Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Healthy Foods: Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Another great dish i want to try to make from the health blog: the vegan stoner 
for more awesome vegan recipes check out the blog here

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For more vegan recipes on this health blog, the vegan stoner, click here

For more healthy recipes and healthy foods check out my previous post for quinoa burger recipe here


Clear skin and your diet

A friend asked me if there is anything specific she can eat to clear her skin from blemishes and acne. This got me reading relevant nutrition data and studies to get the answer. 

So, the whole chocolate thing makes acne worse is a very old study from the 60s and 70s and has been disproves by recent studies. BUT there is a link between acne and your diet:
A diet with a low glycemic index helps with acne 

  • Low glycemic index diet includes foods that release glucose into the blood very slowly 
  • This in turn causes blood insulin level to be lower. In addition to helping diabetic patients, having low insulin blood levels also helps with acne flares. 
  • Foods with a low glycemic index to enjoy (Tip: foods high in fiber usually have a low GI)  
    • Use agave as your sweetener of choice (similar to honey, and tastes amazing) 
    • whole wheat and multigrain bread
    • all bran cereal
    • barley (find out more about whole grains such as barley Here
    • rice 
    • Yogurt
    • Fruit such as:
      • cherries
      • grapefruit 
      • apple
      • kiwi 
      • banana 
      • grape 
      • peach
    • All vegetables and beans except potatoes, beets, and broad beans 
    • peanuts
  • Foods with a high glycemic index to avoid (tip: anything made with white flower usually has a high GI) 
    • Regular sugar and corn syrup
    • Ice cream 
    • Potatoes 
    • beets 
    • potato chips 
    • Rice cakes 
    • Bicuits
    • white bread
    • baguette
    • corn flakes
    • fruit such as 
      • watermelon 
      • pineapple 
      • mago 
      • raisins
    • pretzels
    • dates
A diet high in omega 3s and low in omega 6s helps with inflammation of the skin due to acne 
  • omega 3s have an anti-inflammatory effect which a study has shown to reduce inflammatory lesions by 70% 
  • If you do not get enough omega 3s, consider going on a fish oil supplelemt. Check out my previous article about how to choose a fish oil supplement Here
  • Foods high in omega 3 to eat more of: 
    • Salmon 
    • Flax meal and flax oil 
    • Sardines 
    • Walnuts 
    • omega 3 fortified foods 
      • fortified spreads
      • fortified orange juice 
  • Foods high in omega 6 to avoid: (quick tip: Replace your oil with olive oil) 
    • safflower oil 
    • vegetable oil 
    • corn oil 
    • soybean oil 
    • sunflower oil 
Milk, especially skim milk has been shown in a few studies to make acne worse 

If you are also trying to lose weight consider eating according to the grazing diet. Find out more about this way of eating in a previous article I wrote here.


Monday, January 30, 2012

The 80-20 rule for eating!

So I am a believer in having all foods in moderation. I don't believe in depravation diets, because they are temporary and you end up gaining the weight back! and that my friend, is how so many people end up yo-yoing with their weight. No bueno! 
I believe in developing a healthy life style where you eat healthy most of the time, but there is room for your favorite guilty pleasures. 

That't where the 80-20 rule comes in. Strive to eat healthy 80% of the time, and eat your favorite guilty pleasures 20% of the time. If you live by this rule you will not feel guilty when you have an occasional piece of cake, just count it as your 20%. 
What helps me eat this way is having healthy foods at home. That means no cake, cookies, or chips at home and I enjoy these foods when I eat out. Instead, at my house theres a lot of fruit, vegetable, and whole grains. I have snacks too such as freeze dried fruit and plain popcorn. 

Other then the 80-20 rule, check out other weight loss tips in my previous article: weight loss 101
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wild Rice Salad With Miso Dressing

I cant wait to try this recipe with tofu and wild rice from the Sprouted Kitchen blog, it looks so good! 


