Nutrition

MUM’S ORIGINAL SUPERFOODS

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I recently came across a product line called Mum’s Original that I feel deserves a whole blog post, not just a Facebook or Twitter mention!  And you know, when I devote a whole post to something, it HAS to be great.  What makes Mum’s Original so terrific is their product line of superfoods (nutrient-rich foods) that are organic, non-GMO, Kosher , delicious, reasonably priced and, of course, great for your health! 

[SPECIAL OFFER:  you guys get a special 15% discount for any online orders plus FREE SHIPPING.  Just order your products via the Mum’s website and key in the discount code “REALDEAL” upon checkout.  How awesome is that?  I know, I know, I’m the best blushing ]

As a side note, the company’s owner, Ann Barnes, is herself a mother of two children, so  she is just as concerned about her kids’ futures and providing healthy foods grown in an ethical manner as you and I are.

Listed below are some of my favorite Mum’s original products (although truth be told I love them all), with a little info explaining why they are good for you and how you can start incorporating them into your daily diet:

Hemp hearts – a rich source of complete and vegan protein, Omega 3 and 6 (including the anti-inflammatory GLA), minerals and anti-oxidants.  Mum’s also has different varieties of Hemp hearts, each offering their own unique taste and health benefits.  I use hemp hearts on yogurt, in smoothies, as a replacement for bread crumbs, and in salads.

Premium white chia seeds – one of the richest plant based sources of Omega 3, chia seeds have a better nutritional profile than flax seeds and I tend to use them a lot more often for this reason.   The high anti-oxidants help build the immune system and ward off infection and illness. They are also a rich source of insoluble fiber as well as great to use as an egg replacer in baking (1 Tablespoon ground chia seeds + 3 Tablespoons water = 1 egg).

Goji berries – Heart healthy and a natural anti-carcinogen, this sweet and chewy fruit is full of healthy fats, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.  But these aren’t just any goji berries, these are seriously the best tasting goji berries I have tried! I use them in cereal, on yogurt and in my own energy-boosting Trail Mix combining goji berries, coconut cacao nibs (see below), organic shredded coconut and almonds.

Raw cacao powder – Not the same as commercial cocoa powder (are you still using that stuff? Stop! It doesn’t have nearly the same health benefits.) Scoring an amazing 92,000 on the ORAC scale – a method of measuring the antioxidant capacity of different foods and supplements (to put this in perspective, Dutch cocoa powder scores about 40,000) –  Mum’s organic is the only cacao powder you should be using for baking.  Seriously.

Coconut cacao nibs – I’ve been eating raw cacao nibs for a while now, purely for it’s antioxidant value and high fiber, but these blow them away.  To be honest, plain raw cacao nibs are pretty bitter and I don’t really love the taste.  Mum’s original took care of that problem, by coating their cacao nibs in a some coconut sugar, a low-glycemic natural sweetener, and it tastes amazing!  Plus, one serving has 9 grams of fiber…..so basically you can have one delicious serving of this…….or a bowl of that disgusting Fiber One cereal with it’s high gluten, irritating whole wheat fiber and preservatives. sick

Organic unpolished heirloom quinoa – what makes this quinoa different is that it is hand washed to remove the natural sour exterior: this keeps the germ intact and increases fiber by more than 50%. So, if you are already eating quinoa, a high protein, gluten-free delicious alternative to rice, pasta or other side dish, why not try this version instead?  And if you have never tried quinoa, this brand is definitely the one to use.

Himalayan rock salt – Untouched for millions of years, this crystal pink salt holds a huge array of minerals and elements that are needed for optimum health. Unprocessed natural salt is essential to the human body for the normal functioning of our metabolism, absorption of water and electrical communication between the cells.  It is so much better for you (not to mention tastier) than common table salt, and can be used wherever you would normally use salt.

Finely milled banana powder –  This delicious powder contains an abundance of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, good-for-you fats, and many trace minerals.  It can be added to smoothies, used as a dessert topper, and even to replace 10-20% of the sugar called for in a recipe.

At 15% off and free shipping, why not give these amazing products a try, and comment below if you love them as much as I do!

