The Sonoma Diet

The Sonoma Diet is yet another type of eating regiment that are unfamiliar to most people who do not follow health and food trends.  However, it is certainly found its niche among those who are on the lookout for a diet that doesn’t require too much deprivation, calorie counting and the consumption of bizaare food and foods combinations for a specific amount of time.

The Sonoma diet was developed by Dr. Connie Guttersen, a dietician and culinary expert who was inspired by the foods of Coastal California and the proven healthy benefits of the Mediterrenean diet.  What she came up with became quite popular because it incorporates fresh and flavorful ingredients in a simple way that promotes more of a lifestyle rather than a time bound diet.

Being a lifestyle, one can integrate this fully into one’s day to day healthy meals and in a way celebrates the beneficial nutrients of the food rather than focus on what’s missing.  As such, the normal feelings of deprivation associated with most other diets are eliminated.  Those who are fond of whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables and olive oil are in for a treat as the Sonoma diet encourages its consumption.  Learn more information either by going online or purchasing a variety of books which provide healthy recipes as well as a more detailed eating plan.

The Sonoma diet is marketed rather well in such a way that people tend to gravitate towards the claim that there is no diet food and tedious calorie counting in the program.  However, before one thinks that Sonoma is just the same as the excessive intake and the high fat and calorie junk food most Americans enjoy immensely, it’s still wise to conduct a little research before embarking on the Sonoma or any other miracle diet regardless if it’s strict or seemingly a piece of cake.

There are three phases in the program popularly called as waves.  The first wave comprising one and a half weeks involves addressing bad eating habits by gradually making some modifications–the most significant of which is controlling sugar intake and avoiding heavily processed food.  Here those on the program also start learning about the nutritional values of food and portion control.

After one has successfully managed to complete this, dieters ten transition to wave two which they stay in until the target weight is achieved.  Wave three is already a success in the sense that one graduates into the maintenance phase obviously to keep the weight off.

Like many programs, it is still advised for people especially those with preexisting health conditions to consult a doctor or health provided before embarking on a chosen diet.

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Planning a Healthy food for Babies

Babies can subsist on breast milk or formula for the first four to six months of their life. All the nutrition that they need is in the milk and they instinctively know when they need to be fed by showing signs of hunger like lip smacking, sucking of fists or fingers, thrusting the tongue, and turning the head. These signs of hunger are indication of feeding time and should be recognized even before the inevitable crying starts.

Babies have no set schedule for feeding in the first few months and it is best to feed them whenever they get hungry, which is frequently. Babies nurse for about fifteen to 20 minutes with every feeding and they can get hungry an hour just after feeding or less frequently. Babies fed on formula milk consume an average of 16 to 28 ounces a day, which will increase up to 24 to 40 ounces by the fourth month and even more, as they grow bigger.

Because they grow rapidly, babies need energy and nutrients to aid their development. Solids can be introduced in babies’ diet between four to six months. At this stage, babies should have control over their heads and necks and be able to show signs when they are already full such as turning away from milk or food. One of the first solid healthy recipes given to babies are mushy and soft like oatmeal, cereal grain, or rice mixed with milk to make a soupy consistency that is easy to swallow and digest. The baby food can be fed twice a day using a baby spoon, between nursing sessions or bottle feedings.

At six months, babies can ingest baby food like mashed cooked vegetables and soft fruits of about two to three servings per day. New foods can be introduced to babies in a space of two to three days to see if baby likes the food or develops an upset stomach or rash from it. This way, allergies can be determined as well as temporary food intolerances. At this point, babies still need about five to six servings of breast milk or 24 to 40 ounces of formula each day. At six to nine months, babies can move on to lumpy and textured foods like pureed meats amounting to 2 to 4 tablespoons per serving and only one to two servings per day.

Feeding Babies & Children : How to Feed a Toddler Healthy Snacks

Coconut Water – The Latest Craze in America

What is in coconut water that’s gotten American’s all agog about it?  Perhaps it’s a great tasting refreshment that provides a lot of natural nutrition with very little calories and virtually fat free.  The fact that celebrities are seen guzzling them down certainly helps a lot!  In health magazine articles, these Hollywood celebrities are seen stepping out of the gym with the latest accessory – a carton or can of coconut water.

It’s fast becoming such a prized commodity that some stores, gyms and yoga studios can hardly keep them on the shelves.  It’s quite expensive in cold countries as these are processed probably from across the globe in tropical countries such as Indonesia or the Philippines where these are available for a fraction of the cost and straight from the tree.

Despite the processing which usually involves pasteurization to extend shelf life, coconut water taken from either the young or mature coconut fruit still packs a lot of nutrients.  Apart from vitamins and minerals, it efficiently hydrates the body with its electrolyte very similar to the human body, helps burns fat and speeds up metabolism making it a great weight loss beverage without artificial ingredients, flavors and colors.  Coconut water also helps lower blood pressure and slow down ageing.

