Best Fruits and Vegetables to Add To Your WaterDrinking water is one of the best things you can do for your body. It helps protect your vital organs, regulate body temperature and keep your skin cleansed and hydrated. Despite the numerous benefits of drinking water, a lot of people opt for soda and other sugary drinks. After all, sipping on plain old water all the time can get boring.

Infused water is a more interesting and flavorful way to get your H20. Check out our list of 5 best fruits and vegetables to add to your water. These supercharged waters will keep you hydrated while relieving some of your biggest concerns.

Lemon

Lemon is one of the most popular fruits to add to your water. Aside from being low in calories, adding lemon to your water can also help you shed a few pounds. Plus, it helps strengthen your immune system.

To take advantage of all these wonderful benefits, just add a few slices of lemon in a pitcher of water and chill for a few hours. Enjoy a refreshing lemonade without the all the extra sugar and calories.

Grapes

Grapes are loaded with health-protecting antioxidants like resveratrol and flavonoids. Before adding them to your water, we suggest freezing them in ice cubes. This way, the taste will be more prominent; thus, allowing you to enjoy a fruity drink without the added calories.

Cucumber

You probably haven’t thought of adding vegetables to your water, but there are some vegetables that can enhance the flavor of your water. Cucumber happens to be one of them.

Cucumbers contain B vitamins and are high in water content. Plus, they’re rich in anti-cancer components like fisetin, lutein and caffeic acid.

Cut the cucumber as thinly as possible, add a few slices in a glass of water and enjoy a refreshing drink in a jiff.

Strawberries

If you love using strawberries in your smoothies, desserts and yogurt, you’ll definitely like them in your water.

Strawberries will keep you feeling refreshed and sweeten your water in no time. Plus, they are super healthy. They can help combat cancer, improve your memory, and prevent hair loss, constipation, diabetes, and heart diseases. Since strawberries are packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants, they can also help slow down the aging process and keep your skin youthful.

Living Well_9.9

You’re on the road and it hits you, and it’s not the need for a bathroom break or driver fatigue. We’re talking about the hunger pangs and the need for a snack. In this case, you have no choice but to stop at a convenience store and grab a bag of chips and an energy drink.

Your limited food choices can make it pretty tough to make good food choices. All it takes is a little planning and you can easily avoid convenience store staples that contain simple sugars and empty calories.

When it comes to snack selection, we recommend choosing something that would keep you full longer. This will keep your energy up and your belt-size intact. Check out our list of snacks that will keep you energized during your trip.

Fruits

Fruits are considered to be one of the best on-the-go snack options out there. Grapes and berries are snack-sized and finger-friendly, making it a great snack option during a road trip.

To help keep them cool and fresh, store your fruits in lidded food containers and inside an insulated cooler.

Nuts

If you are craving for something salty and crunchy, skip the chips and pop open a container of nuts. Though nuts are loaded with healthy fats, fiber and protein, it is best to keep portions small. Also, choose unsalted varieties to keep your sodium levels in check.

Energy bars

To boost your protein and fiber intake while avoiding the sugar trap, you might want to consider replacing your favorite candy bar with a granola bar. Mind you, not all granola bars are created equal. Be sure to read the labels carefully so as to ensure that you are not trading a sugar-laden bar with another.

Healthy beverages

While a can of soda may seem like the perfect beverage to get you through your drive, it contains high levels of refined sugar.

Water, sports drinks and fruit juices are more healthy alternatives to soda. Keep a few bottles chilling in the cooler while you drive.

 

 

 

Packing the Perfect Picnic Basket

The weather is great and picnic season is upon us. What’s not to love about eating a plate of delicious food while basking in nature’s beauty?

Whether you’re planning to stage your next outdoor meal on the beach or in the park, you have to make sure that everything is packed. That lovely bottle of wine won’t get opened if you don’t have a corkscrew. And once you arrive at your picnic spot, what you have in your picnic basket is what you’ve got.

Tote your picnic lunch with ease by following these simple tips.

Ground cloth

Bring an old blanket or a washable cloth that you don’t mind ruining. Even if you have a picnic table or clean rocks to sit in, bringing a blanket will up the coziness factor of eating outside.

Main dishes

Choose dishes that can be transported easily, easy to eat with your hands and do not spoil quickly.

Since you need everything to be portable and light, sandwiches and finger foods are a great option. They are easy to prepare, filling and can be packed individually for your convenience.

Side dishes

A picnic will never be complete without scrumptious sides. You can prepare your favorite pasta salad the night before the picnic and add in some roasted chicken and chopped vegetables. Since these dishes usually contain mayo, it would be best to keep it chilled.

Desserts

While a picnic is not the perfect place to get into a cake or pie, that doesn’t mean that you should skip the dessert. Choose a selection of pastries like cupcakes, fruit tarts or éclairs. They’re good on the go and are so irresistible.

Plates and utensils

Use lightweight reusable like acrylic instead of glassware. Cloth napkins can also make the picnic feel a little more special.

Drinks

As for drinks, you can bring bottles of your favorite soda or water – be sure to bring plenty of water.

 

Around the World In A Week: 5 Ethnic Cuisine Ideas To Cook At Home

Are you tired of preparing and eating the same old meals? Expand your culinary horizons and take a trip around the world with these healthy and tasty cuisines.

We have selected 5 fast and easy meal ideas that you can create at home. You may need some specialty ingredients for some of these cuisines, but there are a lot of supermarkets that offer a broad range of ethnic ingredients.

Chow Mein

Chow Mein is one of the most popular Chinese takeout items in the United States.  It’s an easy dish to prepare and the end results are always satisfying.  Just add some shredded vegetables, some protein –either seafood, beef, pork, chicken – and you’ll be having the perfect Chinese noodles that is cheap, filing and satisfying.

Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a signature Korean dish that is served in a bowl. In 2011, this famous Korean dish was listed as number 40 in the World’s 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN.

Served with steamed rice, lots of vegetables and meat, Bibimbap is not only healthy and delicious, it is also visually appealing.

Irish Beef Stout Stew

Preparation and cooking time may take a couple of hours, but this melt-in-your-mouth soup is so flavorful that you can easily forget how much time it took to prepare this dish.

Chicken Adobo

Take a journey to the Philippines with this succulent chicken dish. Prepared by stewing chicken in soy sauce and vinegar, this should not be mistaken with Mexican adobo.

This dish is surprisingly very simple for how much flavor it has. Serve it with rice and see the delight on everyone’s face!

Sushi

Japanese cuisine can seem daunting to make at home. But once you have found the right recipes and techniques, you will then realize that it’s not that complicated after all.

 

Food and Mood: Stress-Busting and Feel-Good FoodsDo you eat more when you’re feeling stressed? You are not alone. In fact, in a survey that was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the PNR, more than one-third of the participants revealed that their diets change during stressful times.

When the stress hits, a lot of people tend to turn quickly on highly refined carbohydrates like white pasta or bagel or sugary foods. Learn how to cope with stress by stacking up on these stress-busting foods and put them on your plate when you feel overwhelmed.

Asparagus

Experts believe that depression may be linked to having low levels of folic acid. Asparagus helps boost this mood-enhancing nutrient.

The good news is, it’s easy to fit asparagus into almost any meal. Plus, a single cup is enough for your daily needs.

Avocado

Feelings of anxiety may also be rooted from Vitamin B deficiency. Fortunately, avocados are loaded with this stress-relieving Vitamin. To top it all off, this green wonder contains potassium and monounsaturated fat, which helps lower blood pressure.

Oatmeal

Carbohydrates trigger the brain to produce a relaxing brain chemical called serotonin. Experts believe that the more slowly your body absorbs carbohydrates, the more slowly serotonin flows. Since oatmeal is high in fiber, it may take your stomach a while to digest it. For a quicker release of serotonin, you might want to top it with a swirl of jam.

Milk

It is a well-known fact that a glass of warm milk is the best way to combat insomnia and restlessness. This is because milk is packed with protein, calcium, Vitamins B2 and B12 and antioxidants.

The protein in milk is known to have a calming effect and soothes tension, while potassium helps addresses muscle spasm that is often associated with feeling tense.

Orange

If you are feeling stressed, go ahead and pour yourself a glass or orange juice. Or better yet, peel yourself an orange. Vitamin C is the magic nutrient here.

Vitamin C is another powerful vitamin that is known to lower a person’s cortisol and blood pressure levels.

 

Are You a Conscious or Unconscious Eater?We all eat. Most of us are hopefully eating a few times throughout the day. But are you thinking while you’re eating? What I mean is, do you intentionally put mindful energy in your eating/digestion process? If I haven’t lost you yet, please consider the following points, and then follow the next four steps to embrace “Conscious Eating” as part of your daily rituals.
*When you eat, whether you’re chewing something fresh and from the earth, or something out of a wrapper or can, you are consuming energy.  Your body will use that “energy” as fuel for your body, hopefully efficiently, or some of that “energy” will be expended quickly and the excess will be stored as fat.  (Deciphering “filling” vs. “fueling” foods is another topic altogether….)
*When you eat, your environment in which you are eating, has “energy” surrounding it. Whether you’re in front of a computer, a TV, at a sidewalk cafe, in your car, or at a table, you’re surrounded by energy: sound, light, smell, crowds, etc.
*Lastly, your body requires “energy” from your digestive enzymes, your digestive system, your liver, your entire body, to break down your food and digest it so it can be used efficiently and make you healthier, ideally giving you more “energy”!

*The more stressful, rushed, synthetic your food choice and even the manner in which you consume, including your environment can affect the entire digestive process.

Think about the above points: don’t you want the best possible chance at breaking down your meals and having them utilized in the body to the best ability, making you stronger, leaner, wiser and more comfortable. It is my opinion that most people suffering digesting unrest (heartburn, gas, bloating, etc.) are not conscious eaters, but eaters on-the-go, stressed-out, and gulping down their food.

