Frequently Asked Questions about Healthy Cooking

Frequently Asked Questions about Healthy Cooking

For many years, you have thought about eating healthier. You have always wanted to, but keep putting it off. Thinking that healthy eating may cost more money than eating fast food or precooked packaged foods.

Most of our foodies inside of us would have a mini stroke just thinking about food’s that are healthy, worried whether a healthy food option will separate you from the foods that you love and the comfort that you receive from them. But, you still want to try. You have decided that you owe the health of your body that much.

So you have finally taken the dive and are now actively trying to cook and eat healthy meals, but unfortunately the water is icy cold, you can barely see anything and have no clue in which direction you should swim.

These doubts and uncertainties are only natural, questions that need to be answered crop up in every mind about the right way to eat healthy. Those questions will be answered in this article, some of them at least, and they will help and guide you.

Questions and Answers about Healthy Cooking

Question 1: Should we avoid cooking oils, some of them are healthy, right?

A: The old information on cooking oils was to avoid them as much as possible, because the fats in them were the leading cause of heart disease.

New medical research has shown that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids as well as sugar, and especially HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) are the cause of inflammation in the body, and it is inflammation that is causing the diseases we experience as we age, heart disease being one of them.

Opting to steam, bake, or roast your food don’t require the use of a lot of oil. Stir-frying is still great cooking, as the food is diced or cut into small pieces, using a small amount of  oil, all making it so the food cooks fast, and you receive maximum nutrients. The best oils to use are coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.

Question 2: Fats are bad, right? Should I aim for a zero fat diet?

A: Not at all! All fats are not bad, in fact, some are essential. Our body cannot produce the essential fatty acids required for survival, so we must get them from food. It is not healthy fats, or unsaturated fats, that are bad, but rather Tran’s fats, found in the processing of seed oils, like canola oil, soybean oil, or corn oil. Also excessive consumption of fats, even if they are good for you is not good.  It is recommended that 20% to 35% of the total calorie intake should come from fats.

Question 3: What are good fats?

A: The good fats are the monounsaturated fats and the polyunsaturated fats. Some examples are the fats found in natural foods like walnuts, avocados, olives, nuts (peanuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts), flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. Including fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, like tuna, salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, and sardines.

Also olive oil and avocado oils have healthy fats, and with new medical research, coconut oil, believe it or not, also is healthy for you and the membranes of ever cell in your body. The same fat in coconut oil is the same fat that protects your cells.

Question 4: I have learned there are fats that are good for you, but I still prefer not to use oil and other fatty items like cheese and cream in my cooking. What should I do to make them taste better?

A: Even though fats feel satisfying, you can still have the same quality of satisfaction by using the large varieties of herbs and spices for seasoning. Along with adding flavor, all of them have additional health benefits too. Go and get some of the commonly used ones to start your journey into the mystical land of mouthwatering combinations of flavors.

You can easily find herbs like oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, sage, mint, marjoram, garlic, chives, and much more.  Also useful is marinating the food item to be cooked beforehand. This is a good trick when it comes to meats. Use of  lemon, and vinegar, mixed with spices according to your preferences not only will make the meat tender but also induce a lot of flavor even before you have started cooking. You could leave it overnight for marinating with the herbs and spices and enjoy a hearty and healthy meal the next day.

Keep in mind though that extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil actually contain healthy fats.

Question 5: Is Healthy Cooking More Difficult Than Other Types Of Cooking?             

A: Not at all healthy cooking does not take much more effort or time than any other type of cooking. It’s more about learning the proper techniques and how to cook healthier recipes and use healthier ingredients.

Question 6: Can I cook my veggies?

A: When it comes to vegetables, eating a variety of them is what matters the most. Many people have this erroneous notion that cooking destroys a majority of the nutrients, and this is far from the true.

Cruciferous vegetables need to be cooked so as to break down the enzymes they contain, that otherwise our digestive system would not be able to if these vegetables were eaten raw.

Cruciferous vegetables include kale, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, just to name a few.

Some vegetables do lose some nutrients when cooked, especially if they are overcooked, gentle methods like steaming or roasting do not result in a major loss.

Some vegetables like tomatoes and carrots actually benefit from cooking, some of the compounds that function as antioxidants increase in number after cooking. Buy fresh carrots and steam or broil them yourself, avoid canned foods. Do the same with tomatoes, make your own tomato sauces, keeping in mind the longer the sauce sets, the more lutein that is present in the sauce, an antioxidant good for heart function.

The important thing is to eat vegetables, if you can’t eat them raw, cook them and eat them. You don’t have to feel guilty. You are still getting their inherent goodness.

Question 7: What Are The Best Pans For Healthy Cooking?

A: Depending on what you are cooking, using ceramic coated pans offers the best advantage, as ceramic coated pans do not leach harmful toxins into your foods (Read more here about Ceramic coated pans). Cast iron is also a great choice to cook with (Read more here about cat iron cookware). Though hard ionized pans have a good rating, still if you over heat them and over time, they will leach toxins into your food.

Question 8: How do I buy healthy foods in the supermarket?

