If you’ve ever searched the internet for a quick-fix weight loss solution, chances are you’ve come across Garcinia Cambogia pills. Carginia Cambogia extract has gained popularity as a weight loss supplement since it was touted on the Dr. Oz show several years ago, and many turn to it as a way to lose weight without putting in effort. But is there research to back the benefits of Garcinia Cambogia, and is it a safe way to lose weight? Here’s everything you need to know about Garcinia Cambogia safety and weight loss effects!
What is Garcinia Cambogia?
Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit that looks a little like a small pumpkin, usually grown in Southeast Asia. Garcinia Cambogia, also known as Malabar tamarind, has been used for centuries as a cooking ingredient thanks to its sour flavor. More recently, Garcinia Cambogia extract from the rind of the fruit has been marketed as a weight loss supplement. The rind is high in hydroxycitric acid, an active ingredient thought to reduce appetite and prevent your body from storing fat.
What does research say about weight loss with Garcinia Cambogia?
Research on the weight loss effects of Garcinia Cambogia is largely inconclusive. One small study found that taking hydroxycitric acid in the form of Garcinia Cambogia supplements helped obese women lose more weight than a placebo for the first four weeks of supplementation, but after that, both the Garcinia group and the placebo group lost weight at similar rates. At the end of the study, the Garcinia Cambogia group had lost an average of 1.4 kilograms more than the placebo group. Another study of men and women found that those who took Garcinia Cambogia lost more abdominal fat over 12 weeks than those who took a placebo, but total weight loss was not significantly affected by the supplement.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of Garcinia Cambogia studies revealed a small difference in weight loss favoring the supplement over a placebo – but by “small,” I mean that across all eligible studies, Garcinia Cambogia helped participants lose an average of just 0.88 kilograms more than placebos. While that difference may be statistically significant, it’s hardly enough weight loss to justify shelling out cash on a supplement, especially since adverse gastrointestinal effects were twice as common in the hydroxycitric acid groups.
What does research say about Garcinia Cambogia safety?
Since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, you can’t always be sure that the supplement you’re purchasing contains exactly what the bottle lists. That’s why it’s important to buy any supplements from a reputable manufacturer. In the case of Garcinia Cambogia, Consumer Lab found that seven of the 13 tested brands contained only 14% to 81% of the listed amount of hydroxycitric acid!
The Bottom Line: Should you take Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss?
The research regarding Garcinia Cambogia’s efficacy for weight loss is fuzzy. Some studies report statistically significant weight loss using the supplement, while others report no difference compared to a placebo. While a meta-analysis of Garcinia Cambogia studies found that it did result in weight loss for many participants, that weight loss boiled town to less than one kilogram over several weeks of supplementation – and the side effects are just plain scary. Reports of liver failure, mania, digestive issues, and more are associated with Garcinia Cambogia. And on top of all that, you can’t even be sure how much of the active ingredient hydroxycitric acid you’re getting in most supplements.
My recommendation is to keep your money in your pocket when it comes to Garcinia Cambogia. Any results you can expect are too minimal to outweigh the potential side effects. If you’re looking to lose weight, you’re much better off spending your money on an extra bunch of greens or a gym membership. And if you need some assistance working towards your health goals, turn to a registered dietitian to help you make lasting changes for weight loss – not a supplement claiming to be a miracle.
It seems like every celebrity and natural health trendsetter is pouring mushroom powder into their green smoothies or drinking mushroom tea like it’s the new kombucha. Reishi mushrooms in particular are popping up as the latest health trend, with the claims that they can do everything from reverse signs of aging to cure cancer. If you’re whether reishi mushrooms are worth the hype, here’s everything you need to know about reishi mushroom health benefits, evidence behind them, and more.
