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Positively Cooking Blog
There is more too “clean eating” than just switching to whole grains and skipping the free donuts in your break room. We’ve all heard of it, but what exactly is Clean Eating? If I cook at home, am I eating clean? Well, no. In short, clean eating is a lifestyle that maintains a healthy physique by fueling our body with high-quality foods; especially lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. Further, avoiding all over-processed, refined foods, especially white flour and sugar. By eating foods that are fresh and from their natural source, you can feel better, look better, and most definitely have more energy. Furthermore, helping your body function properly and increase your immune system’s performance. It is great to switch to lowfat or almond milk and make sure you eat 5 small meals a day (never skipping breakfast). However, have you really taken a close look at what you eat and drink… maybe how small substitutes can make your skin brighter and even help you get out of bed in the morning? That’s my job… to get you in the know.
I am so pleased to be involved in putting on cooking classes at the Schottenstein Real Estate Group’s fantastic locations. In a model unit, I will take residents through 4-6 recipes (of course enjoying the finished product when we are done), giving tips for cooking techniques and shortcuts, introducing and answering questions about clean eating, and most of all creating an enjoyable environment to have a little fun!
Positively Cooking’s recipes are inspired to fit into busy lives and establish new, NUTRITIOUS staples for your breakfast, lunch, & dinner table. Further, my recipes, inspired by clean eating, are meant to fuel our bodies properly. We feel nourished, lack cravings, and have lasting energy. Yes, eating clean will help you shed excess weight and give you a healthy physique but it is not just about weight; we want to ward off heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, obesity, inflammation, and other diseases.
My job and goal with each cooking class is to widen your knowledge base on how to properly eat, give you a “cooking-skill-toolbox” (to help make these recipes happen in YOUR kitchen), leave you with a handful of recipes (all recipes provided to take home in a mini-cookbook), and lend my knowledge and experience to answer any questions you may have. You will have first-hand experience that clean eating can be easy with a little planning and it can still taste good. I look forward to seeing you there! Next stop… Pickerington!
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Well, because I want too. I want to take the opportunity that blogs offer to enhance my communication (and personal expression) to those who do visit positivelycooking.com. This is not to record my personal diary with secure, private content for all the Internet to see, more or less, it is solely to build a bigger connection with my beloved audience. Further, an additional outlet of communication to Facebook and Twitter.
That being said, what can you expect from my blog? Really, I plan on tackling topics I am curious about, whether it be experimenting with foodstuff, health & wellness, research development, neat restaurant experiences etc. For example, I looked into detox diets with the start of the new year to see what worked, what was dangerous, & what was a waste (see What is Detox post). Another example, I am planning on experimenting in my test kitchen with Polenta. I want people to be able to hear my voice as I sift through complications and successes while discovering how to use and enjoy Polenta for the first time.
Since blogs have a longer shelf-life than e-mails & newsletters etc., I am very excited to start this new journey of communication. This, overtime, will develop an even stronger relationship with those who appreciate what Positively Cooking has to offer.
Ate too much over Christmas? Yea, me too. The second helpings of delicious (and extensive) food spreads sure do have most of us feeling bloated and sluggish. I am looking for a way to feel fresh again, so I think… “maybe it is time to look into a detox.”
Well, what is a detox? By definition, a detox quite simply is the process of removing toxins from the body. Why do we detox? Maybe to jumpstart a weight loss regimen or some have the notion that flushing their bodies of stored Christmas cookies, honey-glazed ham, & chocolate-covered-everything will, in turn, give them more energy and have them feeling “bright” again. From popping herbal pills to swigging liquid grass, what is worth your time and money and what is not? More importantly, what is safe?
Whatever your reason, there are a lot of options. From detoxes that cost can cost you $500 - $3,000 to colon cleanses or programs that take solid food out of your diet completely, there is a fine line between what will leave long-lasting benefits and what will leave you grumpily carrying on your day dreaming about cheeseburgers and thick-cut steak fries.
