Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

Quinoa Black Bean BurgersThese super-healthy patties make a mouthwatering, protein-rich vegetarian alternative to hamburgers. Serve them up on a whole-wheat bun with garlic lemon mayo, fresh raw spinach, sliced tomato, and caramelized onions for a lunch or dinner hit.

Ingredients:
1 15-oz. can black beans, well-drained
¾ cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup finely diced bell pepper
2 tbsp very finely chopped onion
½ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 large clove minced garlic
½ tbsp cumin
½ tsp salt
1 tsp hot sauce
1 egg
3 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
Roughly mash black beans with a fork (there should be some whole blacks beans left in a sort of paste). Stir in quinoa, pepper, onion, breadcrumbs and garlic. Stir in seasonings. Stir in egg. Form into 5 patties. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, flipping half way. Serve on a bun and add your favorite toppings.

Makes 5 servings

Per serving (1 burger): 235 calories, 5g fat, 11g fiber, 10g protein

8 Healthy Condiments

Condiments
Rice cakes. Cottage cheese. Melba toast. Diet staples bland enough to send you down to Staples to buy some Styrofoam peanuts to add a little flavor to your eating plan. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, if you really want to move the needle on the scale, you’re going to have to cut out a lot of fat, sugar, and sodium, but that doesn’t mean your new regimen of steaming, blanching, and boiling has to condemn you to a life of bland eating. Many condiments can spice up your cuisine without adding any calories, and in some cases, they can even accelerate your weight loss! Here are eight of our favorites.

1. Ketchup
Until recently, ketchup had been the king of the condiments. Americans have found very few meals that couldn’t be improved by being drenched in tomato-ey goodness. And ketchup has quite a number of healthy properties. Remember when the Reagan administration famously classified it as a vegetable in school lunches? OK, maybe that went too far . . . but it is chock-full of lycopene, one of the most potent antioxidants around. The only problem is that most brands are also chock-full of sodium, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and sugar, which substantially defrays the health benefits of the tomatoes. But more and more ketchup manufacturers are offering low-salt, low-HFCS brands; and if you can get your hands on them, you can drench your favorite meals with nutritional impunity. Or for the culinarily inclined, you can make your own ketchup and add the amount of sugar and salt that is right for you.

2. Mustard
This sharp paste made from the crushed seeds of the mustard plant comes in colors ranging from yellow to brown and in sharpness ranging from tangy to eye-watering. Mustard has practically no calories or fat to speak of, and even if it did, a little goes a long way. After all, it is one of the only condiments to be weaponized. It is worth checking the labels as some are high in sodium and others can add sugar or oil for flavor and texture, but generally, mustard can be consumed guilt free—as much as your palate can handle. There are lots of gourmet varieties with ingredients like horseradish, white wine, or jalapeños added for extra zest.

3. Salsa
In the last decade or so, salsa has overtaken ketchup as the number-one condiment in America. There are literally thousands of different kinds of salsas, though most contain tomatoes, onions, and peppers as their base. Very low in calories and high in flavor, salsas are a great accent to any dish, but as with all commercially prepared items, attention should be paid to the levels of sodium and high-fructose corn syrup. It’s a pretty easy thing to make yourself. A simple pico de gallo can be made by combining diced tomatoes and onions with minced cilantro and jalapeño and marinating those ingredients in lime juice. Make a big bowl on Sunday and have a healthy snack or sauce all week long!

4. Hot sauce I can go through two or three bottles of hot sauce a week. My refrigerator door rattles with tall skinny bottles of the stuff and I have been known to excuse myself from the dinner table in order to towel off my face. While many have said that the high levels of capsaicin (the “burning” component in chili peppers) I consume have deadened my taste buds to subtle flavors, I would argue that the hot sauce has opened my palate wide. I pity those who don’t have the iron stomach to withstand the delights offered by habanero, chipotle, and cayenne peppers. A little bit of hot sauce gives a ton of flavor with practically no calories, and the capsaicin is even believed to boost your metabolism. As always, keeping an eye on the sodium content is advisable.

