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Archive for Green Foods

January 23rd, 2015

5 Healthier Peanut Butter Dessert Recipes

Healthier  Peanut Butter Dessert Recipes Groovy Green Livin

Now that my son no longer has a peanut allergy (stay tuned for this amazing story) nuts of all kinds have been a staple in our home. And there’s a good reason.

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found people who ate a daily handful of nuts (including peanuts which are technically legumes) were 20 percent less likely to die from heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses over a 30-year period than were those who didn’t.

So in honor of National Peanut Butter Day (January 24th, 2015) I’m going to share with you 5 amazing recipes from a few peanut butter loving bloggers.

But first this fact: Did you know that it takes 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter?

Now it’s time to take a peek at these delicious recipes and if something floats your peanut-butter-loving boat click on the link to bring you to the full recipe. My only suggestion-use organic peanut butter without added sugar whenever you can.

Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge by Chocolate Covered Katie

I was so excited to stumble across this recipe for Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge. Something so delicious without butter, heavy cream, or high fructose corn syrup.

Healthy Peanut-Butter-Fudge Groovy Green Livin

No-Bake Energy Bites by Gimme Some Oven

What got me with these delicious treats is the “no-bake”. And they’re incredibly easy to make. Take a peek here.

Peanut Butter No-Bake-Energy-Bites-Groovy Green Livin

Double Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting by Desserts with Benefits

This Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting looks seriously decadent, but it’s also healthier than most cakes, low sugar, high in fiber and high in protein.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cake Groovy Green Livin

 

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter and Avocado Pudding by Healthfully Ever After

Chocolate, peanut butter and avocado sounds like an interesting combo in this recipe. There are only 7 ingredients and the recipe is relatively healthy! This recipe calls for Greek yogurt and personally I like to add Stonyfield organic Greek yogurt to my recipes. I think you know why!

healthy chocolate peanut butter avocado pudding Groovy Green Livin

Flourless Chocolate Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Topping (Gluten Free!)by Nutritionist in the Kitch

This cake is flourless! Guess what holds it together? Sweet potatoes! Don’t worry, Christal assures us that you can’t taste the sweet potato for all you sweet potato haters.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE BROWNIES WITH SALTED PEANUT BUTTER TOPPING (GLUTEN FREE!) Groovy Green Livin

 Enjoy National Peanut Butter Day! What’s your favorite peanut butter recipe?

 


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January 12th, 2015

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40 Groovy Green Livin

I went to the movies with my 11 year old last night. Just the two of us. We went to one of our favorite movie theaters-where the seats reclined and the arm rests were incredibly wide and comfortable.

Before the movie started we waited in line for candy. When we reached the counter my son had a hard time deciding what to get. I tried really hard not to interject (although I was dying to tell him to skip all the candy!). Instead we ended up having a lengthy discussion about which candy was better for you. Seems like a strange conversation to have, but it brought up some real issues. He held up a box of chocolate covered raisins and Sour Patch Kids and we compared ingredients.

The Sour Patch Kids contained:

Sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch, citric acid, tartaric acid, natural and artificial flavors, yellow 5, yellow 6, red dye no. 40, blue 1

Not much by way of real food in those little candies. When we checked the ingredient list on the chocolate covered raisins this is what we found: No artificial food dyes.

Dark Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Nonfat Milk, Lactose, Artificial & Natural Flavors), Raisins, Sugar, Tapioca Dextrin, Confectioner’s Glaze (Lac-Resin), Alkalized Cocoa

The raisins won the “better for you” contest, although I’m not sure either one truly belongs in this category.

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40

Red food Dye No. 40 was listed on almost every candy package we looked at. Turns out it’s the most commonly used dye in the United States. Red Dye No. 40 or FD&C Red Dye #40, is widely used in the foods and drugs that we consume on a daily basis. It’s been approved by the FDA for use in food products and must be listed as an ingredient on labels.

And it’s not only found in candy. Red Dye No. 40 can be found in soda, salad dressings, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even medicine (think about the lovely pink hue of your antibiotics).

