More ways to use a cucumber that I bet you didn't know..

I found a fellow blogger:
Just Making Noise
who is also dedicated to eating healthy and her blog is chock full of good ideas! Be sure to visit her. Here is one of her blog posts. (Another is one post down - check out that amazing recipe for avocado chocolate pudding!)

Here are some amazing tips on the humble cucumber. If you don’t find at least one new tip – well, I’ll eat a whole cucumber!

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day: Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Being a good source of B vitamins and carbohydrates, cucumbers can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Need a WD40 substitute and to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and
college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

Pass this along to everybody you know who is looking for better and safer ways to solve life’s everyday problems.

Chocolate Avocado pudding......

(UPDATE:  I just made this tonight - and WOW! is it ever good!  Rich and decadent tasting, but it's not - it's good for you.  This tastes like a really thick, luscious chocolate pudding.)

What if I told you that I am about to share with you a sweet chocolate pudding that is raw, rich, wholesome, creamy, dairy-free, egg-free, wheat/gluten-free and made with avocados...

Yep, avocados!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding Recipe

makes about  3 servings
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4-1/3 cup honey - or sweetener (I used 1/2 cup +2 Tbsp. Splenda)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup liquid (either water or milk or coconut milk)

Process banana, sweetener, vanilla in a food processor (or blender) till smooth. Add the avocados, cocoa powder and process till creamy. Scrape down the sides a few times with a rubber spatula. Add the liquid and process briefly. Store in a sealed container. It will keep for three days in the fridge or two weeks in the freezer. Serve chilled or at room temp. (tastes best chilled!).

TO DOUBLE IT: Increase the amounts to 1 1/2 bananas, 1/2-3/4 cup raw honey, 1 tsp. vanilla, 4 avocados, 3/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/2 cup water.

Now, one thing to remember:  Since you are using avocados and a banana, the fat/carb/calorie  count will be high.  But this is real food, folks.  And no, you wouldn't want to serve it every night.  But when you want something that is not filled with trans fats and empty calories, this is a good food.  And you also get good nutrients, unlike conventional pudding.  Here is the breakdown, using milk and Splenda:

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 266.8
  Total Fat 19.2 g
      Saturated Fat 3.3 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 11.7 g
  Cholesterol 1.0 mg
  Sodium 20.5 mg
  Potassium 886.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 35.3 g
      Dietary Fiber 11.2 g
      Sugars 17.6 g
  Protein 4.7 g

  Vitamin A 4.8 %
  Vitamin B-12 1.5 %
  Vitamin B-6 28.8 %
  Vitamin C 22.9 %
  Vitamin D 2.6 %
  Vitamin E 8.4 %
  Calcium 5.1 %
  Copper 25.7 %
  Folate 28.3 %
  Iron 10.2 %
  Magnesium 20.9 %
  Manganese 25.9 %
  Niacin 13.1 %
  Pantothenic Acid     18.8 %
  Phosphorus     14.2 %
  Riboflavin 15.5 %
  Selenium 3.7 %
  Thiamin 7.6 %
  Zinc 9.5 %


Wonderful nuts!

Lately, I've been craving nuts and seeds and I've happily satisfied those cravings with sunflower seeds and hulled pistachio nuts. I grab a handful at a time when I'm on the go and so I looked up what a serving actually is.

We should get about 2 servings per day.

One serving is:

12 Almonds

4 Brazil nuts

10 Cashews

10 Hazelnuts

6 Macadamia nuts

15 peanuts

25 Pistachios

1/4 cup Pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup Soy nuts

1 Tablespoon Sunflower seeds

1/4 cup Walnuts

1 Tablespoon Nut butter


The hormone Insulin and how it makes us fat

Insulin is the fat-storing hormone. Insulin is solely responsible for deciding whether food will be burned as fuel or stored as fat. Insulin must be present for food to be stored as fat. Eating dietary fat causes virtually no secretion of insulin. Without the presence of insulin, food cannot be stored as fat. Regardless of how much fat you eat, the pancreas will not secrete insulin, which is the only way fat can be stored as body fat.

If you eat a protein or fat alone, like a piece of meat, your body will break it down easily. These foods will not cause weight gain when eaten alone because they trigger virtually no increase in your blood sugar levels, so there is not a significant insulin response.

Proteins and fats can also be eaten in combination with vegetables low in starch (which are also foods that cause little to no insulin production). Therefore, eating eggs, meat, cheese and butter will not make you fat when eaten together.

It's a scientific fact: Refined carbs and "Fats in combination with sugar" create the problem of weight gain.