5. Soy sauce
Needless to say, this isn’t a very good part of a low-sodium diet, but there are low-sodium versions available (although low-sodium soy sauce has through-the-roof levels of sodium compared to most other foods). Some studies have shown that soy sauce contains even more antioxidants than red wine and, as a result of the fermentation process used to make it, high levels of probiotics. It doesn’t have all the health benefits found in other soy products like edamame or tofu, but as a substitute for salt as a seasoning, you get a lot more nutritional bang for your buck.

6. Vinegar
Vinegar comes in many different varieties—malt, wine, rice, cider, sherry, balsamic, and on and on. The word itself comes from the French vin aigre, or “sour wine.” But unlike wine, vinegar has no alcohol and, depending on the variety, very few or zero calories. But it does have plenty of zip and tang. I find that a dash to my favorite soup or a sprinkle on my sandwich or salad adds lots of flavor without adding salt, fat, or sugar. In fact, studies have shown that vinegar helps stabilize blood sugar levels, and in one study, a test group of people who drank two tablespoons of vinegar before meals showed more weight loss than the group who didn’t.

7. Yogurt
Yogurt has the most calories and potentially the most fat of any of the condiments on this list. Full-fat yogurt, in fact, can have milkfat levels as high as ice cream. But low-fat and nonfat varieties serve as great substitutes for mayonnaise or a creamy dressing without adding too many calories to your dish. And with high levels of L. acidophilus and other probiotics, yogurt can also be very beneficial to your digestive system. Try mixing some plain nonfat yogurt with your favorite herbs or a little mustard or curry as a salad dressing or dipping sauce. Or try goat’s-milk yogurt for some flavor variety.

8. Curry
In different parts of the world curry can mean almost any number of combinations of savory spices. Besides the powder derived from the curry plant, curry powders and paste can contain many spices, including turmeric, coriander, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and fenugreek. There are commercially prepared curries from all over the world, from India to Thailand to the Caribbean. Keep an eye out for salt and fat content, and you’ll be on your way to giving your sauces, meats, fish, and vegetables a hit of amazing flavor without adding calories.

How To Eat Clean

Clean EatingThis is the question I get asked all the time. I think people assume it’s really difficult and time-consuming. It’s really just a matter of planning all meals and snacks ahead of time. Here are some basic principles of clean eating that you’ll need to keep in mind:

Eat primarily non processed foods. If it comes out of a box, don’t eat it. If it comes from the earth, eat it.
Eat six times a day. This is to keep your metabolism fired up and it keeps you from getting too hungry.
No alcohol or sodas. Drink lots of water and/or herbal unsweetened tea.
Never miss a meal.
Combine lean protein and complex carbs at every meal.
Avoid all saturated and trans fats.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ideas for breakfast would be:

  • Steel cut oatmeal (not flakes) with berries and 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 4-5 scrambled egg whites  with 4 oz. potatoes mixed with red peppers and onions
  • 1 c. yogurt with 1 c. fresh berries, 1 slice whole wheat toast
  • whole wheat pancakes with fruit
  • banana chocolate smoothie

NEVER, EVER skip breakfast!!!! Think about it. You’ve just been sleeping for 7-8 hrs. (hopefully). Your body needs some fuel after not eating for that length of time. Your mother was right. It IS the most important meal of the day!

Lunch:

Okay, here’s where things get a bit more challenging. Most people are home at breakfast time. Not so for lunch. My suggestion would be to pack a small cooler the night before and just grab it when you leave for work in the morning. (This is where the planning comes in.) Anyway, here are some lunch ideas:

  • 4 oz. chicken on whole wheat bread with mustard and avocado slice; green salad with olive oil and vinegar.
  • 4 oz. chicken, 1/2 c. brown rice, 1 c. low sodium lentil soup.
  • 1 c. whole wheat pasta, 1/2 c. low sodium marinara sauce, 4 oz. grilled chicken breast, 1/2 c. broccoli
  • Mexican Chicken Wrap
  • Easy Chicken Salad

Dinner:

  • 4 oz. salmon, 1 medium  baked sweet potato and 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 turkey burger patty, 1 baked potato cubed and roasted with 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. chopped rosemary
  • pizza made with 1 whole grain English muffin, 1/4 c. part skim mozzarella cheese; salad made with 1/4 c. chickpeas, 2 tsp. cilantro, 2 tsp. minced garlic and 1 Tbsp. honey-mustard vinaigrette

Snacks:

Snacks are NOT optional!!! You will need to eat 3 snacks a day, one after breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner. In the beginning you’re going to feel like you’re eating ALL THE TIME but soon you will get used to eating this way. Believe me, it beats walking around hungry all day. Here are some tasty snack ideas. All snacks should be around 200 calories.

