Food as Medicine

Most of us know that food work as fuel for our bodies, what most people don’t know is that nutritious and healthy food may also prevent diseases and enhance body functions.

“Nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions. Essential meaning that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline.

When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop.”

– Perspectives in Nutrition, Wardlow and Insel

We need to focus on foods we should include rather than foods to exclude. Instead of viewing food as the enemy, we should look to food as a way to create health and reduce disease by helping the body maintain function.food-as-medicine

To see picture in better resolution, visit this link

Eating on a College Campus

We have all heard about freshman-15 and I’ve had a lot of friends going down that road where they just give up and give in for all the junk food that is offered on a college campus. I am going to college next year and I am preparing myself so that I can keep living a healthy lifestyle on campus. I have made a suggestion below on what kind of things a college student can eat that is healthy, accessible on campus and within a budget.

untitled-infographic

You can find all the recipes on these two sites: greatist.com & spoonuniversity.com. There are a lot of different and interesting recipes out there. It was very easy to find some good and easy recipes on Pinterest, so for all of you who are interested, go on and look at Pinterest and I promise you’ll find a ton.

TeenVogue also posted “10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy in College (It’s Possible, We Promise!)” which explains 10 easy ways to choose the right food on campus. The 10 ways are to stock up on healthy staples, always take the fruit, eat high-quality junk food, think of dining hall as a classroom, listen to your body, experiment with what you’re eating, order in, find your food confidence & food-spiration, and establish a routine. To sum them up, you should listen to your body, make the right choices and plan ahead. To read every statement in more detail, visit the site here.

 

To see the picture with better resolution, go here

Smoothie Bowls

It’s very easy to make a yummy smoothie bowl. Start off with a bowl, pour in a smoothie of your choice and top it off with something you enjoy. My favorite flavors for smoothies are mango, berry, and a minty spinach one. I like to top my smoothie bowls off with some nuts, shredded coconut and berries. You can also add some more chia seeds, flax seeds or something else to get some more fiber.

Other than Smoothie Bowls, Acai Bowls are also pretty popular right now. An acai bowl is pretty much the same as a smoothie bowl but it contains the fruit acai which comes all the way from Brazil. Here in the U.S., acai berries come not as a whole fruit, but as frozen puree. And it can only be found in the freezer section of local health food stores, Whole Foods, or purchased online through Amazon or one the website of one of the biggest producer, Sambazon. Here you can find some recipes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/15/acai-bowls-recipe_n_5147465.html and here you can find all the amazing health benefits: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-acai/

I made a smoothie bowl the other day with a recipe I got from a Swedish blogger, which you can find here. It’s made out of 1 banana, 2-3 frozen strawberries, fresh mango and some almond milk to get a smooth texture. Mix it all together in a blender and indulge in this healthiness. I made mine as an afternoon snack before I went to the gym, I also made an avocado sandwich in crisp bread. This will keep you full for a while and satisfy your sweet tooth. IMG_8320IMG_8322

Sweat, Smile and Repeat

I talked about how important it is to exercise in one of the earlier posts but I just wanted to share some good examples on what kind of workouts you could do. You can do all of these workouts at home and it the longest one takes about 40 min. It’s healthy to do high intensity cardio training 2-3 times a week. Here are some good examples on how cardio training benefits you and your health:benefits-of-cardio.jpg

 

If you don’t have any weights at home, use an empty milk carton filled with water or a large bottle of laundry detergent. If you don’t have a stability ball, use a chair with a pillow on for comfort or maybe a footstool

 

On the days you don’t feel like working out, lay down on the living room floor and do some cosy & comfy yoga. Yoga has many health benefits such as; helps your flexibility, builds muscle strength, prevents cartilage and joint breakdown, increases your blood flow, boosts immunity, drops your blood pressure, lowers blood sugar, just to name a few. The good thing about yoga is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. Here are two videos of different yoga routines I enjoy. One of them is said to reduce stress and anxiety, the other one is for beginners, and very easy to follow along with.

tumblr_mguwupPToV1s05ltso1_500

Post-Workout Snacks

Other than eating healthy, we have to do some form of exercise on an every day basis to achieve optimal health. It could be anything from walking to doing high intensity intervals or playing your favorite sport. The main thing is that we are up and moving every day. To maintain a healthy weight for an average teenager, we should be doing some kind of exercise for about 45-60 min/day and do HIIT workouts 2-3 times a week. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, for example, running intervals on the treadmill, taking a spinning class or swimming. For someone that needs/wants to lose weight, the most important thing is to burn more calories than you eat, but remember that this doesn’t mean that you should eat less!

