Welcome to Part Two of my favorite things! I hope you enjoy.
Mmmm…coconut! Coconuts provide a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. Each part of the coconut can be used! Coconut is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. The meat, milk and oil do have fat, but once again, they are the good fat. The type that your body uses to survive.
I love coconut! I use unsweetened shredded coconut in my baking and sprinked on meals. The oil is wonderful for baking as well!
Raw, unprocessed honey has been shown to be an antiseptic, antioxidant and cleansing property for our bodies. It has powerful healing attributes that promote healing for cuts and scrapes. It also works wonders on dry skin!
My favorite way to use honey is as an energy booster while on my long distance runs. It has just the right amount of sugar to give you that extra push for the last few miles. Plus, it is much more natural and healthier for you than all the energy gels out there.
Honey is also wonderful mixed in tea, used in place of sugar in baking, drizzled in stirfry’s and so much more!
When choosing a nut butter, make sure to look at the ingredient list! Many on store shelves contain high fructose corn syrup and a lot of sugar. Choose all natural nut butters. My favorite is almond butter – made up purely of almonds!
I enjoy almond butter the most, but any natural nut butters are delicious. They provide you with healthy fats that will keep you satisfied for a long time. It has been shown that people who eat nuts or nut butter often consume fewer calories throughout the day because they keep you satisfied.
Check out my info on almonds in Part One!
Hemp is everywhere these days! Hemp seeds, hemp milk, hemp protein powder…I love it all. Hemp seeds are very high in soluable protein which makes them easy to digest. They also contain all of the 9 essential amino acids that your body needs. Essential amino acids are ones that the body cannot produce on its own.
Hemp protein powder is just ground hemp seeds. I prefer hemp protein powder over others because of the way it makes me feel. It does not cause bloating or gas as others do.
Add a tablespoon or two of hemp powder to your smoothie in the morning, or sprinkle some hemp seeds on your salads for a nutty crunch!
Quinoa is the seed of a plant, but many people think of it and use it as a grain in place of rice, pasta, etc. Like hemp, quinoa is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids that your body needs. It also contains high levels of iron and magnesium, which will help your body feel more alert and will decrease your changes of developing hypertension or heart disease.
I absolutely love quinoa! We cook with it a lot by adding it to stirfry’s, making quinoa burgers, adding it to salads and using it as a breakfast cereal. You cannot go wrong. Cook a big pot on Sunday night and eat it throughout the week!
Too much salt is not good for anyone, but a little salt added to your baking and cooking will not cause you much harm. Adding salt to your food can immensly add to the flavor, but season properly. Only use what you need! By cooking your own meals, you can control how much salt you are adding to a dish. Restaurants and frozen meals use way to much salt!
The grayer the salt the better…and sea salt is much better for you than table salt. Gray salt is minimally processed, while table salt is highly processed!
Bananas could easily be my favorite food. I love them in smoothies, oatmeal, spread with nut butter, eaten plain and on-the-go! I love them for breakfast, with lunch, as a snack and sauteed with a little brown sugar for dessert. I eat at least one banana almost everyday.
Luckily, bananas are good for you! They contain tons of potassium, which helps to prevent high blood pressure, cramping (side-stitches) and restore your electrolyte balance. They also help your body to absorb calcium.
I buy bananas in bulk. I keep some on the counter to grab and go, but also keep a container in my freezer with frozen bananas for smoothies!
One of my favorite parts of the fall is carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds! I sprinkle a little salt on top and pop them in the oven until slightly crispy – yum! Well, you don’t have to wait until halloween rolls around to enjoy pumpkin seeds, just buy some pepitas.
Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are a nutritional powerhouse. They contain high levels of magnesium, iron, protein and zinc amongst other things. They also contain anti-inflamatory properties and can help to lower your cholesterol.
Try adding a tablespoon to your smoothies, salads, trail mix or sauteed veggies!
Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which are the seeds of the cacao fruit. Once removed from their pods, the beans taste like a bitter rich dark chocolate. To get to the chocolate bars we eat today, those cacao beans are highly processed and mixed with a lot of sugar (and milk to make milk chocolate). Check out more here.
Dark chocolate is the least processed, but make sure that you are buying chocolate that does not have many other ingredients added to it. Most good, high quality dark chocolate is minimally processed, but you might need to pay a little more for it. The darker the chocolate, the better. Many bars only contain 50% cocoa or less! Look for bars with a higher cocoa content.
Dark chocolate is my downfall. I just love it! The darker the better! I read all of the ingredients before purchasing a bar, and try to buy organic when I can. However, a little added sugar isn’t going to kill you! (P.s…the Trader Joes dark chocolate bar pictured above is one of my favorites!)
We all know by now that I love almonds…and almond milk is no different. Almond milk is a healthy milk alternative. It does not contain nearly as much protein as cow’s or soy milk, but I prefer the taste…and get my protein in other ways. I prefer the Pacific Natural Foods brand because it does not contain any soy products.
There are hundreds of articles out there talking about why some milk substitutes are better than others, but I won’t bore you. I just prefer the taste of almond milk over others! I am planning to try to make my own one of these days.
Use almond milk as you would use any milk product – in cereal, oatmeal, smoothies or with cookies!
That wraps up my favorite things. I hope you enjoyed the small sampling of some of my favorites!
Filed under: Eating Laps, Product Reviews | Tagged: almond butter, almond milk, bananas, coconut, dark chocolate, hemp seeds, honey, pepitas, quinoa, sea salt | 2 Comments »