  • Larabars
  • 1 English muffin with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 6 whole wheat crackers and 1 oz. cheese
  • 1 c. plain nonfat yogurt with 1 c. berries
  • 1 small baked sweet potato mixed with 1 c. plain nonfat yogurt

What Is Quinoa? Plus the Best 5 Quinoa Recipes

QuinoaIncluded in many good-for-you lists is one tiny food that packs a huge healthful punch: quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah), which is loaded with protein, fiber and magnesium.

Though it is smaller than rice, barley, farro and bulgur, quinoa looks like a grain, thanks to its neutral coloring and hard exterior. However, it is actually a seed that originates from the cousin of the spinach plant. When cooked, these seeds expand rapidly and significantly, become tender but chewy and expel spirals that boast the slightest crunch. When using quinoa, it’s important to rinse it thoroughly before boiling, as it’s often coated with saponins that are bitter and need to be removed.

After cooking in liquid — water or chicken broth are most common — quinoa becomes light, fluffy, nutty and the ideal canvas to showcase intense flavors, rich textures and your favorite veggies, meats and sauces. Give this super seed a try, using Food Network’s five best quinoa recipes and let us know what you think of it.

1. Yellow Quinoa — Ingrid Hoffman’s 25-minute quinoa is best served hot, with sauteed onions, green chiles and adobo seasoning.

2. Grilled Asparagus and Quinoa Salad With Goat Cheese and Black Olive Vinaigrette — Thanks to its multiple robust components and flavors, this hearty salad is an entire meal on a plate.

3. Salmon Kebobs With Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad — A light accompaniment to grilled salmon, this simple quinoa side dish boasts in-season grapefruit, sliced ginger and a balance of sweet and spicy with warm honey and a serrano chile.

4. Lentil Quinoa Salad — Equal parts quinoa and lentils drizzled with a Dijon vinaigrette ensure that this salad is protein-packed and satisfying.

5. Quinoa With Garlic, Pine Nuts and Raisins — After fluffing the quinoa (pictured above), Ellie tosses it with contrasting textures and bold tastes, including chewy raisins, crunchy pine nuts, a squirt of lemon juice and raw garlic.

Crock Pot Bean Bourguignonne

Crock Pot Bean BourguignonneBourguignonne means “in the style of Burgundy,” one of France’s most famous food and wine regions. Most Bourguignonne dishes are beef braised in red wine, which intensifies other flavors in the dish, but we’ve substituted beans for the beef in this easy-to-assemble crock pot meal.

Crock Pot Bean Bourguignonne serves up to 6 people

INGREDIENTS
2 cans (15 oz. each) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, chopped
1 large or 2 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf
11/2 cups dry vegan red wine (such as Frey Cabernet Sauvignon)
6 oz. canned tomato paste
1/2 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place beans, mushrooms, onion, potatoes, carrots and celery in a 4-quart crock pot. Sprinkle with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper; add bay leaf. Stir to coat vegetables.

2. Pour wine over mixture in crock pot. In a small bowl, mix tomato paste and water; pour into crock pot and stir.

3. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and serve.

NUTRITION FACTS
(per serving):
230 calories
12 g protein
44 g carbs
0 g fat
11 g fiber
10 g sugar
992 mg sodium

Garlic seared broccoli

Garlic seared broccoliINGREDIENTS

2 tsp. olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups broccoli florets (1⁄2-inch pieces)
1⁄2 cup water

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic for one minute, stirring constantly. Add broccoli and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
2. Pour water over broccoli, cover and steam for two more minutes. Stir and serve.