Reishi mushrooms, also commonly known as ling zhi mushrooms are woody mushrooms that grow on wood and decaying trees. While they grow in several colors, red reishi mushrooms are the ones most commonly claimed to have health benefits. They’ve been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to reduce symptoms of aging like high blood pressure, liver problems, and arthritis. More recently, reishi mushrooms have been researched regarding anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits which are said to help with cancer treatment.
image: Jeff Moore via Flickr
Reishi mushroom health benefits
Reishi mushrooms are claimed to protect against inflammation, fatigue, liver problems, diabetes, tumor growth and cancer, heart disease, depression, asthma, viruses, frequent infections, and more. While there isn’t much research on the long-term health benefits of reishi mushrooms, several small short-term studies have found them to be beneficial – although they all note that further research needs to be done before conclusions can be made about significant health benefits
Reishi mushrooms’ healing potential is credited to two main components: beta-glucans and triterpenes. Beta-glucans are complex carbohydrates found in bacteria and fungi, which have been shown to have immune-boosting effects.Triterpenes are a family of compounds found in plants that have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering properties. While beta-glucans in several types of mushrooms have been fairly well studied, research on triterpenes is pretty new and mostly preclinical (meaning there’s limited research in humans). As for reishi mushrooms themselves, research on their health benefits is becoming increasingly popular, but is largely conflicting.
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Despite these promising results, it’s important to note that much of the research done so far related to reishi mushrooms and cancer has been done on isolated cancer cells in a lab, not on humans with cancer. There have been several studies with cancer patients, but the results haven’t shown enough evidence to justify using reishi mushrooms as a first line of defense for cancer treatment. It still isn’t clear whether or not reishi mushrooms help increase long-term cancer survival, but many study participants experienced more effective chemotherapy and radiation treatments when taking reishi mushrooms alongside these treatments.
While it’s certainly not advised to substitute reishi mushrooms for cancer treatment like chemotherapy or radiation, there’s some evidence that taking reishi mushrooms in addition to these treatments could be helpful. Some study participants have reported side effects like nausea and insomnia while taking reishi mushrooms, but most haven’t experienced any adverse effects. If you’re currently undergoing cancer treatment, you should absolutely talk with your doctor before taking reishi mushrooms.
How are reishi mushrooms different than other mushrooms?
Many types of mushrooms besides reishi mushrooms contain beta-glucans, including oyster, shiitake, maitake, and enoki mushrooms. However, reishi mushrooms specifically are notable for their high concentrations of triterpenes. Because of the combination of beta-glucans and triterpenes, reishi mushrooms have long been known as some of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms.
How to eat reishi mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms are edible when raw, but they’re incredibly bitter thanks to the triterpenes, so they’re not often eaten raw. There isn’t any research to say whether eating reishi mushrooms raw instead of dried (like they’re usually found) provides more benefits, and most research has been performed using dried reishi or extracts from them.
One of the trendiest ways to get reishi mushrooms right now is in tea, which is made with dried and sometimes ground reishi mushrooms steeped in hot water. Now that reishi mushrooms are a hot commodity in the health food industry, some companies have taken to adding ground reishi mushrooms to other beverages, like instant coffee and hot cocoa mix.
You can also find ground or extracted reishi mushrooms in capsule form, or dried in slices. Adding a few slices of dried reishi to soup broth is a great way to incorporate it without drinking a full cup of bitter mushroom-flavored liquid on its own!
The bottom line: should you use reishi mushrooms?
The research on the health benefits of reishi mushrooms is very preliminary and oftentimes conflicting, but there seems to be little risk associated with taking them. There’s potential for them to improve cancer outcomes, but much more research is still needed. They may not be miracle workers, but they also probably won’t hurt – so if you enjoy reishi tea or feel better when you incorporate them into your daily routine or cancer treatment (with your doctor’s permission), I say go for it. Just don’t spend your whole paycheck on them expecting to be cured of all ailments!
Have you ever tried reishi mushrooms? How did you eat them, and what did you think?
Most of us know that drinking water is important to health. Water makes up most of our bodies, and staying hydrated is necessary for every single bodily function. But could water be even better if it’s alkaline? Alkaline water is receiving lots of attention right now – fans claim it can do everything from slow the aging process to prevent chronic disease and help your body absorb nutrients. Is alkaline water healthier, or is it all hype? Here’s everything you need to know!
The term “alkaline” refers to the water’s pH level, which is a measure of how acidic or basic something is on a scale of 0 to 14. Substances with a pH level between 0 and 7 is considered acidic, a pH level between 7 and 14 is considered basic. Regular water usually has a neutral pH of 7, while alkaline water usually has a pH between 8 and 9.5.
