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Posts Tagged ‘#holiday’

Stressed?? Take a close look at your sugar intake.

10558405404_b00732822c_bThis time of year, Halloween is over….we still might be rooting through some of the left over treats…and now we are prepping for the Holiday Season…lots of sweet seasonal goodies, rich foods and delicious warm drinks.  Today we are sharing a study in the Huffington Post written by Alan Christianson that shows that there are some startling reasons why we are stressed out…especially this time of year. (and it isn’t just holiday shopping and season busyness)  Read his full article below:

Recent studies have surprisingly shown that one of the biggest causes behind stress is your blood sugar. When it is kept between the glucose levels of 75 to 95, (ng/dl) you function at your best. [2] The more time you spend outside of this range or the more radically your blood sugar shifts within this range, the more your body feels stressed.

How can your blood sugar cause stress? When we experience regular stress, our adrenal glands make more of a stress hormone called cortisol. Along with managing stress, this hormone also manages your blood sugar. Whenever your blood sugar level changes too fast, your adrenal glands release cortisol to pull it back up again. Unstable blood sugar can make you feel the same as you would feel when an event makes you angry, frustrated or frightened.

Even when you cannot control every cause of stress in the world around you, the simple act of keeping your blood sugar levels stable will make you more resilient. Not only that, but stable blood sugar levels will help you stay lean and energized. This is because along with stress hormones like cortisol, unstable blood sugar causes you to make storage hormones like insulin, which causes weight gain and fatigue.

What makes your blood sugar unsteady, and what can you do to help it stay stable?

All throughout the day a large number of factors either help or hurt your blood sugar, but what happens in the morning has more effect on your day then events at any other time. This is true because your body sets its blood sugar regulation based upon the first events after you wake up.

Morning events that raise stress hormones include:

Skipping breakfast — Having no food lowers your metabolism in preparation for famine. This makes you less able to burn fat for fuel.

High sugar breakfast — In the modern world we have weird ideas about breakfast foods being desserts. You will function much better when you stay under 7 grams of sugar from all sources combined.

High amounts of caffeine — Why does caffeine in give you energy? Because it causes you to raise your blood sugar in the same way that sugary food does.

Morning events that help you reduce stress hormones include:

Physical activity — Anything works: walking, time in the gym, running, you name it.

A high-protein breakfast — Look at labels and get 25-35 grams for most women, 30-40 grams for most men.

Feeling psychologically centered — Take a few minutes to journal and mentally rehearse your day. Think how you would like to feel and what you’d like to have happen.

Your body and mind strive to reach states of balance and happiness. Even though you cannot control the world around you, you can help yourself become healthier and more resilient by making easy adjustments in your daily habits.

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Maybe it is time to just get rid of the left over Halloween treats all together.  Time to get ahead of things by doing some healthy meal prep and ensuring that you have lots of fresh fruit and veggies cut up in the fridge.  Holiday season usually means more pressure on the schedule and less time to take to make healthy meals and snacks.

Use this weekend to get ahead of things and take some of the sugar stress out of the holidays coming.

Here are some quick and healthy meal ideas –  Click on the image to be taken to the recipe source and details.

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Healthy Appetizers for the Holiday Season

Today’s blog post focuses, once again, on providing some healthy and delicious recipes for your and your guests this season!

Enjoy!

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Caprese Appetizer

Processed with MOLDIV

Ingredients

  • 20 grape tomatoes
  • 10 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

*Use a good Olive Oil

  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 20 toothpicks

Directions

  1. Toss tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper together in a bowl until well coated. Skewer one tomato and one piece of mozzarella cheese on each toothpick.

Prosciutto Cups with Ricotta & Spinach

 Processed with MOLDIV

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 375 ml ricotta cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the garlic, spinach, pepper and ricotta cheese until well blended. Set aside. Place strips of prosciutto into mini muffin cups so that they line the bottom, but there is some meat hanging out over the sides, and it kind of looks like a flower. Fill each cup with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture, or so the cup is full and rounded on the top. The filling should look like the center of the flower.
  3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the prosciutto is browned and stiff to the touch. The cups should be able to retain their shape after removing from the pan. Serve warm, but not hot.

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Processed with MOLDIV

Ingredients

  • 8 large fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Wash mushrooms, remove stems, hollow out and brush inside and out with olive oil.
  3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine cheese and pesto, reserving 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for later. Stuff the cheese-pesto mixture into the mushroom caps. Arrange the caps on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the reserved Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and brownish.

Cucumber, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Feta

Processed with MOLDIV

Ingredients

  • 30 -40 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 -3 cucumbers cubed & skin left on
  • 200 grams of feta cheese cubed
  • 3 large avocados cubed

Vinaigrette

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (Good Olive Oil)
  • 5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Garlic Clove minced
  • 11/2 tsp Oregano, dried
  • 11/2 tsp Basil, dried
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon style mustard

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients for Vinaigrette in a blender for 30-45 seconds OR in a bowl and whish. Set aside.
  2. Wash and prepare all vegetables and place in large bowl.
  3. Mix desired amount of vinaigrette to salad and serve.

Note: if preparing in advance; do not prepare avocado in advance