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I’m assuming you clicked on this blog post because you want to know what the best detox water is to improve your health and cure what ails you.  I have the answer and you may be surprised to hear what it is.

The best detox water is any kind of water that you will drink!  Sorry for the clickbait title, but it’s true. Whatever water that tastes good to you and that you drink consistently is the best detox water.  You don’t need alkaline water, special ionized water, extra electrolyte water, lemon and cayenne pepper water or water from a unicorn’s butt every morning.  You just need WATER.

You can drink specialized waters like alkaline water if you want, but they don’t contain any magical powers to change the pH of your body. Ingesting food and drink does not change the pH of your blood.  That’s just physiology 101. If somebody tries to tell you differently, they’re probably trying to sell you a product. If something seems to good to be true, there’s usually a product that’s trying to be sold.  If the pH of your blood does change for whatever reason, you should probably get to the hospital because that means you have something majorly wrong with you.

The benefits of drinking water

Basically, water is life.  After all, our bodies are  75% composed of water.

Water is involved in all of the following:
  • Boosts energy
  • Improves mood
  • Cognition
  • Necessary for metabolism
  • May reduce the signs of aging in skin
  • Combats bad breath
  • Aids digestion
  • Lubricates joints
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Detoxifies by flushing out waste

The benefits of drinking water are truly amazing and completely necessary for a healthy brain and body.  You know that point in the afternoon where you may feel cranky, tired and have a headache?  That could simply mean that you are dehydrated! It’s amazing that you can improve your mood simply by preventing dehydration!

Or maybe you’re like me and feel like you have a bladder the size of a pea.   I also sit at the computer for way too long at a time, so getting up to pee is a great excuse to get up, stretch your legs and rest your eyes. Plus, sitting is the new smoking these days in terms of deleterious effects on health, but that’s probably another topic for another time.

When should I drink water?

Don’t only wait until you are thirsty to drink water.  I get it.  We’re all busy and if you don’t have a water bottle right in front of your face, you don’t think about taking a sip.  As we age, the “I’m thirsty” alert in our bodies does not work as well as it did when we were younger.  Drink water on a consistent basis throughout the day to ensure you don’t become dehydrated.

What is the healthiest water to drink?

The healthiest water to drink is the kind that encourages you to drink consistently.  Aim for your urine to look light in color, similar to the color of lemonade. The general 8-9 cup recommendation is a pretty good guideline, but everyone is different and your environment, health issues, and activity level may determine if you drink more or less.  For example, if you exercise, sweat profusely, live in very dry climates or are pregnant/breastfeeding, you’ll need more water.  If you have kidney issues and are on dialysis, you’ll need less.

What if you don’t enjoy drinking water?

I’m assuming if you don’t like drinking water it’s because water is boring and doesn’t have much taste.  I hear the question often:  “how do I get myself to drink more water?”  I have a simple solution  Make water taste flavorful!  For the longest time, I could not convince my husband to drink water.  Listing the benefits of drinking water or the consequences of not drinking water did not help.  It all changed when I made him fruit infused water!  Suddenly, he was a water drinking machine!  Eventually, he didn’t need the extra flavor and continued drinking plain water.  I think this perhaps could be the highlight of my professional life!

Infused water

The great thing about fruit infused water is that you don’t need a recipe!  Throw some slices of fruits, cucumber, herbs, and/or ginger and you’ve got yourself some flavor!

Pineapple infused water is at the top of my list.   Orange infused water, mint infused water and of course lemon and cucumber infused water are classics and super easy to make. You don’t even need to use fresh fruit to make delicious fruit infused water. Try using frozen mango chunks for mango infused water.

Get creative with your fruit infused waters!  Mix herbs and fruits for a great flavor punch.  One of my favorite combinations is orange, mint and ginger.  Another favorite flavor combo is strawberry, lime and cucumber water.  It’s amazing how potent those juicy strawberries can be when you let them infuse for about 30 minutes.