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):

44 calories
2 g protein
5 g carbs
2.5 g fat
1 g fiber
0 mg cholesterol
20 mg sodium
0 g sugar

Cook it in five minutes or less by:
>> Steaming – place in a steamer over boiling water
>> Sautéing – sizzle in a skillet with a dash of oil
>> Flash dunking – drop florets into 1 inch of boiling water, scoop out when bright green

Roma Tomato Pasta

Roma Tomato PastaWhen you’re dying for carbs, this healthy dish delivers – with flavor to spare

Whole grain foods are often perceived as being healthy, but not particularly tasty. The carbs associated with pasta dishes often get a bad rap, too. But the right carbs, in the right amount and at the right time, are as important to building muscle as consuming protein. Additionally, modern whole grain pastas are much more flavorful, have a much better texture, and contain many vital nutrients. The USDA, in fact, recommends that people eat at least three servings of whole grains, such as those found in pasta, every day.

This month’s recipe will show you that, with the right ingredients and simple preparation, whole wheat pasta can taste great and fit into a lot of muscle-building diet plans, including carb cycling and carb back-loading.

What you’ll need
• Large pot
• Kitchen knife
• Spatula
• Wooden spoon
• Sauté pan (approx. 12 to 14 inches)

Ingredients
½ cup red onion, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1 tbsp chili paste
1 cup roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
3 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked
2 cups watercress, chopped
½ cup fresh mint, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Optional: low-fat shredded cheese

Directions

1) In a large bowl, toss onion, parsley, garlic, vinaigrette, chili paste, tomatoes, and grape seed oil; mix well. Over medium-high heat, pour the mixture into a large sauté pan, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until onions are translucent, stirring continuously.

2) Bring water to a boil in a medium pot (large enough to accommodate about 3 cups of cooked pasta). Cook pasta until it reaches the desired tenderness. Drain, and set aside until sauce is finished. You can add a splash of grape seed oil to the pasta to keep it from sticking.

3) Once the onion-tomato mixture has cooked, remove half the liquid and add cooked pasta and watercress. Cover and reduce heat to low. Allow pasta-vegetable mixture to simmer for 4 to 5 minutes; remove from heat and uncover. Portion to bowls and finish with mint and basil. If desired, you can also sprinkle a little low-fat cheese on top. To boost the protein content, add a couple of slices of grilled chicken.

Yields: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 bowl
Calories 101, Carbs 17g
Protein 3g, Fat 3g

Ginger Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Ginger Teriyaki Pork TenderloinMakes Two Servings
>> 1-lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed
>> 11⁄2 Tbsp. roasted garlic teriyaki sauce
>> 11⁄2 tsp. cornstarch
>> 1⁄4 tsp. ground ginger
>> 6 oz. pineapple juice
>> Nonstick cooking spray

Start: Cut tenderloin into half-inch-thick slices. Flatten slices with the palm of your hand. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat until hot.

Cook: Add pork and cook three minutes on each side or until browned. Combine teriyaki sauce and remaining ingredients in a small bowl and add to pork in skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for three minutes.

Serve: Remove pork from skillet, then spoon extra sauce over meat.

NUTRITION FACTS
(per 8-oz. serving):
312 calories, 48 g protein, 15 g carbs, 6 g fat, 0 g fiber

7 Foods with Healing Powers

Healing Foods
Spending time on my grandparents’ farm taught me the connection between fresh food and good health at an early age. In addition, my grandmother’s pantry was our pharmacy and, over the years, many of the things I was taught by Grandma have been backed by “science.” Here are seven fresh and natural foods with the potential power to heal you physically and mentally.

The Magnificent 7
1. Blueberries
These nutrient-packed berries can help bruises disappear. They are a rich source of flavonoids and a good source of vitamin C, which together improve blood circulation (thus reducing swelling) and help form collagen, the tissue that holds skin together.

2. Lemons
Squeeze two whole lemons into your tea, seltzer, and other beverages or on salads and other food to get your daily requirement of vitamin C. This major antioxidant not only fights heart disease and boosts immunity but it also helps form the collagen we need to heal tendons, ligaments, bones, and blood vessels.

3. Garlic
Two garlic cloves a day may keep what Grandpa called “hardening of the arteries” away. We now call it arteriosclerosis, but the garlic works just the same. In a German study recently presented at an American Heart Association conference in Washington, D.C., it was stated that taking two cloves of garlic a day reduces the formation of arterial plaque by up to 40 percent. And 42 other clinical trials have shown that garlic can improve cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure.

