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Healthy Living: Steel-Cut Oats


Steel-Cut OatsSteel-cut oats are like regular oatmeal but cut with steel.

Also, not really.

Okay, so they might be cut with steel, but that’s not why they’re called “steel-cut” oats.

Steel-cut oats are actually whole oat groats that have been cut into two or three pieces. What’s a “groat,” you ask? The whole hull of an oat. So, steel-cut oats differ from rolled or old-fashioned oats simply in that they are not pressed into a round shape.

In a side-by-side comparison of steel-cut oats to rolled oats, steel-cut oats have 20 fewer calories per 1/4 cup, but they are completely equal in protein and carbohydrates. Steel-cut oats have no sugar, compared to 1 gram for rolled oats. They have identical amounts of fat, calcium and iron.

The point of steel-cut oats, really, is that they are less-processed. However, to get the health benefits, be sure to buy them without all the sugary mix-ins like flavorings and sweeteners.

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Healthy Living: Living with Celiac Disease


Living with Celiac DiseaseCeliac Disease is an autoimmune and digestive disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are consumed. Gluten is a protein found in some grains. Foods containing gluten include anything made with wheat or flour. That’s a lot of the foods in a typical American diet.

The inability to process gluten can lead to the body having a hard time absorbing nutrients like fat, iron, calcium and folate.

Celiac Disease, and other autoimmune disorders, occur when the body’s normal processes turn on itself. Gluten should be absorbed by the body, but in cases of Celiac Disease, the body attacks the gluten and cannot digest it.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease include significant digestive problems, a severe skin rash, musculoskeletal problems like joint disorders, seizures, growth disorders in children and a tingling sensation in the legs caused by low calcium.

Celiac Disease can lead to osteoporosis, miscarriage or infertility, birth defects, seizures and, rarely, cancer of the intestine. Your doctor can diagnose Celiac Disease with a simple blood test, looking for the presence of antibodies.

Removing gluten from your diet usually eliminates the symptoms of Celiac Disease fairly rapidly, but you have to stay on a gluten-free diet the rest of your life. Doctors may recommend infusions of vital nutrients as well.

These days, there are a lot of gluten-free options in Brookshire’s and in restaurants. There are flours and baking mixes made out of potato, rice, corn or soy instead of wheat. Fruits and vegetables are always fine, as are most unprocessed foods. With all the options available on grocery store aisles, you’d almost never know you were eating gluten-free.

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Healthy Living: Fruit Salsa


Fruit SalsaOne of my very favorite things to bring to a summer cookout is fruit salsa.

It’s bright, it’s beautiful, and it’s so good for you. You can get an entire day’s serving of fruit in a few scoops of this delicious concoction.

Also, because it doesn’t have anything that can spoil, it’s great for an outside picnic or cookout.

We like to mix up the varieties of fruits we use, but we also use raspberry preserves to bind it all together. They’re our favorite. You can find the sugar-free variety at Brookshire’s to make it healthier, too.

We serve this with toasted cinnamon pitas, but you can also eat it on top of grilled meats or simply as a side salad with a spoon.

Fruit Salsa

Ingredients:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 lemon
1 cup kiwi, diced
1 cup watermelon, diced
1 lb strawberries, stems and leaves removed then sliced
1/2 lb raspberries
1/2 lb blueberries
6 Tbs raspberry preserves

Directions:
Slice, dice and half all fruit; toss gently in a large bowl to mix.

Place lemon in microwave, and cook on high for 20 seconds. Roll lemon on the countertop, pressing with the heel of your hand. Slice down the middle horizontally; squeeze over the fruit. Add preserves, and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for several hours.

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 134, Calories from Fat: 6, Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 7 mg, Potassium: 302 mg, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 22 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Healthy Living: Trending Turmeric


Trending TurmericLately, I’ve been noticing a lot of buzz about turmeric.

A golden-yellow spice, turmeric has a peppery, slightly hot flavor, and is used in a lot of curries.

For centuries, turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory by both Chinese and Indian cultures. It’s also been used as a condiment and a fabric dye. Turmeric is a great source of iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber and potassium.

In ancient medicine and throughout the years, turmeric has been used to treat disorders, including excessive flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, toothaches, bruises, chest pain and colic. In numerous studies, the potent ingredient in turmeric, which is curcumin, has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects similar to hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone, as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin, without the toxic effects of the chemicals in manufactured medicines.