But let's say you eat proteins or fats with carbohydrates, like meat with potatoes. If your body is in perfect balance, it should use the carbs in the potato for energy, extract the protein and healthy fats from the meat, and discard the remainder. However, if your cells are filled with sugar and will not accept any more, the carbs in the potato will trigger an insulin response that can lead to both the potato and the meat being sent to the fat cells.

So, with the understanding of insulin and how it must be present in order for the food to be sent to the fat cells, we would want to be careful about what food combination we eat.

Fruit is sugar. Eating fruit with our fats and proteins would make insulin present. With insulin present, then the food will likely be stored as fat....... (It's best to eat fruit alone for a snack)

Can you think of all the ways that we have sugar with every meal? (Keep in mind the High Fructose Corn Syrup) This is why it is so hard to lose the weight.

So, to repeat............
Sugar brings out the insulin - which is solely responsible for deciding whether food will be burned as fuel or stored as fat.


When healthy oil becomes dangerous

Trans fat = poison

If you think you are avoiding trans fat by not using fake foods like margarine or processed peanut butter.

Surprise! There is another way that you may be ingesting trans fat while thinking you are being "good". I'm talking about when good things go bad.

Suzanne Sommers has done decades of research into healthy eating and in her book, "Slim and Sexy Forever" she says:

"Trans fats also occur when we heat polyunsaturated fats (such as vegetable oil) to high temperatures for frying. I know it sounds ironic, but you are actually better off frying food in saturated fat - such as butter, lard, or palm kernel oil - or in monounsaturated fat - such as peanut oil - than you are frying it in polyunsaturated oil such as corn, safflower, or vegetable oil. We've been led to believe these polyunsaturated oils are a healthier choice, but beware of frying foods with them because when heated too high, they become the most unhealthy types of fats - trans fats.

In response to the fat scare, many restaurants and food chains boast that they fry only in "cholesterol-free" oils, such as vegetable, corn, or safflower oil. These "healthy" oils in their natural state become dangerous trans fats when heated to high temperatures for frying!"


Dangers of trans fats!!

– in causing obesity and diabetes

The latest research into the dangers of trans fats in relation to obesity tells us that not all calories are equal. And certainly not all fats are equal.

In May 2006, researchers at Wake Forest University reported, after a six-year study, that calories from trans fats made laboratory monkeys fatter than calories from other forms of fat. And this was in spite of efforts by the researchers to prevent the monkeys from gaining weight, by placing them on a low calorie diet.

The researchers also found that calories from
trans fats made the monkeys much fatter around the tummy.

Trans fats re-distributed body fat, moving fat from other parts of the body to the abdomen area, thereby creating the “pear-shape” figure that has been strongly associated with heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.

Lawrence Rudel, Ph.D., who headed the research, declare that the dangers of trans fats are worse than anticipated.

Other scientists are now saying that we need to re-think the whole idea that weight gain depends on calorie intake – because the latest study shows that even low calorie diets can produce weight gain if those calories come from trans fats.

In the Wake Forest study, researchers were originally investigating the dangers of trans fats in causing arteriosclerosis, or plaque build-up in the arteries.

In the study, researchers fed 51 male vervet monkeys a western-style diet, which had 35 percent of their diet coming from fats. Half the monkeys got a lot of trans fat, totaling 8 percent of their total calorie intake. The other monkeys were fed unsaturated fats such as olive oil.

Both types of diets were calorie-controlled, as the researchers did not want the monkeys to put on weight. This was to ensure that whatever dangers of trans fats found during the research were due to trans fat intake, and not to other factors such as weight gain.

So in theory, the monkeys should not have gained weight. But they did.

Over six years -- equivalent to a 20-year span for humans -- the monkeys who ate unsaturated fats increased their body weight only marginally, by 1.8 percent. Monkeys that were given trans fats, however, put on 7.2 percent more weight.

Dangers of trans fats – diabetes

A 7.2 percent weight gain may not seem much. But it is significant for two reasons:

  • The monkeys were not supposed to gain any weight at all

  • Even a 5 percent weight gain is enough to increase a person's risk of diseases like diabetes.

Said Dr Kylie Kavanagh, who reported the findings at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in Washington:

"In the world of diabetes, everybody knows that just 5 percent weight gain or weight loss makes an enormous difference. This little difference was biologically quite significant."

The trans-fat eating primates also had higher blood glucose levels and were more insulin resistant than their counterparts. In other words, the monkeys were showing early signs of Type II diabetes or adult-onset diabetes.

Dangers of trans fats – beer bellies

More significant than the 7.2 percent weight gain was the fact that the monkeys developed “beer bellies”, putting on much more weight around the tummy.

“The trans-fat eaters also had about 33 percent more flab around their bellies. You can see white gobs of fat in these guys”, said Dr Kylie Kavanagh.