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest the Red 40 is made from petroleum and possesses a “rainbow of risks to children.” Those risks include hyperactivity in children, cancer (in animal studies), and allergic reactions.

Here’s the crazy part.

Many candy companies in the U.S. use artificial food coloring for the candy they sell and distribute in the United States, but that same candy sold in Europe gets its coloring from natural sources. Food and other products containing artificial food coloring and sold is Europe would have a warning label in that would say:  “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” We have no warning label in the US.

Red Dye No. 40 Dangers Groovy Green Livin

What continues to amaze me is that these companies are clearly able to remove dangerous artificial food dyes from their products and have done so in other countries, yet they’re not willing to remove them from products sold in America.

What does this say about how these companies value the lives of American children? Seems pretty apparent that they’re less concerned with health than they are with their bottom line.

What you can do about Red Dye No. 40

  • READ LABELS: In America all food labels must spell out which artificial food dyes are used in a product. If you see Red 40 listed (or any other color with a number after it) steer clear. Read your labels very carefully so you can make an educated decision about the food you buy. I think you’ll be amazed at how many times Red Dye No. 40 shows up on a label.
  • SUPPORT COMPANIES that don’t use artificial food dyes. Let your dollars do the talking!

Do you try to avoid Red Dye No. 40 or other artificial food dyes?

 


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photo credit: Special via photopin cc

January 5th, 2015

7 Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet in 2015

 

7 Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet

Happy New Year!

With every New Year comes new beginnings and new opportunities. As I’ve mentioned in the past, New Year’s resolutions don’t work very well for me. Instead I try to make simple, small changes throughout the year.

I’m just returning from an incredible family vacation. I hope you were able to take a few days off over the holidays as well. Right now I’m trying to return to a regular routine, including a healthy diet. I didn’t stray far over vacation, but there were sweets hanging around and indulging did happen.

Throughout 2015 I’m going to try to add a few more of these healthy foods to my diet

Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish which is made from a variety of vegetables including cabbage and spices.

Researchers in Korea published a recent study showing kimchi as a probiotic. Probiotics are bacteria that help keep everything balanced in your intestines. Some of the known benefits of probiotics are treating diarrhea, preventing and treating yeast infections and urinary tract infections, treating irritable bowel syndrome, preventing and treating eczema (and potentially allergies) in children and boosting the immune system.

Farro (aka Emmer)

Farro is pretty new to the North American scene, but has been served in Italy for over 2,00 years! Farro is the Italian name for emmer wheat and is best known for its roasted, nutty flavor and chewy texture. It’s a great replacement for rice and other cooked grains. It is a form of wheat so those with a wheat or gluten sensitivities might want to steer clear. Farro is high in fiber and protein and is also rich in magnesium and B vitamins.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is one of the healthiest flours around. It’s gluten free and because it’s not a grain-based flour, it is non-inflammatory and low in carbs. Coconut flour has 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons (with only 2 grams of total and saturated fat). It’s not a straight substitution for other flours since it tends to be dry. Take a peek here for some recipe ideas.

Matcha Tea

Matcha (powdered tea) tea is the dried leaves of  green tea ground into a powder. The green powder is whisked with hot water in a bowl to make matcha tea.

The list of health benefits is long including  providing many minerals and vitamins. It can also protect against many kinds of cancer and help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Here’s the brand I’m going to test out: DoMatcha Organic Green Tea

Dark Chocolate

This is your license to eat more chocolate (provided it’s dark chocolate without added sugar and milk, organic and fairly traded). Chocolate, much like blueberries, reduces cortisol – the stress hormone that causes anxiety symptoms.

Nuts

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses over a 30-year period than were those who didn’t.

Lychee

This exotic fruit has a hard shell and a single, glossy, brown seed, that is inedible. Lychee contains oligonol, which is thought to be an antioxidant. It’s also a fantastic source of Vitamin C and the Vitamin B’s including thiamin, niacin, and folates.  It has a high sugar content so those with restricted diets might want to limit consumption.