4. Lettuce
If getting to sleep is a problem, a sedative you may not have known about is lettuce, which contains a sleep-inducing substance called lectucarium. Its effects have been compared to the sedative effects of opium, but without the accompanying excitement.

5. Chocolate
Dark chocolate is packed with healthy nutrients, including flavonoids, that are part of a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols that decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation, reduces the risk of blood clots, increases blood flow in arteries, and may lower high blood pressure. In addition, most of us can agree that chocolate improves mood and pleasure. It does that by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Plus, chocolate contains a number of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

6. Apples
Give in to temptation when it comes to one of the earth’s healthiest foods. They are a great source of fiber. They’re also a source of the phytochemical quercetin—a compound widely recognized for its ability to fight heart disease and cancer. “Apples are one of the best sources of flavonoids—as long as you leave on the peel,” Kristine Napier, RD, writes in Eat to Heal. “Their complement of phytochemicals helps them fight heart disease, stroke, cancer, infections, inflammation and colitis.” Because of the combination of fiber and fructose, apples help maintain blood sugar levels, which is key in fighting that afternoon blood sugar low. In fact, a successful dieting tip is to crunch into an apple for your afternoon snack—you’ll end up eating a lot less during dinner.

7. Avocados
This tropical fruit wasn’t grown in the United States until the 1830s. It is rich in potassium, beta-carotene, and “good” fat—the same monounsaturated fat that’s found in olive oil and has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Avocados are also a rich source of the essential fatty acid (EFA) omega-9 that helps promote hormone regulation, the transportation of fat through the body, and the breakup of cholesterol. Because avocados are higher in calories than other fruits—two-thirds of an avocado has about 150 calories—you might not want to eat the “alligator pear” at every meal, but you can increase the delicious quotient of your favorite sandwich by adding some slices or making it a fiesta by digging into some guacamole.

7 Alkalizing Foods That Cleanse The Liver

Cleanse the Liver
7 ALKALIZING FOODS THAT CLEANSE THE LIVER – garlic, grapefruit, green grasses, green vegetables, avocado, walnuts, and tumeric.

Our liver works extremely hard everyday to protect us from adverse affects from metabolic an dietary acid and often it is easy for our liver to become overwhelmed compromising our health significantly.

Here are 7 common foods you can include daily to help cleanse your liver naturally.  The primary way in which your body expels metabolic, dietary and environmental acid is via the liver, which detoxifies and cleanses your body by continuously filtering the blood of poisons that enter it through the digestive tract, the skin, and the respiratory system. But when your liver becomes overworked as a result of stress or excessive exposure to acid, your entire system can be thrown off balance, and your health severely compromised.

Since the liver is also responsible for producing alkalizing bile, another form of detoxification that is metabolically necessary for the breakdown and elimination of metabolic, environmental and dietary acid from your lifestyle.  It is exceedingly important that your liver be properly alkalized with an alkaline lifestyle and diet.  Without a well-functioning liver, your body will be unable to cleanse and detox itself from metabolic and dietary acid, which is a recipe for a health disaster.

So here are seven important alkalizing foods you may want to begin incorporating into your diet in order to maintain a healthy alkaline liver.

1. Garlic and Onion

Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for flushing out dietry and metabolic acid from the body. This bulbous relative of the onion also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from acidic damage, and aid it in the detoxification process.

2. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, grapefruit contains compounds that buffer excess acids. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to bind up acids for elimination rather than storing them in the fatty tissues.

3. Green Grasses

Green grasses, like wheat and barley grass are loaded with chlorophyll, a the main molecule in green grasses that buffers excess metabolic and dietary acids.  The increase in chlorophyll from green grasses also helps in detoxing the small bowel and liver and maintaining the alkaline design of the body.

4. Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body, and spur the creation and flow of cleansing alkalizing bile.

5. Avocado

Rich in glutathione-producing compounds, avocados actively promote liver health by protecting it against toxic acidic overload, and boosting its cleansing power. Some research has shown that eating one or two avocados a week for as little as 30 days can repair a damaged liver.  Dr. Robert O. Young recommends eating an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.

6. Walnuts

Walnuts, which contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood, and extracts from their hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas.

7. Tumeric

Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage, and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.