Cucumber and Feta Salad Recipe

Since it’s Ramadan, I may be more inclined to post a lot of recipes this month. I admit, however, I probably won’t be making most of them, as I tend to crave my mom’s Fatoush and Lentil Soup during Ramadan. But that still doesn’t stop my mouth from watering when I see something like a Cucumber and Feta salad pop up on my home page. This salad sounded so refreshing, I had to share it (I am not a jalepeño fan, so I will take that out of my personal recipe).

Ingredients

  • 1 pound(s) fresh garden cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup(s) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup(s) Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 small jalapeno, diced
  • 5 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper

Directions

  1. With a potato peeler, peel strips of skin off the cucumber in alternating strips to leave half the skin on. Cut into one-inch cubes.

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving if you have the time.

I found this simple recipe on this website.

Natural Energy Boosters

Well, so much for my “fitness week” blog posts! I successfully gave you only one fitness tip the entire week (I hope you all got to try out a spinning class)! Unfortunately (or maybe I should say fortunately?), the only excuse I have for you is laziness – pure laziness. I just have not had the energy lately to write when I’m at home, and I’m too busy at work to try on my lunch break.

So, today’s stress relief advice is to introduce natural sources of energy to your diet. We all get low on energy, and many of us make the mistake of loading up on sugars or “bad for you” snacks to get a short-term boost. I happened to come across an article on WebMD about how food is linked to one’s energy and mood. If you want to read the details of how food can affect your energy, click here to read the full article. I will let you know which foods to make sure you add to your diet 😉

1)      “Smart Carbs” – carbs are not our enemy as many may think, whole grains like whole wheat bread and pasta and brown rice are good for you! They are also sources of fiber, which stabilizes your energy flow (other sources of fiber include beans, fruits and veggies)

2)      Cashews, Almonds and Hazelnuts – magnesium-rich foods, and Brazil nuts – a source of selenium to boost your mood

3)      Lean Meats – good sources of protein keep you alert and focused

4)      Omega 3 and Folate – both can be found in leafy greens, and Omega 3 can also be found in fatty fish like salmon, both can counter depression

5)      Water – water should be your best friend throughout the day, keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day will fight fatigue. Also, you may be thinking you are hungry when, in reality, you are dehydrated and thirsty.

6)      Caffeine – the article also makes mention of caffeine, which I will not elaborate on (even though I am a big fan of coffee, I do not depend on it for energy), but caffeine includes tea, coffee and chocolate, which all have their great benefits

7)      Breakast – you can visit “Start your morning off Right” for more on this  

Load up on your healthy grains, fruits, veggies and healthy proteins – keep your diet balanced and you’re sure to have an energy boost. I will try my best to keep my diet in check so I can throw my lethargy out the window and continue blogging! 🙂

You are what you Eat

We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” but we know it doesn’t mean we will become nuts if we eat nuts! It is simply a way to say “eat well” – if you eat healthy foods you feel healthier, if you eat unhealthy foods feel unhealthy.  So, making an effort to put healthy foods in our diets is essential to living a nutritious lifestyle and feeling well.

Eating foods that benefit your body will reward you in the near and far future. Not only does healthy food have long term benefits to our overall well-being, but it also provides natural “cures” for people suffering from specific ailments.  You can find a food that is rich in just about every vitamin and mineral you may be lacking. If your memory is failing you, eat some fish, if you feel sad, eat some dark chocolate, if you need a brain boost, eat some walnuts, if you are cramping, eat a banana! There is almost always a remedy in natural foods, so imagine how strong your body can be if you put these plentiful foods in your daily diet.

I understand that it’s easy to choose a meal based on what our eyes and taste buds may be shouting for, but have we ever thought about how our stomachs and bodies will react and respond to it? I think most people can agree that if they take fried foods out their diet, their stomach will reject them when reentered into the digestive system. The same idea goes for processed foods.  If you train your body to forget the unhealthy foods and digest and accept raw, natural, and wholesome meals, our stomachs will realize that processed foods and packaged snacks are foreign objects that do not benefit the body. And, I promise, eventually, your eyes and taste buds will be jumping for the beneficial foods.