Wild rice, can be found at whole foods and fresh market by the pound

Healthy Super Bowl party

The Super Bowl is coming up, and weather you're going to the game or watching it at home, what you eat doesn't have to break your diet as long as it includes some healthy foods. Here are some tips for making healthy and delicious foods for your super bowl gathering:

The food

  1. Lean Meats – Tailgating  usually involves grilling meats, which is a healthy preparation method so you are half way to a healthy bite! Choose lean proteins such as boneless skinless chicken breast marinated in barbeque sauce, lean ground turkey breast for burgers, and veggie burgers. Cut portions of the hamburgers by preparing mini sliders. Try purchasing whole-wheat burger buns for additional fiber. Prepare fish such as tilapia by cooking it over the grill in an aluminum foil envelope. Boost the flavor with herbs, spices, lemon, and olive oil. Also, bring a bean salad that is served cold as a delicious protein alternative. Just toss in rinsed canned beans into your usual salad and use low-fat dressing.
  2. Veggies – Incorporate more vegetables by offering grilled veggies such as corn, asparagus, onion, peppers, squash, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Try making vegetables kabobs with alternating mixed vegetables. Additionally, offer finger veggies such as raw broccoli, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and celery sticks with a homemade low-calorie ranch dressing.  Prepare this ranch dressing by mixing a ranch seasoning packet with low-fat sour cream and non-fat plain Greek yogurt. Also, load your burgers up with freshly sliced tomatoes, onions, and lettuce to add bulk and a crunchy bite.
  3. Fruits – Nothing is as refreshing as cold fruit! Also, this healthy treat wont weigh you down like some of the other foods you may consume. Bring cut watermelon wedges for an easy and delicious snack. Other great snacking fruits include grapes, melon wedges, and pineapple. Frozen grapes on a kabob stick is also a delicious snack. 
  4. Chips and Dip – redo the traditional chips and dip by making fresh pico de gallo a head of time and bringing it to the party. Dice tomatoes, onions, and cilantro and mix with limejuice to make a tasty dip. Add jalapeƱos for some spice. Next, try baked tortilla chips instead of the regular fried ones and significantly cut the calories. This swap doesn’t sacrifice any flavor! 

  • Additional healthy tips – Even if you are not the person preparing the food and you are just a guest, bring a healthy dish to the party so you can keep your self on track. In addition, once you are done eating chew on gum or suck on mints to keep your mouth busy without consuming additional unnecessary food. Last, Never show up to a party on an empty stomach. To avoid overeating at the party eat a small healthy snack before going such as an apple or a slice of whole wheat bread with low-fat cream cheese to curb your appetite.

The Decor 

I found these awesome shots at luxefinds.com

  • Guacamole can be healthy because it contains fresh avocados that are good for you, but beware it is super high in calories so have a small portion of guacamole and larger serving of the pico de gallo. 
Recipe for guacamole and baked tortilla chips

source & Recipe for pumpkin chili 
  • Make mini finger sandwiches using whole wheat bread with low fat cheese and tomato, you can grill them or serve them cold. Cut the bread in the shape of a football and garnish with mustard or cheese football laces.
  • Chili is a great option because beans are super healthy! Just make a vegetarian chili  or with lean ground turkey. Here is a recipe for vegetarian chili from Emeril. 
  • Like I said before, make sliders which are better because they are smaller than a regular burger, plus they are super cute! Here are a few tips to make them healthier use one or all: Use ground turkey instead of beef but use herbs and spices in the meat to increase flavor, use low-fat mayo, whole wheat bun, and load up with fresh veggies. 

  • For a healthier sweet dish make chocolate covered strawberries shaped liked footballs! To make them even healthier use dark chocolate, then make the laces with white chocolate. YUM
Found this on pinterest, don't know the source, does anyone know the source?
  • Make this delicious raw vegetable bar with different height bowls (available at Michaels, Marshall's, Bed Bath and Beyond.) Repurpose candle holders or other glass vases. Include carrot sticks, broccoli, radishes, cauliflower, celery, sherry tomato and cucumbers with dips in martini glasses. 
Recipe for Skinny Taco Dip


Saturday, January 28, 2012




When at Starbucks....

