Destin..My Favorite Place To Be

This weekend, I am visiting one of my favorite places–Destin, Florida. I’m so excited because it’s been years since I’ve been to Destin, and I’m here with my siblings. I love it because it’s quiet and the beach is clear, and warm. So lovely!

The weather has been beautiful. Yesterday, it was sunny, with a cool breeze. The forecast predicted rain, but we were so thankful that it turned out to be a gorgeous day.

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This morning, I went for a jog with my sister and brother along the scenic route. It was a great way to start the day. I never used to like exercising while I was on vacation, but now I make it a part of my day, and I enjoy it.

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We made a late breakfast at home, and hit the beach in the afternoon. After we soaked up the sun for a few hours, we lay by the pool for a little while.

Yesterday, we rode a pontoon for the first time, and it was tons of fun! My brother navigated for most of the time while the girls lounged around. We took it out in the early afternoon until the evening, and packed our lunch and snacks with us for the day. I even drove it myself for a while, but it wasn’t long before my sister pointed out that I was going in circles, so I gave the wheel back to my brother. They say I’m not the most skilled driver, but I beg to differ 🙂

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Yesterday evening, my sister Nina and my sister-in-law Areej cooked dinner for us. They made baked chicken breasts with onions and potatoes, quinoa, and avocado and tomato salad. It was yummy and healthy! Today is our last day before we head back to New Orleans tomorrow. I hope you’re having a great a Labor Day holiday, wherever you are!

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Healthy Waffles for Breakfast

Today I tried a new brand of waffles for the first time from, Van’s Natural Foods. I had their lite, whole grain, wheat waffles variety, along with Log Cabin syrup. My sister (who is a bigger health nut than me) introduced me to Log Cabin syrup, which has no high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I love it, because it’s just as yummy as Aunt Jemima syrup–the stuff I grew up on!

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I believe in everything in moderation. I don’t think it hurts to have a spoon of that delicious Aunt Jemima syrup occasionally. But if you’re like me, and you can eat waffles every day for breakfast, I would stick to the syrup with no HFCS. I wanted to learn more about HFCS, so I did a little research. I knew that it wasn’t good for you, but what I didn’t know is that HFCS causes inflammation in the body. That was it for me. This is what else you should know about HFCS:

  • High fructose corn syrup is extracted through corn stalks and chemically processed and used as a sweetner.
  • It is almost always a marker of poor-quality, nutrient-poor disease-creating industrial food products or “food-like substances”.
  • It contains contaminants including mercury that are not regulated or measured by the FDA.

It’s always better to go for the HFCS-free foods when you can. If you want to learn more about HFCS, here’s the link to a great article by Dr. Mark Hyman who explains what HFCS is and how it affects our bodies. The title of the article, 5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You, I admit is a bit dramatic, but the article is insightful and interesting, nonetheless.

Seafood and What It Does For Your Health

I came across this on the Twitterverse today, and I thought it was neat. There is a website called SeafoodHealthFacts.org that provides the health benefits and risks of eating seafood. Since I currently live in New Orleans, the land of seafood, I thought it was pretty cool.

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I never used to think much about the food I consumed and its affect on our health, until after I got sick. That’s when I became really interested in learning about how foods can help us heal. Lots of different seafood offer proteins, vitamins and minerals. The website includes credible and detailed information on:

  • The nutritional benefits of various species of seafood
  • Seafood safety, sustainability, regulations
  • The risk vs. benefits of consuming seafood

I’m a New Orleans girl at heart, and I grew up cracking crawfish and crab legs. So, this is good news for me and my health. But how about a fried shrimp po’boy with all the trimmings? Mmmm! Does that count?

Food and Fun with Family

This weekend I visited some of my family in Virginia. I spent time with my aunt, who lucky for me, is a great cook (almost as good as my mom!) I love being with her in the kitchen because she is so knowledgeable about foods and their health and healing benefits. She knows a lot of Middle Eastern home remedies too. I should take notes from her!