A: First of all, steer clear of junk or processed foods. Also, organic foods are healthier in general. If you want to buy packaged food items, buy naturally processed food items and look at the information provide on the packaging – it will give you a general idea on the calories, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Avoid anything with Tran’s fats.

When in season and the weather allows, instead of heading over to the supermarket for your produce, buy local by going to the farmer’s market. They have the best produce when it comes to fruits, and vegetables. Even the herbs are fresher, as well as the eggs.

Most venders at the local Farmer’s Market don’t use pesticides and other unnatural ingredients while growing the food crop’s you prefer to consume.

Question 9: Are all packaged foods unhealthy? What are the alternatives?

A: Not necessarily, but most of the time they contain preservatives for longer shelf life of the food item. It is best to avoid them. Mostly, we tend to buy sauces, jams, and oils in terms of packaged foods. You could make the sauces, and jams yourself. It takes a little time to can foods, but in the long run is less expensive, and you have canned jams and other canned food items for months.

The best thing about healthy cooking is that there is no fad dieting. Dieting basically tries to limit your calorie intake, as well as limit some foods. Healthy cooking lets you eat what you like, by cooking it right in the first place.

Healthy cooking also stresses on a more holistic approach to food, whole clean foods. Whole foods, those are sure to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Question 10: Is There A Way To Enjoy A Healthier Version Of Fried Chicken?

A: Yes, coat the chicken with bread crumbs and bake instead of frying. This will eliminate a lot of the fat content and when baked at high heats, the chicken will be crunchy and delicious. Also, preparing homemade shake and bake makes a more tasty and natural coating with the addition of herbs, that otherwise would lose their flavor being deep fried.

Healthy cooking with whole clean foods is worth the cost. Just keep in mind, pre-cooked packaged foods may be cheaper, or the dollar menu may be cheaper, but is it really worth it if your hospital bill, due to complications of inflammation casing disease’s cost you $50,000 out of pocket? You decide, it’s your health.

 

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Honey Has Healing Power

Honey Has Healing Power

Honey has many uses in our lives. We my use it to sweeten our coffee or tea. We may use it as a substitute for sweetening our food creations, either it be cooking or baking.

Splendid Recipes did post an article: Cooking with Honey – The Healthy Sweetener.

Are you aware of the healing powers of honey? You may think of the most popular one, being used as a cough remedy. But there are a lot more.

Here is an article from the Health News library I thought you would enjoy: The Healing Powers of Honey.

The article goes on to say:

When you go to the grocery store, you see an entire shelf dedicated to various types of honey. One of the great things about honey is how good is tastes.

If you have heard about the power of honey as a healing remedy, it’s important to note that it is found with raw honey. Raw honey has not been “sterilized” with high heat, and it has not had anything added to it…READ MORE

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Check out our Desserts and if you wish to substitute the sugar for honey, do the following:

use 13th/16th of a  cup of honey — that’s 1 cup minus 3 tablespoons. Reduce other liquids in the recipe by 3 tablespoons.

You’ll also find some vinaigrette‘s here that use honey or sugar that you can substitute for honey: Vinaigrette’s to Complete Your Salad.

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Remember the healing powers of honey, it has medicinal qualities, it kills germs, soothes burns, fights coughs, helps heal wounds, helps with dry skin. That’s the power of honey.

Read the article here The Healing Power of Honey.

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Protect Foods from Spoilage with Fermentation

Protect Foods from Spoilage with Fermentation

It’s amazing that the three types of microorganisms that preserve food during the fermentation process can also cause spoilage. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to keep food from spoiling by knowing which temperature and processing methods to use.

Food spoilage can cause illnesses that can keep you down for awhile, so it’s important to know how the spoiling microorganisms work to avoid the situation. Almost any type of food can be fermented and preserved with no danger whatsoever of developing an illness because of spoilage.

Yeasts come in two types – true and false. The true yeast found in the fermentation process helps to metabolize the sugar and produce gases (carbon dioxide) and alcohol. False yeast occur in foods that contain high acid or sugar levels and grow on a food’s surface rather than within as in the fermenting process.

Bacteria’s worst type of food spoilage is food poisoning. There are spore and non-spore bacteria that grow in low-acid foods such as meat and some vegetables. This type of bacteria can be destroyed by heat and processing for a certain length of time. Pressure cookers are often used to destroy bacteria at high temperature.

Molds are especially harmful to humans if the person has an allergic reaction to them. When someone eats a moldy food, it usually causes stomach discomfort and diarrhea and vomiting. Molds can grow in highly acidic foods, just like yeasts, but can be destroyed by subjecting the foods to high temperatures.

If fresh (uncooked) foods aren’t fermented or cooked, they can produce enzymes that can cause illnesses. One of the reasons why it’s important to pack foods you want to ferment so tightly is that oxidation may occur causing the food to change colors or become rancid.

Protecting fermenting foods from spoiling involves using starter cultures, limiting oxidation and using salt or brine for packing the foods. Sometimes an acidic fruit juice is used to protect the food such as a bit of lemon juice.

