How to eat more vegetables

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We all know that we should eat more vegetables. Unfortunately for some of us knowing so doesn't actually make us eat more. This is because we are too busy so we settle for food that has little or none at all in them, are lazy, don't like eating them, don't know how to prepare them, etc.


Some ways on how to eat more vegetables are:

- Acquire vegetables (either purchase or grow your own) so you'll always have it on hand
This is the first thing that you have to do! You can't eat it if you don't have it.


- Have your veggies already prepped (chopped or whatever) beforehand. Basically ready to be cooked or eaten (if you want to consume it raw).

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or

- Purchase already cleaned and washed ones.
This is great if you're busy or lazy (like me). Busy because you won't have the time to prep them and lazy because you won't want to do it.

- Add some to juices and smoothies or use vegetables to make juices (like carrot juice)
This way you won't really taste them (great if you hate the taste of them) and you are getting them.


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- Use vegetables as dips
I make some really delicious dips that are made mostly of vegetables. Two are a roasted eggplant dip and a tomato dip.


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- Learn how to cook vegetables if you don't know how to cook them
If you don't know how to cook them then you won't eat them.


- Purchase your take out food more smartly
Purchase at healthy restaurants, like vegan and vegetarian restaurants- most of their meals will consist of vegetables and the vegetables will make up most of an individual meal. You can also purchase healthy vegan and vegetarian meals at non-vegan and non-vegetarian restaurants also.


- Start your day off with vegetables, don't wait for later in the day
You can add some vegetables to your omelet.


- Always try to add vegetables to all or at least most of the foods that you cook


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DIY healthy flavored water

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We are all aware of the fact that water is beneficial to the body. When it comes to drinking it some of us find it boring or just plain. That's the reason why some people don't drink enough or people turn to sugary drinks. We can make it taste better and more beneficial to the body by adding things mentioned below in our water.

So here are healthy ways to make water even more beneficial/better:

Fruit-infused water

You can create this by adding to your water:

- Fresh fruits
Like:

Chopped: strawberries, pineapples, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, etc.

Whole: blueberries, blackberries, cherries, raspberries, cranberries, etc.


You can even add passion fruit (which I absolutely love) to your water.

How to make it:

  1. Cut your passion fruit open and scope out the inside and add it to your water. This smells so delicious.
  2. Let it infuse for a while and then strain it to get rid of the seeds (This is what I do). This step is optional.


- Citrus fruits
Like slices of lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange.


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Fruit-juice-infused water

It's always best to use fresh fruit juices (preferably homemade so that you know for sure that sugar and preservatives haven't been added to it) rather than store bought because they don't contain tons of processed sugars in them. It's not hard work because you don't need a lot of juice either.

- Fruit juice from fruits that are great for juicing like, watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, etc.

I love the juice of fresh cherries in my water. You'll need a few cherries for this and a garlic press.

How to make it:
Add one cherry at a time into your garlic press and press the juice into your water. This is smart because the juice is separated from the seeds and skin, which means less work for you.


- The juice of citrus fruits like, lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc.

Other infused water (you use warm water for some of these)


- honey (add honey to lukewarm water)

- turmeric

- cinnamon

- mint leaves

- tea bags like detox teas

- carrot juice

- cucumber (slices/grated/juiced)

- ginger (grated/juiced)

- garlic

- herbs

- apple cider vinegar


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Additional notes:

  • You can infuse coconut water also.
  • A combination of more than one of these is great also. A combination of carrot juice and orange juice is one that I make all the time.
  • You aren't limited to the fruits, veggies, spices, herbs, etc. mentioned here only. So you can use any kind that you like or have on hand.
  • Also for those where the actual fruit is used and not the juice, you would have to wait a bit for the fruit to infuse its flavor into the water.

With these ways water is more interesting to drink, taste better and the combination does wonders for your body.

