5 Alkaline Foods: Restoring Your Body’s pH

Nutrition is something I have always been greatly interested in. In college, I devoted more time into learning about nutrition, than I think I did in any other course of culinary school. I went on to study nutrition a lot further and something I preach to everyone I know is the importance of balancing your body’s pH.

Our body’s are made up of mostly water, so it only makes sense that our pH should be more alkaline rather than acidic. Eating certain foods, drinking certain beverages and taking certain medications and drugs can affect your pH. Some things that cause an acidic body are sugary sodas, processed cheese from Nacho cheese dispensers, meats and especially processed meats, like hot dogs and bacon and dairy products. In order to balance our body, we must eat and drink alkaline foods. It’s more likely for sickness and disease to wreak havoc on your body if it is acidic. I’m going to share with you five foods that are alkaline that can be added to your daily diet to balance out acid and improve your overall wellness.

#5 Cabbage

CabbageCabbage is a great alkaline vegetable to incorporate in your diet. It’s pretty economical and can be prepared in many ways that are simple and delicious. Cook chopped cabbage in a slow cooker, covered in vegetable broth, salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a delicious healthy side dish.

#4 Spinach

SpinachPopeye wasn’t playing around when he ate his spinach. He must have been topping the pH charts. Fresh spinach is probably top 3 most alkaline vegetables. It is perfect for a salad. Toss fresh spinach with toasted walnuts, dried cherries and some feta cheese for an easy dinner and healthy meal.

#3 Lemon

Now, I know lemon is an acidic fruit but surprisingly it is great for balancing pH. To make water alkaline, squeeze a wedge into a glass and drink this daily. It restores your pH and cleanses you from the inside out to help you stay vibrant.

#2 Cucumbers

Did you know that cucumbers are actually a part of the melon family? Cucumbers are mostly made up of water which makes them highly alkaline. A great way to make a creative snack with cucumbers, is to cut a cucumber into 1 inch slices, spoon out the center half way to create a a cup. Fill the cup with hummus or guacamole for a portable snack or a fun party appetizer.

#1 Raspberries

RaspberriesRaspberries are highly alkaline. They are worth introducing to your diet and although they aren’t as tasty out of season, you can purchase them frozen, blend with juice and yogurt in a blender to make a splendid smoothie. Adding ground, rolled oats makes this perfect for a morning meal replacement.

There are many fruits and vegetables that go way beyond this list but they are readily available and a good kick start to replenishing your pH. Refreshing your body and being aware of the input, will allow you to have a more lively output, and make sure to check out this weed identifier app before starting to grow you own garden.

Thai Quinoa Burger

Quinoa, pronounced ˈkēnwä, is a wonderful grain that I love to eat often. Quinoa is a great alternative to rice and is a fulfilling element to any meal. Ten years ago, you never heard about quinoa. These days, you hear about quinoa everywhere. It’s like the popular, new kid in school. It’s all the rage. Therefore I’ve been experimenting with quinoa a lot recently. One thing I came up with is quinoa burger. It’s a vegetarian Quinoaand it’s satisfying. Don’t get me wrong, I love a juicy, cheeseburger but these are fantastic when you’re taking a break on meat or if you’re trying to please the vegetarians in your life.

My sister in-law is a vegetarian and has been for several years now. I created this recipe for a a contest at my culinary school and she was my muse. Every time we go to a restaurant, her options seem to be pretty limited. She usually settles for a salad or a black bean burger. There just aren’t a lot of options for the growing number of vegetarians out there. So, I present you with a lovely, vegetarian masterpiece. The texture is wonderful. The Thai flavors are spicy and fresh. Peanuts, carrots cilantro and a spicy aioli make this quinoa burger an overall win, in my book. For the record, for those who don’t know, aioli is just a fancy word for a flavored mayonnaise. I know we fancy restaurants had us all fooled for so long but the cats out of the bag. The quinoa stays moist while acquiring a crispy outer crust when cooked. It’s a satisfying choice for anyone.

Ingredients

Preparation time: 25 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total: 35 minutes

-Patty

• 2 cups prepared quinoa
• 1 cup canned garbanzo beans
• ½ medium yellow onion; chopped
• 2 egg whites; beaten
• 1 tbsp red curry paste
• 2 tsp brown sugar or honey
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• ¼ tsp fresh chili paste
• 1 tsp green onion; sliced
• 2 cloves garlic
• salt and pepper; to taste

-Spicy aioli

• 2 tsp sriracha
• ¼ cup mayo

-Additional Ingredients/ Toppings

• Hamburger buns, the most important part! I used whole wheat.
• shredded carrots
• fresh spinach
• crushed peanuts
• cilantro
• cucumber

-Prepare quinoa according to package directions.

