Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia! THREE group classes a week!

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    Thurs 8:45 am

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Posts Tagged ‘antioxidant’

Hmm, I Guess I DO Like Legumes

Posted by terrepruitt on June 9, 2012

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaBefore I started teaching Nia, I had always had corporate jobs.  I remember learning about jicama when I worked at my first “real” job. So that had to be between . . . . well, let’s just say it was a long time ago.  I remember being amazed at how it tasted like nothing, but had a little hint of sweet and dryness about it.  I love it.  When I see it on vegetable trays and in salad bars I always get some.  Even though I love it, I have only bought one once.  I don’t know how to pick it out and I always forget that is what the people who work in produce can help you do.  They can help with picking out produce. My dad always has jicama.  My dad always has a container of raw, cut and washed vegetables in the fridge and often jicama is in that container or one of its own.  Next time I go to the store I am going to buy one.  Jicama is considered a root vegetable, but is actually a legume.

It actually looks like root and tastes like a root.  Very plain, but with the slightest hint of sweetness.  I have always eaten it raw.  Cut into pieces and just eaten it raw, but in my quest for nutritional information on it I saw that people do cook with it.  I will have to write another post for that because I have never even thought of cooking it!

One suggestion I saw . . . and if you’ve eaten jicama you will agree . . . said that jicama can replace water chestnuts in recipes.  And, of course, they seem exactly the same!

It is pronounced HEcamuh.  I have always thought it was HICKamuh.  I will work on that!

Some nutritional information on jicama:

-low in calories; 38 calories per 100 grams
-high dietary fiber; 4 grams per 100 grams
-contains the anti-oxidant vitamin C; 33% of the RDA’s Daily Value (DV)
-contains vitamin B
-contains 1 gram of protein per 100 grams -contains 150 mg of Potassium (about 6% of the DV)
-no fat per 100 grams

Additional details (per 100 grams):

Cholesterol 0 mg  /  Sodium 4 mg  /  Total Carbohydrates 9 g

According to WiseGeek:

“When choosing jicama at the store, look for medium sized, firm tubers with dry roots. Do not purchase jicama that has wet or soft spots, which may indicate rot, and don’t be drawn to overlarge examples of the tuber, because they may not be as flavorful. Jicama will keep under refrigeration for up to two weeks.”

But information on Wiki says to never refrigerate.  So I guess you will have to decide that for yourself.  I guess if you refrigerate your other root veggies you might as well refrigerate this one too.  I think I might not refrigerate it until I cut it.

The outside skin needs to be peeled or cut off, then you can cut up the vegetable anyway you would like to eat it.  I tend to like it in long pieces of about an 1/2 inch around.  Usually you can only get that out of the middle as it is a round veggie so you end up with some odd shaped pieces.

Are you familiar with jicama?  Do you eat it?  Do you cook with it?

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Turmeric – Flavor With Benefits

Posted by terrepruitt on April 12, 2012

When I wrote the post regarding anti-inflammatory foods, I decided to buy some Turmeric.  At the time I was not able to claim knowing what it tasted like.  I figured since it was used a lot in curries I would be ok with it.  I thought that it would be a good thing to add to our diet.  Since there are so many things that work as an inflammatory, I am always trying to add anti-inflammatory foods and ingredients into our diet.  I wasn’t sure exactly how to use it, but I was wanting to give it a go.  Turmeric has been used in food and as medicine for centuries.  Seems like the West is doing a lot of research to see what health benefits it has.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:  “Turmeric has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds.  Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant.”

Remember Curcumin is the phytochemcial that give turmeric its color.

And Eat This! has a list of 20 Health Benefits contributed to Turmeric including;

-When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

-Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

-May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

Well, I’ve had it for a while now and I really like the flavor.  I’ve added it to soups, to veggies, and to meat.  You know my standard ground turkey and whatever veggies I have?  Well, it really makes that taste wonderful.  I had cooked broccoli, mushrooms, and ground turkey for dinner a few nights ago, today I decided to have the leftovers in a tortilla.  Since we have a few cucumbers I decided to use some up by slicing it really thin and putting it in the tortilla with the meat and a bit of parmesan cheese.  WOW!  The turmeric and the cucumbers were a party-in-my-mouth flavor.  It was really good.  So now I am going to serve cucumbers with my turmeric ground turkey.  Many people can describe flavors, I can sometimes, but I cannot describe the flavor or turmeric.  I would say that it is somewhat mellow so it won’t necessary overpower what you are using it with.  It is not hot or bitter.  I think it can be used with anything savory.     
 
Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,Wiki says “it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell” but I don’t agree.  Maybe I will give it the mustardy smell, but not off the top of my head.

But there is a problem with turmeric.  It dyes everything yellow!  I now have several bowls and utensils dyed yellow because I used them to stir, serve, or store something with turmeric in it.  It is just as bad as tomato sauce when it comes to dying things!

I am familiar with turmeric in its powdered form, but it is a root like ginger, so if you get it in root form you can use it just as you would ginger.  You could chop it, grate it, cut it up . . . the same as ginger. 

If you like the flavor it seems like a great thing to add to just about everything.   Since it is touted as an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, help in the treatment of  inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), helps treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, improves liver function, prevents some cancers, lowers cholesterol, helps treat and prevent Alzheimer’s, reduces risk of childhood Leukemia among other things — why not add it to things?

Do you cook with Turmeric?  If so what do you add it to?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

No Need To Soak Your Oats

Posted by terrepruitt on April 3, 2012

All in the quest for something quick and easy to eat before I teach my Nia classes . . . . I am on my sixth oat post.  The last post was about why some people believe we need to soak our oats before eating them. This post is about why some people believe we should not bother soaking our oats before eating them and even a little bit about we should not soak the oats before eating them. 

One of my favorites sites wrote up information from the point of view of “I”, so I am thinking that it is George Mateljan’s point of view since he is the founder of The George Mateljan Foundation for the World’s Healthiest Foods.  He says he doesn’t even consider oats to be particularly high in phytic acid.  Given that the phytic acid is in the outer layers his belief is that cooking reduces the levels of it.  He states that studies have shown that absorption rates of zinc and copper do not get much higher when ALL the phytic acid is removed and in an average kitchen not all of the acid will be removed so soaking is not really contributing that much to the grains nutrition.

I’ve seen articles call phytic acid the “antinutrient”, but in fact it contains antioxidant properties along with a phosphorus (mineral) and inositol (Inositol is a key B vitamin necessary for the metabolism of fat and cholesterol.).  Dr. McDougall stated in one of his newsletters

“It acts as a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to reduce blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol and triglycerides. Phytic acid is linked to a reduction in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases in people.” 

The Oxford Food & Fitness Dictionary states:  “There is some evidence that those who regularly eat high fibre diets adapt to the high phytic acid content by secreting an enzyme which can break phytic acid down into inositol and phosphorus.”

And the Wiley Dictionary of Flavors in regards to Phytic Acid states:  “An acid found in grains that would normally block the absorption of calcium in the body. However, phytase is present in most of these grains and allows for the hydrolysis of phytic acid by the body as well, nullifying the effect.”

Everything I’ve read seems to agree that phytic acid can bind with minerals and keep the body from absorbing them.  But nothing states that it happens to ALL of the minerals, nothing states that it happens all the time, and nothing states that it happens in every BODY.  Also some people and research believe that it is a GOOD thing that phytic acid binds to minerals because it helps remove toxins that are in the body.  So it could be that a portion of it DOES keep the body from absorbing minerals but the other portion takes out some bad metals and toxins in the body. 

Another site states a study, from the Journal of Nutrition, showed that phytic acid stimulates the production of phytase in the gut.  Phytase activity increased the absorption of some minerals.

One study states that while this type of activity might interfere with the absorption of minerals it “may protect against the development of colonic carcinoma” when left undigested in the colon.  Research is showing that phytic acid “is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers”.

Many people stated that with a healthy diet there isn’t really a threat of malnutrition from lack of minerals and bone loss because we do eat other foods that supply us with minerals. 

The more I look the more I see the subject being very controversial.  Yet, I see many sources stating why it is not necessarily necessary, it seems the only reference I see stating that it is necessary is Nourishing Traditions. 

