my favorite things – part one

We are headed out of town this weekend on a mini vacation, so I wanted to leave you with something fun!

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I get quite a few questions from readers, family and friends about some of the things that I eat, bake and cook with and why I use them over other ingredients.  Therefore, I thought that it would be fun to write a post about some of my favorite ingredients.

Since I have so many favorite things, I decided to split this up into two parts.

Enjoy. 🙂

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are packed with fiber, antioxidants, protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3.  They are extremely easily digestible in their state, unlike flax seeds which need to be ground.  They are great for athletes because the seeds give you an energy boost and absorb water to keep you hydrated!

You can eat chia seeds on their own, but I prefer to add them to smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal!

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is a sweetener with a honey-like thickness that will not cause your blood sugar to spike.  It is a simple sugar which means that your body does not need to work as hard to break it down for digestion.  All sugars that enter your body are broken down into simple sugars before they can be digested.  In this case, the work has been done before the sugar enters your body.  This makes brown rice syrup one of the healthiest out there.

I like to substitute brown rice syrup for honey, maple syrup, white sugar, etc in recipes.

Almonds

What is not to like here?  Almonds are packed with all sorts of stuff – Vitamin E, calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron – making them one of the healthiest nuts out there.  Yes, like all nuts, almonds are hign in fat.  However, they are high in monosaturated fat which is the healthy fat.  The kind of fat that your body uses to live.  Eating almonds has been show to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and will keep your cravings at bay by keeping you satisfied!

Almonds are tasty on their own, but I also love them in trail mix, cereal, on top of oatmeal or crushed into almond butter!

Cinnamon

Did you know that cinnamon is often used as a health remedy?  It slows the rate at which the stomach empties after you eat, which reduces the rise of blood sugar after meals.  Cinnamon is also a great source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium.  Plus, it tastes delicious!

I love cinnamon mixed in oatmeal and yogurt or sprinkled on fruit.

Greek Yogurt

I would choose greek yogurt over other types anyday!  It has a thicker texture which turns some people off, but once you get used to it you won’t look back.

Not only does greek yogurt keep you full much longer than other types, but it is also full of protein!  Make sure to watch the sugar content if you buy flavored yogurts – it is can be decieving!  I prefer to buy plain greek yogurt and add my own flavorings.  You can add everything – vanilla, honey, peanut butter, granola, etc.

Have fun with your food!

Cacao Powder & Nibs

These 2 things could easily be my favorite!  Cacao = Cocoa.  Cacao powder is unsweetened and usually raw.  It is ground from cacao nibs.  Cacao nibs & powder contain more antioxidants and magnesium than any other food out there.  However, in order to reap the benefits, you need to eat cacao in it’s natural form – the nibs and powder count!

Cacao powder is delicious when added to smoothies or in oatmeal.  You can use it as chocolate in baked goods when combined with a sweetener of your choice.  I add cacao nibs to everything – trail mix, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, ice cream, etc!

Coconut Water

Coconut water is my post-workout drink of choice.  It contains natural electrolytes to replenish lost stores in your body.  Check out more benefits of coconut water in my last post!

Drink it straight up, mix is with your favorite fruit juice or add it to a smoothie!

Ginger

Ginger is often used to aid in digestion, treat stomach upsets and nausea.  It has also been shown to treat arthritis and the common cold.  I love ginger for the taste, but I also love it for helping with tummy troubles.

I drink ginger tea after large meals or when my stomach is upset.  I also love dried ginger!  It’s perfect to keep in your purse to nibble on a few pieces after you eat or drop it in a cup of hot water for tea.

Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are very rich in omega-3’s which makes this seed very powerful for everyone, especially vegetarian’s and vegan’s who stay away from animal products.  It also contains a lot of fiber and has been shown to increase immunity strength in your body.  Whole flaxseeds cannot be digested by your body, so it is important to grind them (or purchase the ground!) before eating.  I grind my own in my coffee grinder!

Flaxseeds and ground flax can easily be added to yogurt, oatmeal, cereal or in baked goods!

Steel Cut Oats

In a nutshell, oatmeal is good for you.  It has been shown to reduce cholesterol when eaten on a regular basis.  It is filling, satisfying and a great breakfast, especially on cold winter days!  Oatmeal is high in protein and fiber and will not make your blood sugar spike.

I prefer Steel-Cut Oats because they are the least processed of most oats.  The different types of oats (steel-cut, rolled, oatbran) all have to do with the amount and type of processing that they go through before hitting store shelves.

Steel-cut oats take much longer to cook due to the minimal processing, but it is worth it.  They have a heartier taste that I love!

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I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite things!  Make sure to come back later on this weekend for part 2!

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2 Responses

  1. I hope you are having a great weekend out of town!

  2. loved this post! Chia Seeds, Steel Cut Oats, Cocoa Nibs – all I really really want to try and cant beliebe they havent made it to my kitchen, yet! Love how chia seeds are filling and dont need to be ground like flax, sounds fantastic to me! Happy weekend girl!

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