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THE PERFECT MATCHA LATTE

Matcha green tea is, in a word, amazing.  It is a powerful detoxifier, has vitamins, minerals, antioxidants – twenty times more than pomegranites or blueberries – and amino acids.  Consider this: in order to match the potency of matcha, you would need to drink about 10 cups of regular brewed green tea.  surprise

Matcha also gives you energy throughout the day, but not the kind of jittery buzz you get from coffee – as an ex-coffee junkie, you’ll have to trust me on this one.  Although matcha does have some caffeine, researchers found that it is actually the combination of matcha’s natural properties that cause this boost of energy. This also helps improve physical endurance, so it’s great as a pre-workout drink.  Matcha boosts metabolism and helps burn body fat without raising your blood pressure or heart rate.  It contains L-theanine which is a de-stressor as well.  How awesome is that?

Here’s the thing, though.  To really enjoy matcha tea, you have to make it right.  When I first bought a cannister of Organic Matcha Powder, I put some of it in my cup of hot water and proceeded to mix it with a spoon.  Big mistake! I ended up with clumps of green powder in my hot water.  Next I tried a fork, which didn’t work too well either.

What you need to make a proper cup of matcha tea is a bamboo whisk and a bowl, available at any tea shop or online:

 Bamboo wire whisk and japanese tea

Matcha Whisk & Tea Spoon Natural Bamboo

If this seems silly, I assure you, after drinking one too many gritty cups of matcha green tea, it is a necessity! Simply whisk one teaspoon of the powder in the bowl with a little hot water until it is frothy.  Then pour it in a cup, add hot water, a teaspoon of coconut syrup, coconut sugar or organic maple syrup, and for a truly delicious experience, top with frothed almond milk.

This is an excellent milk frother:

weight, Rebecca Lazar - THE PERFECT MATCHA LATTE

Chef’s Star MF-2 Premier Automatic Milk Frother, Heater and Cappuccino Maker with New Foam Density Feature

Now, if only I can figure out how to make a pretty design with my milk like this picture……sadly, I’m not that talented. sad

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I’d love to hear about your experience with matcha tea in the comments below!

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WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST

One of the most common questions I get asked is “What should I eat for breakfast?” If I pause for even a half a second, that question gets asked again, in the slightly modified version of  “What do YOU eat for breakfast?”

Breakfast seems to provide the biggest challenge for people in terms of food choices, so here is my top 10 list of breakfast options, in no particular order, whether you have the time to sit and eat a nice meal or you get dressed in 3.5 seconds and wolf down your food in 2 (p.s. You have GOT to stop doing that!  worried  ).  And yes, I rotate every one of these options for my own breakfast:

Low-sugar, chemical-free, dye-free and soy-free cereal, with organic milk (organic milk does not contain hormones or antibiotics) or milk alternative such as rice dream, almond breeze or flax milk.  Avoid soy since it messes with thyroid hormones and most soy is genetically modified.  You can find lots of choices at your local health food store but please check labels for added sugar or lack of fiber.  Here are 2 of my favorites:

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Plain organic yogurt; add a teaspoon each of organic sprouted chia seeds and maqui berry powder for fiber, omega-3 fats and antioxidants. (I use both from the brand Organic Traditions).  If you don’t like the taste of plain yogurt, you can add a little organic maple or agave syrup or coconut sugar…..but don’t over-do it! For a taste the kids will love, add glutenfreeda brand granola.

weight, Rebecca Lazar - WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST

weight, Rebecca Lazar - WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hormone & antibiotic-free egg omelet with any or all of the following: onions, organic spinach, organic tomatos, mushrooms, and organic red peppers.  Enjoy with whole grain or rye toast and organic cream cheese.

 

weight, Rebecca Lazar - WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST

 

Nutribullet shake: my favorite morning shake consists of a handful of spinach or leaf lettuce, frozen organic strawberries and blueberries, a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, and a teaspoon of chia or flax seeds.  Don’t worry, you won’t taste the greens at all!  That being said, don’t attempt to make this in a regular blender or you will end up with a disgusting concoction sick .  The Nutribullet or the Ninja blender is really the only way to do this type of smoothie successfully.