Follow these simple steps to have a more peaceful and efficient handle on your own digestion. I challenge you to do this for 3 days in a row at every single meal. It may surprise you how challenging yet how rewarding it can be to consciously eat!

1. Chew.   We are not chewing our food slowly enough, or thoroughly enough. Take smaller bites, and chew every morsel of food until you cannot chew it anymore–until it’s unrecognizable, before you swallow. 
2. Rest between bites.  It’s a great practice to put your utensil (fork) down at least  between every two bites. Simply rest–even a few seconds, between every two bites.
3. Choose silence or comfort over function.  Eat in a comfortable surrounding, with people you like and admire, or by yourself. If you’re in a loud place, or with negative people, you are absorbing all that interference, which causes stress, which hinders digestion.
4. Highly present– not high tech.  Try your hardest not to eat in front of television, facebook, emails, even smart phones. I’m guilty of this too, but we are bombarded with enough cellular data, bad news, gossip, etc. as it is–keep it away from your brain as you eat so your belly doesn’t take on that energy.
Happy “mindful” eating!

Surprising Salad Facts

Most people think that salads are a safe choice since the main ingredients of this dish are nutritious and low-calorie veggies. Your greens might be healthy, but once you add a bottle of store-bought dressing into the equation, everything seems to change.

We’ve discovered a few surprising salad facts that we’d like to share with you. Next time you prepare a salad, be cautious on what you’re using to top off that salad.

It’s loaded with untested “Franken” ingredients

If you are to check the labels of some of the most popular salad dressing in the market, you’ll then realize that oil is one of the top ingredients.

Unfortunately, the oils that are used in non-organic salad dressings are from genetically engineered canola or soy. This is quite disturbing as these crops are grown using large amounts of pesticides. So, next time you’re buying a salad dressing, opt for organic ones.

Popular salad dressing has high fructose content

Studies revealed that consuming a high amount of fructose in as little as 6 weeks can make you less smart. You might be surprised to know that high-fructose corn syrup can be found in many salad dressings, including the popular ones.

Beware of salad dressings with too much regular sugar. Most fruit-based dressings like raspberry vinaigrette contain massive amounts of sweeteners.

Iceberg lettuce

A lot of pre-made salads are made with tons of iceberg lettuce. Mind you, they offer very few nutrients and aren’t that tasty either. For an extra good-for-me punch, you might want to use darker leafy greens like romaine, arugula and spinach.

Salad dressings contain Titanium Oxide

Titanium oxide is a go-to substance in the paint industry as it makes the color fresher and brighter. Unfortunately, this substance is also present in most salad dressings. To make matters worse, this substance is often contaminated with lead. We bet you don’t want that on your plate.

Make sure to check the label before buying. In most cases, Titanium oxide itself is listed as an ingredient, but sometimes it’s listed under some vague terms.

They’re also loaded with trans fats

Your taste buds may love them, but your body hates it. This is because it tends to promote heart diseases. Trans fats are present in salad dressings since they are used to extend the shelf life of the said product.

Trans fats should be listed under nutrition facts, but some manufacturers are trying to conceal. Ingredient listings like shortening or partially hydrogenated are some of the things you should look out for.

Power Foods That Boost the Immune System

It turns out that we need more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away. If you are looking for ways to prevent colds and flu, then you might want to head out and visit the local grocery store. It is important to feed your body with certain foods with surprising nutrients in order to keep your immune system on guard.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on these foods and add them to your diet for an extra flu-fighting punch.

Citrus fruits

Most people tend to load up on Vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. There’s a reason for that. Vitamin C triggers the production of white blood cells, which fights infections.

Since our body is not capable of producing or storing it, daily intake of Vitamin C is needed. Citrus fruits are the best sources of Vitamin C. With a wide variety of fruits to choose from, it is easy to add a squeeze of Vitamin C into your diet.

Broccoli

Broccoli is loaded with Vitamins A, C, E as well as several minerals and antioxidants; thus, making it one of the healthiest and most nutritious-packed foods you can put on your plate. Cook it as little as possible in order to keep its power intact. Or better yet, don’t cook it at all.

Garlic

Garlic does not only add a little zing to almost every cuisine in the world, it is also a must-have for your health. During the early years, garlic is known for fighting infections. Today, modern science has proven that it helps lower cholesterol and prevents hardening of the arteries.

Ginger

Just like Vitamin C, ginger is one of the most common ingredients most people turn to once they’ve caught colds. This is because ginger helps prevent that cold from taking hold. It contains the active ingredient allicin, which is capable of fighting bacteria and infection.

Yogurt

Yogurt contains Probiotics, which are helpful in keeping the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs.

When buying yogurt, make sure to check the labels and look for the ones that contain “live and active cultures”. This is beneficial as it can help boost your immune system and help fight diseases.