6 Reasons You Should Drink More Water

Water Drops

If You Aren’t Drinking Water Here are the Reasons Why You Should Start

Drinking water is an important part of having a healthy lifestyle. Since I have incorporated drinking water regularly into my life, I have reaped wonderful benefits.

Most important is the fact that our body is made up of about 60% of water.  On a normal day with no exercise our bodies lose 64 ounces of water through perspiration. Perspiring is our body’s way of regulating its temperature. So think of your body as a bank account and water your money. If you keep withdrawing money (water) from your account (body) and you never deposit more money what would happen to your account? Your bank account would become empty and then bad things would happen right? So why would you do that to your body?

I know water seems to be boring and have no taste, but you are talking to the girl that went from drinking six cans of soda a day to one soda a month. If I can do it I know you can. I have found that once you start drinking water your body wants more, and that it is just natural and easier to reach for the water then the soda.

Once you start drinking water regularly you will start noticing the benefits. Let me tell you about the benefits so you will have something to look forward to when you start drinking your first glass.

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Tomatoes: The Perfect Summer Food

Ripe Toamtoes
Now that summer is almost here and the tomato plants are growing in our garden, I am starting to think of all the dishes I’ll be able make and eat!. Of course you can get tomatoes year round, but they are never as good in the off-season. Typically they are grown in greenhouses and picked pre-ripe and shipped halfway across the country. They tend to be bland. Nothing is so disappointing as biting into a tasteless store bought tomato. Summer tomatoes that are locally grown, on the other hand, are bright, juicy, and delicious.

Tomatoes are Abundant

You should have no problem acquiring great tomatoes in the summer. For one, tomatoes are very easy to grow – which is what my husband and I do every summer. Most home and garden stores sell small tomato plants in the spring that you can transplant into your garden after the danger of the first frost is over. All you need is a space in your garden, or a very large pot, and you can grow tomatoes. All they require is a lot of water and a lot of sunlight and they will thrive. Before you know it, you will have beautiful, ripe tomatoes that you can pick right off the vine.

If you can’t grow them yourself, ripe local tomatoes are still easy to find! Farmers markets and vegetable stand should have plenty of locally grown tomatoes. Good grocery stores will often have locally grown tomatoes and other produce in-season.

They are Healthy

Tomatoes are one of the healthiest things you can eat! For one, they are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant. In addition to delivering the standard benefits of antioxidants, lycopene also helps prevent pancreatic cancer. Tomatoes also contain beta-carotene (Vitamin A) as well as vitamins C and E, and potassium.

They’re Delicious!

You can do so many things with a tomato. From cold tomato gazpacho to salads, from grilling them to canning them to make a sauce, there are nearly infinite possibilities.

Thinking it over I think my favorite tomato dish is the simple BLT. What can be better than toasted bread with yummy mayonnaise, crisp green lettuce, perfectly cooked bacon, and a juicy red homegrown tomato? Nothing much, in my opinion.

I also love eating plain tomato sandwiches with nothing more than bread, mayo, a little salt and a fresh cut tomato. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. It’s one of the easiest things in the world to make, and it’s one of the best ways to enjoy the simplicity of this amazing fruit. I also love an arugula, goat cheese, and tomato salad with just a little bit of salt and olive oil.

This summer I plan to try some new tomato dishes like stuffed tomatoes, and I also want to make some tomato sauce for winter so I can have those summer tomato memories.

Spring Pasta with Herbs and Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt Spring Pasta

It doesn’t get much easier than this.  This versatile recipe is as simple as lightly sauteing spring vegetables, and tossing them in cooked pasta with fresh herbs and Greek yogurt.  This can be made any time with whatever vegetables and herbs are currently in season.  We used spring Vidalia onions, asparagus, zucchini, and mushrooms, but any fresh vegetable would work great!  This dish is amazing warm, at room temperature, or cold the next day.

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Sloppy Jai (Indian Sloppy Joe)

The amazing restaurant Chai Pani in Asheville, NC serves Indian street food.  One of my favorite things to get is their Sloppy Jai. This is an Indian version of a sloppy Joe – made with ground lamb and Indian spices.

I tried to recreate this recipe at home!  It’s not exactly the same, but we feel it is a pretty good rendition.  I added pickled red onion to add a bit of tang and cut through the richness of the lamb.  Adding a little cayenne pepper or replacing the curry powder with Madras curry powder will add a little heat.  I serve these on brioche buns, but any buns will be fine.  This recipe is also super quick – it can be made in under 30 minutes for a great weeknight meal.

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Even Better Hummus


The secret to our Even Better Hummus recipe is starting with dried chickpeas that are soaked overnight in water and baking soda. This method, used commonly in the Middle East, results in a much fluffier and creamier hummus than if you use canned chickpeas. This is a more time consuming recipe than ones using canned chickpeas, but the results are amazing.