My posts are obviously not here to tell you what to do.  They are here to share with you what I have learned, what I have found.  I have found two different sides to the story (well, that is excluding the sides that say we shouldn’t eat grain at all, and the side that says we should eat more grain).

Since it seems as if there are benefits to soaking and benefits to not soaking, I would say soak your oats and see how that works for you.  If you sense that they are more easy to digest and you have the time and forethought to do it, then do it.  Why not?  But if you don’t sense a difference and/or you don’t have the time and forethought, I would think that you would be receiving the mineral binding toxic eliminating benefit.  Basically like EVERYTHING else, it is up to you.  There is always going to be information saying the opposite things, so we need to research it and then do what we think, what we feel, what we sense is best for us.

So, what do you think?  Do you think it is necessary to soak oats?

Posted in Food, Oats | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

How Do They Get More Nutrients In Those Eggs?

Posted by terrepruitt on August 30, 2011

Nia teacher eats eggs, Nia San Jose, Los Gatos Nia, Eggs Omega 3When I first saw an egg package that said the egg had more nutrients I made a mental note to look into that.  I had been thinking, “How can they do that?  Did they inject the egg with the additional nutrients they claimed it had?”  I mean it seems like that is how they would have to do it, right?

The last time I was in the store buying eggs I grabbed a carton that said, “Now!  For Your Nutritious Diet High In . . . ” in big flashy letters. All the while I am thinking, “Ok, I’m a sucker.”

First of all let me share with you some other information that I found while looking up the information on “more nutritious” eggs.

Brown eggs are NOT more nutritious than white eggs.  I was under the impression that brown eggs were better for you.  Don’t know when I heard that or who from, but that is what I always thought.  Turns out it is actually the color of the hen that determines the color of the egg.  A brown egg comes from a hen with red feathers and a white egg comes from a hen with white feathers.

A brown egg might be more nutritious than a white egg if the hen laying the brown egg was fed better feed.  Ya see, THAT is how eggs get more nutrition packed into them . . . the feed.  What the chicken eats is what affects the nutrition of an egg.  When I was looking for information I saw many things that said organic is best and free range is best.  This makes sense to me because eating food without a lot of chemicals on it seems to be better for all of us and being able to eat what is natural is another thing that seems to be best.  So an organic egg would mean that the chicken’s diet did not have a lot of chemicals on it.  A free range egg would mean that the chicken was able to roam free and eat what a chicken would naturally eat.

The eggs that I purchased claimed to have won awards for best taste.  I don’t eat eggs plain so I don’t know that I can actually tell a better tasting egg.  These eggs also claim that their hens are feed “an improved all-natural, all-vegetarian diet with no animal fats or animal by-products.”  The inside of the carton continues to say that the no hormones are added to the laying hens’ diets and no antibiotics are “used in the production of the Egg-land’s Best eggs.”

Now a hen’s natural diet would include insects.  I don’t know if insects are considered ok in a vegetarian diet or if these hens don’t actually get any insects.  But according to the packaging the diet fed to these chickens makes the eggs high in vitamins D, B12, and E.  Also the were able to produce eggs with 25% less saturated fat than regular eggs.  The pretty packaging claims there is 115 mg of Omega 3 and 200 mcg of Lutein.  At this point there is no RDA for either nutrient, but Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced in the body.  Lutein acts as an antioxidant which helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.  So eggs containing these two nutrients seem like a better choice to me.

The Egg-Land’s Best claims their diet is patented.  From what I have seen in looking around, in order to produce Omega 3 enhanced eggs the hen’s would have to be feed flax seed or fish oils.  I am thinking that fish oil would make the diet not vegetarian.  Some things I glanced at in looking into this topic suggested that eggs produced by hens who had fish oil as part of their diet produced a fishy tasting egg.  Again, not sure about that, but it make me giggle.