What does alkaline water do?
Advocates claim that drinking alkaline water can help balance the acidity in your body. As I discussed in my alkaline diet review, lowering the acidity in your body is supposed to make you less prone to disease and improve your overall health. Alkaline water is also claimed to help slow the aging process, remove toxins from your body, and improve your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. The scientific evidence to back up these claims is seriously lacking. There’s no data proving its effectiveness for removing toxins (your body does a great job at doing that on its own – that’s why you have a kidneys and a liver!), slowing aging, or curing cancer (yes, that’s a real claim that’s been made about alkaline water).
Can alkaline water cure cancer? Probably not. But what does evidence say about other claims? All you need to know about #alkalinewater here! --> https://tinyurl.com/alk-water-health #80twentynutrition Click To Tweet
However, there are a few studies that suggest the usefulness of alkaline water for some conditions.
Does alkaline water work for acid reflux?
One study in 2012 found that alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 effectively denatured pepsin, an enzyme activated by stomach acid that contributes to acid reflux. Many antacid medications are aimed at inhibiting the release of pepsin, which has been shown effective for reducing symptoms of acid reflux in rats. Alkaline water’s ability to denature pepsin (which would then keep it from causing acid reflux) has only been proven in a lab, not with humans, so there’s no certainty that it will relieve symptoms, but it might be worth a shot if you experience acid reflux symptoms frequently.
Should athletes drink alkaline water?
A study published in 2016 found that alkaline water rehydrated athletes after exercise better than “normal” water. For this study, 100 participants exercised until they were dehydrated, and then drank either alkaline water or water with a normal pH. Those who drank alkaline water showed about a 6% decrease in blood viscosity two hours after exercise while normal water-drinkers showed about a 3% decrease. With lower blood viscosity, blood flows more efficiently, so more oxygen can be delivered throughout the body. Because of this, alkaline water could be helpful for recovery for serious athletes – but it’s not like the regular-water group didn’t get rehydrated at all, so don’t fret if you can’t afford to down a $10 bottle of alkaline water after each elliptical session.
How is alkaline water made?
There are two types of alkaline water: artificial and natural.
Artificial alkaline water is made by passing water through an electric ionizing machine, which essentially separates acidic and alkaline molecules, then filters out the acidic ones.
Natural alkaline water passes through rocks or soil and picks up minerals along the way, changing its pH. Natural spring water is typically alkaline and contains minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate.
image: Thad Zajdowics via Flickr
You can buy ionizing filters to create alkaline water at home from regular water, but these machines simply separate out acidic molecules without adding any essential minerals. There’s no research comparing the effects of natural and artificial alkaline water, but if you’re going to spend the money on alkaline water either way, you may as well get the mineral boost and buy the natural stuff.
The bottom line: should you spend the money on alkaline water or filters?
In short: I wouldn’t spend extra money on alkaline water, especially if the cost would mean you drink less water than you would without an alkaline filter or stash of alkaline bottles.
Worldwide, about 1 in 9 people lack access to clean drinking water, so living in a country with easy access clean drinking water is nothing to scoff at. Let’s appreciate our access to clean water before we get too caught up in what pH level our water needs to be for maximum health benefits. Water will keep you hydrated whether it’s alkaline or not, and drinking “normal” neutral-pH water won’t adversely affect your health. My recommendation is to focus more on drinking enough water (which most of us don’t do anyways) and less on how alkaline your water is. Water needs are very individualized, but as a general rule of thumb: drink ½ to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75-150 ounces of water daily.
Alkaline water may be beneficial for people with acid reflux or for serious athletes, so if it fits in your budget, give it a shot and see if it helps. If you’re reaching for alkaline water for detoxifying, anti-aging, cancer-curing, chronic-disease-preventing benefits: just skip it. Alkaline water won’t override a poor diet or make-or-break your health, so turn your focus towards eating a nourishing, balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water – whether it’s alkaline or not.
Have you ever tried alkaline water? What did you think?
Organic food sections at grocery stores seem to keep expanding to meet growing demand. Organic foods are now available in nearly 75% of grocery stores, and sales continue to rise. There is plenty of confusion surrounding organic foods and whether they’re superior to their conventional counterparts. Prices for organic foods and beverages are almost always higher, but are they worth the cost? Here’s everything you need to know to answer the question “Should you buy organic food?”.
