Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

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We love our holidays and apart from all the gifts and a chance to meet our relatives and in general having a good time, we also look forward to those once-a-year goodies that we get to eat. In fact, we wouldn’t be off the mark to say that the cakes, chocolates, puddings and other goodies are the highlights of our holiday and more often than not, we remember the holiday for what we did and what we ate.

For most of us, holiday is also a suspension of normal activity including our normal healthy eating diets and exercise. American Weight Watchers report states that the average American gains between 7 and 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day! Little wonder that Fad diet marketers go on an overdrive and make the most money after the post holiday season. Continue reading

Frying with Water by B.Smith II

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How to Fry With Water

This is what I do.  This is a little tricky at first and may take  many tries and some experimentation to get it perfect.  It took me many tries to perfect it.

First, (lightly) spray a frying pan with cooking spray (optional).  (I use Spartan brand extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil because there is no fat of any kind, calories, cholesterol, or sodium.  They’re the healthiest I have found so far).  Place the meat (Steak, pork steak, pork chops, etc) in the frying pan and turn it on high heat.  Pour 8oz of water into the pan.  Season the meat as you like and place a lid over the pan.  (I use a large silver frying pan with a blue glass lid that is fairly tight to hold the heat and steam inside).  Let it “boil” for about 3 to 5 minutes.  (Honestly, I am not sure about the exact timing, because I have never timed it.  I would just look at the meat and turn it over when it looks ready.  I don’t know how else to put it into words).  Remove the lid, flip the meat over, and replace the lid, for another 3 to 5 minutes.  After this time remove the lid for good.  (With the lid, the water evaporated but was quickly replaced right back to where it started from).  Now without the lid the water will boil out.  (Pay close attention to this… you don’t want to burn the future gravy this will make).  After a few minutes the liquid, will start to thicken up.  At this time, turn the heat down to medium.  Take a flat steel or plastic spatula and press down on the meat.  Let all the water evaporate and yes this will turn the bottom of your pan brown (but try not to burn it).  (You may want to turn the heat up a little here).  Flip the meat over a couple times to brown both sides of the meat like you normally would.  Once the meat is to your liking, remove it and place it on a plate.

Now for the gravy

You can do this one of two ways, with or without potatoes.

First, I’ll do the no taters because it’s the quickest.

After you remove the meat, stir in about 3 oz of water into the pan.  Take the spatula lightly and carefully scrape the brown off the bottom of the pan.  Stir it up and let some of the water boil out. If you are boiling the potatoes separately, dump a little bit of the potato water into your gravy to thicken it up. (Only add a little at a time. If you put in too much, the gravy will turn almost white and look more like gel than gravy). When it starts to thicken, remove from heat and keep stirring until the desired thickness.  Place it into a gravy bowl. If it gets too thick, just add a few drops of water at a time to thin it out again.

Gravy with Potatoes

Peel and slice potatoes and place them in the pan after removing the meat.  (It’s best to have to potatoes peeled and sliced beforehand when planning to use potatoes to save time).  You can do this right in the frying pan or you can do this in a sauce pan.   (I use the sauce pan method with the large chunks of potatoes).  Add the water to the potatoes and “boil” like you would normally boil potatoes, but pay close attention as to not burn the gravy.  Exact timing is difficult to judge based on the size of the pan, the amount of water, and the thickness of the potatoes.  Use your best judgment.  Cooking the potatoes (as you make the gravy in the same pan) will absorb the gravy and the meat flavor into the taters, making the taters taste like they have been in the crock-pot all day.  Great flavor, that didn’t take all day.

Remember, it may take some time to get it the way you want, so don’t despair if it doesn’t come out the way you want it to the first time.  But, I promise you, once you get it, it is so good and so much  healthier.  This is my experimental recipe and it took me many tries to get it right.  There is no added fat, lard, butter, margarine, grease, etc.

What happens, is the natural oils from the meat gets cooked out of the meat and into the water.  Then, the water boils out and the meat cooks in its own oils and juices, making the meal healthier than adding all the butter, fat, lard, or grease. Also, the moisture that replaced the oils in the meat keeps the meat moist and delicious.

Soul Food is Health-Friendly

soul food

 

The old way of cooking soul food resulted in health problems for many African Americans, like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Dishes are being prepared very differently these days because of all the negative health consequences of the old methods. Advanced cooking methods and healthier ingredients are being used now to make dishes that are lighter and leaner.