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5 Easy Tips for Healthy Snacking

To snack or not to snack, that is the question! I love to snack, as do a lot of people.  An otherwise healthy diet can be completely derailed by making poor food choices between meals. My husband is not much of a snacker and I envy him for that. The reason I snack is because I have always snacked. My parents bought snacks and I ate them. I even once went through what I call my “Twinkie phase”, which was about a one-month period during my junior high years where I ate a package of Twinkies every day. My husband on the other hand very rarely snacked as a child. His parents didn’t buy snacks, but he was spoiled when he went to visit his grandmother a few times a year. He had occasional treats instead of every day snacks.

I don’t think I have very good snacking habits, but I don’t want to give up snacking so I need to change how I snack.  I love sweets and since I have cut a lot of processed food out of my diet, I am now craving salty snacks as well. Not only do I need to change how I snack but when I snack. I have noticed I snack when I’m not even hungry!

Here are the changes I have made to improve my snacking habits:

  1. Eat a bigger breakfast. This makes it so I am less likely to snack before lunch.  I usually eat Greek yogurt, whole grain cereal, toast, or oatmeal.  This usually keeps me full until lunch.
  2. Snack on healthy, filling foods.  After lunch – usually by 4 pm I start to get a little hungry, so I switched to snacking on grapes, cheese, and or nuts for my afternoon snack. Grapes and other fruit can satisfy my need for something sweet, and cheese and nuts can satisfy my need for something salty.
  3. Drink water or tea throughout the day.  Drinking a lot of fluids is great for you in a number of ways, one of which is that it makes you feel more full and less likely to eat.  Sometimes, I will even have a cup of tea instead of eating.
  4. Plan and pre-pack snacks.  I plan my meals ahead of time so I can better control what I eat, why not do the same with snacks?  This way I know what I am going to be eating. Planning ahead may keep me from grabbing an unhealthy snack on the spur of the moment. Pre-packing snacks also helps control the portion size, and makes me less likely to grab an extra handful of food.
  5. Control the portion size of less healthy snacks.  Sometimes I want an unhealthy snack – and that’s OK.  When I have a less-than-healthy snack, I make sure that I control the portion size.  I have a sweet tooth and chocolate is a huge weakness for me. Reese’s cups are my favorite, but I have accepted the fact I cannot eat them like I did when I was 15 and had the best metabolism! So an hour or so after dinner I will have one piece of chocolate. I try to get a good dark chocolate and eat just one piece and it satisfies my chocolate cravings. I have learned I don’t need to eat a whole candy bar to satisfy the chocolate monster inside me.

Using these methods, I am able to satisfy my desire to snack – but also prevent myself from falling off the wagon and spoiling my diet by making poor food choices between meals.

3 Tips to Boost Your Immune System

How to Naturally Boost Your Immune System For Cold and Flu Season

Naturally Boost your Immune System

1) Boost your vitamin D levels by spending time outside

Some scientists have suggested that one reason that cold and flu are seasonal is that people tend to stay inside in the winter and don’t get their recommended amount of Vitamin D. Your body naturally produces Vitamin D by being exposed to natural sunlight, so staying indoors reduces the amount of Vitamin D in your system.  And since Vitamin D is crucial to your immune system, not getting enough of it can make you susceptible to the cold and flu.

But you don’t have to spend a great deal of time outside.  In fact, your body produces your daily allowance of Vitamin D in just 10-15 minutes of moderate sun exposure!  A short walk once a day can help boost your immune system!  In addition to boosting your vitamin D, there are a bunch of other reasons to take a short walk every day.

2) Drink lots of tea

Tea, particularly green tea, is filled with antioxidants, which boost the immune system by neutralizing free radicals – a type of atom that can damage your body.  Tea is loaded with catechins – a very specific type of antioxidant that prevents the breakdown of cells.  Tea is especially high in catechins because it is usually minimally processed. Green tea has the added benefits of increasing blood flow and lowering cholesterol. Also, the warmth of the tea can soothe a sore throat, reduce congestion, and fight inflammation if you already have a cold.

3) Eat these foods:

Yogurt – Probiotics in yogurt keep your intestinal lining healthy.  Probiotics are good bacteria that keep germs and other bad bacteria out of your stomach and digestive system.  Just one cup of yogurt a day can help keep your digestive track healthy.

Garlic – Garlic contains a substance called Allicin, which, has antimicrobial properties and resists germs.  According to research, it can also help prevent the common cold and reduce the symptoms once you have it. Check out our hummus recipe for an awesome, easy dish containing garlic.

Citrus – Citrus contains vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties.  Drinking citrus fruit juice, or better yet – eating fruits themselves can increase your body’s Vitamin C levels.  Citrus fruits are typically in-season in the winter, so you will find a great variety of fresh fruits in your grocery store.  Citrus fruits also contain fiber, so eating the fruit rather than simply drinking the juice has added benefits.

Lean meat, like beef – Meats contain a great deal of zinc, which can help your body produce white blood cells.  White blood cells fight viruses and bacteria, and keep your immune system healthy and able to fight off a cold.  You can take zinc supplements, but you can also acquire it naturally by eating lean protein in the form of beef, lamb, chicken, and pork.