Before we get into the pros and cons of organic food, let’s review what it actually means for something to be organic. Farmers and producers can’t just throw the word “organic” on whatever product they want – products (in the U.S.) have to be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture and meet specific requirements in order to be labeled as organic.
Organic foods must be grown and processed without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified ingredients, antibiotics, hormones, or artificial colors and flavors. Products that contain at least 95% organic ingredients are allowed to display the USDA Organic seal and be labeled as organic.
Even though organic foods are not treated with synthetic chemicals, that doesn’t mean that they are grown with only soil, water, and sunlight. Organic foods are often treated with pesticides and fertilizers – but ones that are derived from natural sources. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily safer, it just means they aren’t synthetic or man-made.
The “opposite” of organic food is often referred to as “conventional” food, which is regulated to ensure that all ingredients are Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS), but not much more than that. The USDA doesn’t regulate the types of fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones used in conventional food as long as all ingredients are GRAS for public consumption. Additives that are GRAS have been shown to be safe under the conditions that the product is intended to be used for. For example, an artificial flavor might be GRAS if it’s been used as a flavoring without any associated adverse effects or if it’s been researched in a lab and shown no adverse effects. The US considers many ingredients to be safe that are actually banned for use in other countries – such as Red Dye No. 40, Yellow Dye No. 5, and Atrazine, an herbicide heavily used in the US. Organic food avoids these additives that are banned in other countries, yet GRAS in the US.
Why does organic food cost more?
Organic food costs more than conventional food because it is far more costly to produce. Without the help of synthetic fertilizers, growing organic produce requires a lot more labor and often results in less yield, so farmers can only grow so much on the amount of land they have. Farmers also lose crop yield during times when cover crops are planted to restore soil fertility, while conventional growers continue to grow during those periods. Avoiding and treating illness for organically raised animals can be costly as well, since quick-acting antibiotics aren’t used.
Becoming certified by the USDA isn’t cheap, either. Applying for organic certification and paying the annual inspection fee can set farmers back thousands of dollars in order to maintain their organic status, a cost that is passed on to consumers. For this reason, smaller food producers may follow organic farming practices but not apply for the USDA Organic certification.
The soil that conventional produce is grown in is used over and over again, with additional synthetic fertilizers used between each growing cycle. This allows for constant production, but may mean that the nutrient content of the soil decreases over time. One study shows that the nutrient value of produce has been decreasing over time, largely thanks to genetically engineered seeds and soil treatments that aim for high yields, rather than high nutrient value. That could mean that organic produce has a leg up, since its soil is fertilized naturally with nutrient-rich plant matter, which may then be passed on to the produce itself. While research hasn’t yet shown that organic produce has higher nutrient content thanks to organic soil, it’s still a possibility to consider.
When it comes to meat, organically raised animals have been found to contain more omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory fats that are great for brain health, heart health, and more. Since organically raised animals are required to have the ability to graze on a pasture, much of the nutritional difference is accredited to the animals being grass-fed, rather than the avoidance of hormones and antibiotics. To my knowledge, there’s no research comparing the nutritional value of grass-fed, non-organic meat to organic meat. Studies have focused on grain-fed versus grass-fed (often showing higher nutrient value in grass-fed meat), but it’s not clear whether grass-fed beef gets even better if it goes a step further and follows organic requirements as well. The USDA recently withdrew its regulations of the term “Grass Fed,” so there’s no way to know how much access to grass non-organically raised, grass-fed animals have had.
Crop rotations and the use of non-genetically modified seeds help improve biodiversity, which improve crops’ resiliency through climate changes. All in all, organic farming utilises practices that consider the long-term effect on the environment and take a proactive approach to addressing environmental issues. There’s more to say about environmental concerns in general than I could write about here, but here’s my opinion regarding organic foods: organic farming seems to be more beneficial for the environment in the long run compared to conventional farming.
Organic or farmer’s market? Which is better for the environment?