The main object of protecting the fermentation process is to get the fermenting process going before the spoilers have a chance to become established in the food. After that is accomplished, the spoilers lose their foothold.

Find out more about preserving foods by fermentation by searching online and taking advantage of books and reports that have been written about the process. Cookbooks for fermenting are also available if you want to try your hand at it.

How to ferment foods bookTo get you started, here is a book you can read on your Kindle for FREE. Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones and tablets. The boook to download and read is: Fermented Foods: How to Ferment Vegetables [Kindle Edition].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nine Things to Consider When Storing Organic Food

 

 

organic produce marketAn interesting thing happens when foods aren’t laden with artificial preservatives or any unnecessary processing.

And that thing is they don’t last as long as less natural options.

Add to that, the fact that organic foods tend to be more expensive, any spoilage can be very costly. So considering all this, here are some things to keep in mind when storing your organic foods.

1. Buy produce in season. Out of season fruits and vegetables generally have a longer travel time, so that can reduce the amount of time you’ll be able to keep them before they spoil. Local produce is also often cheaper and it helps ensure maximum nutrient content. When produce is shipped long distances, it is often harvested just a little earlier than it normally should be.

2. Wash your produce. Never assume that the lack of pesticides means produce doesn’t need to be washed. Dirt can still have bacteria and other harmful substances.

cleaning fruit

3. Whole fruits can be stored in the usual manner. Use your crisper or storage containers in your fridge. Of course, some produce like bananas, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and onions shouldn’t be refrigerated. If you cut up any fruits or vegetables, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

5. Store grains like flour and pasta in airtight containers. It will keep longer if you store in the fridge (up to 6 months) and even longer in the freezer (up to 1 year).

6. Fresh meat and poultry needs to be used fairly quickly. Large cuts last up to 4 days; items like steaks, chops and chicken pieces last up to 3 days; and ground meats should be used within a day or two.

7. Freeze meats that won’t be used right away. Do the same for excess fruits and vegetables you won’t be able to use. Make sure all products you freeze are in airtight packaging. When using storage containers, make sure to fill them as full as possible, so buy a variety of sizes for best results. Any extra air in your container can contribute to freezer burn.

8. Canning is another possibility for organic produce. You can create jams, pickle a variety of items, make compotes, can fruits and vegetables in water and more. Of course, do note that the high temperatures in canning can affect the nutritional quality of your produce.

canning pickles

9. Dehydrating food can also help with preservation. Dehydrated fruits make a great on-the-road snack, instead of processed food items. In addition, dehydrated produce is excellent for emergency kits, camping trips and more.

However you store your food, include a date on the packaged food item before you store it. This will give you an idea of when foods might spoil and which items should be used first.

Next theme link here: The Eternal Debate: Does Organic Living Require Supplements

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Foods to Freeze for Later Use

Foods to Freeze for Later Use

Fruit in Season: Cut up and freeze peaches, cantaloupe, pineapple, or apples for a year-round vitamins and minerals. Before freezing add juice of half a lemon juice to the cut up fruits, to prevent browning while boosting vitamin C. Vitamin C is a heat sensitive vitamin not found in canned fruits.

Here is a video on how to freeze apples.

Freezing cantaloupe is simple. Cut in half…each half cut into four….remove the rind completely as well as the seeds. Leave in strips and place into freezer bags with wax paper in between fruit. Store the melon frozen from 4 to 6 months.

Pineapple is frozen the same a melons. Remove outer layer as well as all eyes, cut into rings, chunks etc. Place into freezer container with wax paper between fruit. Store up to 6 months.

Nuts: Nuts are a healthy fat. Now days they are too expensive to store at room temperature as they can go rancid. Protect their nutrition and your investment by storing them in the freezer.

Berries: Fresh berries can be frozen in your freezer. These include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Rich in vitamins and fiber, these low-carb fruit fruits give you nutrients and anti-aging antioxidants.

Here is a video on flash freezing blackberries and strawberries, but can apply to any berry.

Citrus Juice: Freshly squeezed citrus loses its vitamin C when bottled because of being pasteurized, which is a heating process to kill germs, but also destroys vitamin C. Freeze fresh juiced lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. Store the juice in ice-cube trays and use later when preparing recipes that require fresh juice or to use to prepare dressings for fruit salads, or to infuse water and teas with fruit juice.
Fresh Vegetables: Buy seasonal local vegetables at your Farmers Market and freeze them for autumn and winter use. Freezing them also retains their vitamins, minerals, plant chemicals and fibers unlike canned vegetables. You’ll also avoid consuming processed additives like sodium or sulfites. You can fresh freeze asparagus, beets, broccoli, green beans, peas, and carrots.

To freeze prepare the vegetables buy cutting them into your preferred sizes (peas not included), for carrots leave on their skin for added fiber.

Bring to boil 4 quarts of water and add cut vegetables and blanch for 3 minutes and remove from hot water and add to iced water for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from iced water and place into freezer bags or containers. You can store vegetables frozen up to 9 months.

Image courtesy of : Dessert Now Dinner Later

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