Tuesday, July 24, 2012

5 Simple Steps to Cook Healthy Nutritious Food

Every night when you go home, you have to make a decision about what to have for dinner. For the most part, we would like to eat nutritious food, but many of us didn't grow up learning how to cook healthy meals. If you're watching your health, eating out is not the best option, so most people look in their cookbooks for recipes. This isn't always the best solution, because recipes lie. But, if you know the right way, it's very easy to cook nutritious food every night of the week.

This is the process that many people go through:

1. You come home from work, and have to start planning dinner.
2. You've already cooked the 5 things you know how to cook this week.
3. You need more ideas,
4. You look through the pantry, consider calling for pizza...

It's not only exhausting, but you have to re-educate yourself every single night. It's not going to get you the results you want or deserve for yourself and your family. If you're looking to cook more nutritious food at home, save time and have endless cooking ideas, you're in the right place.

There are 5 simple steps to cooking with fresh ingredients.

Step 1: Get Fresh Ingredients

• The first step for using fresh, seasonal ingredients is to actually GET some.
• This could be the most difficult step for many of you that are used to the huge mega-mart grocery store.

There are alternatives. My eyes were opened to more alternatives during my trip to Paris, France. The food culture in Paris is so much different from where I live in the US. There were very few corporate "chain" restaurants there.

Many of the restaurants were small, 10 table places where there were three people on staff, the chef, the maitre d' and the dish washer. They had their service each night and went home. Each time I asked why their food tasted so good, they all had the same answer. And, not a single person bragged about their recipes.

Instead, I was told that I needed fresh, simple ingredients. I discovered that I needed to examine where my food is coming from. This doesn't mean simply the store where you shop, but what is the country of origin for your food. Think about how you feel about your money going to another country when there are farmers in your community that need your help. Now think about how long ago that vegetable was harvested in the far away country, and what happened to it during its travels.

It might be inconvenient to drive past dozens of mega-marts to find a farmers market. But you may find that there's a local produce roadside stand near you that you've avoided. In my case, I signed up for "The Produce Box" which delivers fresh community supported agriculture to my doorstep. Fresh is important because fruits and vegetables degrade as soon as they're picked.

• Nutrients are lost
• They become visually unappealing
• Harder to cook successfully
• Loss of flavor!

Step 2: Select the freshest ingredients when you shop Be aware of what you're choosing, even if you shop at the local produce stand or farmers market. Some items may still be fresher than others and the most nutritious, healthy food is the freshest. You have to be even more aware if you shop at the local mega grocery. In understanding how to cook healthy, you need to be able to understand the difference between fresh food and food that has been ripened artificially or is not ripe at all. Do you know how to tell a fresh orange or grapefruit? Did you know that color is NOT an indicator of freshness in peaches?

Step 3: Storing Fresh Ingredients For maximum shelf life, nutritional preservation and budget savings, there are three issues in storing fresh ingredients:

1. Moisture
2. Air circulation
3. Temperature

Not everything can be thrown in to the drawer in the refrigerator and preserve their freshness. In fact, some things will suffocate in a plastic bag. Other produce will need to be wrapped tightly to retain moisture. Other items will need to be kept cold, while others will degrade under the cold.

Step 4: Master a few basic cooking techniques At the very least, master the following techniques:

1. Understanding the transfer of heat
2. Saute method
3. Know how to make sassy sauces

But there are so many more. All of the basic methods in cooking are covered in my live cooking classes. Giving you the tools to understand these basic methods is what makes my approach to teaching cooking so unique and why people rave about my Web Cooking Classes. Web Cooking Classes empowers you with a thorough understanding of basic methods which allows you to cook and create without a reliance on recipes. Pure freedom!

Step 5: Finishing the Process with Fresh Herbs This is the number one question I get during my live cooking classes: Q: "Which herbs to use and how much to use?" A: "Use the ones you like."

Seriously! Use your nose to see what it reminds you of, use the ones that you like and use as much as you like.

You want to know my number one herb secret? Herbs go last! Fresh herbs should not be cooked. In fact, just the heat of the finished dish is enough to release the aromas of fresh herbs.