If you’re deciding between buying organic produce from the store or non-organic local produce from a farmer’s market, I’d opt for the local farmer’s market produce. Many local farmers may use organic practices but not have the means to pay for organic licensing – and if the farmer is right in front of you, you have the opportunity to ask them directly about their practices. Also keep in mind that certified organic tomatoes at the store may still have traveled across the country or across the globe to get to you, while local produce, even if not organic, leaves a much lower carbon footprint on the way to your kitchen. That trade-off could level the playing field when it comes to environmental impact and should definitely be a factor to consider when you purchase with environmental concern in mind.
Should you buy organic food?
Exclusively buying organic food isn’t always feasible if you’re on a budget. My recommendation is to buy organic to the extent that you can afford it. If you’re concerned about synthetic pesticide residue, shop for organic foods when you get the most return on your investment (i.e. when conventional counterparts are grown with lots of pesticides), and buy conventional when those produce items aren’t grown with many pesticides to begin with (see the lists below!).
What I tell my clients who are cancer survivors (and everyone else) is this: if buying organic produce means you’ll end up eating fewer vegetables and fruits due to cost, stick with conventional. All of the major research studies showing the cancer-fighting and disease-fighting benefits of vegetables, fruit and other plant-based foods has been done with people eating conventional diets, not organic food. That means that eating plenty of produce is still healthy for you, even if synthetic pesticides were used.
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Several studies show that organic produce has more pesticide residue than you might expect, so going broke to keep everything on your list organic may not be your best bet. Buy organic and local if you can, but your main focus should be on buying nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains instead of junk food. Remember – an organic sugar-filled cookie is still a sugar-filled cookie!
Foods to buy organic
As a general rule, I try to buy organic versions of foods that I’ll eat the skin of or can’t peel. So if I’m buying lemons because I’m using the zest in a recipe, I’ll get organic ones. If I just need some lemon juice, I might buy conventional lemons. Most of the nutrients in our fruits and vegetables are concentrated in the skin, so keep that in mind before you start peeling everything to cut down on some synthetic pesticides.
According to EWG’s 2017 findings, these are the foods you’ll want to spend your organic budget on:
I also recommend purchasing organic or grass-fed meat and dairy products. All organic meat is at least partially grass-fed (organic animals can also eat organic feed), but not all grass-fed meat is organic. When you can afford meat that’s labeled both grass-fed and organic, go for it! Otherwise, prioritize grass-fed meat over grain-fed meat when possible to reap the higher omega-3 benefits.
Foods you don’t need to buy organic
Just like with the Dirty Dozen, the EWG releases an annual “Clean Fifteen” list of foods that have the lowest pesticide levels when purchased conventionally. When buying organic produce isn’t an option, these are the foods you’re still in the clear with:
How to wash your vegetables and fruit to remove some of the pesticides
You don’t need special washes to rinse pesticides off of produce – simply rinsing with water will do! Washing fruits and vegetables with water for at least 30 seconds can help remove much of the pesticide residue left on the outside of the produce. For sturdy produce like apples and potatoes, use a scrub brush to clean the outside. Remove outer leaves of heads of lettuce or cabbage (the outside usually has more pesticide residue on it), or buy those items..
The New Year is just around the corner, and for many of us that means making resolutions for 2018 to start off on a good note! Health-related resolutions are always popular, and nutrition mobile apps are handy tools to help you start or maintain an action plan. Here are the 5 best nutrition apps to keep on your radar in 2018!
Disclaimer: The mobile apps listed in this blog were selected to address common nutrition needs and are for educational purposes only. There is no financial relationship between 80 Twenty Nutrition and the following mobile apps mentioned in this blog. They’re listed because I like them.
How To Make Healthy Choices When Traveling
Download Food Tripping (free on iOS and Android)
If you’re a frequent traveler, maintaining your nutrition goals can be difficult, especially when that one question pops up on your mind: where should I eat? With fast food chains being so predominant, healthier options can feel challenging to find – that’s why the Food Tripping mobile app is here to help! Food Tripping uses your current location (in Canada or the United States) to find local eateries, vegan and vegetarian restaurants and even farmers’ markets nearby.
The app uses a simple layout, providing the restaurants’ location and contact information, as well as an option to save your favorites. I tested out this app at home and was surprised to see a lot of hidden gems right in my city!