-In a food processor, combine all patty ingredients and pulse until blended.

-Form patties into a burger shape. This recipe should yield about 4 patties.

-Heat a skillet on medium heat; spray with non-stick cooking spray.

-Add patties to the heated pan and allow to cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Do not over crowd the pan.

-While the patties cook, prepare your spicy aioli just by mixing the two ingredients until blended. You can add more or less sriracha depending on the level of heat you prefer.

-Once the patties are cooked, removed from heat and assemble.

-Spread the spicy aioli onto the bun, top with the quinoa burger.

-Top with thinly sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, cilantro and spinach. Sprinkle with the crushed peanuts.

There you have it. A satisfying spin on a burger that’s not only nutritious, it’s vegetarian palate worthy.

Peanut Butter-Banana Quesadilla

There are not too many things scarier than hungry toddlers or hungry people in general, for that matter. I have never come in contact with a pleasant, hungry kid before. Since I’m a parent myself, I know the meltdowns of a “hangry” four year old, all too well. I like to think I am a health conscious person so I take that into account when I create recipes for my family.

bananaIt’s a challenge trying to whip up a fun, healthy meal for kids sometimes. It’s easy to want to just pop open a pack of fruit snacks or a lunchable, but that becomes boring. I guess being in tune with my artistic, culinary side, I’ve had my fair share of experimenting. I’ve tried a variety of different things, putting my own spin on classic, kid favorites and accommodating some picky eaters at the same time. My son, who is 7 years old, will not touch any type of deli meat so making his lunch for school has been a tough road. He went through a phase where all peanut-butterhe wanted to eat was peanut butter sandwiches and apple slices, EVERY. DAY. I started attempting to be creative and update the peanut butter sandwich. I was over that “daily special” and I came up with this recipe, which turned out to be a hit.

A family favorite now a days, the peanut butter and banana quesadilla. Most kids just love peanut butter. It’s a good source of protein and the bananas are producing a fruit serving, wedged between a whole wheat tortilla. BINGO! It’s healthy, fun and delicious and goes great with a cold slush puppie. A recipe that won’t make you feel guilty for serving to your children. If you’re feeling crazy, which I feel often days, I will add mini chocolate chips or marshmallows if I have them on hand. Yeah, it lowers the health benefits some but as they say, “moderation is key”.

Ingredients

• 2 large whole wheat tortillas
• 1/8 cup peanut butter
• 1 banana
• honey; optional

Quick Preparation Method:

-Spread peanut butter on one tortilla.

-Slice bananas and layer over peanut butter in a single layer.

-Drizzle honey over bananas and peanut butter.

-Top with additional tortilla.

– Cut in triangles like you would a pizza.

This makes 6 slices; about 2 servings.

Cooked Preparation Method:

-Heat a large pan on medium/low heat.
-Spray with non-stick cooking spray, I use coconut oil spray, but anything works.

-Spread peanut butter on one side of tortilla.

-Layer sliced banana over peanut butter.

-Drizzle honey over bananas and peanut butter.

-Top with additional tortilla.

-Place in pan and allow to toast about 1 minute on each side.

-Remove from heat and cut into six pieces.

Cooking the tortilla will make the peanut butter melt slightly. Allow it to cool slightly before serving.

My children prefer them cooked but they enjoy them not cooked, as well. Cooking the tortilla adds a toasty, crunch paired with the creamy peanut butter and bananas, it’s such a yummy combination. I even make this
for myself when I’m in a hurry. It’s even suitable for a post workout snack.

Heavenly Hash

What is something that comforts you? A good book? A rainy Sunday? A perfect slice of chocolate cake? There’s a variety of things that comfort us and most of the time we find comfort in a special dish. A recipe can hold sentimental value for some. Maybe it was a dish often prepared by your favorite grandmother or something your mom made for only special occasions. So today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes. It’s a comforting, simple dish that will be a hit for those meat and potato lovers in your life. Come on, we all have at least one.

potatoesHash is a combination of potatoes and usually a meat like ground beef, ground turkey, sausage or cubed ham. This recipe has a heavenly duo of sweet potato and russet potatoes. The texture of the the different potatoes with the balance of sweet and earthy is divine. Topped off with sunny side up eggs, it’s perfect for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

One of the best parts about this recipe is that it’s all prepared in one skillet. No headaches necessary. It looks like creative genius and tastes like it too, except it’s easy as pie.

Heavenly Hash

Prep: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total: 35 minutes Servings: 5

• 2 medium sweet potatoes
• 2 medium russet potatoes
• 1 lb. ground beef
• 1 medium onion; diced
• ½ cup shredded cheddar
• 5 eggs
• green onion; sliced for garnish
• 2 tbsp. of cooking oil
• 1 tsp of Old Bay seasoning
• 1 tsp tumeric
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• salt and pepper; to taste

-Set oven to bake at 350 degrees

-Heat a large skillet on medium/high heat, add oil. Once oil is heated, add diced yellow onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until about 90 % cooked, allowing a small amount of pink. Remove onion and beef mixture from skillet and set aside.

Add potatoes to pan and allow to cook for about 8-10 minutes until almost done but still slightly firm. Now add onion/beef mix to potatoes. Add seasoning and mix evenly.

Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and crack the eggs and place over the hash, careful to not break the yolk. At this point, we are no longer mixing the ingredients or else you’ll have scrambled eggs and although it would still be delicious, presentation wouldn’t be near as beautiful.

Now, let that cook for a couple more minutes on the stove top. After, you’ve done this you are going to place the entire pan into the oven to finish off the eggs, about 5-7 minutes but PLEASE, keep an eye on the eggs because having a runny yolk in the end result is the most delightful part and it is what ties the dish all together.

While that is finishing in the oven, go ahead and slice up the green onion and have it on stand-by for garnish.

Now, pull that scrumptious lil’ creation outta the oven… VIOLA! You just successfully completed a crash course in hash. Congrats!

Side note: If you’re really feeling adventurous, add bell peppers, play around with different meats, potatoes and cheeses. Good Luck!

Nutrition Advice For Office Workers

In the modern world it is harder than ever to stay in good health. Due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles and an abundance of cheap and readily available junk food, obesity and heart disease is on the rise. Office workers are especially at risk of falling prey to these factors, as they are required to spend much of their working day in one location. Below is a simple guide containing some simple steps to mitigate the problem of poor nutrition in today’s workplace environment.

The first step is to eat a substantial breakfast. Not only will this give you the energy you need to make it through the morning, but it will also tide you over until lunch, preventing you from being tempted to eat calorific or sugary snacks. Due to the lack of exercise that modern desk-bound workers now face, there is little to keep us from piling on the pounds by snacking whilst in the office. Although such snacking may seem innocuous or even necessary to function at times, it is one of the leading causes of poor nutrition and weight gain amongst sedentary workers.

As an alternative, consider bringing your own healthy snacks to work. Fruits, nuts and low-fat yoghurt are some of the more filling and most convenient candidates. At all costs, avoid buying from the vending machines that your workplace most likely has. Even the snacks marketed as ‘healthy’ will be loaded full of sugars and preservatives to extend their lifespan for the months that they will sit within the machine.

Additionally, it is important to stay well hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Resist the temptation not only to indulge in sugary drinks, but also to drink caffeinated beverages. Although coffee and tea will temporarily make you feel more alert, they will also cause dehydration and effect your sleep patterns, causing you to be more likely to binge on unhealthy food and drink in response. Instead consider having an organic fruit or vegetable smoothie. Not only is a healthy alternative, but it will give you the needed energy to stay alert throughout the working day.

Another good way to stay energized and avoid having to resort to eating unhealthy foodstuffs, is to get regular exercise. Although ideally, you should be getting approximately 40 minutes or more of heavy cardiovascular exercise each day, simply getting up to go for a walk can be invaluable. Moving away from your desk to stretch your legs is not just good for raising your energy levels, it also helps prevent eye strain, postural problems, carpal tunnel syndrome and a host of other health issues.

Lastly, to avoid indigestion during the day, avoid certain foods at lunch. Anything with large amounts of fat can provoke indigestion. As can foods with heavily spiced or fried ingredients. Instead, consider bringing a healthy lunch you made at home, such as pasta or a sandwich. Another major contributor to indigestion is workplace stress. Although everybody’s experiences are different, the impact of stress can be mitigated via meditation or just some simple breathing exercises.

*This post is sponsored by Vandenbergs Fine Jewellery – a happy part of every stage of your life. They make amazing handmade rings, by the way. Check out their Facebook page.