If you’re infusing water in your water bottle, it won’t take long for the fruit and herbal flavors to come through. If you’re making fruit infused water in a pitcher or large spigot jar, you really only need about 30 minutes to taste that great flavor.  Take the orange, mint and ginger water for example.  For a 7 cup pitcher, I might use 1 sliced orange, a small handful of mint (including stems), and a couple inches of sliced ginger root.  Once the water in the pitcher is gone, just refill with more water.  I keep the same ingredients in my pitcher for about 2-3 days before discarding.

Here are 24 of my favorite fruit infused water combinations

The post The Best Detox Water for your Health + Plus 24 Infused Water Flavor Ideas appeared first on Tasty Balance Nutrition Los Angeles Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

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How do you feel about cabbage?  I feel like this is one of those veggies that people either love or love to hate. It was a risk making this new dish, Roasted Red Cabbage and Shallots with Apple Cider Glaze, for a group of people with whom I had no idea whether they liked cabbage or not.  Let me put it to you this way.  That platter was clean and dry at the end of dinner, which unfortunately for me  meant no leftovers to take home!  But, I’m glad everyone gobbled up this amazingly healthy cruciferous vegetable.

All veggies have amazing health benefits, but red cabbage comes in towards the top!

That bright and deep purplish pink hue that red cabbage has comes from anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid polyphenol, which is a type of antioxidant.  You find them in purple, blue and red fruits and veggies, including red cabbage, eggplant, berries, cranberries, plums, prunes, red skinned potatoes, red onions, and red  radish.

And what do these anthocyanins do? Plenty!  They fight free radicals and lessen oxidative stress in our cells (hello anti-aging!)  and even positively affect the microflora in our gut.  They may provide protection against a whole host of problems such as inflammation, cognitive decline, heart disease, cancer and more.

When you hear the words “cruciferous veggies”, cancer prevention may come to mind.

Cruciferous veggies contain  glucosinolates.  Wonder where the smell of cabbage comes from?  It’s from this sulfur containing compound. While the smell may be a bit funky, just know that it’s coming from a good place!  Through chewing and digestion, those compounds get broken down into a number of active compounds including indole-3-carbonol and sulphurophane.  These are 2 substances often studied for anti-cancer effects.

So far, we’ve got red cabbage containing powerful antioxidants and cancer fighting substances, but that’s not it! We’re also looking at vitamin C, iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, folate, and of course, my favorite “F” word, fiber.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are both substances that are crucial for eye health, so definitely eat up!

All of the nutrients above have many functions, but they also play a role in mood, cognition and overall brain health.

I want to highlight two  vitamins as they pertain to brain health because they don’t get much publicity:  vitamin C and vitamin K.  Red cabbage contains a whopping 85% of the RDI (recommended daily intake) for vitamin K and 54% for vitamin C.  Those are pretty big numbers!

Vitamin K is usually discussed in terms of it’s blood clotting functions, but it plays a number of roles in the brain.  It play a protective role against inflammation and oxidative stress, in addition to assisting in the growth of brain lipids called sphingolipids, which are important in proper brain function.  Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, so the olive oil in this roasted cabbage recipe will help with the absorption of the vitamin.

We generally think of vitamin C beefing up the immune system, but it is also a powerful antioxidant the protects against inflammation.  Our brains actually have a greater concentration of vitamin C than the rest of the body does.  It plays a role in the growth and protection of neurons and plays multiples roles in the creation and release of neurotransmitters.  Vitamin C is even needed in the conversion process of dopamine to serotonin, which of course is probably the most well known feel-good chemical in the body

You may be more familiar with traditional braised red cabbage, perhaps even with apples.  I really like the roasted cabbage version better because I love the crispiness that you get with some of the ends and smaller pieces.  The sweetness of the apple cider glaze also really stands out against the savory cabbage and shallots. If you want to get really fancy for your dinner, you can even top the dish with thin slices of oven dried green apples.