Click here to read about the dangers of trans fats in causing heart disease.



Let's talk about Helicobacter Pylori

Most people really don't know what H. plyori is. (The above pic is of the bacteria) I didn't until my mom (age 75) was diagnosed with it. This is a bacteria known for causing stomach ulcers and linked to stomach cancer because of that. (Mom's dad died from stomach cancer.)

Their are certain foods that can help kill this nasty bacteria and we all need to add these to our diet to help protect us from stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.

* Broccoli sprouts
* Cranberries and its juice (The juice of cranberries helps kill bacteria in the mouth, too)
* Garlic
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Oranges and tangerines
* Turmeric (a spice made from cucumin)
* Resveratrol (found in wine, peanuts and berries) 20 milligrams/daily is the recommended amount. This is the best way to get it as you'd have to drink 1000's of glasses of wine to get the same 20 milligrams, as found in a supplement!


Study: Organic, Cage-Free Eggs No Healthier Than Factory

This year, like every year, has been a busy one for America's chickens. What the birds lack in smarts they make up for in work ethic, laying about 78 billion eggs annually (or 6.5 billion dozen), supplying a $7 billion industry. GM should be doing so well.

Like any other workers, hens turn out economy, premium and luxury products - known as factory, cage-free and organic eggs - and consumers pay accordingly. A recent survey conducted in one random city - Athens, Ga. - found factory eggs going for $1.69 per dozen, cage-free for $2.99 to $3.59, and organic for $3.99 to a whopping $5.38.

But it's worth it to pay more because you're getting a healthier product, right? Wrong. Most of the time, according to a just-released study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the eggs are indistinguishable. When there is a difference, it's often the factory eggs that are safer.

The study, led by food technologist Deana Jones, was not designed to explore the question of which egg-laying conditions are best for the hens themselves - simply because there is no question. Factory hens are confined in what are known as battery cages, which leave them crowded and all but immobilized, reduced to little more than egg-laying machines. Free-range and organic chickens have different degrees of freedom to move and are raised on varying levels of higher-quality feed. There's no question what kind of life the birds prefer.

What Jones and her colleagues wanted to learn is whether a happy hen in fact produces a better product. To do that, they relied principally on something known as the Haugh unit - a highly specialized egg-quality metric developed by food technologist Raymond Haugh in 1937. The white of an egg is where all its protein is found; it's made of both thin albumen - the watery fluid that runs farthest from the yolk when the egg is cracked into a cold pan - and thick albumen, the more viscous fluid that stays closer to the middle. The greater the amount of thick albumen, the more nutritious the egg.

"The Haugh unit factors together the weight of the egg and the thickness of the albumen layer at the center," says Jones. And that number, she found in her study, is not affected a whit by how a hen is raised. "We found no meaningful differences at all," she says. "We sampled eggs from a number of stores and kept getting the same results over and over. For shoppers, the decision comes down to your ethical and moral choices."

That, at least, is all that's involved when it comes to egg nutrition. But what about safety? Don't organic eggs have the edge in terms of antibiotics and other contaminants? Surprisingly, the USDA has not devoted a great deal of study to the antibiotic question, mostly because the drugs are used sparingly in the egg-laying industry - at least compared with the cattle industry, in which even healthy animals are kept dosed to prevent infections.

"There's just very little research I've seen on this," says USDA immunologist and microbiologist Peter Holt. "Hens are not routinely treated with antibiotics, though they may be if they're sick." In those cases, the eggs the birds produce lose their organic designation temporarily, until the drugs have cleared their systems.

The bigger problem comes with the environmental contaminants, and here the factory eggs have the edge. Research in both the U.S. and the E.U. has shown that free-range chickens have higher levels of PCBs, simply because they get out more and can peck almost anywhere. "There was a study in California of a free-range or organic farm with a wood-processing facility nearby," says Holt. "The chickens there had 100 times the PCB level of battery-cage chickens." A Brazilian study found something similar with DDT, even though the pesticide, which is slow to degrade, hadn't been used in the area in nine years. "You really have to know the history of the land before you can be sure it's safe," Holt says.

Another mistake some health-conscious consumers make - though it doesn't take the new USDA study to reveal it - is believing that the color of an egg makes a difference and that brown shells are somehow better than white ones. They're not. Color is determined entirely by the breed of chicken laying it, and the fact that brown eggs often cost a little more has nothing to do with quality. "It simply takes more feed to get a brown-shell species to lay," says Jones. "You're paying that additional production cost." As in any other industry, when the workers get a raise - even if it's chickenfeed - you'll see it on the price tag.

Source: TIMES