Watercress

Bring on the watercress in 2015! You might be used to seeing this leafy green as a garnish on your plate, but it’s about to take a front seat. Watercress is an aquatic plant found near springs and is a close cousin to mustard greens, cabbage, and arugula. A 2014 study found watercress as having the highest nutrient score of any fruit or vegetable.

What foods do you want to add to your diet this year? 

 


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 photo credit: PhilNolan via photopin

November 17th, 2014

5 Tips for Avoiding GMOs at the Supermarket

Groovy Green Livin supermarket

As much as I would love to head to the supermarket once each week, no such luck. With three growing boys to feed the fridge looks pretty empty almost immediately after it’s been filled.

When I head to the supermarket I tend to stand in the aisles reading labels. Yes, I’m THAT woman. And I know I’m not alone. There’s no denying that most of us want to know what’s in our food. According to a New York Times poll 93% of people surveyed support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered.

Genetically Modified Organisms (also called GM, GE or GMOs) refers to crop plants that are consumed by animals and/or humans that have been tweaked or modified in a lab to boost desired traits such as: the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide, disease resistance and improved nutritional value.

Unfortunately labeling of  GMOs in food ingredient lists isn’t required in the US. If we take a look at our friends in the EU and other countries -GMO labeling has been the norm for years.

When we head to the supermarket our pocket books can do some of the talking since food buying power has a tremendous impact on our food system.

Here are 5 tips to help you purchase food at the supermarket without GMOs

Buy Organic When You Can

Look for the organic certification when you do your shopping and buy organic when you can. Products with an organic certification are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

USDA certified products cannot intentionally contain GMOs.  The USDA does not require testing for GMOs, so accidental contamination may occur.

Look for the Non-GMO Project SealGroovy Green Livin GMOs Supermarket

Remember that Non-GMO isn’t the same as organic. The label provides consumers with independent, third party assurance that the product contains no GMOs (products tested must contain less that .9percent GMOs, which allows for unintentional contamination). And yes, there could be unintentional contamination.

Avoid Ingredients that Could Come from GMOs

For shoppers it can be challenging to keep up with the foods that are at-risk of being genetically modified, and even if you are up-to-date that list is constantly changing. According to The Non GMO Project the ingredients with a high probability of being GMO are:

  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

If you see these ingredients they could contain GMOs:

Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

Stick with Fruits and Veggies

Most fruits and veggies found at the supermarket, especially organic, are non-GMO. Steer clear of those listed above and you’ll be eating food packed with nutrition without the genetic engineering.

Buy in Bulk

Head to the bulk section at the supermarket and load up on dry beans and fruit, nuts, cereals and seeds. Buy organic bulk food when you can. If you avoid anything in the bulk section with corn and soy and there’s a good chance you’ll be eating GMO-free.

How do you avoid buying GMOs at the supermarket?

 


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


 

 

photo credit: It’sGreg via photopin cc

October 10th, 2014

How to Cut and Peel a Mango

Groovy Green Livin mango

When a mango is ripe the flavor is magical. It is a little piece of nature’s candy.

Did you know there are over 1,000 varieties of mangoes? They’re known to help prevent cancer, improve digestion, boost your immune system and contain a big dose of Vitamin A for improved eye health.

All this good stuff added to our diet from one mango, yet I’m having a mango issue. It seems to happen every time I cut into one. They’re incredibly messy, especially when they’re ripe. Juice flies and drips everywhere. Because of this I can only eat a mango in the comfort of my own home, when no one’s around.

Definitely not a good first date food.

How to cut and peel a mango

I decided to do a little research to see how others were eating this delicious and nutritious fruit. I knew there had to be a way to eat them gracefully, or at least not like an animal in the jungle. Good news-there are tips and tricks that will revolutionize the way you cut and peel a mango. Here are the basics:

  • Wash it well.
  • Peel it-using a sharp knife peel away the skin.
  • Cut off the sides.
  • Slice the fruit into pieces.

