Celebrate Sweet Potato Month

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It comes to no surprise that November is sweet potato awareness month! Many people only ever eat sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. They are a regular part of my diet, especially in the colder months.

A great way to prepare them is to thinly slice them and steam them for 8-10 minutes. This brings out their delicious flavor and preserves their nutritional value. Adding nutmeg or cinnamon can enhance the flavor and add even more nutritional value.

Speaking of nutrition, the nutrition in a serving of sweet potatoes is astounding. In one serving, you get over 200 percent of your daily Vitamin A needs. Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, biotin, and potassium.

Sweet potatoes have an antioxidant known as Anthocyanin that is an amazing anti-inflammatory. With that said, several studies have discovered how foods with Anthocyanin help protect against several inflammatory conditions like heart disease and cancer; anthocyanin also appears to help cognitive function.

As part of the Iowa Women’s Health Study, 34,489 postmenopausal women without Cardiovascular Disease (heart disease) had their diets assessed and were followed for 16 years. The researchers found that consuming anthocyanin-rich food once per week was associated with a significant reduction in death from heart disease and coronary artery disease.

As for cancer, in animal studies, anthocyanins inhibit cancer development in animals given carcinogens and in those with a hereditary predisposition to cancer. Anthocyanins have been tested against esophageal, colon, skin, and lung cancer, and in several cases have been effective against the development and progression of these cancers.

Research suggests that flavonoids, including anthocyanins, have the ability to enhance memory and help prevent age-related declines in mental functioning.

Isn’t that awesome?!

And here’s probably the coolest way to prepare sweet potatoes: you can eat it like toast! Yes, I said toast! Here’s what you do: slice your sweet potato into ¼ inch slices and crank your toaster up to the highest setting, add your sweet potato slices, and keep toasting until the surface of each slice is beginning to brown and the inside is tender when pierced with a fork.

So, enjoy sweet potatoes later this week at your Thanksgiving feast, and keep ‘em coming all winter long!

10 Hacks for a Healthy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is just over a week away! Are you prepared to resist temptation and refuse to overindulge? I think I am. I know it can be hard, but here are some tricks to make your Thanksgiving healthy, yet still incredibly satisfying.

  1. Don’t skip meals! I have worked with a lot of people who skip meals leading up to Thanksgiving to “save room” for a big meal they know that they have coming up. Thanksgiving is one of those meals. Let me tell you straight out—skipping meals backfires every time. When you get overly hungry, you will definitely overeat.
  2. Eat a big, hearty breakfast. Plan to eat a hearty breakfast on Thanksgiving. A wholesome breakfast, like my delicious overnight oats will keep you satisfied and will help prevent you from overeating at your Turkey Day feast.
  3. Stay hydrated. Sometimes when we are thirsty, our brain tells us we are hungry. Don’t confuse your brain; drink water throughout the day. Limit alcohol and choose water for your drink-of-choice during the feast as well!
  4. Move, move, move! Several areas host Turkey Trots and other organized races on Thanksgiving Day. Sign up for one and you will burn some calories! Make it a family affair!
  5. Try mashed cauliflower. Mashed potatoes are loaded with simple carbs (and often heavy cream, butter, and other forms of saturated fat). Try mashed cauliflower; season it with a little lemon pepper and wow, is it delicious!
  6. Don’t sweeten the sweet potatoes Sweet potatoes are a better choice than the white ones in terms of nutrition value; just please, don’t add brown sugar or marshmallows or anything else, they’re sweet enough on their own!
  7. Watch the butter! Did you know that one tablespoon of butter has over a hundred calories? You would have to walk for almost a half an hour to burn that off. So, go easy on the butter!
  8. Eat the white meat and avoid the skin.
  9. Make sure there are some steamed green veggies! Steamed green veggies are so delicious with minimal seasoning. They are filled with fiber and help you feel satisfied.
  10. Focus on the people! Thanksgiving is about family and friends. Talk and laugh and talk and laugh; this is the type of nourishment we all need!

Satisfy your Sweet Tooth with Figs

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Hi friends!

How are you doing resisting the Halloween candy swarming all around? I’m doing quite well, I must say. I am taking my own advice that I provided in a blog post earlier this month; check out my tips here.

Fruit totally helps me healthfully satisfy my sweet tooth as well. In fact, this past week was National Fig Week. Figs in the U.S. are primarily grown in California and what I love so much about figs is that they are so unbelievably sweet and surprisingly low in calories. One-half cup of figs is only about 120 calories.

Another cool factor about figs is the variety (not as many types as apples, but still quite a few). The most popular types of figs that are easiest to find are: Black Mission, Brown Turkish, Calimyrna, Kadota, and Sierra figs. Here are the ways in which they are different.

Black Mission:

These figs have purple and black skin with a deep earthy flavor.

Brown Turkish:

These figs have light purple to black skin with a robust flavor.

Calimyrna:

These figs have pale yellow skin with a buttery and a nutty flavor.

Kadota:

These figs have a creamy amber skin with a light flavor (not as pungent as the others).

Sierra:

These figs have light-colored skin with a fresh, sweet flavor.

So whereas candy “poisons” your body with sugar and chemicals, figs boost your health. Figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber and are also high in antioxidants, fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free. They are also a good source of potassium, which means they are heart-healthy!

The fiber in figs makes them an excellent choice for weight-loss or maintenance, as well as heart health.  Fruit fiber can also help protect against cancer. For instance, results of a prospective study involving 51,823 postmenopausal women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34 percent reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit fiber compared to those consuming the least.

So, eat up my friends! Enjoy figs—I promise you they are even tastier than candy!