How To Increase Your Vegetable Intake
Download VegOut! (free on iOS and Android)
As a soon-to-be dietitian, I can understand how the phrase “eat more veggies” seems so tired out – but hear me out, because the VegOut! mobile app makes this nutrition goal more fun and intriguing, especially if you have a competitive side!
The annual VegOut! challenge is every March (United States only), with the goal of eating 30 different vegetables before the end of the month to get fun prizes and promotions – however, you don’t need to wait until then to get started. The app contains a lengthy list of veggies with their corresponding photos, a brief description and simple recipes that you can use them in. The incentives not only make the vegetable aisle less intimidating, but they also allow you to experiment with new flavors and recipes!
How to Stay Motivated in Your Nutrition and Exercise Goals
Download Carrot Rewards (free on iOS and Android)
Exclusive to residents of Ontario, BC, Newfoundland and soon the rest of Canada, the Carrot Rewards mobile app provides incentives to live a healthier life by being awarded partnership points for completing nutrition and physical activity goals and completing quizzes. This is a great way to stay motivated, get rewarded and learn a few things along the way!
I learned about this app through a few of my friends who made it their goal to walk at least 1 hour a day after sitting all day in college lectures. The combination of earning points while setting goals together helped to make this goal a part of their lifestyle instead of another chore.
How to Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Download Food Planner (free on iOS and Android)
Planning your meals ahead of time not only saves you time but money in the long road. Well, for most people and their busy Monday to Fridays, that’s easier said than done. Check out this recent blog on how to make meal planning easy, as it provides you with tools to get you started on your meal planning journey, while the Food Planner mobile app will keep you organized.
You can organize the Food Planner mobile app based on your preferences by planning day-to-day or week-to-week, as well as create convenient grocery lists! That’s why this planning tool made it onto our list of the best nutrition mobile apps.
How To De-Mystify Food Ingredients
Download Whatsinit? Food Ingredients (free on iOS and Android)
If you have recently acquired a food allergy, intolerance or started a new diet, navigating the grocery aisle can be quite the challenge. Have no fear because The Whatsinit? app makes this learning curve much easier!
First, select your needs from the drop down menu (ranging from nut allergies, vegan diet and lactose intolerance) and the app will automatically color code their extensive database which contains hundreds of ingredients. This is quite convenient, especially if you’re a visual learner like myself!
The color codes are based on a stoplight system: green means that the ingredient is safe, yellow means caution (may cause side effects) and red means to avoid.
One of the key features of this app is how accessible it is. You can look up any ingredients using the keyboard, say the ingredient you want to look up OR take a photo of the ingredient list. The app will then mark which ingredients to avoid, as well as provide a brief description and nutritional information. Who doesn’t love an app that does all the homework for you?!
The Bottom Line on Nutrition Mobile Apps
Nutrition mobile apps may a convenient tool to keep you on track of your goals and stay motivated. There are countless apps that can meet many different needs, however they’re not for everyone and that’s okay! If you prefer a more personalized approach, a registered dietitian can help you meet your nutrition goals and get you started for the new year!
What do you think are the best nutrition mobile apps? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
A big thank you to my student, Jacqueline Vykoukal, for reviewing these apps and writing this piece.
From brunch to a healthy snack, these yummy parsnip fritters are not only versatile but easy to make! If parsnip isn’t the most familiar vegetable in your kitchen, this recipe is a great introduction to this underrated veggie.
There’s also a lot more to love about these fritters. Lately, I’ve been on a sweet potato kick and have been swapping them for my regular potatoes and I don’t think I’m going back! Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that converts into vitamin A which is important for our eyes and immune systems.
When I first treated my friends to this dish they thought the orange color came from carrots! To their surprise, the combined flavors from the parsnips and sweet potatoes had everyone going for seconds!
It’s also important to mention that a common mistake when making similar recipes that use shredded veggies is not squeezing out the excess moisture! While this requires a bit of a kitchen strength workout it definitely pays off in the end. By not removing moisture from the veggies, your batter is not going to form well, resulting in not-so-yummy soggy fritters.
The parsnip fritters can be eaten as is, but I found that they pair quite well with tzatziki or yogurt.
What are some of your favorite root vegetables to cook with? Share in the comments below!