Organic plain oatmeal (not those quaker packets full of sugar) with a teaspoon of pure organic maple sugar and a little almond milk.  Add organic raisins and almonds for a  filling pre-workout meal.

weight, Rebecca Lazar - WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST

weight, Rebecca Lazar - WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kasha – otherwise known as buckwheat groats – is a gluten-free grain that my Dad introduced me to one morning and I’ve been hooked ever since.  For best results,  stir-fry dry in the pan first, then add boiling water.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add a handful of nuts if you like, any of the milk options and a little agave syrup.

weight, Rebecca Lazar - WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFASTHomemade high-fiber muffin, such as my EGGLESS OATBRAN MUFFINS.  With bananas, blueberries and oatbran, these are not your high-fat, margarine-filled muffins from the nearest coffee shop!  Speaking of coffee, skip it and have an organic matcha green tea latte instead.  Matcha green tea does have caffeine, so you can’t use the excuse that you NEED the coffee, plus it is very high in antioxidants, tastes great and is alkaline to the body.  (Acidity breeds disease so it’s always best to eat more alkaline foods).

Healthy pancakes such as my GLUTEN-FREE PANCAKES topped with fresh organic berries.

Spelt bread french toast.  Take fresh SPELT BREAD slices, dip into a combination of beaten egg, organic cheese, and fresh minced garlic.  Fry in coconut oil (be sure to buy one with the label “ideal for cooking” if you don’t like the flavor of coconut), or grapeseed oils, as these are oils that are good for you and do not go rancid at high heat like other oils.  Add fresh cut up vegetables to round out this meal.

Vegan protein shake, such as manitoba harvest chocolate hemp seed powder or vega one protein powder.  Blend with almond milk, ice and, for a delicious mocha flavor, a teaspoon of organic instant naturally decaffeinated coffee.weight, Rebecca Lazar - WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST

weight, Rebecca Lazar - WHAT TO EAT FOR BREAKFAST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it….as you can see, there are a lot more choices than many people think there are.  Notice what’s left out of this list: commercial waffles, pancakes, bagels and cream cheese (no nutritional value), the glass of orange juice the media tells you is so good for you (drastically raises insulin levels), fried anything, croissants and donuts, sugar cereals, and artificial sweeteners.

Start the day off right, with a nice healthy breakfast and your body will thank you! Bon appetit!

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EASY SPROUTING

A few months ago after browsing in the health food store, I bought a sprouting jar and some sprouting seeds and followed the directions on the package.  Unfortunately, all I got after a few days was a jar of bad smelling seeds and no sprouts.  I thought to myself: great, this is yet another “plant” that has died at my hands (I am convinced plants hate me; my husband says they just don’t feel the love.  Not 100% sure he is actually talking about the plants worried )  Anyhow, I put the jar away, thinking sprouting was just not my “thing.”

A few weeks ago I was cleaning out my kitchen cupboard and saw the jar again.  Just sitting there, challenging me (hey, at least it wasn’t talking to me….yet) and I decided this is silly, I am a Nutritionist for G-d’s sakes.  I can’t be afraid of sprouts!  I know all the health benefits, I tell clients how great they are and besides, I hate spending $6 on a tiny box of ready-made sprouts. So I decided to try again, using a different brand of seeds.  I’m so glad I did, because I have been making awesome sprouts since then and my family loves it….. in salad, sandwiches or even on it’s own.

So what are the health benefits of sprouting?

  1. Sprouts, like most fruits and vegetables, are alkaline to the body, and a healthy body is alkaline as opposed to acidic.  Unfortunately, most of us consume way too much acid-forming foods on a daily basis in the form of eggs, meat, coffee, soft drinks, etc.
  2. Sprouting makes the high nutrient content of the seeds more readily available.
  3. Sprouts like alfalfa, radish, broccoli and clover contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that protect us against disease.
  4. Sprouts contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging.
  5. Aside from the nutrients, sprouts are also abundant in enzymes, which can keep our bodies healthy and fit. (Cooking food under fire results in the loss of enzymes in our food).
  6. Best of all, sprouts are very easy to digest.

Here is my easy sprouting method:

I use the BioSnacky Sprouting Jar from A. Vogel, which costs about $10 and can be found in most health food stores.  The seeds I use are Mumm’s organic sprouting seeds  because the two types I got from A. Vogel simply did not sprout well.  I’m not saying they’re bad seeds, I just have a much easier time with Mumm’s for some reason.  Plus, for less than $3 you get enough seeds to make approximately 10 jars of sprouts.

