Top 10 Heart Healthy Tips

February is heart health month, so I thought I would share some of my healthy heart tips. A few of my favorite heart healthy foods are salmon, nuts, oatmeal, dark chocolate, tomatoes, berries and even red wine (in moderation). Read on for some easy tips to better heart health.

1. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol-If you reduce trans and saturated fats, you can reduce your cholesterol.

Choose: canola oil and olive oil

Avoid: butter, lard, bacon, fat

2. Choose Low Fat Protein Sources-Choose lean meats, eat less red meat and choose heart healthy fish (such as wild salmon and mackerel). These are filled with omega 3-fatty acids. Other good options include lean meats and poultry, low-fat daily products and egg whites. Avoid full fat milk and dairy products, egg yolks, bacon and fried foods.

3. Eat more vegetables and fruits-Eat raw fruits and veggies, and if you cook your vegetables, steam, grill or sauté them.

Avoid: frying vegetables, vegetables in cream sauces and fruit in heavy syrup.

4. Eat Whole Grains and Seeds-Choose whole grains and add seeds such as ground flaxseed and chia seeds to your diet. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, applesauce or hot cereal.

Avoid: white bread, cakes, and pies

5. Reduce sodium intake-Sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Choose fresh or dried herbs and spices instead of salt.

Avoid: table salt, full sodium canned soup, soy sauce, and tomato juice

6. Control portions-Watch your portions. A serving of pasta is ½ cup and the size of a hockey puck. 3 to 4 ounces of lean meat is the size of deck of cards.

7. Plan your daily meals ahead of time – Eat out less and cook healthy meals more.

8. Eat more Power-Foods-Power foods are those foods packed with antioxidants such as cherries, strawberries, berries, chia and flaxseeds, lentils, pomegranates, quinoa and more.

9. Exercise that heart-Try to exercise 5 to 6 times a week. Walk, run, dance, bike, swim or do what you love to get that heart pumping.

10. Replace junk food with fruits and vegetables– Start by replacing one junk food a week, and increase this every week  until you have a cleaner diet.

Photo above via pinterest  

photo above from Pinterest

Chia Seed Banana-Nut Muffins

Have you heard of Chia Seeds? If you haven’t, read on. These wonderful seeds are on my list of top super foods of 2012. Chia seeds have more calcium and fiber than flaxseed, and they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. They are also said to boost energy levels. They have a nutlike flavor, and they add flavor and crunch to baked goods, oatmeal, cereal, salads and in yogurt. Try them in this recipe for Chia Banana-Nut Muffins. It’s so easy, with no mixer needed. I made these on sunday, and before I could turn around, all of them were gone. My kids went wild over these. Feel free to use mini muffin pans for variety. If you use mini pans, bake them at 350F for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Enjoy, and check out this powerful seed.

Chia picture from Pinterest

 

 

 

 

Health, Diet and Super Foods Seminar at Bikram Yoga Birmingham

Exciting news….I turned in my second cookbook manuscript this afternoon. It will be released this fall and will be published by Robert Rose Books. More fun news: I’ll be at Bikram Yoga Birmingham tomorrow (Saturday morning – see below). I have never done a speaking event sweaty, so this is a first. Join me if you are in Birmingham! I’ll be talking about healthy eating, super foods, healthy snacks and more.

Top Healthy Eating Habits and How to Avoid the 10 Worst Eating Habits”
Saturday, January 14  11:15am (immediately following the 9:30 class)

Maintaining a consistent yoga/ exercise regimen is mandatory for a healthy life.  Equally important is a consistent, realistic, healthy eating style.  Alison Lewis is one of our own devoted students We are  fortunate that she will be here to help us in our nutrition quest!

 Alison is President and Owner of Ingredients, Inc., a Food Media Consulting company in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a well-known Nutritionist, Cookbook Author, Recipe Developer, Magazine and Internet Journalist and Food, Fitness and Health Blogger. You can find her work in Southern Living, Clean Eating, Cooking Light, Oxygen and more as well on her personal blog http://ingredientsinc.net or bio website http://alisonlewis.net There is no fee for this seminar, but if you would like to make a donation to our monthly featured non-profit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Birmingham, it would be greatly appreciated.

Acai Pomegranate Smoothie and Blendtec Blender Giveaway

I hope everyone has had a great holiday weekend. Did you go shopping? I am so excited about sharing my recipe for Acai Pomegranate Smoothie (my kid’s favorite). It tastes great, and it’s full of vitamins and antioxidants. Now, I can’t wait to announce my Blendtec Blender giveaway: One lucky winner will receive the Total Blender Combo including the Fourside and Wildside Jar, a $474 value. This blender is my newest all-time favorite all-in-one kitchen appliance. Not only does it make the best smoothies, but I have used it to prepare dips, fondues, ice cream, salad dressings, sauces, soups, milkshakes and even bread dough.