Parsnip Fritters with Sweet Potato and Zucchini - Gluten-Free and Paleo!
From brunch to a healthy snack, these yummy parsnip fritters are not only versatile but easy to make! If parsnips aren't the most familiar vegetable in your kitchen, this recipe is a great introduction to this underrated veggie!
Peel and grate the parsnips, sweet potato and zucchini. Using a dishtowel, squeeze out excess moisture and set aside for 1-2 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture again and move the vegetables to a large bowl.
Add dill, parsley, salt and flour to the vegetables and mix. Stir in eggs and combine well. If batter is too thin, add more flour.
Heat olive oil over in a large pan over medium-high heat. Spoon scoops of batter and cook until golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer cooked fritters to a plate until ready to serve.
Cranberry is a classic addition to many holiday feasts in everything from sauces to desserts! The cranberries in this delicious recipe add soft, juicy texture with just the right amount of sweetness. In combination with the other tasty ingredients, this cranberry kale salad with goat cheese and walnuts is perfect as a meal and will have you going for seconds!
#Cranberries contain powerful #antioxidants that are tough on #cancer cells! Click To Tweet
The only thing to watch out for when purchasing dried cranberries is the added sugar content, which is used to reduce tartness while improving texture. Your best bet is to choose dried cranberries lower in added sugar by comparing the nutrition facts table (pay attention to the serving size!) and using small amounts in recipes, approximately no more than about 1/4 cup.
This salad is even more of an antioxidant powerhouse with the addition of green leafy vegetables, kale and arugula. Green leafy vegetables contain carotenoids, which some research has shown to inhibit the growth of certain types of breast, skin, lung, and stomach cancer cells. Rather than using strongly flavored fully-grown kale, tender and mild baby kale is used instead. This is one of my personal favorites to use in salads because the kale gets coated in the salad dressing rather than absorbing it, preventing the not-so-fun soggy salad. The goat cheese is also a great final addition to the salad for some extra creaminess.
Have you ever tried using cranberries in a salad before? What other ways do you enjoy using cranberries? Share in the comments below!
Thank you to my student Jacqueline Vykoukal for creating and photographing this gorgeous Cranberry Kale Salad!
Cranberry Kale Salad - Gluten Free!
Cranberry is a classic addition to many holiday feasts such as sauces to desserts! Even if you’re not big on salads, the cranberries in this recipe add a juicy texture with just the right amount of sweetness. In combination with the other tasty ingredients, this cranberry kale salad is perfect as a meal and will have you going for seconds!
Make ahead breakfasts are the absolute best. Especially when you’re hosting lots of people and need to make something that’s low stress and super easy. My family is big on egg bakes for that reason. We typically make them with bread and sausage, but I wanted to create something with Mexican flavors. The result? This Mexican Breakfast Burrito Egg Bake that’s gluten-free and vegetarian! It’s loaded with fiber from the pinto beans and spinach, and I’m obsessed with the incredible flavor of corn tortillas. So delicious!
We have them every year on Christmas morning and have made them for wedding brunches, showers, you name it. Everyone loves them and they feed a hungry crowd! Egg bakes are also great if you’re craving breakfast for dinner – one of my favorite meals as a kid and still as an adult!
I say to use mild salsa in this recipe because that way people can customize the level of spiciness themselves… aka put some hot sauce on the table for those who like it caliente!
Mexican Breakfast Burrito Egg Bake - Make Ahead, Gluten Free and Vegetarian!
This Mexican Breakfast Burrito Egg Bake is the perfect make ahead brunch recipe. It has everything you love about a breakfast burrito (eggs, corn tortillas, salsa, cheese) deconstructed to make your prep easier for your family or a crowd. This egg bake is gluten-free and vegetarian! Plus it's loaded with fiber from the pinto beans and spinach. You'll love it!
In a large bowl, combine the pinto beans, salsa, chopped spinach, cumin and oregano.
Spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or grease with avocado oil.
Spread 1/4 cup of the beans and salsa evenly in the baking dish as your first layer. Lay 4 tortillas on top (it’s okay if they overlap).
Spread half of the remaining beans and salsa on top and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Lay the rest of the tortillas on top and cover with the rest of the beans and salsa.
