Tag Archives: food

De-Mystifying Food Labels

“Natural flavors” is a term many of us food label readers have probably seen hundreds of times but what are they really? It most commonly found on the labels of our most processed foods.

The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

In other words, a chemical normally flavor found in any of the products can be extracted and enhanced and added to in a lab. These natural flavors may contain up to 50 or 100 added ingredients. If you have an allergic reaction to something and cannot figure out what it is, add “natural flavor” to your list of foods to avoid. It is prevalent in so many processed foods. Try to make your own foods from scratch – that way you know what is in them.

Delicious, Stress Reducing Snacks and Meals

For one reason or another it is probably a good bet that any given American is probably still feeling extra stress. Here are some foods that provide nutrients to help reduce that stress. Not only that, enjoy one of these meals in your ideal conditions during an hour or so dinner with your family or partner could add to that stress reduction. Take some time away and enjoy a delicious meal with someone you love. Or take a meditative moment to yourself and concentrate on flavors of new snack or lunch.

Potato chips and other crunchy snacks can be replaced with apple slices. The satisfying crunch can release stress.

A paella of clams and mussels is a major such of B-12 which will even your mood.

A desert of fresh sliced kiwi dipped in dark chocolate would further improve one’s mood with a boost of vitamin C.

Grilled salmon can be a great source for your omega-3 fatty acids, which are well known to reduce stress.

Green peas in an omelet can turn your favorite egg dish into serotonin production booster.

Yogurt’s probiotics can help reduce levels of cortisol. Add berries for vitamin C

Matcha tea in particular contains the relaxing theanine.




New Year’s Traditions Around the World

We all have our traditional meals we eat for luck or prosperity or health at New Years, but what do other people eat? Here are some examples from around the world.

In Spain, many people watch the broadcast from Puerta Del Sol, Madrid. There party-goers gather in front of the clock tower in the square to ring in the New Year (much like Times Square, NY City). Those at home eat one grape for each of the 12 tolls of the bell. This is a turn of the 20th century custom supposedly thought up by grape farmers who had a fantastic yield that year. The tradition is now popular across Spanish-speaking nations.

In Austria and Germany they call New Year’s Eve Sylvesterabend, the eve of Saint Sylvester. For this celebration it is tradition to drink a red wine spiced punch and to eat suckling pig for dinner. The table should be adorned with small marzipan pigs—these are called marzipanschwein. Additionally, Glücksschwein or good luck pigs, are given commonly as gifts and are made from all kinds of things.

In Mexico tamales are the traditional food of New Years. One would be hard pressed not to find restaurants and street vendors selling them all hours of the day during the season. Tamales being a thick corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese and other ingredients. They are wrapped in either banana leaf or corn husk and are often steamed.

Many cultures share the tradition of a New Year’s cake. Many Greeks celebrate with Vasilopita, Mexicans enjoy the Rosca de Reyes, Bulgarians eat the banitsa, and the French enjoy the gateau or galette des rois.

In many traditions the cake is eaten at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Other’s may consume this at Christmas or on January 6th, the Epiphany. Often there is a gold coin or small figure baked into the cake. Which ever guest finds this in their food should have a prosperous year.





How Food Affects the Brain

This TedTalk starts with the precept of sucking all the moisture from your brain to see what is left. So what is left? There are mostly fats, then amino acids and proteins and glucose and micronutrients. Omega 3 & 6 are very important to the brain – gotten from nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.

A range of foods helps more than eating the same things all the time. Antioxydants and vitamins, along with trace minerals are also necessary to good brain function.

Carbohydrates are counted together but consist of starch, sugar, and fiber. Oats, grains, and legumes are better choices of carbohydrates so you don’t get that dip that you get from glucose.

Laila Ali Lifestyle

Laila Ali, daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali, has her own blog that covers food, fitness, health and wellness. She also has a podcast, and is the host of OWN’s Home Made Simple show. She has a cookbook coming out next week with some of the recipes she has developed. It is called Food for Life: Delicious & Healthy Comfort Food from My Table to Yours!

She has always enjoyed cooking and when she became a boxer, she knew she had to eat right. She has some very tempting and healthy recipes on her blog.

You may have seen her on TV on Dancing with the Stars, or hosting American Gladiators with Hulk Hogan. She’s also made appearances on Chopped: All Stars, Celebrity Wife Swap, and Celebrity Apprentice.

This is her latest recipe on her blog from Home Made Simple:
Gouchujang Guacamole