Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pretty, Please

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Beauty Shall Save the World’s newsletter bundles the best of the best in beauty products, unforgettable gifts, fashion & decor from around the world and sends it straight to your inbox. So if you don’t have time to surf blogs all day, you can still stay up-to-date on the latest.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Beauty And The Breakfast

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Here’s a great way to start the weekend. Beauty is where you find it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Filthy Animal: The Sugar Bandit

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Possum Kingdom ain’t just a lake in Texas, or a creepy song I love by The Toadies. Australia is crawling with them, and although we have concluded our series on the Paleo Way and finished up with Food Predators, I couldn’t resist posting this adorable photo of a possum who broke into an Australian bakery and ate so many pastries that he could no longer move. Poor thing, this is how they found him.

Let’s take a lesson from nature. Click here for more information on what sugar does to you. Have a good weekend, sweeties!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Last Supper–A Final Glance at the Paleo Diet

Hi guys, today is our Last Supper…it’s the culminating installment in a series on the Paleo Way as part of better self-care for a new age. We are going to take a quick look at the remaining primary Food Predators and wrap things up with some informative resources before moving on.

True or False

There are some misunderstood meals that aren’t healthy for you despite their reputation, and conversely, some other maligned foods that actually have your best interest at heart. It just goes to show that you can’t always judge a cook by its lover.

Love That Sugar

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We have examined obvious sugars and their deceptive feel-good factor. Read more at Robb Wolf’s website in his recent article, Carb Addiction: Cake Is The New Crack. It will tell you everything you need to know.

Hold The Mayo

Don’t forget to reject sugars found in common ordinary condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup. Reading food labels and identifying hidden sugars will pay off in the end.

Going Against the Grains

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Grains contain gluten, and gluten is the large, water-soluble protein that creates the elasticity in dough, but it’s also the primary glue found in wallpaper paste. Remember in school, making your own glue with flour and water for craft projects?

Seemingly-healthy whole grains like brown rice contain yet higher levels of gluten than their stripped counterparts. Needless to say, grains are high on the list as a misunderstood food. For a lowdown on the guileful grain, check out this great link from Whole 9 Life.

Insidious Oils

There’s a handful of oils that you should be aware of and beware of. Mark Sisson dishes the straight dope, with his Definitive Guide to Oils.

Bean Around

Beans, also known as legumes, remain controversial. They create an insulin response that raises blood sugar levels. We have already discussed the misunderstood peanut, which is not a nut, but rather, a legume. Read more about beans in this Dear Mark post from Mark’s Daily Apple.

How Now, Brown Cow?

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Dairy is bad news. The vice of ice cream is obvious. Learn about the trappings of cheeses, milk, yogurt and even kefir here on Whole 9 Life.

It’s a Shrink Wrap

If it comes in a box or wrapper, think twice. Processed foods, foods with artificial sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives, and other junk food belong in the trash.

Protein Precautions

Avoid farm-raised fish. They’re fed corn as part of their diet, and as a result, their omega ratios are altered, making them a less-healthy choice than wild fish.

Ditto for chicken, and other meats. You want to limit or avoid commercially-grown, grain-fed animals. Limit or avoid smoked, cured, or nitrate-treated meats such as hot dogs, salami, etc.

Sunny Side Up

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Limit and avoid eggs from chickens commercially raised in cages, and fed with grains, hormone, pesticides and antibiotics. Don’t fear the yolk. The valuable fat and vitamin D found in the yolk will satisfy and nurture you.

This is lesser-known information about the iconic egg, so please be sure to share it with your friends and spread the word about the most extraordinary orb.

Last Resorts

Our work here is done yet this is just the beginning. For more information about the Paleo life, check out these valuable resources.

http://www.robbwolf.com/
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/
http://thepaleodiet.com/
http://whole9life.com/

Om Shanti Om, Peace to you.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Soooo Sweet: Sugar, Your Biggest Enemy

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Welcome Back

It’s Friday, time to further investigate our Paleo plan for healthy eating in 2012.

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Public Enemy Numero Uno

Today we will examine the top Food Predator: Sugar. Sugar may seem tasty, but it is the body’s number one enemy and a threat to your well-being. A dangerous food and beverage additive that will keep you sick and unhealthy, it’s everywhere, and it often cleverly wears disguises that can be absolutely alluring.