In a medium bowl, whisk your eggs and milk together. Then pour the eggs over your layered beans, salsa and tortillas.
Cover your egg bake with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, preheat your oven to 350 F. Take your egg bake out of the fridge and cover it with foil. Bake for 35 minutes.
Sprinkle the rest of your cheese (3/4 cup) on top and put the egg bake back in the oven uncovered for 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Broil for 2 minutes if you want the cheese to get golden and bubbly. Enjoy!
As we enter the time of year where daylight hours can feel non-existent, the “winter blues” sets in for many people. This can include feelings of sadness, decreased motivation, difficulty concentrating and changes in appetite. If you experience any of these symptoms during the winter, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD (finally an acronym that makes sense).
You’re not alone, and the good news is that there are strategies to help you reduce symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, including Seasonal Affective Disorder nutrition. There are key mood-boosting foods to keep in your kitchen during the long winter months.
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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that people experience during certain times of the year, most commonly during the winter months. To be diagnosed with SAD, an individual must meet the criteria of depression that coincides with a certain time of the year for at least 2 years.
Symptoms of SAD include:
Hypersomnia (AKA sleeping too much)
Craving sweet and starchy foods
SAD can begin at any age, but is most common between the ages of 18 to 30.
How Many People are Affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Multiple population studies estimate that the prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder is anywhere between 1-10%, with prevalence being higher in people that live in northern latitudes. Interestingly, Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common in North America than Europe, nearly twice as high! The reason for this discrepancy is currently unknown, but living in urban areas is a possible factor.
The causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder are unknown, but current research in this area has found 3 biological relationships that helps us make sense of why certain symptoms occur:
1) Overproduction of melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone which regulates sleep. Increased hours of darkness leads to increased production of serotonin, causing people with SAD to feel sleepier than usual. This causes people to feel out of step with their circadian rhythm, also known as your biological clock.
People with #SAD may produce less #VitaminD - an important nutrient for the regulation of mood Click To Tweet What Should I Eat to Manage Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
The 3 biological relationships mentioned above are most certainly the most science-y part of understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder, but they’re important in understanding why certain nutrients are relevant in managing symptoms! Seasonal Affective Disorder nutrition is an emerging area of research, but there are certain foods that can help.
The following are the top 5 relevant nutrients in managing SAD, including food examples.
It is important to note that while nutrition may help relieve symptoms, nutrition will not cure Seasonal Affective Disorder. You may have heard of other methods for treating SAD such as light therapy, psychotherapy and medications. If you want to more information regarding these treatment options, please talk to your doctor. It’s best to take a holistic approach to treating SAD which includes medical treatment along with nutrition therapy, regular exercise, yoga and meditation.
Complex Carbohydrates for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Just because cravings for foods high in carbs is a common symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder, doesn’t mean they should be completely eliminated. This is because carbohydrates help produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter than is lower in people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, resulting in lower mood. Your body is craving those carbs for a reason!
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Instead of going for refined carbohydrates like white bread and candy, try beans and lentils, whole grains and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash or parsnips. These are all great sources of complex carbohydrates, with additional benefits from fiber which keeps us fuller longer and curbs cravings.
Vitamin B6 & Tryptophan
A key vitamin related to carbohydrates is Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine. It is one of the eight B vitamins that helps in converting carbohydrates into fuel the body can use. As you may have already guessed from its role with carbohydrates, Vitamin B6 is important in the production of serotonin.
Vitamin B6 is usually found in animal products, such as poultry, tuna, salmon, beef liver and dairy products such as milk and cheese.
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If you avoid animal products, you can still get vitamin B6 from legumes such as beans and lentils, spinach, carrots, brown rice, bran, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, oats, bananas and whole grain flour.
The Bottom Line on Nutrition for Seasonal Affective Disorder
For people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, the symptoms that are experienced are valid and not anything to brush off. If you would prefer a more personalized approach, a registered dietitian can help support you in meeting your nutrition goals. If you feel that SAD is affecting your daily life, do not hesitate to reach out for support to your doctor who can determine appropriate treatment options for you.
A big thank you to my intern, Jacqueline Vykoukal, for writing this amazing article.
Have you ever experienced the “winter blues”? Share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!