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Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Your Quinoa Addiction

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Your Quinoa Addiction


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The quinoa craze continues, but the debate may at last be winding down

Would you like some controversy with your quinoa? In recent years, this whole grain, popularly grown in Bolivia, has exploded in U.S. popularity — and the increasing demand for it has spurred a lot more than pilaf. Quinoa has become such a trendy health food that its growers, who used to enjoy the grain as a substantial part of the their diet, have stopped being able to afford their own product. So, to quinoa, or not to quinoa?

A recent NPR report will come as hearty news to quinoa lovers: Keep on buying. While the price of the product has tripled since 2006, this also means that quinoa farmers are making more money. Moreover, they also are able to set aside a supply for themselves, so they too can enjoy the grain.

According to Eduoard Rollet, co-founder and chief operating officer of Alter Eco Foods, “The farmers who have been eating quinoa traditionally are still eating quinoa.”

In case you haven’t joined the craze — yet — quinoa is rich in protein, fiber, and iron, not to mention easy to make. Click here to see The Daily Meal’s best quinoa recipes.


Unpopular Opinion: I Don't Like Trader Joe's (but I Always Buy These 3 Things)

I have a confession: I don't like Trader Joe's. I buy all of three products there. I stop in once a month, sometimes less. I know. Take a moment. Wrap your head around it.

I wasn't always this way. Once upon a time, five years ago, I bought all my groceries there: cereal, eggs, produce, snacks like popcorn, and sweets like ice cream. Granted, I wasn't really cooking at the time, per se. Dinner in my dorm room was typically cereal, fruit, carrots, and maybe a piece of cheese. (Trader Joe's does have great cheddar cheese.)

Did I burn myself out? Was it Trader Joe's fatigue? Not quite. I guess once you learn how to cook real recipes, which require real ingredients, the attraction of eating snack or pre-made food all the time (which was basically what I bought there) dims a bit. I also didn't have a big enough freezer to indulge in TJ's hefty frozen food aisle. (#dormlife!)

And on top of all of that, there was the dawning realization that just because my chocolate and chips were from Trader Joe's didn't mean they were automatically healthy. Trader Joe's has a reputation for carrying mostly health foods, but it's important to remember that if you're trying to eat healthy, you do still have to check the nutrition facts and see what's actually in the product. When I first turned my Trader Joe's yogurt around and glanced at the ingredients, for example, the amount of sugar was quite a bit more than what I actually wanted to be eating. What most people buy at Trader Joe's, including myself, are processed foods, which typically have less nutritional value than whole foods and have even been shown to cause weight gain.

All in all, I had gotten caught up in how healthy and fun everything looked at Trader Joe's and forgot to pay attention to the actual nutritional content of what I was eating and, more importantly, how it made me feel. It's totally, completely, 100 percent fine to shop at Trader Joe's. It's also fine to stand on the outside and not buy into all the hype. Do whatever works for you, don't feel guilty about it, and embrace those delicious dark chocolate almond butter cups if that's your thing.

All of that said, I do still buy three choice products at Trader Joe's. What keeps me coming back? Well, that salted all-natural peanut butter, for one. I buy about five jars of it every time I'm there. It's perfectly creamy and has the best taste of any of the natural peanut butters I've tried, and friends, I have tried many. I also love Trader Joe's organic natural applesauce, which is sweeter and has a more pleasant texture than some other brands. And finally, the newest addition to my list: Trader Joe's Corn, Pea, Bean, and Quinoa Crisps. They're crunchy and salty and satisfy my constant need for convenient and not terribly unhealthy chips. I love that each serving has two grams of fiber and three grams of protein.

Yep, that's it. I fly through the express line with my multiple jars of peanut butter (on a Sunday, no less!) and hit the road. I love Trader Joe's for my three favorite staples I'll leave the rest to you guys. Just don't buy all the peanut butter.


Why You SHOULDN'T Freak Out About Childbirth

One mom shares her super-reassuring labor story&mdashand explores the factors that can affect how difficult your delivery ends up being.

When I was pregnant with my son, all I heard were labor horror stories.

My friends would coyly say things like, &ldquoOh&hellipwe&rsquoll talk about what I went through after your baby is born,&rdquo followed by comments like, &ldquoYeah, the epidural only worked on half of my body,&rdquo or, &ldquoI thought I was going to die. Seriously.&rdquo Because that didn&rsquot freak me out.

Being the masochist that every pregnant woman becomes, I immediately bought every childbirth book I could get my hands on and devoured them at the same rate I was putting away pancakes. All that newfound knowledge did was (a) scare the crap out of me and (b) leave me wondering whether it was possible to invent a new way to give birth within the next few months&mdashpreferably one didn&rsquot involve a small human coming out of my vagina. (I&rsquom still working on that, BTW.)

When my labor day arrived, I was no closer to a solution and still completely freaked about what lay ahead. The fun kicked off during a normal check-in after doctors realized that my son was ready to come out and decided to induce me&hellip20 minutes before I was supposed to be at work. Cue hysterical crying, frantic e-mails to coworkers, and multiple phone calls to my husband, Chris, to ask him to bring everything from my overnight bag to a bagel and the biggest decaf latte he could find. I&rsquod read the books: I was going to need every ounce of safe-for-pregnancy strength I had to get through this experience.

And I can honestly say that was the craziest part of my labor experience. When I look back at the 24 hours leading up to my son&rsquos birth, the biggest thing that jumps out at me is that there was a Top Chef marathon running all night. I would know&mdashI watched most of it when I wasn&rsquot chatting with Chris and my mom. When the time came for my son&rsquos big debut, he was out in five pushes. It was easy. My hair even looked awesome afterward, bizarrely enough.

It was the complete opposite of everything that I&rsquod heard. There was no screaming, no cursing, no shrieking &ldquoYou did this to me. &rdquo at Chris. I&rsquom kind of bummed about the last one&mdashit sounds liberating. I essentially hung out in a hospital, snuck a bagel when I wasn&rsquot supposed to be eating solids (I know&mdashI&rsquom a rebel), watched a bunch of TV, and then my baby arrived. That&rsquos it.

Don&rsquot get me wrong: It wasn&rsquot exactly fun when they realized my son was facing the wrong direction and had to turn him, or when I was induced with a drug that gives you hard and fast contractions right away. But it was tolerable, and the pain was short-lived, like being forced to sit through Britney Spears&rsquos Crossroads just before a screening of Magic Mike. I had an epidural after a while, which doctors typically recommend when you&rsquore induced, and I can honestly say I didn&rsquot feel a damn thing afterward.

&ldquoYou know you were insanely lucky, right?&rdquo said my friend Julie afterward. Totally! But&hellipwas my experience that rare? My friend Liz had twins after a three-hour labor. &ldquoMine was easy, too,&rdquo she says. &ldquoI feel like a jerk for saying that.&rdquo

Curious to know whether I scored the Grand Slam of labors, I reached out to board-certified OB-GYN Bruce Lee, M.D., co-founder and chief medical officer of Halt Medical, Inc. He says that the definition of &ldquoeasy&rdquo varies for women depending on pain tolerance, anxiousness, preparedness, and expectations&mdashand that all of those factors can even impact the labor. It&rsquos possible that by expecting days of agony, I was pleasantly surprised when my labor didn&rsquot measure up.

It also might have helped that I ran several miles a day until the day my son was born. Lee says that physical fitness and good general health are crucial elements to having a good labor, along with good nutrition and a healthy attitude. Aside from developing a serious fudge brownie habit, I&rsquod say I met all of those criteria.

Lee adds that labors are rarely &ldquoeasy&rdquo but that some women are able to deliver easier than others&mdashwe just don&rsquot hear about it as often. &ldquoLabor stories are like war stories,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe all love to talk about the difficult things, and this often produces a fearful reaction in others. Bad labor stories can overshadow the good ones.&rdquo

So, okay: I had an epidural. I get that if I&rsquod had a natural childbirth, this would probably be a different story. I have plenty of friends who chose to go au natural, and more power to them. It was never for me, and it didn&rsquot work out that way, anyway. I also know that my story is completely obnoxious to women who had a tough time of it&mdashepidural or no epidural. I had no major complications, and I&rsquom so thankful for that.

But I&rsquom happy to tell women who are freaked at the idea of giving birth that it&rsquos possible to have an easy labor. If it happened to me, it can happen to you. (And I&rsquom really, really glad it happened to me.)

Korin Miller is a writer, SEO nerd, wife, and mom to a little one-year-old dude named Miles. Korin has worked for The Washington Post, New York Daily News, and Cosmopolitan, where she learned more than anyone ever should about sex. She has an unhealthy addiction to gifs.


Why I Don’t Recommend Whole30

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time, and hearing about/meeting more and more people who are trying Whole30 finally gave me the motivation I needed to put this into words.

I’m just going to say it: I don’t recommend Whole30. Here’s why.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Whole30 is a 30 day diet program during which participants are instructed to completely avoid sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, and legumes. It’s very similar to paleo. I get that some people use Whole30 as a way to uncover food intolerances, and that’s not what I’m talking about in today’s post – this is geared towards those who are looking at Whole30 as a diet/weight loss tool.

Is Whole30 healthy? Absolutely. I don’t think eating that way will leave you with any nutritional deficiencies, nor do I believe that humans have to eat dairy or grains to be healthy. I actually love and frequently make/consume a lot of “Whole30 approved” and/or paleo recipes and meals, as you guys know – they are often creative, delicious, and packed with whole, real food.

My problem with Whole30, and other restrictive programs, is the fact that you’re being told you “can’t” eat certain foods. Sure, you might be able to avoid specific foods that you love for 30 days, or even a little longer. But what ends up happening is that when something is off limits, you want it even more. And when you do give in and have it, either during the program or once it’s over, you will likely feel pretty guilty about it.

The guilt/permission is the big problem with any sort of restrictive diet, Whole30 or otherwise, that is being done without medical necessity. Even if you tell yourself that you are allowed to have a certain food again once the program is over, knowing that it was off limits for awhile will give it a sort of “bad/cheat food” type aura. And when you do inevitably have that food again, this guilt will lead to a couple things.

First, you probably won’t enjoy the food because you feel guilty. And second, you will likely end up eating more of it than you need/want, because there’s that sort of “screw it” mentality where you’ve already started eating something you “shouldn’t” have so you might as well keep going. This can often turn into a sort of ongoing restrict/binge cycle over time, where you limit certain foods and then end up overdoing it on those foods later, before going right back to restricting/trying to be “good”.

Am I saying that no one on earth can do Whole30 without it turning into disordered eating? Of course not. There are some people that will do the program, move on, and be fine, or even benefit from it. But more often than not, at least a little of that guilt will remain, which can lead to something more serious.

Of course, it’s important to be mindful with your food choices and eat in a way that feels best for you – I’m not suggesting making 95% of your diet sugar, processed wheat, and alcohol. But I believe that eating without arbitrary food rules is important. If you want a kale salad, have the kale salad. If you want a cupcake, have the cupcake, but serve it up without a side of guilt. Eat it slowly and mindfully and savor it, then move on.

Another thing to think about – why are you doing a restrictive diet in the first place? Is trying to change/control your body a convenient way to avoid other problems in your life? As I said before, I realize that some people do Whole30 and other elimination type diets to try to determine the causes of gastrointestinal or other health issues. But if you are doing it because you think that your life will be perfect if you could just lose xx pounds, it’s time to consider what’s going on there. You can be happy right now, just as you are – you don’t have to wait until you lose weight to lead a life you love. If you’re interested in exploring this more, click here for a free downloadable worksheet titled “The Thin Fantasy” – it will help you to examine how some of your beliefs about your body may be holding you back from living the life you want to – regardless of your size.


Always Wait 48 Hours Before Checking Out Your Cart

According to Dr Dow, 48 hours is the perfect amount of time to wait because in that amount of time, you'll usually find your desire has waned and you've moved on to something else. "This counteracts that instant gratification addiction," he says.

Hopefully these tips will help you save money and only buy what you truly want and need this year. There's no problem with treating yourself every once in a while, but if you're having trouble paying credit cards or hiding your purchases from friends and family, it could be a sign that you need to practice some of the steps listed above.


12 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes That Don't Sacrifice Flavor

Ah, Thanksgiving ― the one day of the year when we take advantage of our free will to eat everything in sight … and then some. We go all out when it comes to piling on the gravy, stuffing and the pumpkin pie. And nutritionists are fine with that.

“I think it’s important, if not necessary, for people to indulge on Thanksgiving,” said nutritionist Tracy Lockwood Beckerman . “Thanksgiving comes once a year, and it shouldn’t be affiliated with guilt or shame. So eat the foods that make you happy.”

Of course, there are a few problems that come with eating with abandon on Thanksgiving: sugar-induced headaches and food babies that make you way too bloated and uncomfortable. And then there are the days following Thanksgiving, which are usually full of a few too many leftovers.

Beckerman said if you want to avoid getting overly full on the actual holiday, a few small changes can go a long way. “Eating on a smaller plate is a good place to start,” she said . “When we do this, research shows that we eat 30 percent less on average. So if it’s a viable option at your dinner, ask for a salad plate (or even a kids’ plate) to serve yourself dinner.”

Another thing to watch out for? Sugary drinks.

“Add club soda to your liquor of choice instead of juice to easily cut back on inflammatory refined sugars,” Beckerman said. “To save some extra room for the meal, opt for guilt-free white wine spritzers rather than a full glass of wine to save half the calories and carbs.”

One of the easiest ways to solve the whole way-too-full-on-Thanksgiving thing, though, is to find little ways to make dishes lighter and more nutritious. According to Beckerman, it’s all about layering your plate.

“Start by filling your entire plate with non-starchy veggies like roasted Brussels sprouts, zucchini or sauteed kale to ensure nutrient overload,” she said. “On top of that, serve yourself a total of three to four scoops of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes such as roasted turkey, green bean casserole or marshmallow sweet potatoes. You’ll be able to eat the foods you love without compromising your health.”

You can actually make really nutritious meals out of Thanksgiving leftovers, too. “Add leftover veggies and sweet potato to eggs and make a frittata for breakfast,” Beckerman suggested. “Make an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ salad with leftover turkey slices and a few scoops of stuffing on top of a heavy bed of greens like curly kale or crunchy napa cabbage.”

Another way to make Thanksgiving just a little lighter is to simply make the dishes themselves healthier ― without sacrificing taste, of course. Here are 12 healthier-for-you Thanksgiving recipes we can’t get enough of.


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Infographic: Why you should not count calories

To count calories, or not to count calories. That was not a question during my youthful dancing days. Of course you count calories.

As a dancer who often struggled with weight issues, I definitely had my period of nazi-like dedication to counting calories. What did I gain from my diligence to write down, calculate, and count every single calorie? Oh… a lot. I gained stress. (Writing down everything you eat is annoying.) I gained guilt. (Did I really just eat another piece of cake?!). I gained an neurotic obsession with that number of my scale. (Maybe it will go down if I take my socks off…) Oh yeah, and I gained weight.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to relax a little. And eat a lot more butter. And give up the cracker addiction. And to never watch the movie Twilight.

All I can do is help others from making the same mistakes. Hopefully, I can help some other young dancer from reliving my good-intentioned-but-not-so-healthy approach to healthy living. If I can reach even one person I will feel good about my hard learned lesson.

So… with that in mind. An open letter to anyone who will read it:

Dear young dancers, relapsed weight watcher-ers, frustrated dieters, and anyone else who still believe counting calories is a key to being healthy. The following is for you.


The tangy sauce baked into chicken and served with a bed of rice is exploding with flavor and incredibly easy to make…
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About “Notes for the Road”

This blog is a companion to the Walk Georgia program. We post content from UGA Extension on exercise, health, food recipes and more.

The posts featured here are emailed to subscribed participants in a weekly newsletter each Friday.

You can also find the archive from our past newsletters here. We hope these tips and inspiration will keep you motivated.


Bacon Queso Guacamole

Serves: 8
Nutrition: 229 calories, 19.9 g fat (5.2 g saturated fat), 284 mg sodium, 7.8 g carbs, 5.2 g fiber, .7 g sugar, 7 g protein

Did you say guacamole?! Being one of the latest crazes, guacamole is something people are willing to bathe in and always willing to pay the extra dollar. This is not just any ordinary guacamole, though this is guacamole combined with bacon and cheese. Extremely low in sugar, this cheesy guacamole is perfect for dipping carrots or celery into. If you find yourself unable to stop once you've started, try making a smaller portion using just one avocado.