I briefly want to touch on some fad detox programs and, in my opinion, your best options for feeling fresh and light. (**Please remember, this is my researched, experienced opinion, however, it is important to consult your physician if you have more serious questions.)
For liquid only detox program it is important to differentiate between what is helping and harming your body. In general, a couple days of essentially fasting (being on a solely micronutrient-rich liquid diet) will not induce harm. However, extended periods of time (I’d say greater than 2-3 days) can be a risk to your health. Once you inevitably get back to a normal routine involving solid food, your body is more prone to problems with lowered immune system, muscle pain (as you haven’t fed your muscles properly), lethargy, constipation, and/or mood swings. For example, a famously known cleanse made popular by Beyonce is The Master Cleanse -- drink lemon juice and water spiked with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Other than the obvious health risks of malnutrition with this 10-day liquid diet, the results WILL NOT be long-lasting but only a quick fix that will sure having you looking for other solutions soon after.
If you are willing to invest some cash, there are certain programs that can be sent right to your doorstep. Typically, these types of programs include different powders (i.e. protein powder, fiber powder) for meal-replacement shakes, supplements (i.e. probiotics and antioxidants), recipe guides, program guides, & videos. These are helpful if you do not have time to organize a cleansing program yourself, but make sure you find a program that allows solid food. For example, the 21 Day Clean Detox Program (www.cleanprogram.com) permits one light meal a day and includes a great balance of support through micronutrients (vitamins). However, 21-days is a long time. It is a big commitment, both financially and mentally. Such extreme caloric restrictions can be harsh on people’s mood and life. Think about this, instead of shelling out cash for a fancy program, try investing in a mechanical juicer. Then you can replace your breakfast with nutrient, antioxidant-filled juice (try the Fat Burner: 6 carrots, 1 lemon, & handful of spinach) AND have a new toy for your kitchen.
Detox programs that promise to purify by incorporating laxative-like attributes or drink concoctions that guarantee to “flush” your system of toxins are NOT safe. These will leave you feeling weak and malnourished. Further, using medications produced to help people with physical ailments (i.e. laxatives) and using them for off-label purposes can be dangerous.
Now, in my opinion, what works? Detox diets sound enticing, but they are a quick fix. For the same amount of time that you were willing to donate to a detox, why not consider simply eating a natural, clean diet. This can inspire permanent lifestyle change and give you the energy boost, bright skin, and weight loss you are looking for. Also, allowing you to live real life.
Here is what I am going to do. 30-day 90/10 Clean Eating Challenge. For 30 days, I am eating ‘clean’ foods 90% of the time. The other 10%, three days out of the month, I can have a meal I chose – a ‘cheat meal’ so to speak. Briefly, I will eat produce, free-range poultry, wild-caught fish, gluten-free breads, nuts, lentils, plain yogurt, complex carbohydrates (i.e. sweet potato, couscous or quiona), & meal-replacement protein shakes. I WILL NOT eat dairy, yeast, refined sugars, commercially prepared condiments, bread, salted nuts (no peanuts), gluten, beef, pork, veal, alcohol, and OMG DON’T SAY IT… chocolate. This is not about eliminating entire food groups, but more or less focusing on non-processed, fresh foods. It is about small adjustments like changing the cream in your coffee to unsweetened almond or soy milk and/or skipping the mayonnaise and cheese on your sandwich at lunch. Listen, the first week or so is going to be tough. I am predicting I’ll feel like I’m starving. After my body and I get the hang of it, and I start seeing results, it will give me the motivation to keep going.
Now we need to get creative. What satisfying meals fit into our challenge. Generally speaking, breakfast and lunch are easier when it comes to sticking to the plan. Enjoy egg white omelette with fresh vegetables or plain oatmeal with berries for breakfast. For lunch, a turkey sandwich on a gluten-free wrap with creamy avocado, tomato, and mesculin greens or my Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup. However, when dinner is conernced… it becomes true to its title, a challenge. You HAVE to be interested in the adventure of experimenting in your kitchen for this to work. Try my Quinoa Pizza Crust, my Clean Chicken Salad, or what about fresh Wild Alaskan Salmon with Blackberry Glaze over Asparagus Salad… sounds decadent right? (recipe below) Sure, simple grilled chicken/fish with steamed vegetables can be an easy, go-to recipe but try discovering a new hobby in finding clean recipes to enjoy; even if it is just squeezing some lemon wedges over your steamed vegetables ;).