After a workout, it’s important to refuel your body with the right kind of food. To get a quick muscle recovery we should eat carbohydrates and protein after every workout. Here are some samples of what that could look like:

  • Apple slices with peanut/almond butter
  • Greek yogurt with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey
  • Egg scramble with an avocado on the side
  • Omelette with spinach and turkey
  • High-protein smoothies (here you have a few recipes)

Here’s a very simple recipe for a strawberry smoothie:

  • 1 Banana
  • 6-8 frozen Strawberries
  • 4-5 oz of Almond milk/skim milk
  • 2 tbsp Flaxseed
  • Granola and fresh strawberries for garnish

Mix everything in a blender and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with some homemade granola (find recipe here) and fresh strawberries.

IMG_8291

The basics for making a good smoothie is to add fruit and some kind of liquid, learn the essentials here. To get the perfect post- workout smoothie, add a banana, egg or yogurt for protein, and seeds or nuts for carbohydrates. In this recipe we get our protein from the banana and the milk, vitamins from the banana and the strawberries, and then some good carbs and fiber from the flaxseeds.

 

A Simple Salad

Sometimes, a simple salad is the way to go when you feel uninspired, or maybe lack the time of preparation. Some people find a simple salad to be quite boring, but I’m here to change your mind!

For those of you who don’t know all the different sorts of salads and why some are healthier than others can find a good description of them here. I like to go with spinach and arugula for my salads but there are plenty more to choose from. You want to choose a salad that have clear and colorful leaves, the stronger the color is often means that they contain more nutrients.

Here is a simple but delicious recipe for one of my favorite salads:

Serves about 3-4 people, and takes 25-30 min.

  • 1/2 bag of Baby lettuce
  • 1/2 bag of Arugula
  • 1  Bell pepper (red or yellow)
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 1/2 Cantaloupe
  • 1 Mango
  • 1 package of Mozzarella Bocconcini
  • 1/2 Pomegranate
  • 10 leaves of Basil
  • 1 packet Prosciutto.

Heat your oven to 400°F. Place the slices of prosciutto on a baking paper on top of a baking plate and slide into the oven. They will be ready in about 7-10 min, watch them carefully, you want them to become crispy but not burnt. While the prosciutto is in the oven, prepare the rest of the salad. Chop everything into the shape you prefer, then tare the mozzarella into pieces (it preserves more flavor this way) and place them on top of everything. Finish it off with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and basil, then place the crispy prosciutto on top.

IMG_8259IMG_8260

Afternoon Snacks

When I get home from school or work, I often get hungry or my sweet tooth kicks in. To stop this I try to make a quick snack that keeps me full until dinner but easy enough to make so that I won’t lay my hands on the cookie jar.

First off we have Fruit, an average apple contains fiber and phytonutrients that helps to regulate one’s blood sugar. Most fruits contain large portions of antioxidants, vitamins and fibers which keeps you full and energized for hours. We are told to eat 5-9 servings of fruit each day, so start eating!

Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. The fats in nuts are good fats that our bodies need so start consuming more of them! Don’t settle for one particular nut, you should be eating almonds, cashews, pistachios etc. because a mix of different nuts is the best way to consume it according to a 2004 review in the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. Mixed nuts, ideally raw and unsalted, provide the best variety of nutrients and antioxidants

Popcorn are a delicious snack that most people enjoy. It contains whole grain and antioxidants, it’s cheap and it’s easy to prepare. The best way to eat popcorn is to pop whole popcorn kernels, in the microwave or on your stove. Don’t add any extra fats or sugary seasoning. Grass-fed organic butter and a pinch of salt is the best way to go.

Hummus & crackers go hand in hand. Hummus is rich in protein and iron. It makes for an incredibly yummy taste together with a multi-seed cracker. This will fill you up real good and takes about 20 sec to fix. If you have a bit more time on your hands, peel a carrot, a cucumber or take out some celery to go with it.

Peanut and almond butter contains protein, antioxidants, magnesium, iron and healthy fats. When buying these you want to make sure it’s pure and natural with no additives, so look for the words raw and organic. I love to spread some raw peanut butter on a slice of apple, it keeps me full and soothes my sweet tooth. You can also make your own peanut or almond butter at home, you just put the desired amount of that nut in a food processor and using the highest setting, let the nuts get processed adding minimal amounts of water so that a paste forms.

 

How to read a nutrition label

US+nutrition+label+pic

Here’s a picture of a nutrition label for the well- known dish, Mac & Cheese. We have all seen one of these labels before, when we’re buying our groceries but do we really know what all of it means? What does all these words stand for and why do I want them inside my body, or not inside my body? I want you guys to learn how to read a nutrition label and how to use that knowledge towards buying healthier products in your grocery stores. This picture only shows the basics but to learn more you should click on this link, and when you’re there you’ll want to click on one of the words on the label and a definition will pop up. This is a great source called American Institute for Cancer Research where they talk a lot about cancer but they also bring up a lot of good advice on how to be healthy, and what kind of nutrients our bodies need.