20 motivational quotes that will inspire you to live healthy

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Quotes have always been nothing but beneficial to me! Whenever you're feeling down or feel like giving up, etc a quote can make you feel better and even give you the inspiration and motivation that you need. A healthy lifestyle can seem difficult and can be challenging to live. Below are 20 motivational quotes that will inspire and motivate you to live healthily:


"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." -Mahatma Gandhi

"Health is not valued till sickness comes." -Thomas Fuller

"The greatest wealth is health." - Virgil

 "A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier". - Tom Stoppard

"I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if i don't." - Neila Rey

"Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up". - Dean Karnazes

"A lot of women like to be super tiny, but I don't want a child's body. I want a woman's body that is

extremely fit". - Ashley Greene

"There is something in sickness that breaks down the pride of manhood". - Charles Dickens

"Eating crappy food isn't a reward - it's a punishment". - Drew Carey

 "Having balanced nutrition is also very important to keep my body in shape and healthy". Cintia Dicker

"Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace". - Dalai Lama

"A sad soul will kill you quicker than a germ". - John Steinbeck  

"Look to your health; and if  have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of; a blessing that money cannot buy". - Izaak Walton

"I've shackled myself with the prison bars of ill health". - Terri Guillemets 

"Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well". - Marcus Valerius Martial 

 "All things are difficult before they are easy". - Thomas Fuller

"It is a lot harder to keep people well than it is to just get them over a sickness". - DeForest Clinton Jarvis

"To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear".- Buddha

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live". - Jim Rohn 

 "The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination". - Tommy Lasorda

How to remove gluten from your diet

Food containing gluten. Image via pixabay.


Are you looking for ways to remove gluten from your diet? If so, then you might be going down this path because gluten is affecting your health in a negative way or you want to live a much healthier life and you have heard of the health issues associated with gluten. Gluten has been linked to health issues like celiac disease, Dermatitis herpetiformis and gluten intolerance or non-celiac gluten intolerance.

Related: Health effects of gluten

Whether you're doing this permanently or, occasionally, below are tips to achieve this.

All you need to do to achieve this is to do what the statement says below:

A gluten-free diet will require you to replace gluten-containing grains with gluten-free grains. That and also all foods/ food products that are made with these grains. 

Unfortunately, this is not possible every time or as simple as it sounds because:
  1. A lot of persons are eating gluten and still don't know it! 
  2. Also, it's hard for them to switch to gluten free foods.
More on these!

1. A lot of persons are eating gluten and still don't know it!


- Unfortunately, this is as a result of the fact that gluten is found in some unexpected foods. Soy sauce, pasta sauce, hot dogs, pickles, etc. It is also found in some medications. 

TIPS TO DEAL WITH THIS:

  • Read labels. If the label doesn't say gluten free then they may not be.

  • Buy the gluten-free versions of these foods. E.g. buy gluten free soy sauce and so on.



- Then there are persons who don't know what foods they are found in. These individuals might rely on labels to tell them, but unfortunately, some foods don't come with labels or even labels that say gluten free. All some have is the ingredients like wheat and so on. And so if you don't know that wheat contains gluten, then you won't know.

TIP TO DEAL WITH THIS:

So, therefore, you need to educate yourself on the foods that contain gluten. Once you know this then you will be able to make the right choices.

You can educate yourself by:
  • Researching it on the internet or at a library
  • Or you can ask someone

The first step in your learning process can be to find out what are the gluten and gluten-free grains. The grains that contain gluten are wheat, barley, and rye. You can read more on these grains here. So, therefore, foods that are made with these grains will contain gluten.

Some gluten-free grains are:
  • rice
  • corn
  • sorghum
  • millet
  • teff
  • amaranth
  • buckwheat
  • quinoa
  • wild rice
  • oats
Pasta and so on are also made with these grains and so they are gluten free. This is discussed below.


- Also, gluten can be in food that you get at a party, restaurant, etc. These foods don't come with labels! Also, you don't know all the ingredients that these foods were made with.or if these foods were by contaminated with gluten-containing foods that were cooked there also.

TIPS TO DEAL WITH THIS:
  • Avoid eating out as much and cook your own food. If that's not possible, try to find out all the ingredients that were used in your food by simply asking if gluten ingredients were used. 
  • Or eat foods that you know for sure won't contain gluten, but must keep in mind of cross-contamination.

- Cross-contamination
Oats are sometimes contaminated with gluten.

TIP TO DEAL WITH THIS:
  • Look for labels that say gluten-free. 


