Secret Ingredients that Keep you Healthy, Strong, and Vibrant
If you are like me, you are probably wondering what the secret ingredients are that will keep you healthy, strong, and vibrant. Is there a supplement to take? Tell me what to eat! When should I eat and how many calories should I be eating? The truth is, the "secret" is that all we need to do is to focus our attention on consuming a variety of plant-based, whole foods at least 80% of our time to keep us strong and healthy. These are foods that are found in nature. They are either grown on trees or in our earth. Plant-based whole foods are key to vital health and can help prevent and even reverse diseases by reducing inflammation in the body! Powerful stuff.
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind has put together some of her favorite plant-based, whole foods that she makes sure to include in her eating routine that I thought I would share:
When nuts, such as pistachios, are eaten on a regular basis, they help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. Pistachios provide the winning combination of heart healthy fats, protein and fiber which are essential to good nutrition and health. One serving of pistachios has as much potassium as an orange making it a nutritious choice to add to your daily diet. My favorite pistachio snack is Setton Farms’ Pistachio + Plum Chewy Bites. They make it easy to get the daily benefits of pistachios on the go, plus the plums make them a tad sweet to satisfy my sweet tooth!
Leafy Greens such as collard greens, bok choy, swiss chard, kale and mustard greens are one of the most nutrient dense foods containing the least amount of calories. Whether you are looking to watch your weight, prevent or reverse disease, improve the strength of your bones and teeth or just get a natural healthy glow, eating leafy greens on a daily basis is a must. Leafy greens contain important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamins B1 and B2 and fiber. I like to put them in my salads, sandwiches, and even sautéed and served in healthy pasta dishes!
Whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, bulgur and millet offer a variety of health benefits, unlike refined grains which are processed and stripped of valuable nutrients. They contain whole grain kernels that consist of three parts: the germ, bran and endosperm; each part is essential containing fiber, B vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, phytochemicals, healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein. One of my dishes is a rice bowl, start with wild rice, and load up on the greens and plant-based proteins!
Not all fats are created equal! Healthy fats are those that contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, are found in plants, and actually do the body good. They are instrumental in keeping your weight under control, lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL), preventing stroke and heart disease, lowering your blood pressure and even boosting your mood. Healthy fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocados, cacao, olives, and plant based oils and are rich in omega 3s. Although these healthy fats are essential for the body, it’s important to keep your portions in control because they can also be calorie dense. Drizzle some olive or avocado oil on your salad to get a healthy dose of fats.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, folate, and an assortment of other vitamin and minerals. Beans are known to help keep the digestive track running smoothly because they contain soluble and insoluble fiber. First they slow down digestion to give you a full feeling and then they help to prevent constipation. Beans are a wonderful substitute for animal protein. They can help lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol and maintain a healthy gut. Look for chickpeas, lentils, peas and white beans and aim for ½ a cup daily. I love making zoodles and loading them with chickpeas and other greens for a healthy dinner option.
About Sara Siskind
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature "toss it in" approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.
Pistachio + Plum Chewy Bites are all-natural bite-sized bars packed with over 50% California grown pistachios, plums, date nectar and a touch of lemon. Each individually wrapped bite is loaded with protein, fiber, iron, potassium and antioxidants making them an ideal, on-the-go, heart healthy snack that is both delicious and nutrient dense.
Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99
About Setton Farms
Setton Farms is a family owned business based in California’s Central Valley and are the 2nd largest grower and processor of pistachios in the United States. The business started as a small bakery in Brooklyn in 1959 and expanded to growing pistachios in 1987. They are a vertically integrated company and are able to focus on every step of the pistachio process from harvesting, to processing, to shipping. The processing plant has a 1.7MW solar power system and their post-harvest operations is 100% solar powered. Their products range from plain pistachios to flavored pistachios to their iconic Pistachio Chewy Bites.