• Contrary to what you might think, chili didn’t originate in Mexico. It’s origin still isn’t agreed upon, but there are many stories about it.
• One theory is that chili was a staple of mid-19th century cattle drives and that dried beef, chile peppers, fat, salt, and pepper were pounded into portable rectangles that could be rehydrated with boiling water for an easy meal.
• In the 1860’s Texas prisons became known for their chili to the point that prisoners rated jails on the quality of the dish they could make. It was such a hit that freed inmates reportedly wrote in asking for the recipes, saying they sorely missed their chili.
• A San Antonio market started selling “bowls o’red” in the late 1800s from food booths known as chili stands. They caught on so well that in 1893 there was a San Antonio Chili Stand at the Chicago World’s Fair.
• Chili was declared the State Food of Texas in 1977.
• President Johnson was a big fan of chili and this became a known fact - to the point that the White House received so many requests for the Johnson Family Chili Recipe that the first lady had recipe cards printed for easier mail correspondence.
• Cincinnati-style chili is quite different from what you’ll find in Texas and came from two Greek brothers that used their own Mediterranean blend of spices and piled the red sauce, beans, and meat on a bed of spaghetti.
• Accompaniments for chili tend to vary by region with cornbread being popular in the south and peanut butter sandwiches in the midwest. Popular toppings include shredded cheese, onions, corn chips, and oyster crackers.
How do you like your chili?
Whether they’re in trail mix, a salad, bread, or on their own, sunflower seeds are tiny but packed full of a variety of health benefits.
🌻 They’re very high in vitamin E and selenium, which act as antioxidants for your body to protect its cells.
🌻 The combination of flavonoids and plant compounds in sunflower seeds may help reduce inflammation.
🌻 An unsaturated fatty acid called linoleic acid found in the seeds can help relax blood vessels, which can lead to lower blood pressure. A study has even found that sunflower seeds may help decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
🌻 Sunflower seeds can help reduce blood sugar spikes from carbs because of their protein and fat content.
🌻 Zinc, omega-6 fatty acids, and calcium found in sunflower seeds promote healthy skin and bones.
Both eggs and tofu are great choices for low calorie protein, but we thought there were some interesting differences between the two. Struggling with cholesterol? Go with tofu. On a strict caloric or carb budget? Maybe stick with eggs. Take a look, decide which one better suits your needs, and add this to your bag of tricks!
• Eggs, scrambled, 100g
• Tofu, scrambled, 100g
If you’re trying to reduce your sugar consumption, the usual suspects include soda and desserts but what about marinara sauce? Unfortunately there are some foods that you don’t really think of as sweet that have a surprising amount of sugars added.
🍬 Marinara Sauce
Many of the big brands add sugar to their sauce, so check the labels or make your own by using plain tomato sauce and adding spices.
Another tomato-based food, ketchup can have 1 tsp of sugar in a 1 tbsp serving. Look for the new varieties that have less or no sugar added and give them a shot.
🍬 Barbecue Sauce
It’s very common for barbecue sauce to have even more sugar per serving than ketchup - 1.5 tsp per 1 tbsp serving in some cases. Just like ketchup, most brands have realized this is a lot and have varieties with little or no added sugar now.
Don’t let yogurt’s benefits be outweighed by added sugars. It’s natural for yogurt to contain some sugar due to lactose, but keep an eye out for the added stuff. Go with plain and sweeten it yourself with fruit or swirl in some jam so you can control how much goes into it.
🍬 Peanut Butter
This one can be tricky because even jars labeled as “Natural” doesn’t mean they only contain peanuts. Look for clues like “peanut butter spread” and that’ll tell you there’s things like sugar and palm oil added. Your ingredient list should be one or two things: peanuts and salt.
🍬 Non-Dairy Milk
Most plant-based milks have a few varieties so keep an eye out for the “no added sugar” ones as the “original” types may have 7g or more of added sugar. The calories add up pretty quick when you can drink them!
🍬 Packaged Fruit
Whether you’re going for applesauce, fruit cocktail, or even dried fruit, most of them have sugar added. Look for fruit that’s packed in water instead of heavy syrups. Dried fruits you wouldn’t think would need added sugar like mango or pineapple still often have more added.
The very name makes you think of health food, but check the label first, as granola is typically sweetened with honey, corn syrup, or brown sugar.
You wouldn’t suspect it just from the taste, but packaged broths and even bullion can contain added sugars.
