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Category: Health

oolong-tea

My Five New Favorite Foods

If you have been reading my blog over the last few weeks, then you know that I have turned a new leaf, trying to balance my love of alcohol and cigarettes with a healthy diet and exercise. They do say you can’t have best of both worlds, but I actually think you can. Maybe I am completely delusional, I guess we can’t really know until this new lifestyle has a bit more longevity.

Since I started this change a few weeks back, I have been using my extra time to research healthier options of the foods I love, or just general research on items I should incorporate into my diet. Of course, when you go to the internet in search of learning more about health, you are literally bombarded. Luckily for me, I used to be somewhat of a health nut so I can kind of filter out the B.S from the good stuff.

I figured since health has been a pretty massive topic for most over the last decade (due to the obesity crisis caused by all the crappy food we have so easily available), maybe sharing what I have started eating and learned about would be good for others. After all, I am always trying to do my good deeds so I don’t go to hell for swearing and drinking so much!

Typical Day *Ballin*

Typical Day *Ballin*

1. Organic Bread

I am sure there may be many skeptics out there when it comes to organic food. I know this because I was one of them.  I have never really bothered to buy anything organic in my life. Items are generally super pricey and a lot of companies have jumped on that gravy train, selling everything “organic”, even when it makes no difference. For example, an organic banana is pointless because  you obviously don’t eat the peel, and the peel is the only place where you need to worry about pesticide. Anyway. If you are thinking of trying organic foods, I say the first thing you try, is bread.

I think most people, by now, know that white bread really isn’t good for you. It’s made up  of unrefined white flour that doesn’t digest well because it simply lacks dietary fibre and nutrients, all together. It also slows your metabolism, check out this link for more on why white bread is bad. If you choose to pay a bit more for your bread and go organic, I can guarantee you won’t turn back. I  bought my first loaf last week, and I am converted. I have literally never tasted bread so amazing. I could literally ramble on for this whole article on how good it was. Ahh. I paid a hefty €6 for a single (large) loaf, so for next time I am going to make my own, which most people do. When I make the first batch, I will definitely share that in a future post 🙂 .

I will quickly tell you why organic bread is so much better than the latter. Organic bread strays away from the typical modern method of cooking bread quickly to aid convenience, which involves additives that reduce nutrients and overall goodness. Organic bread usually has ingredients like oat bran, which is great for cholesterol. Overall, its just more natural to eat the organic bread, not having to worry about the undigested bits that remain after white bread. Quite a disturbing thought, actually…

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Organic Bread w/ Seeds = The Best

2. Coconut Oil

Another product that has had a lot of attention over the last while, although I am a new convert. I remember reading about coconut oil about a year ago while  living in London, and was very excited to start using it but it just never happened as I was turned off by the high levels of saturated fat in coconut oil. After doing some further research recently, I am fully convinced that  coconut oil is a real super food. Not only that, but it does wonders for your hair, skin, nails, basically your whole body.

If you don’t know much about coconut oil, let me pass on some of my new-found knowledge to you. After detailed reading I tend to believe that it can help with weight loss and/or maintaining a healthy weight. Why? Because it speeds up your metabolism (burning calories, faster), slows your digestion (so you feel fuller, longer) and is a great detox for your body.  One thing I have read often, is to buy only organic, raw, extra virgin coconut oil. It does cost more, but if you buy other types than you may be subject to coconut oils that have had added chemicals. Kinda defeats the point!

Aside from the whole weight loss factor, it makes for a damn good hair treatment. Just leave it in your hair for no longer than 12 hours (while you sleep?) and wash it out, your hair will be so soft and healthy. For your skin, apply it to your face maybe 3 times a week at night, and it will glow. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will just in case, I am not a doctor, these are my personal experiences, so follow at your own risk. There.  Please don’t attempt to sue me, Thanks.

coconut-oil-uses

Coconut oil. I put that sh*t on everything. Wait, that’s Franks Red Hot.

3. Fennel

There is nothing extremely “super” about fennel, it’s just really damn good. It has this really unique taste to it that I love. It goes really great with steamed spinach, feta cheese and white vinegar, I think that is my favorite recipe for fennel.