Just a note, I do believe that a healthy diet is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and if you can completely take out all of the “bad for you” foods from your diet, then more power to you! But, I do not want to be a hypocrite, because I know more than anyone that I am a sucker to many processed snacks and junk food! But, I only let myself have them in small doses. I do not, by any means, make them a part of my daily diet.  Just make sure you’re “good” the majority of the time, and let yourself have a moment of weakness every now and then. 

“The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine.”  – Hippocrates

Antioxidizing the Fish Tank

This morning I took out some blueberries to eat with my breakfast and the inside cover said “Start a healthy relationship with your body. Enjoy our blueberries! #1 Antioxidant.” I think it’s about time I start bringing nutrition into my blogs, because living in an unhealthy body is the easiest way to increase your stress levels and add unnecessary weight (as in pounds and burden!) to your life. So, since my blueberry box gave me such a great message this morning, I’m going to try to put more antioxidants into my diet.

In researching the benefits of antioxidants, I found an article that compares the human body to a fish tank. Basically, antioxidants enter our body and prevent the formation of harmful “gunk”, just like the bottom feeder fish cleans up the waste in the tank to prevent harm to the other fish. It sounds gross, but at the same time, sounds like a nice cleanse, right? The “gunk” in our bodies forms by the creation of free radicals, which are unstable molecules in the body that, in excess, can be extremely detrimental to our health. They can cause our cells to be weak, effecting our organs, tissues and skin. Antioxidants prevent the creation of these free radicals, by slowing down and preventing the oxidation of molecules.

I am a big believer in adding important vitamins and nutrients to your diet through food, rather than supplements.  Increase your antioxidant intake by adding healthy foods to your diet. This article that helped me research the benefits of antioxidants, also provides a list of foods that are good for your body.  You can see it at the following link: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-antioxidants/   

Have a great weekend!

The Easiest Breakfast

As I’ve said before, start your morning off right. And the best way to do this is to have a satisfying and healthy breakfast. Today, I just want to share my favorite weekday breakfast.

Prepare one pack of instant (organic) oatmeal (oatmeal + boiling water); Add a banana; Add crushed walnuts; If needed, add your preferred sweetener (please try to stay away from unnatural sweeteners!)

And, voila! Breakfast is served!

Total time – maybe 2 minutes for the boiling water and that’s about it

Just as a note: Oatmeal is considered a “heart-healthy” meal, which helps control weight. It is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and it is said to lower cholesterol.  

If you don’t like any of my additions to oatmeal, try your favorite fruits and nuts. My only recommendation is to stick to the original flavored oatmeal, don’t buy the ones with added flavors. Those oatmeal boxes claim to be “healthy breakfasts,” but in reality, they are packed with high, unnecessary sugars. If you like the cinnamon flavor, add your own cinnamon! Same with vanilla, apple, etc. Just make it as natural as possible.

Try it out and see what you think 🙂 Happy Eating!

Have a BBQ!

It’s spring time, meaning it’s the most enjoyable weather of the year! (Aside from the allergies…). If the weather permits, go make the most of your weekend by spending it outdoors.  One of my favorite ways to spend my time is with friends and with food…so organize a BBQ this weekend. Grilling is so easy and there is always one willing volunteer who will offer his/her grilling services.  If you have a friend with a backyard call them up and plan a small gathering. If you have the backyard, take the initiative to call up some friends and get everyone together. This is a good way to wind down and relax.

If you like crawfish, it’s a great time for a crawfish broil, and if you don’t, it’s always the right time of year for fajitas or burgers. Also, throwing some chicken cutlets onto a skewer with veggies or peppers is a really easy and healthy option.  If you just want to contribute to the meal, some easy and nice ideas are corn on the cob (boiling only takes 10 min) with some added seasoning and butter or a tossed salad.

Have a great weekend!