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Oh yes ladies (ok guys, you can join the party too), this one is for you.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am going to give you reasons why you SHOULD be enjoying chocolate (dark chocolate that is) every day.  YES, I said every day. Now listen up…

Dark Chocolate:

  • High in flavanols (sub-class of polyphenols). These concentrated antioxidants fight free radical damage which causes disease. 
  • Helps reduce blood pressure
  • Helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by improving blood flow
  • Offers a satiated feeling that reduces cravings for sugar and high fat foods
  • Reduction of LDL cholesterol
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels
  • Helps regulate stress hormones. *when stressed, reach for an ounce of the good stuff* 🙂
  • Flavanols increase blood flow to parts of the brain. *Want to get smarter? Eat more chocolate.*
  • Chemicals found in the cocao bean affect our brain, and evoke feelings of love and euphoria.

What to look for when buying dark chocolate:

  • 70% cocao or higher. The higher the percentage of cocoa the higher the antioxidant content.
  • High quality. Brands like Hershey’s are highly processed.  You will pay more for a better brand, but it will be worth it.
  • Go organic if possible.
  • Look at the sugar content. Some bars will have more sugar than others and should be avoided.

 

*Did you know that not all chocolate is created equal?  According to Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, milk has been shown to hinder the absorption of antioxidants and negate the health benefits of eating dark chocolate.  Interesting right? That means stick to dark, even though milk chocolate is unbelievably delicious, especially Cadburys. Hmmm… alright, maybe you can have a little milk chocolate every once in a while, for a treat.  We are only human after all. ;)*

I have a pretty adventurous palate when it comes to food, and like to try new things often. However, I do have brands that I will frequently buy.

Here are my favorites:

My favorite time to eat dark chocolate is after lunch. As a matter of fact…I haven’t had any today. Be right back! Ummm…there is no chocolate in my house! NOOOO!!! Alright, well it looks I’m going to store, NOW!!!  🙂 Till next time…

Wishing you all radiant health and a Happy Valentine’s Day!

References:

http://www.medicinehunter.com/chocolate_love_drug

http://www.allchocolate.com/health/basics/antioxidant_effects.aspx

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/benefits-of-chocolate?page=9

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/6-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate.html

http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20030827/dark-chocolate-is-healthy-chocolate

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Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I was having the hardest time trying to decide what I wanted the format of this place to be. I’ve been back and forth in my head about it, but I’ve finally decided. I would like “A Healthy Enthusiasm” to be a dumping ground of sorts for all the health and nutrition info I’m taking in.  It’s hard to keep up with all the facts I read about, and I need a place to put it all. That’s where this blog comes in. But, I still want there to be a point and focus to this place, so I will do my best to keep things readable.  Just think of my posts as contemporary art on the walls. You might not always get it right off the bat, but stare at it long enough and you will find something you like about it. Ha! 🙂

Also, there might be times when I get on my soapbox and rant. In those times, it’s best to let me be until it’s out of my system. LOL!!

Seriously though, please share your point of view.  I am very open-minded and eager to learn. As long as you keep it friendly, I’m open to challenge and welcome healthy debate.

P.S.  Please gentle reader, go easy on me regarding grammatical errors. I will do my best to keep them at bay, but I am not a seasoned writer, so some might slip in from time to time.

Ok, let the randomness begin…just kidding. Next post will be about the health benefits of Dark Chocolate. Yum!! 🙂

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You may ask, “Why should I add green tea into my diet? Seriously Amanda, every other day a new study comes out telling me I should drink this or eat that. What makes this so different?”  Trust me, as a person who studies nutrition, I understand the frustration. I know how annoying it is to read that something is good for you, only to read a new study the next day that tells you it’s not. Green tea is the real deal, and is full of lovely cell protecting jewels called antioxidants.

So…give in to the power of the tea. 🙂

Here are some reasons why you should drink green tea every day:

  • Slow down effects of aging. The antioxidants in green tea help prevent free radicals from damaging your cells. Protected cells=less wrinkles.
  • Provides revitalizing energy. Enough to run a marathon…well…maybe not that much, but more than you have now…so drink up. 🙂
  • Boosts immunity due to its catechin content. Catechins help prevent bad bacteria from attaching themselves to your cell walls.
  • Astringent effect. Rinse your mouth out with the green stuff and strengthen your gums.
  • Helps reduce cholesterol
  • Helps your body become more Alkaline. Reduction of acidity levels in the body is vital for disease prevention.
  • Helps keep your blood sugar level by improving pancreatic health.
  • Speeds up your metabolism, and aids in weight loss
  • Free radical protection is known to protect against cancer. Less free radicals=lessen your chance for cancer. 
    *This
    is reason enough for me to drink it every day!*

Did you know:

A cup of green tea has more antioxidants than broccoli, spinach, carrots, or strawberries.

Easy ways to drink green tea:

Instead of grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, why not grab a green tea. I like mine venti, iced, and unsweetened. 🙂

or

Grab your BPA free water bottle and add a bag of green tea. Like this:

Remove the string and staple, cut down the center, and tie together to keep the tea in its bag.

Drop in

Drink up 🙂 (refill again and get more green tea goodness)

My favorite green teas:

Yogi, Green Kombucha 16 Teabags

I also like  Teavana. A little pricey, but totally worth it. My favorite is the Moroccan Mint Green Tea.

Wishing you all radiant health! 😉

Update:

I had posted several links , but they are not working. If you would like to know more information about anything I posted here please let me know. Thanks!

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There are many benefits to cooking with friends. First, financially it just  makes sense. You share the cost of the meal, which makes buying organic ingredients less expensive. Second, you can teach each other different ways to cook your favorite foods. ie: substitutions for healthier ingredients. And third, and most importantly; you can spend time with your friend preparing a good nutritious meal. Score!!!  Keeping each other accountable…score +1 🙂

My friend Alexi and I have started a tradition where we get together and cook every Thurs. We are trying to come up with a name for this:

Healthy cooking meet up…no

Healthy food and friends…possible

Still thinking about this…anyway…Alexi is a vegetarian and so am I, mostly.  So far we have cooked vegan tacos with soy chorizo (yum!!), vegetarian chili, and most recently, black bean burgers. This was our first attempt at veggie burgers. We had so much fun making these black patties of perfection, and really got our hands dirty, in a good way. 😉 Btw, they were delicious!!!

If you haven’t tried this with a friend, I highly recommend it. You don’t have to stick with a veggie only menu. Keep your menu sensible and nutritious and you can’t go wrong. See, it’s a blast living a healthy lifestyle. Have fun everyone!

The pics of our black bean burgers:

At the start...    

Sauteed mushrooms for the top of the burgers…

    

   

The finished product…

Wishing you all radiant health…and happy cooking!! 🙂

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Welcome!!!

Hi everyone,
This is the first post on my new nutrition blog. Yay!!! I can’t wait to dive in and get started. There is still some construction going on, but this blog will be complete very soon.

Since I don’t have a full post,  I’ll just leave you with one of my favorite quotes.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
Hippocrates

Stay tuned…. 🙂

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