I just think it is interesting that the only way to produce a more nutritious egg is to feed the hens better nutrition.  Kind of telling, yes?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Purple Potatoes

Posted by terrepruitt on January 18, 2011

The Prime Rib potluck had purple potatoes.  The hostess made purple potatoes or maybe they were blue.  She roasted yellow and purple fingerling potatoes.  I have seen purple potatoes in the store, but not purple fingerlings.  I have never had a purple potato.  The way they were cooked was incredible—they were perfect.  The seasoning was perfect and they way they were cooked was perfect.  The purple ones did not taste different from the regular ones.  But they were so pretty.  I was mesmerized by the deep purple color. There is an idea out there that it is important to eat the color of the rainbow.  There is a lot of nutrients in the different colors of fruits and vegetables.  Research is proving that there are antioxidants found in the different colors.

Anthocyanin is responsible for the purple and blue colors of fruits and vegetables.  This particular flavonoid is proving to have anti-cancer and heart-protective effects.  Research is also discovering this antioxidant has benefits shown to boost the immune system and protect against age-related memory loss.

Potatoes with the darkest color are proving to have almost four times the amount of antioxidants . . . AND they hold up to 75% of their nutrients after being cooked.  As you know a lot of vegetables lose a large amount of their nutrients when cooked.

According to the USDA’s website: “All potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, and iron.”  So with the purple variety you would be getting all of that plus the added benefits of antioxidants.  PLUS . . . you can’t overlook the beautiful color they add to any plate!

Have you had a purple potato?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Borscht is Beets

Posted by terrepruitt on January 6, 2011

My husband tweeted today that a co-worker made him Borscht.  He said it was the perfect thing for a cold day like, today, it has been pretty cold for us here in the Bay Area.  He also said that he loved it and was hoping that I would try making it.  I had to look it up.  It is beet soup.  Beet soup.  Of course, I had to look at what beets have to offer.  The nutrients are found in both the greens and the root.  I am seeing some articles saying that they are doing a lot of new research on beets and they might claim it a super food – at least in a juice form.

Beets have anti-inflammatory affects along with antioxidant properties. As with most vegetables, the more you cook them the more the nutrients get destroyed.  The best way to get the most out of this vegetable is to juice it.  The next best is to steam it or roast it less than 15 to 20 minutes.  These methods give the nutrients the best chance of surviving and actually making it into your body.

One study showed that a little over 16 and a half ounces a day lowers blood pressure.  Another study showed that beet juice can increase endurance.

Beets contain potassium, folic acid, phytochemicals, vitamin C, vitamin A, and some of the Bs (B2, B3, B5, and B6), iron, and calcium.  The greens have an even higher level of iron, calcium, vitamin a, and potassium than the roots.

Beets are also a good source of fiber.

According to Wiki, in Russian cuisine, Borscht usually includes beets, meat, cabbage, and optionally potatoes.  The Borscht my hubby had was made by a Russian co-worker so that is what I will be experimenting with.  I am sure that eating beet soup will be a healthy addition to his diet.

I might try grating them to put on salads.  Also roasting, you know how I love roasted veggies.  Do you eat beets?  How do you eat ‘em?

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bell Peppers

Posted by terrepruitt on October 23, 2010

All, I love bell peppers. For a long time it was the only vegetable I would eat. GREEN bell peppers. I like all colors now. As you may have seen I like them grilled and filled with cheese. I also like them on sandwiches and salads. I prefer them raw. The only way I like them cooked is if they are still crunchy.

The red ones have lycopene in them, the same antioxidant compound that tomatoes have. The one that is thought to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Nutrition Facts from Livestrong website

  • Serving Size: 1 large bell pepper (164g)

Calories 33
Total Fat 0.3 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Sodium 4.9 mg
Potassium 287 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.8 g
Sugars 3.9 g
Protein 1.4 g
Vitamin A 12%
Vitamin C 220%
Calcium 2%
Iron 3%

Red showing up with a few more calories and carbs, and less fiber, but A LOT more Vitamin A and C.

  • Serving Size: 1 medium pepper (148 g)

Calories 30
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0m g
Sodium 0 mg
Potassium 210mg
Total Carbohydrate 8 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 140%
Vitamin C 380%
Iron 4%

WH Foods, says:  Bell peppers are not ‘hot’. They contain a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin, the compound responsible for the ‘hotness’ found in other peppers.

I am glad they are so good for you because I love them. I can eat a whole one easy. Just slice it and eat it. That is what I was going to do when I took this picture. Do you like bell peppers? Do you like them raw or cooked?

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »