Health

Video Podcast: How To Make Almond Meal

Making your own almond meal is easy as one, two, three! Grab your food processor, your almonds, and an airtight container for storage. Mason jars work great, but plastic containers and zip-locks can work too. You can purchase raw, blanch or un-blanched almonds at your local health food store. These are not salted or roasted. Blanched almonds are almonds that have been soaked and removed of their skin. This choice is merely out of preference, but I believe the skin holds nutrients, so I prefer un-blanched almonds.

Below you will find some of my favorite recipes using gluten free, grain free, high protein almond meal. This ingredient is heart healthy and delicious!

There is a considerable difference between almond meal and almond flour, so don’t get the two confused! They will yield a completely different product if you use almond meal for a recipe that calls for almond flour. Almond meal serves as a versatile coating for chicken, fish, casserole toppings, or granola-like toppings for fruit.

Almond flour is great for desserts, entrees, or desserts. Almond flour is not to be confused with almond meal, which contains whole, ground almonds that still have the skin on them. Almond meal, or almond flour that is not blanched, will not work for almond flour recipes.

Check out this article to discern the difference between almond meal and almond flour.

Almond meal is a perfect alternative:

  • high protein
  • low carb
  • gluten/grain free
  • heart healthy

Check out these almond flour and almond meal recipes!

Almond meal recipes:

Almond Paste

5 Ways to use Almond Meal

Almond flour recipes:

Almond Flour Pancakes

Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 Great Almond Flour Recipes

Behold: The Greatness of Brown Rice Four

Hey guys! Peyton again!

Today I’m going to do a continuation of my podcast from last week and explain another part of my diet that keeps me going during athletic season.

As I’ve mentioned before, yeast-free living is a high protein diet, but that in no way means that I have completely given up carbs. That would be impossible, considering that I sometimes spend up to six hours a day on an athletic field. I often need something to keep me going, and a product I lean heavily upon is Brown Rice Flour.

Made out of natural, organic brown rice, Brown Rice Flour serves as a healthy substitute for white flour in many of my recipes. Although it does contain yeast, this product falls into the category of “Beyond Yeast-free” living: something that is allowed from time-to-time when living yeast-free.

Brown Rice Flour fits into my lifestyle because of its numerous health benefits:

  • Naturally gluten-free and high in protein, iron, fiber, and vitamin B
  • High in manganese which helps develop cartilage and bones properly
  • Helps the body absorb calcium
  • Supplies 20% of the recommended amount of magnesium, phosphorus, and copper
  • Contains 9% of the daily recommended amount of iron for women

Even with its health benefits, Brown Rice Flour should be used sparingly. In order to stay true to my body and lifestyle, I only consume Brown Rice Flour right before an athletic activity. It is the perfect product for keeping me going at my highest level of performance.

I’d like to rap-up my post today with a link to this awesome Brown Rice Flour Biscuit recipe that I make all the time, courtesy of Simply Gluten Free, found here. I usually eat them by themselves, but they can also be used to make a healthier version of a chicken and biscuit breakfast sandwich!

Enjoy! And have a great rest of the week!

Coconut oil: 10 different ways to use

We are happy to offer information to add value to your life. There is so much information out there and we hope that we offer information that fits your interests. Check out our posts that are all about almonds, coconuts, and dark chocolate. You don’t want to miss out on some of the most beautiful things in life.

Coconut is the talk of all generations, male or female. With its ability to lower cholesterol, aid digestion, rev your metabolism, slow aging, and curb cravings, coconut is the cure-all that should become a staple item in your household.  This versatile product is not just for your diet, but your skin, hair, and other helpful tricks.

Here are ten things you can start doing with coconut oil today!

1. On Toast Instead of Butter – Simply use coconut oil instead of butter on your toast.

2. Makeup Remover – Healthier, stronger and longer eye lashes are just a bonus!

3. Homemade Deodorant – You only need a few ingredients in addition to coconut oil to make this simple deodorant recipe.

4.  Sunburn Care – A great moisturizer to use after you’ve gotten a bit too much sun.

5. Tanning Oil – Put in a spray bottle, spray on to keep skin moisturized.

6. Cheekbone Highlighter – Apply a small amount on cheekbones over makeup.

7. Defrizzer of Split Ends – Just put a tiny amount on your hands and run them through the frizzy areas.
8. Metabolism Booster – 2 tablespoons per day are proven to rev up your metabolism.
9. For Your Owie – Although you may not be ready to give up your Neosporin, coconut oil can even be used as a topical protector for wounds, shielding them with a thin chemical layer from outside contaminants. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to small scrapes and cuts.
10. Breath Freshener: Coconut oil has anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Gargling for 20 minutes with a spoonful of oil (aka oil pulling) can help clear up germs in the mouth, leading to fresher breath, whiter teeth, and healthier gums.
Swanson talks of even more uses for Coconut in their article, 50 Ways to Use Coconut.
Look for more information on how to use coconut in baking, cooking, health, and beauty in our upcoming posts!