My kids have been making smoothies and milkshakes daily, and I feel great letting them try different fruits and yogurts to create new concoctions. Whether you’re in college, single or have a family, using a Blendtec is a great way to stay healthy this time of year. The winner will be able to choose a white, red or black model, and this is one of the best holiday presents ever.

To enter this giveaway, follow the steps below. Winner will be chosen by random.org on Thursday, December 1st, at 9 a.m EST.

1. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know

2. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know

3. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest  and leave a comment letting me know

 4. Follow Blendtec on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know

5. Like Blendtec on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know know

6. Join the Blendtec Mailing list and leave a comment letting me know

7. Join the Ingredients, Inc. email list and leave a comment letting me know

8. Tweet about this giveaway by mentioning the following or something similar:  check out @alisonlewis @Blendtec giveaway just in time for the holidays

Kañiwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes: Gluten-Free Super Food

Kañiwa, pronounced “ka-nyi-wa”, has been cutlivated in South America for thousands of years. Kañiwa is gluten-free and a great power food. It has been called the “new quinoa”. It is a cousin to quinoa but, actually, has higher protein, fiber and antioxidants along with significant levels of calcium, zinc and iron. Its nutty taste is unique, and it tastes even better than tabbouleh in this recipe for Kañiwa with Lemon, Basil and Tomatoes. To prepare it, you just boil water or broth, add the Kañiwa, cook and cover for 15 minutes. It’s a breeze and a nutritional powerhouse. For more information, see Roland Foods on where to find it. Trust me. You will be hearing a lot more about this incredible grain.

My Top 10 Favorite “Power” Foods

I get a lot of email, and I mean, a lot. So many people ask me cooking questions, nutrition questions, entrepreneur advice, blog advice, social media advice, have comments and more. Sometimes, I get the simple questions such as, “How do you keep so fit? “What do you eat all day?” etc. I thought I would share my top 10 favorite “power” foods. When I say “power”, I mean foods that I love, foods that I feel give me energy, keep me healthy and foods I can’t go without most every day.

1. Greek Yogurt-With 2.5 grams of protein per ounce and hardly any fat or carbs, what could be better? I stir honey into mine with blueberries or bananas, nuts or whole grain cereal, and I eat it for breakfast or an afternoon snack. It is so filling and tastes great (I use the nonfat or low-fat by the way). See Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

2. Blueberries-These have the highest antioxidant value of all fruit plus they have many vitamins: B, C, E, and they boost your immune system. We always have a bowl of fresh blueberries ready to grab. See  Blueberry Pancakes

3. Almonds or Walnuts-These are a great heart-healthy snack filled with protein, vitamins, minerals and good for your digestive system. I don’t go one day without a handful. See Chunky Granola

4. Acai or pomegranate juice-Acai has been said to have antioxidant benefits and anti-aging properties and omega fatty acids. I think it gives me energy as well. You can buy the frozen Sambazon smoothie packs at Whole Foods, in solid bars, or in a bottle (I like the 100% Genesis Today Acai juice).  See Cranberry Pomegranate Granita

5. Salmon-High in the health promoting fat, omega 3 fatty acids, high protein, and low in calories. I prefer Alaskan wild salmon. Salmon is one of my tried and true favorites. The best part of all is that my 3 kids love it too. See Salmon Burgers

6. Edamame-High in protein, fiber and calcium and low in calories and fat.  I can’t get enough of these. I purchase them already shelled in the frozen section and just thaw. They are great served in a salad, as a snack or as a topping. See Edamame Salsa

7. Gold Bars-These bars are my all-time favorite snack bars. With 11 grams of protein from soy, nuts and whole grains, these satisfy my hunger as well as sugar cravings. I love them in the morning with coffee or as a snack. See Grab the Gold Bar

8. Flaxseed-High in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, I put ground flaxseed in everything from cereal, to yogurt, granola and even as a crust on salmon or chicken. See Flaxseed Crusted Salmon

9. Arugula-High in Vitamin C and K, I love arugula for it’s peppery taste and beautiful color. Try it with golden raisins, nuts and freshly shaved Parmesan or simply topped with grilled chicken or steamed shrimp. I’m a huge fan and can’t get enough of it. See Black Eyed Pea Salad over Arugula

10. Dark Chocolate-Dark Chocolate is said to contain flavonoids so it’s heart healthy, contains antioxidants and may even reduce aging. Try Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

So Healthy, So Good: Quinoa Salad with Arugula and Feta

I’m shooting 4 television shows this week for NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama”, and here’s one of the dishes I will be making. For those of you not familiar with quinoa, I hope that I can help out. Quinoa is an amino acid protein rich seed that has a fluffy slightly crunchy texture and a nutty flavor when cooked. You cook it just as you would cook rice although you need to rinse the seeds before cooking them. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard with so many health benefits. Quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. It is said to be helpful to those who get migraine headaches and helps reduce diabetes and atherosclerosis. I love this Quinoa Salad with Arugula and Feta as it’s so fresh, healthy and flavorful. Feel free to make it a main dish by adding cooked chicken or shrimp. This is the perfect dish to start the new year on the right (and healthy) foot.