This is one of those dishes where when I made it for the first time, I stood in the kitchen eating from the sheet pan.  The next day, I nibbled at the cold leftovers, not bothering to heat them up because they were still so tasty cold!

If you think you’re not a cabbage person, you have to try it roasted.  The roasting process brings out the natural sugars in the veggies.  Tender cabbage with crispy ends and sweet, caramelized shallots makes for some truly happy eating.  While the apple cider glaze adds a really special touch to the dish, you don’t have to use it.  The roasted shallots and cabbage are delicious on their own!

Roasted Red Cabbage and Shallots with Hard Apple Cider Glaze

Yield: 6 servings

Roasting is definitely my preferred method of cooking cabbage! When slicing the cabbage, don't worry if pieces come apart. You'll just end up with some tasty crispy smaller pieces. This side dish is delicious even if you don't use the hard apple cider glaze, but it does add an extra dimension of flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of red cabbage (about 2 pounds), cored and sliced in 1/2" thick slices
  • 9 ounces shallots, peeled and trimmed and roughly cut into 1" chunks
  • 5-1/2 teaspoons avocado oil divided (or other oil such as olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 12-ounce bottle hard apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degree F
  2. Place silicone baking sheets or parchment paper over 2 half size (18"x13") sheet pans. Rub 1/2 teaspoon oil over each of the sheet pans.
  3. Divide the cabbage pieces between the 2 sheet pans.
  4. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the oil over each sheet pan of cabbage.
  5. Toss 1/2 teaspoon oil with the shallots in a small mixing bowl and divide between the sheet pans, finding room in between the cabbage. Sprinkle the salt over the veggies on each sheet pan.
  6. Place pans in the oven. Check the cabbage and shallots after 20 minutes. If you see any extra crispy pieces, remove them from oven. Flip pieces of shallots over. Continue roasting for about 10 more minutes.
  7. While veggies roast, place cider in a saucepan over high heat. Allow to boil down until only about 2 Tablespoons are left. This should take somewhere around 17 minutes, depending on your stove and type of pan you are using. Once you get to 15 minutes, watch the pan closely.
  8. Turn stove top off and swirl the butter into the reduced cider.
  9. Remove veggies from oven and toss with cider glaze in a large bowl.
  10. Serve immediately.

Notes

The cabbage is also delicious cold or at room temperature!

4.36
Recipe by Lindsey Pine MS, RD, CSSD, CLT

The post Roasted Red Cabbage and Shallots with Hard Apple Cider Glaze appeared first on Tasty Balance Nutrition Los Angeles Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

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What’s better than chocolate?   Well, maybe pumpkin and pumpkin spice.  How about all three options?  This month’s Recipe Redux challenge theme was an obvious one for October: pumpkin.  I love pumpkin and pumpkin spice, but not fake pumpkin spice. So, nothing but the real stuff in today’s recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Fudge Cups with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting.   

Before I get into the recipe, let me tell you a little about chocolate and pumpkin and how they can contribute to good mood since I’m all about food and mood and using food to make us feel good!

Many years ago, I worked in a gourmet food shop and for the first three months, I didn’t get to  hide behind a locked door working at a desk.  I was helping customers and let’s just say that often times these folks had challenging methods of relating to customer service employees. That’s the nicest way I can put it!  Every afternoon, my colleague and I would share a couple squares of dark chocolate, usually a Valrhona or Vosges bar, to get our emotional strength back!  Worked like charm.  Why though?   Why did that chocolate give us that boost we needed?

Dark Chocolate

Your body senses the rich and decadent mouthfeel once you bite into the piece of chocolate and sends signals to the pleasure center in your brain, causing that sense of relaxation and joy.  It knows this is a pleasurable experience!  The theobromine and small amount of caffeine may also give you a light stimulating feeling.   Polyphenols called flavonols are also believed to play a role in this improvement in mood.  Flavonols even create new neurons, improve the connections between neurons, and basically protect them.