Healthy…Fat?

Healthy fats are crucial to maintaining optimal health. 

There are many questions that regard what is good for you and what is not. A common misconception is that fat will make you fat, when in fact it can do just the opposite. Research will support that eating the right amount of the right fats will enhance your health.  Healthy fats are crucial to any diet and will help you in reaching your health, fitness, and weight loss goals. The more you know about what is going into your body, the better you can discern what is good for your body from what is not. The difference in fat compounds—saturated, unsaturated, and trans—lies in their composition. Each fat is composed differently and can affect the body in different ways. Knowing which foods contain these fats and what they will do your health will add value to your dietary lifestyle and remind you that health isn’t just about weight loss. Several benefits will also be evident with maintaining the right balance.

Common Misconceptions about fat:

Myth: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.

Fact: Trans fats and some saturated fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.

Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.

Myth: Lowering the amount of fat you eat is what matters the most.

Fact: The mix of fats that you eat, rather than the total amount in your diet, is what matters most when it comes to your cholesterol and health. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.

Myth: Fat-free means healthy.

Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.

Read more about common misconceptions here.

Good Fat, Bad Fat : How To Chose

Fat is a fuel for the body, and the main form of fat is triglycerides. It is recommended that less than 30% of your calories in a day come from fat.

Polyunsaturated fat: This is an essential fat needed by the body for the building of hormones, and cell wall structures. It also helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Examples of this fat are oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oil.

Monounsaturated fat: This type of fat is not essential to the body, but helps lower cholesterol. It is healthier for the body than saturated fat. Canola, olive, and peanut oil as well as avocado are examples of this type of fat.

Saturated fat: This type of fat is not essential to the body, and should be reduced as much as possible.Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fats are liquids, or oils at room temperature. In small amounts, this will not be harmful or have an ill effect on health. It is recommended that 10% or less of your calories come from saturated fat.

Nutrition for Everyone talks about sources of saturated fats. But other saturated fats can be more difficult to see in your diet. In general, saturated fat can be found in the following foods:

  • High-fat cheeses
  • High-fat cuts of meat
  • Whole-fat milk and cream
  • Butter
  • Ice cream and ice cream products
  • Palm and coconut oils

Recent studies show the positive health benefits from coconut oil. Read more here. There are common misconceptions about coconut oil, but Web MD addressed the truth in their article Truth About Coconut. 

Trans Fat This fat is created during hydrogenation by making healthy, unsaturated oils solid into partially hydrogenated fats for use in food manufacturing and solid margarine. Food labels are required to list the amount of trans fat in one serving of the food. Research suggests that this fat like saturated fat increases the bad LDL cholesterol and reduces the HDL good cholesterol. This type of fat is solid at room temperature. Examples are found in processed foods like chips or crackers, solid margarine, processed and convenience foods.

Good Fat Found Here

  • Coconut oil not only helps your health, but can aid in maintaining your ideal weight. Read Dr. Oz’s article, The Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil. Start using coconut milk, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut flour, or coconut butter.
  • Raw Cocao  contains:
    • Magnesium, and other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
    • Polyphenols, antioxidant rich flavonoids
    • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, E
    • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
    • Protein
    • Fiber

For more helpful information see my previous post, Dark Chocolate: It’s food, not candy. Start using Cocao powder as a spice or toping on fruit. Hershey will show you nutrition facts to assure you, its not a fad.

Almonds are a natural source of protein and naturally high in fiber, while being naturally low in sugars.  Plus, a 1 ounce serving has 13g of good unsaturated fats, just 1g of saturated fat, is naturally salt-free and is always cholesterol free. Almonds are the tree nut highest in when compared ounce for ounce.Plus, a 1 ounce serving has 13g of good unsaturated fats, just 1g of saturated fat, is naturally salt-free and is always cholesterol free.

Whole almonds are a naturally high source of :

    • Magnesium
    • Riboflavin
    • Protein
    • Fiber
    • Vitamin E

Visit California Almond Board for more information about almonds. Almond butter, almond milk, almond meal are all good variations to use to soak up their health benefits. Click on each for more information, recipes, and how to make your own at home.

Now that you have all the information and resources to base your decisions, don’t let the words fool you. Add these healthy fats into your diet and you will see the health benefits you have been promised.

 

Coconut: Beautiful Inside and Out

It’s finally Wednesday!

Today, I want to talk to you about one of my favorite parts of my yeast-free diet: Coconut.

