Different foods vary in their effect on blood glucose level. Foods rich in simple carbohydrates and starch, but low in fat or fiber, tend to be digested more rapidly, which can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.
The glycemic level measures the effects of food on blood glucose levels. Foods with high glycemic index causes a faster and higher levels of blood sugar and foods with low glycemic index causes a slower increase in blood sugar levels.
High glycemic index foods include:
- white bread – 73
- whole wheat bread – 71
- waffles – 76
- jelly beans – 78
- life Savers – 70
- ice Cream 61
Low glycemic index foods include:
- apple – 38
- skim milk – 32
- lentils – 29
- barley – 25
Recommendations for Carbohydrate Intake
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for carbohydrate is 130 grams per day for people 1 year and older. That amount raises to 175 grams per day for pregnant women and 210 per day for women who are lactating. As mentioned earlier, not all carbohydrates are create equally, therefore it is important that we choose our carbs wisely.
Prepare foods and beverages with little to no added sugar, choose foods with a low glycemic index, choose fiber rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Most American do not consume ample amounts of fiber rich foods. The increased intake of sodas is a big factor in over weight and obesity, not only among adults but children as well.
Choose your carbohydrates wisely! Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, be certain to include options from all 5 vegetable subgroups (dark-green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables, legumes and starchy vegetables), they provide vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber. Try to limit refined foods such as, white flour and white rice as vital nutrients and fiber are removed in the refining process. Increase your fiber intake by eating fruits with the peel when possible, use brown rice instead of white rice, and choose whole fruits rather than fruit juices. Limit your sugar intake by using less of all nutritive sweetness, including brown sugar, honey and syrups, limit soda intake and high sugar cereals. Read food labels carefully as they list the total grams of sugar in foods.
Carbohydrates contribute both negatively and positively on your health. Positively, foods rich in fiber help keeps the gastrointestinal tract healthy and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Conversely, excess sugar can lead to weight gain, poor nutrient intake and tooth decay
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Reference: NASM, Fourth Edition
Swiss chard is a healthy nutritious vegetable and is a great source of vitamins K, A and C, as well as iron, potassium and magnesium. Vitamin K, plays an important role in clotting the blood to prevent excessive bleeding as well as assisting with bone formation. Low levels of vitamin K are associated with low bone mineral density, which could lead to osteoporosis in women and increased fracture risks.
Daily Recommended amount for Vitamin K.
The recommended daily amount for vitamin K is 120 micrograms a day for men and slightly lower for women at 90 micrograms. 1 cup of cooked Swiss chard contains over 300% of your daily recommended amounts of vitamin K. Megadoses of vitamins A and E counteracts the actions of vitamin K. Too much Vitamin A hampers the absorption of vitamin K and too much vitamin E decrease the vitamin K clotting factor.
According to the CDC, babies are born with small amount of vitamin K stored in their bodies, which can lead to serious bleeding problems if not supplemented. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/vitamink/facts.html
Sources of vitamin K.
We obtain vitamin K from two sources: food (mainly plant foods) and bacteria living in or colons. Green leafy vegetables, especially Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli and brussels sprouts, provides sufficient amounts of vitamin K.
Other foods with vitamin K are:
Kidney beans – 1 cup – canned – 256 grams
Collard greens – 1 cup – cooked – 190g
Kale – 1 cup – cooked – 130g
mangoes – 1 mango – raw – 207 grams
Grapes – 1 cup – raw – 160 grams
This one-pot vegan meal is packed with vitamins K, C, E, B6 as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein, and dietary fiber.
Sautee Swiss Chard with Beans and Peppers
- 2 bunches red swiss chard
- 1 can red kidney beans drained and rinse
- 1 can white beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn drained and rinsed
- 1/4 red, yellow, green, orange, bell pepper chopped
- 2-3 stalks thyme
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Jamaican jerk seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- Sautee Swiss chard in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes on medium heat
- Add the water and let cook for an additional 3-5 minutes
- Add bell peppers stirring all ingredients together
- add corn, red beans and corn, combine all ingredients
- add thyme, Jamaican jerk seasoning, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, combine all ingredients and let cook for an additional 3-5 minutes
Sources: NASM Nutrition – 4th edition.
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This one pot vegan meal took me about 30 minutes to prepare. For those who say preparing healthy meals are expensive and time consuming. I say, it does not have to be that way. Try it! like it! Share it!
Curried Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes and Carrots
- 1 can garbanzo beans same as chickpeas
- 1 can low sodium coconut milk
- 2 medium sweet potato chopped
- 3 medium carrot chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon Jamaican jerk seasoning
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 tablespoon spicy curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder optional
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Sautee carrots and sweet potatoes in olive oil until both are tender
- Add garbanzo beans, stir all ingredients together
- Add Italian seasoning, Jamaican jerk seasoning, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and curry powder, mix all ingredients together
- Add coconut milk, stir all ingredients together and let simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes
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Couscous is a great alternative to white and even brown rice. With 6 grams of protein per serving, this North African staple is also a great source of several B vitamins, as well as minerals such as; iron, manganese, zinc, calcium and potassium.
- 1 cup couscous
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth chicken stock can be used as well
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil or butter
- Bring water, vegetable broth and olive oil to a boil
- Add couscous and stir
- Remove from heat, let sit for 4-5 minutes, fluff with fork