So I really thought I was going to have nothing to say about fennel, other than it is awesome. After a brief Google  search  I see that it really is a super food. This website lists that it helps with about 100 things, half of which I have never heard of (what is “angina”? hehe – so immature). The benefits that stand out to me are the fact that it is a mild appetite suppressant, helps aid digestion, and angina (haha, I had to). Ok, so I stand corrected, fennel really is a “super food”. I like to simply buy this yummy veg at the market and cook it, but you an also get fennel tea or capsules. Whatever you fancy!

fennel

Fennel – Best Vegetable Ever

4. Oolong Tea

If I was writing this article five months ago, I would have definitely listed “Green Tea” here, rather than oolong tea. But, a little trip into an Asian supermarket changed that. I knew I had heard of oolong tea before, which I should have considering it is quite a famous tea for those who like to actually drink tea. Tea. Tee. Ok, sorry, distraction. So I picked up a box of oolong for a mere €1 and thought I would give it a shot. It has a really unique but good taste and is really great after meals. Many tea-lovers would see oolong tea as a cross between green and black – strong like black and clear like green.

Oolong tea is from China, and they have drank it for a very long time (centuries). It is said that oolong tea is another great aide in weight loss, preventing skin aging, prevents cancer, strengthens teeth, the list goes on. These few reasons, alone, make it very worth while  to reduce the coffee a bit and opt for some oolong tea. I am a serious coffee addict and have been working on this switch, and I have to say it has been easier than expected! if you like tea, I definitely recommend trying this out.

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Unique-Tasting (But not puke-worthy) Oolong Tea

5. Beets

Ahh, beets. A real childhood memory for me.  My mom used to always buy pickled beets in a jar, and I am pretty sure I would eat them like any typical kid eats candy. I always knew they were good for me, as my mom’s voice echoes in my head from back in the childhood days. Let me sum up some reasons on why exactly beets are so great for you…

First of all, they are really high in antioxidants, which you can never really get enough of. Antioxidants boost your defense system within your body and battle free radicals, which are known to cause cancer. Overall, they just keep you healthy – More energy, better immune system, and great skin! Oh, and before I forget, they have lots of vitamins too.

One thing I find with beets is, there is not a whole lot of different ways to eat them. You can eat them pickled (in a jar) which are super cheap and really healthy, or you can boil them fresh and dice them up in a salad,or throw beets in a juicer with some other veg. That’s about all I know of though when it comes to eating beets. Maybe in the future I can experiment and make them more interesting. We’ll see.

yummy-pickled-beets

Yummy Pickled Beets!

And that about sums up my list (well, my top 5, anyway) of foods I have recently fell in love with (or back in love with). All in the name of health ;). I have noticed after 2-3 weeks of eating extra-healthy and really taking notice of foods, that it isn’t “depressing” or unfulfilling like I and many others would think. Eating extra-healthy is actually kind of fun! You get to learn about the benefits of foods and how they impact your body, and let’s not forget, learning new, yummy recipes for how to cook them!

My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t get to enjoy the foods I love, but I have made really no sacrifice. Just last night, I made an amazing burger from scratch, using salmon and lots of pan-Asian compliments. Not only was it healthy, but absolutely amazing, my new favorite. I am happy to share recipes here on the blog for the yummy new healthy creations. Feel free to share yours in the comments below, too! Thanks for reading!!

homemade-salmon-burger

My Yummy Homemade Salmon Burger!

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The Summer Diet for Liquor-Loving Women

Ahh April! The month where every woman rushes to lose the winter weight so they can look like sexual chocolates in their skimpy summer clothes and eeny weeny polka dot bikinis. Of course, I am speaking for myself but I am sure many others can relate!

As I gather the courage to sign up for my local gym and promise myself to go everyday, I realize sweating my ass off on the treadmill (high incline, naturally) is not the only component to this rapid ‘get fit’ challenge of mine. So, I now muster up the will to eat extra well and decrease the portion size. In my experience, all goes well for the first 24 hours, and then the potential results of this fit challenge become cloudy in the deprivation of carbs and alcohol. Does this sound like you?

If you’re like me and certainly enjoy a cocktail (or 5) as well as food aside from just steamed veg and cucumber water, then you are reading the right post. I have come up with some useful strategies to keep you enjoying your summer without the shame of too much alcohol and late-night munchy weight gain. You’re welcome.