When at Starbucks order off the list below:
As a rule of thumb, don't order a crazy special drink that is 10 words long (unless skinny or non-fat is in it,) chances are it will by super high in calories!! 
Without knowing you might end up getting a drink that is over 400 calories! 
Drinks to avoid:
  • White chocolate mocha (400 calories for a grande)
  • Peppermint white chocolate mocha (440 calories for a grande)
  • Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino  (500 calories for a grande an 98 g of carbs!) 
If you can, do what I do, make your coffee at home. I make my coffee at home with regular instant coffee with 2 flat tea spoons of turbinado sugar and almond or rice milk, so yum and wayyy cheaper! Also, you won't be tempted by their scones, cakes, and muffins which is another source of over 400 caloires. If you don't choose right you might end up with a 1000 calories as an afternoon "snack."


Losing sleep causes weight gain

I read a bunch of studies, and without a doubt,not getting enough sleep (8 hours per night) is associated with weight gain, altered carbohydrate metabolism, and increased diabetes risk. 

Many studies and nutrition data show that sleep depravation:
  • Lowers levels of Leptin. Leptin causes us to eat less, so a reduction in leptin causes additional food intake. Sleep depravation is associated with a 26% decrease is leptin levels. 
  • Increases levels of Ghreliln. Ghrelin stimulates appetite so high levels causes additional food intake 
  • Sleep depravation is associated with higher levels of hunger and appetite
  • Sleep depravation is associated with a higher BMI (higher body weight.) 
In addition Sleep depravation increases the risk for Diabetes by:
  • Impairing glucose metabolism 
  • reducing insulin response to glucose 
  • reducing insulin sensitivity 

So instead of watching that extra TV show, or browsing the web make sure you get your 8 hours of beauty sleep! 
Xoxo, Danielle 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Health Blog Alert

The Vegan Stoner
I came across this really cool blog with vegan recipes and awesome illustrations called The Vegan Stoner.

Here is one recipe I can't wait to try,  for more great vegan recipes go to their site: http://theveganstoner.blogspot.com/

Even if you are not vegan, having a vegan meal once or twice a week is a great option, and their meals contain great sources of vegetarian protein options.

Finally, something super easy you can do for your health!

 Pop in a funny show or movie like superbad or friends and get laughing! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Healthy foods: Yummy and healthy quick dinner

Who says you can't have eggs for dinner? Yesterday, trying to incorporate healthy foods into my dinner, I had 2 scrambled eggs (1 whole egg, 1 egg white,) with a piece of whole wheat bread, and salad. The salad was baby greens, spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes with toasted pine nuts in a dressing of lemon, dash of salt, and olive oil. YUM and it only took 10 minutes to make. 
(I got the washed mix of 1/2 baby greens and 1/2 spinach in publix, toasted pine nuts over low heat for a couple of minutes in a pan, no need to add oil theres enough oil in the pine nuts just watch over them because they burn super quick) 

Check out more healthy foods, in my previous health blog post: http://www.thenutritionvault.com/2012/02/healthy-eating-beet-salad-israeli.html


Yogurt as healthy substitute for all your recipes!

Using plain yogurt is an easy trick to reduce calories and fat in all your baking purposes. I make my chocolate cake from a box using yogurt instead of butter and it tastes great. Here is a quick table from Chobani yogurt on how to use their yogurt when baking and cooking! 

Here is a recipe to make Red Velvet Cupcakes using yogurt from Dashing Dash blog

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I saw this quote on the menu of one of my favorite healthy restaurants, and I liked it: 

Let's take tips from hospital cafeterias to make our own kitchens healthier!

