February is designated as American Heart Month to remind everyone to take care of their heart to enjoy a long, healthy life. There are quite a few things you can do to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are a few of the big ones:
• Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked to ID any existing issues
• Eat heart healthy foods such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meats
• Get regular exercise
• Quit smoking
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Get enough sleep
If you want to show someone you care on Valentine’s Day, but don’t want to throw off their normally healthy habits, we have some ideas for you:
• Dark chocolate-covered nuts can provide you with flavonoids and protein instead of just empty calories.
• Give red fruits such as cherries, strawberries, and even Ruby Red grapefruit to impart your loved one with fiber, antioxidants, and sweetness from natural sugar.
• Consider a hike or activity that gets you both out doing things.
• Cook something new (or an old favorite) together with your Valentine. This allows you to know exactly what you’re eating and control the ingredients to make smart choices.
• Fruit smoothies are a sweet way to pack all the benefits of whole fruit into a single glass. A frozen banana and some strawberries, cherries, and raspberries will give you a festive pink drink that’s nutritious.
• Our low-carb protein balls are a great way to indulge while keeping the calorie-count low and even getting in some protein!
We are excited to announce that we now carry SCJ Wellness Organic Elderberry Syrup, which is made with Southern Indiana raw honey! There are many health benefits to elderberry, let’s take a look at them:
• Immune Boosting
Elderberry syrup may relieve flu symptoms and reduce the length of time the flu lasts when taken by mouth within 48 hours of the first symptoms.
• High In Vitamin C
There are 52mg of vitamin C in one cup of elderberries, which accounts for 87% of the recommended daily intake.
• Phenolic Acids
These powerful antioxidants help reduce the harmful effects of oxidative stress in the body.
• Reduce Inflammation, Stress, and Bacteria
As well as reducing stress and fighting bacteria, elderberries are rich in anthocyanins which have anti-inflammatory properties.
For more information, please visit www.SCJWellness.com
When it comes to making things sweet, there is no shortage of options. One natural choice that’s become popular recently is coconut sugar. Let’s look at what it is and why it’s different than regular sugar:
• Coconut sugar is a natural sugar made from dehydrated coconut palm sap that flows through the plant.
• It’s minimally processed, unlike refined white table sugar.
• The color and shape is similar to unprocessed raw sugar but with more variation of light and dark browns and granule size.
• It contains trace amounts of iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and even polyphenols and antioxidants. Regular sugar offers none of these.
• It also contains a fiber called inulin that helps slow glucose absorption and give coconut sugar a lower Glycemic Index than regular sugar.
• Coconut sugar should still be used in moderation since it’s not a low-calorie food.
They’re crunchy, orange (usually), and included on our menu regularly. Carrots are powerful vegetables that you’ve likely been eating since you were a kid and there’s a reason they keep showing up - they offer a variety of health benefits.
- Weight Management: Carrots are 88% water and that combined with their fiber content help you feel full for longer. This can help you avoid making poor food choices and overeating. They’re also low in calories with only 52 in a one cup serving.
- Eye Health: One large carrot can provide 200% of your daily needs of Vitamin A, which promotes lung, skin, and eye health. Additionally, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin help protect your retinas and lenses.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Carrots are low on the Glycemic Index, so not only do they not spike your blood sugar, their soluble fiber content can help balance it. They also support a healthy digestive system and feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.
- Lower Blood Pressure: The potassium found in carrots helps to lower blood pressure by balancing the negative effects of salt.
- Variety of Vitamins: There are many vitamins and minerals in carrots including beta carotene (that converts to vitamin A), biotin, K1, and B6. These help with everything from metabolism to bone health.
Earlier this week we went over what ingredients you need to make bone broth. Now let’s go through the steps for cooking it:
• Roast the bones, carrots, and celery at 450° for about 30 minutes on a baking sheet. This step really helps improve the flavor of the broth.
• Add bones, roasted veggies, and any juices from your roasting sheet to a stock pot.
• Add apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, and pepper to the pot.
• Add enough water to cover everything in the pot by an inch or so.
• Cover and bring to a boil.
• Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours. Increasing the simmering time increases the amount of components released from the bones and makes for a thicker, richer broth.
• Remove from heat and let the broth cool slightly.
• Strain everything through a mesh strainer and discard the bones and vegetables.
• You can sip the broth on its own or use it to make soups or braise beef.
• It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
*If you’re worried about having the stove on for extended periods of time, you can add everything to a 6-quart slow cooker after roasting and keep it on HIGH for 24 hours.
If you’re interested in the many benefits of bone broth and wondered how to make it, we’ve got you covered. Let’s start off by going over the ingredients you’ll need:
• 2 to 3 lb Bones - These can be beef, chicken, pork, or even fish bones. If you’re going with beef, bones such as oxtail, marrow bones, knuckles, and short ribs are good. Otherwise you can go with ham bone or shank, leftover turkey bones, or even chicken feet. A variety of large and small bones is good as it allows for a broader range of nutrients.
• 12 Cups Water - enough to cover everything, so you may need more
• 2 Carrots - cut into 2 inch pieces
• 2 Celery Stalks - cut into 2 inch pieces
• 1 Medium Onion - quartered
• 1 Head of Garlic - halved
• 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
• 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
You’ve heard for years that you should eat your broccoli because it’s good for you. But what does that mean exactly? Let’s take a look:
- It’s filled with lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and bioactive compounds.
- Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and protect the body’s cells.
- High fiber content to keep you regular and help lower blood pressure.
- It contains choline which helps support liver function, brain development, muscle function, and metabolism.
- Cardiovascular system gets benefits from the fiber, potassium, and antioxidants in broccoli.
- Vitamin C is abundant in broccoli and helps support a healthy immune system.
- Calcium for healthy bones and joints.
Consuming fats was once thought of as the culprit for weight gain and it was advised to avoid them altogether. Now however, nutritionists see the value of including healthy fats as part of your balanced diet and the benefits they can provide.
- Fat is one of the three compounds the human body uses for energy. The other two are carbohydrates and protein.
- One gram of fat contains 9 calories. Carbs and protein contain 4 calories per gram, so fat is more than twice as calorically dense.
- Eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. Consuming more calories than you burn, regardless of the source, is what leads to weight gain.
- Fat is important for the human body and helps you get benefits from vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- Fat also helps keep your skin and hair healthy.
- Some fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6, are essential and can only be acquired by consuming them.
- The three main types of fats are saturated, unsaturated, and trans.
Salt and pepper can be found almost anywhere a meal will be had, but there’s another variety of pepper that’s been increasing in popularity lately - white pepper. You may come across recipes that call for white pepper and wonder what makes it different. Let’s take a look:
- Both black pepper and white pepper come from the same berries of the pepper plant. The difference is in how they’re prepared.
- Black pepper is picked right before ripening and then dried, causing the outer skins of the berry to turn black. It has a more complex flavor and is typically considered spicier than white pepper.
- White pepper is picked when ripe and then soaked to remove the outer skin. Its flavor is more subtle, sometimes described as being “earthy” or “floral” and most people agree that it’s not as hot as black pepper. This reduction in heat is mostly due to the removal of the pepperine compound that’s found in the skin that gives pepper its robust, spicy flavor.
- Recipes that call for white pepper usually do so to avoid discoloring the dish and for a more mild flavor that doesn’t overpower other ingredients. Certain dishes such as hot and sour soup and many Asian recipes traditionally call for white pepper.