Coconut is the key ingredient in a variety of products, both for cooking and beauty, and it is a must when it comes to healthy living!

Coconut Nutrition

Coconut Overview:

Even though it is called a coconut, it is actually a fruit. Made up of three layers, one coconut can produce meat, water, juice, milk, or oil—basically every food group that makes up a healthy diet. For this reason, it’s no wonder that the coconut is a staple in over 1/3 of the entire world’s population.

Coconut Products:

Coconut is used to make thousands of baking and beauty products. It is sweet, hydrating, and incredibly good for you, no matter where it’s used. These are some of the products that come directly out of a coconut:

  • Coconut oil: unique from any other oil or fat because it protects against heart disease
  • Coconut meat: fresh or dried flakes are commonly used in cooking
  • Coconut milk: naturally lactose free, and can be substituted for milk in any recipe
  • Coconut flour: replaces regular flour as a lower calorie option
  • Coconut water: natural source of sugar, fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes

Coconut Benefits:

Coconut is most commonly known for its medical uses. It is great for strengthening a person’s immune system, as well as upping a person’s metabolism. When applied to the skin, it is known to treat a variety of skin diseases like eczema or acne. It is also a great tool for strengthening and promoting hair growth.

When consumed, coconut is one of the healthiest items a body can digest. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, plus tons of fiber. Coconut oils promote weight loss, and coconut water is often used as a sports drink because of its high amounts of electrolytes.

In either case, I absolutely recommend adding Coconut into your health regimen! Check out this coconut crusted chicken recipe for a great and easy coconut filled meal!

Well, that’s all I have for you guys! Stay joyful!

Behind The Scenes Health Benefits

Hey hey! It’s Peyton again, so it must be Wednesday!

Now, if you’re like me, then some aspects of the health world are completely foreign to you. Things such as antioxidants, fiber, and protein—you know they are important, but you don’t know why that is.

Well today, I’m here to tell you why!

First up, Antioxidants!

As oxygen interacts with the cells of your body, they change, die, and are naturally replaced. However, sometimes cells are damaged and they become harmful to the body, causing a variety of health problems such as Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or even Parkinson’s disease.

This is where Antioxidants come in!

Antioxidants work to stop the damaged cells’ chain reactions that lead to disease. Vitamins C, E, and A are common Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, as well as Dark Chocolate and Almonds! So eat up, and know you’re helping your body with every bite!

Next—Fiber!

Fiber is a carbohydrate, but unlike other carbs, your body doesn’t break it down into sugar. Instead, it passes through the body undigested, helping to regulate its use of sugars, keep your blood sugar normal, and your hunger levels down. It also lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even…. constipation. Yikes.

Most adults need 20-30 grams of fiber a day, and they are most commonly found in vegetables, fruits, and beans! So herbivore it up, and your body will thank you for it!

Last, but not least, Protein!

Protein within our consumed foods is digested, becoming amino acids that replace the natural proteins of our bodies. It is essential in the body’s natural repair and maintenance functions. 8 grams per 20 pounds of body weight is the recommended amount of protein per day!

Meats are the easiest way to get the most protein, but fish is also a great source due to its high amounts of protein, but low amounts of fat. However, protein is also found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts—especially almonds!

Well guys, that’s all I have for you! Remember to get your daily dose of fiber, protein, and antioxidants today!

Almond Joy : Not So Joyful

Hershey Almond Joy

Almond Joy Nutrition Information

Almond Joy Nutrition Information

INGREDIENTS:

CORN SYRUP; MILK CHOCOLATE ( SUGAR; COCOA BUTTER; CHOCOLATE; MILK; LACTOSE; MILK FAT; NONFAT MILK; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR, EMULSIFIER) ; COCONUT; SUGAR; ALMONDS (ROASTED IN COCOA BUTTER AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL) ; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL); WHEY (MILK); COCOA; SALT; NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR ; CHOCOLATE; SOY LECITHIN; HYDROLYZED MILK PROTEIN; SODIUM METABISULFITE, TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS; SULFUR DIOXIDE, TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS; CARAMEL COLOR

All of these bold ingredients should be a red flag warning that your body will not like decompressing and digesting through all of these processed ingredients. The reason manufacturing companies use products that require processing is to make distribution easier to create a better tasting, longer lasting, more durable product. Even if it is a candy bar, many of these ingredients have a purpose of preserving taste, form, and holding against packaging, shipping and distributing. Also, when involving chocolate, ingredients like soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier, more soy lecithin, and sodium metabisulfite, are used to create a smooth, non-plastic, chocolate that wont melt easily.

I will define the contents in bold. Most of these aren’t easily pronounced, let alone comprehended.