This is not the same as your grandmothers soul food, which was full of unhealthy animal fat. This newer approach attempts to maintain the hearty flavors and satisfying textures produced by the older methods. What you want is to make the great classic dishes without harming your health.
For one thing, modern soul food meals don’t include the classic, artery-clogging fatback. Fatback is the name for the fatty layer along a pig’s back.The old style of cooking called for fatback to be added when making black-eyed peas, greens, and other vegetables.

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Many recent articles offer suggestions for eco-friendly date ideas and are sure to be helpful. One of the suggestions is to cook an organic meal. Cooking an organic meal with a significant other is a great way to be eco-friendly and get to know each other. Another great way to be eco-friendly and experience a green date is to go to organic and vegan restaurants. Here is a list of some restaurants that specialize in organic and vegan dishes.You can use the healthier smoked turkey necks for flavoring Southern meals, rather than the traditional fatback. Smoked turkey necks frequently have only 10% of the fat that the more commonly used fatback has.

Another difference in soul food recipes nowadays is the notable decrease in sodium. Instead of using salt as a main flavoring agent, which contributes to blood pressure problems, other spices are used. You can add plenty of flavor by using hot or savory spices like gumbo file, cayenne, onion powder and garlic.
A big revision in the way soul food is prepared today is the total absence of lard, the animal fat that was formerly used. Oils that are less heavy are more in demand among cooks these days. Like oil made from olives, peanuts, rapeseed or other vegetables.

An increasingly common difference in soul food dishes has come about due to their altered preparation techniques. Healthier techniques and methods of cooking are replacing the old tradition of deep frying food in lots of fat. People who are concerned about their health are now opting to braise, oven roast, bake, and broil rather than deep fry. Deep-frying is known to be more harmful to your health than these approaches.

Pork products are gradually decreasing in popularity as soul food staples as time goes by. Pork products have long been considered a significant causative factor for the higher rate of high blood pressure among African-Americans. Increasingly, dishes are based on chicken, fish and vegetables which are better for everyone’s health.
Given all the changes in soul food for the better, even Grandma would approve. Grandma’s tradition of just plain good food being served at family celebrations is kept going. But people who shift to this modern brand of Southern cooking will be healthier, and will be around to enjoy it longer.

The Healthy Elder Male

75 year old

Older adults still need the same amounts of nutrients and the younger ones, but lesser amount of energy is needed. Meeting the nutrient guidelines stated in the My Pyramid without exceeding the kcal needs means choosing nutrient rich foods from each food group. To make sure these foods are eaten, they should be easy to prepare and look appealing.

Older adults should consume 6 ounces of grains, 2½ cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups milk, and 5½ ounces of meat and beans everyday.
Hard and crunchy vegetables should be steamed to make them softer for easier chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

A Calcium supplement may be needed, especially in women, because it is difficult to meet the recommendation of 1200 mg of calcium without exceeding the energy needs.

Older Adults need plenty of fluids everyday. Recommended water intake is the same as the younger ones, but certain changes make this difficult to achieve. There is a reduction of the sense of thirst. Kidneys aren’t as efficient at conserving water, so more water is lost during urination and must be replaced.

An example of a well balanced diet for the 75-year-old male is as follows:

 

Breakfast

¼ Cup Whole Grain Cereal
½ Cup Grapes (16 Grapes)
1 Banana
½ Cup Orange Juice
1 Hard Boiled Eggs
½ Cup Low/Fat Free Milk

Lunch

1 Ounce Tuna fish on 2 slices of Whole Grain Bread w/1 Leaf Lettuce & a slice of Tomato (Condiments may include Mayo).
¼ Cup Apple Sauce
½ Cup Low/Fat Free Milk

Afternoon Snacks

1 Yoplait Light Yogurt (Low Fat) (6 ounces = ¾ Cup)
½ Cup Steamed Carrots
1 Apple (Sliced)
½ Cup Low/Fat Free Milk

Dinner

3½ ounces grilled skinless/Boneless Chicken
½ Cup Steamed Green Beans
2 Whole Grain Dinner Rolls w/pat of butter or spread
¼ Cup Mashed Potatoes w/pat of butter or spread
½ Cup Low Fat Free Milk