Magnesium is crucial when it comes to brain health and mood and unfortunately, many people don’t even realize they’re deficient.  It plays a huge role in the production of the feel good neurotransmitter, serotonin. We get magnesium mostly from veggies, seeds, nuts and whole grains. If you’re on the Standard American Diet (SAD) of fast food and highly processed foods, you probably aren’t getting enough magnesium.  Luckily, cocoa contains this vital mineral!  Be sure to eat some veggies too though!

When choosing chocolate, go with one that has the highest percentage of cacao you can get, which also means the least amount of sugar.  I recently tried a 90% cacao bar and the flavor was so balanced that it didn’t taste overly bitter.  My recipe for the Pumpkin Fudge cups uses 100% unsweetened chocolate. Gettin’ all the flavonols that we can!

Pumpkin

Not only does pumpkin also contain magnesium, but it has fiber.  What does fiber have to do with a good mood?  Everything.  Pumpkin contain fiber that our guts love because it feeds the good bacteria in our guts.  The gut-brain connection is strong, so a healthy gut is going to have influence on brain health.  Many neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers of the body, are even made in the gut!

Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin B6 which definitely plays a role in mood, especially in producing neurotransmitters.  If our neurons can’t communicate with each other and the rest of the body, then problems are going to occur and they could manifest via depression.

If you don’t want to bake a whole pumpkin, no problem.  The canned variety is a perfectly good choice. Just be sure to purchase one that doesn’t contain any added sugars.  You just want 100% pumpkin in that can.  In addition to adding to pumpkin puree to fudge and frosting, canned pumpkin is a great addition to oatmeal, energy balls, and pancakes and muffins.

The Recipe

I did not originally intend to create a vegan dessert.  If I even say that word prior to consumption, my #1 taste tester will not try it.  Once he did try this treat, he had no idea that the whole thing is vegan.  Once the spices, maple syrup and pumpkin are mixed into the vegan cream cheese, it tastes like real dairy cream cheese frosting!  It’s gluten free too!

Baking is not my favorite activity, so when I can make a quick dessert and not have to lug the food processor or mixer from my cupboard, it’s a great thing.  After melting the almond butter, coconut oil, and chocolate in the microwave, you stir in a few more ingredients and spoon the mixture into mini cupcake liners.  While that freezes for 10 minutes, mix the cream cheese frosting in a bowl.  No need to use the mixer.  Spoon the frosting on top of the fudge cups and that’s it!  This dessert cannot get any easier!

Vegan Pumpkin Fudge Cups with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Making a rich dessert filled with healthy ingredients couldn't be any easier than with these pumpkin and spiced fudge cups. While they are vegan and gluten free, they still taste delicious and are the perfect sweet treat for the Fall and Winter seasons!

Ingredients

    Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    Pumpkin Fudge Cups
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons smooth, unsalted, raw almond butter
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened, canned pumpkin puree
    Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsweetened, canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    Special Equipment
  • 12 Mini muffin liners

Instructions

  1. Mix all spices together in a small bowl to make the pumpkin pie spice.
  2. In a medium microwave safe bowl, combine the coconut oil, almond butter and chocolate. Heat on high for 25 seconds. Stir mixture to distribute heat and help chocolate to fully melt. If you still have a few chocolate chunks, heat in microwave for another 10 seconds and stir.
  3. Add the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie space and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Place 12 mini cupcake muffin liners on a sheet pan or plate. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the cups, distributing evenly between all 12 cups. Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes.
  5. To make the frosting, mix the cream cheese, maple syrup, pumpkin puree and remaining 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Stir until smooth.
  6. Remove chocolate cups from the freezer and spoon frosting over the cups, distributing evenly between all 12 cups.
  7. Place in fridge until time to serve.

Notes

The chocolate fudge cups are best eaten straight out of the fridge.

4.36
Recipe by Lindsey Pine MS, RD, CSSD, CLT

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