Now if you are interested in the challenge and have questions, please contact me via e-mail or Facebook at PositivelyCooking@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/PositivelyCooking. Accountability will help us reach our goal, we are in this together!
Alaskan Salmon Filets, preferred
2 cups fresh blackberries
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1⁄2 tsp. jarred ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
For Mixed Green Salad:
2 cups greens, spinach, spring mix, 50/50 etc.
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Crumbled white cheese, goat cheese preferred
Stovetop Asparagus (see recipe below), chopped into bite-size pieces
Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
Rinse and dry blackberries. Place blackberries in a small mixing bowl and mash. It is okay to have a few blackberry chunks in there, but do the best you can do get a smooth consistency.
Add soy, jarred ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper to your blackberry mash and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Place your salmon filet on your foil lined baking sheet. Spoon just enough blackberry glaze over salmon to cover the filet. Broil for 7-9 minutes, until salmon flakes easily and is cooked through.
Meanwhile, while salmon is cooking, assemble your mixed green salad by mixing all of it's ingredients together. Once salmon cooking is complete, place filet on top of greens, drizzle with additional glaze, and enjoy!
Guest Post from http://www.schottensteinrealestate.com/blog/
Getting on the same page as Positively Cooking
Everyday, there seems to be another reason against a home-cooked meal leaving you, and your family, with a greasy bag of deep-fried easy. Whether you’re tired from work, lost track of time, busy carpooling kids to activities, the excuses stop here. My goal is to inspire more home-cooked meals within your sound-proofed, quiet, energy-efficient townhome or garden apartment.
Positively Cooking is a recipe base that not only proves nutritious eating can taste good, but that it can be easy. All it takes is a touch of planning and a desire to eat sensible, useful food. I promise to only use ingredients you already have, or you can easily find at your local grocery.
As we get started on our kitchen journey together, we should start by getting your pantry ready for effective menu planning and dinner preparation. First things first, give your kitchen a good clean. Remove all items, wipe the shelves down, group like items together, & throw away expired food-stuff.
Now you know what you’ve got in your inventory and its time to stock up. Put at least 2-4 pounds of your favorite meats in the freezer along with several bags of vegetables/fruits like corn, broccoli, spinach or vegetable medleys.
Stock your pantry with several cans of your favorite beans, green chilies, tomato sauces, tomato paste, salsa, broths, flour, oil (sesame and olive), nuts, Worcestershire, soy, rice, salad dressings, herbs/spices (salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, cayenne, garlic powder, Cajun spice), vinegars (white and red), granulated sugar, & honey. Stocking your pantry will save you money and time in the long run. You of course do not have to buy all at once, however, take advantage of weekly sales and economical bulk pricing.
With a stocked freezer and pantry, your grocery list is left with fresh produce and dairy that you can pick up weekly. My staples in the produce section: an onion, bulb of garlic, fruits like strawberries & grapefruit, bell peppers, spinach, cilantro, lemons and limes. I buy several yogurts (including plain yogurt for garnish [replacing sour cream] or for recipes) and milk. Now, these are typical items I pick up, however, I NEVER step foot through the automatic doors at the grocery without a list. Nutritious eating does not start in your kitchen, it starts with taking 15 minutes to plan your menu, generate a grocery list, and get those squeaky cart wheels into the grocery aisles.
Whether it’s because you are on a budget, looking to eat healthier, or want to connect with loved ones around the dinner table, cooking at home can have so many benefits. With Positively Cooking, I am going to give you a base of ideas, tips, recipes to create new staples on your dinner/lunch/breakfast table.
Guest Post from http://www.schottensteinrealestate.com/blog/