Turmeric can be used to help with inflammatory bowel disease. It can provide relief from those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, and it can be used in cancer prevention because of its ability to neutralize free radicals. Turmeric can help detoxify the liver and lower cholesterol. It can also help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

To increase your turmeric intake, add it to your deviled eggs, egg salad or scrambled eggs. Use it in a curry sauce, doubling the amount called for. Sauté with onions for use on top of a burger or in other dishes. Sauté with cauliflower for a great side dish or add to salad dressings.



Healthy Living: Drink More Water


Drink More WaterYou drank enough water today.

April Fools!

The fact of the matter is that most Americans do not drink enough water.

Doctors’ guidelines tell us that we should drink half our body weight in ounces daily.

So, if you weigh 100 pounds, you should drink 50 ounces of water daily.

Staying hydrated helps your organs function at their optimal level. It helps cleanse waste from your body. It helps your skin stay clear and your brain stay alert. Being well-hydrated can help you sleep well and perform at your best.

I always thought it was such a pain to have to stop and use the restroom during the day. Then, I realized that your body adjusts to being well-hydrated, and it’s not so much of an issue once that happens.

I don’t love water; I have to admit that. However, I do love adding lemon and especially limes (or cucumbers, blueberries or strawberries) to my water. The light, fresh taste makes the water easier for me to drink and adds some nutrients as well.

There are sugar-free flavoring packets to add to water as well; just don’t add caffeine, which can dehydrate you.

Drinking water also helps you feel full sooner so that you’ll eat less.

There is no downside to drinking enough water. It’s becoming especially critical as the days heat up and you lose more fluids from sweat and activity.



Healthy Living: Healthy Dorm Room or Office Snacks


Healthy Dorm Room or Office Snacks My friend’s daughter came home from college over the holiday break with a few extra things: 25, to be exact, according to her.

She claims she packed on 25 pounds her first semester away at college. Between late-night pizza orders, buffet-style dining and an irregular exercise schedule, the pounds snuck up on her.

Her mom came up with some healthy snack ideas to send back with her. These would also work well in an office or even just at home:

  • Yogurt-covered raisins
  • Cucumber sandwiches (cucumber slice spread with tzatziki sauce then topped with another cucumber slice)
  • Spread a small, whole-grain tortilla with natural peanut butter. Place a banana on top; roll up and enjoy.
  • Top a whole-grain English muffin with a slice of tomato and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Toast and serve.
  • Toss Greek yogurt with blueberries. Freeze.
  • Toasted almonds
  • String cheese
  • 99% fat-free microwave popcorn
  • Fill the hollowed out part of half an avocado with tuna. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • Celery or carrots with hummus
  • Toss chickpeas with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until they’re crispy.
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Freeze grapes for a sweet treat.
  • Hard-boiled eggs


Healthy Living: Store Your Food Safely


Store Your Food SafelyI know I’m guilty of it, and I’m guessing you are, too.

I go to the fridge looking for something for lunch, pull out a container and realize the leftover chili has been in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

While it was stored properly for a short time, it’s not going to be safe to eat after two weeks.

There are right – and wrong – ways to store your food.

A store-bought loaf of bread, for example, is perfectly fine stored in your dry pantry for a week, but a loaf of freshly baked bread might not make it longer than a day or two.

I could have stored that chili in the freezer for two weeks, but I wouldn’t risk eating it out of the refrigerator from that same time period.

On the Counter
You can safely store some foods out on your kitchen counter. These include garlic, onions, shallots, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, citrus and melons. Make sure they aren’t in direct sunlight or exposed to moisture. You can also keep cakes and pies out for up to a week, wrapped tightly with aluminum foil or sealed in a food storage container or zipper-lock bag. Move fruit pies to the refrigerator after two days.

In the Pantry
Most unopened dry goods can be stored in your pantry for up to six months. After a package is opened, seal it in a food-safe container. Brookshire’s offers lots of options for long-term food storage. Your pantry is the best place for all of your spices, as it is probably dark and should be dry. Spices can last up to a year. After that, they start to lose their potency and flavor.

In the Refrigerator
Dairy must be kept refrigerated. Use the upper shelves, where temperatures stay more constant. This includes eggs, even though many manufacturers create an egg shelf on the door. The refrigerator door is the warmest place in the appliance, so save it for things like condiments and preserved foods.

Keep fruits and veggies that aren’t able to sit out on your counter in the crisper drawer, where it should be the least humid.

Cheeses should be stored wrapped in wax paper or something else porous.

