Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Magic Foods!

Oh, come on! If you read this blog regularly, you must know by now that I don't believe in magic ANYTHING when it comes to getting in shape and staying there. There are things that work better than others but nothing is really a secret. So, I thought that I'd list some of the foods that I think work well to get into shape and stay there. As usual, they are in no particular order of importance:

1. Ginger. I'm going to start with this one since I just can't stop eating or drinking lately. I absolutely adore the taste of ginger. I put it in marinades, I eat crystallized ginger (small amounts) for a treat. I sprinkle it on fruits. I drink hot or iced tea almost every night. I've noticed an improvement in my stomach (I've had stomach problems since birth) and my digestion since I've started drinking the tea. From what I've read, ginger is not only for the stomach but it helps with blood circulation. Obviously, this can improve a host of issues throughout the body. It's no wonder that it's considered so good for overall health in the Eastern part of the world.

2. Quinoa. I got into this stuff about 5 years ago when I hooked up with this Peruvian chick that I eventually married. Quinoa is a traditional "grain" grown in the mountains by the Chechquwa People. It belongs to the same botanical family as swiss chard and spinach. Like it's cousins, Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. It's very high in Protein (including the essential amino acid lysine), iron, Phosphorus, magnesium, B Vitamins and more. It's very light and slightly nutty in flavor, making it very versatile. You can cook and eat it like rice or oatmeal. It can take on sweet and savory flavors easily. Since it's a specialty food, it can be kind of pricey (I buy a bunch when I go to Peru where it's dirt-cheap) but it's so dense in nutrients that you wouldn't need to eat a ton at a time to take advantage of it's benefits.

3. Dates. To me, dates are one of those fruits that are so tasty that I can't believe that they're actually good for you. A favorite of the legendary Bernarr McFadden, these soft and sweet little fruits are high in fiber, iron, and potassium. They do have one trade-off however: with almost 70% of their total weight being made up of sugar, these fruits are off the charts on the glycemic index. If you're trying to lose weight, you might be well-suited to steer clear of these until you're a normal weight. I used to eat these before I worked out but I was going for weight gain.

I think that I came up with these foods as personal favorites because, in my opinion, they prove that healthy foods don't have to taste bad. Healthy food is what you make it. It doesn't have to be all steamed broccoli, steamed rice, and steamed chicken. There are a lot of healthy foods out there that can taste great. I'd love to hear what your favorite healthy foods are. Throw them up on the comments section or on the forum!

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