Friday, April 17, 2015

The 5 foods that really made a difference

Ever since I could browse, I have always been obsessed (yes, I said obsessed) with health sites. Among the several thousands I must have read over the years, I have built up a ridiculous and quite frankly, embarrassingly accurate database of super foods, health fads, medical facts, personal experiments and the consequences of those and overall a holistic whole lot of knowledge.

I have to say that because of my food allergies, some skin issues and just everyday life, this knowledge has come quite in handy.
I went gluten-free about 5 years ago by myself to treat my constant fatigue and stomachache and it worked miracles for my skin, my digestion and my overall energy levels.

I stopped drinking milk (despite being head-over-heels for all things dairy) and this stopped my constant skin outbreaks and my on and off morning headaches.

I started eating more green veggies than a Martian and noticed how this in turn improved my hair, my skin's elasticity and got rid of some belly fat in no time.

About 2 years ago while trying to enrich my diet I came upon the benefits of quinoa. This was about the time when I was ready to throw my Basmati, my Venere and my Carnaroli rice out the window so this really saved me.
I have since cooked quinoa in every possible way, steamed, with veggies, with Tofu, with meat for my friends (they loved it), with milk and vanilla for a sweet morning treat and have tried to make homemade cereal bars with it. I failed with the last one.

This year, about 2 months ago, I had experienced a bit of headaches and a crazy metallic taste in my mouth that left me bewildered. I eat clean, exercise and don't drink an impressive amount of alcohol, just the occasional glass of wine.
After much debate I decided to stop drinking coffee and see what happened. Now it's been 2 months and I feel great. I used to drink 3-4 cups (Italian espressos) and felt sluggish or got headaches if I didn't. I am still in awe of the fact that I can handle a 13 hour work-home-exercise day without a sip of coffee.

So this is my 5 foods list that have really made a difference in the way I feel.

1. Quinoa - it's a seed not a grain, easily cookable, packed with protein, the B-vitamin complex, vitamin E, calcium and fiber. You can buy everywhere nowadays but try the organic stores for an unprocessed higher quality. It's also quite cheap. It goes for about 3,50 €/ 500 g here in Europe and about 8 $/ pound in the US.

2. Soy Milk - it's milk presenting itself in Spanish. :) delicious, comes in every possible variation (chocolate, vanilla, soyaccino, strawberry, caramel etc) but I usually go for the simple one. You can find the added sugar one and the no added sugar one. As a soy consumer for the past 5 years, I have tried them all and I have to say that the sugar added one (where obviously you shouldn't add any extra sugar) is the best. It's easy to find it anywhere, is almost as cheap as normal milk and stores so much better.

3. Green Veggies - I would have chosen any of the veggies in the pic and that would have sufficed, but honestly I actually eat all of those in combination. I grow my own artichokes, broccoli, cucumbers, peas, salad and arugula. Trust me, it's simpler than you think. Buy green or dark green veggies, fresh or frozen (my boyfriend's father - my agricultural guru, freezes everything over the winter so he's always telling me that frozen veggies have nothing to be ashamed of) and steam, boil or eat them raw. Stay away from frying them since they oxidate.

4. Coconut Oil - I virtually use it on and with everything. I use it to make pancakes and muffins, I use it to add a bit of flavour to my curry, I use it on my hair and cuticles and in the strawberry milkshake I  have for breakfast. I only discovered it about a year ago but it has become my kitchen staple and something that is really useful to have around the house. Cheap, packed with healthy fatty acids that help your brain, circulatory system and your digestive system, it increases immunity and fight off fungi infections, go for the virgin cold-pressed version since it retains more positive qualities than the others.

5. Matcha Green Tea - my best kept secret revealed. Since I've stopped drinking coffee, I have been drinking 1 to 2 cups of this mystery green powder everyday and besides feeling energetic and not at all sluggish, I've also noticed it has helped shed some body fat. I didn't start drinking it for that reason, but since I have been doing everything like I normal do, with an exercise routine that hasn't changed at all in the past 6 months or so, the only difference has been me adding the matcha to my diet and boom, my body fat has gone down (according to my usually ruthless Aria Fitbit scale).
Matcha is a fine powder green tea, a Japanese ceremony tea that involves you, the tea, a whisk, some glazed bowl-like cups and hot water (not boiling - around 80-75°C/175°F). I prepare it Nespresso Aeroccino, pour it in my purple Solimene cup, sip it throughout the morning and it tastes just fine. :)
Give it a try for that crazy antioxidant punch it will give you and who knows, maybe you can corroborate my shrinking body fat story. I buy mine on Amazon has got the best prices.

Kiss and Peace
Green Miss Sinister

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