These are the secrets that chefs know about how to cook healthy which are so easy to incorporate into your every day cooking. You can cook nutritious food that you want to eat for your health and for how wonderful it tastes.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Benefits of Eating Nutritious Food

One of the most important factors of being healthy is eating properly and making sure that your body gets all of the required nutrients. What does that exactly mean though? It means that people ought to fuel their body with wholesome, organic and nutritious foods that are packed with plenty of nutrients.

It also means that junk food such cookies, candy, cakes, chocolate, chips, french fries and soda pop should be avoided and perhaps eaten once per week at most because junk food can bring down our immune system. When our immune system becomes weak then we increase our chances of getting sick. Also, junk food eaten too often can make us gain weight which can bring on many other health problems.

However, when we eat nutritious food we feel better, look better and have a lot more energy to do the things that are required of us, but it also leaves us with more energy to do the fun things we want to do. Eating lots of organic vegetables especially green leafy vegetables and well-proportioned quantities of organic meat such as grass fed beef, or organic free-range chicken. Remember to consume the proper amount of good fats such as omega 3-6-9, or krill oil however, consult with a naturopathic doctor first.

Another benefit of eating nutritious food is that we can function better because without a nutritious and well-balanced meal people cannot focus and concentrate as well. It is a fact that the brain requires nutritious food especially fish so that we can think clearly and properly without any brain fog.

When we eat a lot of wholesome, organic foods our skin is also a lot clearer and it shines nicely. Junk food can produce a lot of acne which can be embarrassing. It is also important to note that it is a good idea to eat a variety of foods, especially vegetables because this will help with eating a nutritionally balanced diet that is full of vitamins. As well, it might help to avoid developing allergies to foods that we eat too often. Also, it decreases the risk of getting bored eating the same foods too often.

The last benefit I would like to mention is that it is very important to eat in moderation at each mealtime and to eat at least 3-5 times per day. This means eat 3 larger meals with smaller snacks throughout the day because this helps to keep your body fuelled properly all day long without having any sugar spikes.

Eating smaller meals throughout the day also helps to keep us feeling satisfied and it can improve our metabolism. When our metabolism is at its optimum performance then this can help us with both maintaining our weight and weight loss.

As you can see, there really are many benefits to eating nutritious food however, make sure to plan in advance because people can sometimes get very busy and then eat pre-packaged foods. Just make sure that you have plenty of tasty recipes that are fun and easy to prepare so that you can eat a nutritious meal as often as possible.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Importance of Nutrition and Exercise for a Healthy Body

Health results when everything in the body is functioning well. The body is an amazingly complex system, and like any system, it requires inputs to continue working at an optimal level. The two most important inputs are nutrition and exercise.

Nutrition reflects the supply of necessary materials to our system. What you eat is integrated into your body, so the right balance of macronutrients and micronutrients is vital. Macronutrients include fats, carbohydrates, proteins and water. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals.

Unfortunately, modern society tends to favour unhealthy foods. Less people cook, and the result is an increased intake of fake, processed, junk food. The health conscious consumer needs to realise that just because something is marketed as edible doesn't mean we should eat it.

The modern diet gets more than enough protein, fat, and sugar, but tends to lack enough water, fibre, and vitamins. As for supplying the latter, multivitamin supplements are okay, but the secret to a well nourished body is variety in diet. A good general rule is, the fresher the food and the less processed, the better it is for you. If one decreases the intake of fake food and increases one's intake of water, fruits and vegetables, it will increase the quality of nutrition.

A body with healthy nutritional input still requires exercise. Exercise fine tunes your system so it can work at optimal level. Like a grand piano, if you don't tune your body regularly, decline and discord will manifest.

Regular exercise helps to maintain weight, relieve stress, and improve mood and quality of sleep. Different exercises have different benefits. Cardio improves the vascular system; the heart and veins, as well as the immune system. Strength training increases muscle mass and helps to burn fat. It also increases bone density, a benefit especially significant for women.

The key to regular exercise is variety and discovering activities you enjoy. Keep an open mind. Cycling, hiking, martial arts, recreational sports, yoga and dancing are some examples of exercises that can become lifelong passions. Getting a gym membership is another great alternative. Admittedly, exercise options are limited by your environment and lifestyle. Exercises that everyone can do at home include jump rope, hula hoop, dumbbells, and exercise videos. Many of these activities will be more enjoyable and sustainable if you have a partner to join you.

Whichever forms you decide are right for you, remember that a healthy body as a result of good nutrition and regular exercise is well worth the effort.