Sugar leads to a host of unhealthy problems, from tooth decay to diabetes. Check out this comprehensive list by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., on 146 reasons why sugar is ruining your health.

In addition to health problems, sugar actually contributes to the aging process. I just received this fascinating email today from Dr. Mercola, identifying sugar’s role in the glycation process and how it destroys your skin and can eventually lead to death! An impressive resumé for something that started out so very sweet.

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Getting Hooked on Sugar

Remember that the Paleo diet harkens back to primitive times, when hunters and gatherers did not have refined sugar available. Any sugars that the people ate came from limited amounts of natural sources. Refined sugar, courtesy of the industrial revolution, is fairly new in the scheme of history, being readily available within about the last two centuries.

Initially not part of our ancestral diet, the small amount of sugar that primitive man ate was enough to supply a reasonable amount of carbohydrates for energy, but because of the exorbitant amounts Americans and other countries consume today, we are being drowned in simple syrup.

A Quick Fix: The Sugar Trap

The affordability and immediate gratification provided by refined sugar has permitted it to be added to most foods that we eat, whether you realize it or not, because it enhances the flavor and compensates for substandard ingredients.

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Hidden Sugars

Sometimes it’s obvious, but sugar can also be quite cloaked. Sugar lurks in unsuspecting places–places that seem innocuous. We have already discussed how mayonnaise and ketchup contain hidden sugars. These are just two of the untrustworthy condiments that seem like an everyday necessity, but they will only raise your insulin levels, keeping you addicted to sweets. It can be difficult to find mayo and ketchup without sugar, but it’s not impossible. Remember to read your labels when shopping.

It’s in the Mix

You’ll find most commercial sauces are laden with sugar–of course any kind of prepared spaghetti sauce you buy in the market will have a ton of sugar. Just read the label on the back of the jar and you’ll see. Barbeque sauce, cocktail sauce–they all have one hidden culprit: sugar.

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Rotten Tomatoes

What may surprise you is that most canned tomato sauces have added sugar in some form to compensate for poor-quality ingredients. The food industry is pretty rotten, and your well-being is the last thing on their mind. It’s unfortunate that such corruption exists in our world, but I guess the greedy parties responsible for such evil will simply have to live with that for the rest of their lives, assuming it bothers them in the first place.

Sweet Disguise

Sugar comes in different forms, such as corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, cane juice, cane syrup, agave nectar, honey, molasses, and other seemingly benign ingredients.

It may seem sweet, but trust me when I say that it’s definitely not good for you, and it is absolutely addictive. Stay away from sugar. The less you consume, the less you’ll want.

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Liquid Sugar

In what you drink, sugar is quite prevalent. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that sodas are not a health food. They’re loaded with sugar, among a multitude of other added sins.

Also guilty as charged are sweetened energy drinks, like Red Bull, or performance drinks like Gatorade; teas like Snapple; so-called ‘healthy’ drinks like Vitamin Water…these insincere food offerings may profess to provide one thing, but in fact they have a very different motive, and you should steer clear of them altogether.

The Juice is Good, No?

In juices as well–be it fruit or vegetable–you will find a ton of empty sugars, even if there is no added sweetener. Additionally, juices are heat-processed. This procedure kills any redeeming nutritional value. And often, the fruit or vegetable is derived from pesticide-laden produce, which is not a good thing.

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If you decide to indulge in something sweet, try using my favorite sweetener up my sleeve, Stevia. All natural with zero calories, zero carbohydrates and a zero on the glycemic index, stevia will not raise your blood sugar and is an ideal choice for everyone, but especially diabetics.

Otherwise, consider moderation. My old philosophy used to be “I can resist anything except temptation.” Nowadays, it’s “Living well is the best revenge.”

See you around.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Paleo Smoothies: Shaking Things Up, With Precision

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Recipe for Disaster

This installment of the Paleo diet will piggyback on the smoothie. A home-blended shake is the Paleo Way for a refreshing quick snack or meal replacement, but it has to taste good. Thanks to valuable feedback from my readers, I want to clarify how to make a most superior smoothie.

I’m using as examples my two favorite options for home shakes, the Chocolate Almond and Spicy Tomato. One sweet, the other savory, both high in fat with substantial protein and low in carbs with no sugar.

Cold Equation

A few factors will factor into your success with homemade shakes. Ingredients are key. Precision in measurement is important, but you might have to make some adjustments. And finally, decent equipment will always aid the food process.