Vegetarians, vegans and even raw foodies use it extensively in their healthy meals preparation making it a lactose free base for smoothies as well as soups and desserts.  They usually prefer the unsweetened variety and can tell if it is taken from a young or mature coconut. 

It’s naturally low in sugar and makes a great tasting alternative to sodas, sports drinks and artificially flavored juices.  Even compared to real fruit juices, coconut water is usual more natural with only the water taken from the fruit as an ingredient for the unsweetened variety.  Some manufacturers combine other fruit juices for other variants.

Like with most plant-based foods, fresh is always best but with modern technology, perishable products such as coconut water can be processed to prolong shelf life allowing it to be brought all over the world.

Blood Clot Preventing Foods

Speak to most people suffering from heart diseases and most likely you’ll learn a lot about blood clots.  Though it sounds simple, it’s actually not just than the narrowing of arteries.  When one develops a blood clot, the flow of oxygen and normal blood is restricted and prevents it from travelling to different parts of the body.  This is prone to happen when the blood vessels, arteries or veins are already damaged from previous conditions.

Studies have shown that certain types of food contain anticoagulant properties that prevent the formation of blot clots.  However, rather than just self analyzing one’s needs and choosing to go on a diet of foods that help prevent blood clots, it is always wiser to see a doctor who can guide you especially if you are already suffering from different health issues or are already taking medication such as blood thinners.

Aside from using it as a flavoring ingredient in many gourmet recipes, garlic has been regarded for its medicinal properties for many centuries.  Recent studies from reputable institutions have shown that eating garlic on a regular basis helps in improving heart health and prevent blood clots. Apart from this good news, garlic has been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good.

The key compound in garlic is allicin, which possesses anticoagulant properties.  This simply means that it prevents blood from clotting.  Related vegetables such as ginger and onions are also recommended as well as green leafy vegetables and some fruits like kale, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, asparagus and some fruits like peaches and bananas.

Foods that are abundant in vitamin E rich are also known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Eating lots of fatty fish like salmon, tuna and halibut helps prevent coronary diseases by preventing blood clots from forming.  For vegans, vitamin E can be derived from whole grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables such as wheat germ, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, safflower oil, mangoes and spinach.

It is important to note that these healthy recipes should be combined into a balanced diet rich in different nutrients.  Another important factor is regular exercise which also helps a lot in maintaining or improving the health of one’s heart and circulatory system.

Other foods that may help prevent blood clot formation include mint, paprika, curry, cinnamon, dill and oregano.  Herbs act as natural antioxidants which improve the condition of the circulatory system.

Anti-Migraine Foods

A short conversation with people who suffer from migraines and you’d learn that they’ve tried many different things to relieve themselves from the terrible symptoms of this quite common ailment.  Apart from the typical searing pain in the head which migraine sufferers liken to being pricked with pins and needles, other symptoms range from seeing flashing lights or jagged lines to changes in the senses of smell, taste and/or touch.  These experiences are part of what is called the aura and is part of what people call a classic migraine.  It can be rather alarming for those who just started experiencing migraines.

For those who’ve been suffering for some time, they can already tell the stages from initial experiencing of the aura which manifests around 30 minutes before the actual onset and goes away as the pain commences.

Most people accept migraines as part of their lives with attacks being triggers by factors such as stressful situations, menstruation, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, stress and even weather changes.  As such, one can suffer from migraines quite frequently.  Most take various types of medication and sometimes try different kinds in search for what best alleviates the pains.

There are those who do not go for chemical drugs and pharmaceuticals and prefer to go natural in their search for migraine relief.  For alternative healers and naturopaths, there are healthy meals that are recommended to handle migraine.  Though there is no particular diet for classic migraine, a large number of sufferers claim that certain foods trigger attacks.  In this case, one simply has to not what these foods are and to simply avoid consuming them.  The list of foods varies from person to person but common items include coffee, sugary and highly processed food with chemical additives.

In general, it is recommended to go for healthy, nutrient and fiber rich foods that are either organic or natural.  These include the complex carbohydrates in whole grain foods, bread and rice.  Black and green tea, nuts and seeds likewise have compounds which studies show helps alleviate migraine symptoms.

Foods that have high amounts of vitamin B2 are said to be helpful in treating migraines.  Rather than take supplements, some people view food as their medicine and really research on foods that have these nutrients or impart specific health benefits.

Foods With Extraordinary Healing Powers

An unfortunate reality sometimes that alternative healing practitioners encounter in their line of work is the fact that they’re usually the last ditch effort some seriously ill people turn to after having gone through Western or pharmaceutical based treatments.  While Western medicine recognizes food as a major factor in the treatments they prescribe, it is more often than not a minor component that supposedly complements prescribed drugs or medical treatments.