On the first night I arrived, she prepared Shawarma with fresh meat seasoned with tons of spices, alongside roasted vegetables from her garden, Mediterranean salad, rice (a staple in Middle eastern cuisine) and fresh, organic yogurt. It was delicious!

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Saturday morning I woke up craving pancakes for some strange reason. I made some for everyone and we ate them with fresh fruit. (even though I really wanted it with bacon!)

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Later that day, I visited my cousin Huda, a practicing esthetician, who is also very health conscious. I get all my natural health & beauty advice from her. It’s so nice to have women in my life who are such a wealth of knowledge in healthy living.

She made me a juice in her VitaMix blender chocked full of fresh fruits & veggies. I’ve been wanting to try the VitaMix for a while now, so I was excited! It is pretty impressive!

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On Sunday, we visited the Eastern market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It is Washington DC’s oldest, continually operated fresh food public market. They had tons of neat goodies there. I can’t get enough of these outdoor markets! I bought some gifts and enjoyed and enjoyed all the sights there.

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On our last morning, my aunt sent us off with a proper Mediterranean lunch. This is one of my favorites! Homemade hummus, bread for dipping with olive oil, zaatar, garden tomatoes & cucumbers, pickled olives, sautéed mushrooms, yogurt, and fresh fruit with chai (tea) and mint.

I ate so much good food this weekend, and really enjoyed spending time with my family that I don’t get to see often. I’m grateful I had the chance to do it.

Now, it’s back to New Orleans for me. I’ve been away for a while and I’m looking forward to coming home. I always miss that place when I leave.

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Back to Healthy Meals

It’s hard to lead a healthy lifestyle when you’re traveling. (especially with all those delicious croissants in France!) I’m happy to get back to my healthy meals.

Today, for breakfast, I had Oikos yogurt, with Bear Naked granola, which I tried for the first time and loved. I topped it with strawberries, raspberries and honey. I enjoyed it with a cup of Bigelow French Vanilla black tea. One of my favorites.

Breakfast

For lunch, I made a salad with spring greens, red, yellow & green bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green plums, pine nuts, and Breakstone’s low-fat cottage cheese. I drizzled it with an olive oil and lemon vinagarette dressing. Salads don’t keep me full for long, so I’ll have to have a few snacks before dinner 🙂

Lunch

 

Dinner is TBD!

Sandwiches & Shakes at The Milk Bar

Yesterday I was on my way to Subway to grab a sandwich for lunch, when I spotted this place en route. I decided to stop and try it, because I love to support local businesses.

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And they had just what I was looking for…an assortment of sandwiches. The staff was friendly and easy-going, which I like.

Occidental Oriental sandwich

I had the “Occidental Oriental” and it was huge! It had marinated chicken, red pepper, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, peanut satay sauce, and mozzarella cheese. LOTS of mozzarella cheese! I was a baad girl (but it was SO good!) I was only able to eat half of it, and I was stuffed!

Inside The Milk Bar

I wanted to try a shake too, but I had to fight the feeling! I am trying to cut back on dairy, since it doesn’t work well with my medicine. But I think next time, I will sneak a try!

Orange Marmalade Chicken with Roasted Asparagus

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while now. I saw it on a commercial and I was excited to try. It’s simple and delicious! The ingredients are below:

  • organic chicken breasts
  • organic orange marmalade
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Pre-heat the over to 400 degrees. I did not measure the amount of marmalade. I simply scooped up as much as I wanted! Mince the garlic and cook it in a frying pan for about 2 to 3 minutes until it softens, and add it in a bowl with the marmalade, olive oil and salt & pepper. Then, line up your chicken breasts in a shallow baking pan covered with foil. Spread your marmalade evenly over the chicken breasts. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

orange marmalade pre cooked

In another pan, wash and spread the asparagus. Coat with olive oil and dash a little salt & pepper all over. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. You can even bake the chicken and asparagus at the same time. It was my first time cooking asparagus and I LOVED it!

asparagus

The recipe takes about an hour total, including preparation. I love simple meals with lots of flavor…especially for the working women who want to live healthy! Some days you want to cook, but there just isn’t enough time to dive into an extensive recipe. These are a great choice!

orange marmalade cooked