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.

Vitamin B12 and What it Does for You

Do you know about vitamin B12 and what it does for our bodies? I’ve seen it in passing, but never really paid much attention to it, until recently. I was doing some research on the medicine that I take, colchicine, when B12 caught my eye. I learned that taking colchicine at a high dose and for an extended period of time can cause depletions of certain vitamins and minerals in the body.

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B12 is one of those vitamins. After I learned this, I asked my doctor to test my B12 levels. My levels were average, but he wanted them a little higher, so he recommended I take B12 over-the-counter. So, I got to my research right away, like a good journalist would! This is what I found.

Here’s what B12 does for you:

1. It helps in the manufacturing of red blood cells in the body

2. It supports the nervous system

3. It is required for the replication of DNA–generating new and healthy cells

Vitamin B12 is found in the following foods:

  • Fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk
  • Beef liver and clams are the best sources of vitamin B12
  • Some breakfast cereals, nutritional yeasts and other food products are fortified with vitamin B12

The recommended amount of Vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4mcg (micrograms). Most people in the United States get enough vitamin B12 from the foods they eat. But some people have trouble absorbing it from food. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and megaloblastic anemia, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Have you heard of B12 shots? I heard of them but I didn’t know what the purpose or benefit is. Well, some proponents of vitamin B-12 injections say it gives you more energy and boosts your metabolism, helping you lose weight. But unless you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, vitamin B-12 injections aren’t likely to give you an energy boost, according to the Mayo clinic. Leave that to being active and eating healthy!

To learn more about Vitamin B12, visit this link at the National Institutes of Health website.

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!

Juice, Juice

I started juicing with the NutriBullet when I moved home to New Orleans, but now I’m trying to do it more consistently. I recently went to Whole Foods and gathered some ingredients for different juices. I’m excited to try them! I can’t say that I felt the difference after I started juicing, but perhaps it’s because I wasn’t doing it consistently. My goal is to juice five times a week this month. I’ll have to keep track and see if I notice a difference in how I feel. I’ve heard juicing boosts your energy, (along with a ton of other health benefits) and I could definitely use a little help!

Juicing

Juicing

Today was a low-energy day for me. Sometimes I wake up, and I feel great. Other days I feel very tired and I have low energy. My doctor thinks it’s related to the inflammation levels in my body. I can recall feeling this way for years, and always wondering what the reason was. I’m trying to learn what triggers the inflammation and if there are any other factors that affect my energy levels day in and day out. For now, I enjoy the good days and do my best to get through the bad days.

Anyhow, my mom and dad bought a Nutribullet and I’m super excited! My mom is convinced that she can heal me “naturally”. (She’s conspiring to get to me off of my medicine.) If you ask her, there’s nothing that a mom’s love & cooking won’t cure. Her and my dad and I were watching TV one night last week and they saw an infomercial for the Nutribullet. As soon as the salesmen mentioned juicing and its ability to help fight illnesses, they were sold! They got all excited and starting shouting about how they needed to get one. It was hilarious. So, of course the next day we ventured out to find one, and here it is.. My dad made me a fruit juice today, and I must say, it was yummy. I’ll have to keep track and see if it helps the way I feel.

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Nutribullet