One shouldn’t wait to get sick or have health concerns like high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity before making sensible eating gourmet recipes choices and incorporating healing foods in their diet.  By then it might already be too late.  Instead, incorporate smarter eating choices complemented by super foods, exercise and a positive outlook in life.  Like in any significant decisions that affect one’s life and health, it’s always wise to consult with a trusted health professional whether it’s a doctor, nutritionist, vegetarian, vegan or raw food advocate as they’re more aware of thing to recommend depending on the state your body is in. 

Be wary of just purchasing anything off the internet, home TV shopping or bazaars and instead do some research on their claims.  To believe in everything you see and read about will most likely lead to confusion and an empty wallet as a lot of these products cost a lot of money.  Read the labels of these products to see their nutritional benefits.

In general, going for organic and natural foods is better than heavily processed products that contain artificial ingredients, preservatives and chemicals.  A properly guided raw organic food diet has been hyped up to have healing benefits particularly due to its naturally detoxifying effect as well as the high quality nutrition it provides.

Another group of foods that are claimed to have healing properties are super foods and probiotic-rich and fermented foods.  Probiotic-rich kefir, dubbed as the emperor of yoghurt, contains over 30 species of beneficial bacteria that helps improve the functioning of the digestive system which some say help prevent a lot of illnesses arising.

Super foods are sometimes called functional foods for the reason that they confer a known health benefit if consumed in adequate quantities.  Examples include guyabano, goji and acai berries which are high in antioxidants known to combat certain types of cancer.  Herbs such as ginger and garlic have anti inflammatory properties that help relieve joint aches and pains.  Lagundi, a medicinal plant growing abundantly in the Philippines and around Asia is actually used as a main component of cough medicine and is giving chemical based drugs a run for their money.  A visit to the Chinese store can also open the mind as to the many healing herbs that purportedly cure any disease from simple colds to the dreaded cancer.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.  This sounds like an overpromising statement but an apple combined with a balanced diet of wholesome foods eaten in a sustainable lifestyle can surely help prevent the onset of diseases in the future.

Cooking the Best Low Calorie Pheasant Recipes for Dinner

Many pheasant recipes are slathered with butter, bacon drippings and fat, or covered with heavy cream and rich sauces to keep the meat moist and flavorful but there are healthy dinner recipes for pheasant that are low in calories and mouthwateringly delicious.

While you can use pheasant in place of chicken, turkey or pork in many recipes, you need to cook pheasant recipes a certain way to keep its very lean and gamey meat from drying out. Because pheasant is very low in fat, it is best to cook it low and slow using a moist-heat method such as braising or stewing. The pheasant can also be brined or marinated before roasting to lock in moisture and flavor. Slow roasting and covering with foil at a temperature of 250 to 325 degrees F is also a good technique for making healthy dinner. Most importantly, pheasant should not be overcooked.

Slow cooking

For a simple, hearty, moist and tender pheasant recipe, cook pheasant using a slow cooker. Cut the pheasant into pieces (breast, legs, wings, and so on) and coat evenly with a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. Brown the pheasant pieces on both sides in olive oil over medium high heat using a large skillet. Place the browned pheasant pieces in the slow cooker or crock-pot. Sauté chopped onions in the remaining oil and stir in mushrooms and garlic. Pour white wine in the skillet and bring to a boil. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture in the slow cooker with the pheasant and add black olives. Cook the whole on high for four hours or on low for seven hours.

Roasting

Young pheasants are ideal for roasting whole. To keep the bird moist and flavorful, brine the pheasant for at least four hours before cooking. Make a solution of salted water (1/4 cup salt to 4 cups water) flavored with sugar, bay leaves, and crushed juniper berries. Bring the brine mixture to a boil and let it cool down to room temperature. Once cooled, submerge the pheasant in the brine and place in the fridge for four to eight hours. The longer you brine the bird, the saltier it becomes. To get crispy skin, after brining take the pheasant out of the brine and place it back in the fridge uncovered for 12 to 24 hours. This will dry out the skin so that tit will get crisp when cooked while keeping the meat moist.

Another technique to get crispy skin and juicy flesh is to sear the bird in a hot oven and finish cooking in a lower temperature. Take the pheasant out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (500 degrees if possible) for 15 to 30 minutes. Brush the bird with olive oil and season with freshly cracked black pepper. Stuff the cavity of the bird with a piece of onion or apple and a few fresh herbs but do not overdo or it will cook unevenly. Roast the pheasant at a high temperature for 15 minutes and then take the bird out. Lower the oven’s temperature to 350 degrees F and return the bird in the oven. Roast for another 30 to 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 155 to 165 degrees and the juices of the bird run clear. Take note that the meat of the pheasant will be slightly pink, which is ideal. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.

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