I read an article about a hospital that implemented a couple of easy changes that resulted in cafeteria-goers eating healthier! When I read this I though this can be done in my own kitchen! 
This is what the hospital cafeteria did:

  • They labeled all food and drinks with a green, yellow, or red sticker. Green was given to healthiest foods that you should consume often, yellow was given to less healthy foods that should be eaten less often ,and red to foods that had little or no nutritional value (chocolate, chips, soda, candy) which should be avoided. 
  • They rearranged their food displays according to behavioral economics. They put green (healthier items) at eyes level, and red items below eye level. Drinks such as water, diet drinks, and low-fat dairy were at eye level and soda and juices were below eye level.
Source dotted green line = eye level
The results from these changes:
  • Green item sales increased by 5% over study period with green drinks increasing by 10% 
  • Red item sales decreased by 15% 
How can you implement this into you kitchen 
  • The goal of using these tips would be to get you and your family to consume less healthy foods and more healthy foods and drinks. 
  • Label your foods like the hospital did with the green, yellow, and red sticker. 
  • Arrange the green foods at eye level in your refrigerator and cabinets- this will make you more likely to pick them, because what you see first you are 30% more likely to consume. Next put the yellow items above eye level and the red items below eye level where you are least likely to pick them. 
  • Both the easy identifiable stickers and the location of the food and drinks items will help you make better decisions when eating! 
  • If your refrigerator is low put at the top green, under yellow, and bottom shelf red


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Get moving during TV commercials

A great way to get a little bit of exercise in your day is to step in place while watching TV during commercials! 
A study tested this out and found that if you walk during commercials of a 1 hour program you will get an average of 25 minutes of walking, you will walk 2111 steps, and burn 258 calories. 2111 steps is equivalent to about a mile of walking. 
For people like me, who have a hard time getting exercise on a daily basis, this is great! 
It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, doing this you get almost the whole 30 minutes! Let the commercials serve you as a cue to get up and step in place, you'll end up feeling better about your self and not feeling guilty about watching TV. 

Check out the benefits you get from walking 30 minutes a day:
Source: www.everybodywalk.org
Hope this helps! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Easy ways to eat more fruits & veggies

We all know we should eat more fruits and veggies, and that they are super healthy, duh! 
But we still don't! I am guilty of this my self. 
Here are some tips to help you incorporate more fruits and veggies into your life. 
  1. Buy frozen veggies - They won't go bad, they are cheap, and always in season! They are also faster and easier to cook. Try green beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts or whatever vegetable you like! 
  2. List your favorite and veggies, and try to get them next time you go food shopping.
  3. When eating out always order some sort of steamed or grilled vegetable side dish or a salad, or better yet both! 
  4. Buy vegetables and fruits that are in season - they are priced best and taste best. Smell the fruit at the grocery store, it should smell good, if a peach smells like nothing then it probably will taste like nothing. 
  5. Get baby carrot packages that are easy to snack on (make a low-fat dip by mixing greek yogurt with ranch seasoning packet) 
  6. Try having salad as your main dish a couple of times a week. Use lemon and olive oil or balsamic and olive oil as dressing. 
  7. Your plate should have color! If it's all yellow, then Houston, we have a problem! I got used to have a veggie or fruit at every meal. Now when I don't I feel like the meal is dry, heavy, and is not fresh. Start thinking this way and you'll always want a veggie with your meals! 
  8. Have a fruit such as apple washed on the counter and take it to work or school with you on the way out of the house 
  9. Incorporate fruits into breakfast by adding banana to oatmeal or adding berries to yogurt 
A while back I wrote a post about using a food contract to get you to eat healthier. This week use the contract to come up with 3 goals of incorporating more fruit and veggies into your diet. Click here for the food contract post

For more tips download these fruit & veggies tip sheets from choosemyplate.gov
just click the link below each picture

Click the link below to download

Click the link below to download

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What vegetables are better eaten cooked with a little fat! 
Some vegetables, that are high in fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin D, E, A, K) are better eaten cooked with a small amount of fat. The reason for this is that you will get more of the vitamin because it is fat soluble and requires fat to be absorbed by the body. By small amount of fat, I mean a healthy fat such as olive oil, and not too much. 