Check out this video of Chef Allen Susser who shares a few pretty cool ways to slice and dice your mango.

I love this trick from lifehacker- How to Peel a Mango in Under 10 Seconds

You’ve got to check out how this guy uses a glass to peel his mango.

Would love to hear your tips and tricks for peeling and eating a mango. 

 


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


 

photo credit: bangdoll@flickr via photopin cc

July 31st, 2014

Top 3 Reasons to Eat More Tomatoes

Groovy Green Livin Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a favorite in our home. This year we planted a few tomato plants in our garden. They were growing and thriving until the deer discovered them and decided to eat a few of the plants. There are plenty left, but I would love any suggestions on how to prevent this next year.

The remaining tomatoes aren’t quite ready to pick. We’re waiting impatiently. There’s nothing like fresh plum tomatoes straight off the vine.

Groovy Green Livin tomatoes

Did you know that tomatoes aren’t vegetables? They are a citrus fruit.

Whether large or small, they pack a powerful punch by way of nutrients and health benefits. They are truly a super-food.

Here are the top 3 reasons to eat more tomatoes

Keep Cancer Away

The tomato’s beautiful red color comes from a phytochemical called lycopene. According to the American Cancer Society, studies have shown that risks for some types of cancer are lower in people with higher lycopene levels in their blood. 

I was a bit surprised to learn that tomatoes that have been crushed and cooked appear to be a better source of lycopene than those eaten raw. Apparently mashing, pureeing  and cooking releases more of the lycopene from the tomato, making it easier for our bodies to absorb. 

Ward Off Heart Disease

study by scientists at Tufts University found regularly eating lycopene, found in tomatoes, over many years can have a powerful positive effect on heart health. In another study a supplement of lycopene improved function of the the inner lining of blood vessels in volunteers with cardiovascular disease. 

Strong Bones

Vitamin K and lycopene, both found in tomatoes and tomato products, help prevent bone loss. A serving of tomatoes provide 18% the daily value for vitamin K, which promotes bone health. Lycopene, a potent antioxidant found predominantly in tomatoes and tomato products, helps to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis.

Time to eat those tomatoes! Stick with organic tomatoes whenever you can.

What’s your favorite way to eat tomatoes? Mine: roasted with garlic and olive oil. 

photo credit: Pieter Musterd via photopin cc  and arbyreed via photopin cc

June 16th, 2014

If You Have to Pick One Fruit to Eat Organic Make it This

Groovy Green Livin Organic Apples

The One Fruit to Eat Organic: Apples

Organic apples are a must.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a list of 12 fruits and vegetables called the “Dirty Dozen”. For over 10 years EWG has published this annual guide to help people eat healthy and reduce their exposure to pesticides in produce. The Dirty Dozen™ list of produce lists the top 12 conventional fruits and veggies with the most pesticides. It’s a helpful guide when deciding where to spend your hard earned dollars on organic food.

EWG’s Dirty Dozen™ list of produce includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. Each of these foods showed high concentrations of pesticides when tested.

Why Chose Organic Apples? Apples at the Top of the Pesticide List

When we shop for produce we have many choices -one of the most difficult being whether to invest our hard earned dollars on organic fruits and veggies. While buying organic is always the better option, it can be cost prohibitive to buy everything organic.

Year after year apples have been at the top of the list as a fruit which is doused in pesticides. According to EWG, apples are the single most pesticide-contaminated produce item available at the supermarket. 

We eat a lot of apples over here. Going through a dozen apples in a few days is nothing. I do my best to buy only organic apples for my family.

We are very picky about the type of apples we eat. My son loves organic Fuji apples and the rest of us will only eat Pink Lady. They’re hard to find year round at a farmer’s market or our local Whole Foods Market. The conventional version seems to always be available, but I’m not willing to go that route. I only buy organic apples.

Are there certain fruits and veggies you only buy organic?

 

photo credit: msr via photopin cc

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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