Essential amino acids help your body hang on to muscle mass and one such amino acid is called leucine. Particularly, it's responsible for providing energy during exercise and helping build muscle after. Here are nine foods that are high in leucine:
1. Steak, 92% of your daily value (DV)
2. Pork Chops, 68% DV
3. Tuna, 67% DV
4. Chicken, 62% DV
5. Ricotta Cheese, 56% DV
6. Firm Tofu, 43% DV
7. Navy Beans, 31% DV
8. Pumpkin Seeds, 25% DV
9. Eggs, 20% DV
Small and seasonal, pumpkin seeds are quite the nutritional powerhouse with plenty to offer. You can typically find them in the grocery store as raw, roasted, or sprouted. Let’s see why you should add them to your diet:
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium you can find. Magnesium plays an important role in everything from brain and bone health to muscle movement to converting food into usable energy.
Zinc is plentiful in pumpkin seeds and is used by your body to regulate hormones and support a healthy digestive system.
Antioxidants help to protect your cells and prevent disease and pumpkin seeds contain several different types of antioxidants. Carotenoids and vitamin E are a couple antioxidants that can help add some protection and reduce inflammation.
🎃 Heart Health
The combo of aforementioned magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants are a great way to promote heart health by potentially reducing blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol.
Even a small serving of pumpkin seeds contains a fairly high amount of fiber. A diet high in fiber can mean good digestive health and possibly even a reduction in the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
A 1oz serving contains 7g of protein, making it a super easy way to add some protein (among other things) to a soup, salad, or side dish.
Peanut butter is a common item in most home pantries but lately nut butters of other varieties such as almond, cashew, and sunflower have been increasing in popularity. They usually cost more than peanut butter but are they healthier? Let’s take a look at a 2 tbsp serving of natural peanut butter versus natural almond butter:
• Vitamins & Minerals
Almond butter pulls ahead here as its magnesium, iron, vitamins E and B2, and calcium are several times higher than peanut butter.
• The Verdict
Both nut butters are close in most areas but peanut butter wins for calories and protein, while almond butter takes the lead for calcium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. That being said, either of these are a great way to add healthy fats, protein, and other nutrients to your diet.
Phosphorus is a mineral that your body uses for a range of essential functions. It’s actually the second-most plentiful mineral in your body after calcium, but you don’t usually hear about it. Here’s what your body does with all that phosphorus:
• Keeps bones strong and healthy
• Helps muscles to contract
• Builds strong teeth
• Manages your energy stores
• Filters and removes waste in your kidneys
• Reduces muscle pain after strenuous exercise
• Grows and repairs tissues and cells
• Helps produce the genetic material DNA and RNA
When it comes to the health of your digestive system, probiotics play a critical role by changing the gut into a healthier environment. They are the good bacteria that can allow better digestion, regulation of metabolism, and even mental health. Here are six foods that can help boost your good gut bacteria:
1. Yogurt - Be sure they contain live and active cultures to get the probiotic benefits.
2. Kefir - Think of kefir as drinkable yogurt and just with yogurt, be sure to look for varieties that state they contain live and active cultures.
3. Some Cheeses - Blue, mozzarella, cheddar, and gouda cheeses typically retain their healthy bacteria after the cheese-making and aging process.
4. Sauerkraut - Be sure to look for the refrigerated varieties, as the shelf-stable ones have been pasteurized, which kills the good bacteria.
5. Kimchi - Very similar to sauerkraut, kimchi usually has added goodness from ginger, garlic, and radishes mixed in.
6. Kombucha - Drink your probiotics with this increasingly popular beverage made from fermented tea. Check the label for sugar content and go for raw if possible.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that your body isn’t able to produce on its own. You hear lots about it, but what does it really do for you? Quite a bit actually:
🍊 Skin Health
Vitamin C helps produce collagen as well as skin and muscle tissue. It’s also been found to help speed healing of wounds.
🍊 Heart Health
Antioxidant properties of vitamin C along with its ability to widen blood vessels and reduce plaque make it great for your cardiovascular system.
🍊 Immunity Boost
White blood cell production and efficiency gets a boost from vitamin C. Additionally, your skin becomes more resilient and acts as a better barrier for your body.
🍊 Boosts Iron Absorption
Iron is critical in red blood cell creation and moving oxygen throughout your body. Vitamin C can help improve your absorption rate of iron from your diet. This is especially helpful for those on a meat-free diet that get their iron from plant sources, as those can sometimes be difficult to absorb.