 2. Also, it's hard for them to switch to gluten free foods.

Gluten-containing foods are so tasty, right? Getting rid of gluten from your life can mean getting rid of most of your loved foods! I have to agree that that can be extremely hard, but you can find healthier alternatives. For example, you can give up wheat pasta for buckwheat pasta. The end result, you can still have pasta.

TIP TO DEAL WITH THIS:

Find gluten-free substitutes for your favorite gluten foods like bread, pasta, flour, etc.

Gluten-free flours
  • buckwheat flour
  • rice flour
  • potato flour
  • corn flour
  • amaranth flour
  • banana flour
  • chickpea flour
  • coconut flour

Gluten-free bread made with coconut flour. Image via pixabay.


It can be concluded that some of us knowingly or unknowingly eat gluten. A great way to combat that is to replace those foods that we love so much with healthier gluten-free alternatives.

Health effects of gluten

Food containing gluten. Image via pixabay.


Some people are living a gluten-free lifestyle these days! The negative health effects that gluten has on their health is the reason why they're eating gluten-free foods. Do you think that you should? For your health? There are indeed health effects associated with gluten! In this blog post, I'll list these health effects. Also, it is important to know that not all persons are affected by gluten the same way and that some persons are not even affected at all.

Three (3) health conditions associated with gluten are:
  • Celiac disease
  • Gluten intolerance or non-celiac gluten intolerance
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)
Below are more about these health conditions!

1. Celiac disease


Certain factors have to be present for celiac disease to result in someone.

Some (there are more) factors that may cause celiac disease to occur are:
- Gluten consumption
Gluten has to be present in the body (more specifically the small intestine) for it to occur. Hence, if you don't eat it, you simply can't have it! As simple as that!

- "Gluten genes"
You are at risk of having this disease if you have specific genes that are linked to this disease. Additionally, it can run in families because genes are passed on from generations to you.

- An abnormal immune system

- Consuming too much gluten

- Exposed to gluten at a young age
At infancy in some countries, infants are given barley (a gluten containing grain) porridge to drink.

If the first factor and a combination of one or more factors (including other factors that aren't listed above) are present in someone, then celiac disease can result and below is what can happen.

When food that contains gluten is eaten it eventually make its way to the small intestine. Lining the inner surface of the small intestine are finger-like projections called villi. The villi is the part of the small intestine that is responsible for nutrient and water absorption from food. So therefore if you eat a bowl of pasta (or any other food), the nutrients and water from that bowl of pasta that your body needs will be extracted from it by your villi.

That gluten is mistaken for a harmful pathogen or a foreign invader by the immune system and so the immune system produces antibodies to destroy it. Additionally, that person's immune system will also attack the tissue of the lining of the small intestine (the villi), resulting in horrible consequences.  

Such consequences are:
  1. When the lining of the small intestine is destroyed it's ability to absorb those nutrients and water from food is reduced. 
  2. Abdominal cramping and diarrhea will also result. 
  3. As a result, your body will become deficient in nutrients which will eventually lead to serious health problems of the body.

In conclusion celiac disease basically causes your immune system to attack your own body (in this case the lining of the small intestine - villous atrophy). When this occurs, you are said to have an autoimmune reaction to gluten. So with celiac disease, you are gluten intolerant, but your gluten intolerance causes villous atrophy and that's what makes it the celiac disease.

2. Gluten intolerance or non-celiac gluten intolerance

Gluten intolerance or non-celiac gluten intolerance occurs when your body cannot tolerate gluten.
Celiac disease is one form of gluten intolerance. It is important to know that they are not the same. So, therefore, you can have gluten intolerance and not celiac disease. Non-celiac gluten intolerance does not cause villous atrophy.
If you have gluten intolerance, then you cannot tolerate gluten. Some symptoms are:
  • headaches
  • itchy skin
  • eczema
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • gas
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain
  • villous atrophy
  • anemia (B12 or iron deficiency)
  • heartburn
  • fatigue
  • osteoporosis
  • weight loss
  • weight gain
  • depression

   

3. Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)

This skin disease is another autoimmune disorder that is also caused by gluten intolerance. This skin disease produces a very itchy rash on the skin that is red and bumpy in appearance.

How does this occur?