It’s really simple: Put 2 Tablespoons of seeds in the jar and rinse well.   The cap has draining holes so you don’t have to twist it off or take the seeds out, just pour the water out.  Then fill the jar with water and let soak for a few hours standing upright.  Rinse again and turn the jar on it’s side as shown.  You can use a plate or even a paper towel to place it on.  Rinse and drain the seeds twice a day and turn the jar back on it’s side each time.  After 2 days you will see little sprouts forming, as shown below left and after 4 or 5 days* you will have a full jar of delicious sprouts read to be eaten, as shown below right.

Day 3 Sproutsweight, Rebecca Lazar - EASY SPROUTING

Alfalfa Sprouts, Day 3 and Day 5

Put sprouts in the fridge and consume within 2 or 3 days. Enjoy and comment below on your sprouting experience happy

* Note that some beans and seeds require longer soaking and/or sprouting times.  Check the individual packages for directions.

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POLITE WAYS TO TURN DOWN FOOD

weight, Rebecca Lazar - POLITE WAYS TO TURN DOWN FOODHave you ever gone to someone’s house for dinner or to a party where the hostess is relentlessly trying to shove food down your throat?

I have.

Sometimes, this is a genuine effort on the part of the hostess to get everyone to enjoy the party and/or impress the guests with her culinary skills.  That’s ok, I totally respect that.  It becomes an issue, however, when the person tries to get you to eat unhealthy or high fat foods that you have chosen to try and limit, whether to lose weight or simply to lead a healthier lifestyle.

I’ll never forget the time I was literally made to feel like I was out of my mind for not wanting to eat nitrate-filled fatty pastrami covered in flaky pastry dough.While I could see my arteries harden just looking at it, when I tried to politely decline, the hostess got insulted, turned to her freind and said “She’s, you know, a Nutritionist,” with the word Nutritionist emphatically whispered like I had some G-dforsaken disease.  Well, that was many years ago, and I have since learned a thing or two about how to tactfully avoid eating what I feel is too unhealthy or too fattening without insulting the person attempting to feed me.  I’d like to share these tips with you so you can feel empowered as opposed to guilty when confronted with these situations.

Here are some great responses for that pushy friend/hostess:

The STALL TACTIC:  “I can’t wait to try some in a few minutes.”  Since you are not exactly turning the person down, they feel that they’ve won and will drop the subject.  You can use the stall tactic several times, if necessary, but hopefully you won’t need to because your hostess will have moved on to her next victim.

The I’M SO FULL routine: “I wish that I hadn’t eaten such a late lunch, but I’m stuffed.” No one can refute your statement about being full, but if they are still persistent, then let them know that having one more bite may make you throw up sick .  Quite possibly on their beautiful new carpet.  Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh, but you get the point…..and so will she.

The FOOD RESTRICTION Response: “Oh man, that looks good! Too bad my Doctor says I can’t have ___________.” Even the pushiest people are likely to back off when they hear you have a diet restriction. Especially if that restriction came from a Doctor.  The trick is, if you say that you aren’t eating gluten, for example, then don’t reach for a bread roll.  If you don’t think you can be consistent, then just say you are looking into your chronic digestive issues and are avoiding foods that aren’t completely natural, until you know what’s going on.  You can finish with “I know, crazy, right?”

SPREAD THE FOOD AROUND:  This is for when someone actually puts food on your plate that you didn’t want.  Simply spread it around your plate to make it look like you took a few bites.  Usually, nobody will notice, but if they do, and have the audacity to comment on it, refer back to the STALL TACTIC.

KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS:  This one is for the passive aggressive comments such as “Oh my G-d, look at you, you’ve lost so much weight, soon you can hide behind a telephone pole!” or “Wow, you are always watching what you eat, I don’t know how you do it,” or my personal favorite “Come ON, one bite won’t hurt you.” Kill them with kindness by responding “Thank you for noticing the healthy changes I’ve been making. Your support means a lot.”  Even if their words weren’t meant as a compliment, why not just take it that way?

If all else fails, you may have to find the nearest potted plant to toss the food into when nobody is looking.  Noooo, I’m only kidding winking .

Keep in mind that a true friend will never sabotage your efforts but will help you along the way towards reaching your health and fitness goals!

 

 

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