Ingredients Are Key

Using my two favorite recipes as examples let’s take a look first at Chocolate Almond.

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This is a coconut milk-based concoction. The best coconut milk I have found is Thai Kitchen coconut milk. Get the organic if you can, but you definitely want to get the full-fat version, unsweetened. It can be found in your grocery in the ethnic food aisle. Shake the can really well before you start because the milk separates.

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The lite version is mostly water so it’s devoid of flavor and the creamy consistency and useful fat that your body needs.

Next, the recipe calls for three tablespoons almond butter, but it can be quite bitter if you add too much. You will definitely experience an acrimonious aftermath if you OD on almond butter.

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Whole Foods 365 almond butter, unsalted, is the best brand I’ve found. Buy the creamy and add it with discretion. Almond butter gives you your protein and lends a rich earthy deep flavor to the shake, but too much can be overkill and once it’s in the mix it’s hard to rectify the matter, even by diluting with other ingredients.

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The almond butter should contain only dry roasted almonds as its ingredient. There will be some separation on the top of the jar with the natural oils that rise to the top. Give it a good stir to distribute well for a creamy consequence.

While I was in Arizona recently for the distinguished Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, I noticed the almond butter seemed stronger and more pungent than in the San Francisco Bay Area. Maybe it’s a regional thing, an isolated incident in the batch I bought, or perhaps it was just my imagination, but whatever the case I found I needed to use less product. So when handling almond butter, proceed with caution.

With regard to the cocoa powder, I’ve tried a few varieties but keep coming back to good old Hershey’s. It’s been around since 1894, and a fixture in my mom’s kitchen for as long as I can remember. I don’t think we’ve ever used anything else, and the results are reliable.

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Now let’s examine my second recipe, the Spicy Tomato.

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It’s undeniably unique as far as smoothies are concerned and exactly opposite of what you’d expect a smoothie to be, but trust me when I tell you that it’s mucho rico.

When choosing spinach, I prefer frozen over fresh.

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That way, I always have some on hand and don’t have to worry about it spoiling, plus, it only adds to the thick, cool, frothy result that you’ll relish with gusto. Aim for organic.

The ingredients in the Spicy Tomato smoothie are more forgiving for miscalculation than Chocolate Almond. A little experimentation may be necessary to achieve the taste you desire. I always end up adding quite a bit of salt, just because that’s the kind of girl I am.

Adjustments

With both shakes you want to start by following the directions at first, then take liberties later, making alterations for good taste.

Decent Equipment for a Smooth Operator

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For smooth, satisfying texture, you’ll need a decent blender. The Vitamix 5200 is the Rolls Royce of blenders, but at around 500 bills, that’s a hefty price tag.

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America’s Test Kitchen highly recommends the KitchenAid 5-Speed, $99.99. It scores high marks for all-purpose blending.

Being in the market for a good smoothie blender myself, I will probably end up purchasing the Hamilton Beach Dual Wave Blender, $79.99, but it’s currently sold out.

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It’s got a wide jar for adding ingredients with ease and two side-by-side dual-action blades that tag-team to pulverize ingredients for a smooth finished product. I hate big chunks of ice in my smoothies, and this blender promises to destroy them. Although it’s not considered the best for all-purpose blending, it’s a top-achiever for frozen drinks, and that’s what I’m seeking.

Sometimes things don’t turn out quite the way you’d hoped, which can be disappointing. If your shake tastes bad you’re not going to want it, which defies the concept of a quick healthy Paleo meal.

Hopefully these tips will help. Please keep the comments coming, and see you soon when we get back to the Food Predators.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Detour, Detour: The Paleo Way

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Hi guys. Today I am writing you from Tucson, Arizona. I’ve attended the annual world-renowned Gem & Mineral Show, and discovered a handful of gifted artists whom I will share with you.

I’ve met some unforgettable new people, and connected with some old friends. I’ll be delighted to introduce you to them as we continue our journey together.

Due to this little detour, the nutrition installment regarding Food Predators will be delayed. Because of valuable reader feedback, I’ve decided instead to give you tips on how to Shake Things Up, With Precision.

There are a few factors to consider if your shakes don’t possess their desired flavor or consistency, consistently. So stay tuned for that little morsel on meal replacement. We’ll get back to the Food Predators later.

In the meantime, I’d love to tell you about some of my discoveries and purchases at the Gem Show, so keep reading!