The intestine's mucous membranes produce the antibody IgA (class A immunoglobulin). When gluten is consumed it combines with that antibody and enters into the bloodstream. It then finds its way on the reticulin fibers of the skin and stays there which triggers an autoimmune reaction and the rashes appear.

Concluding Remarks

All three of these medical conditions improve over time once gluten consumption is discontinued and you get the required treatments from your doctor. It takes a long time for all of the gluten that you have been eating to completely leave your system.

What is gluten in food

Bread. Image via pixabay.


Gluten is found in so many foods that we consume each day and consequently, we're are always hearing about it! We also even read it off of lots of food labels.

But, exactly what is gluten in food?


Gluten is found in the wheat, barley, and rye grains. So, therefore, foods that are made with these grains will contain gluten.

Gluten is actually two proteins. The proteins glutenin and gliadin are the two proteins that make up gluten. These proteins are found in the seeds of the wheat, barley, and rye grains.


A BIT MORE ON THESE THREE GRAINS!


Wheat, barley, and rye are all grasses and we harvest the grains of these grasses.

Wheat (Triticum spp.)


- Wheat is used in the production of bread, pasta,cereals, etc. 
- Wheat flour is what is used to make these foods. How do we get wheat flour? The seeds of the wheat plants (remember that's where the gluten is found) is grounded to make the wheat flour.  


Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)

- It is used to make soups, beer, etc.

- Malted barley is fermented into beer and unmalted barley is also used to make certain beers.



Rye (Secale cereale)

- This grain is used in the production of rye bread, flour, beer, cake, etc.

-
Sprouted rye grain is used to make malt for the production of the beer.

How to make a healthy grocery list

Groceries
Groceries. Image via pixabay.
 
Do you know how to make a healthy grocery list? If no then keep on reading!

A balanced diet is necessary for a healthy body. So therefore we need:
  • carbohydrates (which include fiber)    
  • proteins
  • fats
  • vitamins
  • mineral salts
  • water




 

These nutrients come from foods. Additionally, you can also obtain certain vitamins and minerals from supplements and water from the foods that you eat and drinks that you drink. So you should be leaving the supermarket with foods in all these food groups.

When you're making a healthy grocery list you have to take into account of the number of persons that the food will be feeding, each person's nutritional requirement which will differ from each other because of their age, gender, if they have any deficiency, etc. and also so will the number of calories that they will need.

When we choose these we must always:

- Buy more nutrient dense foods or real whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, etc.

- Avoid foods that has empty calories. These foods have very few/no nutrient whatsoever and still contain lots of calories. eg.sugar, processed foods, junk foods. Buy a small quantity of these if you can't leave it out.

- Buy the ingredients to make foods instead of buying the foods already cooked. This will ensure that you're aware of what's in your food.


- Don't stack up on too many unhealthy foods because it's on sale! Once these foods are on sale you'll tend to buy a lot, which will last a long time and hence you'll want to eat more of it just because you have it in your house. Just buy what's on your list and ignore the sale.

So, therefore, your shopping cart must contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy lean proteins, healthy fats, and water.

Below are some specific healthy food options in each food group, but there are many more that aren't included in this list.

CARBOHYDRATES

Grains
brown rice
quinoa
couscous
whole wheat pasta
whole wheat bread
barley 
steel cut oatmeal

Fruits and vegetables
bananas
strawberries
lemons
blueberries 
mushrooms
sweet potatoes
cucumbers
tomatoes
carrots
zucchini
eggplant
garlic
onion
ginger
bread fruit
eddo

Seeds
sunflower seeds
flaxseeds
pumpkin seeds

Sweeteners
coconut sugar
molasses
honey
date sugar

You can read more about these healthy options for processed sugar here.


PROTEINS

Legumes
beans
lentils
chickpeas

Fish and meat
low-fat meat- skinless chicken breasts
wild salmon
shrimp
eggs

Soy
Tofu

Dairy
yogurt
cottage cheese


Plant-based milk
almond milk
oat milk
coconut milk
rice milk
flax milk

FATS
avocados- good fat
coconut oil
Olive oil
nuts

VITAMINS AND MINERAL SALTS
These are acquired when you eat foods from the different food groups.

WATER
plain old water
coconut water
lemon water
tea

It's important that you shop healthy foods if you want to eat more healthy!