Corn syrup is a food syrup, which is made from the starch of corn and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides, depending on the grade. Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor

Sugar is the generalized name for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates

Milkfat (also known as butterfat)  is the fatty portion of milk

Soy lecithin group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues composed of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides, and phospholipid

PGPR emulsifier made in a three step process from glycerol and fatty acids, respectively. PGPR reduces the viscosity of chocolate and similar coatings and compounds. It works by decreasing the friction between the particles of cacao, sugar, milk,

Sodium Metabisulphite The substance is sometimes referred to as disodium. It is used as a disinfectant, antioxidant and preservative agent

Sulfur Dioxide a colorless pungent toxic gas formed by burning sulfur in air. It is used in foods to preserve them.

All of these ingredients may be disheartening now that you are aware of what they are. It may not move you to never eat a candy bar again, but it may make you think twice about what you are putting into your body. . Although almost–but not all– every Hershey product is labeled as Gluten Free, it doesn’t mean it is a healthy choice.

Always read labels and use your discernment when making your food choices! Your body will thank you.

What’s on your shopping list?

Hey y’all!

This is Rae Ann and today I am going to be telling y’all about some alternatives that you can use in your every day diet to help supplement those certain foods that you’ve developed an allergy to.

The whole focus of this blog is based off of almonds, coconut and dark chocolate; these are some of the staple items for people with gluten intolerances, paleo lifestyles and people just looking to trade junk for something healthy AND delicious.

Here’s a brief list of certain must haves for your pantry, here is an extended list for the paleo lifestyle:

  • Coconut Oil- this can be used for just about anything. You can use it as hair masks, skin moisturizer, sweetener for smoothies, butter alternative in baking and so much more! It’s amazing on popcorn and in chocolate chip cookies!
  • Agave Nectar- with the exception of Stevia, this is the best sugar/honey substitute I’ve found. It’s sweeter than sugar but is much healthier. It comes straight from a plant so it’s almost always all natural, typically organic and definitely vegan.
  • Coconut flour/Almond meal- some sort of flour substitute. These are both amazing alternatives. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill. This brand is carried just about anywhere which is awesome and depending on what you buy, it is probably Gluten Free.
  • Dark Chocolate- Just because you’re eating better doesn’t mean you have to give up the sweets! There are tons of recipes that can work with complicated diets and using dark chocolate makes the recipe significantly better for you. Enjoy life is the best kind of chocolate if you’ve got a finicky stomach.
  • Almonds- Though I personally cannot eat almonds, they are very good for you! A great source of protein almonds are an awesome snack and filler for when you don’t have time to stop and eat. HEB has a great “healthy living” department that offers all sorts of different types of almonds. Almond Butter is also really great. Most grocery stores offer it freshly ground.

It’s so important to stock your pantry with these alternatives to make transitioning to this lifestyle easier. I was blessed with blogs to help break down what I could and couldn’t eat so I hope this list makes your first trip to the grocery store a breeze!

Happy Wednesday– Peyton here!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, before my yeast-free lifestyle change I was all about all things bad for me. I literally ate myself sick on a daily basis, not only in the amount of food, but the type as well. . .and my body was paying the price. 

A processed food is any food that has been altered from its natural state, often high in trans-fats, saturated fats, sugar and sodium.

With that being said, let’s talk about some of the problems surrounding these products.

1. One word: Sugar

Processed foods contain an overload of sugar. These are sometimes hidden sugars (High Fructose Corn Syrup or “-ose” chemicals) that cut down your metabolism and boosts your empty calorie intake. Yet they always make an unwanted appearance on your waistline.

2. The Periodic Table 

Okay, not exactly, but no one looks to ingest the chemicals listed on the scientific table now do they? However, this is exactly what happens in processed foods. Food additives like antibiotics, flavors, binders, and preservatives are just a few not-so-great ingredients. One in particular to be watchful for is MSG, which can eventually lead to a smattering of health problems.

3. Trans-fats: they’ll make you fat.

Not all fats are created equal. In fact, you need fat to burn fat, weird right? But with that being said, trans-fats (aka hydrogenated fats) are a big no-no. Your body notices that they are chemically produced, and they have also been linked to all kinds of cancers and heart problems. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

These are just a few of the more disastrous elements of Processed foods, but there are many, many more. 

To avoid, just remember these three tips:

1. Stay fresh– look for fresh produce in the grocery stores.

2. Stay outside– think outside isles. Healthier foods are located around the border of grocery stores.

3. Stay alert– read, read, read! Ingredients are listed on the labels, but don’t be fooled by long names.

Alright guys, that’s all I have for you! Try making an effort to avoid Processed foods this week– it will bring you joy, I promise!