Meats are best stored in the bottom of the refrigerator where it is the coldest. Remove retail packaging and rewrap the meat in foil to extend its shelf life. However, you should try to use it within four days of purchase or put it in the freezer. Fish will keep for two days wrapped in waxed paper, also on the bottom shelf, but give it the sniff test first. If it smells excessively fishy, err on the side of caution.

In the Freezer
When you do want to store things like meat for a long time, the freezer is the best option. For the freezer, leave it in its original packaging and try to remember to use it within six months.

Any time you use the freezer, make sure foods are cooled to room temperature (or put them in the fridge first), and then seal them in a way that eliminates any extra air. Some foods, like cheeses and fruits or vegetables, will change texture after being frozen, so experiment with the best ways to store these foods long-term.



Healthy Living: Avocado Toast


Avocado ToastSo, according to every other Instagram post, Avocado Toast is a thing now, a pretty big thing, judging by the sheer volume of Avocado Toast art.

It’s so deliciously simple. Toast a piece of bread of your choice, and smear it with smashed avocado when it’s fresh out of the toaster. The buttery texture of the avocado is a perfect complement to the crisp toast. Of course, you can adorn this in other ways, too, like with a piece of center-cut bacon, scrambled egg whites, tomato, slivers of onion or smoked salmon. You name it; the combinations are endless.

Aside from the wonderful play of avocado and toast, this is a great, healthy way to start your day (or for a light lunch that won’t leave you dragging).

Avocado is full of protein and good fats to help keep you full longer.

It’s packed with 20 vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin E.

They’re also loaded with fiber.

Eating avocados regularly can lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

There are so many great things about avocados that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, so grab some today.



Healthy Living: Baking Soda Cleaner


Baking Soda CleanerAs I sit here thinking about a “healthy living” blog post, I started thinking of not only the things we put into our bodies to be healthier but also the things we use around the house to be healthier as well.

Harsh chemical cleaners are not something I want in my environment.

It’s a good thing that there are natural products you can use for cleaning that not only work well but also don’t infuse the air you breathe with man-made chemicals with names you can’t pronounce.

Baking soda is one of those products.

I used it a couple weekends ago to clean my oven, after the Great Valentine’s Day Pizza Disaster of Ought Sixteen.

Previously, I’ve used oven cleaners and the “Self Cleaning” setting on my oven, which, if you’ve ever tried it, you know how scary this can be between the heat of the oven and the stench of the oven cleaners. You pretty much need to air out the house for two years after you go through that process.

However, baking soda and some elbow grease got my oven sparkly clean without any chemicals.

First, I made a thick paste of baking soda and water, and rubbed it all over the oven. I let it sit overnight. The next morning, I boiled some water with half a lemon placed the pot with the boiling water and lemon into the oven, and closed the door, letting it steam inside for about an hour.

When I opened the door, I removed the pot of water, reserving it, and sprayed the oven with white vinegar. You’ll see the vinegar reacting with the baking soda, and it will foam a little. Then, using the lemon water and a strong cloth (which you’ll probably have to throw away after use if your oven is as dirty as mine was), scrub that baking soda paste off, bringing built-up gunk with it. Scrub until the oven is clean, and then wipe out with clean water and a different cloth. Super easy and no crazy chemicals!



Healthy Living: Fro-Yo Bites


Fro-Yo BitesMy boys love dessert.

Every evening after dinner, they’ll ask, “Can I have a dessert, Mama?”

I’m always conflicted. I don’t see harm in having a small sweet after dinner because I want my boys to learn moderation, and I don’t think it’s all bad to have a controlled treat once a day. On the flip side, they’ve gotten in the habit of needing a sweet after dinner, and this really isn’t the healthiest thing, either.

For now, the treat remains, but if I can make it a healthier option, I’m all for it.

They generally like ice cream or another frozen treat like that. This recipe is much healthier than ice cream, and I feel better about them eating it in the evenings after dinner!

Fro-Yo Bites

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 cup almonds, crushed
2 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup sliced strawberries, raspberries or blueberries

Directions:
Line a mini-muffin tin with paper liners.

Pulse oats and almonds 2 or 3 times in the bowl of a large food processor. Add coconut oil; pulse until coarse clumps form.

Press a small spoonful of the crust into each paper liner. Top with the Greek yogurt, and then top with the berries.

Place tray in the freezer and freeze until set.

Store in the freezer.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 86, Calories from Fat: 39, Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 6 mg, Potassium: 93 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 4 g.

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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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