1. Real Fruit & Boozey Smoothies

There is nothing I enjoy more than a delectable fruit cocktail while tanning in the sun, listening to some rock n’ roll. If you like the same kind of simple treats, you may opt to buy the pre-mixed daiquiri or pina colada mix – which, in case you didn’t know, is filled with sugar (the bad kind) and empty calories. This is sure to stop you dead in your tracks when trying to keep a good shape in the summer months. Not only that, but it is straight-up bad for you. Maybe if you just had one, that wouldn’t be so bad, but come on, no one ever has just one. My solution? I stock up on loads of fruit, the best being pineapple, mango strawberries, raspberries, banana, coconut, throw them in a blender with some vodka and ice, mix er up, and bam! You’ve got yourself one wicked cocktail! You have all the yummy natural fruit sugars, paired with a low-calorie alcohol like vodka. This tantalizing mix gives you no shame when your downing the fifth cocktail. 😉

fruit-smoothie-juicer

Pineapple Mango Vodka Smoothie! Mmm

2. Smoked Chicken

This is something I have only recently discovered, and it is truly amazing. Apologies if you are vegan/vegetarian, as this won’t appeal to you, but if that’s not the case, you’re in luck! Smoked chicken is a great item to keep in your fridge, as it is already cooked and can be eaten cold in a colorful salad, or heated up quickly with a yummy stir fry. Because it is smoked, it can be kept for longer the raw chicken, which comes in handy if your having a lounge day on the beach or stumble in at a late hour, craving something quick and filling (ah, we’ve all been there!). Last attempt I have in convincing you this treat is a must-have, most importantly, is the taste! The flavor is much better than if I were to cook the chicken myself, and the calorie content is also low since it was smoked and has no added oils or butter. I wish I was being sponsored by a smoked chicken brand, because I am clearly a passionate advocate!

smoked-chicken-stirfry

3. Healthy Beach Snacks

This tip is a no-brainer, but maybe can be made a little more tasty and less like rabbit food. Personally, I love vegetables, raw, steamed, cooked, whatever. Veggies and fruit are a great snack for when you are basking in the sun, simply because it is light, and eating a heavy kebab on the beach will probably put you into a coma (speaking from experience). Take some time before you head to the beach and prep some veg in a tasty way, check out my friends vegetarian blog (in Spanish, so just Google Translate if needed) for tons of great recipes for anything-but-boring veggie snacks. If you can manage to keep it cold enough, why not bring some of my boozey fruit smoothies with you as well!

4. V-v-v-vino!

Ohh, how I love my vino! Cold, refreshing and low-calorie, this is yet another great beverage to have on those hot summer days. Yes, I am sure I sound like a straight-up alchy, but the summer is for drinking and I personally give myself props for doing it in the healthiest way possible 😉 . Generally, a glass of vino is a mere 80 calories, so a great choice for a summer drink (or year-round!). They way I see it, when you’re out in the sun, you are sweating a mass amount of calories anyway, so this can’t be of any great harm. On the contrary, I am going to sound like my mother and remind you to also drink lots of the H20 to keep yourself hydrated (if only wine did the same!).

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5. *Fun* Exercise (Yes, I said fun!)

I swear, it exists. I am a true fountain of energy myself and get quite bored just laying in the sun all day, so I like to  keep it interesting. At the beach? Bring a volleyball or paddleboard and have some game time with your friends (especially after some drinks, this is a great time). This will obviously burn some calories and keep yourself alive throughout the day, not to mention give you an excellent tan. If you don’t happen to like sand sports, go for a nice swim in the sea! This will just as much keep you energized, while also being a great way to cool off. If you prefer the pool to the sea, play Marco Polo!!! Ok, I sound like a 5 year old but seriously, so much fun. If you’re not familiar with the game, just look it up, it’s easy. Marco is ‘it’ and must close their eyes while saying ‘Marco’, and the others have to answer ‘Polo’, and if Marco touches you or catches you out of the water, you are now the Marco. Simple enough! If you doubt me, try it, then tell me you didn’t have a blast! 😉

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While many of my ideas are not the most original and some, quite obvious, actually doing these things make a mile of a difference when it comes to keeping fit in the summer months. How can you debate ideas that are so simple, fun and utterly tasty? Maybe as the summer goes on I can come up with some more creative ideas, but for now I think this is a great start. Further more, summer is meant to enjoy so don’t stress about having the best bikini bod on the beach, just stay healthy and drunk, and you will have a kick ass time!

What did you think of my tips? Would you try them, or do you have any to add to the list? I would love to hear so comment below! And, of course, have a rockin’ summer!

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