The following vegetables are better served cooked with olive oil: 

  • Carrots 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Squash 
  • Sweet Potato 
  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach 
  • Brussel sprouts 

Health Blog Alert

I came by this really cool blog I wanted to share with you guys, Dashing Dish. She has a bunch of recipes of comfort foods done in a healthy way categorized into breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks. The best part is that she has calories per serving for all of her recipes! check it out: http://www.dashingdish.com/category/recipes/

Here are a few cool recipes from the blog:

Strawberry Shortcake Muffins at 93 calories per muffin


Loaded Pasta Salad at 126 calories per cup


Cheesy Mini Vegetable Frittatas at 46 calories per frittata 


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Healthy Foods: Greek Style Quinoa burgers

A few days ago I wrote about different whole grains for you to try. Quinoa was one of them, and here is another way to eat it, by making a vegetarian burger! I am going to try this my self! 


Processed meat increases the risk for pancreatic cancer 

A new study in the British Journal of Cancer found a link between processed meat consumption and pancreatic cancer. As though we need another reason to stop chowing down on sausage and bacon. 50 grams of processed meat per day increased pancreatic cancer risk by 19%. 50 grams is about 2 oz. which is equivalent to one sausage or hot dog (your palm in size and thickness is 3 oz) 

Processed meats include: bacon, sausages, hot dog, salami and other deli meats that have been cured. One hypothesis for this increased pancreatic cancer risk is the nitrates and nitrites in processed meats that are used for curing and preserving the meat. Nitrites can form n-nitroso that travels to the pancreas via the blood and is known to be a carcinogen. 

Consumption of processed meat has already been linked to increased risk of stomach and colon cancer, as well as diabetes and heart disease. This link to pancreatic cancer is especially important due to the very low survival rate of this cancer (only 5.5% survive after 5 years.) 

As for red meat, a link between red meat and pancreatic cancer was only found in men, maybe due to the fact that men eat a lot more red meat then do women. 


Friday, January 20, 2012

Drink water to effortless weight loss 
source: Brita.com
Water can help you lose weight by:
  • Increasing calories you burn
  • Increasing rate of fat breakdown
  • Decreasing amount of calories taken for water swapped from soda or juice
A study tested out the effect of drinking water on weight loss along with a diet. 
Subjects drank more than 1 liter of water per day (1 liter = 4.5 cups of water.) Results showed that over 12 months, drinking more than 1 liter per day of water was associated with significantly greater weight loss than diet alone. Water was associated with a decrease in body weight, waist circumference, and % body fat. 
This wasn't just due to the reduction of calories from other beverages, because noncaloric drinks other than water were associated with 30% smaller effect than water, so drinking diet soda is not the same! 
Over the 12 months of the study weight loss due to drinking water alone was 5 pounds. This might sound small but its reduction of 17,500 calories, without doing anything! By just drinking water!  

How to drink more water 
  • Always have a pitcher of water at the table during meal times (I use Brita) 
  • Buy a reusable earth friendly aluminum water bottle and take it with you where ever you go so you always have water. 
  • Have a bottle of water by your bed 
  • If you always have water around you will drink more! 
  • check out this site it has cool ways to increase your water intake http://www.wikihow.com/Drink-More-Water-Every-Day
Buy at: Walmart 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soda drinking increases fat storage in the body

A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that yes, drinking soda does increase fat storage in the liver, muscle, and THE STOMACH
47 subjects were assigned to one of four test groups: regular soda, milk of the same calories as the soda, diet cola, and water. 
Results showed that regular soda increased fat in the stomach by 25%, fat in the liver by 125%, and fat in the muscle by 200%. The only reason you would want to increase fat in your muscle is if you were kobe beef, and i'm guessing you're not.
What's interesting is that milk, which has the same calories as the soda did not increase fat storage anywhere in the body! So it is not the calories of the soda responsible, its other things in the soda such as the high level of sugar which is not seen in milk.
Regular soda, ladies and gentleman, also increased triglycerides by 32% and cholesterol by 11%!  
Soda causes fat to accumulate in all the wrong places, when fat accumulates around the organs in the stomach area it has a detrimental effect on you health, not to mention your bikini body. Also, soda is liquid calories, it doesn't have a high satiety effect. So make the switch to water! (Later this week ill discuss how water regardless of other factors helps you lose weight.) 

If you are a heavy soda drinker, switch just one cup or one can for water this week. Once you feel comfortable with that take it back a little more.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Some yummy, healthy, and easy dishes I want to make

Avocado, tomato, sprouts & pepper jack with chive spread

Cabbage & Feta slaw - Swap out regular caesar dressing for lemon and olive oil or low-fat dressing

Broccoli Salad with Feta and Fried Almonds- use low-fat feta cheese 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vitamin D: can you get too much?

A new study in the American Journal of Cardiology showed that too much vitamin D can actually be harmful! With all the craze over Vitamin D benefits people have been taking more and more supplements of the vitamin and not knowing that too much of it can actually be bad for them. 

The study, which had over 15,000 subjects, looked at the relationship between vitamin D and blood levels of an inflammatory mediator C Reactive Protein (CRP.) Higher levels of CRP is associated with inflammatory response and higher risk for heart disease. Basically, you want low levels of CRP. 
The study found that subjects with low levels of vitamin D benefited from the supplements, and higher vitamin D was associated with lower CRP, which is good, at blood levels up to 21 ng/ml. 
When blood levels of vitamin D were higher than 21 ng/ml additional vitamin D was actually associated with an increase of CRP. 

Basically, mega doses of vitamin D should be avoided unless you have checked your blood level and are deficient in the vitamin, because taking too much vitamin D when your blood level is adequate can lead to an increase of CRP which increases inflammation in the body and risk of heart disease. A multi-vitamin which has 100% of the RDA for vitamin D should be fine if you are taking that, just avoid taking doses that are like 2000% the RDA if you do not have a deficiency. 

Getting your vitamins from food is always better! So try getting your vitamin D from foods and the sun:

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Grazing" or eating frequently is associated with a lower body weight

A new study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that "grazing" or eating frequent snacks and meals throughout the day is associated with lower body weight. 

The study included 1213 black and 1166 white females and followed them for 10 years. Lower snack and eating frequency per day was associated with a greater increase in BMI and waist circumference.

This study shows that increasing the amount of times a day you eat is beneficial and is associated with a lower body weight. 

I am a big believer in this way of eating, and follow it myself, because by eating frequent small meals you never get very hungry and never get very full. Getting very hungry is terrible because you end up devouring at your next meal and eating way more calories than you would if you arrived at the meal ready to eat but not starving. That way you allow your self to eat slowly (which like I said in an earlier article, gives your brain enough time to tell you that you are full.) Also, you avoid that very full uncomfortable feeling I call "Food Coma." 

Source: Graze.com
As shown in the graph above, this way of "grazing" avoids pits of low blood sugar that causes you to overeat at your next meal and have cravings. 

How you should eat 
  • Include snacks in your diet, and I don't mean cakes and donuts i mean healthy snacks like these: healthy snacks
  • Eat 5 to 6 times a day
    • Breakfast 
    • Mid-morning snack 
    • Lunch 
    • Late afternoon snack 
    • Early dinner 
    • Bed time snack (optional) 
  • Make sure you never allow your self to get very hungry by consuming healthy snacks to curb appetite throughout the day - This will help you avoid pitfalls like the cookie jar! 
  • Avoid getting stuffed at any meal by eating slowly and stoping to eat when you are 80% full - within 15 minutes you will feel full. 
  • Avoid getting second helpings at lunch or dinner, wait 15 minutes before you get seconds, you'll probably be too full and won't want it anymore.
  • Make sure breakfast is high in fiber by including a high fiber cereal, this will set up your whole day for success. Also, try eating high fiber snacks like fresh fruit with the peel. Include high fiber side dishes at lunch and dinner such as lentils, beans, and whole grains. 
  • Avoid sodas and juices  which have a very low satiety effect. Drink a lots water (carry with you a aluminum reusable water bottle throughout the day and have a pitcher of water on table at meal times) and home-made teas (no more than one spoon of turbinado sugar.) 
Let me know how this works for you!